Title

Enhanced El Niño–Southern Oscillation Variability in Recent Decades

Document Type

Article

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1029/2019GL083906

Journal Title

Geophysical Research Letters

Publication Date

2020

Abstract

The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) represents the largest source of year-to-year global climate variability. While Earth system models suggest a range of possible shifts in ENSO properties under continued greenhouse gas forcing, many centuries of preindustrial climate data are required to detect a potential shift in the properties of recent ENSO extremes. Here we reconstruct the strength of ENSO variations over the last 7,000 years with a new ensemble of fossil coral oxygen isotope records from the Line Islands, located in the central equatorial Pacific. The corals document a significant decrease in ENSO variance of ~20% from 3,000 to 5,000 years ago, coinciding with changes in spring/fall precessional insolation. We find that ENSO variability over the last five decades is ~25% stronger than during the preindustrial. Our results provide empirical support for recent climate model projections showing an intensification of ENSO extremes under greenhouse forcing.

Comments

This article is freely available on the website of Geophysical Research Letters.

Geophysical Research Letters publishes high-impact, innovative, and timely communications-length articles on major advances spanning all of the major geoscience disciplines. Papers should have broad and immediate implications meriting rapid decisions and high visibility.

Publisher Statement

©2019. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved

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