La Nina Weather Pattern Continues to Develop
The climate phenomenon known as La Nina appears to be developing, threatening to bring more bad news in the efforts to clean up the Gulf oil spill.
When a La Nina occurs, there tend to be more hurricanes than average in the Atlantic and Caribbean regions, which include the Gulf of Mexico.
The federal Climate Prediction Center says La Nina conditions are likely to develop in July and August.
La Nina is marked by an unusual cooling of the sea surface in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Water temperatures in that area can affect air pressure and winds, resulting in changes in the weather in many parts of the world.
The climate center's current hurricane forecast for this season is for 14 to 23 named storms of which 8 to 14 are expected to be hurricanes and 3 to 7 major hurricanes.
The last La Nina occurred from the fall of 2007 to the spring of 2008. The opposite mode, El Nino, with warm Pacific conditions, has been in place since the spring of 2009.