Sea surface temperature anomalies showing the 1998 El Nino event (Credit: NASA)
Australian and U.S. climatological agencies say that the return of the El Nino weather pattern is increasingly likely this year, according to Reuters.
El Nino occurs when sea-surface temperatures rise in the Pacific. The event returns every four to 12 years, and has been known to cause casualties and billions of dollars in damage.
The effects of El Nino can be felt across the globe, causing drought in Australia, Southeast Asia and India, and torrential rains in the U.S. and Brazil. Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology and the U.S. Climate Prediction Center say there is an increased risk of an El Nino this year, though the intensity of the potential event has not been determined.
Image: Sea surface temperature anomalies showing the 1998 El Nino event (Credit: NASA)