Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Climate models indicate likely El Nino return

Reuters: Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said the climate models it monitors indicate a possible return of the El Nino weather pattern, often linked to heavy rainfall and droughts, in the second half of 2012. The last severe El Nino in 1998 killed more than 2,000 people and caused billions of dollars in damage to crops, infrastructure and mines in Australia and other parts of Asia.

The bureau tracks seven climate models from compatriot meteorology centers around the world, of which five indicate above El Nino conditions, while the remaining two sit on the neutral - neither El Nino or La Nina - and warm border.

"Nobody is going to say that the models are 100 percent accurate, but if you look at the climate models, the risk of El Nino has gone up in recent weeks," said Andrew Watkins, manager of climate prediction at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

While the seven models hint at a return to El Nino, the World Meteorological Organization said last week it still maintains its neutral outlook for the second half of the year...

Chart of abnormal ocean surface temperatures [ºC] observed in December 1997 during the last strong El Niño. From NOAA

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