Washington: A new research has revealed that 21000-year-old history will help shed light on El Nino's notorious unpredictability.
The El Nino Southern Oscillation is Earth's main source of year-to-year climate variability, but its response to global warming remains highly uncertain.
Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta see a large amount of variability in the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) when looking back at climate records from thousands of years ago.
Without a clear understanding of what caused past changes in ENSO variability, predicting the climate phenomenon's future is a difficult task.
The study shows how this climate system responds to various pressures, such as changes in carbon dioxide and ice cover, in one of the best models used to project future climate change.
Researcher Kim Cobb said that all of the natural climate fluctuations are in this model, and what they see is that the El Nino responds to every single one of these, significantly.
The El Nino-Southern Oscillation phenomenon controls how the climate changes in the tropics (and also influences weather patterns elsewhere, including the United States).
Cobb added that the model gives some very clear predictions that are very much in line with some of the best understandings of the physics controlling the El Nino system and it shows that this climate system in the model is sensitive to a variety of different natural climate changes that occurred over the last 21,000 years.
Cobb said that the more they can close the loop between what this model says happened in the past and what the data say happened in the past, then they can project forward their improved understanding to understand future El Nino.
The study is published in the journal Nature.