The El Niño is a powerful but irregular climate cycle that has huge consequences for agriculture and perhaps global warming. Predicting its arrival more than 6 months ahead of time has been difficult. A recent paper by Ludescher et al caused a stir by using ideas from network theory to predict the start of an El Niño toward the end of 2014 with a 3-in-4 likelihood. After explaining the basics of El Niño and climate network theory, we critically analyze their method and address the question: are El Niños signaled by an increase in temperature correlations between regions of the Pacific within the El Niño basin and those outside it?
To see slides of the talk, click here. To see the source of any piece of information in these slides, just click on it!
You can also see a simplified version of the talk which I gave on April 13th, 2015 in John Roe's Mathematics for Sustainability class at Pennsylvania State University.
This talk was produced by the Azimuth Project, including John Baez, Jan Galkowski, Graham Jones, Nadja Kutz, Daniel Mahler, Blake Pollard, Paul Pukite, Dara Shayda, David Tanzer, David Tweed, Steve Wenner and others. If you're interested in science, energy and the environment, visit the Azimuth Blog and consider helping us with the projects we've got going.