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  • Merryfield, W.J., 2006: Changes to ENSO under CO2 doubling in a multi-model ensemble. J. Climate, 19, 4009-4027, DOI: 10.1175/JCLI3834.1.

An EOF analysis is used to intercompare the response of ENSO-like variability to CO2 doubling in results from 15 coupled climate models assembled for the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. Under pre-industrial conditions, 12 of the 15 models exhibit ENSO amplitudes comparable to or exceeding that observed in the second half of the 20th century. Under CO2 doubling, three of the models exhibit statistically significant (p<0.1) increases in ENSO amplitude, and five exhibit significant decreases. The overall amplitude changes are not strongly related to the magnitude or pattern of surface warming. It is, however, found that ENSO amplitude decreases (increases) in models having a narrow (wide) ENSO zonal wind stress response and ENSO amplitude comparable to or greater than observed. The models exhibit a mean fractional decrease in ENSO period of about 5%. Although many factors can influence ENSO period, it is suggested that this may be related to a comparable increase in equatorial wave speed through an associated speedup of delayed-oscillator feedback. Changes in leading EOF, characterized in many of the models by a relative increase in the amplitude of SST variations in the central Pacific, are in most cases consistent with effects of anomalous zonal and vertical advection resulting from warming-induced changes in SST.

Last Updated: 2007-02-27

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