Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Evidence That El Niño Influences Global Climate Conditions On A 2,000-Year Cycle

Date:
November 14, 2002
Source:
Syracuse University
Summary:
El Niño, the pattern that can wreak havoc on climate conditions around the world, is like a beacon, pulsating through time on a 2,000 year cycle, according to a new study by scientists from Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y.; Union College, Schenectady, N.Y., and from the NOAA Paleoclimatology Program, Boulder, Colo., that is being published in the Nov. 14 issue of Nature.

El Niño, the pattern that can wreak havoc on climate conditions around the world, is like a beacon, pulsating through time on a 2,000 year cycle, according to a new study by scientists from Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y.; Union College, Schenectady, N.Y., and from the NOAA Paleoclimatology Program, Boulder, Colo., that is being published in the Nov. 14 issue of Nature.

Related Articles


The study, which resulted from a detailed analysis of a continuous 10,000-year record of El Niño events from a lake in southern Ecuador, is the first documented evidence that such a millennial cycle exists for El Niño. The researchers found that the frequency of El Niño events peaked about 1,200 years ago, or during the early Middle Ages. If the pattern continues into the future, there should be an increase in El Niño events in the early part of the 22nd century, the scientists say.

"El Niño operates within its own kind of 2,000-year rhythm, and because of that, we believe these periodic changes have had a major impact on global climate conditions over the past 10,000 years," says Christopher Moy G'00, the lead author of the study and a 2000 graduate of Syracuse University. "El Niño is one of the primary forces that can alter climate around the globe during a short period of time."

The study is the result of work Moy did as a graduate student in the Department of Earth Sciences in Syracuse University's College of Arts and Sciences for his master's thesis. His advisor was Prof. Geoffrey Seltzer. In a 1999 study published in Science, Seltzer and Donald T. Rodbell, who was Moy's undergraduate advisor at Union College, discovered the first continuous record of El Niño events that dated back more than 5,000 years. That study was based on sediment samples taken in 1993 from the same lake in southern Ecuador--Lake Pallcacocha--as part of a larger global climate study on which they were collaborating.

This new study of El Niño events is based on another set of sediment cores taken in 1999 from Lake Pallcacocha, which is located in the Andes Mountains. The National Science Foundation funded the research.

Characterized by warm sea surface temperatures that appear off the western coast of South America, modern El Niño events cause dramatic changes in the weather systems across both the North and South American continents--from tumultuous rainfall in northern Peru and southern Ecuador to unusually warm and dry conditions in the northeastern United States.

Like the 1993 sediment core samples, the new core samples contain a series of light-colored sediment layers that contain the type of debris that would flow into the lake during periods of intense precipitation. In his analysis of the sediment layers, Moy confirmed results from the first study--that scattered El Niño events began about 10,000 years ago and steadily increased in frequency beginning about 7,000 years ago. In addition to that, he uncovered high-frequency clusters of El Niño events occurring on a 2,000-year cycle.

"About every 2,000 years, we see a lot of El Niño activity," says Moy, who is currently a graduate student at Stanford University and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in geology and environmental science. "This oscillation has not been seen in any other study of climate records of this area of the world, which makes this study unique. El Niño is an important part of our modern-day climate system. Likewise, our study shows it was also an important part of the earth's climate system 7,000 years ago. Understanding the past will help us to better understand future climate changes."

Seltzer says that Moy's study sheds new light on a tropical phenomenon that can radically alter climate conditions in a relatively short period of time. "We are extremely excited and pleased that the research Chris did as a Syracuse University graduate student is now being published in a premier, international journal and that he is moving toward greater accomplishments in the field. It's the ultimate outcome for our program and of a student-centered research university like Syracuse University."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Syracuse University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Syracuse University. "New Evidence That El Niño Influences Global Climate Conditions On A 2,000-Year Cycle." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 November 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/11/021114072253.htm>.
Syracuse University. (2002, November 14). New Evidence That El Niño Influences Global Climate Conditions On A 2,000-Year Cycle. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/11/021114072253.htm
Syracuse University. "New Evidence That El Niño Influences Global Climate Conditions On A 2,000-Year Cycle." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/11/021114072253.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) — Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
5 Hot Months, 1 Warm Year And All The Arguments To Follow

5 Hot Months, 1 Warm Year And All The Arguments To Follow

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — The NOAA released statistics Thursday showing October was the fifth month this year with record temps and 2014 will likely be the hottest on record. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nations Pledge $9.3 Bn for Green Climate Fund

Nations Pledge $9.3 Bn for Green Climate Fund

AFP (Nov. 20, 2014) — Nations meeting in Berlin pledge $9.3 billion (7.4 bn euros) for a climate fund to help poor countries cut emissions and prepare for global warming, just shy of a $10bn target. Duration: 00:46 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins