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El Niño exhibits distinct Eastern Pacific (EP) and Central Pacific (CP) types which are commonly, but not always consistently, distinguished from each other by different signatures in equatorial climate variability. Here we propose an index based on evolving climate networks to objectively discriminate between both flavors by utilizing a scalar-valued measure that quantifies spatial localization and dispersion in global teleconnections of surface air temperature. Our index displays a sharp peak (high localization) during EP events, whereas during CP events (larger dispersion) it remains close to the values observed during normal periods. In contrast to previous classification schemes, our approach specifically accounts for El Niño's global impacts. We confirm recent El Niño classifications for the years 1951 to 2014 and assign types to those cases where former works yielded ambiguous results. Ultimately, we demonstrate that our index provides a similar discrimination of La Niña episodes into two distinct types.
Research news | 2018-08-14
New index reveals how climate risks are reinforced by global connectivity, leaving no country shielded from impact
General news | 2018-08-14
Event, Tuesday 11 September 2018 in partnership with ICF and the UN Climate Resilience Initiative A2R. A Global Climate Action Summit affiliate event
Research news | 2018-08-13
New analysis reveals connections between tax havens and resource degradation in both the Amazon rainforest and global fisheries
Research news | 2018-08-06
Keeping global warming to within 1.5-2°C may be more difficult than previously assessed
Research news | 2018-07-10
The World in 2050 initiative launches new report outlining synergies and benefits that render the goals achievable
Research news | 2018-06-27
Overfishing, fractured international relationships and political conflicts loom as fish migrate more unpredictably because of climate change. Here is how to deal with it