International Workshop "New strategies for evaluating ENSO processes in climate models"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 to Friday, November 19, 2010
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International Workshop "New strategies for evaluating ENSO processes in climate models"


Paris, France


Wednesday, 17 November, 2010 - Friday, 19 November, 2010


El Niño - Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the dominant mode of interannual climate variability with worldwide weather and societal impacts. Because ENSO involves a complex interplay of numerous ocean and atmospheric processes, accurately modelling this climate phenomenon with coupled General Circulation Models (GCMs) and understanding and anticipating its behaviour on seasonal to decadal and longer time scales still poses a formidable challenge. Over the past few years, new promising methods have emerged which can improve ENSO simulation, for example by combining ENSO theoretical frameworks and GCM modelling or by using initialised hindcasts and by utilising the recent wealth of high-quality observations to understand errors and their growth in forecast systems. By focusing on the very key processes affecting ENSO dynamics, these new approaches have a strong potential to accelerate progress and improve representation of ENSO in complex climate models. Not only can these new methods help address the question of whether ENSO is changing in a changing climate, but potentially they can also improve reliability of centennial-scale climate projections.

The World Climate Research Program (WCRP) has long recognised the central importance of an improved understanding and predictability of ENSO by encouraging coordinated research in tropical climate variability via its different expert Panels (Pacific, Indian, Seasonal to Interannual Prediction,...) The next Coordinated Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5), which will feed into the IPCC 5th Assessment, provides a new opportunity to evaluate current research in the process-based evaluation of ENSO in GCMs.

Main goal

The workshop aims to present and discuss emerging new methods for the process-based evaluation of ENSO in GCMs, their use in multi-model assessments and identify future directions and associated challenges.

Specific goals

a) To make an inventory of the existing approaches to evaluate ENSO processes in GCMs; compare, contrast and discuss the relative merits of these approaches as for example applied to CMIP3;

b) To review the potential of methods bridging ENSO theoretical frameworks and GCM modelling; and,

c) To review the observing system and available data for the evaluation of ENSO in GCMs.

Scientific Organizing Committee

Eric Guilyardi (IPSL/LOCEAN, France)
Andrew Wittenberg (NOAA, USA)
Alexey Fedorov (Yale University, USA)
Fei-Fei Jin (University of Hawaii, USA)
Mat Collins (Univeristy of Exeter, UK)
De-Zheng Sun (NOAA, USA)
Wenju Cai (CSIRO, Australia)

Meeting presentations


Session 1: Overview presentations: ENSO observation, theory, change


Eric Guilyardi

Goals of the workshop

David Battisti

ENSO theory

Mike McPhaden

ENSO observations

Arun Kumar

WGSIP perspective

Scott Power

Decadal and longer-term variability in ENSO and the Walker circulation in observations and climate models

Pascale Braconnot

Reconstruction and modelling of past ENSOs

Mat Collins

A review of ENSO and Climate Change

David Battisti

A New Tool for Evaluating the Physics of Coupled Atmosphere-Ocean Variability in Nature and in General Circulation Models

Session 2: ENSO in GCMs


Eric Guilyardi

ENSO in GCMs: overview, progress and challenges

Alexey Fedorov

Ocean energetics in coupled models: how much energy is transfered from the winds to the thermocline on ENSO timescales?

De-Zheng Sun

The effect of ENSO on the tropical Pacific mean state: a new way to assess ENSO in GCMs

Fei-Fei Jin

ENSO processes using the BJ index in CMIP3

Boris Dewitte

ENSO sensitivity to change in stratification in CMIP3

Antonietta Capotondi

Temporal structure of Tropical Pacific interannual variability in 20th century coupled simulations

Andrew Wittenberg

Model fidelity and ENSO change: signal versus noise

Masahiro Wanatabe

ENSO simulation in MIROC: Perspectives towards CMIP5

Sarah Ineson

ENSO modelling at Hadley Centre/NCAS

Session 3: Evaluating ENSO processes in CGCMs


Ben Kirtman

The impact of Atmospheric and Oceanic Resolution on ENSO Simulation

Jong-Seong Kug

ENSO Sensitivity to convective trigger in a coupled GCM

Rich Neale

ENSO modelling at NCAR

Sang Wook Yeh

The Flavors of El Nino in a Changing Climate

Sulagna Ray

ENSO Variability Using SODA : 1871-2008

Jin-Yi Yu

Understanding and Modeling Central-Pacific ENSO

Pedro di Nezio

Sensitivity of the thermocline feedback to global warming in coupled GCMs: Implications for changes in ENSO amplitude

Julien Boucharel

ENSO nonlinearity in a warming climate

Ken Sperber

MJO Simulation/Forecasting Diagnostics and Metrics

Session 4: New approaches, wider perspectives and ENSO teleconnections


Noel Keenlyside

Quantifying different sources of error in ENSO seasonal predictions and relating them to model systematic errors

Benoit Vannière

Using seasonal hindcasts to understand ENSO model errors

Yukiko Imada

Improvement to ENSO in AOGCM by introducing a new parameterization of Tropical Instability Waves

Pascal Terray

Mid and high latitudes influence on ENSO: a review

Wenju Cai

Impact of the Indonesian Throughflow on ENSO properties in a CGCM

Chunzai Wang

Influence of Equatorial Atlantic Variability on Pacific ENSO

Jérôme Vialard

ENSO and the Indian ocean