Record-Beating Pacific Ocean Heat Seen Strengthening El Nino

The El Nino in the Pacific Ocean is building strength unabated, with sea surface temperatures exceeding the 1997 record, indicating the weather pattern will continue into next year.

All key El Nino ocean-monitoring areas have had temperatures more than 1 degree Celsius above average for 10 weeks, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said Tuesday in a fortnightly update on its website. That’s two weeks longer than the record in 1997, it said.

El Ninos can affect weather worldwide by baking Asia, altering rainfall across South America and bringing cooler summers to North America. Weather disruptions linked to the pattern can already been seen, HSBC Holdings Plc said last week, citing drought in Asia and typhoons. Tropical commodities including palm oil are to be favored over other raw materials such as gold and copper this half as the El Nino raises risks, according to Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp.

“El Nino is likely to strengthen, and is expected to persist into early 2016,” the weather bureau said.

The Southern Oscillation Index, which indicates the development and intensity of El Nino, is currently at a reading of about minus 20, the lowest value for the event so far, it said. Sustained negative values often indicate El Nino.

El Nino has a 90 percent chance of lasting into next year and there is now an 80 percent chance it may persist into the Northern Hemisphere’s spring, the U.S. Climate Prediction Center said this month. The El Nino of 1997-98 was the strongest on record, according to data collated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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