January 10, 2019 / 2:23 PM / 2 months ago

U.S. forecaster sees 65 percent chance of El Niño in spring

(Reuters) - There is a 65 percent chance of an El Niño weather pattern emerging during the northern hemisphere spring this year, a U.S. government weather forecaster said on Thursday.

“However, given the timing and that a weak event is favored, significant global impacts are not anticipated during the remainder of winter, even if conditions were to form,” the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) added in its monthly forecast.

Last month, the weather forecaster pegged the chances of the El Niño emerging at 60 percent during spring 2019.

The last El Niño, a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific that typically occurs 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 Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Writing by Nick Zieminski; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Susan Thomas

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