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La Niña, El Niño migh not happen later this year

We are consistently predicting a more neutral state, with no La Niña or El Niño later this year, said Steven Pawson, Chief of Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO). 


La Niña, El Niño migh not happen later this year
Image credit: NASA

Washington: A model based on NASA satellite data has predicted that there is unlikely to be a La Niña event in late 2016 as water temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean should be just around average for the rest of the year.

 

"We are consistently predicting a more neutral state, with no La Niña or El Niño later this year," said Steven Pawson, Chief of Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO).

"Our September forecast continues to show the neutral conditions that have been predicted since the spring."

Last winter saw an extremely strong El Niño event, in which warmer-than-average water sloshed toward the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Historically, some of the larger El Niño events are followed by a La Niña event, in which deep, colder-than-average water surfaces in the eastern Pacific Ocean, off the coast of South America.

As part of a research and development project, GMAO contributes experimental seasonal forecasts each month to the North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) and other centers.

For GMAO, the seasonal forecasts are one way to use NASA satellite data to improve near-term climate predictions of the Earth system.

"We're really trying to bring as much NASA observational data as possible into these systems," Pawson said.

The scientists with GMAO feed a range of NASA satellite data and other information into the seasonal forecast model to predict if an La Niña or El Niño event will occur in the nine months - information on the aerosols and ozone in the atmosphere, sea ice, winds, sea surface heights and temperatures, and more.

Robin Kovach, a research scientist at GMAO, added that the GMAO models aren’t always right, though, in 2014 the group forecast a large El Niño that didn’t materialize.

The GMAO uses NASA satellite data to predict the likelihood of an El Niño or La Niña event.

GMAO scientists are also investigating how to incorporate observations of ocean color into the seasonal forecast model. Shades of green can tell researchers about how much phytoplankton is in a region, which in turn can provide information about fish populations.

(With IANS inputs)

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