Marine Studies Institute

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Ocean mixing and air-sea coupling in the Pacific: Toward improved El Nino forecasting

Dr Ryan Holmes

The Tropical Pacific, and the mode of climate variability known as the El Nino – Southern Oscillation (ENSO), drives significant year-to-year variability in Australian rainfall and climate extremes. However, tropical climate predictions are limited due to systematic biases in numerical climate models.

Using new high-resolution regional coupled ocean-atmosphere modelling techniques, this project aims to improve our ability to simulate tropical Pacific climate. We will develop a new understanding of key fine-scale air-sea interaction and ocean mixing processes active in the eastern Pacific cold tongue during ENSO events but not captured by current generation climate prediction systems.

Expected outcomes include a better representation of tropical climate in the Australian climate model and improved seasonal to interannual predictive capability. These improved predictions will give communities more time to prepare for extreme events such as droughts, heatwaves and bushfires typically associated with ENSO events.

Contact: Dr Ryan Holmes

Email: r.holmes@sydney.edu.au

Address: F09 – Madsen Building

School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney

Websites:

Research Website