The broad-scale warming expected from increased greenhouse gases may actually sap the strength of a typical El Niño, according to researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado. In contrast, the average El Niño during the last ice age may have packed more punch than todays. The scientists have examined the past and future behavior of El Niño using a sophisticated computer model of global climate. They present their results this week at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, December 6–10.
El Niño typically brings flooding to some parts of the world and drought to others. New research suggests El Niños have weakened since prehistoric times and could change still further in the future
More tepid El Niños to come?
NCAR scientist Esther Brady is lead author of a study that uses the NCAR Climate System Model to track how global air and ocean circulation could evolve at increasing levels of carbon dioxide, the most prevalent of the industrial greenhouse gases. The scientists simulated Earths climate with atmospheric carbon dioxide at one, two, and six times its preindustrial level of about 280 parts per million.
Bob Henson | EurekAlert!
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