This paper discusses why model predictions of El Niño events fail. We begin by commenting on a recent retrospective about the failed prediction of an El Niño during 1975 McPhaden et al. state that “for all the advances in seasonal forecasting over the past 40 years, the fundamental problem of skillfully predicting the development of ENSO events and their consequences still challenges the scientific community.” In a second paper McPhaden, this time alone, discusses the case of a “monster” El Niño “that failed to materialize in 2014”. Unbeknown to McPhaden, these two climate “nonevents” have already been discussed and “explained” in some details in papers that report that the climate system consists of a series of finite time segments bounded by abrupt climate shifts. These finite time segments are phase-locked to the 2nd or 3rd subharmonic of an annual forcing. This paper will be an updated review of these “explanations”. Additionally, we note that the climate system is presently (August 2017) in a phase-locked state of period 3 years that began in 2009 to make a qualified prediction: The next El Niño will occur during boreal winter of 2018 unless this phase-locked state terminates before then.
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