U.N. Says La Nina Is Back, Could Prolong Africa Drought

GENEVA -- The Pacific weather phenomenon known as La Nina emerged in August and will likely operate into early next year, prolonging the drought in the Horn of Africa, the U.N. weather agency said Thursday.

La Nina, which is characterized by cooler sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific, normally triggers some extreme weather patterns, such as flooding in Australia and drought in Texas. It is the opposite of El Nino, a warming of surface ocean temperatures in the eastern Pacific.

The World Meteorological Organization said the 2011 drought in Somalia and northern Kenya has been "exacerbated by La Nina's influence."

"Its impact is not uniform, and some parts of the Greater Horn of Africa receive greater than normal rainfall during La Nina episodes," WMO said. (Read more...)

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