14 May, London
Scientists have warned an El Nino effect was under way in the tropical Pacific and could be substantial.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology predicted that the phenomenon, which arises from variations in ocean temperatures and can drive droughts and flooding, was in its early stages and would hit later in the year, the BBC reported.
Back in April, US scientists had announced that El Nino had arrived, but it was then described as “weak,” and David Jones, manager of climate monitoring and prediction at the Bureau of Meteorology said that this one was a proper El Nino effect, not a weak one.
While it is too early to predict the intensity, Australian scientists said models suggested it could strengthen from September onwards.
The consequences of El Nino are much less clear for Europe.
The phenomenon, which is known to upset weather patterns around the world, happens about every 2 to 7 years as part of a natural cycle, with every El Nino being different.
Once it has started, models can predict its development over the next 6 to 9 months, with a reasonable level of accura