An algorithm developed by German and Israeli researchers predicts Israel has an 80% chance of contending with the natural climate change phenomenon known as El Niño during 2020.
El Niño is a shift in the atmospheric circulation due to the warming of the ocean surface or above-average sea surface temperatures.
Although opinions differ regarding the actual impact of El Niño in Israel, it is believed to have a connection to rainfall in the north, the Jordan River's flow and the Kinneret water level.
The algorithm, which was developed by researchers from Bar-Ilan University in central Israel, Giessen University in Germany and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, has already successfully predicted two occurrences of El Niño in the pacific ocean.
"This new algorithm is a promising way of predicting El Niño," says Shlomo Havlin, an award-winning professor at Bar-Ilan's Department of Physics who helped with the algorithm's development.
The real innovation is the algorithm's ability to identify the occurrence of El-Niño a full year before the phenomenon actually occurs, effectively doubling the prediction period from the old method's six months.
Prof. Armin Bond from Giessen University was the one who initiated the algorithm's development.
"The old methods had no way of reliably predicting El Niño more than six months before the event occurred; this new algorithm basically doubles our prediction capabilities," says Bond.
El Nino, which is accompanied by changing air pressure, tends to cause heavy rains and floods in western Pacific countries such as Peru and droughts in eastern Pacific countries such as Australia and Indonesia.
With the old prediction method offering no more then six months to prepare for El Niño, all those effected had very little time to prepare for the phenomenon's often devastating results.
With the new algorithm though, countries will have notice of at least a year, giving them double the time to prepare and potentially save lives.
First published: 12:24 , 01.06.20