Waiting for El Nino

By Brian K. Sullivan | July 11, 2014

A weather-changing El Nino has yet to develop in the Pacific Ocean, according to government forecasters are who maintaining a “watch” initiated in March.

The chances that the warming of the equatorial Pacific will form in the next two months are 70 percent, according to the U.S. Climate Prediction Center. The possibility one will happen by fall or early winter is 80 percent.

“We’re not barreling into an El Nino,” said Michelle L’Heureaux, a climate scientist at the center in College Park, Maryland.

El Nino can crimp the Atlantic hurricane season, bring more rain across the southern U.S. during the winter and warm some northern states. It can affect rubber, sugar, coffee and natural gas markets worldwide.

The phenomenon, which occurs every three to five years, often causes heavier rains from southern Brazil to Argentina and drier conditions across Southeast Asia and Indonesia.

In order for an El Nino to get under way, warmer-than- normal ocean temperatures have to touch off a corresponding change in the atmosphere.

“We’re still waiting for the atmosphere and the ocean to become friends,” L’Heureaux said.

“The atmosphere is very standoffish at the moment.”

Earlier this month, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology also didn’t find the corresponding atmosphere change to support an El Nino declaration.

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