ENSO Workshop Australia 2015


ENSO Extremes and Diversity: Dynamics, Teleconnection, and Impacts

Mat 102, University of New South Wales
Sydney, Australia, 4-6 February 2015



Our knowledge of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has advanced over the last 30 years with increasing availability and quality of observational data, development of ENSO theories, paleo-proxy reconstructions, and improvements in climate models.  Over this time, much has been learnt about the general behaviour of ENSO, as underscored by the success of theories like recharge-discharge oscillator and delayed oscillator.

The occurrence of extreme El Niños, such as the 1982/83 and 1997/98 events, however, have highlighted the importance of nonlinear processes in the ENSO cycle.  The 1997/1998 El Niño event, the strongest on record with widespread destructive impacts, was dubbed the ‘climate event of the 20th Century’.  Such extreme events are rare and not well constrained by our limited observations. 

It is crucial that climate models are able to simulate such phenomenon, but can they do it?  What are the physical characteristics, teleconnections, and impacts that define such phenomenon?  How is non-linearity related with scale interaction, event diversity, and what are the implications for predictability?  How well do climate models simulate ENSO non-linearity?  Do we have any paleo evidence for ENSO non-linearity in the distant past?  How does this non-linearity evolve with internal variability (e.g., the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation) and respond to external forcing such as the greenhouse gas forcing?

This workshop serves as an opportunity to review gaps in our understanding of ENSO and to formulate a plan for how our community should move forward to fill these gaps.

This event is supported by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science and CSIRO. It contributes to the objectives of CLIVAR.


Organising committee:

  • Wenju Cai (CSIRO, Australia)
  • Agus Santoso (UNSW, Australia)
  • Mat Collins (University of Exeter, UK)
  • Fei-Fei Jin (U. Hawaii, USA)
  • Mike McPhaden (NOAA/PMEL, USA)
  • Eric Guilyardi (LOCEAN/IPSL, France)
  • Gabriel Vecchi (GFDL/NOAA, USA)
  • Dietmar Dommenget (Monash University, Australia)
  • Guojian Wang (CSIRO, Australia)

UNSW organising committee

  • Agus Santoso
  • Jules Kajtar
  • Esteban Abellan Villardon
  • Shayne McGregor
  • Bronwen Smith
  • Alvin Stone
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