Japan sees 50 percent chance of El Nino emerging by beginning of autumn

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s weather bureau said on Friday it sees a 50 percent chance of the El Nino weather pattern emerging by the beginning of autumn.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said last month there was a 50 percent chance that El Nino would emerge by August.

The U.S. government’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said on Thursday that neutral or El Nino conditions are nearly equally likely in the Northern Hemisphere this summer and fall.

El Nino - a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific - can trigger drought in Southeast Asia and Australia and floods in South America, hitting production of key foods such as rice, wheat and sugar.

El Nino conditions are developing across the Pacific with an increasing probability that a full-fledged El Nino episode will occur during the second half of 2017.

(Corrects headline to “chance” from “change”.)

Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim