Climate variability of the Great Barrier Reef in relation to the tropical Pacific and El Nino-Southern Oscillation

Redondo-Rodriguez, Ana, Weeks, Scarla, Berkelmans, Ray, Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove and Lough, Janice M. (2012) Climate variability of the Great Barrier Reef in relation to the tropical Pacific and El Nino-Southern Oscillation. Marine and Freshwater Research, 63 1: 34-47. doi:10.1071/MF11151


Author Redondo-Rodriguez, Ana
Weeks, Scarla
Berkelmans, Ray
Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove
Lough, Janice M.
Title Climate variability of the Great Barrier Reef in relation to the tropical Pacific and El Nino-Southern Oscillation
Journal name Marine and Freshwater Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1323-1650
1448-6059
Publication date 2012-01-01
Year available 2011
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/MF11151
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 63
Issue 1
Start page 34
End page 47
Total pages 14
Place of publication Collingwood, VIC, Australia
Publisher C S I R O Publishing
Language eng
Abstract Understanding the nature and causes of recent climate variability on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia, is fundamental to assessing the impacts of future climate change on this complex ecosystem. New analytical tools, improved data quality and resolution, longer time-series and new variables provide an opportunity to re-assess existing paradigms. Here, we examined sea surface temperature (SST), sea level pressure, surface winds, sea surface height and ocean currents for the period from 1948 to 2009. We focussed on the relationship between GBR surface climate and the wider tropical Pacific, and the influence of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. Also, for the first time, we investigated the impact of the El Niño/La Niña Modoki phenomenon. Although neither type of ENSO event is a primary driver of inter-annual climate variability on the GBR, their influence is conspicuous. Classical ENSO events have a strong signature in the atmospheric circulation in the northern GBR but no significant relationship with SSTs and the opposite applies for the southern GBR. Conversely, El Niño/La Niña Modoki is significantly related to summer SSTs on the northern GBR, but not for the southern GBR. This study enhances our understanding of tropical Pacific and GBR climate drivers and will improve future predictions of change in climate variables that are likely to impact on the complex GBR ecosystem.
Keyword ENSO
Great Barrier Reef
La Nina
Modoki
SST
Tropical Pacific
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online 17 November 2011

 
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