Madden Julian Oscillation - the Maritime Continent barrier and seamless verification

Lead PI: Prof. Adam Sobel

Unit Affiliation: Ocean and Climate Physics, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

July 2016 - June 2019
Asia ; Southeast Asia
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) is of central importance in subseasonal to seasonal forecasts but remains difficult to predict. An outstanding problem is that models have difficulty simulating or predicting the propagation of the MJO across the Maritime Continent. This deficiency results in a “prediction barrier.” Overcoming this barrier is a challenge because its precise cause or causes are unknown. Proposed causes include poor representation of the diurnal cycle, biases in mean climate and failure to capture precursor signals. Our project seeks to improve both understanding and prediction of the MJO, focusing on the relation of the MJO to the Maritime Continent.

OUTCOMES: Assessed predictability of the Madden-Julian oscillation and seasonal precipitation variations in California.


National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce




Wang, S., M. K. Tippett, A. H. Sobel, and A. Anichowski, 2017: Seasonal noise vs. subseasonal signal: forecasts of California precipitation during the unusual winters of 2015-16 and 2016-17. Geophysical Research Letters, 44, doi:10.1002/2017GL075052.


maritime continent madden-julian oscillation


Earth fundamentals