Bob Tisdale on NCDC’s USCGRP report

The USGCRP Report “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States” Fails To Acknowledge the Multiyear Effects of ENSO on Global Temperature

Guest post by Bob Tisdale

The USGCRP report “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States” was released today. Link to report:
http://downloads.globalchange.gov/usimpacts/pdfs/climate-impacts-report.pdf

As noted in the title, it fails to address the multiyear effects of El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events on global temperature.

Other than explosive volcanic eruptions, El Nino-Southern Oscillation events have the greatest impacts on global climate on annual and multiyear bases. The year-to-year global temperature impacts of ENSO events are clearly visible in a comparative time-series graph, Figure 1. Also visible are the overriding effects of the 1982 El Chichon and 1991 Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruptions.
http://i44.tinypic.com/144ag5f.jpg
Figure 1

The multiyear impacts of the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Nino events on Northern Hemisphere Lower Troposphere Temperature (TLT) are clearly visible in the TLT Time-Latitude Plot available from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS). Refer to Figure 2 and 3, which are from my post “RSS MSU TLT Time-Latitude Plots…Show Climate Responses That Cannot Be Easily Illustrated With Time-Series Graphs Alone.”
http://i44.tinypic.com/16leq39.jpg
Figure 2
#########
http://i41.tinypic.com/2vwzmdj.jpg
Figure 3

A seldom-discussed, naturally occurring oceanic process called Reemergence (Refer to my post “The Reemergence Mechanism”) provides the mechanism by which the global oceans integrate the effects of ENSO events. And it only takes the cumulative effect of a very small portion (0.0045 or less than ½ of 1%) of the monthly ENSO signal, as shown in Figure 4, to reproduce the Global Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomaly curve.
http://i42.tinypic.com/iom6ab.jpg
Figure 4

YET HOW MANY TIMES DOES THE USGCRP REPORT MENTION THE EL NINO-SOUTHERN OSCILLATION?

The USGCRP mentions “El Nino” nine times in the body of the 196-page report, but those references only pertain to global temperature on one occassion. The first reference, however, states that ENSO is independent of human activities.

On page 16, during a discussion Natural Influences, they wrote, “The climate changes that have occurred over the last century are not solely caused by the human and natural factors described above. In addition to these influences, there are also fluctuations in climate that occur even in the absence of changes in human activities, the Sun, or volcanoes. One example is the El Niño phenomenon, which has important influences on many aspects of regional and global climate.” [My emphasis.]

They acknowledged that ENSO is independent of anthropogenic influence. That’s significant.

On page 17, in the text of the comparative graph of “Global Temperature and Carbon Dioxide”, they wrote, “These year-to-year fluctuations in temperature are due to natural processes, such as the effects of El Niños, La Niñas, and the eruption of large volcanoes.” [My emphasis.]

Yet they fail to note the multiyear and cumulative effects of ENSO.

Page 36, during a discussion of Pacific Hurricanes, they write, “The total number of tropical storms and hurricanes in the eastern Pacific on seasonal to multi-decade time periods is generally opposite to that observed in the Atlantic. For example, during El Niño events it is common for hurricanes in the Atlantic to be suppressed while the eastern Pacific is more active. This reflects the large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns that extend across both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans.” [My emphasis.]

That quote is important in many contests. Much can be inferred from it. Yet they fail to acknowledge the multidecadal epochs when El Nino or La Nina are dominant. These epochs are visible in a time-series graph of smoothed NINO3.4 SST anomalies, Figure 5.
http://i43.tinypic.com/33agh3c.jpg
Figure 5

On page 38, under the heading of Snowstorms, they wrote, “The northward shift in storm tracks is reflected in regional changes in the frequency of snowstorms. The South and lower Midwest saw reduced snowstorm frequency during the last century. In contrast, the Northeast and upper Midwest saw increases in snowstorms, although considerable decade-to-decade variations were present in all regions, influenced, for example, by the frequency of El Niño events.” [My emphasis.]

And again, they infer multidecadal influences of ENSO, but the USGCRP have failed to account for it in their attribution of global temperature change.

There are further references of El Nino and La Nina events on pages 81, 147, 148, and 152, as they pertain to tuna stock, droughts, coral reefs, and coastal currents. No need to repeat those in this post.

CLOSING

Like the IPCC, the USGCRP either fails to accept the significant multiyear and cumulative impacts of ENSO on global temperatures or they chose to ignore them in their presentation of the causes of global temperature change.

Posted by Bob Tisdale at 8:42 PM

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186 Responses to Bob Tisdale on NCDC’s USCGRP report

  1. Boudu says:

    Please don’t confuse me with facts, my mind is made up.

  2. janama says:

    or they chose to ignore them in their presentation of the causes of global temperature change.

    doesn’t fit the fantasy.

  3. tallbloke says:

    Bob, thank you, clear and concise as always.

    The nino3.4 anomaly correlation to global SST is striking but the upward departures of Global SST seem to coincide with the progression of solar cycles.

    Following Willis’ thermostat hypothesis’, I wonder if this could this be due to the cloud cover being suppressed in extra-tropical regions and so not reacting to extra heat input in the same way it does at the intertropical convergence zone.

    That would seem to be a confirmation of the Shaviv solar amplification theory and the Svensmark GCR cloud seeding theory. The equatorial region is less affected by the cyclical fluctuation in GCR incidence which rises and falls with the solar cycle.

    High solar activity – less GCR’s and cloud seeding in the extra-tropical regions, leading to increased surface reaching insolation at higher latitudes relative to the ITCZ.

  4. Of course weather changes are taking place fast. Summer season is becoming longer in Lahore, Pakistan. Previously I lived in Tarbela Dam for 25 years. It was excellent weather having rains, sand free winds, greenery and tropical forests. Forests diminished gradually from there.

  5. VinceW says:

    Do we know what causes ENSO?

  6. Michael D Smith says:

    From a comment I posted at CA:
    I like this quote: \”Roughly one-half of the carbon dioxide released from fossil fuel burning remains in the atmosphere after 100 years, and roughly one-fifth of it remains after 1,000 years.90\” page 40…

    Now from the slope of monthly Mauna Loa data, when the signal is maximum negative (usually in September), I show a slope of roughly -25ppm per year (for a short time). This means the sink outweighed the source by the maximum amount, and the system exchanges CO2 at an extremely high rate. It does this all the time, we are seeing a difference in source and sink as the maximum rates, but the exchange rate MUST always be very high, not just in September.

    Point 1 is that such a half life is impossible while still showing a signal that sharp at Mauna Loa, otherwise it would be much more filtered. An older chart I made also shows how fast CO2 reacts to temperature, even when heavily smoothed, so I seriously doubt CO2 has a life of more than a few, single digit years at most. http://home.comcast.net/~naturalclimate/CO2_growth_vs_Temp.pdf

    Point 2: They claim a half life of 100 years from the first statement. I thought this was debunked years ago, but I\’ll work with it. Half life is described as AmountFuture=AmountPresent*e^-(tx) where t in this case is years and x must be 0.006931472. (same as -ln(.5)/100)

    CO2(100)=CO2Now*e^-(100*.006931472), or 1 * e^-.6931472) = .5 in 100 years. Good.
    CO2(1000)=CO2Now*e^-(1000*.006931472), or 1 * e^-6.931472) = 0.000976562, or 0.097%, NOT 20%. This also means one time constant is 144 years, and there are 6.93 time constants in 1000 years. 6.93 time constants will never yield 20% in a decaying process, it will always yield 0.097%.

    Just one small example of politicians masquerading as scientists. Looking for other gross errors…

  7. Of course weather changes are taking place fast. Summer season is becoming longer in Lahore, Pakistan. Previously I lived in Tarbela Dam for 25 years. It was excellent weather having rains, sand free winds, greenery and tropical forests. Forests diminished gradually from there.
    BTW I love your blog!

  8. glenncz says:

    On page 13 the report states \”Over the past 30 years, temperatures have risen faster in winter than in any other season, with average winter temperatures in the Midwest and northern Great Plains increasing more than 7ºF. \”

    I am sure they came up with that some place. But, I go to US Historical Climate Network.

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/epubs/ndp/ushcn/usa_monthly.html#map

    and randomly picked three midwest cities and NOTHING that is out of the ordinary comparing the last 30 years to the 1930\’s and 1940\’s.

    http://nofreewind.blogspot.com/2009/06/have-midwest-winters-grown-shorter-and.html

  9. No Copenhagen-aztec sacrifices says:

    Dear friends,
    what will warmists do when farmers or anyone else SUE them for deception, COLD weather unsuspecting victims, poverty due to warming taxes, money waste and so on?

  10. TinyCO2 says:

    Talking of Climate Change impacts, \”Organisers of the London Olympics have begun advertising for meteorologists to predict weather patterns in 2012. \” in the UK Telegraph.

    http://tinyurl.com/ljsak8

    Anyone care to have a go? My guess is it will be \’unpredictable\’. Do I get the job?

  11. Gary Pearse says:

    “the cumulative effect of a very small portion (0.0045 or less than ½ of 1%) of the monthly ENSO signal, as shown in Figure 4, to reproduce the Global Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomaly curve.”

    Is the 0.0045 figure a best fit value or from some other basis? Are the “graphs” showing northward dissipation qualitative or quantitative? If the latter, there may be a basis for calculating the rough volume and heat content of El Nino/La Nina events. If this volume and heat content is already known then the effect on average SST should be calculable. Another thing: these ocean heating/cooling events are almost universally acknowledged to be of major importance in earth weather and climate (I’m not a meteorologist but everything I’ve read seems to acknowledge this). What causes them seems to be a mystery and to me heavy lifting on this subject should be big priority. In an earlier post I supplied a possible source – not from without but from within. The geothermal heat gradient has been looked at and discarded as being to weak and it would appear to be so on average (0.075watts/mE2). But guess where the the highest flux has been determined – the east central Pacific where it is 5 times as high. See the link below and scroll down a few clicks to the heat flow map.

    http://geophysics.ou.edu/geomechanics/notes/heatflow/global_heat_flow.htm

    Now imagine the currents from the NH and SH converging along the equator and gathering this into an east-west axis along the equator. Also consider multiyear cumulative heating of the seawater 3-5 years at the seafloor before it rises up to form an El Nino event. This would be 0.35w/mE2 day and night (x2 for day and night)(x4years, say) accumulates to about 3w/mE2. Now gather it up with the currents to a narrow zone…

  12. Gary Pearse says:

    I think this may make an interesting post if someone had the time to flesh it out.

  13. Mark Wagner says:

    Those TLT Time Latitude plots are a very good visual tool for describing what occurs.

    And very telling.

    And pretty cool, too. But I digress…

    Do we know what drives the ENSO oscillation? Is it just unknown? Or maybe sea monkeys doing the backstroke? Didn’t someone connect it to solar changes driving tropical cloud cover?

  14. Michael D Smith says:

    NEW TOPIC SUGGESTION:

    Anthony, how about a new topic to discuss the USGRP report, called “what’s wrong with this report?”
    Format:
    1) Report Claim (reference):
    2) Counter Claim:
    3) Reference from literature supporting counter claim:

    No other commentary allowed (except referring to other counter claims), simple point by point debunking…

    REPLY: Maybe, do you think there will be enough material? ;-) – Anthony

  15. Bob Tisdale says:

    VinceW: You asked, “Do we know what causes ENSO?”

    Refer to Bill Kessler’s Q&A page:

    http://faculty.washington.edu/kessler/occasionally-asked-questions.html

    And David Enfield’s:

    http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/general/enso_faq/

    Regards

  16. Texas Aggie says:

    Amazingly, this morning’s Wahington Post has minimalized the story and buried it on page 3.

    Let’s keep writing to the editors, the legislature, and the White House. The cascade of facts is beginning to have an impact. The last place it will be felt is in the WH or the Speaker’s office. But it will be felt.

    When you do write to your members, remind them of the upcoming 2010 cycle.

  17. jeroen says:

    TinyCO2 (03:55:18)

    I know wat the weather in 2012 in London wil be. IT wil rain with a periods of sun and a average tempreture of 19C wind probaly comming from south west.

  18. Innocentious says:

    Interesting post. I wish that there was more too it… By the look of the plots it seems that north does indeed get the brunt, by why does it remain for so long, it looks like the mid cooled down but the North stayed hot from late 1999 to mid 2001… During that time it seems like very little heat left the north. So why would it remain so warm there at that time?

  19. Frank K. says:

    I browsed through the document this morning and it is filled to the brim with climate alarmism. It would be a worthwhile project to go through the text and start looking at and evaluating the reference data – I’m sure there is plenty of cherry picking and outright distortion of the facts (as is usual with the AGW crowd).

  20. Mike O says:

    Much like VinceW above, I’ve wondered what is the root cause of El Nino events? We go to great pains to point out that correlation is not causation in theAGW debate, but then assert that El Nino drives the SST anomalies. Sure, they are strongly correlated, but they could both be driven by the same, external factor. My guess is the Sun. Maybe El Nino does drive SST’s, but what drives El Nino?

    I did check out Bob Tisdale’s links, but there is no root cause posited there.

    Any thoughts?

  21. DR says:

    Does anyone actually believe this document was for any other purpose than to promote Obama’s ideological agenda? He said he’d restore science “to its rightful place”, and that’s exactly what he did. It’s the usual suspects reviewing their own work and ignoring virtually all opposing research and observational data.

    Perhaps the biggest laugh I got was the section on tropical tropospheric warming. Trashing satellite data in favor of cherry picking a set of radiosonde measurements to better support the models is the new definition of an experiment.

    This report is nothing but a political document authored by the usual AGW lackeys, and hastily assembled at that.

  22. Hell_is_like_newark says:

    speaking of sun spots.. Spaceweather has one forming, but its at a fairly low latitude. Another Cycle 23 spot?

  23. Jeff Id says:

    I am madder about this report than anything I’ve read before. It’s full of mistakes, exaggerations and flat lies.

    This has nothing to do with science and I recommend people read it to see what exactly the government is planning. This is multi-billion dollar propaganda, every graph seems cherry picked, every statement as extreme as can be made. I’m banning myself from blogging on it until I can calm down.

    In the meantime, if you’re tired of being pissed off. I have an excellent guest post on the history of the Arctic ice by Tony B.

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/historic-variation-in-arctic-ice-tony-b/

  24. Myron Mesecke says:

    Unfortunately my local paper ran the Washington Post story as the lead story on the front page this morning. And over the weekend it ran the story of how we ought to paint all the buildings and roads white. I’m losing faith in my local paper. Temple, Texas
    I’m not well versed enough to contribute but I’m learning a great deal. Keep up the good work everyone.

  25. Jim Hughes says:

    Mark Wagner (04:44:58)

    Do we know what drives the ENSO oscillation? Is it just unknown?

    The sun does and it’s not even up for debate in my opinion. The problem with mainstream science not understanding the reasoning, or I should say the mechanisms to consider when trying to forecast it, are that they have always failed to think “outside the box”.

    But I personally know some long term proffesional forecasters who are starting to look at things differently now.

  26. Jim Hughes says:

    I meant “professional” forecasters above…typo.. brain freeze.

  27. Carl Wolk says:

    Tallbloke: “The nino3.4 anomaly correlation to global SST is striking but the upward departures of Global SST seem to coincide with the progression of solar cycles.”

    Before you begin to argue for a correlation between global SST and solar cycles, you have to remove the immediate effect of ENSO – to see the true, underlying nature of modern climate change. Without doing so, all attempts to find a solar cycle in SST will be baseless. I’ve done this analysis on a regional level, here:

    http://climatechange1.wordpress.com/2008/11/29/how-enso-rules-the-oceans/

    Solar cycles don’t seem to be the dominant feature of the SST in any ocean; instead, it appears that ENSO produces step-changes in SST radiating outward from the Pacific Warm Pool.
    I give more data to back up these assertions here:

    http://climatechange1.wordpress.com/2009/05/22/ten-questions-for-alarmists-about-the-el-ninosouthern-oscillation/

    Carl

  28. @ Bob Tisdale (04:58:34) :

    1. Why the European (?) SST data are seldom (well, never) seen on these pages? Please go to the page

    http://pp.blast.pl/imgs.cli.jigl.www/index.html

    and from the right menu choose WUWT-SST-Anomaly (I created the option ad hoc) or go directly to one of the ECMWF pages

    http://pp.blast.pl/imgs.cli.jigl.www/WUWT-SST-Anomaly/5.html

    2. What are the main dfferences between all the data sets presented here:

    http://pp.blast.pl/imgs.cli.jigl.www/WUWT-SST-Anomaly/index.html

    Why, let’s call ‘em “American” and “European” data sets (satellite versus buoys data?) not put together for climate considerations?

    BTW. I’d be greatfull for any remarks what to change or improved in the image database I created for myself and other (climate) bloggers. The Climages is updated daily. What I need now is “constructive critique” before The Climages are officially presented to the world. ;-)

    Regards

  29. Steven Hill says:

    We need cap and tax, the truth is not information that we are interested in.

