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Jun 16, 2010
This week's theme
Words related to weather

This week's words
aeolian
virga
El Nino
pluvial
nimbus

Satellite image of El Nino
Warm waters shown in white
Satellite image: NASA

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

El Niño or El Nino

PRONUNCIATION:
(el NEEN-yo)

MEANING:
noun: A weather phenomenon characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Spanish El Niño, literally "The Boy Child", referring to Baby Jesus as El Niño phenomenon is noticed near Christmas.

NOTES:
El Niño, which occurs every three to seven years, is marked by warm sea surface temperature along the coast of Ecuador and Peru in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Its effects on weather are observed around the globe. A counterpart is La Niña "The Girl Child" in which unusually cold ocean temperatures are observed in the Equatorial Pacific.

USAGE:
"The Phoenix area had its second coolest May in just over a decade, National Weather Service Meteorologist Craig Ellis said. The cooler temperatures were likely due to El Nino."
Brittany Williams; Phoenix Area May See 110 by Sunday; The Arizona Republic; Jun 1, 2010.

See more usage examples of El Nino in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Just praise is only a debt, but flattery is a present. -Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (1709-1784)

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