(ORDO NEWS) — According to the conclusions of German scientists, observing the surface temperature of the North Atlantic Ocean, it is possible to predict changes in the European climate for several years in advance. According to the author, this kind of research is important not only for the public, but also for those who make decisions in the field of politics and economics.
What will winter be like in 5 years – warm or cold? Will the summer be rainy? Unfortunately, it is currently impossible to accurately answer these questions, despite the significant scientific progress in the field of climatology and the development of methods used for weather forecasting.
However, according to the findings of a new study by German scientists, a number of key factors affecting the climate, such as the surface temperature of the North Atlantic Ocean, can be predicted several years in advance. As a result, it allows forecasting weather trends in Europe as well.
Scientific work carried out by researchers from the Center for Ocean Research. Helmholtz GEOMAR in Kiel (GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel) and the Institute for the Study of the Baltic Sea. Leibniz in Germany (The Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research), was published in Geophysical Research Letters on July 21.
Role of the ocean
As you know, the Earth’s climatic system is a complex mechanism due to the mutual influence of its various components, such as the atmosphere, oceans and ice. This causes natural climate changes, the time range of which extends from several months to tens of years, and the ocean plays a very important role in these long-term processes.
In a new study, scientists explored the possibility of using wind-related data to predict changes in water surface temperature in the North Atlantic Ocean for several years to come. In their opinion, changes in water temperature also affect the European climate.
“In some regions of the planet, climate change can be predicted. An example is the El Niño event in the tropical Pacific Ocean, which occurs every two years. It could have been predicted in two months, ”says Annika Reintges, a researcher at the GEOMAR Center.
In a press release posted on the center’s website, the main author of the study added: “This work focuses on changes that occur over longer periods of time in a region where natural climatic contrast is much greater than in tropical zones.”
Predictions are possible, however …
If such predictions are possible, what kind of information is required for this? What are the features of these forecasts? The study authors tried to answer these questions and concluded that long-term predictions of climate fluctuations are possible due to slow changes in ocean temperature. These changes last for many years.
The difficulty lies in the fact that, according to the researcher, the data from observations of the ocean required to develop a model that would form the basis for calculating these predictions must be as accurate as possible. In the meantime, ocean observations, especially underground, remain limited in terms of quantity and quality.
In the absence of such accurate data, scientists used initial values obtained by measuring wind changes at the ocean surface to build a computer model to predict ocean changes.
“Over time, the prospects for creating a realistic model become quite tangible, and you can start making successful predictions more than 7 years in advance,” explains the author of the study.
Scientists describe the mechanism that connects the movement of winds with changes in the temperature of the ocean surface: winds change the direction of the current in the ocean, increasing the temperature of the water in a certain area in the North Atlantic Ocean. Then this heat rushes to the northeast for several years. Finally, ocean surface temperatures will rise in the northeastern Atlantic in response to winds that blew many years ago.
This study confirms the findings of previous work that the surface temperature of the North Atlantic can influence the European climate.
Thus, the creation of accurate computer models to predict water surface temperatures in the North Atlantic in a few years will be of great value to policy and economic decision-makers and the general public.
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