2021 is a La Nina Year, What does that Mean?

For the second year in a row, La Nina conditions have been affecting both the land and the oceans. This phenomena began in October and will carry on through the winter of 2021 to 2022. While surfers often anticipate El Nino years because it is known to bring big swells, La Nina does not necessarily have the same effects. So, what is La Nina and how does it affect the surf in San Diego? 


What are El Nino and La Nina?

As mentioned above, La Nina is not the same thing as El Nino. Both are weather phenomenons that represent changes in atmospheric circulation. This is a global phenomena and affects the whole world. But those effects vary depending on where you live. El Nino often brings bigger swells and stormy weather to Southern California, which is why surfers are excited for these seasons. But La Nina has the opposite effects. 



How La Nina Effects Us

In the Water

So what do we have to plan for this winter season? The ocean temperatures will drop a little below the normal level, making a slightly colder winter for surfers but not too drastic to skip a surf sesh. And while we always look forward to the winter waves in San Diego because they tend to pick up in size, La Nina will probably cause the waves to be a little smaller than other winters. This may disappoint some, but with the smaller waves comes less wind. So La Nina may make the conditions a little smaller but cleaner. 


On land

Following this trend, land will be drier with less storms and rainfall. La Nina is supposed to make land temperatures drop as well, combined with the warming climate, the temperatures with La Nina may not drop to a noticeable level. While La Nina affects San Diego in these ways, it affects different areas in other ways. 


Both La Nina and El Nino have positive and negative effects. And while these conditions do not occur constantly year by year, we are sure to experience many seasons of both. This year will be a little calmer in the water than other years when El Nino has affected our surf. So if you are thinking about learning to surf this winter season, the conditions that La Nina brings will make it a perfect season to start!