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GENEVA (Reuters) - A neutral to weak La Niña is expected to develop in coming months and may persist into the first quarter of next year, the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Wednesday.
La Niña events, which cool the sea surface temperatures in the tropical eastern and central parts of the Pacific Ocean, affect rainfall and temperatures in the tropics. Severe events have been linked to floods and droughts.
"Model outlooks and expert opinion indicate that there is a 50-60 percent probability of weak La Niña conditions forming in the last quarter of 2016, and persisting into the first quarter of 2017," WMO said in a statement.
Its emergence would follow a strong El Niño, the opposite and typically more damaging phenomenon, that has dissipated in recent months after wreaking havoc on global crops.
Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Hugh Lawson