Tisdale on the importance of El Nino’s little sister – recharging ocean heat content

La Nina – The Underappreciated Portion Of ENSO

Guest post by Bob Tisdale

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/images/content/147973main_jet_streams_nina_lg.jpg

Image: La Niña is characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the central equatorial Pacific. The colder than normal water is depicted in this image in blue. During a La Niña stronger than normal trade winds bring cold water up to the surface of the ocean. Credit: NASA

Perform a Google Scholar search for documents including “El Nino” in quotes and there will be more than 200,000 results. On the other hand, “La Nina” will only raise 26,000+. Granted, the formal name of the coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon in the tropical Pacific is “El Nino-Southern Oscillation”, but that in quotes only returns 28,000+ results. So it appears that El Nino events do get much more “press” from the scientific community than La Nina events.

Figure 1 is a time-series graph of NINO3.4 SST anomalies from January 1979 to January 2010. El Nino events are a warming of the central and eastern tropical Pacific so they are displayed as a Positive SST anomaly, where La Nina events are a Negative. Visually, is the eye drawn to the upward spikes more than it is to the downward troughs? El Nino events are viewed as being larger in magnitude than La Nina events. NINO3.4 SST anomalies peaked at approximately 2.8 deg C during the Super El Nino events of 1982/83 and 1997/98, while the La Nina events that followed them failed to reach -2 deg C. But the La Nina events of 1988/89 and 2007/08 were stronger than the El Nino events that preceded them. (Refer to the note about base years at the end of this post.)

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Figure 1

El Nino events release heat from the tropical Pacific, and through ocean currents and changes in atmospheric circulation, they raise surface temperatures outside of the tropical Pacific. These upward spikes in global temperatures, Figure 2, call attention to El Nino events during periods when global temperatures are rising. During La Nina events, the tropical Pacific releases less heat than normal, and global temperatures decline, which doesn’t have the same visual impact.

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Figure 2

La Nina events are a vital portion of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation coupled ocean-atmosphere process. La Nina events recharge the heat released from the tropical Pacific during the El Nino. Figure 3 is a graph of Tropical Pacific Ocean Heat Content compared to scaled NINO3.4 SST anomalies. Note that most La Nina events do not fully recharge the heat released by the El Nino events. From 1976 to 1994, tropical Pacific Ocean Heat Content dropped almost continuously, with occasional major dips and rebounds as an El Nino discharged heat and the subsequent La Nina partially recharged it. Then, the 1995/96 La Nina event, one that was not particularly strong, replaced all of the heat that had been released (plus some) over that 18-year stretch.

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Figure 3

THE 1995/96 LA NINA PROVIDED THE FUEL FOR THE NEXT EL NINO

During a La Nina event, tropical Pacific trade winds rise above normal levels. The increase in trade winds reduces cloud cover. Reduced cloud cover allows more Downward Shortwave Radiation (visible light) to warm the tropical Pacific. These coupled ocean-atmosphere processes associated with La Nina events were discussed in the post More Detail On The Multiyear Aftereffects Of ENSO – Part 2 – La Nina Events Recharge The Heat Released By El Nino Events AND…During Major Traditional ENSO Events, Warm Water Is Redistributed Via Ocean Currents”.

As noted above, the 1995/96 La Nina was not a strong event, yet it recharged all of the ocean heat that had been released in almost two decades of El Nino events. In “Genesis and Evolution of the 1997-98 El Niño” [ Science 12 February 1999: Vol. 283. no. 5404, pp. 950 – 954, DOI:10.1126/science.283.5404.950], Michael McPhaden explains, “For at least a year before the onset of the 1997–98 El Niño, there was a buildup of heat content in the western equatorial Pacific due to stronger than normal trade winds associated with a weak La Niña in 1995–96.” Link to Science abstract:
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/283/5404/950

Link to NOAA copy of McPhaden (1999):
http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/mcph2029/text.shtml

So there was a short-term recharge of tropical Pacific Ocean Heat Content in 1995/96, which is very evident in Figure 3. And this short-term buildup of heat content provided the fuel for the 1997/98 El Nino. Contrary to the beliefs of anthropogenic warming proponents the 1997/98 El Nino was NOT fueled by a long-term accumulation of heat from manmade greenhouse gases.

