|La Niña (lä nēn'yä) Pronunciation Key
A cooling of the surface water of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean, occurring somewhat less frequently than El Niño events but causing similar, generally opposite disruptions to global weather patterns. La Niña conditions occur when the Pacific trade winds blow more strongly than usual, pushing the sun-warmed surface water farther west and increasing the upwelling of cold water in the eastern regions. Together with the atmospheric effects of the related southern oscillation, the cooler water brings drought to western South America and heavy rains to eastern Australia and Indonesia. Compare El Niño.