AbstractThe causes of the change in amplitude of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) during the mid-Holocene were investigated by diagnosing the model simulations that participated in the Paleoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project phases 2 and 3. Consistent with paleoclimate records, 20 out of the 28 models reproduced weaker-than-preindustrial ENSO amplitude during the mid-Holocene. Two representative models were then selected to explore the underlying mechanisms of air–sea feedback processes. A mixed layer heat budget diagnosis indicated that the weakened ENSO amplitude was primarily attributed to the decrease in the Bjerknes thermocline feedback, while the meridional advective feedback also played a role. During the mid-Holocene, the thermocline response to a unit anomalous zonal wind stress forcing in the equatorial Pacific weakened in both models because of the increased ENSO meridional scale. A further investigation revealed that the greater ENSO meridional width was caused by the strengthening of the Pacific subtropical cell, which was attributed to the enhanced mean trade wind that resulted from the intensified Asian and African monsoon rainfall and associated large-scale east–west circulation in response to the mid-Holocene orbital forcing.
Journal of Climate – American Meteorological Society
Published: Sep 19, 2017
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