EL NIÑO WARMS PACIFIC TO RECORD HIGHS

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EL NIÑO WARMS PACIFIC TO RECORD HIGHS

TOKYO, Japan (December 11, 1997 - Radio Australia)---The waters of the eastern Pacific have been warmed to their highest level this century, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

As a result of the El Niño weather phenomenon, the agency reports, the average sea surface temperature in the area in November was more than 3.5 degrees Celsius above normal.

The temperature increase now is believed to have peaked, with the agency predicting that sea surface temperatures will not rise dramatically again in the near future.

El Niño is blamed for creating droughts in Melanesia --particularly Papua New Guinea--and Southeast Asia, while producing high temperatures in South America and torrential rains in east Africa.

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