In Spanish, "La Nina" means "Little Girl." La Nina is also known as El Viejo, anti-El Nino, or "a chilly occurrence." La Nina is the polar opposite of El Nino. During La Nina winters, the South experiences warmer and drier weather than typical. The opposite is true in the North where El Nino winters are usually colder and more humid than normal.
The name "La Nina" was first used by scientists who were studying patterns in the ocean that lead up to and including the year 1998. They discovered that there were two similar but separate periods when the water temperature in the Pacific Ocean declined: one in 1972–73 and another in 1978–80. These periods came to be called "La Nina" years after the famous girl who was born in 1814 and died in 1816. Her name was Ana María Huáscar de Orejuela. She was a famous Chilean painter.
There are several theories about how the term "La Nina" became popular among fishermen. Some say it has something to do with the fact that during these periods there are often more tropical storms in the Atlantic Ocean than usual. Others believe it's because the fish don't want to fight against their own kind so they just swim away from the cold waters of the South and into the warm waters of the North.
"La Nina" is a climatic trend that depicts the cooling of surface ocean waters along South America's tropical west coast. La Nina is thought to be the polar opposite of El Nino, which is marked by extremely high water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean's equatorial area. The warming effects of El Nino are seen in parts of South America during winter months.
Physical factors that influence the development of La Nina include the amount of solar radiation that reaches Antarctica and the intensity of the westerly winds that blow across the southern portion of South America. As solar radiation increases so does Antarctic ice growth. More solar radiation means more energy for ice to absorb which can lead to more extensive sea ice formations and higher mountain peaks covered in ice. Stronger winds cause drought-like conditions in eastern Brazil during spring and summer. The increased pressure difference between the Amazonian region and western Brazil causes rainstorms there not to reach the coast, resulting in longer droughts.
Human activities such as deforestation, soil degradation, and greenhouse gas emissions can affect climate patterns such as El Nino and La Nina. Deforestation leads to less shade for the earth which allows more heat-trapping gases to enter our atmosphere. This can have an impact on global temperature levels and other aspects of climate change. Soil degradation results in less soil carbon storage which can also have an effect on Earth's temperature because carbon dioxide stores energy that would otherwise be used for erosion or oxidation.
A La Nina often indicates a more active season with more and maybe stronger storms. El Nino conditions result in fewer, weaker storms. So, while a La Nina year would likely be less destructive than an El Niño year, it's not possible to say whether it would be better or worse.
Why are they referred to as El Nino and La Nina? In Spanish, "El Nino" denotes "the boy-child." Peruvian fisherman used the phrase to describe the emergence of a warm ocean current off the South American coast around Christmas. They believed it brought good luck for the next year's fishing season.
The phrase "La Nina" comes from the Spanish word for "the girl-child," but here we are talking about a warming of the waters in the Pacific Ocean that occurs every few years or so. The phenomenon begins when cold temperatures in the eastern part of the atmosphere cause rain clouds to move west across the Pacific Ocean toward Asia and Australia. As the clouds pass over hot spots like Indonesia, they release their water content into the atmosphere as precipitation. The result is more moisture in the air above Indonesia than usual. This leads to more rainfall in Indonesia and beyond during the next couple of years.
This is just one example of how children's toys have been used to explain natural phenomena throughout history. There are many other examples such as the use of magnets to explain the movements of the planets or electricity to explain lightning. Our understanding of science has improved greatly due to these observations. And even though they are made today using technology, children still find real treasures in old things.