El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is by far the most energetic, and at present also the most predictable, short-term fluctuation in the Earth's climate system, though the limits of its predictability are still a subject of considerable debate. As a result of over two-decades of intensive observational, theoretical and modeling efforts, ENSO's basic dynamics is now well understood and its prediction has become a routine practice at application centers all over the world. The predictability of ENSO largely stems from the ocean-atmosphere interaction in the tropical Pacific and the low-dimensional nature of this coupled system. Present ENSO forecast models, in spite of their vast differences in complexity, exhibit comparable predictive skills, which seem to have hit a plateau at moderate level. However, mounting evidence suggests that there is still room for improvement. In particular, better model initialization and data assimilation, better simulation of surface heat and freshwater fluxes, and better representation of the relevant processes outside of the tropical Pacific, could all lead to improved ENSO forecasts. (c) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
288SKTimes Cited:0Cited References Count:87