Ocean primed for more El Nino

Ocean primed for more El Niño
Dr Jess Carilli samples a Porites coral in Kiribati. Credit: Jess Carilli

The ocean is warming steadily and setting up the conditions for stronger El Niño weather events, a new study has shown.

A team of US, Australian, and Canadian researchers sampled corals from a remote island in Kiribati to build a 60-year record of and salinity.

"The trend is unmistakeable, the ocean's primed for more El Niño events," says lead-author Dr Jessica Carilli, now based at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Team member Dr Helen McGregor from the Research School of Earth Sciences at The Australian National University said the change in El Niño patterns could have a major impact on Australia's weather.

"During an El Niño event warm waters to the north of Australia move eastward, taking their rainfall with them," she said.

"This changes the pattern of Australia's rainfall and droughts significantly."

El Niños occurs irregularly every two to seven years and have often coincided with severe droughts in Queensland and New South Wales. The current conditions show that a weak El Niño has brought warmer and drier conditions to Australia for late 2014.

The team focused on regional differences in sea temperatures that generate the circulating winds known as the Walker Circulation, which drive the trade winds that bring moisture across the Pacific Ocean to the north of Australia.

The island from which the corals were sampled, Butaritari, was chosen for its location at one end of the Walker Circulation.

The team extracted a core from a Porites coral on the outer part of the atoll which showed a clear layer structure that, like tree rings, told the seasonal life story of the coral.

"This coral quietly laid down an excellent record of the ocean conditions at that location," Dr McGregor said.

"It greatly complements direct measurements of the ocean temperatures made by humans throughout the 60 year period, filling in the inconsistencies and gaps."

The team used the amounts of the chemicals strontium, calcium and oxygen in the coral to work out the 's salinity and temperature.

The research is published in Paleoceanography.


Explore further

El Nino and La Nina explained

More information: "Equatorial Pacific coral geochemical records show recent weakening of the Walker Circulation." DOI: 10.1002/2014PA002683
Journal information: Paleoceanography

Citation: Ocean primed for more El Nino (2014, November 13) retrieved 20 May 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-11-ocean-primed-el-nino.html
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Nov 13, 2014
In North America we heard earlier this year that this years El Nino would be unusually warm. Now in November we learn this year's El Nino is unremarkable. It is evident from the exceedingly remarkable litany of failed Climate predictions that this science is in its infancy and has systemic problems that climatologists must address.

Nov 13, 2014
Very nicely put, apparently people here down vote the truth. We still know so little about the functioning of the system as a whole, yet the mainstream community is under the impression science has it covered. Delusion at is finest.

Nov 13, 2014
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Nov 13, 2014
Craig wants certainty. There is none. It is all probability.

Sorry.

Nov 13, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Nov 13, 2014
I understand that, silly. I have a degree in the subject, and have watched for over thirty years as the problems got worse even faster than we feared.

From where do you get your opinion?

Nov 13, 2014
It is all probability.

Because we base our understanding on models, not the underlying phenomena that the models are trying to account for. The why is not understood, so the what becomes a guess. What a terrible way to promote science.

Is gravity probabilistic? No, yet we still use a model to describe it's function. Why should climate be any different?

Nov 13, 2014
"Is gravity probabilistic? No, yet we still use a model to describe it's function. Why should climate be any different?"

Because gravity is a simple force, and the environment is the interaction of many complex systems. They operate in a stable state until perturbed, then will oscillate going to extremes until they find a new stable state, perhaps one we do not find favorable or even habitable.

Look up the science of stable states and discontinuities. It is unfortunately called Catastrophe Theory, but you will find it interesting.

Nov 13, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Nov 13, 2014
I am not going to argue with somebody insistent on being correct. Look up the science of stable states and discontinuities.

Then, just hide and watch.

Nov 13, 2014
Because we base our understanding on models, not the underlying phenomena that the models are trying to account for. The why is not understood, so the what becomes a guess. What a terrible way to promote science. .......

Back again eh Scroofy - and still denying the basic science that the models only account for (and NOT that the GCM's are the science). That there is an imbalance in solar SW absorbed vs Terrestrial LW emitted. Given that CO2 has increased ~40% from natural and that a GHG is a resistor to escaping LW that must be the case eh? or do you not understand radiative physics?
GCM's attempt to figure where the enrgy turns up as heat on the planet. Analogous to your house central heating system and which room gets most heat. If you don't know that the fridge door is open in the kitchen (heat from compressor vented externally) then how can that rooms temp be calculated correctly? Just so the cool ENSO cycle cooling the atmosphere and extra heat entering the Pacific.

Nov 13, 2014
Because gravity is a simple force, and the environment is the interaction of many complex systems.

So what causes gravity? How does gravity work in holding together galaxies? The environment may be more complex simply because there's more in play, but that doesn't mean the best we can do is a probabilistic guess...

Nov 13, 2014
I am not going to argue with somebody insistent on being correct. Look up the science of stable states and discontinuities.

Then, just hide and watch.

He/she seems to have a classic DK syndrome gkam and a classic deniers contempt of "experts". I've got the T-shirt as well.

Nov 13, 2014
I have a degree in the subject, and have watched for over thirty years
Maybe the reading of articles like these ones (http://www.realcl...70.html?

From your referenced article my friend ( warming saturation effect) ...

