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Weather: Summer of 2014 will be 'hottest ever' claim linked to El Niño forecast

By IanMat  |  Posted: February 13, 2014

Summer 2014 will be the hottest ever if an El Niño happens, claims The Independent

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THE SUMMER of 2014 has 3-1 odds of being the hottest ever, says The Independent, after scientists claim they have predicted an El Niño event - a year in advance.

El Niño- Spanish for "Little Brother" - is a phenomenon coined by fishermen who notice the ocean bizarrely heats up during Christmas time.

The temperature of equatorial Pacific waters lends itself to predicting global weather patterns up to six months in advance. The problem is winds blowing across the water, changing the temperature.

But now scientists claim they have a new method of prediction with a three-in-four chance of accuracy up to a year ahead.

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But what has the temperature of the water in the Pacific got to do with Britain's forthcoming summer? The Independent has said the new claim means this summer will be the hottest ever. How it has managed to come up with that is unknown.

But with Somerset suffering rain, hail and snow today, on top of catastrophic flooding, the claim is a bit hard to believe right now.

Armin Bunde, theoretical physicist at the University of Giessen in Germany, has said on Live Science: "We do not consider the water temperature in a specific area of the Pacific Ocean, but the atmospheric temperatures in all areas of the Pacific. Then, we study how the temperatures in the El Niño basin are linked to the temperatures in the rest of the Pacific area."

He and others claim credit for accurately predicting no El Niño events in 2012 and 2013 and they are 75 per cent sure one is coming this summer.

Speaking against the new method to Live Science is climatologist Anthony Barnston, chief forecaster at Columbia University's International Research Institute for Climate and Society in the Palisades, N.Y.

He said: "A common problem with statistical methods is that you can always find a statistical relationship if you look hard enough.

"Also, while they looked at data from 1950 to 2013, there is relatively lower quality temperature data from that area in the '50s and '60s. We wish it were better, but it isn't.

"The simplistic calculations they use basically ignore all the physics we've discovered about the ocean and the atmosphere of the equatorial Pacific."

Barnett and others have also predicted an El Niño this year, but by more water-testing conventional methods.

With the weather Somerset is experiencing at the moment, the summer is a long way away.

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