Japan reduces chance of El Nino weather pattern this year

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 11, 2014 5:46 AM

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's weather bureau said on Monday it sees less chance of an El Nino weather pattern forming later this year than it previously forecast.

In a monthly online bulletin, the Japan Meteorological Agency said it sees a 50 percent chance of an El Nino, which is often linked to heavy rainfall and droughts.

The agency last month said there was a high chance of an El Nino weather pattern emerging in autumn.

A U.S. weather forecaster last week scaled down its estimate for the chances of an El Nino later this year. Australia's weather bureau said last month that if the weather phenomenon occurred, it was increasingly unlikely to be a strong event.

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The El Nino - a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific - can trigger drought in Southeast Asia and Australia and floods in South America, hitting production of key foods such as rice, wheat and sugar.

(Reporting by James Topham; Editing by Richard Pullin)