  30. Bob Tisdale citing report:
    “there are also fluctuations in climate that occur even in the absence of changes in human activities, the Sun, or volcanoes. One example is the El Niño phenomenon, which has important influences on many aspects of regional and global climate.”

    They acknowledged that ENSO is independent of anthropogenic influence. That’s significant.

    They acknowledged that ENSO is independent of changes in the Sun. That’s significant.

  31. Jim Hughes says:

    Bob,

    I can’t help but think that some of this is indirectly related to what I wrote about a few years back. Anomalies in the TLT plots. Sorry about the lackluster presentation but you still should be able grasp what I was trying to show. Or bring forth as a hypothesis.

    http://www.easternuswx.com/bb/index.php?showtopic=103909

  32. deadwood says:

    I am surprised that yesterday’s fantasy climate report from the Obama adminstration has gotten so little press coverage.

  33. TonyB says:

    Tiny CO2

    I am afraid you have failed the job interview for the Met office Olympics job. If it was ‘unpredictable’ you (and the Met office) wouldn’t be wanted would you? Pay attention now will you?

    The correct answer is obviously that “our state of the art equipment enables us to make a robust forecast with a high level of certainty.”

    Tonyb

  34. Nasif Nahle says:

    Bob Tisdale… Congratulations for this excelent explanation.

    Have you noticed that your theory is strongly correlated with Willis Eschenbach’s theory on the thermoregulation of Earth’s climate by the oceans? This is correct science! :)

  35. timbrom says:

    Be careful all. Throwing opinions around on this sort of thing could get you ostracised. Prominent scientist refused service due to skepticism

  36. Bob Tisdale says:

    Hopefully this isn’t a repeat. I got a server error when I tried to post this the first time.

    Mark Wagner: You asked, “Do we know what drives the ENSO oscillation?”

    In addition to the two links I provided in reply to the same question by VinceW that just happened to pop up right underneath your comment…

    Refer to Bill Kessler’s Q&A page:

    http://faculty.washington.edu/kessler/occasionally-asked-questions.html

    And David Enfield’s:

    http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/general/enso_faq/

    …consider the following. It’s a response at Lucia’s Blackboard I provided to a blogger who asked , “…how does an El Nino increase global temperature ?”
    Link to Lucia’s thread:

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2009/enso-watch/

    My reply:
    My simplest explanation might be a little wordy, but bear with me.

    During non-El Nino years (La Nina and ENSO-neutral years), heat accumulates in the Pacific Warm Pool. Some of that heat is from warm water that returns to the PWP from the El Nino events (the equatorial counter current relaxes after an El Nino and the equatorial currents move the warm water back from the eastern to the western equatorial Pacific). Some of it is the normal heat buildup caused by the trade winds pushing warm surface waters from east to west in the tropical Pacific. And some of the buildup of heat occurs during the preceding El Nino event itself, when cloud amounts over the PWP drop significantly, causing a major rise in downwelling shortwave radiation (visible light). During the 1997/98 El Nino, downwelling shortwave radiation rose as much as 25 watt/meter^2 over the PWP.

    The Pacific Warm Pool covers an area that varies in size. I did a few comparisons a while back and could go find them if necessary, but my memory says it varies from (approximately) the size of the United States to the size of Russia. So it can be quite large. And it can also reach depths of 300 meters. To put it into technical terms, it’s a chunk of warm water. During significant El Nino events like the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Ninos, the Pacific Warm Pool will pretty much “empty” its contents as the warm water sloshes east.

    So the warm water that was in the Pacific Warm Pool, most of it below the surface, shifts east during the El Nino. The warm water rises to the surface during the process. The increase in surface temperature of the central to the eastern tropical Pacific causes the lower troposphere above it to rise, and atmospheric processes redistribute the heat around the globe. This is as far as most people carry the discussion.

    Here’s the rest. Some BUT NOT ALL of the warm water returns to the Pacific Warm Pool during the subsequent La Nina. BUT (big but) the warm water that doesn’t return to the Pacific Warm Pool is now on the surface of the North and South Pacific and the Indian Ocean.

    In other words, warm water that was below the surface of the Pacific Warm Pool (and not included in the calculation of global temperature) is redistributed around the SURFACE of the nearby oceans by the El Nino, (and it is now included in the calculation of global temperature). This can be seen as upward step changes in the sea surface temperatures of the East Indian and West Pacific Ocean after the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Nino events. Refer to my posts here:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/01/can-el-nino-events-explain-all-of.html

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/01/can-el-nino-events-explain-all-of_11.html

    I hope that helped.

  37. JohnT says:

    The more we learn, the more we forget.

    “Fishermen who ply the waters of the Pacific off the coast of Peru and Ecuador have known for centuries about the El Niño.”

    Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/ElNino/

  38. Bob Tisdale says:

    Gary Pearce: You asked, “Is the 0.0045 figure a best fit value or from some other basis?” I eyeballed it, that’s all.

  39. Sergio da Roma says:

    Bob, I dont understand how you obtain the trend in fig. 4 for nino 3.4. If I use the nino 3.4 I observe no trend upward. But probably I missed somewhat…

  40. Ron de Haan says:

    At Climate depot there is much more critisism on the report.

    There is also an open letter to climate change denialists and skeptics accusing them to behave like Chamberlain before WOII who did not see the real danger of the Nazi Regime.

    More bad science presented by demogoges:

    http://legalplanet.wordpress.com/2009/06/17/an-open-letter-to-climate-change-denialists/

  41. Milwaukee Bob says:

    Michael D Smith (02:53:39),

    Your analysis is spot on. But, as I previously posted, the “reported” measurement from Mona Loa is in PPM, (as is all other measurements of CO2 I’ve been able to find) which is a percentage figure. The percentage of the total of the atmosphere which is CO2, in this case. From that we cannot infer and should not assume the density (moles per cubic foot) of a gas is increasing, as it could equally be a DECREASE in the density of other gases that make up the total of the atmosphere. For example, in your analysis you noted the decrease of CO2 PPM every year during the Northern hemisphere summer. There are a lot of theories as to how this occurs and why it occurs when it does. But we really do not know. There are a number of things that are unaccounted for, including the relative DENSITY of other gases, including the two gases of primary concern, oxygen and carbon dioxide. For most of these theories to work AND for the density of CO2 to continue to increase as scientist and the computer modelers would have us believe is happening, the massive increase in the density of oxygen required to force the PPM (don’t forget it’s a percentage) of CO2 to decrease every year, is by my calculations, if not impossible, very improbable.

    I have yet to find any comprehensive studies showing the PPM of the other gases over the same time period as the Mona Loa CO2 record and none on the density thereof. Even the CO2 record (compendium of studies) is at best hit and miss AND as has been reported here before, abused and misused. From what I have been able to determine, it (the historical record of the composition of the atmosphere) is just one more item we simply do not know and of course is subsequently ignored (or perverted) by the AGW crowd. I have found “they” even use it as a straw-man argument when cornered by physics and logic in asking the inane question, “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CARBON?” hoping that will shut me up, but to which I now respond, “Yeah, where does all the carbon go?” the answer to which “they” are still searching.

    My summary point being, the PPM record of CO2 as a component of the atmosphere, no matter where derived from, at this point is virtually meaningless.

  42. Milwaukee Bob says:

    “My summary point being, …..” i should have said, …. virtually meaningless TO ALL BUT THE POLITICIANS AND THEIR FRIENDS THAT USE IT TO KEEP THEMSELVES IN BUSINESS. As per the article in todays WSJ – Legislators Framing Climate Bills Hold Energy Stock

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124519704993421187.html#mod=article-outset-box

  43. G. Karst says:

    Great work Bob T, I suspect when we fully unravel ENSO, the whole climatic modality will become resolved. I am not necessarily saying ENSO drives all climate, but the underlying forces (initiators) will be key to the entire music of climate.

  44. Gary Pearse says:

    Bob Tisdale
    “Gary Pearce: You asked, “Is the 0.0045 figure a best fit value or from some other basis?” I eyeballed it, that’s all.”

    Thanks Bob. My point was that I believe there may be a basis for calculation of temperatures volumes involved. Also I give a link showing the much elevated geothermal gradient in east-central pacific. Geothermal gradient has been rejected as a too weak and it is weak on average. See the following link and scroll down to the heat content map of the globe a couple of clicks down.
    This with the currents gathering it together may possibly be the source of El Nino. (Compared to suns heating it is 0.35W/m2 times two because it operates day and night, times four because it heats the water on the sea floor for say 4 yrs before the water wells up and it is equivalent to about 3W/m2) – other factors, no albedo effect or IR re radiation to outerspace from the the SST.

  45. Tom Fuller says:

    Although I am neither fish nor fowl nor good red herring when it comes to actual climate change, I note what I think are flaws in the report here: http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner~y2009m6d16-A-lost-opportunity-Global-climate-change-impacts-in-the-United-States

    I would be happy to call attention to other defects as they occur, and if Anthony decides to host a ‘minority report’ as I call it in my article, I will faithfully report on the results.

  46. Berry R says:

    Possibly OT, but don’t forget variations in solar activity. Speaking of which: My understanding is that the reason Skylab fell before NASA could rescue it is that solar activity was higher than normal. For some reason that caused the upper fringe of the atmosphere to expand outward which caused enough drag to make Skylab’s orbit decay.

    “Meanwhile the peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle arrived, a more active peak than NASA had hoped for, bringing a greater intensity of solar x-rays and extreme ultra-violet radiation. These radiations are absorbed in the uppermost fringes of the atmosphere, heat them up and make them expand outwards, more at “solar maximum” than at other times. Their expansion increased the air resistance (“drag”) to the motion of Skylab and caused its early demise.”

    http://www.phy6.org/stargaze/Sorbit.htm

    Here’s the question: If increased solar activity causes the upper fringe of the atmosphere to expand outward, what impact if any would that have on climate. We’re talking very low density here–not far from vacuum. That should mean very little heat transmission at any one area. On the other hand, if we’re talking hundreds of miles of extension all around the planet, then it’s bound to have some impact. Has anyone investigated the size of that impact and how heating of those upper layers interacts with the rest of the atmosphere?

  47. Jim Hughes says:

    Leif Svalgaard (06:34:20)

    They acknowledged that ENSO is independent of changes in the Sun. That’s significant.

    I always love it when I hear this. Not that you did the research. And this is not intended toward you Leif. So certain indivduals have decided what’s important within the scheme of things and the rest just go along for the ride.

    Now I heard this same type of reasoning many years back in regards to the ability to predict certain events from weeks out. Like 3-4 day temperature anomaly weather patterns, or snowstorms etc.. But the community “now understands” the importance of the MJO, AAM – GWO.

    And the naysayers who tried to downplay my own local success with these type of forecasts, like a former AMS president, had to eat crow. Because an astute global observer should have noticed these AAM-GWO-MJO pendulum like patterns, even before the GWO indice was officially brought forward.

    So this is really all about being able to grasp pattern recogniton. Even with the sun and the ENSO.

  48. SteveSadlov says:

    The report apparently ignores everything since the early 00s. For example, shifted snow storm tracks. People have been taken by surprise by the southward shift since the early 00s, as they had been anticipating this would be impossible. Well, guess what.

  49. matt v. says:

    Bob

    I notice that you did not mention AMO or the NORTH ATLANTIC SST as having any effect on climate . Care to comment?

  50. Robert Wood says:

    TinyCO2 (03:55:18)

    The standard London weather forecast is “Sunny Periods with Scattered Showers”

  51. Stephen Wilde says:

    Bob Tisdale (07:31:34)

    I can’t see any problem with that explanation but I’m not sure that it is complete.

    It seems that there are underlying cycles that during a so called warming phase enhance El Nino events and suppress La Nino events to produce net global warming for around 30 years at a time.

    During a so called cooling phase El Nino events seem to be suppressed and La Nina events seem to be enhanced to produce net global warming for around 30 years at a time.

    Those differing phases are clear from the ENSO data and I think it is indicative of an independent underlying oceanic cycle but that is not yet fully accepted.

    Furthermore during each phase there is a response in the air involving a latitudinal shift in the air circulation systems. That has been commented on by many but the implications not yet appreciated.

    There seem to be similar multidecadal variations in oceanic absorption/emissivity in each ocean so for climate change purposes one really should net them all out to ascertain the current oceanic contribution to any ongoing climate change.

    Note that a full cycle in the Pacific encompassing both warming and cooling phases is 60 years or so and when one takes into account the out of phase similar cycles in the other oceans it could be 100 years or more between occasions when the net oceanic effect approximately repeats itself.

    Now that means the effects are spread over 6 to 10 or more solar cycles. We all know that there is little energy output variation from the top to the bottom of a single cycle but when we look at changes over 6 to 10 cycles or more the differences are quite enough to generate a slow background temperature trend up or down like the trend from Mediaeval Warm Period to the Little Ice Age and from LIA to today.

    Those solar changes are not always in phase with the oceanic effects and so each can obscure the effect of the other in the climate record.

    Combine the solar and oceanic effects to explain all the global temperature changes observed (after stripping out any UHI effects) during the 20th Century and there seems to be no cause for concern about CO2.

    Add in the latitudinal variation of the air circulation systems and that accounts for all the regional climate changes too.

    Measure the current average position of all the air circulation systems to diagnose the scale of any current warming or cooling trend.

  52. Ric Werme says:

    deadwood (07:14:37) :

    I am surprised that yesterday’s fantasy climate report from the Obama administration has gotten so little press coverage.

    Sam Champion did an apocalyptic review on Good Morning America (quite
    typical).

    Science News posted an article at http://sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/44737/description/White_House_releases_report_on_climate_change

    I posted notes to both, likely the Science News one will be the only one seen by anyone who cares. I just sent readers to WUWT and Bob Tisdale – recent stories here all are counter to what I’ve heard about the report.

    It certainly seems like cover to support the Cap and Trade vote.

  53. Gary Turner says:

    Picking nits.

    In this,

    That quote is important in many contests. Much can be inferred from it. Yet they fail to acknowledge the multidecadal epochs when El Nino or La Nina are dominant. These epochs are visible in a time-series graph of smoothed NINO3.4 SST anomalies, Figure 5

    .” Should not “contests” be “contexts”?

    cheers,

    gary

  54. PaulHClark says:

    Leif Svalgaard (06:34:20) :

    I just know that you are going to tell me that I am not making any sense but here goes…

    You say; “They acknowledged that ENSO is independent of changes in the Sun. That’s significant.”

    But surely ENSO is somehow a reflection of energy inputs – if not from the sun then where from?

  55. PaulHClark says:

    Stephen Wilde (08:57:04) :

    I have to say that once again your post makes enormous sense… to me at least.

  56. Bob Tisdale says:

    Przemysław Pawełczyk: You asked, “Why the European (?) SST data are seldom (well, never) seen on these pages?”

    I use the Hadley Centre’s HADISST and HADSST2 data for many of my posts, including the NINO3.4 SST anomaly graph above. I use what’s readily available through the NOAA NOMADS system or the KNMI Climate Explorer.

  57. John W. says:

    ENSO involves a LOT of energy. So does the PDO. And the AMO. And a lot of other process we discuss here.

    Where is all that energy coming from?

    Since these are not constant, stable processes, but instead fluctuate in intensity, isn’t it reasonable to assume the energy source driving them is also fluctuating?

    The Sun provides a source of energy, and the intensity of the energy fluctuates, with most of that occurring in the IR and UV bands. Even a minor fluctuation of .1% can still produce on the order of > 10^21 J/year in the Central Pacific alone. If the energy source isn’t the Sun, then what is it?

  58. Bob Tisdale says:

    Sergio da Roma: Figure 4 illustrates a scaled RUNNING TOTAL of NINO3.4 SST anomalies. It’s not simply a trend. I discussed the running total in more detail and provided links in the following post on “Reproducing Global Temperature Anomalies with Natural Forcings”:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/01/reproducing-global-temperature.html

    Regards

  59. Michael D Smith says:

    Milwaukee Bob (07:46:52) :
    I think I get your point, so to use an example, let’s say O2 is 20% or 200000 ppm, and CO2 changes by 2ppm during the month (and let’s say those 2 PPM are replaced by O2to keep it simple). The vacancy left by CO2 would only be 2ppm or 2E-6, so the increase in O2 density by your argument would be roughly (200002/1000000)/(200000/1000000)-1 or .001%). This would get lost in the noise.

    I don’t see what about PPM is so objectionable, it’s just a ratio of one component to all others, by volume, standardized, when all others + ppm CO2 = 1 million. The density of all gases will change the same with different altitudes / pressures, etc, so that doesn’t even need correction. PPM is PPM by volume.

    My larger point is that the concentration cannot change at a slope of -25ppm per year, unless the rate of exchange of all CO2, into and out of the oceans / biosphere, etc is HUGE. Let’s see how big.

