Thursday, May 14, 2015

U.S. Weather Forecaster Sees 90 Percent Chance of El Nino in Summer

Composite Images for Temp (left) and Precip. (right) Departures During El Nino Summers (Credit: / NOAA) Click to Enlarge.
The El Niño climate phenomenon is almost certain to last through the Northern Hemisphere summer, the U.S. weather forecaster said, raising the chance of heavy rain in the southern United States as well as South America, and scorching heat in Asia that could devastate crops of thirsty food staples like rice.

El Niño also reduces the likelihood of a busy hurricane season, which lasts from June to November and can disrupt energy operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

In its monthly report released on Thursday, the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said El Niño, a phenomenon which warms sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific, had a 90 percent likelihood of continuing through the summer. In April it estimated the odds at 70 percent.

El Niño conditions will likely last through the end of the year, the CPC said, pegging the chance at 80 percent.

"[El Niño]'s definitely upon us and it should remain so for the next few months," said Don Keeney, a meteorologist with Maryland-based MDA Weather Services.

A strong El Niño last appeared in 2009-2010 and resulted in significant spikes in sugar, cocoa and wheat prices.

If a strong El Niño does develop the likely U.S. impacts include wetter conditions across the southern U.S., from drought-stricken California through Texas to Florida, said Jeff Masters, a meteorologist for Weather Underground.

Read more at U.S. Weather Forecaster Sees 90 Percent Chance of El Nino in Summer

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