Japan forecaster sees El Nino likely to emerge by summer

Tokyo | Reuters –– Japan’s weather bureau said in its monthly outlook on Friday that the possibility of an El Nino weather pattern forming by summer remains high, but gave no probability forecast.

The previous El Nino, which emerged last summer, ended over winter and conditions appear to be normal now, the bureau said. Last month, it raised its projections for an El Nino pattern emerging by summer to more than 50 per cent.

U.S. and Australian weather bureaus have also put the probability for the phenomenon emerging this year at 50-70 per cent.

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

Reporting for Reuters by Osamu Tsukimori.

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