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Global climate change

Coral cores help uncover 400-year-old El Nino record

By Brett Anderson, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
5/08/2019, 12:12:45 PM

Using cores drilled from coral, Australian scientists have been able to produce the first 400-year-long seasonal record of El Nino events.

Coral cores are similar to tree rings, with centuries-long growth patterns and contain isotopes, which give clues to the climate long ago, according to the climate extremes report.

El Nino is the abnormal warming of the surface waters along a portion of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. El Nino can have significant impacts on weather patterns across portions of the world.

Walker circulation during an El Nino.

This is what the researchers found.........

1. A significant increase in central based Pacific El Nino activity in the late 20th century.

Central and eastern based El Nino SST anomaly patterns.

Dr. Mandy Freund (lead author) and her team found there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of El Ninos forming in the Central Pacific over the past 30 years, compared to all 30-year periods in the past 400 years.

2. There are some indications that a much stronger east-based El Nino, such as what occurred in 1997/1998 and 2015/2016, may be growing in intensity.


Below is a video about the study. Courtesy YouTube.

This peer-reviewed study is published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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Global climate change