AND THAT 1997/98 EL NINO WAS CALLED THE EL NINO OF THE CENTURY

The 1997/98 El Nino was strong enough to temporarily raise Global Lower Troposphere Temperature anomalies ~0.7 deg C, as illustrated in Figure 4. Note: The period of 1995 to present was used in the following graphs because there have been no explosive volcanic eruptions since 1995 to add unwanted noise to the data.

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Figure 4

And referring to Figure 5, Lower Troposphere Temperature anomalies of the Mid-To-High Latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere rose, but remained at elevated levels that varied well above the value in late 1996. This upward step (and a similar but smaller one caused by the 1986/87/88 El Nino) was discussed in the post “RSS MSU TLT Time-Latitude Plots…Show Climate Responses That Cannot Be Easily Illustrated With Time-Series Graphs Alone”.

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Figure 5

Sea Surface Temperature anomalies for the Mid-To-High Latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere also rose and remained at an elevated level. Refer to Figure 6, which compares that dataset to scaled NINO3.4 SST anomalies. The latitudes used for the SST anomalies in this illustration are 20N-65N, which are latitudes that have little impact from polar ice. This upward step in the Sea Surface Temperature anomalies for the Mid-To-High Latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere will be discussed in a future post. I have, however, discussed the impacts of El Nino events on the North Atlantic in the post There Are Also El Nino-Induced Step Changes In The North Atlantic. And the North Atlantic is also impacted by the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, but that appears to have peaked in 2005.

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Figure 6

And for those wondering how well the SST and TLT anomalies for the Mid-To-High Latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere correlate, I’ve prepared Figure 7. The SST anomaly data were scaled by a factor of 1.8. There are divergences from year to year, but keep in mind that the coverage areas are very different; the TLT anomalies also include data over continental land masses. One thing is certain; the 1997/98 El Nino caused upward steps in both datasets.

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Figure 7

And there are the impacts of the 1997/98 El Nino on the East Indian and West Pacific Oceans (60S-65N, 80E-180), which I first discussed in a series of posts more than a year ago. The 1997/98 El Nino shifted Sea Surface Temperature anomalies upward in this area of the global oceans, too. Refer to Figure 8. The cause of this was discussed in the posts Can El Nino Events Explain All of the Global Warming Since 1976? – Part 1 and Can El Nino Events Explain All of the Global Warming Since 1976? – Part 2.

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Figure 8

Basically, the warm water that was built up during the 1995/96 La Nina collected below the surface of an area in the western tropical Pacific known as the Western Pacific Warm Pool (to depths of 300 meters). During the 1997/98 El Nino, the warm water contained in the Western Pacific Warm Pool sloshed east and spread across the surface of the central and eastern tropical Pacific. The warmer-than-normal waters raised Sea Surface Temperatures and changed atmospheric circulation. Then, as the La Nina of 1998/99/00/01 progressed, the trade winds, Pacific Equatorial Currents, and a phenomenon known as a Rossby wave returned the remaining surface and subsurface warm water to the western Pacific. Some of the warm water returned to the Pacific Warm Pool, but a major portion of it remained on the surface and was redistributed by ocean currents to western North and South Pacific, and a portion of the warm water migrated to the Eastern Indian Ocean.

BLAME THE 1995/96 LA NINA FOR THE RECORD TEMPERATURES DURING THE 2000s AND IN 2010

So, if you’re wondering why the present moderate El Nino event of 2009/10 is raising global temperatures to record levels, you have to go back in time. The 1995/96 La Nina provided the build-up of warm waters that was then discharged by the 1997/98 El Nino and redistributed by the 1998/99/00/01 La Nina. The end results were upward steps in SST anomalies and TLT anomalies for major portions of the globe.

