NEW YORK The U.S. government weather forecaster said on Thursday that neutral conditions could continue into spring 2014 in the Northern Hemisphere, reducing the chance that the La Nina or El Nino weather patterns will form before next year's planting season.
In its monthly report based on conditions over the past four weeks, the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said most model forecasts continue to show neutral forecasts into the Northern Hemisphere's spring.
Neutral conditions mean that neither La Nina nor El Nino patterns will occur.
Last month, the CPC, an office under the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, said extreme weather would be unlikely to occur heading into the Northern Hemisphere winter.
In July, the average temperature of the ocean's surface continued to be slightly above average, it said.
In 2011, La Nina, an abnormal cooling of waters in the equatorial Pacific that wreaks havoc on weather in Asia and the Americas, was blamed for crippling droughts in Texas and severe dry spells in South America that decimated crops.
In contrast, the El Nino weather pattern raises temperatures in East Asian oceans and sends warm air to the United States and South America. This phenomenon can cause flooding and heavy rains. It can also cause drought conditions in Southeast Asia and Australia, where some of the world's major food staples, such as sugar cane and grains, are produced.
(Reporting by Marcy Nicholson; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)