Is El Nino changing?

Alexey V. Fedorov, S. George Philander

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

601 Scopus citations


Recent advances in observational and theoretical studies of El Nino have shed light on controversies concerning the possible effect of global warming on this phenomenon over the past few decades and in the future. El Nino is now understood to be one phase of a natural mode of oscillation - La Nina is the complementary phase - that results from unstable interactions between the tropical Pacific Ocean and the atmosphere. Random disturbances maintain this neutrally stable mode, whose properties depend on the background (time- averaged) climate state. Apparent changes in the properties of El Nino could reflect the importance of random disturbances, but they could also be a consequence of decadal variations of the background state. The possibility that global warming is affecting those variations cannot be excluded.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1997-2002
Number of pages6
Issue number5473
StatePublished - Jun 16 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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