El Nino Unlikely Before End of Year
Joe Legotte sits in a chair in the surf during a winter storm in San Diego, Calif. -- a series of massive rain storms hit much of California in 2010 as a result of the last El Nino. ]CORBIS
The phenomenon -- that often causes extreme global weather shifts -- isn't likely to occur before the end of 2012.
There is little chance the potentially devastating El Nino weather phenomenon will return before the end of the year, the UN's weather agency said.
"Model forecasts and expert opinion suggest that the likelihood of El Nino conditions developing during the remainder of 2012 is now low," the World Meteorological Organization said in its latest update.
Despite a slight warming of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific ocean in August and early September -- an element to El Nino's development -- other factors, including wind and cloud patterns had failed to respond.
The El Nino phenomenon occurs every two to seven years.
It causes a major shift in rainfall, bringing floods and mudslides to usually arid countries in western South America, drought in the western Pacific and a change in the nutrient-rich ocean currents that lure fish.
El Nino last occurred from June 2009 to May 2010, WMO said.