How El Niño, the world's largest manifestation of year-to-year climate variability, responds to external forcing factors: A New Study in the journal Science Advances co-authored by University of Arizona Geoscientist K. Thirumalai, offers new insights.

March 6, 2022

 Figure Caption: Comparing simulated coral and coral proxy-inferred changes in Holocene ENSO variability.  Percent change in standard deviation for simulated coral and measured coral δ18O anomalies at (A) Kiritimati and (C) Fanning Atolls. 

A new study in the journal Science Advances co-authored by Dr. Kaustubh Thirumalai, an assistant professor in the UA Department of Geosciences offers new insights in the way external factors influence the world's largest manifestation of year-to-year climate variability, the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The team performed a model-data comparison using climate simulations and Central Pacific coral proxy-inferred changes in Holocene ENSO variability. This study suggests that models and data agree regarding larger El Niño variability in the modern period compared to other time periods in the Holocene, but also identifies large internal variability in the ENSO system. Overall, the work argues for more coral records over the Holocene as well as longer simulations to clarify the sensitivity of ENSO to climate forcing.

Listen to Dr. Thirumalai talking about their findings in an interview on NPR :

Kiriaki Xiluri