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Odds of an El Niño This Year are Rising

4/26/2014 9:03:22 AM

The chance that an El Niño will form this year for the first time since 2010 is now at 65 percent, according to the U.S. Climate Prediction Center, and it could be one of the strongest events ever recorded.

The event could have global climate implications, helping cause drought in Australia and Southeast Asia and a warm winter in North America. El Niños can also disrupt palm oil, sugar, cocoa and coffee production in Asia and South America, with heavy rains cutting into harvest times and drought limiting yields.

Waves attributed to El Niño in 2010. (Credit: Flickr/Ingrid Taylar)

This would be the first El Niño since 2009-10, which helped set a U.S. heat record, breaking the 2005 mark that was also an El Niño year.

Todd Crawford, principal scientist at Weather Services International, said he was "fairly bullish" about the chances of an El Niño event this year. He added that there are "many parallels" between observations this year and the 1997 El Niño, the strongest event since records began in 1950.

"There is a 95 percent chance of at least a weak El Niño event developing in 2014," Crawford added (Brian K. Sullivan, Bloomberg, April 24).

Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. 202-628-6500.

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