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Supercomputer simulates El Nino and La Nina

Date: 07 September 2021 Tags: Climate Change


A new research has suggested that El Nino and La Nina phenomenon can be extreme and frequent due to climate change.



The phenomenon of El Nino and La Nina occur in tropical Pacific Ocean and influence the weather conditions all over the world.



  • In El Niño condition, the sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean increases.

  • In La Nina conditions, the sea waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean will be colder than usual. They together are called ENSO or El Niño-Southern Oscillation.


The recent changes

The future simulated ENSO sea surface temperature variability weakens due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. The higher CO2 concentration can also weaken ENSO temperature cycle.


Finding the changes

  • The research team made use of the fastest Supercomputer in South Korea, Aleph. The calculation performed by the Supercomputer in 1 second will need 45 million years for humans to complete.

  • They considered various situations such as CO2 concentrations doubling and quadrupling for understanding the changes in ENSO.


Reasons for collapse

  • They found that El Niño events will lose their heat faster due to evaporation of surface water. The temperature difference between eastern and western tropical Pacific will also be reduced.

  • The team also studied a prominent feature in the equatorial Pacific known as tropical instability waves. Weakening of these waves can disrupt La Niña event.

  • The positive and negative feedback in the ENSO system will be tilting from one side to another that can cause negative feedback in a warmer climate.


El Nino

  • It is a climatic phenomenon in which surface waters in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean will become unusually warm.

  • El Niño phase usually lasts close to four years. In general they continue for a period between two to seven years.


La Nina

  • It is opposite to El Nino. In this condition the surface temperatures in eastern equatorial Pacific becomes colder than usual.

  • This phenomenon is said to strengthen Monsoon rains in India and rest of the subcontinent. South America and California will experience dry climate and droughts.

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