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Improvements in MJO Prediction Skill May Lead to Better Prediction in Meteorological Variables


The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) is the most prominent mode of variability in the equatorial latitudes on subseasonal time-scales. Prediction systems using dynamical models are now capable of predicting MJO up to 30 days out. Relating recent gains in MJO prediction skill back to the potential for predicting meteorological variables (e.g. precipitation and surface temperature) is not straightforward. Based only on observations, this paper investigates what relations are possible and assesses the upper limit of MJO associated predictability. The study quantifies the predictive potential for the meteorological variables that can be associated with the skillful prediction of the MJO. Researchers, supported in part by CPO’s Climate Variability & Predictability (CVP) program, quantify to what extent daily variability in meteorological variables can be associated with MJO indices as well as how that predictability may vary. Their method does not estimate how many days of skillful prediction can be made, but instead gives an estimate about how much variance of a variable (i.e. precipitation, surface temperature) is potentially predictable. This research is published in the Monthly Weather Review. 

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