"Stronger La Niña and El Niño events due to global heating will be detectable
in the eastern Pacific Ocean by 2030, decades earlier than previously expected,
new modelling suggests.
Researchers have analysed 70 years of reliable sea surface temperature records
in the Pacific Ocean to model changes in the El Niño-Southern Oscillation
(Enso) under current projections of global heating.
Enso is the planet’s most significant year-to-year climate fluctuation, and a
major driver of extreme droughts and floods. It is driven by differences in sea
surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, which oscillates between warm El
Niño, cold La Niña, and neutral phases.
During a La Niña event, warm surface water is pushed towards Asia and north of
Australia by strong trade winds that blow west across the Pacific Ocean.
In an El Niño, sea surface temperatures in the central or eastern equatorial
Pacific Ocean are warmer than average, and the trade winds weaken or reverse.
The result is reduced rainfall over India, Indonesia and northern Australia.
Previous research had suggested that climate change-driven variability of Enso
events would not be detectable until 2070.
“In fact, we can start seeing these changes in the next decade,” said study
co-author Dr Agus Santoso, of the University of New South Wales climate change
The team’s analysis separated Enso variations into eastern and central Pacific
Ocean events, and found they would be detectable about 40 years earlier than
suggested by previous modelling that did not separate the two regions."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics