Findings from a MAPP-funded project entitled, “Understanding
the Emerging Central-Pacific ENSO and Its Impacts on North American Climate” were recently discussed at the NOAA National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center’s (CPC) Monthly Ocean Briefing on April 9th. This research by Jin-Yi Yu (University of California, Department of Earth System Science), Yuhao Zou (University of California, Department of Earth System Science), Seon Tae Kim (University of California, Department of Earth System Science), and Tong Lee (California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory) shows that two types of El Niño, the traditional Eastern-Pacific (EP) and emerging Central-Pacific (CP), have different impacts on U.S. winter temperatures and precipitation, and that CP El Niños have increased in frequency in recent decades. The typical EP El Niño mainly affects Great Lakes, Northeast, and Southwest U.S. temperatures, while the CP El Niño mostly impacts northwestern and southeastern U.S. temperatures. Additionally, the CP El Niño decreases winter precipitation overall by increasing the drying effect while weakening the wetting effect usually produced by the EP El Niño. Thus, the recent shift to the CP El Niño, such as with the 2015 El Niño, could be influencing the frequency of extended droughts in the U.S. This study discussed by CPC serves as an example of MAPP-funded research informing operations.
To access the papers discussing this research, go to: http://www.ess.uci.edu/~yu/PDF/YU.et.al.GRL.2012.pdf, and http://www.ess.uci.edu/~yu/PDF/Yu+Zou.ERL.2013.pdf.