La Nada, which literally means 'the nothing' in Spanish, is a term sometimes used to describe the climatic condition occurring when neither El Nino nor La Nina are in affect. At these times, the water off the western coast of South America is neither warmer nor colder than average, and is in fact the 'normal' temperature. This weather pattern was once the 'default' weather pattern, which was interrupted only every several years by an El Nino or La Nina pattern. According to some climatologists, a few centuries ago the climate was almost always in the 'La Nada' pattern, with the deviant patterns over a decade apart. In the last two decades, La Nada has only occurred for brief periods between El Nino and La Nina patterns. The last few months (spring and summer of 2001) were La Nina months, but the pattern is beginning to shift back to El Nino.

To me this seems like a clear sign of climate change. Whether the change is caused by human causes, environmental causes, or both, is not apparent... nor is the effect it will have on us. Regardless of the cause, we can probably expect to have some strange weather in the years ahead.

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