U.S. forecaster says La Nina faded, sees El Nino potential

Reuters — A U.S. weather forecaster on Thursday said La Nina has faded and neutral conditions are likely to continue in the coming months, though it noted some chance that the El Nino phenomenon may reappear as early as the Northern Hemisphere spring.

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC), an agency of the National Weather Service, in a monthly forecast said that neutral conditions have returned and are favored to continue through at least the Northern Hemisphere spring.

La Nina emerged last year for the first time since 2012. The phenomenon, characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, is linked with floods and droughts.

Even though neutral conditions are most likely, there is a chance of the appearance of El Nino — when surface waters in the eastern tropical Pacific turn warmer than average — as early as March to May 2017, the forecaster warned.

That would be less than a year after the last El Nino faded, having brought serious crop damage, forest fires and flash floods.

In Western, northwestern and central Canada, an El Nino event is most often associated with above-normal temperatures and drier conditions during winter and spring.

According to Environment Canada, El Nino doesn’t significantly impact Eastern Canada or the Maritimes, but may reduce tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic Ocean.

Reporting for Reuters by Chris Prentice in New York. Includes files from AGCanada.com Network staff.

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