Columbia University

Technology Ventures

Improved monitoring and forecasting of El Niño, La Niña, and the Southern Oscillation (ENSO) with advanced maps, data, and prediction models

Technology #cu17011

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Free- Non-Commercial License
$2,000 per month for ENSO Outlooks
$20,000 per year for ENSO Outlooks
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Anthony G. Barnston
Managed By
Richard Nguyen

El Niño, La Niña, and the Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a widely studied climate phenomenon because of its impact on human welfare and the environment. Both developed and emerging countries value predictive information on ENSO for anticipating regional shifts in year-to-year climate that can effect crops, water, and public health. Many climate centers around the world make predictions of ENSO events, but differences in the models lead to differences and potential confusion about the current and evolving state of ENSO. The International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) at Columbia University addresses this problem by collecting and synthesizing data from global partners and to produce analyses and probabilistic predictions of the ENSO state for the next 12 months. Through extensive collaboration with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center and top modeling centers fro around the world, the IRI’s advanced forecasts and reporting services allow researchers and authorities to construct insightful expectations of ENSO evolution.

Columbia’s IRI collaboration produces ENSO datasets for improved climate prediction, risk management, and research

The IRI collects and synthesizes monthly ENSO datasets and forecasts based on the NINO3.4 index (120-170W, 5S-5N), a region where sea-surface temperatures closely affect the location of large regions of tropical rainfall, thereby impacting the global atmospheric circulation patterns. By monitoring not only surface temperatures, but also sub-surface temperatures, ocean currents, wind currents, precipitation patterns, and atmospheric pressure, the IRI composes monthly probabilistic forecasts of the sea surface temperatures that defines ENSO conditions. The sophistication of the forecasts comes from the IRI’s world-class network of over 20 partner organizations, who help to collect data, enhance local analysis, and share their ENSO predictions. By joining with the IRI, institutions can analyze and contribute to the advanced ENSO dataset, and access peers who are seeking to solve similar problems.

The ENSO forecasts and associated data can be found on the IRI’s website and is available for download.

Lead Inventor:

The International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI)


Data, Models, & Forecasts for: * Climatology * Wildfire risk assessments * Agricultural production and food security * Ecosystem protection * Public health * Natural disaster mitigation * Water management * Financial instruments * Academic studies


  • Supplies monthly analysis and streams for passive monitoring and prediction of ENSO conditions
  • Numerous, disparate sources to produce the rich dataset
  • Improves effectiveness of local and global forecasts
  • Allows governments to better manage climate risk
  • Provides access to peer institutions targeting similar problems

Patent Information:

Tech Ventures Reference: CU17011

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