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