AOSC Seminar by Dr. Michelle L'Heureux, 12/03/2020
Dr. Michelle L'Heureux
NWS Climate Prediction Center
Title: How Good Are Predictions of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)?
The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a leading mode of seasonal climate variability over the globe. In addition, ENSO is predictable, meaning that unlike some other weather and climate patterns, empirical and dynamical models capture enough ENSO-related physics that they can, with some accuracy, forecast the future evolution of ENSO many seasons in advance. For this reason ENSO is commonly used in making long-range climate outlooks. However, how skillful are these ENSO outlooks? In this talk, we will go over how the NOAA Climate Prediction (CPC) makes their operational (routine) monthly ENSO outlooks. We will also cover the concept of prediction skill, and discuss what kind of skill results from current generation models that predict ENSO. In particular, making predictions that start in the spring remains quite challenging despite several decades of model development. We will go over recent research that focuses on “False Alarms,” or predictions of El Niño events that ended up not happening in reality. Finally, we will discuss some other challenges in predicting ENSO, and offer some developmental pathways that could help improve these outlooks and our understanding of ENSO.
Contact: Rachel Pinker
Pre-seminar refreshment: N/A
Seminar: 3:30-4:30pm, Zoom
Meet-the-Speaker: 4:30-5:00pm, Zoom [For AOSC Students only]