Global climate models have pointed to an El Niño event for nearly a year, but the massive weather event has yet to materialize. Scientists are now hard at work trying to understand why Gaia has defied our best expectations. Bloomberg reports:
Since last March, forecasters have said an El Nino was on the way. The only trouble is, it hasn’t arrived. Call it the period of the phantom El Nino, a shimmering siren of weather patterns yet to come that has been seen fluttering in the sparkling waters of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. […]“One thing that stands out on this [El Nino/Southern Oscillation] is how wrong the models were in predicting a major event in 2014,’’ said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.
Time and time again we’ve seen computer models fail to predict what comes next for our planet’s weather and climate patterns. And no wonder—it’s hard to say what a system as incredibly complex as our planet’s climate is going to do next. We can understand certain facets of it, like the fact that surface temperatures are gradually rising, that they’re doing so in part because of increased greenhouse gas emissions, and that humanity has had a role in that increase.But scientists run into trouble when they attempt to get much more specific than that. There are so many variables and relationships between said variables, and to quote Donald Rumsfeld there remain plenty of “known unknowns.” El Niño is a relatively well-known global weather event that researchers have had plenty of time to study, yet it remains frustratingly capricious. The kind of climate change we’re so concerned about deals with much larger time scales and is even more difficult to predict.Greens should take note: the vagaries of our planet’s weather and climate systems are far from settled science.