The Earth system is a very complex and dynamical one basing on various feedbacks. This makes predictions and risk analysis even of very strong (sometime extreme) events as floods, landslides, heatwaves, earthquakes etc. a challenging task. Here I will introduce a recently developed approach via complex networks mainly to analyze strong climate events. This leads to an inverse problem: Is there a backbone-like structure underlying the climate system? For this we propose a method to reconstruct and analyze a complex network from observational and reanalysis data. This approach enables us to uncover relations to global and regional circulation patterns in oceans and atmosphere, which leads to construct substantially better predictions, in particular of the onset of the Indian Summer Monsoon and El Nino.
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