The impact of global warming on the tropical Pacific Ocean and El Nĩo

Mat Collins, Soon Il An, Wenju Cai, Alexandre Ganachaud, Eric Guilyardi, Fei Fei Jin, Markus Jochum, Matthieu Lengaigne, Scott Power, Axel Timmermann, Gabe Vecchi, Andrew Wittenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

636 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The El Nĩo-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a naturally occurring fluctuation that originates in the tropical Pacific region and affects ecosystems, agriculture, freshwater supplies, hurricanes and other severe weather events worldwide. Under the influence of global warming, the mean climate of the Pacific region will probably undergo significant changes. The tropical easterly trade winds are expected to weaken; surface ocean temperatures are expected to warm fastest near the equator and more slowly farther away; the equatorial thermocline that marks the transition between the wind-mixed upper ocean and deeper layers is expected to shoal; and the temperature gradients across the thermocline are expected to become steeper. Year-to-year ENSO variability is controlled by a delicate balance of amplifying and damping feedbacks, and one or more of the physical processes that are responsible for determining the characteristics of ENSO will probably be modified by climate change. Therefore, despite considerable progress in our understanding of the impact of climate change on many of the processes that contribute to El Nĩo variability, it is not yet possible to say whether ENSO activity will be enhanced or damped, or if the frequency of events will change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-397
Number of pages7
JournalNature Geoscience
Volume3
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jun 1

Fingerprint

Southern Oscillation
global warming
ocean
thermocline
climate change
severe weather
trade wind
upper ocean
temperature gradient
hurricane
damping
agriculture
ecosystem
climate

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

Collins, M., An, S. I., Cai, W., Ganachaud, A., Guilyardi, E., Jin, F. F., ... Wittenberg, A. (2010). The impact of global warming on the tropical Pacific Ocean and El Nĩo. Nature Geoscience, 3(6), 391-397. https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo868
Collins, Mat ; An, Soon Il ; Cai, Wenju ; Ganachaud, Alexandre ; Guilyardi, Eric ; Jin, Fei Fei ; Jochum, Markus ; Lengaigne, Matthieu ; Power, Scott ; Timmermann, Axel ; Vecchi, Gabe ; Wittenberg, Andrew. / The impact of global warming on the tropical Pacific Ocean and El Nĩo. In: Nature Geoscience. 2010 ; Vol. 3, No. 6. pp. 391-397.
@article{7c02ac9a815c4aaeb4ead5e5eb3824de,
title = "The impact of global warming on the tropical Pacific Ocean and El Nĩo",
abstract = "The El Nĩo-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a naturally occurring fluctuation that originates in the tropical Pacific region and affects ecosystems, agriculture, freshwater supplies, hurricanes and other severe weather events worldwide. Under the influence of global warming, the mean climate of the Pacific region will probably undergo significant changes. The tropical easterly trade winds are expected to weaken; surface ocean temperatures are expected to warm fastest near the equator and more slowly farther away; the equatorial thermocline that marks the transition between the wind-mixed upper ocean and deeper layers is expected to shoal; and the temperature gradients across the thermocline are expected to become steeper. Year-to-year ENSO variability is controlled by a delicate balance of amplifying and damping feedbacks, and one or more of the physical processes that are responsible for determining the characteristics of ENSO will probably be modified by climate change. Therefore, despite considerable progress in our understanding of the impact of climate change on many of the processes that contribute to El Nĩo variability, it is not yet possible to say whether ENSO activity will be enhanced or damped, or if the frequency of events will change.",
author = "Mat Collins and An, {Soon Il} and Wenju Cai and Alexandre Ganachaud and Eric Guilyardi and Jin, {Fei Fei} and Markus Jochum and Matthieu Lengaigne and Scott Power and Axel Timmermann and Gabe Vecchi and Andrew Wittenberg",
year = "2010",
month = "6",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1038/ngeo868",
language = "English",
volume = "3",
pages = "391--397",
journal = "Nature Geoscience",
issn = "1752-0894",
publisher = "Nature Publishing Group",
number = "6",

