IS IT EL NINO OF THE CENTURY?

SHIFTING OCEAN CURRENTS IN THE PACIFIC COULD TRIGGER DRAMATIC SWINGS IN THE WORLD'S WEATHER

For six months now a splotch of tropical warmth has been spreading across the Pacific Ocean, from the international dateline to the South American coast. With understandable concern, climatologists have been tracking its progress, for it signifies that El Nino--that mischievous gremlin of the atmosphere and oceans--is once again gathering strength, preparing to unleash meteorological havoc in the months to come. The tropical storms spawning off Mexico, the heavy downpours that have drenched Chile and Peru, the worrisome lack of rain in Australia and Indonesia--all, say scientists, are signs that a powerful El Nino has grabbed control of the world's weather...

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