Publication Abstracts

Pontes et al. 2022

Pontes, G., A. Taschetto, A. Sen Gupta, A. Santoso, I. Wainer, A. Haywood, W.-L. Chan, A. Abe-Ouchi, C. Stepanek, G. Lohmann, S. Hunter, J. Tindall, M. Chandler, L. Sohl, D. Peltier, D. Chandan, Y. Kamae, K. Nisancioglu, Z. Zhang, C. Contoux, N. Tan, Q. Zhang, B. Otto-Bliesner, E. Brady, R. Feng, A. von der Heydt, M. Baatsen, and A. Oldemann, 2022: Mid-Pliocene El Niño/Southern Oscillation suppressed by Pacific intertropical convergence zone shift. Nat. Geosci., 15, no. 9, 726-734, doi:10.1038/s41561-022-00999-y.

The El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the dominant driver of year-to-year climate variability found in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, impacts climate paterns across the globe. However, the response of the ENSO system to past and potential future temperature increases is not fully understood. Here we investigate ENSO variability in the warmer climate of the mid-Pliocene (∼3.0-3.3 Ma), when surface temperatures were ∼2-3°C above modern values, in a large ensemble of climate models — the Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project. We show that the ensemble consistently suggests a weakening of ENSO variability, with a mean reduction of 25% (±16%). We further show that shifts in the equatorial Pacific mean state cannot fully explain these changes. Instead, ENSO was suppressed by a series of off-equatorial processes triggered by a northward displacement of the Pacific intertropical convergence zone: weakened convective feedback and intensified Southern Hemisphere circulation, which inhibit various processes that initiate ENSO. The connection between the climatological intertropical convergence zone position and ENSO we find in the past is expected to operate in our warming world with important ramifications for ENSO variability.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Pontes, G. and Taschetto, A. and Sen Gupta, A. and Santoso, A. and Wainer, I. and Haywood, A. and Chan, W.-L. and Abe-Ouchi, A. and Stepanek, C. and Lohmann, G. and Hunter, S. and Tindall, J. and Chandler, M. and Sohl, L. and Peltier, D. and Chandan, D. and Kamae, Y. and Nisancioglu, K. and Zhang, Z. and Contoux, C. and Tan, N. and Zhang, Q. and Otto-Bliesner, B. and Brady, E. and Feng, R. and von der Heydt, A. and Baatsen, M. and Oldemann, A.},
  title={Mid-Pliocene El Niño/Southern Oscillation suppressed by Pacific intertropical convergence zone shift},
  journal={Nat. Geosci.},

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RIS Citation

ID  - po06200a
AU  - Pontes, G.
AU  - Taschetto, A.
AU  - Sen Gupta, A.
AU  - Santoso, A.
AU  - Wainer, I.
AU  - Haywood, A.
AU  - Chan, W.-L.
AU  - Abe-Ouchi, A.
AU  - Stepanek, C.
AU  - Lohmann, G.
AU  - Hunter, S.
AU  - Tindall, J.
AU  - Chandler, M.
AU  - Sohl, L.
AU  - Peltier, D.
AU  - Chandan, D.
AU  - Kamae, Y.
AU  - Nisancioglu, K.
AU  - Zhang, Z.
AU  - Contoux, C.
AU  - Tan, N.
AU  - Zhang, Q.
AU  - Otto-Bliesner, B.
AU  - Brady, E.
AU  - Feng, R.
AU  - von der Heydt, A.
AU  - Baatsen, M.
AU  - Oldemann, A.
PY  - 2022
TI  - Mid-Pliocene El Niño/Southern Oscillation suppressed by Pacific intertropical convergence zone shift
JA  - Nat. Geosci.
VL  - 15
IS  - 9
SP  - 726
EP  - 734
DO  - 10.1038/s41561-022-00999-y
ER  -

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