Japan extends El Nino forecast until autumn

TOKYO, May 12 (Reuters) - The El Nino weather pattern that Japan's weather bureau has forecast could emerge this summer would last at least until autumn, the agency said on Monday.

El Nino, a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific, can trigger both floods and drought in different regions, hitting production of key foods such as rice, wheat and sugar.

Weather forecasters around the world have increasingly been predicting it will return in 2014 for the first time in five years.

The Japan Meteorological Agency last month said there was a higher chance of El Nino emerging this summer, after previously forecasting a 50 percent chance of the phenomenon.

On Monday it added that El Nino would continue at least until autumn. The bureau does not typically publish predictions related to El Nino for more than six months into the future.

(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Joseph Radford)