Image: Sand dunes surround salt lakes located in outback Australia in this aerial picture taken on December 13, 2015. REUTERS/David Gray
By Chris Prentice
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. government weather forecaster on Thursday heightened its projections for the La Nina weather phenomenon to take place in the Northern Hemisphere later this year, on the heels of an El Nino likely to fade by early summer.
The Climate Prediction Center (CPC), an agency of the National Weather Service, in its monthly forecast pegged the chance of La Nina developing in the fall and winter 2016-17 at 75 percent.
That follows a forecast last month for an increasing chance of La Nina in the second half of the year.
Global forecasters have been increasingly seeing the likelihood for La Nina to emerge this year.
The phenomenon, which is typically less damaging than El Nino, is characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. It tends to occur unpredictably every two to seven years. Severe occurrences have been linked to floods and droughts.
The ongoing El Nino, a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific, has been tied to crop damage, fires and flash floods.
(Reporting by Chris Prentice; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
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