One of the methods anthropogenic global warming advocates (scientists and bloggers) use to illustrate the assumed effects of greenhouse gases on global temperatures is to illustrate the divergence between the linear trends of global temperatures and a scaled ENSO index such as NINO3.4 SST anomalies. Refer to Figures 9 and 10. But the upward steps illustrated in Figure 5 and 6 bias global temperature data upwards.

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Figure 9
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Figure 10

And the biases created by those step changes in the SST and TLT anomalies of the Mid-To-High Latitudes of Northern Hemisphere are responsible for much of the differences between NINO3.4 SST anomalies and global temperature anomalies. We can illustrate this looking at the data for the rest of the world; that is, by comparing the linear trend of NINO3.4 SST anomalies with the linear trends the TLT and SST anomalies for the tropics and the Mid-To-High Latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere. Refer to Figures 11 and 12. As shown, the linear trends of the NINO3.4 SST anomalies are slightly negative, but the linear trends for the SST and TLT anomalies of the tropics and Mid-To-High Latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere are relatively flat–much flatter than the global datasets.

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Figure 11
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Figure 12

That would mean the ENSO-induced step increases in SST and TLT anomalies of the Mid-To-High Latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere caused the vast majority of the positive linear trends for the global SST and TLT anomaly datasets. See Figures 13 and 14, which show the strengths of the positive trends for those areas of the globe.

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Figure 13
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Figure 14

Figures 15 and 16 compare the SST and TLT anomalies for the Mid-To-High Latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere to the Global data and to the SST and TLT anomalies for the Mid-To-High Latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere. It should now be clear that the majority of the rises in Global SST and TLT anomalies since 1995 were caused by the 1997/98 El Nino-induced upward steps in the SST and TLT anomalies for the Mid-To-High Latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.

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Figure 15
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Figure 16

In short, the effects of the La Nina- and El Nino-induced step changes in the SST and TLT anomalies of Mid-To-High Latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere are mistaken for, and misrepresented as proof of, anthropogenic global warming.

A BRIEF LOOK AT AN EARLIER LA NINA EVENT

The 1972/73 El Nino was a strong ENSO event. NINO3.4 SST anomalies, referring to Figure 17, peaked above 2 deg C. There were only two El Nino events stronger than the 1972/73 El Nino in the second half of the 20th Century, and they were the two Super El Nino events of 1982/83 and 1997/98.

http://i46.tinypic.com/29krqd2.png

Figure 17

But the 1972/73 El Nino shares another superlative with the 1997/98 El Nino. Both El Nino events were followed by La Nina events that lasted through not one ENSO season, not two ENSO seasons—they lasted through three consecutive ENSO seasons. The La Nina event of 1998/99/00/01 recharged the heat content released by the 1997/98 El Nino and returned the tropical Pacific Ocean Heat Content to the new higher levels established during the 1995/96 La Nina. Refer to Figure 18. The La Nina event of 1973/74/75/76 recharged the heat released from the Tropical Pacific by El Nino events during the decade of the early 1960s to the early 1970s. And it also added to the Tropical Pacific Ocean Heat Content.

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Figure 18

The Pacific Climate Shift of 1976/77 is a much-studied phenomenon. Trenberth et al (2002) discussed the differences in the evolution of El Nino events before and after the shift, and Trenberth et al (2002) referenced other papers that discussed effects of the Pacific Climate Shift on ENSO. Link to Trenberth et al (2002):
http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/papers/2000JD000298.pdf

El Nino events became stronger after the Pacific Climate Shift. The frequency of El Nino events and El Nino Modoki increased. As noted in an early post, The 1976 Pacific Climate Shift, there were notable shifts in the SST anomalies and linear trends of Pacific Ocean basin subsets.

But I have yet to find a paper that attributes the Pacific Climate Shift of 1976/77 to the La Nina event of 1973/74/75/76 or one that even suggests that the 3-year-long La Nina played a role. Yet through known coupled ocean-atmosphere processes, the 1973/74/75/76 La Nina increased the warm water available for the additional El Nino events after 1976 and for the significant El Nino events of 1982/83 and 1986/87/88.

