April 28, 2015 / 5:16 AM / 3 years ago

Climate indicators suggest El Nino is forming - Australian weather bureau

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Climate indicators are nearing levels associated with an El Nino weather event, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said on Tuesday.

Pacific Ocean sea temperatures now exceed El Nino thresholds, the bureau said, while trade winds have weakened over the last few weeks - suggesting coupling between the ocean and atmosphere may be occurring.

Should this pattern continue, the bureau said, an El Nino will develop.

The weather bureau earlier this month put the chance of the weather event arriving at least 70 percent, potentially as early as June.

An El Nino can cause lower rainfall in Australia and Asia, and more rains in South America.

Such conditions would be unfavorable for production of wheat in Australia and sugar production globally providing some support to prices, which have slumped in recent weeks.

Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures hit a six-month low on Monday, while ICE May raw sugar were trading near a six-year low in March.

The group head of sugar at Wilmar International Ltd last week told Reuters that there was a risk sugar prices could rise if an El Nino emerged.

Editing by Richard Pullin and Ed Davies

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