May 5, 2020
Journal Article

Changes in sea salt emissions enhance ENSO variability

Sijia Lou
Ying Liu
Yang Yang
Lynn Russell
Steven Ghan
Maryam Lamjiri
Balwinder Singh

Abstract

Two 150-year pre-industrial simulations with and without interactive sea salt emissions from the Community Earth System Model (CESM) are performed to quantify the interactions between sea salt emissions and El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Variations in sea salt emissions over the tropical Pacific Ocean are affected by changing wind speed associated with ENSO variability. ENSO-induced interannual variations in sea salt emissions result in decreasing (increasing) aerosol optical depth (AOD) by 0.03 over the equatorial central-eastern (western) Pacific Ocean during El Niño events compared to those during La Niña events. These changes in AOD further increase (decrease) radiative fluxes into the atmosphere by +0.2 W m-2 (-0.4 W m-2) over the tropical eastern (western) Pacific. Thereby, sea surface temperature increases (decreases) by 0.2–0.4 K over the tropical eastern (western) Pacific Ocean during El Niño compared to La Niña events and enhances ENSO variability by 10%. The increase in ENSO amplitude is a result of systematic heating (cooling) during the warm (cold) phase, of ENSO in the eastern Pacific. Interannual variations in sea salt emissions then produce the anomalous ascent (subsidence) over the equatorial eastern (western) Pacific between El Niño and La Niña events, which is a result of heating anomalies. Due to variations in sea salt emissions, the convective precipitation is enhanced by 0.6–1.2 mm day-1 over the tropical central-eastern Pacific Ocean and weakened by 0.9–1.5 mm day-1 over the Maritime Continent during El Niño compared to La Niña events, enhancing the precipitation variability over the tropical Pacific.

Revised: May 5, 2020 | Published: December 1, 2016

Citation

Yang Y., L.M. Russell, S. Lou, M.A. Lamjiri, Y. Liu, B. Singh, and S.J. Ghan. 2016. "Changes in sea salt emissions enhance ENSO variability." Journal of Climate 29, no. 23:8575-8588. PNNL-SA-120633. doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0237.1