The explosive volcanic eruption of El Chichon may have counteracted the Super El Nino of 1982/83, but the 1986/87/88 El Nino was strong enough to cause upward shifts in the SST and TLT anomalies of the Mid-To-High Latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, and the SST anomalies of the East Indian and West Pacific Oceans, similar to the shifts caused by the 1997/98 El Nino illustrated in this post.

A NOTE ABOUT BASE YEARS

Note: The relative strengths of El Nino versus La Nina events discussed early in this post would of course depend on the base years chosen for anomalies. And as illustrated in Figure 17 there is a minor difference depending on whether the base years of 1950 to 1979 or 1979 to 2000 are used. The significance of the difference would depend on how the data is being used. Example: A scaled running total of NINO3.4 SST anomalies will reproduce the basic global temperature anomaly curve as illustrated in Reproducing Global Temperature Anomalies With Natural Forcings if the base years are 1950 to 1979. If the base years of 1979 to 2000 are used, the result will not be similar to the global temperature curve.

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Figure 19

CLOSING COMMENT

The La Nina event of 1973/74/75/76 provided the tropical Pacific Ocean Heat Content necessary for the increase in strength and frequency of El Nino events from 1976 to 1995. The 1995/96 La Nina furnished the Ocean Heat Content that served as fuel for the 1997/98 El Nino. And the 1998/99/00/01 La Nina recharged the tropical Pacific Ocean Heat Content after the 1997/98 El Nino, returning it to the new higher level established by the La Nina of 1995/96.

It would appear that La Nina events do all of the work, while El Nino events get all the glory—and the research.

SOURCE

All data for this post is available through the KNMI Climate Explorer:
http://climexp.knmi.nl/selectfield_obs.cgi?someone@somewhere

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131 Responses to Tisdale on the importance of El Nino’s little sister – recharging ocean heat content

  1. Ron de Haan says:

    Loud and clear as aways
    Thanks Bob.

  2. rbateman says:

    The only thing missing here is how this works when the system is seeking a long-term cooler state.
    Everything we have kept track of pertains to a system seeking a long-term warmer state.
    We know how the latter works.
    What happens in the former scenario? (i.e. – a cooling state).

  3. kim says:

    Half the world finds no surprise in your final comment.
    ==============================

  4. Leo G says:

    Wonderful post.

    So may I infer that this could be one of the natural positive energy events, that Prof. Jones has not been able to find yet?

    If so, how much of the last 40 years of temperature rise would you be willing to attribute to this?

    Thanx for sharing your expertise Bob!

  5. par5 says:

    I guess this answers my earlier question on trade winds and thermal expansion. Thanks again, Mr. Tisdale.

  6. Peter of Sydney says:

    This is a concern as it means each time we have a warming period to reach a new and probably higher level of global mean temperature, the AGW scam will get stronger and stronger. So, in time they will win and we’ll be saddled with higher taxes. There’s only one way to stop this for sure – take the leading clowns of the AGW scam to court and try and prove them guilty then dish out suitable punishment.

  7. Rose says:

    Gotta love these Ads by Google showing up on your site:
    Global Warming Myths
    Read the myths and get the facts on the science of global warming
    http://www.edf.org

    Pure propagandists! Their link was right above your comment link, as if they were part of your post.

  8. savethesharks says:

    Enlightening. Thank you.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  9. Stefan of Perth says:

    Stop Press – Dr Phil Jones admits no warming since 1995 and acknowledges the science was never settled:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1250872/Climategate-U-turn-Astonishment-scientist-centre-global-warming-email-row-admits-data-organised.html

    I never imagined AGW would unravel so fast.

  10. Geoff Sherrington says:

    Bob, thanks for the clear essays.

    Could you please comment in simmary on

    (a) Is the El Nino/La Nina a conservative system wrt heat. That is, it it a cycle of redistributon of existing heat, or is heat taken from/added to the system?

    (b) if the latter where does the excess heting/coolong report for measurement?

    (c) has the mixture of observing stations in the two reference periods stayed about constant, or have we had a change like ‘the march of the thermometers’?

