LOS ANGELES, March 7 (UPI) -- Forecasters say there is a 50 percent chance that an El Nino will form in the Pacific Ocean and bring drought relief to parts of California later this year.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Center on Thursday activated its El Nino watch alert system, which means conditions in the eastern tropical Pacific are favorable enough that El Nino may form by the summer or fall, the Los Angeles Times reported.
If El Nino does emerge, it could produce wetter weather across the southern United States, bring more rain to California, reduce the Atlantic hurricane season and increase global temperatures in 2015, experts say.
El Nino, which can occur every two to seven years, happens when warm ocean water temperatures near the equator in the eastern Pacific Ocean emerge, The Weather Channel reported. The warmer water effects wind patterns and alters storm systems worldwide.
Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center, said: "A watch simply means that conditions across the tropical Pacific are favorable for the development of El Nino during the next, roughly, three to six months."