UK & World News
Weathermen Predict World Cup 'El' For England
England are used to getting their excuses in early before World Cups - and now it seems the weathermen are doing it for them.
Climate scientists at the University of Reading say there is a 60% chance of El Nino conditions in Brazil this summer.
They warned the phenomenon would "increase the risk of uncomfortably hot and dry conditions" during the tournament - a blow to European teams used to playing in cooler conditions, who have traditionally struggled in the searing heat of South American competitions.
The areas likely to be worst affected by El Nino are southern and eastern parts of Brazil, where England play their second and third group games.
Roy Hodgson's team face Uruguay in Sao Paulo on June 19 and Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte five days later.
"The venue for England's first game, Manaus, where they take on Italy, is in the tropical north of Brazil and is already likely to be very hot and humid, so conditions are unlikely to be made worse by El Nino," Dr Nick Klingaman, of the University of Reading, said.
"However, if players and coaching staff were hoping for milder and more favourable conditions for their remaining matches, it looks more likely they could be disappointed."
The average maximum temperature in Rio during the World Cup months is 25.5 degrees Celsius, with a record of 36.0.
On average, El Nino increases June and July temperatures near Rio de Janeiro by 0.9C.
Cloud cover would also be lost, increasing the likelihood of "heat-related fatigue", according to scientists.
El Nino refers to unusually warm ocean temperatures near the equator in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean and is linked to drought and heatwaves in India, southeast Asia, eastern Australia and eastern South America.
The phenomenon occurs every two to five years.