    (d) Given the hypothesised connections with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the weather of West Australia being connected to snowfall at Law Dome, Antarctica, can we (or have we already) make a composite model of which global feature is connected to which other and with what confidence? (See David Stockwell’s Niche Modeling for the latter, at places like http://landshape.org/enm/droughts-and-antarctica/
    and following.

    Nice work, but I’m still not sure if the chicken comes before the egg.

  11. Thumbnail says:

    Times ONline weighs in:

    WORLD MAY NOT BE WARMING, SAY SCIENTISTS

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7026317.ece

  12. Sandy says:

    You say higher Trade winds over open ocean is a warming effect. It seems sensible that for any level of insolation of the tropical sea surface that there should be a wind speed that evaporatively cools the surface at the same rate as the heating.
    This hot damp air is the fuel for Willis E’s ITCZ super Cu-Nims which are certainly a cooling effect.
    Just because satellites see open ocean under the Trade Winds, it does not follow that there is a net solar heating, especially during the night.

  13. Mark.R says:

    Great post Bob.
    Summary: Pacific Ocean remains warm, but continues to cool
    Central Pacific Ocean temperatures remain well above El Niño thresholds, with significant areas east of the date-line continuing to exceed their average by more than 2°C. However, the central to eastern Pacific has continued to cool since the peak of the El Niño warmth in late December and early January. The sub-surface of the equatorial Pacific has also cooled over the last month, which historically indicates that a return to neutral conditions may be under way.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/

  14. DirkH says:

    “Thumbnail (23:25:28) :

    Times ONline weighs in:

    WORLD MAY NOT BE WARMING, SAY SCIENTISTS

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7026317.ece

    Rich. Read Kevin Trenberth’s response in the article.

  15. John Peter says:

    “rbateman (21:04:36) :

    The only thing missing here is how this works when the system is seeking a long-term cooler state.
    Everything we have kept track of pertains to a system seeking a long-term warmer state.
    We know how the latter works.
    What happens in the former scenario? (i.e. – a cooling state).”

    That was exactly my first thought when I got to the end of this excellent article.

    From BBC Q&A with Dr Jones:

    Here are the trends and significances for each period:
    Period Length Trend
    (Degrees C per decade) Significance
    1860-1880 21 0.163 Yes
    1910-1940 31 0.15 Yes
    1975-1998 24 0.166 Yes
    1975-2009 35 0.161 Yes

    What made global temperatures “sink” 1880-1910 and 1940-1975? I would think that lots of people would like an explanation as the above article only focuses on the upward trends in global temperatures. There must be some contrary mechanism consisting of more cloud cover and more long term accumulation of heat content in the oceans or whatever.

  16. Kate says:

    Jones finally makes admission to the BBC’s AGW fanatic Harrabin.

    Instead of a long commentary, I have highlighted the most important bit with stars.

    Contrast what Jones is saying with Harrabin’s insistence that AGW still exists. And this is the man who wants to interview working skeptic British scientists!
    ……………………………………

    Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1250872/Climategate-U-turn-Astonishment-scientist-centre-global-warming-email-row-admits-data-organised.html

    Jonathan Petre
    14th February 2010

    * Data for vital ‘hockey stick graph’ has gone missing
    * There has been no global warming since 1995
    * Warming periods have happened before – but NOT due to man-made changes

    The academic at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ affair, whose raw data is crucial to the theory of climate change, has admitted that he has trouble ‘keeping track’ of the information. Colleagues say that the reason Professor Phil Jones has refused Freedom of Information requests is that he may have actually lost the relevant papers.

    Professor Jones told the BBC yesterday there was truth in the observations of colleagues that he lacked organisational skills, that his office was swamped with piles of paper and that his record keeping is ‘not as good as it should be’. The data is crucial to the famous ‘hockey stick graph’ used by climate change advocates to support the theory.

    ***************************************************************************
    Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.
    ***************************************************************************

    And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.

    The admissions will be seized on by sceptics as fresh evidence that there are serious flaws at the heart of the science of climate change and the orthodoxy that recent rises in temperature are largely man-made.

