New research led by Kim Cobb, an associate professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, published in the journal Science on January 4, 2013, and reviewed at the Eureka Alert website on January 3, 2013 adjusts the role of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in climate change.
The research based on the macroscopic and microscopic examination of a set of fossil corals that are as much as 7,000 years old from Christmas and Fanning Islands indicate that ENSO activity was much greater 400 years ago than during the twentieth century although the duration was shorter. The research does indicate that twentieth century ENSO activity is higher than baseline activity.
The new research provides an evidence based tool for prediction of the effects of the ENSO and climate change on a more factual basis that will allow climate models to be adjusted to a higher level of accuracy and a better predictive value.
The work has already called into question a long-held belief that ENSO was reduced some 6,000 years ago and provides three times the data that was previously available to make predictions of ENSO activity and the affect ENSO has on coral growth and climate change.