La Niña conditions likely to continue into spring, says U.S. forecaster

Jan 13 (Reuters) - La Nina conditions are likely to continue during the Northern Hemisphere spring, a U.S. government weather forecaster said on Thursday.

The La Niña weather pattern, characterized by unusually cold temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, has a 67% chance of persisting from March through May this year, the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said.

The CPC, in its monthly forecast, estimated a 51% chance of a transition to El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-neutral conditions during the April-June period.

ENSO-neutral conditions refer to periods in which neither El Niño nor La Nina is present, often coinciding with the transition between the two weather patterns, according to the center.

The El Niño pattern brings a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific every few years, and is the opposite of La Niña.

Earlier this week, Japan's weather bureau said the La Nina phenomenon is continuing and that there is an 80% chance it will prevail through the end of the Northern Hemisphere winter and an 80% chance the conditions will end in spring.

Reporting by Bharat Govind Gautam in Bengaluru Editing by Paul Simao

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