El Niño weakens, La Niña possibly developing

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Credit: NOAA Credit: NOAA

PACIFIC OCEAN -- The most recent El Niño, one of the strongest on record, is starting to weaken, according to NOAA.

As the surface waters begin to cool in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, forecasters say a La Niña may follow suit. In their April update, NOAA scientists issued a La Niña Watch which means that conditions are favorable for La Niña to develop in the next six months.

Compared to El Niño, which is warmer than average sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean along the equator, a La Niña is the exact opposite -- cooler than average sea surface temperatures in the same area. Both can have a significant impact on weather and climate trends around the globe.

According to NOAA, if one develops, a La Niña could mean more hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean this summer and fall. They say it could also mean cooler than average temperatures across the Midwest this winter.

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