Paul Carroll, Editor-in-Chief of ITL
I remember when I first heard about El Nino, the warming of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America that influences weather patterns around the world. It was almost 40 years ago, when I was a young pup in the Wall Street Journal’s Chicago bureau, and a fellow who covered the commodities markets for us learned that some were starting to trade based on educated guesses about how this phenomenon would affect crops of corn, wheat and so on the following year.
El Nino seemed to be news to everybody, not just me, so Tom wrote a story about it, and it’s stuck with me ever since: this pattern named because it appears around Christmas, marking the birth of El Nino, or, The Boy. I later learned about the flip side, a cooling of the Pacific known as La Nina, or, The Girl, just to distinguish it from The Boy.
Far more is known about the phenomena now than in the early 1980s — sensors, satellites and sophisticated computer modeling will do that — and the forecasts for the coming winter are looking rough, especially because they build on the tough weather we’ve already seen this year.
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