2010–12 La Niña event

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2010–12 La Niña event
FormedJuly 2010[nb 1]
DissipatedApril 2012
Areas affectedThe Pacific Ocean and surrounding areas

The 2010–12 La Niña event was one of the strongest on record. It caused Australia to experience its wettest September on record in 2010, and its second-wettest year on record in 2010.[2] It also led to an unusual intensification of the Leeuwin Current,[3] the 2010 Pakistan floods, the 2010–11 Queensland floods, and the 2011 East Africa drought. It also helped keep the average global temperature below recent trends, leading to 2011 tying with 1997 for the 14th-warmest year on record. This La Niña event also led to above-average tropical cyclone activity in the North Atlantic Ocean during the 2010, 2011, and 2012 hurricane seasons.

Meteorological progression[edit]

The 2009–10 El Niño event started in the Pacific Ocean during May 2009, before it reached it peaked during December and broke down during the first quarter of 2010.[4][5] The climate of the Pacific Ocean subsequently returned to neutral conditions by the end of April, while climate models used and developed by various meteorological agencies, subsequently started to show signs that a La Niña event would develop later in 2010.[4][6] Over the next month the Pacific Ocean started to show various signals that indicated a La Niña event was developing and as a result, a La Niña watch was issued by the United States Climate Prediction Center during their June 2010 ENSO diagnostic discussion.[4][7] As the ocean's surface temperature cooling progressed, more colder anomalies appeared at the International Date Line rather than over eastern Pacific, what allowed calling this event as a Modoki one.[8]


Australia experienced its second- and third-wettest years, since a record of the rainfall started to kept during 1900.[4] 2009–10 was a dry winter for California, and meteorologists warned the abnormally dry conditions could occur in the next six months, but lots of rainfall from the La Niña helped the prevention of drought that would've been likely by the next winter. Because this was a La Niña Modoki, it brought California the wettest December on record and the summer of 2011 was California's wettest. The Pacific Northwest saw 2011 being one of the coolest, wettest years on record, with temperatures still in the 50s and rain/snow mix even in May. The Midwest, Southeastern, and Northeastern United States also experienced an extremely wet 2011, leading to flooding across the Mississippi River, Missouri River, and the Ohio River. Texas fell into major drought with 2010–12 being some of the driest years ever for the state, starting the 2010–13 Southern U.S. and Mexico drought. Its cattle and agricultural production was in dire distress. 2011 was also one of the hottest years in Texas history. Several pictures were taken of the state "turning browner than ever" said meteorologist Stephanie Abrams.


  1. ^ Each meteorological agency that monitors the state of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation, has a different definition of what constitutes an El Niño event tailored to their needs.[1]


  1. ^ Becker, Emily (4 December 2014). "December's ENSO Update: Close, but no cigar". ENSO Blog. Archived from the original on 3 April 2016.
  2. ^ "The 2010–11 La Niña: Australia soaked by one of the strongest events on record". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  3. ^ "La Niña forces unprecedented Leeuwin Current warming in 2011 : Scientific Reports : Nature Publishing Group". Nature.com. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d Record-breaking La Niña events (PDF) (Report). Australian Bureau of Meteorology. July 2012. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 20, 2016. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  5. ^ "Historical El Niño/La Niña episodes (1950–present)". United States Climate Prediction Center. 4 November 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  6. ^ http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/archive/ensowrap_20100428.pdf
  7. ^ El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) diagnostic discussion: June 2010 (PDF) (Report). United States Climate Prediction Center. June 3, 2010. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 March 2016.
  8. ^ V. Platonov; E. Semenov; E. Sokolikhina (2014-02-13). "Extreme La-Nina 2010/11 and the vigorous flood at the north-east of Australia" (PDF). EGU General Assembly/Geophysical Research. Retrieved 2014-10-15.