    Dry Mass of atmosphere: 5.1352 × 10^18 kg
    CO2 portion by volume: .000385
    Largest slope (approx) -25ppm per year
    Molar mass of air 28.97 g/mol
    Molar mass of CO2 44.01g/mol
    CO2 fraction by weight = .000385*(44.01/28.97) = 5.8487E-04
    CO2 mass in atmosphere = 5.1352 × 10^18 * 5.8487E-04 = 3.00342E+15 kg
    Slope fraction per year = -25ppm/385ppm = .064935, which is the net difference of sources and sinks at the highest declining rate. This is the MINIMUM exchange rate occurring all the time, which implies exchange of once per 15.4 years maximum (higher than my previous guesstimate) instead of half per 100 years as claimed in the report…

    CO2 exchanged per year: 3.00342E+15 kg*.064935 = 1.95027E+14 kg/yr.

    Human CO2 emissions: 27 billion tonnes or 27e9*1e3kg=27e12kg
    Human CO2 as % of normal exchange rate: 27e12kg/1.95027E+14 or 0.13844237, or 13.8% of the minimum amount normally exchanged per year, or 27e+12 kg/3.00342E+15 kg = 0.008989752 or 0.898% of total CO2 mass per year. Notice how the latter number is close to 1%… Is this how a politician determines that CO2 lasts 100 years? I digress…

    Given the huge natural exchange rate in and out of the biosphere, oceans, soils, etc., how long should a given CO2 molecule, released by your breath, decaying vegetation, whatever, remain free before being naturally captured again? The answer would be e^(-YR*.064935) so that in 15.4 years (one time constant), the likelihood is 1-e^-1 or 36.78% that the molecule still remains free.

    Not considered is the differing rates that change as CO2 levels change. Since the oceans can absorb vastly more than the atmosphere, any rate that takes them out of equilibrium will directly increase their absorption rates with higher CO2 levels, so the absorption rate should increase.

    Also not considered is that this is the absolute minimum rate derived by the seasonal dCO2/dt chart (where t=time, not temp) It could be that the rate of exchange is higher but we don’t see it in seasonal readings, which would also explain why we see from other sources that human CO2 is around 3% of natural exchanges…

    My point here is that “CO2 lasts 100 years” is cherry picked BS. Is there a peer reviewed paper that says that? I would not be surprised, but there should be 15 more that say it’s less than 20 years. I’ll look for them tonight…

    Mike S.

  60. @ Bob Tisdale (07:31:34) :
    @ Stephen Wilde (08:57:04) :

    To put it short – there must be energy entry into any working mechanism. What’s that (nomen omen?)? ;-)

    And if there’s entry there must be an output minus the work being done to move the ocean and air masses.

    @ Leif Svalgaard (06:34:20) :

    If ENSO “is” independent “of changes in the Sun” then “what’s up out there” to makes it going on “the cycles”?

    May I expect short explanation?

    Regards

  61. John F. Hultquist says:

    On this same issue I wanted to post a comment on Roger Pielke’s site but it wants me to select a profile—options are Google, Live Journal, WordPress, TypePad, Aim, and Open ID. I tried the Google thing, it seemed not to work, then it did seem to, but I don’t know. Communicating in this fashion is great when one knows what is going on and why. Too bad I don’t but I can still learn. Help?

  62. Nasif Nahle says:

    timbrom (07:23:50) :

    Be careful all. Throwing opinions around on this sort of thing could get you ostracised. Prominent scientist refused service due to skepticism

    It’s a reality, at least for me. Prior to my speech on AGW pseudoscience, the universities and local TV stations used to invite me for giving my opinions on different scientific issues and impart short courses. After I saw the reality and set myself on the side of real science, there have been no more invitations for talking at any university and the Media cramped me into a Saturday’s radio broadcast limited to two minutes. Who does hear radio at 11 AM on Saturday?

  63. Carbon-based Life Form says:

    An interesting section in the report is found near the end where they propose areas where new research and knowledge needs to be pursued. They state that the GCM’s need to be “refined” to predict more “granular” local effects. The degree of gall and hubris is amazing. We have GCM’s that fully and accurately predict hundreds of years into the future and now all we need to do is tweak them to predict local weather.

  64. tallbloke says:

    Carl Wolk (06:29:16) :

    Solar cycles don’t seem to be the dominant feature of the SST in any ocean; instead, it appears that ENSO produces step-changes in SST radiating outward from the Pacific Warm Pool.

    Hi Carl, I’ve been following your work and Erl Happ’s work at climatechange1.wordpress.com with great interest, as well as Bob Tisdale’s posts here and on his own blog. I completely agree that solar cycles are not a dominant feature in the SST variations in individual oceans, and that the step changes in temperature do indeed radiate out from the PWP.

    All I was getting at with my post was that the solar signal in *averaged global sst* is more *detectable* than it is in the Nino3.4 record, and that this seems to ‘fit’ with Willis Eschenbach’s work on his Thermostat Hypothesis presented here on WUWT a few days ago, and also ‘fits’ with the Solar amplification ideas of Nir Shaviv, and the GCR-cloud seeding theory of Henrik Svensmark.

    The solar signal in global SST isn’t obvious for every cycle, and I’m sure that el nino and la nina events offset or negate it to an extent at some points in the record, but I think it’s clear enough that there is at least some solar effect visible.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1850/mean:12/scale:0.005/offset:-1/plot/hadsst2gl/mean:43/detrend:0.5

    I see a remarkable convergence and the possibility of integration starting to take shape in the work done by Bob, yourself, Willis, Shaviv, and Svensmark, rather than competing and incompatible ideas.

    More power to your collective elbows, keep it coming.

  65. Przemysław Pawełczyk (10:06:20) :
    If ENSO “is” independent “of changes in the Sun” then “what’s up out there” to makes it going on “the cycles”?
    I think the onus is one those who claim that is does depend on the Sun to actually demonstrate that. But that was not my point, which is that the report mentioned several things:

    “there are also fluctuations in climate that occur even in the absence of changes in human activities, the Sun, or volcanoes. One example is the El Niño phenomenon, which has important influences on many aspects of regional and global climate.”

    They acknowledged that ENSO is independent of anthropogenic influence. That’s significant.

    One should not just cherry pick what one wants. If it is at all significant [i.e. that the report has ANY credibility at all], then the other causes the report mentions are also significant, namely that “They acknowledged that ENSO is independent of changes in the Sun. That’s significant.”.

    If one of the things [humans] is not causing ENSO, then the other things the report says are not causing ENSO [the sun and volcanoes] are just as true. Of course, it could be that the whole thing is nonsense, and the report has no credibility, but, please, don’t cherry pick. THAT was my point, however clumsily [or too subtlety] expressed.

    Carbon-based Life Form (10:17:24) :
    The degree of gall and hubris is amazing. We have GCM’s that fully and accurately predict hundreds of years into the future
    Just like the astrological claims that the planets can be used to predict ‘perfectly’ solar climate thousands of years ahead… The degree of gall is indeed amazing.

  66. tallbloke says:

    TonyB (07:17:42) :

    Tiny CO2

    I am afraid you have failed the job interview for the Met office Olympics job. If it was ‘unpredictable’ you (and the Met office) wouldn’t be wanted would you? Pay attention now will you?

    The correct answer is obviously that “our state of the art equipment enables us to make a robust forecast with a high level of certainty.”

    Tonyb

    Sorry Tony, you didn’t get it either. My state of the art up to the minute forecast system will constantly update the olympic stadium of the weather, right up to the minute.

    Once i have the contract I’ll be renting a posh office 10 miles southwest of the stadium and keeping a weather eye open out the window.

  67. De Rode Willem says:

    The first graph seems to me as the definite proof of something “more” is going on. Se are at the down-deeps of the Nino 3,4 SST anomalies. And yet the troposphere anomalies doesn’t go down as deep as they are expected ?

    Why ? Why are the expected down-peek not as deep anymore as 20-30 years ago ? If we connect this down-peaks we see a clear undisputable upward trend !
    The proof of global warming ?

    As soon as the lower-peek fall as deep as they should do….I believe that global warming is an Hoax. As long as that is not happening….blogs like this may write whatever they want, they fail to explain why the lower temperatures do not reach the normal lows anymore !!!!!

  68. tallbloke says:

    Stephen Wilde (08:57:04) :

    We all know that there is little energy output variation from the top to the bottom of a single cycle but when we look at changes over 6 to 10 cycles or more the differences are quite enough to generate a slow background temperature trend up or down like the trend from Mediaeval Warm Period to the Little Ice Age and from LIA to today.

    Those solar changes are not always in phase with the oceanic effects and so each can obscure the effect of the other in the climate record.

    Spot on Stephen. Just to remind everyone of Nir Shaviv’s excellent analysis of ocean heat content and the order of magnitude amplification of the solar signal by clouds. It’s a paywalled paper, but should be read and absorbed by all who are interested in this stuff.

  69. Jim Hughes (06:19:41) :

    Mark Wagner: Do we know what drives the ENSO oscillation? Is it just unknown?

    “The sun does and it’s not even up for debate in my opinion. The problem with mainstream science not understanding the reasoning, or I should say the mechanisms to consider when trying to forecast it, are that they have always failed to think ‘outside the box’.

    “But I personally know some long term proffesional forecasters…”

    Spelling only counts here on the fifth Friday of the month, Jim.

    When seawater cools from, say, 80°F to 65°F, its viscosity rises by almost 25 percent. I’m pretty sure that the major cause of ENSO is that East Pacific upwelling reaches a point where the seawater surface viscosity becomes too high for the trades to hold westward, resulting in a shift towards the east. I’m not sure the trades slacken much; they’re driven by the earth’s rotation plus coriolis forces, which don’t cycle. But the mechanism I propose above is necessarily cyclical. As the East Pacific warm temperatures are restored, the sea surface viscosity drops, and the trades can then sweep water westward again.

    Note: There may be related atmospheric factors due to cooling and the resulting lower humidities above the upwelled water.

  70. tallbloke says:

    Carbon-based Life Form (10:17:24) :
    They state that the GCM’s need to be “refined” to predict more “granular” local effects. The degree of gall and hubris is amazing. We have GCM’s that fully and accurately predict hundreds of years into the future and now all we need to do is tweak them to predict local weather.

    Cart before horse as usual. They need to get granular local effects *into* the model to have any chance of getting useful longer term predictions out.

  71. John W. (09:37:53) : “…Since these are not constant, stable processes, but instead fluctuate in intensity, isn’t it reasonable to assume the energy source driving them is also fluctuating?”

    Not necessarily. When I blow into a horn, I don’t change the air flow or pressure from my lungs, but there’s an oscillation (“pitch”) in the output. Certain things (like horns, tuning forks, pendula) have a natural frequency.

  72. Gary Pearse says:

    jorgekafkazar (12:54:23)
    Jim Hughes (06:19:41) :
    Cause of El Nino:

    I’ve offered a possibility from geology – the geothermal gradient. Yes, yes its is weak on average but consider. Average 0.075W/m2 but 0.35W/m2 where? in the east-central pacific: click below and scrolldown to the GG heat map. Imagine at the seafloor 0.35W working 24hrs a day (not like the sun’s half day heating and half cooling)l. No albedo, no IR irradiation back into space – converting to “sun equivalence” multiply by two for the 24 hrs, multiply by say four because it heats for four years on the bottom before it rises to the top and you end up with about 3W/m2 equivalence, heated from the bottom – And the currents gather this water and stretch it out into a strip along the equator. Link:

    http://geophysics.ou.edu/geomechanics/notes/heatflow/global_heat_flow.htm

  73. Bob Tisdale says:

    Innocentious: You asked, “why does it remain for so long, it looks like the mid cooled down but the North stayed hot from late 1999 to mid 2001.”

    The tropics cooled in response to the La Nina of 1998/99/00. That La Nina also may have, in fact, cooled the mid-to-high latitudes on the Northern Hemisphere or at least prevented it from warming more. The other question, one that I’ll turn back to you, is how quickly would we anticipate that amount of heat to dissipate? Keep in mind that it wasn’t only the troposphere that warmed. The sea surfaces warmed as well, and with the process of reemergence, some of that heat then is subducted and brought back to the surface in subsequent winters.

  74. Bob Tisdale says:

    Mike O: You wrote, “We go to great pains to point out that correlation is not causation in theAGW debate, but then assert that El Nino drives the SST anomalies.”

    IMO, any correlation between anthropogenic forcings and global temperature is a reach at best. Many of those forcings are manufactured to help GCMs reproduce the global temperature anomaly curve, something that most GCMs do rather poorly.

    Back to your statement, in two prior posts here at WUWT and at my website, I’ve illustrated the PROCESS by which El Nino events raise SST anomalies. Here’s the links to my posts:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2008/12/lingering-effects-of-199798-el-nino.html

    The video in that one will help illustrate the process, and the next two go into great detail to explain it further:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/01/can-el-nino-events-explain-all-of.html

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/01/can-el-nino-events-explain-all-of_11.html

    As to what fuels El Nino events, refer to my comment to Mark Wagner at 07:31:34. It’s too long to repeat here. And there’s one more thing to consider. There was a shift in cloud amount in the few years before the 1997/98 El Nino, which should have helped fuel it.

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/04/did-decrease-in-total-cloud-amount-fuel.html

    Regards

  75. Gary Pearse (13:28:39) : “I’ve offered a possibility from geology – the geothermal gradient. Yes, yes it is weak on average but consider. Average 0.075W/m2 but 0.35W/m2 where? in the east-central pacific…”

    I wouldn’t casually dismiss this as a player in the system. But how might this result in an oscillating system? Also, since hot water rises, wouldn’t this interact with the thermocline? Has this convection been observed by any of the Argos probes?

  76. Martin457 says:

    (formerly martin38, normal guy trying to figure this stuff out.)

    If all this is true, shouldn’t there be allowances made for the retention of fresh water in the form of lakes and reservoirs across the world? Will we have to flush?

  77. Bob Tisdale says:

    Matt V: You noted and asked, “I notice that you did not mention AMO or the NORTH ATLANTIC SST as having any effect on climate . Care to comment?”

    Like all oceans, ENSO has a significant impact on the North Atlantic. Major ENSO events slow AMOC:

    That’s figure 6 from this post on AMOC:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2008/11/atlantic-meridional-overturning.html

    Significant El Nino events also cause upward step changes in North Atlantic SST anomalies:

    Those steps are similar in magnitude to the step changes in the East Indian and West Pacific Oceans:

    Those two graphs are from my post here:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/02/there-are-also-el-nino-induced-step.html

    Also, I’m working on a follow-up to my post on The Reemergence Mechanism.

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/06/reemergence-mechanism.html

    There’s a significant difference between NINO SST anomalies during Jan-Feb-Mar (Northern Hemisphere Winter) and those that occur in Jul-Aug-Sep (Southern Hemisphere Winter). Now, since reemergence causes repeats in WINTERTIME SST anomalies, and since winter occurs during different times for each hemisphere, there should be a difference in the hemispheric integration of those signals. You’ll find it interesting. I’ll try to finish by the end of the week.

  78. Bob Tisdale says:

    Gary Turner: You noted, “Should not ‘contests’ be ‘contexts’?

    Thanks for nit picking. I’ve corrected it on my version.

  79. Bob Tisdale says:

    De Rode Willem: You asked, “Why are the expected down-peek not as deep anymore as 20-30 years ago ? If we connect this down-peaks we see a clear undisputable upward trend ! The proof of global warming ?”

    And that’s why I provided figures 2 and 3.

    To me it’s proof that the volcanic eruptions of El Chichon and Mount Pinatubo in 1982 and 1991 reduced global TLT in the early part of the graph. There are also two upward step changes that result from the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Ninos.

    Regards

  80. Bob Tisdale says:

    Leif: You wrote, “If one of the things [humans] is not causing ENSO, then the other things the report says are not causing ENSO [the sun and volcanoes] are just as true. Of course, it could be that the whole thing is nonsense, and the report has no credibility, but, please, don’t cherry pick.”

    I acknowledge the cherry pick. Thanks for pointing it out and clarifying. I’ll rewrite it.

    Regards.

  81. erlhapp says:

    Leif Svalgaard

    RE the solar connection with Earths climate and its possible relation to ENSO:

    Here is the viewpoint of Jack Eddy as reported at http://www.lowell.edu/users/jch/sss/blog/.

    “Were God to give us, at last, the cable, or patch-cord that links the Sun to the climate system it would have on the solar end a banana plug, and on the other, where it hooks into the Earth — in ways we don’t yet know — a Hydra-like tangle of multiple 24-pin parallel computer connectors. It is surely at this end of the problem where the greatest challenges lie.”

    That seems to be a reasonable attitude to begin with don’t you think? Acknowledge the challenge and start chasing the connections.

    Surely a good place to begin is with solar modulation of ozone in the stratosphere. Change in ozone concentration in the stratosphere is linked with change in sea surface temperature i.e ENSO

    Linked is too weak a term. Call it ‘locked in’.

    Bob Tisdale:
    Thanks once again for bringing to the attention of concerned people the point that ENSO is natural climate change in action. Until we know the dynamics behind the cycling of tropical temperature we are in no position to quantify the effect of ENSO on regional and global climate.

