"For West Coasters sick of the ridiculously resilient ridge of high pressure and East Coasters tired of hearing about the polar vortex, get ready for a new climate phenomenon to dominate headlines. El Niño could be making a return this fall after a 4-year hiatus, changing rainfall and temperature patterns across the world. It could even boost the odds of 2014 being the globe’s hottest year on record."
"The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued an El Niño Watch on Thursday, indicating conditions are favorable for the climate phenomenon to develop in the next 6 months. “Neutral” conditions are likely through the summer, but by fall NOAA's joint forecast with the International Research Institute for Climate and Society puts the odds of an El Niño developing at more than 50 percent. It’s been nearly 48 months since the last El Niño formed.
El Niño refers to a warming of tropical Pacific Ocean waters off the coast of Peru. A shift in trade winds kickstarts the process, which occurs every 2-7 years, and the formation of El Niño can alter weather patterns around the globe. Some of those shifts could be beneficial, especially in the U.S."