It’s likely to make things warmer across Western Canada this summer, stretching as far as Ontario, but not into Quebec and the Maritimes.
The last severe El Niño, in 1997-1998, is estimated to have caused losses of between $10 billion and $25 billion in the U.S. In 1982-1983, more than $8 billion in damage worldwide was attributed to the cycle.
Three major meteorological agencies -- the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Japan's Meteorological Agency and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology -- have determined that water in the Pacific Ocean is now warm enough to say that El Niño is back.
"At this time, there is also considerable uncertainty as to how strong this event may become," the North American Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency says.
According to the agency, there is a more than 60 per cent chance that the pattern will hold through autumn.
Warnings from other forecasters have been more forceful.
"This is a proper El Niño effect, it's not a weak one," David Jones, manager of climate monitoring and prediction at Australia's Bureau of Meteorology, told reporters this week.
"You know, there's always a little bit of doubt when it comes to intensity forecasts, but across the models as a whole we'd suggest that this will be quite a substantial El Niño event," he said.
Drought is the risk for Australia.