    We are certainly in no position to derive any ‘anthropogenic’ contribution as a remainder.

  82. Mike D. says:

    Yep. The report measures roughly 9.8 on the gall meter.

  83. Pamela Gray says:

    Trade winds fluctuate much more than the Sun does. They also fluctuate much more than CO2 does. There are several websites that record trade wind strength. Currently, trade winds are down somewhat from their earlier strength during the height of the La Nina we just finished. Trade winds are the winds that are drawn toward the Coriolis and end up in an upward North to the Equator/South to the Equator, and then East to West flow.

  84. Jim Hughes says:

    Jorgekafkazar (12:54:23)

    Spelling only counts here on the fifth Friday of the month, Jim.

    Thanks but it’s still to much pressure.

    When seawater cools from, say, 80°F to 65°F, its viscosity rises by almost 25 percent. I’m pretty sure that the major cause of ENSO is that East Pacific upwelling reaches a point where the seawater surface viscosity becomes too high for the trades to hold westward, resulting in a shift towards the east. I’m not sure the trades slacken much; they’re driven by the earth’s rotation plus coriolis forces, which don’t cycle. But the mechanism I propose above is necessarily cyclical. As the East Pacific warm temperatures are restored, the sea surface viscosity drops, and the trades can then sweep water westward again.

    Note: There may be related atmospheric factors due to cooling and the resulting lower humidities above the upwelled water.

    The trade winds slacken enough and the forcing of kelvin and RG waves do a number on the subsurface/SST’s if the deck is stacked for a while. So the solar connection is obviously indirectly related to this. But trying to fill in the gaps with all the chicken – egg variables is no easy task.

    But I feel very confident with my methodology and I wouldn’t be a the verge of properly forecasting the ENSO pattern for the fifth consectutive year in a row if my methods were flawed or without some foundation basis.

    And I was on a forecasting hiatus before hand so that should not be a knock against me. But I also forecasted events prior to 2000. And many individuals within the meteorological community have been aware of these forecasts.

  85. @ Bob Tisdale

    I’m trying to catch up with the whole climate picture not only with ENSO issue. I have just ended reading your texts:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/01/can-el-nino-events-explain-all-of.html

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/01/can-el-nino-events-explain-all-of_11.html

    During the closing paragraph of the second part you wrote:
    CLOSING
    (…) The other major point of this post was that the heat distribution associated with El Nino events did not occur for all of El Ninos since 1976. The El Chichon and Mount Pinatubo explosive volcanic eruptions suppressed the heat distribution of the 1982/83, the 1991/92, the 1993, and possibly the 1994/95 ENSO events.

    Looking at your images and keeping in mind your remarks one thing is striking – namely, that suppression of the heat dissipation resembles in nature the work of lasers.

    Lasing medium is kept between two mirrors – one is reflecting light (or EM waves) in 100% to enhance lasing effect, the other in 50% as sort of safety valve. When the lasing events within medium crosses a certain level the laser beam emerges from the half-transparent window.

    The volcanic suppression of the aforementioned global scale heat dissipation has led to similar event – above normal La-Nina in 97/98 (burst of laser beam/pulse). If PWP is such a gigantic energy container as you say no wonder one day it erupted with event which has driven global temperature so high for so long. Let’s call the phenomenon Pacific Lasing Phenomenon (PLP). :)

    Is that plausible?

    Regards

  86. Bob Tisdale says:

    Przemysław Pawełczyk: I have an extremely limited knowldge of lasers, so I can’t answer your closing question.

    Regards.

  87. Lasers, “plugged” volcanoes, plugged simmering kettles, etc. behave the same way in certain conditions and all deal with energy.

    ENSO deals with energy. It is kind of black box with inlet and outlet. If you plug the outlet and keep the inlet open, climate vocabulary is replete with expressions with “forcing” suffixes, you will achieve soon the state close to “explosion”. When natural time had come for El-Nino it generated all the “simmering” energy accumulated through the times of “suppression” (Pinatubo, etc). 97/98 was the time.

    Perhaps if one found an equation(s) describing the energy box’s behavior he’d be able to predict bigger La-Nina events in the future. Providing there were “factors” which created conditions for the suppressions.

    But, well, it were only layman’s musing…

    Regards

  88. Jim Hughes (16:23:39) : “The trade winds slacken enough and the forcing of kelvin and RG waves do a number on the subsurface/SST’s if the deck is stacked for a while. So the solar connection is obviously indirectly related to this. But trying to fill in the gaps with all the chicken – egg variables is no easy task.”

    Very true. The system is replete with cause-effect/ effect-cause ‘intertwinglings’, as Dick Smothers used to say. Finding valid predictors among all this is like looking for a roulette-wheel ‘system’ that actually works. Here’s hoping for a sixth year of continued success!

  89. Pamela Gray (16:03:37) : “Trade winds fluctuate much more than the Sun does…There are several websites that record trade wind strength. Currently, trade winds are down somewhat from their earlier strength during the height of the La Nina we just finished.”

    But do the tradewinds slacken because of friction with stiffer water, or does the water move eastward because of weaker tradewinds? Which comes first, the Chichon or the Egg?

  90. erlhapp (15:33:50) :
    Change in ozone concentration in the stratosphere is linked with change in sea surface temperature i.e ENSO
    If that were the case, I would change my assessment this moment, but unfortunately it ain’t.

  91. Jon says:

    What about Thedor Landscheit an his thesis?

    http://www.john-daly.com/sun-enso/revisit.htm

    http://www.john-daly.com/theodor/DecadalEnso.htm

    “The next LPCZ in 2080 is sufficiently far away. In the next few decades the pattern shown in Figure 3 should be free of instabilities of any kind. So I expect a decadal minimum in El Niño intensity around 2007 (GPTC), a maximum around 2025 (LPTC), and further minimum around 2044 (GPTC). As can be read from Figure 3, these phases help to fix the timing, not the amplitude of the respective extremum. ”

    “Here the LPCZs come in and a new factor marked in Figure 3 by filled circles at the top. They indicate rare retrograde phases in the Sun’s motion (RS) going along with negative orbital angular momentum. In my paper “Extrema in sunspot cycle linked to Sun’s motion” (Landscheidt, 1999) I have shown that they go along with accumulations of extreme eruptional activity on the Sun. This is important as the effect of the set of solar motion cycles of different length is not based on relatively weak variations in solar irradiance, but on the Sun’s energetic eruptional activity which has a strong impact on climate. As to details I refer to chapter 4 of my paper “Long-range forecast of U.S. drought based on solar activity (Landscheidt, 2003 a).”

    “It is easy to see from Figure 3 that all instances of peak intensity are grouped around LPCZ and RS epochs. All periods of protracted weak intensity fall in between these epochs. So the PC phases in 2007 and 2025 should go along with amplitudes as indicated by the respective triangles, and the minimum intensity around 2044 should have a large negative amplitude. Overall, up to about 2060, strong El Niños like in 1982/1983 and 1997/1998 should not occur, but strong La Niñas are to be expected. Only after 2060 and with the highest probability around 2080 accumulations of strong El Niños should emerge again.”

  92. Ellie in Belfast says:

    Thank you, Bob. Another case of a picture is worth a 1000 words (although the words really help). This also ties in arctic and antarctic ice observations.

  93. erlhapp says:

    erlhapp (15:33:50) :
    “Change in ozone concentration in the stratosphere is linked with change in sea surface temperature i.e ENSO
    If that were the case, I would change my assessment this moment, but unfortunately it ain’t.”

    Then let me respectfully submit this graph that covers the Indian and Pacific Oceans from Sumatra through to Chile: http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg220/erlandlong/SSTand20hPa.jpg

    Data is in each case a 12 month moving average centered on the 7th month.
    Source: NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis.

    Sea surface temperature is shown for each latitude band between the equator and 50°S.

    Representing the stratosphere (and its ozone content) we have 20hPa temperature 10°N to 10°S. It can be shown that change in stratospheric temperature and ozone content is initiated at the highest altitude and at the poles and propagates both downwards and towards the equator, the temperature curves losing complexity as it does so, ultimately morphing into the sine wave like pattern that manifests in this 20hPa data. So, the particular form and pattern of 20hPa temperature at any latitude depends upon the degree of atmospheric mixing. This has a damping and simplifying effect.

    In interpreting the graph please consider that a strong cooling cycle can deliver declining SST at the equator whilst SST rises simultaneously at higher latitudes. This can give rise to a situation where there appears to be no response at the equator or the response is late. I have marked some notable instances where this occurs with LN standing for “La Nina”.

    Please be aware that temperature peaks in the stratosphere at latitudes remote from the equator usually precede those at the equator and the lag is variable.

    It can be shown that the peaks in temperature in the stratosphere are associated with peaks in 200hPa temperature in the upper troposphere.

    Notice the striking rise in 20hPa temperature that is associated with the 1978-83 climate shift when SST at the equator jumped by about half a degree.

    Notice also an equivalent striking rise in 20hPa temperature prior to the 1978 El Nino and its association with rising sea surface temperature at 20-30° south. It commences early 1995.

    Here is the QBO propagating from high latitudes: http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg220/erlandlong/QBOathighLat.jpg

    And here is a picture of me presenting myself for another ducking. http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg220/erlandlong/Jedda.jpg

  94. erlhapp (06:10:37) :
    “Change in ozone concentration in the stratosphere is linked with change in sea surface temperature i.e ENSO
    If that were the case, I would change my assessment this moment, but unfortunately it ain’t.”

    Then let me respectfully submit this graph

    This is just some wiggle matching that is not convincing or even comprehensible. You posit a relationship between ozone concentration and SST, so plot SST versus O3.

    Perhaps Bob Tisdale [or others] could specifically comment on your proposed regulator for ENSO, on the mechanism proposed, on the evidence presented. As usual, you overwhelm with details that blur the focus.

  95. Carl Wolk says:

    Tallbloke:
    Thanks for including me in such a prestigious group, but I have to say I’m skeptical of some of the correlations you may have found. The correlation since 1975 only exists because of the timing of the 1976, 1986/7, and 1997/8 events, along with the eruptions of Pinatubo and El Chichon. Solar cycles 19 and 20 may only correlate with SST because of the eruption of Agung. So a combination of the step-changes associated with El Nino events and volcanic eruptions seem to have caused SST to show some correlation to SSN over the past five solar cycles. However, ask Erl, and he might tell you it’s no coincidence that those El Nino events occured when they did in relation to the solar cycles. I have more sympathy for Erl’s position than I do for a simple, solar maximum=significantly more radiation theory. It just doesn’t show up in the data. This prolonged, deep minimum has been a test for this kind of solar theory, and SST aren’t falling below what is expected from the ENSO conditions. In fact, SST and ENSO have been way above what is expected from the SOI – which was very positive during the second half of the past couple years of La Nina conditions. (http://www.eldersweather.com.au/climimage.jsp?i=soi)
    I’m really hoping we don’t leave this minimum for awhile. If the sun remains inactive for much longer, and SST still does not respond, the solar cycle theory of climate is gonna have a lot of explaining to do.

  96. kim says:

    Leif, 07:10:38.

    The focus is blurred from the complexity of the relationship. The devil and the truth are in the details. Carry on, you two.
    ==============================================

  97. Bob Tisdale says:

    Leif Svalgaard wrote, “Perhaps Bob Tisdale [or others] could specifically comment on your proposed regulator for ENSO, on the mechanism proposed, on the evidence presented.”

    Sorry. Erl Happ’s areas of study are outside of mine.

  98. erlhapp says:

    Leif Svalgaard (07:10:38) : “This is just some wiggle matching that is not convincing or even comprehensible. ”

    Consider this. The Earths atmosphere is characterized by change in all its attributes according to latitude. The parameters that drive the latitude at which sea surface warming occurs, change over time. In the nature of things, ‘wiggle matching’ identifies dynamics that correlation will fail to identify.

    The latitude that warms is not just the equatorial zone. Warming at 20-30°S usually precedes that at the equator and as the southern stratosphere/troposphere has warmed over the period of record the latitude where warming can be observed, has shifted further southward. Warming rate varies with longitude.

    This latitudinal variation is abundantly apparent in the variability of the climate of southern Chile, in the change in its vegetation and its glaciers over time. Here we must have a geological perspective in terms of the time involved. Then we see the potential for long term climate change in the ENSO phenomenon.

    The change in the ozone content of the atmosphere is not documented as you well know. But, the temperature of the stratosphere is, in broad terms, a very good proxy for its ozone content. And the temperature is very well documented. In this instance ‘broad terms’ is not a problem. Peak temperature in the stratosphere relates to warming of the sea, usually between the equator and 40° south. The reaction in the northern hemisphere is much less noticeable and much less correlated. There are obvious reasons for this. Hence the ‘Southern Oscillation”.

    If the scale used minimizes the fluctuation to the point where you must describe it as a ‘wiggle’ it its easy to change the scale, but instead of one picture we finish up with five.

    One take home message. The devil is in the detail. Close observation is necessary.

    Here is a nice little paper on the production of nitric oxides in the auroral oval and its relationship with the Earths magnetic field, irradiance and geomagnetic activity.

    The northern auroral region as observed in nitric oxide
    C.A. Barth, D.N. Baker, and K.D. Manko_
    Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado at Boulder
    S.M. Bailey
    Center for Atmospheric Sciences, Hampton University, Hampton, VA
    Abstract. The distribution of thermospheric nitric oxide
    in the northern polar region has been measured from the
    Student Nitric Oxide Explorer (SNOE). A polar image of a
    one-year average at 106 km shows the maximum density lies
    between 60_ and 70_ N geomagnetic latitude. The density
    around this auroral oval varies as a function of longitude
    with the larger densities occurring at western geomagnetic
    longitudes. A polar image of a second year of observations
    demonstrates the same latitudinal-longitudinal density distribution
    indicating that the asymmetry is a persistent property
    of the auroral region. For a period of high geomagnetic
    activity, the nitric oxide observations indicate that the flux
    of precipitating electrons at 90_ W geomagnetic longitude the auroral oval.

    Would you also deny the connection between nitrogen oxide concentration and the flux of ozone concentration in the stratosphere. Might as well go the whole hog while you are at it.

  99. erlhapp says:

    Kim,
    Omnipresent as usual. Valid comment.

  100. Carl Wolk says:

    Leif; climate science is at such a state that “wiggle matching” is where we must start. Climate science is so messed up, that the basic observations that Erl and the rest of us do are necessary. We have no first principles to work from. All established first principles are contradicted by observations. So we have to start from the bottom, note a pattern, determine a plausbile theory, and then test it with the rest of the data. How else do you think we can investigate climate change? I agree, and I think Erl would agree, that each graph alone proves nothing. They indicate plausible ideas, and collectively, they represent a theory. Trying to establish a causation for ENSO is far too complex, involving too many dynamic processes to be proven with a graph – otherwise, the cause of ENSO would already be known. I personally withhold judgment on Erl’s theories, but his graphs do consider careful investigation. You can’t expect perfect correlation when trying to explain ENSO. Also, if you know a source of 03 data, please give a link.

    Now something we agree on-
    Looking through the massive NIPCC report, I’m disappointed by the focus on the solar cycle. This relentless pursuit of solar cycles is almost as unphysical as enhanced greenhouse theory. Looking at the oceans to determine where global change begins, and looking at the atmosphere to understand how it deals with heat and if it influences the oceans, requires a non-global outlook. Understanding variation by latitude, longitude, and altitude is required, and the “global average” is only understood once we can explain what aspects of the global average were driven by what regions and how. That’s how you go from observations to causation. And it takes a lot of wiggle-matching.

  101. erlhapp (08:56:05) :
    The change in the ozone content of the atmosphere is not documented as you well know.<i?
    Of course it is well known, as the O3 concentration can be calculated rather precisely from the F10.7 flux which has been measured accurately since 1947.

    One take home message. The devil is in the detail. Close observation is necessary.
    The obfuscation thrives on irrelevant details.

    Here is a nice little paper on the production of nitric oxides in the auroral oval and its relationship with the Earths magnetic field, irradiance and geomagnetic activity.
    Yet another introduction of irrelevant detail. What happens at 105 km height is not important for the SST.

    kim (07:39:41) :
    The focus is blurred from the complexity of the relationship. The devil and the truth are in the details. Carry on, you two.
    The relationship has not been demonstrated and the blurred focus allows the carrying on of a barren discussion, like the issue of ‘Elvis on Mars’.

    Bob Tisdale (08:00:58) :
    Sorry. Erl Happ’s areas of study are outside of mine.
    Erl’s has to do with the causes of ENSO. I was then mistaken about what you are studying. In you many posts on this I see very often the word ‘mechanism’, but now you are saying that you have no interest or knowledge of any mechanisms. Just shows how difficult it is to communicating even simple things.

  102. Leif Svalgaard (09:37:16) :
    erlhapp (08:56:05) :
    The change in the ozone content of the atmosphere is not documented as you well know.
    Of course it is well known, as the O3 concentration can be calculated rather precisely from the F10.7 flux which has been measured accurately since 1947.

