EL NINO- Prediction

ambience: Ocean

We’ve all heard about the ways in which El Ninho has impacted world weather patterns -from droughts and floods to warming oceans and milder winters. But scientists have known about the El Nino phenomenon for a while now. Can’t we predict when it’s coming? I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

“We can reliably predict changes in the ocean up to twelve months. And we’ve done that with the last El Ninos.”

John Kermond is a visiting scientist with the Office of Global Programs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“In predicting El Nino, in fact in predicting anything, we now rely on computer models. But we also have measurements and instruments in place across the ocean. We’ve now got sixty-nine permanently moored buoys strung out across the equatorial Pacific. Sixty-nine is not a lot when you’ve got them strung out across six thousand miles. But they give us real measures. They give us atmospheric measures as well as far down as five hundred meters into the ocean column.”

And with a year’s warning, many have been able to prepare for extreme weather conditions and avoid major losses.

“With the last El Nino, we were well ahead on the warning and that gave us an opportunity to, at least, alert the people in California to take some precautions. And we believe, although the numbers are not that solid and they’re very hard to get a handle on, we believe that the money saved by advance warning far exceeded that of the actual damage to houses and property and livestock and crops in California.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

EL NINO- Prediction

El Nino is hardly a recent phenomenon. So why can't we predict its arrival?
Air Date:12/23/1998
Scientist:
Transcript:


ambience: Ocean

We've all heard about the ways in which El Ninho has impacted world weather patterns -from droughts and floods to warming oceans and milder winters. But scientists have known about the El Nino phenomenon for a while now. Can't we predict when it's coming? I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

"We can reliably predict changes in the ocean up to twelve months. And we've done that with the last El Ninos."

John Kermond is a visiting scientist with the Office of Global Programs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"In predicting El Nino, in fact in predicting anything, we now rely on computer models. But we also have measurements and instruments in place across the ocean. We've now got sixty-nine permanently moored buoys strung out across the equatorial Pacific. Sixty-nine is not a lot when you've got them strung out across six thousand miles. But they give us real measures. They give us atmospheric measures as well as far down as five hundred meters into the ocean column."

And with a year's warning, many have been able to prepare for extreme weather conditions and avoid major losses.

"With the last El Nino, we were well ahead on the warning and that gave us an opportunity to, at least, alert the people in California to take some precautions. And we believe, although the numbers are not that solid and they're very hard to get a handle on, we believe that the money saved by advance warning far exceeded that of the actual damage to houses and property and livestock and crops in California."

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.