Sea surface temperature anomalies showing the 1998 El Nino event (Credit: NASA)
Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say there is a greater than 50 percent likelihood that El Niño will develop later in 2014, according to an alert issued by the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center.
El Niño is a band of warm ocean water that periodically develops off the Pacific Coast of South America. The warmer waters have been linked to extreme weather events on all seven continents, including increased flooding and snowfall.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology is predicting 2014 El Niño events at 70 percent likelihood. The last time they reached such an extent, 1997 to 1998, extreme weather is estimated to have killed some 23,000 people worldwide.
Image: Sea surface temperature anomalies showing the 1998 El Nino event (Credit: NASA)