(Reuters) — The chances have increased over the past month that the much-feared El Niño weather phenomenon, which can wreak havoc on global crops, will strike this year, a U.S. forecaster said Thursday.
In its monthly report, the Climate Prediction Center, an agency of the National Weather Service, said neutral conditions will prevail through the spring. But the forecaster raised the likelihood of the weather pattern developing over the summer to more than 65%.
In April, it said it saw a 50% chance of the weather pattern developing by the summer.
Global weather forecasters in recent months have increased the likelihood of El Niño, a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific, heightening uncertainty in global commodity and energy markets.