Feedback process responsible for the suppression of ENSO activity during the mid-Holocene

Soon Il An, Hayoung Bong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Using the output of 12 models from the Paleoclimate Modeling Intercomparison Project Phase 3, we investigate the feedback process responsible for changes in El Niño-Southern Oscillation activity during the mid-Holocene based on a linear stability index (Bjerknes stability index; BJ index) analysis. The multi-model ensemble mean (MME) variance of the Niño-3.4 index (sea surface temperature anomalies averaged over 5°S–5°N, 170°–120°W) simulated for 6000 years ago (6 kya) was 13% lower than that for the pre-industrial era (0 kya), while changes in the MME BJ index were negligible. This is due to a balance between enhanced damping by anomalous thermal advection by mean currents (MA) and enhanced positive thermocline feedback (TH). Seven of the models show that MME variance of the Niño-3.4 and BJ indexes for the 6 kya run is 21 and 70% lower, respectively, than the 0 kya run. However, two models show the opposite change. Interestingly, MA in both model groups increases, especially due to the mean meridional current associated with enhanced trade winds, indicating a robust mechanism. The opposite tendency between the two groups is mainly due to large TH in the second group 6 kya, as a result of enhanced air-sea coupling and strongly reduced ocean stratification due to subsurface warming, which led to increased sensitivity of the zonal thermocline contrast to surface zonal wind stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-790
Number of pages12
JournalTheoretical and Applied Climatology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 May 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

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