Australia sees greater risk of El Nino weather pattern

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 11, 2014 1:33 AM

By Colin Packham

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian climate models indicate an increased chance of an El Nino weather pattern emerging later this year, the country's weather bureau said on Tuesday, raising the risk of drought and floods in some parts of the world.

The forecast comes after the U.S. Climate Prediction Center last week also said there was an increasing chance of El Nino after expecting neutral conditions through the Northern Hemisphere spring 2014.

"The risk of an El Nino event in the second half of 2014 has increased, but it's certainly not guaranteed at this point in time," said Andrew Watkins, Supervisor, Climate Prediction at Australia's Bureau of Meteorology.

Watkins said early indications suggested that the weather pattern could arrive as early as June, though the prospect would not become clear until the second quarter.

El Nino can cause flooding and heavy rains in the United States and South America and can trigger drought conditions in Southeast Asia and Australia.

Large parts of Australia's east coast states have already been suffering from drought, damaging crops and livestock production in Queensland.

(Editing by Ed Davies)