400-YEAR EL NIÑO RECORD
Original Published Date: 
Friday, May 31, 2019

Full article issued by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes (CLEx). Originally published 7/5/2019.

Australian scientists at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes have developed an innovative method using cores drilled from coral to produce a world-first 400-year-long seasonal record of El Niño events, a record that many in the field had described as impossible to extract.

The 400-year record revealed a clear change in El Niño types, with an increase of Central Pacific El Niño activity in the late 20th Century and suggested future changes ot the strength of Eastern Pacifc El Niños. This understanding of El Niño events is vital because they produce extreme weather across the globe with particularly profound effects on precipitation and temperature extremes in Australia, South East Asia and the Americas. The researchers say that the centuries-long record opens a door not just to past changes, but gives an opportunity to more accurately explore how global warming may change El Niños and what this means for future weather and climate extremes.

Photo credit: 

Image: Drilling for coral cores on Christmas Island. Credit: Jason Turl.