Israeli and German researchers predicted that the weather phenomenon El Nino could occur again in the Pacific region by the end of 2020, the Bar Ilan University (BIU) reported Tuesday.
While commonly used models do not currently show any signs of an upcoming storm, the Israeli-German research team, formed by the University of Giessen, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (both in Germany) and BIU, predicted that El Nino would occur next year, the report said.
El Nino, which occurs once every few years, is manifested by the rise in the temperature of the Pacific Ocean west of Peru and Ecuador in South America, for several months.
El Nino can happen at irregular intervals around Christmas and result in empty fishing nets and torrential rainfall in Peru, as well as extended droughts in parts of South America, Indonesia, Australia and Africa.
In addition, the Indian subcontinent may experience a change in monsoon patterns and California may experience more precipitation.
The prediction method the Israeli and German researchers developed was based on an algorithm that relies on a network analysis of air temperatures in the Pacific region.
This algorithm correctly predicted the last two El Nino events (in 2014 and 2018) more than a year in advance.
Among other things, such long-term forecasts can assist farmers in preparing themselves and adjusting their sowing accordingly.
“Conventional methods are unable to make a reliable El Nino forecast more than six months in advance. Our method has roughly doubled the previous warning time,” the researchers said.
“The clever combination of measured data and mathematics gives unique insights, and we make these available to the people affected,” they explained.
The team is currently expanding the algorithm in order to be able to forecast the strength and length of the weather phenomenon in the future.