Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

El Nino: Better understanding of long-term changes in climate system

Date:
December 6, 2010
Source:
Kent State University
Summary:
Scientists have been studying long-term climate variability associated with El Nino. The researchers' goal is to help climatologists better understand this global climate phenomenon that happens every two to eight years, impacting much of the world.

A researcher points in the vicinity of Soledad Basin on a high-resolution bathymetric map off the coast of Baja California.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Dr. Joseph Ortiz/Kent State University

For more than a decade, Dr. Joseph Ortiz, associate professor of geology at Kent State University and part of an international team of National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded researchers, has been studying long-term climate variability associated with El Niño. The researchers' goal is to help climatologists better understand this global climate phenomenon that happens every two to eight years, impacting much of the world.

El Niño is the periodic warming of central and eastern tropical Pacific waters. The last El Niño occurred in 2009, Ortiz said, and its impact was felt in the United States with flooding in the south and wildfires in California. The research team looked at El Niño-Southern Oscillation (which is often just called "El Niño"), reconstructing sea surface temperature of the equatorial Pacific over the past 14,000 years.

"If we understand how El Niño changes over thousands of years, we can better predict climate changes on societal time-scales of years to decades," Ortiz explained. "El Niño variations lead to drought, famine, landslides, fires and other natural disasters, depending on where in the world you happen to be. Our findings can help lead to better ways to predict El Niño-Southern Oscillations, mitigating the natural disasters associated with it."

In addition to Ortiz, the research team includes the lead author on the paper, Thomas Marchitto (University of Colorado); Raimund Muscheler (Lund University in Sweden); Jose Carriquiry (Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Ensenada in Mexico); and Alexander van Geen (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University). Their findings will appear in the Dec. 3 issue of Science. Their paper helps to establish the linkage between changes in solar intensity and the strength of El Niño on millennial time scales. Their work was funded by the Marine Geology Subdivision of the National Science Foundation's Ocean Sciences Division.

"The climate system is very sensitive to subtle external forcing," Ortiz said. "We determined that the sun has an impact but is not the sole factor driving changes on these millennial time scales. Other studies have tried to show a solar linkage to El Niño-related climate variability, but our study indicates a convincing linkage due to the continuity of our record. This paper confirms the 'ocean dynamical thermostat' theory, showing that solar-forced changes in ocean circulation have on impact on El Niño."

Ortiz began working with the international team of scientists when he was a post-doctoral scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a research branch of Columbia University. Over the last 11 years, his contributions to the team include assisting with measurements and in the statistical analysis of the data sets. As a researcher in the Kent State geology department, Ortiz has involved Kent State graduates and undergraduates in his NSF-funded research, providing his students with real-world experience on an international level. His students have participated in research projects as close to home as here in Ohio, and as far away as the South Pacific, North Atlantic, Arctic, Pacific Northwest, and off Baja California.

"With my involvement in this project, Kent State geology students have studied core samples collected off of Baja California," Ortiz said. "The students can take what they learn in the classroom out into the field and back to the lab. I feel very fortunate to be able to provide our students with this type of experience and bring international-level research to Kent State."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Thomas M. Marchitto, Raimund Muscheler, Joseph D. Ortiz, Jose D. Carriquiry and Alexander Van Geen. Dynamical Response of the Tropical Pacific Ocean to Solar Forcing During the Early Holocene,". Science, 3 December 2010: Vol. 330 no. 6009 pp. 1378-1381 DOI: 10.1126/science.1194887

Cite This Page:

Kent State University. "El Nino: Better understanding of long-term changes in climate system." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101202141918.htm>.
Kent State University. (2010, December 6). El Nino: Better understanding of long-term changes in climate system. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101202141918.htm
Kent State University. "El Nino: Better understanding of long-term changes in climate system." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101202141918.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

AFP (July 22, 2014) — As part of the 14-ship convoy that will accompany the Costa Concordia from the port of Giglio to the port of Genoa, there will be a boat carrying experts to look out for dolphins and whales from crossing the path of the Concordia. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

AP (July 21, 2014) — New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate in a large-scale recycling effort for cigarette butts. The city is rolling out dozens of containers for smokers to use when they discard their butts. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) — A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

AFP (July 19, 2014) — A spectaCular lightning storm struck the UK overnight Friday. Images of lightning strikes over the Shard and Tower Bridge in central London. Duration: 00:23 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:
from the past week

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