El Nino 2014 Triggering Floods, Drought a 50-50 Possibility

Friday, 11 Apr 2014 01:00 PM

By Michael Mullins

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An El Niño 2014 that could trigger both floods and drought in different parts of the globe is becoming an increasing possibility this summer, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

On Thursday, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center released a statement suggesting there is a greater than 50 percent chance of an El Niño weather front developing during the summer months due to "above-average sea surface temperatures developing over much of the eastern tropical Pacific" during March.

If and when El Niño does occur, the weather phenomenon will likely be more severe than ones in recent decades, according to NOAA.

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"A significant downwelling oceanic Kelvin wave that was initiated in January greatly increased the oceanic heat content to the largest March value in the historical record back to 1979 and produced large positive subsurface temperature anomalies across the central and eastern Pacific," NOAA rites in a monthly statement. "The chances of El Niño increase during the remainder of the year, and exceed 50% by the summer."

The El Niño phenomenon will trigger both floods and drought in different parts of the globe, likely effecting food supply production, Reuters noted.

According to Mike Halpert, director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, the likelihood that El Niño will occur in 2014 only increases with time. Should it not happen during the summer NOAA predicts it has an even greater chance of developing in the fall.

"There's a 65% likelihood that El Niño will develop by later in the fall," Halpert told USA Today.

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology gives it a 70 percent chance that El Niño will develop in the fall if it does not first happen over the summer, Reuters noted.

According to ABC News Meteorologist Melissa Griffin, a 2014 El Niño could be strong enough to make this year the warmest year on record globally, with 2015 possibly even warmer.

So what should Americans expect if El Niño arroves this summer, it depends on the region.

In California and the surrounding area, El Niño will bring a wetter than usual weather front, a welcome relief to the West Coast's current extreme drought, Anthony Barnston, chief forecaster for the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, told ABC News.

In the Northwest region of the United States, Barnston said El Niño will likely bring floods and mudslides, while residents on the East Coast will experience heightened hurricane winds.

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