Understanding the influence of volcanism on ENSO and associated climatic impacts is of great scientific and social importance. Although many studies on the volcano–ENSO nexus are available, a thorough review of ENSO sensitivity to explosive eruptions is still missing. Therefore, this study aims to provide an in-depth assessment of the ENSO response to volcanism. Most past studies suggest an emerging consensus in models, with the vast majority showing an El Niño-like SST response during the eruption year and a La Niña-like response a few years later. RCP8.5-based climate model projections also suggest strong El Niño conditions and significant monsoonal rainfall reduction following strong tropical volcanism. However, some studies involving climate reconstructions and model simulations still raise concerns about the ENSO–volcano link and suggest a weak ENSO response to volcanism. This happens because ENSO response to volcanism seems very sensitive to reconstruction methods, ENSO preconditioning, eruption timing, position and amplitude. We noticed that some response mechanisms are still unclear, for instance, how the tropical volcanic forcing with nearly uniform radiative cooling projects onto ENSO when coincidental ENSO events are underway. Moreover, there are very less observational and proxy records for assessing the extratropical volcanism impact on ENSO. Nevertheless, model-based studies suggest that Northern (Southern) Hemispheric extratropical eruptions may lead to an El Niño (La Niña)-like response. We further noticed that the origin of post-eruption winter warming is still elusive; however, recent findings suggest that the large-scale circulation changes concurrently occurring during volcanism are the potential source of high-latitude winter warming. Existing uncertainties in the simulated ENSO response to volcanism could be reduced by considering a synchronized modeling approach with large ensembles.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-11-15
Acknowledgements: The first author would like to thank the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) for providing a conducive environment and related resources (Grant Number JP22F32012) to conduct this research under their postdoctoral fellowship research program in Japan. Additionally, comments and feedback from anonymous reviewers and Journal Editor are also acknowledged. Part of this work is funded by Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Research Fellow Grant Number JP22F32012.