US weather forecaster Climate Prediction Centre (CPC) said on Thursday there was an increasing chance of the El Nino weather pattern after expecting neutral conditions through the northern hemisphere spring 2014.
In its monthly report, the CPC maintained its outlook that El Nino was unlikely through the spring, but noted that a change in temperatures "portend warming in the coming months."
That represented a change from the CPC's previous outlook of neutral conditions through summer 2014.
El Nino can cause flooding and heavy rains in the United States and South America and can trigger drought conditions in Southeast Asia and Australia.
Last week, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said the El Nino–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) remains in a neutral state. "Climate models suggest an ENSO-neutral state to persist until at least the end of the (south hemisphere) autumn, with some warming of the tropical Pacific likely," the bureau said.
"Most climate models surveyed by the Bureau suggest the tropical Pacific Ocean will warm through the southern autumn and winter," the bureau said. "Some, but not all, models predict this warming may approach El Nino thresholds by early winter."
Reuters with Fairfax Media