"A new study from the University of Washington and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology hopes to complete the understanding of what happens to the planet under climate change. Instead of carbon dioxide, or CO2, creating a blanket to slowly warm the planet, a paper this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows the story is a little more complicated - THOUGH THE ENDING IS, UNFORTUNATELY, THE SAME."

Nov 13, 2014
and still denying the basic science that the models only account for

I'm not denying that at all, I'm just saying that we shouldn't settle for the basic and accepted models. There's more that needs to be included when factoring climate, such as what you touched on with:
Just so the cool ENSO cycle cooling the atmosphere and extra heat entering the Pacific.

Yet we are just now considering the oceans have a larger hand in climate than GHGs. How ridiculous!

Nov 13, 2014
"The environment may be more complex simply because there's more in play, but that doesn't mean the best we can do is a probabilistic guess..."
-------------------------------------
There is no similarity at all. Gravity is a simple force, completely predictable. Climate is the resultant of complex dynamics. Look into it. You will find it very interesting, and directly pertinent to our present condition.

Nov 13, 2014

I'm not denying that at all, I'm just saying that we shouldn't settle for the basic and accepted models. There's more that needs to be included when factoring climate, such as what you touched on with:


Good, I'm glad you said that. because neither is climate science - hence advances such as in ....
http://phys.org/n...ate.html

It is the number crunching ability of supercomputers that is holding this research back.
Nevertheless in models where the ENSO cycle has been correctly predicted then the ave global air temp is as near as damn-it spot on. Unfortunately the ENSO cycle remains unpredictable even in the current cycle, never mind future ones. Still given that, when correctly predicted, that the models are so good underlies NOT undermines how good they are even in a fairly rudimentary form. BTW: error bars account for such unpredictabilities and we must expect ave global (air) temps to bounce between them.

Nov 13, 2014
Gravity is a simple force, completely predictable

Gravity on a planetary scale is "simple", but go any larger and it doesn't fit. The only reason we think it's simple is because someone already figured it out. You think it was simple before Newton?

Climate may have more variables but it's still a solvable problem, don't kid yourself, once the Sun's solar cycle is accepted a main driver of climate (along with the Milankovitch cycles), the problem get's easier. We have empirical evidence that says the Sun forces the ocean's ENSO/PDO cycles, and now we have evidence that the oceans are a main force behind climate. Connect the dots Mr. Scientist...

Nov 13, 2014
Okay, I want specific predictions, Mister Science.

Nov 13, 2014
The predictions have already been made:
"The next [PDO]regime shift from cold to warm is to be expected around 2016.3, the midpoint between GPTC 2007.2 and LPTC 2025.4."
http://www.john-d...rend.htm

Nov 13, 2014
That is not specific prediction. He only tries to show other effects on an already-complex system. How many heating degree-days will they have this winter in Boston?

Nov 13, 2014
How many heating degree-days will they have this winter in Boston?

Now that's a specific prediction that not even your beloved models can touch. But for kicks, I'll go with 2880 HDD.

If you want a specific prediction: once the PDO regime switches to "warm" again the drought stricken southwest will start to receive above average rainfall amounts.

Nov 13, 2014
Yes, but are you saying that is the only factor?

Nov 13, 2014
Of course not, but it is a driving factor

Nov 13, 2014
"Now that's a specific prediction that not even your beloved models can touch. But for kicks, I'll go with 2880 HDD."
------------------------------------------

I do not have any models. When characterizing the many microclimates in the Bay Area, I used historical data.


Nov 13, 2014
The predictions have already been made:
"The next [PDO]regime shift from cold to warm is to be expected around 2016.3, the midpoint between GPTC 2007.2 and LPTC 2025.4."
http://www.john-d...rend.htm

Not even remotely reliable my friend.

Nov 13, 2014
How so? Was it not peer-reviewed enough for you?

Nov 14, 2014
Scroofinator, Out understanding of climate change is not based on computer models -- it's the other way around. The models make predictions based on our understanding of the underlying science.

And, it's hardly true that the models have failed to make any correct predictions. On the contrary, they have correctly predicted that the most rapid rise in temperature would occur in the arctic; the nights would stay warmer everywhere; that the lower stratosphere would cool while the troposphere would grow warmer; and that there would be an increasing number of droughts and floods.

Nov 14, 2014
How so? Was it not peer-reviewed enough for you?


The current budding El Niño event has us guessing.... So I fail to see how we could pin down one years in the future. It's akin to forecasting a specific weather event years into the future. Far too much chaos involved.

Nov 14, 2014
Even chaos follows rules.

Nov 14, 2014
How so? Was it not peer-reviewed enough for you?
scroof
1- john-daly (JD) is not a peer reviewed journal, it is a denialist web-site
2- if you have a link to that paper in a peer reviewed journal, you should have used that instead, NOT a link to JD site
3- there is NO peer review on the JD site
Because we base our understanding on models, not the underlying phenomena that the models are trying to account for
this proves you have no f*cking idea what you are saying... perhaps you should re-read jfbreit711 a few more times
understanding of climate change is not based on computer models -- it's the other way around. The models make predictions based on our understanding of the underlying science
while you are at it... feel free to debunk the climate science with equivalent science

just because you can imagine something in your head doesn't mean it is real or that it affects reality in ANY way

read the SCIENCE
GOOD JOB jfbreit711

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