El Nino pattern could emerge by 2018-19 winter

Averaged global sea surface temperature anomalies (in degrees Celsius) for the week centred on May 2, 2018. (NOAA Climate Prediction Center graphic)

Reuters — The El Nino weather pattern, associated with warmer and wetter weather than usual that may give rise to damaging conditions, could emerge by the 2018-19 Northern Hemisphere winter, with neutral conditions expected to prevail through November this year, a U.S. government weather forecaster said on Thursday.

The last El Nino, a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific that typically occurs every few years, was linked to crop damage, fires and flash floods in 2016.

Historically, milder-than-normal winters and springs are known to occur in Western, northwestern and central Canada during El Nino periods, according to Environment Canada.

Eastern and Atlantic Canada aren’t known to be “significantly” impacted by El Nino events, though such an event may reduce tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic.

The possibility of a transition to El Nino weather-pattern is nearing 50 per cent by the 2018-19 Northern Hemisphere winter, the U.S. National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said in its monthly forecast.

El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-neutral conditions are favoured through September-November this year, it added.

ENSO-neutral refers to those periods in which neither El Nino nor La Nina is present, according to CPC.

Last month, the weather forecaster said there was a more than 50 per cent chance of ENSO-neutral conditions prevailing through the Northern Hemisphere summer in 2018.

During ENSO-neutral periods, the ocean temperatures, tropical rainfall patterns and atmospheric winds over the equatorial Pacific Ocean are near the long-term average, according to the CPC website.

Reporting for Reuters by Harshith Aranya and Vijaykumar Vedala in Bangalore. Includes files from AGCanada.com Network staff.

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