Geophysical Research Letters

An ENSO shift revisited

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Abstract

[1] An influential 1996 paper presented a statistical analysis showing that the prolonged ENSO warm event of the early 1990's was inconsistent with the historical pattern of ENSO variability and therefore concluded that there had been a shift in ENSO behavior possibly connected to global warming. A fundamental problem with this earlier analysis is that the data used to test for a shift in ENSO behavior were not independent of the data used to identify the hypothetical shift. A new analysis is presented that avoids this problem by using more recent data. The results raise a question about the earlier finding.

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