US weather forecaster sees La Nina chances exceeding 80 per cent

(REUTERS) - A US government weather forecaster on Thursday (Dec 14) said La Nina conditions are predicted to continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2017 to 2018.

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC), an agency of the National Weather Service, in a monthly forecast pegged the chance of La Nina developing at about 80 per cent, with a transition to ENSO-neutral most likely during the mid-to-late spring.

The agency in its November advisory had projected a 65 to 75 per cent chance of the phenomenon developing during the Northern Hemisphere's winter.

La Nina emerged last year for the first time since 2012. The phenomenon, characterised by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, is linked with floods and droughts.

"Based on the latest observations and forecast guidance, forecasters favour the peak of a weak-to-moderate La Nina during the winter," the agency said.