World Bulletin / News Desk
Japan's official weather bureau said on Friday its climate monitoring data and models indicate the El Nino phenomenon has emerged and is likely to last until the northernwinter, potentially adding strain to global food supplies.
Global food production can suffer widespread disruption from the weather caused by El Nino, particularly across Asia and Africa where harvests can be robbed of rain.
"(Monitoring data for July) suggests that the El Nino phenomenon has emerged," the Japan Meteorological Agency agency said, referring to the latest conditions in the equatorial Pacific.
"The chances are high that the El Nino phenomenon will be maintained until the winter," the agencysaid in a statement on its website.
The U.S. Climate Prediction Center, part of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), warned on Thursday that an El Nino was almost certain to occur over the next two months.
The last severe El Nino was in 1998, when the phenomenon caused more than 2,000 deaths and inflicted billions of dollars in damage to crops, infrastructure and mines in Australia and other parts ofAsia.
The Japanese agency had said last month the chances were high that El Nino conditions would emerge in the northern summer. Japan's summer usually ends in August and winter starts
El Nino is a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific that occurs every four to 12 years, affecting crops from Asia to the Americas as well as industries, including hurricane-vulnerable oil refineries in the U.S. Gulf.
INDIAN WORRY ABOUT DROUGHT
While the arrival of an El Nino raises the chances of favourable planting conditions in South America, it can roil farmers in Asia and Africa where it can bring extended dry periods.
Its effects will be closely watched in India, where the slow development of monsoon rains has already hampered the planting of summer crops, such as rice, oilseeds and cotton, and weather forecasters have already warned of the first drought in three years.
Three years ago, an El Nino slowed development of the monsoon rains, sparking a rally in sugar pricesto 30-year highs as India, the world's second biggest producer, harvested a poor cane crop.
Keenly watched by the U.S. oil industry, the phenomenon may reduce the chances of storms forming in the Atlantic basin towards the end of the hurricane season that runs to Nov. 30.
El Nino, which means "little boy" in Spanish, was first noticed by anchovy fishermen in Latin America in the 19th century.
China calls for peace and stability after Japan, US agree to continue drills in disputed sea
Minister says violence not the answer as police hunt continues for ISIL militants in mountains of Indonesia's north
Haroon Bhatti, founding member of outlawed Lashkar-e-Jhangvi group, was arrested in Dubai last month and brought back to Pakistan
Muslims in Myanmar have been banned from printing their own calendars, with senior Buddhist monks imploring for stricter sentencing on the publisher and his associates.
PM Abe says Japan to pledge $10.6 billion for climate policies in developing countries
'Tragic but avoidable accident (was) caused primarily by human error,' General John Campbell says
Japanese, US officials decide to hold joint exercises in contested sea amid China's maritime expansion
'Seven people - six pilgrims and the lady pilot - died in the crash,' a police official says
Residents rush for open space as tremors shake cities across region
Former Muslim rebel group orders officials to combat illegal drugs, while communist insurgents launch similar campaign in nearby provinces
More than 70 Pakistani journalists and other media workers have lost their lives since 2001 while pursuing their duties
Obama says he invited leaders from ASEAN to the US, insisting that good ties with Asian nations were 'absolutely critical' to US security
The two opposition leaders, Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury were hanged shortly after President Abdul Hamid rejected their mercy petitions
The opposition leader is now implicated in a second case which follows warrant issued for arrest of Sam Rainsy for defaming foreign minister
Malaisian PM has told Southeast Asian leaders at the opening of 27th ASEAN Summit that Malaysia ready to provide help to extinguish 'new evil that blasphemes Islam'
The Bangladeshi leaders who have received a death sentence have sought a presidential pardon. Human Rights Watch has urged for Bangladesh to suspend executions