A U.S. government weather forecaster on Thursday said there was a 90 percent chance that El Nino conditions would continue during the Northern Hemisphere summer, an increase from last month’s estimate of 70 percent.
The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center said in its monthly report that there was a more than 80 percent chance that El Nino conditions will last through 2015.
This is up from the CPC’s April estimate for a 60 percent chance that El Nino will last through the Northern Hemisphere autumn.
El Nino is a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific that can lead to scorching weather across Asia and East Africa but heavy rains and floods in South America, roiling production of key foods such as rice, wheat and sugar.
The CPC’s outlook comes after the Japan Meteorological Agency said on Tuesday that an El Nino pattern emerged in spring and is likely to continue into autumn.
Also on Tuesday, the Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said an El Nino had formed and that models indicated a “substantial” weather event.
The CPC report said that by early May, “weak to moderate El Nino conditions were reflected by above-average sea surface temperatures across the equatorial Pacific and by the corroborating tropical atmospheric response.”