Climate Dynamics

, Volume 44, Issue 5–6, pp 1329–1349 | Cite as

Projected impact of twenty-first century ENSO changes on rainfall over Central America and northwest South America from CMIP5 AOGCMs

  • Daniel F. Steinhoff
  • Andrew J. Monaghan
  • Martyn P. Clark


Due to the importance that the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has on rainfall over the tropical Americas, future changes in ENSO characteristics and teleconnections are important for regional hydroclimate. Projected changes to the ENSO mean state and characteristics, and the resulting impacts on rainfall anomalies over Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador during the twenty-first century are explored for several forcing scenarios using a suite of coupled atmosphere–ocean global climate models (AOGCMs) from the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). Mean-state warming of eastern tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures, drying of Central America and northern Colombia, and wetting of southwest Colombia and Ecuador are consistent with previous studies that used earlier versions of the AOGCMs. Current and projected future characteristics of ENSO (frequency, duration, amplitude) show a wide range of values across the various AOGCMs. The magnitude of ENSO-related rainfall anomalies are currently underestimated by most of the models, but the model ensembles generally simulate the correct sign of the anomalies across the seasons around the peak ENSO effects. While the models capture the broad present-day ENSO-related rainfall anomalies, there is not a clear sense of projected future changes in the precipitation anomalies.


ENSO CMIP5 Precipitation Teleconnections 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel F. Steinhoff
    • 1
  • Andrew J. Monaghan
    • 1
  • Martyn P. Clark
    • 1
  1. 1.National Center for Atmospheric ResearchBoulderUSA

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