Predicting El Niño 17 Months in Advance
Predicting El Niño 17 Months in Advance
  • Reporter Song Sung-chan
  • 승인 2018.11.07 14:42
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Prof. Kug Jong-seong
Prof. Kug Jong-seong


El Niño, a phenomenon where sea surface temperature of the tropic pacific rises, affects precipitation and atmospheric circulation around the globe, causing anomalous climate. The problem with El Niño is that it can only be detected merely six months before its occurrence.

Professor Kug Jong-seong from the Division of Environmental Science and Engineering (DESE) at POSTECH and Park Jae-heung, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Hawaii, along with the Japanese Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology have announced in Scientific Reports that El Niño and La Niña can be predicted 17 months before their occurrences.

The team, located at the Northern and Southern parts of the American Continent, studies the correlation between the water temperature of the Atlantic Ocean and El Niño. As a result, the team learned that changes in the water temperature results in El Niño or La Niña occurring 17 months later.

The change in the water temperature during the summer in the Eastern-Pacific and Western-Atlantic tropical areas, causes the Pacific Meridional Mode (PMM), the North Pacific Ocean warm current circulation pattern, in the spring. That PMM starts ocean waves in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, causing a wintertime El Niño.

This research is of great significance in that its accuracy is not overturned due to its long forecasting period.

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