  103. tallbloke says:

    Carl, Erl, Bob and Leif, please would you take a look at this graph I’ve produced and tell me whether it’s relevant. I think it might tie in well with Bob’s PWP hidden heat and re-emergence ideas, and with Erl’s solar ideas too.

    I know I clown around and joke on here a lot but I honestly think I may be onto something here.

    Thanks guys

  104. Carl Wolk says:

    Tallbloke –
    SSN likely has some contributiont to modern warming. But I just don’t see much. The fall from the 19th to the 20th solar cycle was massive but produced no cooling. And ENSO activity wasn’t especially high to balance it out. Then again, I could be wrong. Also, I’ve seen people graph 11-year smooths of SSN and ENSO. If you build in a lag, there seems to be a post 1950-correlation. But a lag doesn’t make sense (nor does a smooth)because ENSO’s variation isn’t a nice smooth curve. The shifts of ’57 and ’76 were abrupt, and they drive the correlation. It wouldn’t make sense for solar energy to store up in the ocean and then bam! a few years later we see a climate shift in a matter of months. If the sun is influencing ENSO, there should be no lag.

  105. tallbloke says:

    Carl Wolk (10:56:46) :

    Tallbloke –
    SSN likely has some contributiont to modern warming. But I just don’t see much.

    Hi Carl, it’s not so much SSN in red I want you to look at, but the cumulative total of sunspot area below. The build up and sudden release of peaks in SST coincide with the ends of el nino dominant periods around 1880, 1940 and 1998. The 60year oscillation overlays the underlying cumulative solar trend it seems to me.

    I agree with what you and Bob say anout the PWP, but in the end, the energy is coming from the sun (where else?). The issue is the mysterious way it hides in the climate system and manifests in the 30 up 30 down 60 year cycles. I think my graph goes some way to explaining that. The downslope in the cool la nina dominated period from 1880-1910 is steeper than the fall in my cumulative solar index. Then an el nino dominated phase takes over while the solar accumulation is bottoming out. It then crashes at 1945 and we get a cool phase as the solar accumulation is picking up again in the background.

    Idon’t see why there couldn’t be both fairly immediately felt effects of solar energy via cloud mediation, as well as longer term buildup and releases such as the big events in 1998. It just means there’s more than one type of oscillation going on, with moe than one factor involved. Not everything is splendidly vacuum isolated in the solar system.

  106. Bob Tisdale says:

    Leif Svalgaard: You wrote, “Erl’s has to do with the causes of ENSO. I was then mistaken about what you are studying. In you many posts on this I see very often the word ‘mechanism’, but now you are saying that you have no interest or knowledge of any mechanisms. Just shows how difficult it is to communicating even simple things.”

    The communication problem was most likely mine. Excuse the brevity of my earlier reply.

    My posts at my website and here have to with topics that are easy for the average person (me) to grasp. I use readily available data, primarily from NOMADS and the KNMI Climate Explorer, so that anyone with a spreadsheet and the want to duplicate my work can do so.

    Though I do post on other topics, my primary areas of interest are the OCEANIC process of ENSO and the aftereffects of ENSO as they relate to SST, LST, and TLT. One of those aftereffects is a process called reemergence, with which I recently used the word mechanism.

    Erl Happ (and Leif):

    Erl, as far as I can tell, you attempt to illustrate the causes of ENSO through multitudes of interwoven atmospheric processes. As I wrote in my earlier comment to Leif, your research is outside of my areas of interest. Personally, I find your posts and your comments here at WUWT confusing. Part of that could be my own understanding (or lack thereof) of the subject matter and part could be my own findings. I have written a few posts about cloud amount and cloud cover, and those posts illustrated that cloud amounts in the tropical Pacific are for the most part responses to ENSO.

    Regards.

  107. Bob Tisdale says:

    tallbloke: Regarding your comment that starts with, “Carl, Erl, Bob and Leif, please would you take a look at this graph I’ve produced and tell me whether it’s relevant.”

    I assume you’re thinking the running total of TSI would serve as a proxy for heat input to the PWP. Have you restarted the running total of TSI after each El Nino (assuming La Ninas are aftereffects of El Ninos), in effect showing the “heat input” between El Nino events? That way you could see if the peaks of the running total in any way replicate the intensity of the subsequent El Ninos. Also, you may need to account for the impacts of tropical volcanic eruptions.

  108. Pamela Gray says:

    tallbloke, it would be helpful if you were to explain the mechanism of the correlation you appear to be showing on your graph. Otherwise we are back to the goddess in the cave again. You seem to want to keep going back to an SSN-driven mechanism but I can’t come up with any reasonable mechanism (other than the goddess in the cave or perhaps the Sun moving closer then further away from Earth. Please elucidate.

  109. kim says:

    Erl, Bob, et many al; cause and effect are much mingled in many of these processes; just as the clouds seem to play both roles, so might many of Erl’s ‘interwoven atmospheric processes’. It is indeed a magnificent hall of mirrors reflecting a meta-Rube Goldberg device.
    =============================================

  110. erlhapp says:

    Leif Svalgaard (09:37:16) :

    erlhapp (08:56:05) :
    “The change in the ozone content of the atmosphere is not documented as you well know.<i?
    Of course it is well known, as the O3 concentration can be calculated rather precisely from the F10.7 flux which has been measured accurately since 1947."

    Just plain wrong. The ozone content of the lower stratosphere/upper troposphere is determined by the drift rate from zone of creation. The ozone content at any level is under chemical control. Ozone persistence is dependent upon temperature, the moisture content of the air and the influence of erosive nitrogen compounds brought into circulation in a dramatic fashion in the polar vortexes.

    The sad thing is, you know its wrong, but when you want to deny a thesis, anything goes.

  111. erlhapp says:

    tallbloke (09:53:18) :
    There may be a causal relationship but the mechanism must be explained. I am with Pamela on this.

  112. erlhapp says:

    Bob Tisdale (14:14:13) : “Erl, as far as I can tell, you attempt to illustrate the causes of ENSO through multitudes of interwoven atmospheric processes. As I wrote in my earlier comment to Leif, your research is outside of my areas of interest. Personally, I find your posts and your comments here at WUWT confusing. Part of that could be my own understanding (or lack thereof) of the subject matter and part could be my own findings. I have written a few posts about cloud amount and cloud cover, and those posts illustrated that cloud amounts in the tropical Pacific are for the most part responses to ENSO.”

    Thanks for the honest feedback Bob.

    I begin with the proposition that the changing flux of solar energy into the ocean governs sea surface temperature. Not unreasonable? In simpler language, when a cloud gets in the way its cooler at the surface. Of course the real world is not so simple. Clouds are far more abundant in bodies of warm moist air traveling away from the Equator. When I want to know when it is going to rain I look at this: http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/extreme/gfs/current/plan_water_000.png

    That record of total precipitable moisture is worth contemplating. Copy, paste and watch.

    We are currently at the tail end of a cycle of warming in the tropical waters. This particular cycle has been going on while the SOI has been in positive territory (La Nina) and its not going to the negative for very long. I know this because SST is predominantly determined in the southern hemisphere by the change in near invisible upper troposphere ice cloud (between the equator and 40°S) that varies with local 200hPa temperature. In turn, 200hPa temperature depends upon local ozone content and this depends upon the processes that govern the ozone content of the lower stratosphere.

    The ozone content of the lower stratosphere is governed, not by ultraviolet radiation to any great extent, but the flux in ozone concentration due to ‘dynamical processes’…. a loose term for the processes I referred to in my last post to Leif and then some more as well. The circulation of the air in the stratosphere is very important as a determinant of ozone levels at 200hPa. Ozone is created in the upper stratosphere by short wave energy splitting the oxygen molecule.

    There is one way to be sure of what is going on. It is by exhaustive analysis of atmospheric temperature at all levels.

    Let me describe my modus operandi. I start at the lowest level of the atmosphere, lets say 850hPa. I download the data for each 10° of latitude from pole to pole using NCEP/NCAR. I have formula to convert the table quickly into a vertical presentation with a running 12 month mean. I then graph the 18 lines together. (all this can go on one spreadsheet if you use the available horizontal space economically). If there is anything of interest in terms of anomalous behaviour I will focus on the latitudes concerned. I do this for each level that NCEP/NCAR documents between the surface and 10hPa.

    I do the same for vertical sections of the atmosphere where it seems useful. This is critically important in the tropics, the mid latitudes and the poles.

    If you do this the first thing you notice is the enormous difference between the two hemispheres of the Earth. That is a good starting point.

    Knowledge does not come cheaply. The answers are not simple. Kim’s message is relevant.

    I am doing what might be called ‘historical climatology’. You are too. The answers we seek are in the climate record.

    I now quote Carl who is very much ‘on the money’.

    “Looking at the oceans to determine where global change begins, and looking at the atmosphere to understand how it deals with heat and if it influences the oceans, requires a non-global outlook. Understanding variation by latitude, longitude, and altitude is required, and the “global average” is only understood once we can explain what aspects of the global average were driven by what regions and how. That’s how you go from observations to causation. And it takes a lot of wiggle-matching.”

    Observation is king. The ability of the Australian aboriginal to track peoples movement by looking at the ‘tracks’ they have left in the country, is legendary. In the same way, if you get to know the atmosphere as ‘your country’ via the existing climate record you have half a chance of working out what is going on.

  113. Pamela Gray says:

    So erl, I think you are saying that modulation of ozone is not so much a Sun mediated thing, but an Earth Atmosphere thing. I have been watching ozone for quite some time and noticed right off that ozone concentration changes from daylight hours to nighttime hours. I also have noticed that ozone is not well mixed in the atmosphere. These observations, along with Leif’s tutoring, made me realize that ozone variation is more caused by the Earth itself than the Sun over the long term (over several Sun cycles). So it seems that while Sun cycles correspond somewhat with ozone development, its shorter term variation is an Earth bound phenomenon. Would you agree?

  114. Pamela Gray says:

    The above comment on ozone variation was a bit confusing on my part. There is a direct relationship to overall ozone ups and downs that can be calculated based on the Sun’s cycles. However, the globby here and there, and thick and thin nature of ozone is an Earth bound phenomenon. So once again, we are back to the Sun being a predictable source of cycles, but the Earth is the source of the not-so-predictable weather pattern variation chaos we are trying to understand.

  115. erlhapp says:

    Pamela,
    The really critical observation is the chemical control of ozone via the interaction of various oxides of nitrogen originating in the mesosphere/thermosphere with ozone in the stratosphere.

    The concentration of these erosive compounds varies with solar activity, both irradiance and geomagnetic activity.

    The most aggressive interaction zone is the southern vortex over Antarctica.

    The mixing that occurs on short time scales (days, weeks) measurably affects ozone content in the lower stratosphere into the mid latitudes. This has been measured in the northern hemisphere.

    A google search on ‘nitrogen oxides geomagnetic activity’ will bring up heaps of material.

    I agree with the statement in your last post. The atmosphere mediates the ozone response at the equator. Prime entry point is the poles. Secondary entry points the upper global stratosphere where the location of the stratopause (where temperature ceases to rise with elevation) is under the control of this phenomena.

    Looked at another way the stratosphere is the ozone shield with the most protected part of it above the equator. Paradoxically, the ozone levels in this zone are under attack at the equator by moisture lifted through the tropopause. Ozone is highly soluble in water. There is also the phenomenon of the biennial shift in wind direction from East to west above the equator and its affect on downward drift phenomena.

    End of the day, when temperature rises at 20hPa it reflects increasing ozone content in the lower stratosphere/upper troposphere. This, per medium of changing cloud cover in the upper troposphere drives the Southern Oscillation.

    Its actually very simple and you are onto it.

  116. erlhapp says:

    Pamela
    Looking more closely at this sentence of yours: ” but the Earth is the source of the not-so-predictable weather pattern variation chaos we are trying to understand.”

    Its the sun and the Earth together. The atmosphere modulates the fashion in which the solar stimulus plays out. If you look at the data between the poles and the equator and between the stratopause and the tropopause this is the mechanism that is apparent.

    The atmosphere is appallingly thin and somewhat lopsided. The temperature record shows the forces at play.

  117. tallbloke says:

    erlhapp (18:09:10) :

    tallbloke (09:53:18) :
    There may be a causal relationship but the mechanism must be explained. I am with Pamela on this.

    Thanks Erl,
    The idea of graphing the solar data in a cumulative way only occurred to me yesterday so I haven’t had much time at it yet. As Carl Wolk said, we’re attempting to rebuild the smoking ruin of climatology from the seabed up, and at this stage, wiggle matching of various potentially interesting correlations is where we’re at with some aspects of the heat retention puzzle.

    Pamela Gray (15:33:23) :

    tallbloke, it would be helpful if you were to explain the mechanism of the correlation you appear to be showing on your graph. Otherwise we are back to the goddess in the cave again. You seem to want to keep going back to an SSN-driven mechanism but I can’t come up with any reasonable mechanism (other than the goddess in the cave or perhaps the Sun moving closer then further away from Earth. Please elucidate.

    Hi Pamela, at the moment I’m working from the other end inwards, because current opinion from the big guns like Leif Svalgaard seems to discount most of the potential electromagnetic carriers for a mechanism.

    Teasing out which parts of the electromagnetic spectrum affect which aspects of climate feedback in observable ways and to what extents is what this discussion is about, and I see various investigators such as Bob, Erl, Carl, Willis, and Stephen Wilde grappling with those issues.

    If we start from the basis of “well it was damn cold in the c17th when solar activity was very low, warmer in the C18th when it picked up again, cooler in the c19th when it dropped again, and very warm in the latter half of the C20th when it built up to a several thousand year high, then we can maybe accept as a general principle that solar activity affects Earth temperature through a variety of observed and partially understood phenomena. We need to find useful proxies for overall input to the climate system, and with the reservation that my graph is an initial preliminary effort, looking at the sunspot area data as a cumulative series seems to me not an unreasonable idea, given Bob’s elucidation of the way heat builds up in the subsurface ocean in hitherto unmeasured ways.

    Before we can work out just what the Goddess is up to in that cave, we need to recognise that she’s there and discover her names and parentage so we can ask her directly.

    Bob Tisdale (14:40:49) :
    I assume you’re thinking the running total of TSI would serve as a proxy for heat input to the PWP. Have you restarted the running total of TSI after each El Nino (assuming La Ninas are aftereffects of El Ninos), in effect showing the “heat input” between El Nino events? That way you could see if the peaks of the running total in any way replicate the intensity of the subsequent El Ninos. Also, you may need to account for the impacts of tropical volcanic eruptions.

    Hi Bob, as I said to Erl, the idea to look at cumulative solar activity just came to me in a flash yesterday, so, no, I haven’t worked periodic ‘resets’ to the running count, but it’s an excellent suggestion, thanks for the idea. One thing that occurs immediately is that in your account, a lot of the warm water spread out by el Nino recirculates and returns to the pacific warm pool. If we had an idea of the proportion of heat energy doing that following historical el Nino events, it would help me decide on the appropriate ‘offset’ to apply to the count, rather than hitting it with a complete ‘reset’.

    Volcano’s are mavericks in the climate quantification puzzle, because single unpredictable events can have large effects and spoil the prediction party. Nonetheless, there are also interesting correlations between overall longterm volcanic activity and solar activity lurking in the peer reviewed literature. We get more volcanic activity when solar activity is low, as we are seeing at the moment with the 20 or so biggish active volcanos belching and smoking around the world.

    Thanks again for your suggestions, I’ll sit back and have a think about how to refine the cumulative model.

  118. ian edmonds says:

    Carl Wolk:

    The article mentioned by Carl Wolk “how enso rules the oceans” raises the question whether Arctic Sea Ice Extent is correlated with ENSO with a delay of 9 – 10 years.

    Long term historic ice ixtents in the Nordic seas http://www.climate4you.com/SeaIce.htm show a modest correlation (~0.3) with ENSO at a delay of 9 years for the earliest record period covering 1860 – 1910. However the correlation is unconvincing over the longer Arctic Ice Extent record including the satellite record 1979 – 2009. A possible reason may be that the more recent ice extent is strongly affected by events such as Mt Pinatubo eruption. For example, a decrease in ice extent 9 years after the 86/87 El Nino event may be masked by cooling from the Mt pinatubo eruption in 1995/96, whereas the decrease in Arctic ice extent 9 years after the 97/98 El Nino suffers no such masking in 2007/07.

    A mechanism that associates El Nino or ENSO events occuring 9 years prior to anomolies in the Arctic Sea Ice Extent could be the slow transport of El Nino induced West Pacific warming via the “ocean conveyer belt” (thermo haline circulation) to the North Atlantic. This would require a conveyer belt speed of about 0.1 m/s. This corresponds to some estimates of the speed of the warm surface current sections of the ocean conveyer across the Indian Ocean and up the Atlantic Ocean to the Arctic.

    Has a possible correlation between Arctic Ice Extent anomolies and ENSO events been examined by anybody?

