Tail wagging the dog: Changes in ENSO Activity During the Last 6,000 Years Modulated by Background Climate State

Tail wagging the dog: Changes in ENSO Activity During the Last 6,000 Years Modulated by Background Climate State

This paper claims that ENSO is a following rather than a forcing of climate, but given what we’ve seen in the last two decades, it sure seems like ENSO El Nino events are in fact a forcing of the global climate, from which the Earth quickly recovers.

The paper: (paywalled)

Changes in ENSO Activity During the Last 6,000 Years Modulated by Background Climate State
Soon‐Il An,  Seul‐Hee Im, Sang‐Yoon Jun

Abstract
Various proxy records show that El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) activity has changed from calm to active during the last 6,000 years. However, it is so far unclear whether orbital forcing has solely induced such a dramatic change. In this study, we performed a transient run for the last 6,000 years using an Earth system model of intermediate complexity affected by orbital forcing only without changes due to other climate forcing, and then its time‐varying background states were implemented into an intermediate atmosphere‐ocean coupled model for ENSO. ENSO activity simulated by the intermediate atmosphere‐ocean coupled model during the last 6,000 years resembled the observed proxy data, inferring that orbital forcing mainly leads to changes in ENSO activity during the last 6,000 years. From additional sensitivity experiments, we found that a change in sea surface temperature background conditions is primarily responsible for the observed ENSO activity over the last 6,000 years through modifying the anomalous horizontal thermal advection of the mean SST gradient.

https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/2017GL076250

via Watts Up With That?

https://ift.tt/2KkiyGC

May 13, 2018 at 12:29PM

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