Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A climatic event occurring every two to seven years, characterized by warming of surface waters and reduced upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich water off the western coast of South America, causing die-offs of plankton and fish and influencing jet stream winds, altering storm tracks and affecting the climate over much of the world.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An invasion of warm water into the surface of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Peru and Ecuador every four to seven years that causes changes in local and regional climate, associated with a positive anomaly.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[American Spanish (originally used by fisherman in Ecuador and Peru as a name for the warm ocean current typically appearing around Christmastime in El Niño years), from Spanish, the Christ child : el, the (from Latin ille; see al- in Indo-European roots) + niño, child (from Old Spanish ninno, from Vulgar Latin *nīnnus).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Spanish, meaning “The Little Boy,” referring to the Christ child, as the phenomenon is observed around Christmas time

Examples

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