U.S. agency reiterates forecast of weak El Niño
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
The U.S. weather forecaster said it continues to expect an El Niño formation to materialize this winter following a slowing of its onset last month.
In its monthly assessment, the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said it is still unclear whether a strong El Niño would emerge but added that there remains a possibility that it will strengthen over the next few months.
"During September, the trend towards El Niño slowed in several key oceanic and atmospheric indicators.
... The atmosphere and ocean indicate borderline ... neutral/weak El Niño conditions," the agency said.
The CPC first forecast an El Niño four months ago.
Last month, the agency predicted the weather phenomenon would develop weakly in September and remain through February of 2013. It did not estimate the duration of El Niño in its latest report.
El Niño occurs when sea surface temperatures rise in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. The event can cause widespread drought in Australia, parts of Africa, Southeast Asia and India and, conversely, cause heavy rain and flooding in other parts of the world (Josephine Mason, Reuters, Oct. 4). -- RE