The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has said that the chances of El Nino weather phenomenon occurring in 2015 have increased to 70% from 50%.
El Nino is a temporary change in the climate of the Pacific ocean, in the region around the equator. Its effects can be seen in both the ocean and atmosphere, generally in Northern Hemisphere winter. Typically, the ocean surface warms up by a few degrees Celsius. At the same time, the place where hefty thunderstorms occur on the equator moves eastward. Although those might seem like small differences, it nevertheless can have a big impact on the world’s climate.
A statement issued by the bureau on April 14th said that, “The ENSO Tracker has been raised to El Nino Alert, indicating at least a 70% chance of El Nino occurring this year.”
It was also revealed in the statement that all the international climate models observed by the bureau signify that El Nino thresholds will be reached or exceeded by June.
“Tropical Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures are now just shy of El Nino levels. Large areas of warmer-than-average water below the surface are likely to keep these waters warm for some time. This increases the odds of atmospheric factors coming into play, and hence further warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean,” the statement said.
However, it is expected that April to June will be wetter than average across much of Australia owing to warm conditions in the Indian Ocean.
The complex El Nino weather pattern that can bring disastrous heavy rainfall and long droughts to countries around the Pacific — from Peru to Indonesia and Australia — will probably emerge again in 2020, researchers have predicted. Forecast.
An international team of scientists forecast an 80% chance next year of an El Nino, which occurs when sea-surface temperatures rise substantially above normal in the east-central Equatorial Pacific.
This week they said their model — which uses an algorithm that draws on analysis of links between changing air temperatures at a network of grid points across the Pacific region — could predict an El Nino at least a year ahead.
“Conventional methods are unable to make a reliable ‘El Nino’ forecast more than six months in advance. With our method, we have roughly doubled the previous warning time,” said co-developer Armin Bunde, a physicist at Germany’s Justus Liebig University Giessen.
The term El Nino, meaning “boy child” in Spanish, was first used in the 19th century by fishermen in Peru and Ecuador to refer to the unusually warm waters that reduced their catch just before Christmas, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
The phenomenon occurs every two to seven years and typically lasts for 9 to 12 months, often beginning mid-year and peaking between November and January.
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director emeritus of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), said insights from the new method — which has been tested over the past few years — would be made available to people affected by El Nino.
PIK researcher Josef Ludescher said he would soon discuss the findings with the weather service in Peru.
El Nino often brings torrential rains in the north of the mountainous Latin American nation, with a high risk of mudslides, he said.
El Nino also can cause extended droughts in other parts of South America, Indonesia, Australia and Africa, PIK said.
In the Indian subcontinent, it may change monsoon patterns, while California can experience more precipitation.
The new prediction method could give more time for authorities to prepare for such impacts, Ludescher added.
The team is now adapting the algorithm to be able to predict the timing and strength of El Nino. In the future, a similar method could be used to improve forecasts of Asia’s monsoon, he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
2014, 2018 predictions
The discovery of the new method was first published in 2013 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal — and the scientists have since been checking its accuracy.