There has been much talk of the El Niņo phenomenon bringing the coldest winter in 50 years to the UK - but does it really have that much influence on our climate?

Well, not really, as ITV News weather presenter Becky Mantin explains.

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The El Niņo Southern Oscillation is one of the most powerful fluctuations in our climate system.

You may remember discussion here at ITV and at forecast centers from around the world declaring that El Niņo had begun in the tropical Pacific in May of this year. It is something that the meteorological community pay close attention to, as its effects can be felt far and wide.

It can change the chance of flood, drought, heatwaves and cold spells for different regions, and can also raise global temperatures. Typically, we see El Niņo every three to five years but no two occurrences are quite the same.

The El Niņo is a warming of the Pacific Ocean as part of a complex cycle which links the ocean and atmosphere. This sees a huge release of heat from the Pacific Ocean into the atmosphere, which can in turn affect and disrupt global weather patterns.

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