A possible explanation on the changes in the spatial structure of ENSO from CMIP3 to CMIP5

Sang Wook Yeh, Yoo Geun Ham, Ben P. Kirtman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This study examines changes in the structure of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) amplitude using the historical climate simulations of the World Climate Research Program Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) phase-3 and phase-5 coupled general circulation models (CGCMs). The analysis focuses on the "so-called" Bjerknes feedback. The Bjerknes feedback affects the sea surface temperature (SST) variability differently between the CMIP3 and CMIP5 models. In the CMIP5 models, the strength of the Bjerknes feedback is associated with the amplitude of ENSO, whereas the changes in the strength of Bjerknes feedback are not associated with changes in ENSO amplitude in CMIP3 CGCMs. The relationship between the Bjerknes feedback and the SST anomaly variance is suggested as a possible explanation for the eastward shift in the SST anomaly variance in CMIP5 relative to CMIP3. Key Points Understanding of ENSO amplitude changes Understanding of Bjerknes feedback in model Identifying the difference in CMIP3 and CMIP5

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-145
Number of pages6
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 16 2014


  • Bjerknes feedback
  • CMIP3
  • CMIP5
  • ENSO amplitude

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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