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No consistent ENSO response to volcanic forcing over the last millennium

TitleNo consistent ENSO response to volcanic forcing over the last millennium
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsDee S.G, Cobb KM, Emile-Geay J., Ault T.R, Edwards RL, Cheng H, Charles CD
Date Published2020/03
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0036-8075
Accession NumberWOS:000523251600037
Keywordsclimate; el-nino; eruptions; impacts; model; oscillation; pmip simulations; reconstructions; Science & Technology - Other Topics; tropical pacific; variability

The El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) shapes global climate patterns yet its sensitivity to external climate forcing remains uncertain. Modeling studies suggest that ENSO is sensitive to sulfate aerosol forcing associated with explosive volcanism but observational support for this effect remains ambiguous. Here, we used absolutely dated fossil corals from the central tropical Pacific to gauge ENSO's response to large volcanic eruptions of the last millennium. Superposed epoch analysis reveals a weak tendency for an El Nino-like response in the year after an eruption, but this response is not statistically significant, nor does it appear after the outsized 1257 Samalas eruption. Our results suggest that those models showing a strong ENSO response to volcanic forcing may overestimate the size of the forced response relative to natural ENSO variability.

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