loading page

How extreme apparitions of the volcanic and anthropogenic south east Asian aerosol plume simultaneously trigger and sustain: El Niño and Indian Ocean Dipole events and drought in south eastern Australia . First attribution and mechanism
  • Keith Alan Potts
Keith Alan Potts
Kyna Keju Pty Ltd

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile


Volcanic aerosol plumes over south east Asia (SEAsia), and only over SEAsia, have always been the trigger and sustaining cause of: El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events which are the dominant mode of variability in the global climate; Australian and Indonesian droughts; increased global temperatures; and Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) events. In recent decades this natural plume has been augmented by an anthropogenic plume which has intensified these events especially from September to November. Understanding the mechanism which enables aerosols over SEAsia, and only over SEAsia, to create ENSO events is crucial to understanding the global climate. I show that the SEAsian aerosol plume causes ENSO events by: reflecting/absorbing solar radiation which warms the upper troposphere; and reducing surface radiation which cools the surface under the plume. This inversion reduces convection in SEAsia thereby suppressing the Walker Circulation and the Trade Winds which causes the Sea Surface Temperature (SST) to rise in the central Pacific Ocean and creates convection there. This further weakens/reverses the Walker Circulation driving the climate into an ENSO state which is maintained until the SEAsian aerosols dissipate and the climate system relaxes into a non-ENSO state. Data from the Global Volcanism Program (151 years), the Last Millennium Ensemble (1,156 years), MERRA-2 (41 years) and NASA MODIS on Terra (21 years) demonstrates this connection with the Nino 3.4 and 1+2 SST, the Southern Oscillation Index, and three events commonly associated with ENSO: drought in south eastern Australia; the IOD and a warmer World.
01 Feb 2024Submitted to ESS Open Archive
02 Feb 2024Published in ESS Open Archive