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La Niña Weather Shifts to Return November 25, 2011
La Nina SST graphic
Ripples of deep blue west of South America are waves of cool sea-surface waters moving westward.
The La Niña ocean-cooling phenomenon in the tropical Pacific has returned after a near disappearance in May, prompting warnings of a prolonged African drought and other global weather shifts.

The World Meteorological Organization cautions that La Niña conditions could strengthen to moderate intensity, but should be much weaker than the near-record occurrence of late 2010 and early 2011.

The ocean cooling often causes greater rainfall in the southern Pacific and southern Africa nations, but can bring drought to parts of East Africa, southwest Asia and the southern United States.

WMO also predicted that this winter could bring frigid blasts to the eastern United States, similar to those unleashed last winter by the separate phenomenon known as the Arctic oscillation.

Image: NOAA