Washington: US government scientists said on Thursday that El Nino, the periodic warming of water in the tropical Pacific Ocean that can affect weather around the world, has returned.
The Pacific had been in what is called a neutral state, but forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) say the sea surface temperature climbed to 1 degree Celsius above normal along a narrow band in the eastern equatorial Pacific in June.
In addition, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Centre said temperatures in other tropical regions are also above normal, with warmer than usual readings as much as 200m below the ocean surface.
In general, El Nino conditions are associated with increased rainfall across the east-central and eastern Pacific and with drier than normal conditions over northern Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The forecasters said they expect this El Nino to continue strengthening over the next few months and to last through the winter of 2009-2010.
“Advanced climate science allows us to alert industries, governments and emergency managers about the weather conditions El Nino may bring so these can be factored into decision-making and ultimately protect life, property and the economy,” NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco said in a statement.