Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-766
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-766
22 Mar 2024
 | 22 Mar 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Similar North Pacific variability despite suppressed El Niño variability in the warm mid-Pliocene climate

Arthur Merlijn Oldeman, Michiel L. J. Baatsen, Anna S. von der Heydt, Frank M. Selten, and Henk A. Dijkstra

Abstract. The mid-Pliocene is the most recent geological period with similar atmospheric CO2 concentration to the present-day, and similar surface temperatures as projected at the end of this century for a moderate warming scenario. While not a perfect analogue, the mid-Pliocene can be used to study the functioning of the Earth system under similar forcings as a near future, especially regarding features in the climate system for which uncertainties exist in future projections. According to the mid-Pliocene modelling ensemble PlioMIP2, the variability of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) was suppressed. In this study, we investigate how teleconnections of ENSO, specifically variability in the North Pacific atmosphere, responds to a suppressed ENSO, according to the PlioMIP2. The multi-model mean shows a similar sea-level pressure (SLP) variability in the Aleutian Low (AL) in the mid-Pliocene and pre-industrial, but a per-model view reveals that the change in AL variability is related to the change in ENSO variability. Even though ENSO is suppressed, the teleconnection between ENSO sea-surface temperature anomalies, tropical precipitation and North Pacific SLP anomalies is quite robust in the mid-Pliocene. We split AL variability in a part that is ENSO-related, and a residual variability which is related to internal stochastic variability, and find that the change in ENSO-related AL variability is strongly related to the change in ENSO variability itself, while the change in residual AL variability is unrelated to ENSO change. Since the internal atmospheric variability, which is the dominant forcing of the AL variability, is largely unchanged, we are able to understand that the AL variability is largely similar even though ENSO variability is suppressed. We find that the specific change in ENSO and AL variability depends on both the model equilibrium climate sensitivity ánd Earth system sensitivity. Finally, we present a perspective of (extra-)tropical Pacific variability in the PlioMIP2, combining our results with literature findings on changes in the tropical mean climate as well as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).

Arthur Merlijn Oldeman, Michiel L. J. Baatsen, Anna S. von der Heydt, Frank M. Selten, and Henk A. Dijkstra

Status: open (until 03 May 2024)

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Arthur Merlijn Oldeman, Michiel L. J. Baatsen, Anna S. von der Heydt, Frank M. Selten, and Henk A. Dijkstra
Arthur Merlijn Oldeman, Michiel L. J. Baatsen, Anna S. von der Heydt, Frank M. Selten, and Henk A. Dijkstra

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Short summary
We might be able to constrain uncertainty in future climate projections by investigating variations in the climate of the past. In this study, we investigate the interactions of climate variability between the tropical Pacific (El Niño) and the North Pacific in a warm past climate – the mid-Pliocene, a period roughly 3 million years ago. Using model simulations, we find that although the variability of El Niño was reduced, the variability in the North Pacific atmosphere was not.