Nasa claims, the finding could lead to a radical rethink in the way the phenomenon is forecast. It comes as the first storms hit America, as forecasters warn more are to come.
The current strong El Niño brewing in the Pacific Ocean shows no signs of waning, new Nasa images have revealed.
‘El Niño 2015 has already created weather chaos around the world,’ Nasa said.
‘Over the next few months, forecasters expect the United States to feel its impacts as well.’
The latest Jason-2 image bears a striking resemblance to one from December 1997, by Jason-2’s predecessor, the Nasa /Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) Topex/Poseidon mission, during the last large El Niño event.
The images show nearly identical, unusually high sea surface heights along the equator in the central and eastern Pacific: the signature of a big and powerful El Niño.
Higher-than-normal sea surface heights are an indication that a thick layer of warm water is present.