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Benjamin Lloyd-Hughes
,
Mark A. Saunders
, and
Paul Rockett

Abstract

A prime challenge for ENSO seasonal forecast models is to predict boreal summer ENSO conditions at lead. August–September ENSO has a strong influence on Atlantic hurricane activity, Northwest Pacific typhoon activity, and tropical precipitation. However, summer ENSO skill is low due to the spring predictability barrier between March and May. A “consolidated” ENSO–climatology and persistence (CLIPER) seasonal prediction model is presented to address this issue with promising initial results. Consolidated CLIPER comprises the ensemble of 18 model variants of the statistical ENSO–CLIPER prediction model. Assessing August–September ENSO skill using deterministic and probabilistic skill measures applied to cross-validated hindcasts from 1952 to 2002, and using deterministic skill measures applied to replicated real-time forecasts from 1900 to 1950, shows that the consolidated CLIPER model consistently outperforms the standard CLIPER model at leads from 2 to 6 months for all the main ENSO indices (3, 3.4, and 4). The consolidated CLIPER August–September 1952–2002 hindcast skill is also positive to 97.5% confidence at leads out to 4 months (early April) for all ENSO indices. Optimization of the consolidated CLIPER model may lead to further skill improvements.

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