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Science. 2005 Jul 29;309(5735):758-61. Epub 2005 Jun 23.

Permanent El Niño-like conditions during the Pliocene warm period.

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1
Ocean Sciences Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA.

Erratum in

  • Science. 2006 Sep 22;313(5794):1739.

Abstract

During the warm early Pliocene (approximately 4.5 to 3.0 million years ago), the most recent interval with a climate warmer than today, the eastern Pacific thermocline was deep and the average west-to-east sea surface temperature difference across the equatorial Pacific was only 1.5 +/- 0.9 degrees C, much like it is during a modern El Niño event. Thus, the modern strong sea surface temperature gradient across the equatorial Pacific is not a stable and permanent feature. Sustained El Niño-like conditions, including relatively weak zonal atmospheric (Walker) circulation, could be a consequence of, and play an important role in determining, global warmth.

PMID:
15976271
DOI:
10.1126/science.1112596
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