Predicting the intensity

Published: Monday 31 December 2001

The question of when and how hard the next El Nio or La Nia will hit can now be answered up to nine months ahead of the event. This would be possible because of pioneering work done by the climate scientists of Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). "We use sophisticated climate models run on a supercomputer to predict sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. These temperatures provide a measure of the strength of El Nio and La Nia," says Ian Smith of CSIRO (, November 30, 2001).

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