El Nino has arrived, weather models call for "substantial" event: Australian weather bureau

Reuters News
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Posted: May 12, 2015 1:11 AM

SYDNEY (Reuters) - An El Nino has formed and models indicate a "substantial" weather event, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said on Tuesday.

The El Nino, or a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific, causes heavy rains and floods in South America and scorching weather in Asia and even east Africa.

Climate indicators in recent weeks had suggested an El Nino was forming but the BOM said those levels have now been breached, marking the return of an El Nino after six years.

"The current El Nino event is likely to see a sustained increase in intensity, peaking around spring or early summer," said David Jones, senior climatologist at the BOM.

"There are always some doubts about intensity forecasts but across the models as a whole, this will likely be quite a substantial El Nino event."

An El Nino will bring warm, dry conditions for much of the Australian east coast, exacerbating drought-like conditions for some parts of the northern east coast.

Such conditions would be unfavorable for production of wheat in Australia and sugar production globally, providing some support to prices that have slumped in recent weeks.

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Himani Sarkar)