Jim, I did talk to some of the poster presenters who are doing similar work. My opinion is that the only ones that will figure this out are the mathematicians that are doing non-linear geophysics, so I hit the posters doing that work.
The ones I talked to are looking at higher-latitude turbulence models of the ocean and atmosphere. I tried to convince them that they have to look at the most fundamental models that have the fewest degrees of freedom and dimensionality and then work up from there. And that would include QBO and ENSO. I got the impression that they would rather work on the stochastic properties of the high vorticity turbulent behaviors rather than anything more deterministic and anti-vortex along the equator.
As for the others, I get the impression that they all think that ENSO is caused by the wind, and that QBO is caused by gravitational flows coming from the ocean. Yet they don't see the circular reasoning flaw in that argument. The analogy is that someone thinking that electrical current is due to the voltage, and that the voltage is due to IR drop, but **not** realizing that another potential drives the circuit externally.