It's too early to tell if the El
Niño brewing in the Pacific will be a big event or how serious
its impacts might be, scientists warned today.
Speaking at a press conference in London, scientists
said they can't rule out an
El Niño as large as the one in 1997/8 - which raised
global temperature by more than half a degree - but it's looking
There's even a slight chance this year's event could
be a false alarm, say the scientists. But their best current guess
is that we should expect a "moderate" event in the coming
Tropical Pacific surface waters are warmer than
average for this time of year, and have been for several months - a
sure sign that El Niño is
latest forecast from the US National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) gave a strong chance of a "weak
to moderate" event lasting through the Northern Hemisphere
During Spring, there's still a lot of uncertainty
about how El Niño could develop, and scientists are not
ruling out the possibility of an event to rival the one the world
experienced in the winter of 1997.
But based on current evidence, scientists are
reasonably confident of a moderate strength event, Prof
Adam Scaife, an expert on monthly and decadal prediction at the
Met Office, told journalists today.
This would probably place this year's event somewhere
between the 1997/8 and more recent 2009/10 event in terms of
strength, said Scaife.