Mean sea surface temperature changes influence ENSO-related precipitation changes in the mid-latitudes

Young Min Yang, Jae Heung Park, Soon Il An, Bin Wang, Xiao Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


El Niño profoundly impacts precipitation in high-population regions. This demands an advanced understanding of the changes in El Niño-induced precipitation under the future global warming scenario. However, thus far, consensus is lacking regarding future changes in mid-latitude precipitation influenced by El Niño. Here, by analyzing the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project simulations, we show that future precipitation changes are tightly linked to the response of each type of El Niño to the tropical Pacific mean sea surface temperature (SST) change. A La Niña-like mean SST change intensifies basin-wide El Niño events causing approximately 20% more precipitation over East Asia and North America via enhancing moisture transport. Meanwhile, an El Niño-like mean SST change generates more frequent eastern Pacific El Niño events, enhancing precipitation in North American. Our findings highlight the importance of the mean SST projection in selectively influencing the types of El Niño and their remote impact on precipitation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1495
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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