  119. erlhapp says:

    A broad introduction and some useful references to the subject of ozone dynamic via the polar vortex can be found here: http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/Ozone.htm

  120. pyromancer76 says:

    Bob Tisdale, thanks for your many efforts to communicate observational information about Earth’s oceans to a non-science-professional public (as well as to the amazing “minds” who comment here). I enjoy the way you make the info accessible in charts. I don’t know enough yet to comment; I have tried, but have had to erase them. However, I follow your blog and the research articles to which you link. On an intuitive basis, so much of what happens here on Earth seems to have to do with the amazing physics of water in all its forms. It seems that even W. Eschenbach’s brilliant Thermostat Hypothesis couldn’t work without the way H2O works. Do you have any opinion on Mark Denny’s How the Ocean Works re its scientific accuracy from your perspective? Do you have any (other) recommendations?

  121. Stephen Wilde says:

    ian edmonds (00:49:51)

    I have previously suggested elsewhere that the Arctic Circle is the final destination for Pacific waters previously warmed by El Ninos or cooled by La Ninas and that there might be a travel time of 9 or 10 years.

    On that basis the 2007 Arctic melt would have been the last gasp of the 1998 El Nino and it is going to be about 2016 before the effect of the recent strong La Nina has maximum effect there.

    In the meantime the weaker solar input should compound the effect of cooler waters reaching the Arctic.

    I expect a slow increase in Arctic ice cover until at least 2017.

  122. Carl Wolk says:

    Ian –
    I haven’t looked into it. However, heat transport to the Northern Latitudes has a strong ENSO signature, which can be seen in the North Pacific, North Atlantic and Northern lower tropospheric data. In fact, I don’t think many other variables (besides volcanoes) have been at play during the past 30 years, so I’d wager that ENSO has to be responsible for the recent reduction in ice.

  123. Bob Tisdale says:

    Erl Happ: You wrote: “I begin with the proposition that the changing flux of solar energy into the ocean governs sea surface temperature. Not unreasonable?”

    Changing solar flux is only one factor. Much of the variability in SST, especially in the Pacific, can be seen as the redistribution of heat from ENSO events. That is, the SST variability is an aftereffect of ENSO. During an El Nino event, subsurface water in the PWP sloshes eastward, releasing part of that heat to the troposphere in the eastern Tropical Pacific. During the subsequent La Nina, a portion of that warm water sloshes back to the PWP. The rest is redistributed by ocean surface currents to the North and South Pacific and to the eastern Indian Ocean. Refer to the following video.

    Regards

  124. Bob Tisdale says:

    pyromancer76: You asked, “Do you have any opinion on Mark Denny’s How the Ocean Works re its scientific accuracy from your perspective? Do you have any (other) recommendations?”

    Sorry, I haven’t read Denny’s book. All of my reading materials have been online versions of papers and what’s available at websites.

  125. erlhapp says:

    tallbloke (00:22:30) : “wiggle matching of various potentially interesting correlations is where we’re at with some aspects of the heat retention puzzle.”

    Lets think in terms of energy acquisition and energy loss from the earth as a whole: For sustained cooling all that is required is a tendency for the central pressure in the high pressure cells of the mid latitudes of the southern hemisphere to increase and the trades will strengthen. OLR increases during La Nina events. This is related to increase in release of latent heat of precipitation (including ice formation in cirrus cloud).

    All that it takes for that to happen is for the ozone content of the lower stratosphere to fall away. This cools the regions of the upper troposphere that feed the mid latitude high pressure cells. With a supply of colder air at source, the central pressure will rise.

    The result is a swing to ever deeper La Nina cooling episodes and shallower El Ninos.

    Since the climate shift of 1978, 200hpa temperature has been falling along with the aa index of geomagnetic activity.

    The supply of nitrous oxides from the mesosphere is probably in slow decline (due to the fall in geomagnetic activity) but the vortex is strengthening the evidence being falling temperatures at all levels in the high latitude southern (and to a lesser extent northern) stratosphere. So, the mixing of nitrogen oxides into the stratosphere is more vigorous.

    Prediction:
    1. The ozone hole over Antarctica will grow in size.
    2. Atmospheric pressure in the south Pacific off Chile will continue to increase on decadal time scales.
    3. When a vortex stalls as it did in spectacular fashion in January-February 2009 pronounced warming occurs in the summer hemisphere as ozone concentration rises strongly.

    Remaining Problem: Explain how the vortex can weaken and strengthen over decadal and longer time scales. This is at the root of ‘natural climate change’.

    I think the answer will be found to involve the electromagnetic nature of parts of the Earths atmosphere/ionosphere/thermosphere and it will be related to changing atmospheric pressure at the poles vis a vis the equator and also the tendency for the equatorial upper stratosphere to cool when the poles exhibit a sudden stratospheric warming. I think the mechanism is ‘atmospheric dispacement’.

    As geomagnetic activity rises in solar cycle 24 the supply of nitrous oxides will increase and the high latitude stratosphere should cool faster. But, as the supply of moisture from equatorial regions is cut off as the tropical ocean cools the concentration of ozone in the equatorial stratosphere will increase. Wider swings in temperature there will accentuate the swings in the southern oscillation. From observations of weak solar cycles in the past this is what seems to happen. Witness cycle 20.

  126. Carl Wolk says:

    Ian –
    Here’s a graph I made on an old blog showing global vs Arctic lower tropospheric data.

    http://climatechangeskeptic.wordpress.com/2008/09/08/arctic-warming/

    I’d say they match pretty well. It’d be interesting to see Arctic temperature vs Arctic sea ice. I bet there’s less of a correlation than one would expect.

  127. Richard M says:

    Let’s see if I understand this … The PWP is impacted by viscosity, trade winds and (possibly) geothermal warming. In addition, clould cover and slight modifications in the sun’s intensity influence the degree of heating.

    Sounds reasonable. Has anyone considered another factor. The temperature of upwelling cold water. Could it be that the starting point is impacted by this variable and that also influences the strength of the ENSO event? If so, these temps could also be the result of geothermal events as well as the termperature of the water when it sank many years/decade/centuries/millenia ago.

  128. Bob Tisdale says:

    Carl Wolk: “Here’s a graph I made on an old blog showing global vs Arctic lower tropospheric data… I’d say they match pretty well. It’d be interesting to see Arctic temperature vs Arctic sea ice.”

    You forgot to mention the scaling of the Arctic TLT. When the Arctic is scaled to account for Polar Amplification, they do correlate well.

  129. erlhapp says:

    Bob Tisdale (06:16:45) :
    Re whether changing cloud cover explains the change in sea surface temperature or not.

    I am not going to quibble about redistributive influences.

    The energy from the sun is invariable but the emission from the Earth as OLR varies a great deal. The big El Ninos are characterised by a fall in OLR and the La Ninas are characterised by a rise in OLR. A tendency to El Nino dominance changes the Earths heat budget and causes temperatures to increase and the opposite removes energy and relates to cooling temperatures. This relates fairly obviously to a sunshade coming off and going on again.

    OLR falls during the big El Ninos because the atmosphere warms fast, relative humidity falls and yet specific humidity rises but not fast enough to enable precipitation, cloud generation and latent heat release. A rise in relative humidity enabling cloud generation is the only way that this process of ocean energy acquisition can be brought to a halt.

    On the other hand La Nina is a precipitation event that releases a lot of latent heat building the OLR while generating cloud and preventing the ocean from taking in solar energy.

  130. Jeff Alberts says:

    On that basis the 2007 Arctic melt would have been the last gasp of the 1998 El Nino and it is going to be about 2016 before the effect of the recent strong La Nina has maximum effect there.

    Except that the “2007 melt” wasn’t caused by warmer Arctic waters, but by wind and ocean currents pushing the ice into warmer southerly waters.

  131. Stephen Wilde says:

    Erl (09:24:56)

    Hi Erl,

    I’m currently puzzling over the issue as to whether changes in the air such as you describe do actually cause the SST changes or whether in fact the SST changes occur because of varying rates of energy release from the oceans arising from changes (probably cyclical) within the oceans.

    I’m satisfied that wind changes and/or cloudiness changes cause or drive individual ENSO events and I take no issue with you or Bob Tisdale as regards the processes in the air which each of you describe.

    However it seems to me that oceanic influences are very much more powerful than anything that can happen in the air and of course we have to consider the fact that the primary energy flow through the system is one way from sun to sea to air to space.

    Any proposals involving a change in the global equilibrium temperature caused by climate change mechanisms arising in the air have to involve either a slowing down of the background energy flow from ocean to air or a reversal of the background flow so that energy is transferred from air to ocean.

    There is also the problem that a maximum attainable SST temperature of 305 K is set by the properties of water and the density of the air and the temperature of space. I think it is agreed that if the ocean SST cannot exceed 305 K then that puts a top limit on the temperature of the air above that water and that in turn (given the circulations in the air and the oceans) also puts a lid on the average global air temperature.

    Putting that all together I currently think that it is far more likely that the driving mechanism is variable energy release by the oceans and that all the phenomena observed in the air are consequences and not causes.

    It appears that over a 30 year or so cycle there are warm phases in the Pacific when El Ninos are enhanced and La Ninas suppressed. Also 30 year phases where the opposite occrs giving 60 years or so for a full cycle.

    On the other hand individual ENSO events as described by Bob Tisdale and ozone/upper level cloud changes as described by you occur on very much shorter time scales.

    Thus from our observations it must be changes within the oceans on the 30/60 year timecale that are in command and not the processes that you both describe. Unless that is either of you can suggest how the 30/60 year cycle within the oceans can arise from those shorter term phenomena.

    Can either of you help me on that ?

    Stephen.

  132. Stephen Wilde says:

    jeff Alberts (10:17:16)

    Thanks Jeff, I’m aware of the anomalous Arctic wind patterns in summer 2007 but didn’t want to overcomplicate things.

    Without those wind patterns the peak melt would have been at the end of summer 2006 and there might have been a small recovery in 2007.

    The fact is that the amount of Arctic melt is more related to warm water flowing in under it than anything else although Arctic temperatures and winds do add another layer of variability.

    However one cuts it the maximum melt was about long enough after the 1998 El Nino for that event to have caused it.

    Bear in mind that the 1998 El Nino was the culmination of a long period of such events so a maximum melt around 2006/2007 was hardly surprising.

    We are now in very different times.

  133. Carl Wolk says:

    Woops, the scaling amounted to change in Arctic=3.4 times change in Global. But here’s a question: why didn’t the 97/8 El Nino show up in Arctic temps like all the other ENSO events?

  134. Bob Tisdale says:

    Erl Happ: You wrote, “The big El Ninos are characterised by a fall in OLR and the La Ninas are characterised by a rise in OLR.”

    I plotted Global and Tropical OLR a few months ago, but I didn’t feel any need to post the graphs. In looking at them, the OLR during the 1997/98 El Nino and 1998/99/00 La Nina do not agree with your statement.

    Global OLR:

    Tropical OLR:

    Data available through the KNMI Climate Explorer:

    http://climexp.knmi.nl/selectfield_obs.cgi?someone@somewhere

  135. erlhapp says:

    Bob Tisdale (13:22:40) :
    My apologies Bob. I refer to OLR in particular equator to 10°S.

    I have figure 4 in http://climatechange1.wordpress.com/2009/05/12/climate-change-a-la-naturale/

    This graph can be accessed directly at http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg220/erlandlong/Fig4OLRandSST0-10S.jpg

    I discuss the dynamics, which are complex, in the post but to save you the trouble here it is.
    1. There is a sudden fall in OLR during the El Nino warming events (red rectangles) when the steepest rise in SST is experienced. For this to occur, precipitation (and therefore latent heat release that drives OLR and the cloud cover that would exclude sunlight) fails to increase as the ocean warms.
    2. In more moderate warming events, sea surface temperature and OLR simply increase together. In this instance an increase in precipitation occurs, releasing latent heat and promoting cloud cover, tending to slow the rise in temperature. This is the Earths thermostat working. Temperature gain is limited by condensation phenomena.
    3. Elsewhere (blue rectangles) we see periods where OLR increases while SST actually falls. In this instance an increase in precipitation is accompanied by increased cloud cover (what could be more natural when the atmosphere cools) excluding energy from the Earth system causing SST to fall.

    These are fundamentally different modes.

    Let’s look more closely at the first mode. During the strongest heating events, OLR falls as the ocean absorbs energy causing SST to rise strongly. The energy from the sun is relatively invariable. If the Earths albedo (via atmospheric cloud) changes to admit more energy, it will be absorbed by the ocean, causing surface temperature to rise. OLR fundamentally depends upon the rate of evaporation and latent heat release. The atmosphere warms fast, evaporation from the ocean lags behind and relative humidity falls. As a result, less cloud forms. More energy then reaches the ocean. But in the end evaporation must catch up or all the ocean would long since have completely evaporated. The limit to this process is the capacity of the atmosphere to hold water vapour without precipitating it. The evidence of past events suggests that this mode is limited to about a year. There is no better illustration than the El Nino of 1997-8. Such an event is followed by an orgy of precipitation as surely as night follows day but there is no gurantee that all the energy acquired by the ocean in the preceding heating event will be vented.

    In mode two, encompassing the more moderate heating events, the energy gained from loss of albedo is partitioned to both increased sea surface temperature and outgoing long wave radiation via an increase in precipitation. This slows the increase in surface temperature. This process worked throughout the period of the massive increase in sea surface temperature centered on 1978. Even when the thermostat is working well a massive step change in ocean temperature is possible.

    In mode three the Earth increases its radiation levels via release of latent heat of condensation drawing energy from the ocean via evaporation, yielding a reduction in sea surface temperature. For sea surface temperature to actually fall, the system must increase cloud albedo to exclude solar radiation. This might be described as an internally generated precipitation event. But, such an event has limits. When the atmosphere is sufficiently well dried and the source of moisture is cut off by declining surface temperature, cooling must falter. The best example of this occurrence is the La Nina of the year 2000.

    The flux in cloud albedo and precipitation is therefore the dynamic driving change in surface temperature. The relationship between albedo and release of latent heat changes over time. The Earth admits energy at some times building surface temperature and at others it very capably sheds energy from the system. This dynamic is not the cause of these events because it has no autonomous existence, no pendulum action driven by the system itself. The infrequent nature of severe heating events, and the step changes tell us that. But, is this the dynamic behind the gain in temperature that began in 1978? Plainly yes, every solar cycle is marked by a different value of the Southern Oscillation Index. The SOI value is unrelated to sunspot numbers. It rises and falls on multi-decadal time scales following a pattern of changing El Nino or La Nina dominance. The SOI simply tracks the air pressure relationship that drives the trade winds across the Pacific. When the trades weaken, the ocean warms. The mechanism I have described elsewhere. It is the action of the sun changing the strength of the polar vortex which determines the ozone content and the reactivity of the upper troposphere to ultra violet B. This dance is called the QBO, long associated with change in temperature at the surface, the upper troposphere and in the stratosphere, according to today’s climate science driven by Kelvin Waves that are in turn driven by tropical convection. But that is putting the cart before the horse in an argument of hopeless circularity. It is the chosen viewpoint of those who view the Earth as an overpopulated spaceship hurtling towards disaster. These are men who would be gods.

  136. erlhapp says:

    Stephen Wilde (10:23:06) : “Any proposals involving a change in the global equilibrium temperature caused by climate change mechanisms arising in the air have to involve either a slowing down of the background energy flow from ocean to air or a reversal of the background flow so that energy is transferred from air to ocean.”

    Stephen, I can not agree with your basic proposition as repeated above. As you can see from my preceding post to Bob, the Earth can warm or cool via a change in cloud cover and precipitation intensity. The two go hand in hand.

  137. Stephen Wilde says:

    Erl.

    I think that further observations are needed to distinguish between our differing contentions.

    For the moment I would just point out that although there is logic in your sequene of observed events the fact is that my description fits the observations equally well on the scale of individual ENSO (ELNino/La Nina) events.

    For example, if we take your mode one of powerful ocean surface warming I would say that the ocean warms first then the increasing energy transferred to the air increases the capacity of the air to hold more water vapour thus reducing specific humidity, reducing total cloud cover and increasing OLR.

    However that would only be temporary because a little later the increasing rate of evaporation would catch up with the increased water vapour carrying capacity of the air and, overall, precpitation rates would increase.

    There are three reasons why I prefer that scenario:

    1) Oceanic energy content is hugely greater than that of the air and so minor variations in the rate of energy flow from the oceans will have very large effects on the temperature of the air. In contrast it would take large changes in the air to result in a warming of the ocean surface. You partially recognise that by relying not on the air imparting warmth to the ocean surface but instead an increase in solar energy reaching the ocean surface from increased insolation due to less cloud cover. I think that is, however, the wrong way round.

    2) It would take some time for increased insolation to build up in the surface waters yet the onset of a strong EL Nino is very rapid. I don’t think your mechanism would be fast enough.

    3) I am not satisfied that your essentially short term scenario (consistent with the frequency of single ENSO events) can explain the 30/60 year periodicities that have been clearly observed between positive warming phases and negative cooling phases. To deal with that I think one has to have an oceanic mechanism involving variations in the rate of energy flow from ocean to air.

