Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between El Nino and La Nina

El Niño vs. La Niña

When the temperature gets really hot, some believed it to be global warming, but it is not really. It is the infamous El Niño. El Niño is a Southern Oscillation, a phenomenon where the eastern central Pacific Ocean gets really warm. Sometimes El Niño is just called the ENSO or El Niño Southern Oscillation. The term El Niño was in honor of baby Jesus, because the warming usually is on all time high during December. This kind of phenomenon has a great effect on the weather conditions all over the world.

But El Niño did not come alone, after El Niño its little sister, La Niña, comes around too. La Niña is also a southern Oscillation. This time it is the cold episode of the Oscillation phenomenon. La Niña is the counterpart of ENSO. Though these two are both changes in temperature, these two have so many differences.

During the time of visit of these sibling phenomenons, they wreak havoc across the Pacific to the cost of South America claiming thousands of life, destroying hundreds of homes, and causing damage to a lot of crops and properties. Hurricanes and floods came together with La Niña and drought and dry lands came with El Niño. Some people confuse the two names. Here is a tip to know which is which. El Niño means ‘little boy’ it is the warm episode, while La Niña means ‘little girl’ the cold episode.

Now to differentiate the siblings, here are more facts to help you understand better. El Niño is when the ocean temperature in the Pacific until the coast of South America rises to .5 degrees Celsius and sometimes even higher. This phenomenon happens every two to seven years.

There are times when it is instantly followed by its sister La Niña, but not all the time. La Niña is exactly El Niño’s opposite. La Niña is the cold episode. The most significant La Niña was during the fall of the year 2000. EL Niño was most significant during 1997-98.

Up until now, scientists are still arguing on what really causes these phenomenons. There is still no concrete explanation why these significant changes in temperature take place. There are others who claim that it is because of the increases in the Western trade winds, there are also other theories stating that it may be because of the boiling water in the equator which are now spreading towards the sea. Another one tells that the motion of the atmosphere affects the water in the ocean which makes it heat up, just like how engine heats up when being revved up.



El Niño refers to the warm episode of the oscillation phenomenon, while La Niña is the cold episode.

El Niño means little boy while La Niña means little girl.

El Niño happens every two to seven years, while La Niña may or may not follow it after.

La Niña was most significant during the fall of the year 2000 while El Niño was most significant during 1997-98.

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