Figure 4 from the paper
To assess if the relationship between variables are in-phase or out-of-phase, the authors used lagged regression analysis of various variables and the Niño3.4 index (a standard measure of ENSO), binned by percentiles. Negative lags (in blue) indicate that the variables lead the Niño3.4 index. Panel (a) shows the regression with tropical sea surface temperature (SST), (b) the regression with the estimated inversion strength (EIS) – a measure of lower-tropospheric stability over oceans relevant to low clouds, and panel (c) the top-of-atmosphere radiative flux (N). Credit: Ceppi & Fueglistaler [2021], Figure 4
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Source: Geophysical Research Letters

Projections of climate change are dependent on the Earth’s radiation budget. In order to better understand the variability of the Earth’s radiation in interannual time-scales, Ceppi & Fueglistaler [2021] examined the relationship between radiation and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which is the dominant mode of variability on these time-scales and is characterized by large changes in sea surface temperature (SST).

They show that changes in the SST affect the atmospheric temperature, which influences the amount of low clouds present leading to changes in the tropical radiation budget. Their results suggest a two-way coupling between the ENSO SST changes and radiation, which has important implications for long-term climate projections, in particular, the impact of model biases in cloud representation on these projections.

Citation: Ceppi, P., & Fueglistaler, S. [2021]. The El Niño–Southern Oscillation pattern effect. Geophysical Research Letters, 48, e2021GL095261.

―Suzana Camargo, Editor, Geophysical Research Letters

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