October 9, 2018 / 4:53 AM / 2 months ago

Australia's weather bureau sees 70 percent chance of El Nino in 2018

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A recent warming of the Pacific Ocean has led to a 70 percent chance of an El Nino weather event developing this year, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said on Tuesday.

An El Nino weather event can trigger both floods and drought in different parts of the world, and is associated with warmer, dry weather across the Asia Pacific.

El Ninos are particularly damaging to Australia, with the last one in 2015/16 cutting agricultural production in the country - among the world’s largest exporters.

The weather outlook comes at a time when dry conditions have wilted crops and pasture in Australia’s each coast, leaving many farmers struggling to survive.

“There is an increased possibility of a dry and warm end to the year. It also raises the risk of heat waves and bushfire weather in the south, but reduces the risk of tropical cyclone activity in the north,” Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said in an emailed statement.

Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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