Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • News & Views
  • Published:

Climate science

El Niño's variable history

A study of the El Niño phenomenon over the past 21,000 years suggests that El Niño responded in complex ways to a changing climate, with several competing factors playing a part in its varying strength. See Letter p.550

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Severe drought.


  1. Liu, Z. et al. Nature 515, 550–553 (2014).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Wittenberg, A. T. Geophys. Res. Lett. 36, L12702 (2009).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  3. Collins, M. et al. Nature Geosci. 3, 391–397 (2010).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Masson-Delmotte, V. et al. in Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (eds Stocker, T. F. et al.) Ch. 5, 383–464 (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2013).

    Google Scholar 

  5. Timmermann, A. et al. J. Clim. 20, 4899–4919 (2007).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  6. Tudhope, A. et al. Science 291, 1511–1517 (2001).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Moy, C. M., Seltzer, G. O., Rodbell, D. T. & Anderson, D. M. Nature 420, 162–166 (2002).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Carré, M. et al. Science 345, 1045–1048 (2014).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  9. Sadekov, A. Y. et al. Nature Commun. 4, 2692; (2013).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  10. Cobb, K. M. et al. Science 339, 67–70 (2013).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Brown, J., Tudhope, A. W., Collins, M. & McGregor, H. V. Paleoceanography 23, PA3202 (2008).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Josephine R. Brown.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Brown, J. El Niño's variable history. Nature 515, 494–495 (2014).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing Anthropocene

Sign up for the Nature Briefing: Anthropocene newsletter — what matters in anthropocene research, free to your inbox weekly.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing: Anthropocene