What will winter in 5 years — warm or cold? Will the summer rainy? Unfortunately, the precise answer to these questions is currently impossible, despite significant scientific progress in climate science and the development of the methods used for weather forecasting.
However, according to the findings of a new study by German scientists, a number of key factors that affect the climate such as surface temperature of the North Atlantic ocean, can be predicted several years in advance. As a consequence, this allows to forecast the weather trends in Europe.
Scientific work performed by researchers from the Center for studies of the ocean to them. Helmholtz GEOMAR in Kiel (GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel) and the Institute for the study of the Baltic sea to them. Leibniz in Germany (the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research), was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters on July 21.
The role of the ocean
As you know, the Earth’s climate system is a complex mechanism due to the mutual influence of its different components, such as the atmosphere, oceans and ice. It is a natural climate change, the time range which extends from few months to tens of years, and the ocean plays a very important role in these long-term processes.
In the new study, the researchers examined the possibility of using associated with wind data to predict changes in the surface temperature of the water in the Northern part of the Atlantic ocean for several years ahead. In their opinion, the change in water temperature affects the European climate.
“In some parts of the world it is possible to predict climate change. An example is the phenomenon of El niño in the tropical Pacific ocean that occurs every two years. To predict it could be two months,” says Anika, rents (Annika Reintges), a researcher from the centre of GEOMAR.
In a press release posted on the website of the center, the main author of the study added: “This work focuses on the changes that occur over longer periods of time in a region where natural climatic contrast much more than in tropical zones”.
Predictions are possible, however…
If such predictions are possible, what kind of information is required for this? What is special about these forecasts? The authors of the study tried to answer these questions and came to the conclusion that long-term forecasts of climate fluctuations possible due to the slow temperature changes of the ocean. These changes last for many years.
The difficulty lies in the fact that, according to the researcher, the data ocean observations needed for model development, which would lay the basis for the calculation of these forecasts must be as accurate as possible. Meanwhile, ocean observing, especially underground, are still limited from the point of view of quantity and quality.
In the absence of such accurate data, the researchers used to build computer models designed to predict ocean changes, the initial value is obtained by measuring the changes of the wind on the ocean surface.
“Over time, the prospects for the creation of realistic models become quite tangible, and you can start to make successful predictions for over 7 years,” explains the study’s author.
Scientists describe a mechanism linking movement winds with the temperature changes of the ocean surface: the winds are changing the direction of ocean currents, increasing the temperature of the water in a certain district in the Northern part of the Atlantic ocean. Then, the heat rushes to the North-East for several years. Finally, the ocean surface temperature will rise and in the North-East Atlantic ocean in response to winds blowing many years ago.
This study confirms the findings of previous works that the surface temperature in the North Atlantic may affect the European climate.
Thus, the creation of accurate computer models to predict the surface temperature of the water in the North Atlantic in a few years will be of great value for decision makers in politics and economy, as well as to the General public.