U.S. forecaster sees 90 per cent chance of El Nino in winter

Average sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies over the Pacific Ocean for the week centred on Dec. 5. (CPC.ncep.noaa.gov)

Reuters — There is a 90 per cent chance of the El Nino weather pattern emerging during the Northern Hemisphere winter of 2018-19, a U.S. government weather forecaster said on Thursday.

“The official forecast favours the formation of a weak El Nino,” the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said in a monthly forecast.

The expectation of the weather pattern continuing through spring next year stood at 60 per cent, the CPC added.

Last month, the weather forecaster pegged the chances of the El Nino emerging at 80 per cent during the winter 2018-19 and 55-60 per cent during the spring next year.

The last El Nino, 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.

Historically, milder-than-normal winters and springs are known to occur in Western, northwestern and central Canada during El Nino periods, according to Environment Canada.

Eastern and Atlantic Canada aren’t known to be “significantly” impacted by El Nino events, though such an event may reduce tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic.

Reporting for Reuters by Harshith Aranya in Bangalore. Includes files from Glacier FarmMedia staff.

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