    Professor Jones has been in the spotlight since he stepped down as director of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit after the leaking of emails that sceptics claim show scientists were manipulating data.
    The raw data, collected from hundreds of weather stations around the world and analysed by his unit, has been used for years to bolster efforts by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to press governments to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

    * MAIL ON SUNDAY COMMENT: The professor’s amazing climate change retreat

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1250813/The-professor-s-amazing-climate-change-retreat.html

    Following the leak of the emails, Professor Jones has been accused of ‘scientific fraud’ for allegedly deliberately suppressing information and refusing to share vital data with critics.

    Discussing the interview, the BBC’s environmental analyst Roger Harrabin said he had spoken to colleagues of Professor Jones who had told him that his strengths included integrity and doggedness but not record-keeping and office tidying. Mr Harrabin, who conducted the interview for the BBC’s website, said the professor had been collating tens of thousands of pieces of data from around the world to produce a coherent record of temperature change. That material has been used to produce the ‘hockey stick graph’ which is relatively flat for centuries before rising steeply in recent decades.

    According to Mr Harrabin, colleagues of Professor Jones said ‘his office is piled high with paper, fragments from over the years, tens of thousands of pieces of paper, and they suspect what happened was he took in the raw data to a central database and then let the pieces of paper go because he never realised that 20 years later he would be held to account over them’. Asked by Mr Harrabin about these issues, Professor Jones admitted the lack of organisation in the system had contributed to his reluctance to share data with critics, which he regretted. But he denied he had cheated over the data or unfairly influenced the scientific process, and said he still believed recent temperature rises were predominantly man-made.

    Asked about whether he lost track of data, Professor Jones said: ‘There is some truth in that. We do have a trail of where the weather stations have come from but it’s probably not as good as it should be. There’s a continual updating of the dataset. Keeping track of everything is difficult. Some countries will do lots of checking on their data then issue improved data, so it can be very difficult. We have improved but we have to improve more.’

    He also agreed that there had been two periods which experienced similar warming, from 1910 to 1940 and from 1975 to 1998, but said these could be explained by natural phenomena whereas more recent warming could not.
    He further admitted that in the last 15 years there had been no ‘statistically significant’ warming, although he argued this was a blip rather than the long-term trend. And he said that the debate over whether the world could have been even warmer than now during the medieval period, when there is evidence of high temperatures in northern countries, was far from settled.

    Sceptics believe there is strong evidence that the world was warmer between about 800 and 1300 AD than now because of evidence of high temperatures in northern countries. But climate change advocates have dismissed this as false or only applying to the northern part of the world.

    Professor Jones departed from this consensus when he said: ‘There is much debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period was global in extent or not. The MWP is most clearly expressed in parts of North America, the North Atlantic and Europe and parts of Asia. For it to be global in extent, the MWP would need to be seen clearly in more records from the tropical regions and the Southern hemisphere. There are very few palaeoclimatic records for these latter two regions. Of course, if the MWP was shown to be global in extent and as warm or warmer than today, then obviously the late 20th Century warmth would not be unprecedented. On the other hand, if the MWP was global, but was less warm than today, then the current warmth would be unprecedented.’

    Sceptics said this was the first time a senior scientist working with the IPCC had admitted to the possibility that the Medieval Warming Period could have been global, and therefore the world could have been hotter then than now.

    Professor Jones criticised those who complained he had not shared his data with them, saying they could always collate their own from publicly available material in the US. And he said the climate had not cooled ‘until recently – and then barely at all. The trend is a warming trend’.

    ***************************************************************************
    Mr Harrabin told Radio 4’s Today programme that, despite the controversies, there still appeared to be no fundamental flaws in the majority scientific view that climate change was largely man-made.
    ***************************************************************************

    But Dr Benny Pieser, director of the sceptical Global Warming Policy Foundation, said Professor Jones’s ‘excuses’ for his failure to share data were hollow as he had shared it with colleagues and ‘mates’. He said that until all the data was released, sceptics could not test it to see if it supported the conclusions claimed by climate change advocates. He added that the professor’s concessions over medieval warming were ‘significant’ because they were his first public admission that the science was not settled.

