Japan sees high chance of 1st El Nino weather pattern in 5 yrs

TOKYO - Japan's weather bureau sees a high chance of an El Nino weather pattern, which is often linked to heavy rainfall and droughts, forming for the first time in five years this summer, according to a monthly online bulletin about the phenomenon issued on Thursday.

The Japan Meteorological Agency forecast last month that there is a greater that 50 per cent chance that an El Nino weather pattern could emerge this summer.

The El Nino - a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific - can trigger drought in Southeast Asia and Australia and floods in South America, hitting production of key foods such as rice, wheat and sugar.