ENSO model for predicting El Nino and La Nina events

Applying the ENSO model to predict El Nino and La Nina events is automatic. There are no adjustable parameters apart from the calibrated tidal forcing amplitudes and phases used in the process of fitting over the training interval. Therefore the cross-validated interval from 1950 to present is untainted during the fitting process and so can be used as a completely independent and unbiased test.

Note that each of the El Nino peaks and La Nina valleys defined as “ENSO years” is predicted.

That’s essentially two cycles — the Draconic and Anomalistic lunar month  — and a sharply modulated seasonal cycle which, when applied to the wave equation, recovers the ENSO behavior.

Fig 2: Model training interval is in yellow.  A short interval from 2000 to 2003 is used to calibrate the lunar forcing amplitudes and phases to the unrelated Earth’s length-of-day (LOD) measurement.

This is simply ocean tidal analysis applied on a different scale. Solving Laplace’s tidal equations is the first step, and determining the lunar forcing constituents at a monthly and fortnightly scale is the key.

I will present the ENSO model at this fall’s AGU meeting (should the abstract get accepted)

8 thoughts on “ENSO model for predicting El Nino and La Nina events

  1. What’s interesting is how well the period from 1880 to 1920 works as a fitting interval. It’s possible that this interval contains the most salient temperature values for NINO34, and thus these reflect the dipole nature of ENSO more accurately.


  2. Interesting spiked peak around November in chlorophyl phytoplankton

    Phenological Responses to ENSO in the Global Oceans
    Surveys in Geophysics, 2017, Volume 38, Number 1, Page 277
    M.-F. Racault, S. Sathyendranath, N. Menon


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