    Your description works in logic as does mine in relation to individual ENSO events but to explain those longer term periodicities one needs something more which seems to be missing from your scenario.

    Bob Tisdale’s ideas suffer from the same problem which is why, above, I invited both of you to try and help me on that point.

  138. Stephen Wilde says:

    “the increasing energy transferred to the air increases the capacity of the air to hold more water vapour thus reducing specific humidity, reducing total cloud cover and increasing OLR”

    Whoops. The above should read as follows:

    “the increasing energy transferred to the air increases the capacity of the air to hold more water vapour thus reducing relative humidity, reducing cloud cover and increasing incoming shortwave radiation at the expense of OLR”.

    Moderators, please amend for me if possible.

  139. erlhapp says:

    Stephen,
    “For example, if we take your mode one of powerful ocean surface warming I would say that the ocean warms first then the increasing energy transferred to the air increases the capacity of the air to hold more water vapour thus reducing specific humidity, reducing total cloud cover and increasing OLR.”

    I think you mean relative humidity. I said ‘decreasing OLR’ in mode 1.

    The ocean absorbs lots of energy with very little increase in temperature. Trenberth made the point that the capacity of the atmosphere to hold energy is about equal to a couple of metres depth of ocean water (70% of the surface is water). The additional thing that I would say is that the ocean holds this energy for months whereas the air holds it only during daylight hours.

    Land returns heat to the atmosphere almost as fast as it comes in from the sun. It has little storage capacity. For this reason average global near surface air temperature is 15°C in July and only 3°C in February. Global cloud cover collapses by 3% in NH summer. Global OLR peaks in July- August. This is because the land returns energy to the atmosphere as fast as it arrives. Its a 12 hour timescale.

    A study of the annual cycle shows us a lot about climate dynamics. The ocean is a sleeper, an accumulator, a holder of energy, a transfer agent (latitudionally), it has little diurnal range and the air above it responds accordingly. The temperature of the ocean is a response to the solar energy that it absorbs but the diurnal and annual range is tiny.

    Re:3) “I am not satisfied that your essentially short term scenario (consistent with the frequency of single ENSO events) can explain the 30/60 year periodicities that have been clearly observed between positive warming phases and negative cooling phases. To deal with that I think one has to have an oceanic mechanism involving variations in the rate of energy flow from ocean to air.”

    It is not the ‘frequency’ that matters. Its the lean towards one extreme or the other that does. And that lean is consistent over two or three solar cycles. To see what I mean by this statement aggregate the value of the SOI index for each solar cycle and observe the pattern.

    What is it that accounts for: “variations in the rate of energy flow from ocean to air.”

  140. anna v says:

    I was taught in grade school that sun spot cycles affect tree ring growth: fat rings warm/wet years thin rings cold/dry. This “folk” wisdom still persists and googling does not find refutations.

    Ignoring the obvious problems of using the rings as proxies for temperature, they still show a direct link with sun cycles ( unless someone has a publication that makes this observation a science myth, as in “urban myth”).

    So sun cycles do affect climate as far as ring tree data go and to claim otherwise is strange.

  141. anna v says:

    continuing:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6591-sunspots-more-active-than-for-8000-years.html

    The team started by using sunspot records to calibrate models of how carbon-14 in tree rings correlate withsolar activity. The models “reproduce the observed record of sunspots extremely well, from almost no sunspots during the seventeenth century to the current high levels”, writes Paula Reimer, a paleoclimate expert at Queen’s University, Belfast, UK, in an article accompanying the research paper in Nature.

    They then extrapolated the tree ring data backwards in time and discovered that no period in the last 8000 years has been as active as the last 70. About 75 sunspots have appeared every year in this period, compared to an annual average of about 30 over the last 11,400 years.

    They even calibrate sunspots!!

    So the question is not whether the low TSI affects climate, but how.

  142. tallbloke says:

    Carl Wolk (11:06:35) :
    But here’s a question: why didn’t the 97/8 El Nino show up in Arctic temps like all the other ENSO events?

    Maybe the AMO going negative damped the signal?

  143. erlhapp (17:46:35) :
    Just plain wrong. The ozone content of the lower stratosphere/upper troposphere is determined by the drift rate from zone of creation.

    The real problem with you is the persistent lack of precision. In a single post you mix the e-layer, the stratosphere, the upper troposphere as they were all the same. The O3 level in the stratosphere [at the point where it is created up at 30 km] is determined by the solar flux as far a creation is concerned and some pollutants as far as destruction is concerned. The O3 concentration at lower levels are determined mostly from below [at times helped along by upwards traveling waves] and has little to do with the Sun. Correlation the upper troposphere O3 with weather/climate is thus mostly a circular argument.

  144. ian edmonds says:

    Jeff Alberts:

    “except that the “2007 melt” wasn’t caused by warmer Arctic waters but by wind and ocean currents pushing the ice into warmer Southerly waters”

    OK, Jeff. I remember the animation on WUWT showing this. However, there is the possibility that the extreme melt in 2007 was due to a combination of an El Nino related pulse of warm water AND favourable winds. A plus for a hypothetical El Nino link to ice extent after a delay of nine years is that it is predictive – provided you get a big El Nino and you can wait around for 9 years – and aside from all the other influences you mentioned.

  145. ian edmonds says:

    Carl Wolk

    Thanks for the comment Carl. I responded on Climate Change Clarity.

  146. tallbloke says:

    anna v (21:30:40) :

    They then extrapolated the tree ring data backwards in time and discovered that no period in the last 8000 years has been as active as the last 70. About 75 sunspots have appeared every year in this period, compared to an annual average of about 30 over the last 11,400 years.

    They even calibrate sunspots!!

    Let’s hope they did it better than N.S. reported it. Those look more like monthly counts than annual ones.

    Anyway, thanks for bringing this up, because although the idea of sunspot count variation being linked to earth’s climate doesn’t have a identified mechanism which will satisfy Leif Svalgaard, it’s clear the trees are trying to tell us something.

    Problem is, talking to the trees isn’t very fashionable either.

    The updated version of my graph includes Bob Tisdale’s smoothed Nino 3.4 plot – hope that’s OK with you Bob.

    One curiosity is that the changes between positive and negative ENSO phases at 1915 and 1945 are preceded by reversals in the global SST trend by quite a few years on a plot smoothed over the solar cycle length. Perhaps Bob would comment on that.

  147. erlhapp says:

    Leif Svalgaard (22:12:29) :
    And the real problem with you is the constant necessity to negate the observations of others that don’t happen to fit your ideology. The notion that upper troposphere temperature is completely determined from below is a case in point. The statement that ozone concentration relates only to solar flux (and is well documented) is another.

    But I see that you are now happy to admit a destruction factor.

    Perhaps if I push you a little harder you might tell us about the ‘dynamical processes that account for the presence of ozone below that elevation where the short wave lengths of electromagnetic radiation capable of splitting the oxygen molecule are fully exhausted.

    And perhaps you could be a bit more precise and yielding about:

    “some pollutants as far as destruction is concerned.” i.e. where they come from and how they are created, what difference they make, measured penetration, mixing ratios, effect on the ozone hole and so on. And please don’t forget the effect of water vapour.

    But, if you really want to be consistent perhaps its better just to forget the whole thing. It just might take you where you don’t want to go.

  148. Bob Tisdale says:

    Erl Happ: You wrote, “1. There is a sudden fall in OLR during the El Nino warming events (red rectangles) when the steepest rise in SST is experienced. For this to occur, precipitation (and therefore latent heat release that drives OLR and the cloud cover that would exclude sunlight) fails to increase as the ocean warms.”

    Incorrect. The following is a graph of Southern Equatorial Pacific Precipitation Anomalies (10S-0, 150E-90W). There are significant increases in precipitation for all El Nino events that appear to coincide with SST anomalies. I could create a comparative graph (Precipitation anomaly vs SST anomaly) if you’d like.

  149. Bob Tisdale says:

    Tallbloke: You wrote, “One curiosity is that the changes between positive and negative ENSO phases at 1915 and 1945 are preceded by reversals in the global SST trend by quite a few years on a plot smoothed over the solar cycle length. Perhaps Bob would comment on that.”

    You’re basing the dates of ENSO phase reversal (1915 & 1945) on the point at which the curve of the 121-month (~10-year) smoothed data crosses zero. That graph is only intended to show that there are epochs when El Nino or La Nina events dominate, not necessarily the point at which they become dominant.

    The point at which frequency and magnitude of La Nina events exceeds those of El Nino events (or vice versa) would be visible in the graph of the running-total of scaled NINO3.4 SST anomalies (Figure 4).

    In order for the running total to stop rising, the frequency and magnitude of La Nina events would have to EQUAL the frequency and magnitude of El Ninos. For the running total to decrease, the frequency and magnitude of La Nina events would have to EXCEED the frequency and magnitude of El Ninos.

  150. erlhapp says:

    Bob Tisdale (00:55:07) :
    Bob,
    I have had another close look at it the rise in sea surface temperature that began in the equator to 10°S zone about November 1996 that went on to become the big El Nino of 1997-8. The increase in precipitation rate for the global zone between the equator and 10°S lags the rise in sea surface temperature by six months.

    In that period of six months OLR increases along with SST. When precipitation starts to increase OLR rapidly and dramatically falls away

    My interpretation was incorrect. It appears that the reason why OLR falls away so dramatically is because that latitude zone starts to cool via decompression. The latent heat release drives strong uplift.

    So, I will have to look again at this issue. Presumably the loss of heat via decompression is matched elsewhere by an increase in temperature due to compressive descent. It may be worthwhile to do an analysis of each 10° latitude zone to check what happens in each case, right through to the subtropical high pressure cells and even the polar highs.

    Thanks for the scrutiny.

    One upshot of this is that I have a lot more faith on the validity of the OLR figures and that they do in fact enable latitudinal analysis.

  151. Bob Tisdale says:

    Steven Wilde: You wrote, “Bob Tisdale’s ideas suffer from the same problem…”

    They do? What problem? Maybe you’re looking for an answer that does not appear in this post or in the thread of comments, but your statement that my ideas are problematic is unwarranted, unjustified, and unnecessary.

    You continued, “… which is why, above, I invited both of you to try and help me on that point.”

    And since I did not respond to any of your comments on this thread prior to this one (you were expressing opinion and discussing matters with Erl), I do not understand how my ideas could have suffered from any problems.

    Moving on, I assume it’s this request for help. You wrote, “Thus from our observations it must be changes within the oceans on the 30/60 year timecale (sic) that are in command and not the processes that you both describe. Unless that is either of you can suggest how the 30/60 year cycle within the oceans can arise from those shorter term phenomena. Can either of you help me on that?”

    First note: A couple of “60-year” cycles over the past 100+ years do not necessarily mean the frequency remains constant. The 1650 to 1980 NINO3 SST Reconstruction shows low frequency ENSO oscillations that vary from 21 to 39 years, with an average of 27 years, not 60 year:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/03/low-frequency-enso-oscillations.html

    Second note: Any “cycle” in the smoothed NINO3.4 SST anomaly (Figure 5) is obviously a function of the filtering. Smooth the data with a 61-month filter and the “cycles” would be there, but the graph would be noisier and would include more (but shorter) periods where SST anomalies were above or below zero; i.e., there’d be more oscillations.

    I have no doubt that there are underlying cycles that impact the frequency and magnitudes of ENSO events and, therefore, create the epochs visible in the smoothed data, but I can’t put a finger on what drives what. And since GCMs haven’t yet fully grasped ENSO and all of the other oceanic processes, it’s doubtful there will be an answer soon.

    Are the frequencies and magnitudes of ENSO events tied to feedback from AMOC? There are papers that describe the effects AMOC (or the AMO) has on the ENSO. In the other direction, I do know that ENSO impacts AMOC. During and after the 1997/98 El Nino, AMOC flow decreased noticeably…

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2008/11/atlantic-meridional-overturning.html

    …and SST anomalies in the North Atlantic increased in a step.

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/02/there-are-also-el-nino-induced-step.html

    The Humboldt Current carries waters from the ACC northward in the eastern South Pacific, so changes in Southern Ocean SST anomalies should impact SST anomalies in the tropical Pacific, and, therefore, should enhance or retard the buildup of heat in the PWP. There was a recent rise and fall in Southern Ocean SST anomalies in the portion south of the South Pacific that appears to agree with the underlying increase and decrease in SST anomalies in the tropical Pacific, but part of the rise in the Southern Ocean would be caused by the frequency and magnitudes of ENSO (more feedbacks). To add more complexity, in the Southern Ocean south of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, it appears there could be a 100-year cycle. At minimum, there is a dip and rebound. Does it repeat? I have no idea. Refer to Figure 5 in the following post:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/04/closer-look-at-ersstv3b-southern-ocean.html

    The California Current feeds eastern North Pacific waters south into the tropical Pacific. It, too, would impact the amount of heat in the tropical Pacific.

    Changes in cloud amount would impact the amount of heat .

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/04/did-decrease-in-total-cloud-amount-fuel.html

    The PWP is also known as the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool, since it extends into the Indian Ocean. Indian Ocean SST anomalies would also provide feedback.

    Is there an answer to your question about cycles? I’ve never run across one. But I am looking.

  152. Bob Tisdale says:

    Erl Happ: The KNMI Climate Explorer website has a lot of data that you’d find useful.

    http://climexp.knmi.nl/selectfield_obs.cgi?someone@somewhere

  153. Stephen Wilde says:

    Thank you Bob. Those comments are helpful.

    In the meantime, until the causes of those multidecadal phase shifts in the oceans are identified I will continue to consider it most likely that those shifts are caused by variations within the oceans rather than variations within the air.

    Since your descriptions do essentially involve air driving ocean surface temperstures I see that as a problem only if your description is somehow meant to account for those phase shifts as well as the ENSO variations.

    As you are content to accept that the cause of those phase shifts remains unclear then I agree that there is no problem for your basic ENSO scenario.

    Erl, however remains sure that the air does drive the ocean SST changes and we will have to agree to disagree on that point until better evidence is available.

  154. Bob Tisdale says:

    Steven Wilde: You wrote, “Since your descriptions do essentially involve air driving ocean surface temperstures…”

    Really? Please quote something I’ve written that leads you to that conclusion. As far as I’m concerned, that’s 180 degrees from what I’ve illustrated and written to date. You must be thinking of something that Erl’s written. But, please, please, find and quote something I’ve written that led you to write that.

  155. Stephen Wilde says:

    Bob,

    I’ve had a closer look at your earlier post and think I should apologise.

    You do accept that the energy is in the ocean in the first instance and that amongst other processes the Trade Winds just move it around so that it accumulates in warm pools from which the energy is then imparted to the air.

    I have obviously confused your position with that of someone else.

    Sorry for the confusion.

  156. tallbloke says:

    Bob Tisdale (01:45:03) :
    The point at which frequency and magnitude of La Nina events exceeds those of El Nino events (or vice versa) would be visible in the graph of the running-total of scaled NINO3.4 SST anomalies (Figure 4).

    http://i42.tinypic.com/iom6ab.jpg

    Thanks Bob, it looks to me from that graph that the Nino3.4 index still generally lags the global SST changes, and I’m trying to square this observation with the general thrust of your posts regarding the way el nino particularly, spreads the warmth from the PWP outwards. Would you agree that there is some kind of two way process going on here, rather than a one way street for the heat to travel? Lots of different things that work on different cyclicities are all happening at once and it’s quite a puzzle to try to determine the path of causation.

  157. tallbloke says:

    Bob, I downloaded a nino3.4 dataset to do my own graphing from

    http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/inino5.dat

    and found a curious inconsistency with your data.
    Here’s a side by side comparison:

    http://s630.photobucket.com/albums/uu21/stroller-2009/?action=view&current=ninos-datasets.jpg&t=1245524493535

    Not only are the dates in disgreement but the data seems flipped or otherwise odd prior to 1920 on your graph or around 1908 on mine.

    What’s up with that???!

    Where is your dataset from?

  158. tallbloke says:

    Just to add, when I say I found a curious inconsistency with your data, I mean between my data and your data. Obviously, I have no idea which is right. :-)

  159. Bob Tisdale says:

    tallbloke: You asked, “Where is your dataset from?”

    Sorry for not listing sources of the data. I prepared that graph for a recent post on the PDO but never used it. It starts in 1900 because JISAO starts their PDO index that year.

    As you’re aware, that graph is NINO3.4 SST anomaly data from 1900 to present that’s been smoothed with a 121-month filter. The dataset is HADISST, Hadley Centre’s interpolated SST version with a 1 deg latitude and longitude resolution. Now, I don’t use any of the KNMI Climate Index data. I use the SST data and select latitudes and longitudes.

