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An El Niño probably will develop in the tropical Pacific Ocean in the next three months, according to scientists with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The forecast is based on the latest observed oceanic and atmospheric circulation patterns in the Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Ecuador and Peru and sea-surface temperature predictions.

“The warming represents an early stage of El Niño's onset,” said NOAA Administrator Conrad Lautenbacher, Jr. “If the warming persists, it will be several more months before mature El Niño conditions develop. The impacts will depend on the strength of the event, which we can't determine at this time.”