November 14, 2019 / 2:57 PM / a month ago

U.S. forecaster sees 70% chance for neutral weather during winter

(Reuters) - There is about a 70% chance that neutral weather conditions will prevail in the Northern Hemisphere this winter, a U.S. government weather forecaster said on Thursday.

The El Niño-Southern Oscillation-neutral (ENSO) weather pattern is marked by average long-term ocean temperatures, tropical rainfall and atmospheric winds.

The chances of the weather pattern continuing through spring 2020 is at 60% to 65%, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said in its monthly forecast.

ENSO-neutral 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.

“Forecasters believe this recent warmth reflects sub-seasonal variability and is not indicative of an evolution toward El Niño. (However,) the chances for El Niño are predicted to be near 25% during the winter and spring,” CPC said.

El Niño emerged in 2018 for the first time since 2016, and persisted until August 2019. The weather pattern has been linked to crop damage, fires and flash floods.

It is a climate phenomenon linked to a periodic warming in sea-surface temperatures across the central and east-central equatorial Pacific and is the opposite of La Niña, characterized by unusually cold temperatures in the region, according to CPC website.

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

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