Wenju Cai, Simon Borlace, Matthieu Lengaigne, Peter van Rensch, Mat Collins, Gabriel Vecchi, Axel Timmermann, Agus Santoso, Michael J. McPhaden, Lixin Wu, Matthew H. England, Guojian Wang, Eric Guilyardi & Fei-Fei Jin

Nature Climate Change

Published date January 19, 2014

Increasing frequency of extreme El Niño events due to greenhouse warming

  • Presents climate modeling evidence for a doubling in the occurrences in the future in response to greenhouse warming
  • Estimates the change by aggregating results from climate models in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phases 3 (CMIP3) and 5 (CMIP5) multi-model databases, and a perturbed physics ensemble
  • Finds the increased frequency arises from a projected surface warming over the eastern equatorial Pacific that occurs faster than in the surrounding ocean waters, facilitating more occurrences of atmospheric convection in the eastern equatorial region