The ability to forecast El Niño and La Niña events is extremely important as these events tend to be associated with consistent climate variations in the tropics and can even influence the atmosphere around the world. There are two types of forecasts: those obtained from various ocean–atmosphere models and those obtained from statistical models. These models vary in their skill and sometimes can even do better during certain phases of ENSO than others. Forecasters try to take all this in account when making predictions.
Experimental forecasts (sample images below) of numerous tropical fields, including precipitation, outgoing longwave radiation (OLR), sea surface temperature (SST), and sea surface height (SSH); other variables may become available at a later date.