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El Nino Seen Developing in Coming Months as Pacific Ocean Warms

El Nino weather conditions, which can parch Asia and bring cooler weather to the U.S., are likely to develop in the coming months as the Pacific Ocean continues to warm, according to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology.

Conditions are likely to approach or possibly exceed El Nino thresholds during late winter to early spring, the bureau said today, citing seven models. Winter in Australia begins on June 1, while spring starts on Sept. 1. The bureau first noted an increased chance of an El Nino developing on April 24.

El Ninos are caused by the periodic warming of the Pacific, while their reverse, La Ninas, are indicated by a cooling of surface waters. The twin patterns influence weather worldwide and can roil commodity markets as farmers from Indonesia to Argentina contend with drought or battle too much rain. A back-to-back La Nina event, which drenched parts of Asia, peaked in January and has ended, the bureau said in March.

“Ocean temperatures below the surface are currently warmer-than-average in the central and western Pacific,” the bureau said, adding that the eastern Pacific is slowly warming. “The tropical Pacific Ocean is likely to warm further.”

Historically, about 70 percent of two-year La Ninas are followed by neutral or El Nino phases, according to the bureau, which said that at present indicators are neutral. No models favor a return to La Nina, the bureau said today.

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