Definition of El Niño in English:

El Niño

Syllabification: El Ni·ño
Pronunciation: /el ˈnēnyō

noun (plural El Niños)

  • An irregularly occurring and complex series of climatic changes affecting the equatorial Pacific region and beyond every few years, characterized by the appearance of unusually warm, nutrient-poor water off northern Peru and Ecuador, typically in late December.
    More example sentences
    • The El Niño drought over eastern Australia in 1982 led to tinder dry conditions throughout the grasslands and forests of southeastern Australia.
    • The measurement of Sea-Surface Temperature anomalies helps to determine whether climate patterns like El Niño are developing.
    • You can think of the upper air winds as being like a white-water river and the effects of an El Niño as being somewhat like moving some of the rocks in a white-water stream.


late 19th century: Spanish, literally 'the (Christ) child', because of the occurrence near Christmas.

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