}

Collins, M, An, SI, Cai, W, Ganachaud, A, Guilyardi, E, Jin, FF, Jochum, M, Lengaigne, M, Power, S, Timmermann, A, Vecchi, G & Wittenberg, A 2010, 'The impact of global warming on the tropical Pacific Ocean and El Nĩo', Nature Geoscience, vol. 3, no. 6, pp. 391-397. https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo868

The impact of global warming on the tropical Pacific Ocean and El Nĩo. / Collins, Mat; An, Soon Il; Cai, Wenju; Ganachaud, Alexandre; Guilyardi, Eric; Jin, Fei Fei; Jochum, Markus; Lengaigne, Matthieu; Power, Scott; Timmermann, Axel; Vecchi, Gabe; Wittenberg, Andrew.

In: Nature Geoscience, Vol. 3, No. 6, 01.06.2010, p. 391-397.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - The impact of global warming on the tropical Pacific Ocean and El Nĩo

AU - Collins, Mat

AU - An, Soon Il

AU - Cai, Wenju

AU - Ganachaud, Alexandre

AU - Guilyardi, Eric

AU - Jin, Fei Fei

AU - Jochum, Markus

AU - Lengaigne, Matthieu

AU - Power, Scott

AU - Timmermann, Axel

AU - Vecchi, Gabe

AU - Wittenberg, Andrew

PY - 2010/6/1

Y1 - 2010/6/1

N2 - The El Nĩo-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a naturally occurring fluctuation that originates in the tropical Pacific region and affects ecosystems, agriculture, freshwater supplies, hurricanes and other severe weather events worldwide. Under the influence of global warming, the mean climate of the Pacific region will probably undergo significant changes. The tropical easterly trade winds are expected to weaken; surface ocean temperatures are expected to warm fastest near the equator and more slowly farther away; the equatorial thermocline that marks the transition between the wind-mixed upper ocean and deeper layers is expected to shoal; and the temperature gradients across the thermocline are expected to become steeper. Year-to-year ENSO variability is controlled by a delicate balance of amplifying and damping feedbacks, and one or more of the physical processes that are responsible for determining the characteristics of ENSO will probably be modified by climate change. Therefore, despite considerable progress in our understanding of the impact of climate change on many of the processes that contribute to El Nĩo variability, it is not yet possible to say whether ENSO activity will be enhanced or damped, or if the frequency of events will change.

AB - The El Nĩo-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a naturally occurring fluctuation that originates in the tropical Pacific region and affects ecosystems, agriculture, freshwater supplies, hurricanes and other severe weather events worldwide. Under the influence of global warming, the mean climate of the Pacific region will probably undergo significant changes. The tropical easterly trade winds are expected to weaken; surface ocean temperatures are expected to warm fastest near the equator and more slowly farther away; the equatorial thermocline that marks the transition between the wind-mixed upper ocean and deeper layers is expected to shoal; and the temperature gradients across the thermocline are expected to become steeper. Year-to-year ENSO variability is controlled by a delicate balance of amplifying and damping feedbacks, and one or more of the physical processes that are responsible for determining the characteristics of ENSO will probably be modified by climate change. Therefore, despite considerable progress in our understanding of the impact of climate change on many of the processes that contribute to El Nĩo variability, it is not yet possible to say whether ENSO activity will be enhanced or damped, or if the frequency of events will change.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=77954851195&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=77954851195&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1038/ngeo868

DO - 10.1038/ngeo868

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:77954851195

VL - 3

SP - 391

EP - 397

JO - Nature Geoscience

JF - Nature Geoscience

SN - 1752-0894

IS - 6

ER -

Collins M, An SI, Cai W, Ganachaud A, Guilyardi E, Jin FF et al. The impact of global warming on the tropical Pacific Ocean and El Nĩo. Nature Geoscience. 2010 Jun 1;3(6):391-397. https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo868