July 10, 2014 11:27 AM EDT The El Niño weather system is likely to begin by August, the top U.S. weather agency affirmed on Thursday.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there’s a 70 percent chance of an El Niño onset in the Northern Hemisphere this summer, and an 80 percent chance that it will occur by winter. The agency says the weather system is expected to peak at weak to moderate levels around late fall.
The latest report affirms
earlier predictions of El Niño occurring this year. The system could lead to overall warmer temperatures across the globe next year, while also causing droughts in Australia and an heavy rainfall in South America and parts of East Asia. El Niño has also been associated with an uptick in hurricanes in the Eastern Pacific.
But as TIME’s Bryan Walsh
reported last month, El Niño could be good news for the hurricane-prone East Coast. Walsh explains:
El Niños occur when the waters of the equatorial Pacific undergo unusual warming, which in turn affects atmospheric circulation and weather around the world. That includes hurricanes in the Atlantic: El Niño increases the strength of westerly winds across the Atlantic, which creates a lot of wind shear. (Wind shear is the difference between speed and direction of wind over a short distance.) That high wind shear can disrupt tropical storm systems before they’re able to gather a lot of power, which makes it difficult for major hurricanes to form.
Here’s What We Can Expect From El Niño This Year The water rising in Pathum Thani, Thialand while people try to adapt to a new day-to-day routine without basic facilities on Oct. 29, 2011. Roland Neveu—LightRocket/Getty Images Fruto Garcia walks on the ground cracked by drought in the Las Canoas Lake, Nicaragua on April 8, 2010. The lack of rain caused by the El Nino meteorological phenomena decreased water level in Las Canoas Lake, located in the center of Nicaragua, affecting approximately eight thousand people who live in the surrounding areas. Oswaldo Rivas—Reuters/Corbis A fisherman does maintenance works on his boat that sits on the dried bed of the Negro river, Brazil on October 22, 2010. Due to the El Nino climate phenomenon, the Negro river is 20 cm from hitting the 1963 record level, the lowest in a century. Euzivaldo Queiroza—AFP/Getty Images Cattle gather on a strip of dry land in low-lying areas of the Bolivian Amazon, after heavy rains from the El Nino weather phenomenon on Feb 22, 2007 in Beni, Bolivia. The rains affected 350,000 people, destroyed valuable agriculture and killed 23,000 cattle. Martin Alipaz—EPA/Corbis A luxury home in Laguna Niguel Calif. slips down a hillside eroded on March 19, 1998 by heavy El Nino generated rains. Two homes and seven condominiums have been destroyed in the slide and several more were threatened with destruction. Vince Bucci—AFP/Getty Images A resident grieves while sitting by the ruins of her neighbor' house s on March 3, 1999 after it collapsed killing one person during a landslide triggered by recent torrential rains. Some 28 people have died in Sao Paulo since the beginning of 1999 as a direct consequence of the disastrous weather caused by the weather phenomenon known as "La Nina." Marie Hippenmeyer —AFP/Getty Images Stockman Gordon Litchfield surveys the bottom of a dry dam on his property on June 7, 2005 in Leigh Creek, Australia. Australia is enduring its worst drought in decades in part due to the increasing temperatures and the El Nino weather phenomenon. Ian Waldie—Getty Images Xiomara Herrera, 13, enters her flooded home in El Porvenir, Colombia,on Dec. 9, 2011. Torrential rains have caused devastating floods and widespread damage in the country for much of the past two years. Meteorologists blame the rains on La Nina. Carlos Julio Martinez—AP Aerial view of a flooded area in Trinidad, Beni, Bolivia on Feb. 24, 2007. Authorities say two months of rain and floods left 35 people dead, 10 unaccounted for, and affected hundreds of thousands of people. The disaster, blamed on the "El Nino" weather phenomenon, also has caused millions of dollars in material losses. Aizar Ralder—AFP/Getty Images A man attempts to excavate an old car buried by a mudslide, most likely triggered by El Nino-induced rains on January 1, 1981. Jim Suga—Corbis Ecuadorean Farmer Wenseslao Plaza, rests on his living room furniture in flood waters in Milagro, Ecuador on March 1, 1998. The Plaza family is one of a hundreds that have been affected as a result of the El Nino weather phenomenon that has brought heavy rains. Reuters Wildfire rips through a forest surrounding the village of Ixtacamaxtitlan, Mexico on May 18, 1998. Months of El Nino-related drought caused one of the worst fire seasons in Mexico and Central America. Reuters A worker carries a sack of rice inside the National Food Authority Warehouse in Quezon City, the Philippines on Aug. 16, 2010. Farm production in the country went down 2.59 percent in the first half due to the El Nino phenomenon, Rouelle Umali—Xinhua Press/Corbis When El Nino affected the west coast of North America in Jan 1981-1982, this section of Highway One was washed out in Half Moon Bay, California on Jan. 1, 1981. Jim Sugar—Corbis Three men help a woman trying to cross the overflowing Nepena River in Chimbote, Peru on Feb. 26, 1998. The meteorological phenomenon El Nino created ravaging weather conditions that killed many throughout Peru. Josue Fernandez—EPA/Corbis More Must-Reads From TIME Inside the White House Program to Share America's Secrets Meet the 2024 Women of the Year East Palestine, One Year After Train Derailment The Closers: 18 People Working to End the Racial Wealth Gap Long COVID Doesn’t Always Look Like You Think It Does Column: The New Antisemitism The 13 Best New Books to Read in March Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time