El Niño/Southern Oscillation response to global warming.

Latif, Mojib and Keenlyside, Noel (2009) El Niño/Southern Oscillation response to global warming. PNAS Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106 (49). pp. 20578-20583. DOI 10.1073/pnas.0710860105.

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The El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon, originating in the Tropical Pacific, is the strongest natural interannual climate signal and has widespread effects on the global climate system and the ecology of the Tropical Pacific. Any strong change in ENSO statistics will therefore have serious climatic and ecological consequences. Most global climate models do simulate ENSO, although large biases exist with respect to its characteristics. The ENSO response to global warming differs strongly from model to model and is thus highly uncertain. Some models simulate an increase in ENSO amplitude, others a decrease, and others virtually no change. Extremely strong changes constituting tipping point behavior are not simulated by any of the models. Nevertheless, some interesting changes in ENSO dynamics can be inferred from observations and model integrations. Although no tipping point behavior is envisaged in the physical climate system, smooth transitions in it may give rise to tipping point behavior in the biological, chemical, and even socioeconomic systems. For example, the simulated weakening of the Pacific zonal sea surface temperature gradient in the Hadley Centre model (with dynamic vegetation included) caused rapid Amazon forest die-back in the mid-twenty-first century, which in turn drove a nonlinear increase in atmospheric CO2, accelerating global warming.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-ME Maritime Meteorology
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1073/pnas.0710860105
ISSN: 0027-8424
Projects: Future Ocean, KCM
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2010 11:07
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2016 12:28
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/2282

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