Weakening of the Atlantic Niño variability under global warming

Crespo, L.R., Prigent, A., Keenlyside, N., Koseki, S., Svendsen, L., Richter, I., Sánchez-Gómez, E. 2022: Weakening of the Atlantic Niño variability under global warming. Nat. Clim. Chang. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-022-01453-y

Summary: The Atlantic Niño is one of the most important patterns of interannual tropical climate variability, but how climate change will influence this pattern is not well known due to large climate model biases. Here we show that state-of-the-art climate models robustly predict a weakening of Atlantic Niños in response to global warming, mainly due to a decoupling of subsurface and surface temperature variations as the upper equatorial Atlantic Ocean warms. This weakening is predicted by most (>80%) models in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phases 5 and 6 under the highest emission scenarios. Our results indicate a reduction in variability by the end of the century by 14%, and as much as 24–48% when accounting for model errors using a simple emergent constraint analysis. Such a weakening of Atlantic Niño variability will potentially impact climate conditions and the skill of seasonal predictions in many regions.

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