Australia on El Nino watch after Pacific Ocean warms

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 02, 2015 11:31 PM

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's weather bureau said on Tuesday the chance of an El Nino developing this year had risen to about 50 percent after signs of renewed warming in tropical Pacific Ocean.

The Bureau of Meteorology said six out of eight international models it surveyed indicated that sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean would exceed El Nino thresholds by mid-year.

El Nino can prompt drought in Southeast Asia and Australia and heavy rains in South America, hitting production of food such as rice, wheat and sugar.

(Reporting by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Michael Perry)