Polar bears starving, corals dying, ice shelves melting–climate change is wrecking the world around us. But there’s an upside if you’re a fan of the Australian cricket team. Global warming may increase your odds of beating arch rival England.
The English have been facing down the Australians for more than 100 years in the famous (to those who follow cricket, at least) Ashes series (which incidentally is being played this month). And apparently the weather influences who wins when it’s on Australian soil, according to a meteorology researcher who decided to crunch the numbers this summer. He found that the probability of the English winning in a La Nina year is more than 50 percent, but in an El Nino year is less than 25 percent.
Why? The ball gets bounced on the ground to a batter. Australian pitchers (“bowlers” in cricket-speak) have perfected their technique for drier Australian land that rewards fast bowling, but the English bowl slower and with a better swerve, which works well in soggy England. La Nina makes the Australian fields wetter like England, giving the English a boost. But in El Nino years, the Australian turf is drier, which favors the faster Australian pitchers.
The paper left its analysis there, but since climate change is likely to bring more El Nino to Australia, the prospects for the English team aren’t looking so hot.