The Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA), located in Calverton, Maryland, is a unique institution which allows earth scientists from several disciplines to work closely together on interdisciplinary research related to variability and predictability of Earth's climate on seasonal to decadal time scales. The scientific premise for research at COLA is that there is a predictable element of the Earth's current climate that makes it possible to accurately forecast climate variations. While the chaotic nature of the global atmosphere is known to impose a limit on the predictability of the state of the climate at a given instant, the hypothesis behind COLA's research suggests that there is predictability in the midst of chaos, and that accurate climate forecasts with lead times longer than the inherent limit of deterministic predictability are possible.
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