  17. Michael says:

    The conscious form of cruelty inflicted on us by groups such as Greenpeace, PITA and the IPCC, who feel it is their right to do so , are the worst forms of cruelty inflicted on humanity. They have no idea what they are doing with their actions.

    See this formal explanation at 75:00 in this movie;
    Kymatica.

    http://www.vimeo.com/9124438

  18. Daniel H says:

    Wow, data overload. Maybe next time you could provide an abstract? That took me forever to read and required the consumption of two Starbucks Grande Caramel Macchiato’s, an Adderall, and one 5-hour energy drink.

    Aside from that, I thought it was a very informative and compelling essay :-)

  19. stephen richards says:

    Bob

    Read this on your blog the other say and have been contemplating since.

    If the Niño/a are the major contributor to global temps, and there is no reason why they could not be, then for a cooler planet the La Niñas would need to be less cold or non existent ? Does that seem right to you.?

    I say that besause your piece here says that la niñas feed el niños and the deeper the niña the higher the niño

  20. Bob Tisdale says:

    rbateman (21:04:36): You wrote, “The only thing missing here is how this works when the system is seeking a long-term cooler state.”

    During the cooling phase of the AMO, does the North Atlantic provide feedback to the tropical Pacific, suppressing the intensity and frequency of ENSO events? North Atlantic SST and OHC anomalies appear to have peaked in 2005. If that is an indication that the AMO has shifted into its cooling phase, then we’ll get to watch over the next 2.5 to 3 decades.

  21. Bob Tisdale says:

    Leo G (21:31:51): You asked, “If so, how much of the last 40 years of temperature rise would you be willing to attribute to this?”

    I’ve reproduced the global temperature anomaly curve since about 1910 with natural variables :

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

    Does that mean all of the rise in global temperatures could be attributable to natural effects?

    The assumption in that post is that the global oceans integrate the effects of ENSO. For that to be, a small amount of each ENSO event would have to linger in the oceans. Newman et al (2003) discovered this to be the case in the Pacific. They write, “Furthermore, North Pacific SSTs have a multiyear memory during the cold season. Deep oceanic mixed layer temperature anomalies from one winter become decoupled from the surface during summer and then ‘reemerge’ through entrainment into the mixed layer as it deepens the following winter. Thus, over the course of years, at least during winter and spring, the North Pacific integrates the effects of ENSO.” And they use reemergence to explain the process. Refer to the following post for more on the reemergence mechanism, which exists in all oceans:

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

    The East Indian and West Pacific Oceans can and do warm during La Nina events due to an east-west dipole effect, which would also contribute to the appearance of a lingering El Nino signal. I illustrated the dipole in this post:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/12/more-detail-on-multiyear-aftereffects.html

  22. Caleb says:

    Your posts are like a Christmas Present under a tree. Takes time to unwrap them, but well worth it.

    I love the word “recharge.” It puts a great deal into a nut shell.

    The Trade Winds are the “recharger.” They, in a La Nina, are sort of a Sisyphus, pushing a boulder up a hill and creating potential energy. Then, in a El Nino, the Trade Winds relax, which is analogous to Sisyphus watching the boulder roll back down the hill again, and the potential energy being released.

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about energy which isn’t measured by thermometers. Wind is interesting to think about. What holds more energy, a square foot of air at 34.0 degrees in a calm, or a square foot of air at 33.9 degrees moving 100 miles an hour in a hurricane?

    I’d like to know more about what makes the Trade Winds stronger, and what makes them weaker, because it seems to be the difference between the Pacific “recharging” or “discharging.”

    I may not come up with answers, but I sure do enjoy thinking about this stuff. It increases my sense of wonder. I’m very grateful for the thinking-tools that your charts and graphs create.

    Keep up the great work.

  23. vjones says:

    Very clear – thank you – and fascinating. So La Nina, and the clearer, less cloudy conditions associated with the stronger trades allow more heat to the surface recharging the ocean heat. I never thought of it like that before. The redistribution is by the El Nino events is now very obvious.

