Volcanic and solar forcing of the tropical Pacific over the past 1000 years

Michael E. Mann, Mark A. Cane, Stephen E. Zebiak, Amy Clement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

383 Scopus citations


The response of El Niño to natural radiative forcing changes over the past 1000 yr is investigated based on numerical experiments employing the Zebiak-Cane model of the tropical Pacific coupled ocean-atmosphere system. Previously published empirical results demonstrating a statistically significant tendency toward El Niño conditions in response to past volcanic radiative forcing are reproduced in the model experiments. A combination of responses to past changes in volcanic and solar radiative forcing closely reproduces changes in the mean state and interannual variability in El Niño in past centuries recorded from fossil corals. The dynamics of El Niño thus appear to have played an important role in the response of the global climate to past changes in radiative forcing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-456
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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