El Niño and Southern Oscillation is one of the main features responsible for interannual climate variability. Although it is an ocean—atmospheric process over the tropical Pacific Ocean, its influence is worldwide because it modifies ocean circulation patterns influencing the weather and climate anomalies at a global scale.

ENSO-induced droughts are usually severe in nature and last long. Observational experience indicates that during an ENSO event drought conditions occur over many places in the world, causing severe economical and societal impacts.

The ENSO data have been used for long-term prediction of droughts. Usually researchers make use of certain single descriptor indices that are able to capture relevant information about the events in a simple way. Although a high level of confidence has been shown, in recent years, in the capabilities of ENSO data to predict droughts, many uncertainties still remain. One of the main challenges is the attribution problem. Are all the droughts due to ENSO? How does it work? Why do some ENSO events produce drought and while others do not in the same region? The link between ENSO and drought is still an open book. Much more has to be done before the global community is able to fully understand and obtain reliable prediction methods. Meanwhile, ENSO data seem to be satisfactory for predicting droughts, at least in some major regions of the world.

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