ENSO: the Benefits of Predictability

The conventional thinking is that the extremes of El Ni?o and La Ni?a are the times during the natural cycles of climate variability when climate causes the most damage. But an intriguing-sounding paper in the Journal of Climate by Lisa Goddard and Maxx Dilley offers intriguing alternative way of thinking about it. First (full disclosure here, I’ve only read the abstract, the full paper doesn’t seem to be on line) they argue, ” Contrary to expectations, climate anomalies associated with such losses are not greater overall during ENSO extremes than during neutral periods.”

Second, climate anomalies during El Ni?o and La Ni?a can be more readily forecast, allowing folks to prepare and therefore reduce the damage. “Thus, the prudent use of climate forecasts could mitigate adverse impacts and lead instead to increased beneficial impacts, which could transform years of ENSO extremes into the least costly to life and property.”