Using Network Theory and Machine Learning to predict El Niño

Nooteboom, P.D.; Feng, Q.Y.; Lopez, C.;Hernandez-Garcia, E.; Dijkstra, H.A.
Earth System Dynamics 9, 969-983 (2018)

The skill of current predictions of the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) reduces significantly beyond a lag of six months. In this paper, we aim to increase this prediction skill at lags up to one year. The new method to do so combines a classical Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average technique with a modern machine learning approach (through an Artificial Neural Network). The attributes in such a neural network are derived from topological properties of Climate Networks and are tested on both a Zebiak-Cane-type model and observations. For predictions up to six months ahead, the results of the hybrid model give a better skill than the CFSv2 ensemble prediction by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). Moreover, results for a twelve-month lead time prediction have a similar skill as the shorter lead time predictions.

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