Explainer: El Niño and La Niña

By Stephen Ornes, 11:43 AM February 13, 2013

Hundreds of years ago, South American fishermen observed that every year around Christmas, coastal waters of the Pacific became warmer as a current flowed from north to south. This change often meant a smaller catch but more rainfall inland. And that translated to more abundant crops. They said the current came from El Niño (el-NEEN-yo) — Spanish for  “the boy.” But villagers were not referring to just any boy. Used at this time of year, their term referred to Jesus, “the Christ child.”

The w...

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