El Nino Weather Seen as 75% Likelihood in 2014, Researchers Say

There’s a 75 percent chance the El Nino weather pattern will occur in late 2014, according to a report published in the journal PNAS that’s able to look further in the future than earlier models.

Instead of forecasting six months out, researchers used a 12-month model that successfully predicted the absence of El Nino in the past two years.

An El Nino toward the end of this year would increase temperatures in 2015, and having more time to prepare would help farmers and government agencies, said researchers Josef Ludescher and Armin Bunde.

“Farmers might find it worthwhile to invest in drought- or flood-resistant varieties of crops,” Ludescher and Bunde said today in an e-mail. “A strong El Nino event in late 2014 can make 2015 a record year for global temperatures.”

The El Nino-Southern Oscillation phenomenon, which occurs as the Pacific Ocean warms, may parch Australia while bringing more rain to South America. The strength of a potential event later this year couldn’t be calculated using their algorithm, the researchers said.

Ludescher is a professor in the solid state physics department of the Justus-Liebig University in Giessen, Germany, and Bunde is a professor with the institute for theoretical physics there. The report was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

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