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

Soon Il An, Hayoung Bong

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10 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

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (No. 2014R1A2A1A11049497).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer-Verlag Wien.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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