Diaz, H. F., and V. Markgraf, 1992: El Niño: Historical and Paleoclimatic Aspects of the Southern Oscillation. Cambridge University Press, 476 pp.


The El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon is a recurrent feature of the climate in tropical regions. A primary example of large-scale coupled ocean-atmosphere interactions, ENSO has received much attention in the past few decades, as a result of widespread climatic anomalies (severe drought and floods, Indian monsoon failure, etc.) that are often associated with the development of such episodes. To enhance our understanding of the mechanisms involved in the low frequency behavior of ENSO and to help improve our ability to forecast the future behavior of this phenomenon, the book combines a collection of clearly different contributions which analyses the modern aspects of ENSO morphology, modelling and variability with chapters dealing with its historical and prehistorical behavior.

This volume examines different approaches to reconstructing ENSO based on a variety of proxy sources, ranging from high-resolution environmental indicators such as tree-rings, ice cores and tropical coral records, to records on the impact of ENSO on fisheries and marine and lacustrine sediments, to a long record of vegetation changes in the Southern Hemisphere. The book also describes how, in the past, the climatic manifestations associated with the El Niño/Southern Oscillation may have been different, in the frequency of occurrence as well as amplitude. It suggests that, perhaps as late as 6,000 BP, the ENSO, if it was operating then, was not being manifested as now in the vegetation complex present in affected areas of South America and New Zealand-Australia. Such findings, together with the results of coupled General Circulation Model experiments of the ENSO under doubled greenhouse gas concentrations suggest that the anomalous climatic conditions arising from the development of modern ENSO events may change in the future if the background climate in which the phenomenon operates changes as well.

This book will be of importance to all professional scientists and researchers in climatology, meteorology and the earth and environmental sciences, while graduate students in these disciplines will find the book a useful reference source.