(Reuters) - The is an 80 percent chance of weak El Niño conditions continuing through the northern hemisphere spring 2019, a U.S. government weather forecaster said on Thursday.
The expectation of the weather pattern continuing through summer stood at 60 percent, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) added in its monthly forecast.
Last month, the CPC said that El Niño conditions had formed in January and there was a 55-percent chance the weather pattern will prevail through spring.
In its latest outlook, the CPC said that El Niño conditions have strengthened during February 2019, as above-average sea surface temperatures increased across the equatorial Pacific Ocean and the associated atmospheric anomalies became increasingly well-defined.
The last El Niño, a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific every few years, occurred from around 2015 to 2016, and caused weather-related crop damage, fires and flash floods.
El Niño can affect rainfall and temperature patterns in many regions, with important consequences for agricultural and food security sectors, according to the United Nations World Meteorological Organization.
Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Susan Thomas