publication . Article . 2017

Recent enhancement of central Pacific El Niño variability relative to last eight centuries

Liu, Yu; Cobb, Kim M.; Song, Huiming; Li, Qiang; Li, Ching-Yao; Nakatsuka, Takeshi; An, Zhisheng; Zhou, Weijian; Cai, Qiufang; Li, Jinbao; ...
Open Access English
  • Published: 01 May 2017 Journal: Nature Communications, volume 8 (eissn: 2041-1723, Copyright policy)
  • Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
  • Country: China (People's Republic of)
The far-reaching impacts of central Pacific El Niño events on global climate differ appreciably from those associated with eastern Pacific El Niño events. Central Pacific El Niño events may become more frequent in coming decades as atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations rise, but the instrumental record of central Pacific sea-surface temperatures is too short to detect potential trends. Here we present an annually resolved reconstruction of NIÑO4 sea-surface temperature, located in the central equatorial Pacific, based on oxygen isotopic time series from Taiwan tree cellulose that span from 1190 AD to 2007 AD. Our reconstruction indicates that relatively warm Niño4 sea-surface temperature values over the late twentieth century are accompanied by higher levels of interannual variability than observed in other intervals of the 818-year-long reconstruction. Our results imply that anthropogenic greenhouse forcing may be driving an increase in central Pacific El Niño-Southern Oscillation variability and/or its hydrological impacts, consistent with recent modelling studies.
El Niño events in the Central Pacific may be changing due to climate change, but long records to support this are lacking. Here, the authors present sea surface temperature reconstructions from tree cellulose for the last 800 years which suggest the variability of Central Pacific El Niño events has increased.
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Fields of Science and Technology classification (FOS)
01 natural sciences, 0105 earth and related environmental sciences, 010502 geochemistry & geophysics, 010504 meteorology & atmospheric sciences
free text keywords: Article, Science, Q, General Physics and Astronomy, General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, General Chemistry, δ18O, Global climate, Oceanography, El Niño Southern Oscillation, Forcing (mathematics), Environmental science, Precipitation, El Niño, Greenhouse gas, Tropical pacific
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Funded by
NSF| RAPID Collaborative Research: Tracking coral reef impacts of the 2014/2015 El Nino event
  • Funder: National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Project Code: 1446274
  • Funding stream: Directorate for Geosciences | Division of Ocean Sciences
NSF| RAPID Collaborative Research: Ground Truthing Coral Proxy Reconstructions of ENSO by Observing the 2014-15 El Nino
  • Funder: National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Project Code: 1446343
  • Funding stream: Directorate for Geosciences | Division of Ocean Sciences
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