El Niño has 80% chance of form­ing this win­ter, sci­en­tists pre­dict

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page - USA TO­DAY

Cli­mate trou­ble­maker El Niño has an 80 per­cent chance of de­vel­op­ing this win­ter, fed­eral sci­en­tists say.

“The of­fi­cial fore­cast fa­vors the for­ma­tion of a weak El Niño,” NOAA’s Cli­mate Pre­dic­tion Cen­ter said Thurs­day in its monthly fore­cast. The cen­ter also gives it an 80 per­cent chance of con­tin­u­ing through the win­ter.

El Niño is a nat­u­ral cli­mate pat­tern that’s de­fined as unusu­ally warm sea­wa­ter in the cen­tral Pa­cific Ocean. It af­fects weather pat­terns in the U.S. and around the world.

Al­though fore­cast to be on the weak side, El Niño “may still in­flu­ence the win­ter sea­son by bring­ing wet­ter con­di­tions across the South­ern United States and warmer, drier con­di­tions to parts of the North,” Mike Halpert, deputy di­rec­tor of the pre­dic­tion cen­ter, said.

The en­tire nat­u­ral cli­mate cy­cle is of­fi­cially known as El Niño – South­ern Os­cil­la­tion (ENSO), which swings be­tween warmer and cooler sea­wa­ter in the trop­i­cal Pa­cific.

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