On the Prediction of the El Niño of 1986-1987

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  08 Jul 1988:
Vol. 241, Issue 4862, pp. 192-196
DOI: 10.1126/science.241.4862.192


Three different classes of numerical models successfully predicted the occurrence of the El Niño of 1986-87 at lead times of 3 to 9 months. Although the magnitude and timing of predicted ocean surface temperatures were not perfect, these results suggest that routine prediction of moderate to lare El Niño events is feasible. The key to the success of the models lies in recognizing or simulating the low-frequency, large-scale changes in the tropical ocean-atmosphere system that give rise to El Niño events.