10 October 2016

Sea Salt Enhances El Niño Variability

Inter-annual variations in sea salt emissions enhance El Niño variability by 10 percent.

Science

Winds-driven changes in sea salt emissions over the tropical Pacific Ocean enhance El Niño variability.

Impact

This study reveals the importance of aerosols to the El Niño cycle.

Summary

A research team, including scientists from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, used two 150-year pre-industrial simulations of the Community Earth System Model to quantify the interactions between sea salt aerosol and El Niño. They found that variations in sea salt emissions over the tropical Pacific Ocean are affected by changing wind speed associated with El Niño cycle. The changes in sea salt could further perturb tropical surface temperature and enhance El Niño variability by 10 percent.

Contact
Lynn M Russell
Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO)
Publications
2016.  "Changes in sea salt emissions enhance ENSO variability."  Journal of Climate, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0237.1.