Japan's official weather bureau announces El Niño

Transition from El Niño to La Niña
Credit: NASA/JPL Ocean Surface Topography Team

Japan's Meteorological Agency has announced that its climate models and monitoring data indicate the El Niño phenomenon, which is often linked to heavy rainfall and droughts, has already emerged and it is likely to last until winter. The U.S. Climate Prediction Center, part of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), also warned on Thursday that an El Niño was almost certain to occur over the next two months. While the arrival of an El Niño usually generates better planting conditions in South America, it can affect farmers in Asia and Africa where it can bring extended dry periods. Its effects will be closely watched in India, where the slow development of monsoon rains has already hampered the planting of summer crops and weather forecasters have already warned of the first drought in three years.