The more extreme La Niña and El Niño events that are predicted in the future could themselves make our world hotter with Australian scientists showing that they would reduce the ability of the Southern Ocean to take up heat, meaning more heat is retained in the atmosphere. The swings in the climate pattern known as the El Niño–Southern Oscillation are projected to get bigger under climate change – with more extreme La Niña and El Niño. But the authors say alongside the increase in the frequency of extreme weather events here in Australia, these bigger swings will also help to amplify global warming as they make the Southern Ocean less able to absorb heat.
Journal/conference: Nature Climate Change
Link to research (DOI): 10.1038/s41558-022-01398-2
Organisation/s: The University of New South Wales, CSIRO, ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes (CLEx)
Funder: This work is supported by the Centre for Southern Hemisphere Oceans Research, a joint research centre between Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (QNLM) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). G.W., W.C. and A.S. are also supported by the Australian government under the National Environmental Science Program. W.C. is funded by China’s National Key Research and Development Projects 2018YFA0605704. S.-W.Y. is supported by the research program for the carbon cycle between ocean, land and atmosphere of the National Research Foundation (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and Information and Communication Technologies (2021M316A1086803). M.J.M. is supported by Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) contribution no. 5310.