A victim of bad publicity?

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

In the last couple of years, climatologists and scientists found a unique scapegoat: the El Nio. Whatever happened, be it crop losses or hurricanes, they blamed El Nio. It has taken a lot of flack lately and some of it due to no fault of its own, says a US researcher. The El Nio of 1997-1998 was widely accused for extreme weather. But a statistical analysis by Ed Harrison from the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle shows much of the 'wild' weather had causes other than every meteorologist's bette noir , the El Nio. Heavy winter rains in California, for instance, were blamed on El Nio, but Harrison discovered that previous El Nios often made California unusually dry. "There seems to be more to the question of what gives us weather anomalies in the US than just El Nio," he says ( Geophysical Research Letters , Vol 25, p 3959).

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