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

Journal article
Authors Y. Liu
K. M. Cobb
H. M. Song
Q. Li
C. Y. Li
T. Nakatsuka
Z. S. An
W. J. Zhou
Q. F. Cai
J. B. Li
S. W. Leavitt
C. F. Sun
R. C. Mei
C. C. Shen
M. H. Chan
J. Y. Sun
L. B. Yan
Y. Lei
Y. Y. Ma
X. X. Li
Deliang Chen
Hans W. Linderholm
Published in Nature Communications
Volume 8
ISSN 2041-1723
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms15386
Keywords TREE-RING CELLULOSE, CLIMATE VARIABILITY, TROPICAL PACIFIC, ISOTOPE, RATIOS, ENSO, DELTA-O-18, PRECIPITATION, EVENTS, SERIES, RECONSTRUCTIONS
Subject categories Climate Research

Abstract

The far-reaching impacts of central Pacific El Nino events on global climate differ appreciably from those associated with eastern Pacific El Nino events. Central Pacific El Nino 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 NINO4 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 Nino4 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 Nino-Southern Oscillation variability and/or its hydrological impacts, consistent with recent modelling studies.

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