What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

How Wayward Tuna Help Forecasters Predict El Niño

June 13, 2014, 5:40 PM

What's the Latest?

Forecasters are pretty dead set on this being an El Niño year. While meteorologists have many ways to measure and predict the extreme weather phenomenon, there's one method in particular readers may find somewhat fishy. Tim Barnett, marine research physicist emeritus with Scripps Institution of Oceanography, says the secret to judging the potential impact of an El Niño is in tuna. That's right, tuna:

Barnett said the ’97-’98 event caused a northward shift of the whole fishery population, drawing an abundance of albacore and Bluefin tuna to San Diego’s unusually warm waters.

“We’ve already started to see very unusual fish catches here,” Barnett said. “The first yellowfin tuna was caught in May — that has never happened before to anybody’s recollection.”

What's the Big Idea?

Barnett explains that when an El Niño warms the the tropical Pacific, fish that aren't native to the waters around San Diego tend to appear there as early as May. Some species get carried even farther north. In 1997, another El Niño year, fishermen in Kodiak, Alaska were dumbfounded when they pulled yellowtail tuna out from the sea. That type of fish is so rare in those parts that the fishermen actually had to send their catches down to California to have them identified. While it's still early to determine just how large-scale this year's El Niño will be, Barnett sees the wayward fish as a foreboding omen for a wet and wild summer.

Read more at KPBS

Photo credit: SOMKKU / Shutterstock.com


How Wayward Tuna Help Forec...

Newsletter: Share: