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Weather: Summer of 2014 set to be the 'hottest ever'

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: February 19, 2014

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THE SUMMER of 2014 has 3-1 odds of being the hottest ever, says The Independent, after scientists claim they have predicted an El Niño event - a year in advance.

El Niño- Spanish for "Little Brother" - is a phenomenon coined by fishermen who notice the ocean bizarrely heats up during Christmas time.

The temperature of equatorial Pacific waters lends itself to predicting global weather patterns up to six months in advance. The problem is winds blowing across the water, changing the temperature.

But now scientists claim they have a new method of prediction with a three-in-four chance of accuracy up to a year ahead.

And The Independent said the new claim means this summer will be the hottest ever.

Armin Bunde, theoretical physicist at the University of Giessen in Germany, said on Live Science: "We do not consider the water temperature in a specific area of the Pacific Ocean, but the atmospheric temperatures in all areas of the Pacific. Then, we study how the temperatures in the El Niño basin are linked to the temperatures in the rest of the Pacific area."

He and others claim credit for accurately predicting no El Niño events in 2012 and 2013 and they are 75 per cent sure one is coming this summer.

Speaking against the new method to Live Science, climatologist Anthony Barnston, chief forecaster at Columbia University's International Research Institute for Climate and Society in the Palisades, N.Y, said: "A common problem with statistical methods is that you can always find a statistical relationship if you look hard enough.

"Also, while they looked at data from 1950 to 2013, there is relatively lower quality temperature data from that area in the '50s and '60s. We wish it were better, but it isn't.

"The simplistic calculations they use basically ignore all the physics we've discovered about the ocean and the atmosphere of the equatorial Pacific."

Barnett and others also predicted an El Niño this year, but by more water-testing conventional methods.

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  • burwood  |  February 19 2014, 4:56PM

    The photo certainly warmed up my day...

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