El Niño–Southern Oscillation, Pliocene climate and equifinality

Bonham, S. G., Haywood, Alan, Lunt, Daniel, Collins, Matthew and Salzmann, Ulrich (2009) El Niño–Southern Oscillation, Pliocene climate and equifinality. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences, 367 (1886). pp. 127-156. ISSN 1364-503X

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2008.0212

Abstract

It has been suggested that, during the Pliocene (ca 5–1.8?Ma), an El Niño state existed as a permanent rather than an intermittent feature; that is, the tropical Pacific Ocean was characterized by a much weaker east–west gradient than today. One line of inquiry used to investigate this idea relates modern El Niño teleconnections to Pliocene proxy data by comparing regional differences in precipitation and surface temperature with climate patterns associated with present-day El Niño events, assuming that agreement between Pliocene data and observations of modern El Niño events supports this interpretation. Here, we examine this assumption by comparing outputs from a suite of Mid-Pliocene climate simulations carried out with the UK Met Office climate model. Regional patterns of climate change associated with changes in model boundary conditions are compared with observed El Niño–Southern Oscillation teleconnection patterns. Our results indicate that many of the proposed ‘permanent El Niño’ surface temperature and precipitation patterns are observable in Mid-Pliocene climate simulations even when they display variability in tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures (SSTs) or when forced with a modern east–west SST gradient. Our experiments highlight the possibility that the same outcome may be achieved through different initial conditions (equifinality); an important consideration for reconstructed patterns of regional Mid-Pliocene climate.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Pliocene, El Niño, El Niño–Southern Oscillation, teleconnections, climate models, equifinality
Subjects: F600 Geology
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 11 May 2010 11:23
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2015 11:27
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/204

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics


Policies: NRL Policies | NRL University Deposit Policy | NRL Deposit Licence