January 9, 2020 / 2:13 PM / 19 days ago

U.S. forecaster: Neutral weather pattern likely to continue through summer

(Reuters) - A weather pattern marked by average long-term ocean temperatures, tropical rainfall and atmospheric winds is likely to prevail through this summer in the Northern Hemisphere, a U.S. government weather forecaster said on Thursday.

The chance that neutral weather conditions will prevail through spring 2020 is at 60%, while there is an about 50% probability that it will continue through summer, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said in its monthly forecast.

El Niño-Southern Oscillation-neutral (ENSO) conditions refer to those periods in which neither El Niño nor La Niña are present, often coinciding with the transition between the two weather patterns, according to the CPC.

“The overall oceanic and atmospheric system was consistent with ENSO-neutral, though recent observations reflected a trend toward warmer conditions that will be monitored,” the forecaster said.

“The forecasters also favor above-average ocean temperatures to continue in the next month or two, but... do not foresee a continuation over several consecutive seasons or shifts in the atmospheric circulation that would indicate El Niño.”

The El Niño pattern brings a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific every few years, and is the opposite of La Niña.

El Niño emerged in 2018 for the first time since 2016 and has been linked to crop damage, fires and flash floods.

Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio

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