Early Warning: Physicists Forecast "El Niño" for 2020

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The significant weather phenomenon "El Niño" could soon occur again in the Pacific region, according to researchers from Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU), the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Bar-Ilan University.  While commonly used models do not currently show any signs of an upcoming storm, the researchers predict "El Niño" by the end of 2020.

"This novel climate network approach is very promising for improving El Niño prediction", said Prof. Shlomo Havlin, an Israel Prize-winning physicist who was involved in developing the algorithm.

The prediction method was first published in 2013 in an article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Reliable data from the period between the beginning of 1950 and the end of 2011 were available to the researchers for the investigations. The period between 1950 and 1980 served as a learning phase for determining the alarm thresholds. With the help of this algorithm, the "El Niño" events could then be predicted and compared with actual events. In 80 percent of the cases, the alarm was correct and the "El Niño" event could be accurately predicted the year before.

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