Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Can we enjoy the Cricket in our BBQ Summer?

I was just relaxing on Sunday after the busy schedule of our biennial conference and looking forward to our Ashes series when two things caught my eye. The first was that we were holding a test match in Cardiff. This fairly historic event seems to have completely passed me by, but goes down well in our household – my wife’s Welsh.

The second was an article we recently published in our house journal Weather on the correlation between El Nino (the large-scale warming of the oceans off the coast of Peru) and the outcome of the Ashes test matches. Apparently there is a statistically significant link between what we call a positive El Nino phase and Ashes victories for the Australians.

Thinking about this it does make sense as a positive El Nino phase tends to lead to prolonged warm, dry conditions in Australian, and our antipodean friends must be more used to batting and bowling on hard, dry pitches than we are, that’s for sure. I know what you’re thinking; it’s nothing to do with El Nino, they are just better than us. Well that may be so, but the study also shows that in the opposite phase, which we call La Nina, we do far better in terms of Ashes results.

What does that mean for this test series I hear you ask. Well, we are just entering a positive El Nino phase, but often the effect of El Nino relatively speaking is less in the UK than in Australia – so you have to make of that what you will, but I still have my fingers crossed for us to sneak it on a gripping last test!

By the way, if you are planning to go to the Cardiff test, then Friday this week looks the best day – it looks a very cloudy and wet weekend. For the remaining part of the season, I’d aim for one of the July test matches. Climatologically July is sunnier and drier than August in the UK, so on average you’re more likely to have less rain interruptions and more sunshine. Whether that will help the home team is another matter.

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