Starting this summer, we are starting a new climate pattern around the globe called El Niño.

Dr. Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux is the professor of Climatology at UVM and is the Vermont State Climatologist.

She explains that El Niño is part of the El Niño Southern Oscillation and it combines oceanic and atmospheric changes. so, the El Niño brings warm air and water from the western Pacific Ocean to the eastern part.

“So, if you think about El Niño, it’s that additional warming in the opposite occurrence we have La Niña,” Dupigny-Giroux explains. “Where the cold water comes up along South America and goes from east to west”.

The conditions vary around the United States. However, the Northeast does not get affected as much of the other locations to our west and to our south.

“When an El Niño occurs in California, very very direct influence. Lots of precipitation. We are off on the East Coast. So, we are removed both latitudinally but also where we are in the geography in America. and that is why the impacts are less strong than they would be if you were living on the West Coast.”

She goes on to explain where we would get impacts from. “We are actually more affected by what’s going on in the Atlantic or just to the north of us, than what’s taking place in the Pacific.”  

And with climate change we could see more extreme and frequent El Niño and La Niña patterns.