The implementation of a global climate project and its early results are being hailed as exciting leaps forward in climate research that have enormous potential for improving predictions of interannual variations, as well as improving the understanding and modeling, and possibly developing predictive capabilities, of decadal and longer variability and climate change. Known as the Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) project of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP),its most recent achievements have included observations, predictions, and documentation of the evolution of the 1997–1998 El Niño and that event's progression into the 1998 La Niña. In place to accomplish this was CLIVAR's full tropical Pacific observing system and new coupled atmosphere-upper ocean models.

Even more exciting was that prediction models were able to capture aspects of the differences in teleconnection patterns between this El Niño and previous events, pointing to the importance of sea surface temperature patterns globally Exciting new possibilities also have emerged through profiling floats deployed at various depths that come to the surface every week or two to give ocean soundings of temperature and salinity, while their displacements provide estimates of ocean currents at depth.