June 20, 2022 | Published by |

The El Nino–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has far reaching impacts through atmospheric teleconnections, which make it a prominent driver of global interannual climate variability. As such, whether and how these teleconnections may change due to projected future climate change remains a topic of high societal relevance. Here, ENSO surface temperature (TAS) and precipitation (PR) teleconnections between the historical and high-emission future simulations from Phase 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project are compared. Focusing on the season when ENSO typically peaks (December-February), we find significant future (2081–2100) TAS and PR teleconnection changes over approximately half of teleconnected regions relative to 1950–2014. The large majority of these significant teleconnection changes suggest that an amplification of the historical teleconnections will occur, however, some regions also display a significant teleconnection dampening. Further to this, in many regions these ENSO teleconnection changes scale with the projected warming level. This scaling of teleconnection changes with warming suggests that a lot of the changes to ENSO teleconnections can be avoided by minimizing future warming, or vice versa, larger year to year TAS and PR variability due to ENSO is likely to be experienced with strong future warming.

Read the full paper at AGU.