The El Nino southern oscillation climate system
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The El Nino Southern Oscillation climate system, ENSO, is the largest coherent climate system on Earth. The variability of ENSO effects climate and environmental conditions across the globe, impacting the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people. There has been intensive study on the behavior of this system. While the mechanisms that control ENSO are now largely understood, the variability of these mechanisms is unknown. It is also unknown how ENSO will respond to global warming. Currently there is a void of data on the history of ENSO over the past several thousand years. A comprehensive record of ENSO will provide a deeper understanding of the system and allow scientists to predict how ENSO may change as a result of global warming. My aim is to help fill the gap in history by working with two NIU senior faculty advisors on an integrated project involving archeology and paleoclimate science. I will be developing records of ENSO variability from 2,500 to 3,500 years before present using material from archeological sites on coastal Peru and geochemical analytical methods to reconstruct one of the key elements of ENSO, sea surface temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific. This work will benefit climate change research and help develop a body of data suitable for testing theories on ENSO response to global climate change.