    Since there may be someone else other than you, tallbloke, trying to duplicate that graph, someone who’s not familiar with the KNMI Climate Explorer, I’ll run through that process. Go to:

    http://climexp.knmi.nl/selectfield_obs.cgi?someone@somewhere

    Scroll down to SST and select the first dataset HADISST, then scroll back up and click on “Select Field”. On the next page, there are fields for Latitude and Longitude. The coordinates for NINO3.4 are 5S-5N, 170W-120W, so enter -5 & 5 for the latitudes and -170 and -120 for longitudes. (I also got into the habit of entering a zero in the “Demand at least” field somewhere along the line. It shouldn’t have any effect on the HADISST data though.) Click on “Make Time Series.” On the next page, scroll down to the third graph. It reads “Anomalies with respect to the above annual cycle”. On that same line, click on “raw data.” That next page is the raw HADISST NINO3.4 SST anomaly data. It’s in two columns that starts at “1870.0000 -0.804598” and runs through “present day”. For that graph (Figure 5 in the post) I deleted all data prior to 1900 and smoothed it with a 121-month running-average filter.

    Now, if you’re trying to duplicate the running total graph (Figure 4), click back once to the webpage with the three graphs. Directly below the anomaly graph is a line that allows you to change the base years. That running total works with base years of 1950 to 1979, but doesn’t work with 1971 to 2000, so enter 1950 and 1979 and click “select.” On the next page, scroll down again to the anomaly graph and select raw data. That’s the data you need to create a running total that mimics global SST anomalies or global temperature anomalies, depending on the scaling factor you use.

    Regards

  160. Bob Tisdale says:

    Anthony: Thanks.

  161. Bob Tisdale says:

    tallbloke: You wrote, “Just to add, when I say I found a curious inconsistency with your data, I mean between my data and your data. Obviously, I have no idea which is right.”

    They probably both are, just different datasets and different start dates. HADSST2 and HADISST have different underlying curves than the ERSST.v2 and ERSST.v3 series datasets.

  162. tallbloke says:

    Bob, look again at the side by side comparison, the data is similar though not identical going back from the present as far as the small downtick at 1920 on your graph. All the main shifts line up. The same downtick is at 1908 on my plot of the KNMI data.

    http://s630.photobucket.com/albums/uu21/stroller-2009/?action=view&current=ninos-datasets.jpg&t=1245524493535

    I think something is seriously wrong with the time scaling on one plot or the other.

    The header info has this
    # 1856-1949: Kaplan reconstruction
    # 1950-now: CPC (Reynolds OI SST)

  163. Bob Tisdale says:

    tallbloke: I “aligned” your two curves for my benefit.

    I agree with your assessment, “Bob, look again at the side by side comparison, the data is similar though not identical going back from the present as far as the small downtick at 1920 on your graph. All the main shifts line up. The same downtick is at 1908 on my plot of the KNMI data.”

    But I disagree with your conclusion, “I think something is seriously wrong with the time scaling on one plot or the other.”

    Regards

    They’re two different datasets. The one I used is the HADISST reconstruction and yours, if I’ve read what you’ve sent correctly, is based on the Kaplan reconstruction. Hadley and Kaplan employed different smoothing and different methods to infill missing data.

    Consider this. How many ships passed along the equatorial Pacific before the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914? Not many. It wasn’t a major shipping lane. So a lot of the NINO SST data prior to 1914 is reconstructed: i.e., an educated guess. Between 1914 and 1950, there were still periods with missing data that needed to be infilled and that bucket adjustment that created the 1945 “discontinuity” is still in the SST data. That’s probably why two of the NINO3.4 Indexes, ONI and MEI, start in 1950.

    If I remember correctly, Kaplan (the person) was (or is) an employee of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. That SST dataset was created in the late 1990s. They stopped updating it in 2004/05, somewhere around that time. I can only speculate that ERSST replaced Kaplan as the “official” U.S. SST reconstruction data.

  164. Bob Tisdale says:

    tallbloke: Sorry. I somehow got the concluding “regards” in the middle of my comment. Too many hours in front of this computer today.

  165. erlhapp says:

    Stephen Wilde
    Can I repeat a question that you may have missed in my post back at erlhapp (20:27:00) :

    What is it that accounts for: “variations in the rate of energy flow from ocean to air.”

  166. Pamela Gray says:

    Anna and others, tree ring data is a far better proxy for PDO than just about anything else people try to use tree rings for. When looking at the reconstructed PDO going back to the 17th century, which would include several SSN cycles, one will be hard pressed to find a correlation between SSN and the tree-ring/PDO reconstruction. And just to be clear, whatever the Sun is putting out that some are saying is yet unknown, the, shall we say, proxy measure of this unknown (SSN or TSI, or for that matter, any of the other measures known by Leif and others) would at least show some correlation if cycle variations are somehow coupled with weather pattern variation. But there is none to be found, not even a predictable lag.

    http://horizon.ucsd.edu/maltmn/sasha/Biondi%20et%20al.pdf

  167. Carl Wolk says:

    Pamela – Another point to be made is that the PDO curve doesn’t follow a cycle that allows you to predict where it is headed. People are very excited that the PDO has entered a negative phase, so the Earth will begin to cool. However, that graph indicates that the PDO could go anywhere. Just because we’ve entered a negative period, it doesn’t mean it will stay there.

  168. erlhapp says:

    Bob Tisdale,
    Thanks for the helpful comments including the detail about accessing and using the climate explorer site.

    I have had a look at the OLR response to the 1997 El Nino and other warming events in each 10° latitude band between the equator and the South Pole. The patterns of response (wiggles, in Leif’s terminology) are of interest. Whereas there is a steep fall of OLR in the 0-10°S band as soon as precipitation gets underway there is an increase in OLR in all latitude bands between 10°S and 40°S with the steepest increase between 10°S and 30°S where OLR is always about 8% more than in the 0-10°S band. Beyond that latitude there is no apparent response to warming events at the equator in the OLR statistic.

    Logically, the enhanced OLR between 10 and 40°S during warming cycles is due in part to enhanced compressive warming of the air in the downdraft zones (high pressure cells) in direct response to the cycle of uplift and de-compressive cooling associated with enhanced convection over the ITCZ. It may also be due in part to simultaneous or prior warming of the sea between 10 and 40°S that could be associated with cloud loss at these latitudes.

    If this enhanced OLR were to impact surface temperature at 10-40°S it could do so in a couple of ways. Firstly, it is likely to be associated with an expansion of the cloud free area. Secondly, if there is a material greenhouse effect from the presence of carbon dioxide it should be enhanced at these latitudes during tropical warming events due to the increase in OLR.

    So, it is of interest to discover whether the sea warms at 20-30°S earlier than it does at the equator. Looking at the data the equatorial zone leads 20-30°S on nearly all occasions but the lead is just a month or two. On the other hand, there are particular southern locations that consistently lead the equator and the interval is many months. That is the case with the south East Pacific off Chile. When the ocean warms at this location it is probably in response to change of cloud cover and unlikely to be related to warm pool dynamics or upwelling phenomena. In the South East Pacific atmospheric pressure and cloud dynamics are intimately related. There is an inverse relationship between 200hPa temperature and high cloud cover in a long strip of ocean between Queensland and Tierra del Fuego.

    My conclusion is that change in cloud cover is important to both the initiation and evolution of tropical warming cycles. The change in cloud cover occurs in the main, outside the zone of the equator and is tied in with ozone dynamics in the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere. The timing of warming cycles at the equator is given by the very pronounced cycle of 20hPa temperature in the stratosphere that is in turn closely tied to prior temperature change at the poles. This too points to cloud dynamics as the initiator of tropical warming cycles.

    One thing that must be recognized is that a lot of the real action is remote from the equator. I believe you have already pointed to this at http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/04/did-decrease-in-total-cloud-amount-fuel.html.

    and also in this comment:
    “The Humboldt Current carries waters from the ACC northward in the eastern South Pacific, so changes in Southern Ocean SST anomalies should impact SST anomalies in the tropical Pacific, and, therefore, should enhance or retard the buildup of heat in the PWP.”

    This has been a very useful thread. Thanks for your diligent responses, useful suggestions and benevolent critique.

  169. tallbloke says:

    Bob Tisdale (17:50:56) :

    tallbloke: I “aligned” your two curves for my benefit.

    I agree with your assessment, “Bob, look again at the side by side comparison, the data is similar though not identical going back from the present as far as the small downtick at 1920 on your graph. All the main shifts line up. The same downtick is at 1908 on my plot of the KNMI data.”

    But I disagree with your conclusion, “I think something is seriously wrong with the time scaling on one plot or the other.”

    Bob, I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to work on this with me. Before we leave it, please take a look at this second side by side I’ve done with the time scales on our two graphs matched alongside the first one by opening them both in separate windows:

    As you can see, the dates now line up on the ‘datasets2′ image, but whereas the data visually agreed reasonably well before, it’s now ‘stretched and shifted’. To me, this seems more like a problem with the data and date collation than a difference between Hadley and Kaplan’s individual monthly temperature readings.

  170. tallbloke says:

    Pamela Gray (18:54:03) :

    Anna and others, tree ring data is a far better proxy for PDO than just about anything else people try to use tree rings for.

    This is probably true for American tree ring data, and we’d probably find British tree ring data gave a reasonable proxy for the AMO. One thing about trees I learned which interested me is that it’s been discovered that the internal temperature of leaves stays almost constant regardless of ambient temperature. It seems likely therefore that tree ring differences are more to do with changing precipitation than temperature.

    Looking at Bob Tisdale’s graphs of temperature versus precipitation the data seems to run counterintuitively to anna v’s warm=wet cool=dry adage, though on different timescales maybe it’s a different story.

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2008_07_01_archive.html

  171. Bob Tisdale says:

    tallbloke: You wrote: “To me, this seems more like a problem with the data and date collation than a difference between Hadley and Kaplan’s individual monthly temperature readings.”

    Both Kaplan and HADISST start with the same data, which is derived from ICOADS SST. Kaplan used an early version of Hadley SST data that had been corrected for the Folland bucket adjustment prior to 1945. Kaplan then applied their smoothing and infilling techniques to it.

    The UCAR “Informed Guide to Climate Data Sets” on Kaplan is here if you’d like a more detailed explanation:

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/guide/Data/kaplan_sst.html

    The UCAR write up about HADISST is here, but it’s incomplete:

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/guide/Data/hadisst.html

    The Hadley Centre’s description is here:

    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadisst/

    Plotting the RAW Kaplan and HADISST NINO3.4 SST anomaly data shows that ENSO events appear at the same time. There are differences in magnitude, some minor, some major, but the timings of the ENSO events agree. Also note the minor differences in the ENSO-neutral years.

    Smoothing the Kaplan and the HADISST NINO3.4 SST anomaly data with a 121-month filter brings out those underlying minor and major differences:

    Regards

  172. tallbloke says:

    Bob Tisdale (05:25:22) :
    Smoothing the Kaplan and the HADISST NINO3.4 SST anomaly data with a 121-month filter brings out those underlying minor and major differences:

    Bob, many thanks again for sticking with me through this, and for all the valuable information you’ve added about the background to the datasets. As an exercise, I’m going to plot both series on the same graph for myself at various smoothing levels and with various median lines and see how it affects the ‘look’ of the data. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot about ‘eyeballing the data’. :o)

    erlhapp (18:29:37) :
    What is it that accounts for: “variations in the rate of energy flow from ocean to air.”

    I think Stephen is taking the weekend off Erl.

    My guess is it will have quite a lot to do with night time air temperatures and wind speeds. I came across an old post of Willis Eschenbach’s earlier on CA that would be worth a look. It the last comment on this thread about long wave radiation entering and leaving the ocean surface. Even Gavin Schmidt joins in!

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=213

  173. Stephen Wilde says:

    “erlhapp (18:29:37) :
    What is it that accounts for: “variations in the rate of energy flow from ocean to air.”

    A change in the surface temperature of the oceans seems to do the trick.

    The question is whether that surface temperaure is changed by the mechanism you describe or instead by a change in the internal activity of the oceans which causes them to release stored solar energy faster or slower.

    I said this above:

    1) Oceanic energy content is hugely greater than that of the air and so minor variations in the rate of energy flow from the oceans will have very large effects on the temperature of the air. In contrast it would take large changes in the air to result in a warming of the ocean surface. You partially recognise that by relying not on the air imparting warmth to the ocean surface but instead an increase in solar energy reaching the ocean surface from increased insolation due to less cloud cover. I think that is, however, the wrong way round.

    2) It would take some time for increased insolation to build up in the surface waters yet the onset of a strong EL Nino is very rapid. I don’t think your mechanism would be fast enough.

    3) I am not satisfied that your essentially short term scenario (consistent with the frequency of single ENSO events) can explain the 30/60 year periodicities that have been clearly observed between positive warming phases and negative cooling phases. To deal with that I think one has to have an oceanic mechanism involving variations in the rate of energy flow from ocean to air

    I think something is going on within the oceans, some sort of circulation which brings bodies of water with differing thermal characteristics to the surface at different times. Ultimately solar driven.

  174. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Bob Tisdale (14:11:25) :

    Anthony: Thanks.”

    Touche.

    How does one do ‘e acute’ on a UK keyboard ?

  175. tallbloke says:

    Stephen, try this

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306560

    Touché

  176. tallbloke says:

    It has been suggested that multidecadal changes in Length of Day produced as the balance shifts between atmospheric angular momentum and earth’s angular momentum could affect winds and currents.

    Might this have anything to do with the changes Stephen and Erl are discussing?

  177. anna v says:

    Pamela Gray (18:54:03) :

    I am sorry but the reference you give does not turn the suncycle effect observation into myth at the moment. It is obvious that many things work in concert or disharmony to produce PDOs and AMOs etc.

    What I have been trying to clear up is whether the long known “wisdom” that generally the 11 year sun cycle is visible in tree rings is really a “myth” . No such debunking exists, at least not found easily. I would expect there should have been a paper stating clearly that “no correlation between ring tree thicknesses and sunspot cycles is found”.

    I would be fine with that. BTW my correlation was not with wet+warm, rather wet or warm.

    If the old conclusions though are not a myth, then somehow even though TSI varies vary little, the cycle is affecting the climate and the question is reduced to “how”.

  178. tallbloke says:

    anna v, this is a ‘must read’.

    “Using the oceans as a calorimeter to quantify the solar radiative forcing” Nir Shaviv

    It’s behind a paywall, maybe you can get institutional access?
    Shaviv finds the variation in TSI over the solar cycle is amplified by an order of magnitude by processes such as decadal changes in cloud cover (Svensmark effect) and so causes a fluctuation at the frequency of the Schwabe cycle.

    This is enough of a change to show up in tree rings.

    Given the accumulative nature of the ocean processes Bob has identified, it seems to me it’s reasonable to look at solar data in a cumulative way to see how well it matches longer term changes in the temperature record. So I made this graph:

    I did link it in a reply to you earlier in the thread. I don’t know if you saw it.

  179. anna v says:

    tallbloke (23:29:54) :
    I replied to this and the reply has not come through :(

    Just that I had seen your link, it is just not easy for me to “read it” with respect to solar cycles.

    I read the abstracts of Shaviv’s paper. I do not know whether the amplification is adequate, 7*0.1 is 0.7. It is one more piece of the jigsaw?

  180. tallbloke says:

    Hi Anna,
    The first version of the graph has the solar cycles on and averages the SST’s over 1/3 solar cycle length which makes their effect stand out more in the SST record.

    I will download the precipitation data and run that to see if any patterns emerge. A combination of the warm and the wet (though not necessarily simultaneously) will be what we are looking for in greater tree ring width, as you noted.

  181. tallbloke says:

    Bob Tisdale (14:06:23) :

    Since there may be someone else other than you, tallbloke, trying to duplicate that graph, someone who’s not familiar with the KNMI Climate Explorer, I’ll run through that process. Go to:

    http://climexp.knmi.nl/selectfield_obs.cgi?someone@somewhere

    Scroll down to SST and select the first dataset HADISST, then scroll back up and click on “Select Field”. On the next page, there are fields for Latitude and Longitude. The coordinates for NINO3.4 are 5S-5N, 170W-120W, so enter -5 & 5 for the latitudes and -170 and -120 for longitudes. (I also got into the habit of entering a zero in the “Demand at least” field somewhere along the line. It shouldn’t have any effect on the HADISST data though.) Click on “Make Time Series.” On the next page, scroll down to the third graph. It reads “Anomalies with respect to the above annual cycle”. On that same line, click on “raw data.” That next page is the raw HADISST NINO3.4 SST anomaly data. It’s in two columns that starts at “1870.0000 -0.804598”

    Bob, I followed these instructions to the letter and got a series starting 1870.0000 -0.948814. When I plotted it, I got a series which looks like yours, but there is still a data discrepancy, the downtick at 1920 on your graph now appears at around 1915 on mine. Oh well, getting closer. :-)

  182. Bob Tisdale says:

    tallbloke: It appears I was wrong. Enter “0” in the “Demand at least” field so that you get all the data. With 30%, I also start at 1870.0000 -0.948814.

  183. tallbloke says:

    Hmmm, tried that, but got the same
    1870.0000 -0.948814

    Strange.

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