    It does explain rather well why the GCMs get things so wrong, or at least miss out a lot of importance.

  24. Bob Tisdale says:

    Geoff Sherrington (23:05:09) : You asked, “Is the El Nino/La Nina a conservative system wrt heat. That is, it it a cycle of redistributon of existing heat, or is heat taken from/added to the system?”

    El Nino events discharge and redistribute heat that exists since the previous La Nina. The La Nina that follows the El Nino returns part of the leftover warm water to the Pacific Warm Pool for the next El Nino, redistributes the rest of the warm water to nearby oceans, and recharges the heat released by the El Nino through increases in downward shortwave radiation. Over the long term, though, the typical La Nina does not recharge all of the heat discharged during the previous El Nino, and tropical Pacific declines for a decade or two.

    You asked, “if the latter where does the excess heting/coolong report for measurement?”

    Tropical Pacific Ocean Heat Content:

    You asked, “has the mixture of observing stations in the two reference periods stayed about constant, or have we had a change like ‘the march of the thermometers’?”

    Please rephrase the question. I’m not sure what you’re asking.

    And with respect to your PDO/rainfall in Australia question, I’ll have to say that I can’t answer your question. I haven’t studied the relationship.

  25. Bob Tisdale says:

    Sandy (23:31:48) : You wrote, “You say higher Trade winds over open ocean is a warming effect. It seems sensible that for any level of insolation of the tropical sea surface that there should be a wind speed that evaporatively cools the surface at the same rate as the heating.”

    Tropical Pacific SST (Surface) anomalies cool during La Nina events, correlating well with NINO3.4 SST anomalies. The following graph also includes tropical Pacific OHC.

    Some of the surface cooling would be caused by an increase in evaporative cooling due to the higher trade winds, but the vast majority of the surface cooling is caused by the upward shift in the thermocline, which is also related to the increase in trade winds. Refer to:

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

    My statement in the post probably could have been clearer when I wrote, During a La Nina event, tropical Pacific trade winds rise above normal levels. The increase in trade winds reduces cloud cover. Reduced cloud cover allows more Downward Shortwave Radiation (visible light) to warm the tropical Pacific.” I should have added “…raising tropical Pacific Ocean Heat Content,” to eliminate the possibility of confusion. Note in the above graph how tropical Pacific OHC rises during the La Nina events of 1995/96 and 1998/99/00/01.

  26. Bob Tisdale says:

    stephen richards (01:29:00) : You asked, “If the Niño/a are the major contributor to global temps, and there is no reason why they could not be, then for a cooler planet the La Niñas would need to be less cold or non existent ? Does that seem right to you.?”

    The feedback from another variable such as the AMO may have an effect that is not accounted for in the discussion. Note that I research and illustrate the late 20th Century warming period for a number of reasons. It’s the warming period the AGW proponents say can only be caused by greenhouse gases, and the data shows they’re wrong. Second, before the satellite and buoys eras, a lot of the SST data is infilled, especially in the South Pacific.

  27. Stephen Wilde says:

    A good summation of what we observe and a sensible general hypothesis but restricted very much to short term climate changes.

    Can it be extended to the longer term so as to explain the background temperature trend which has clearly been rising during the 20th century and possibly even since the depths of the LIA ?

    We need something to account for the longer term cycling from MWP to LIA to date. That cycling with various fits and starts goes back to the last glaciation.

    Many suggest solar variability for that aspect of the climate system but as we all know Leif Svalgaard is dismissive of that so what are we left with ?

    My own opinion is an internal oceanic cycling independent of the ENSO/PDO mechanism. Is there anything else that could do it ?

    Could such an independent internal oceanic cycling even cause the ENSO / PDO cycles with the effect on the Trade Winds being caused by global ocean/atmosphere changes rather than vice versa such that the effect on the Pacific warm pool is a regional consequence of more subtle global changes involving all the oceans combined ?

  28. Joe says:

    Is there some way to get the ocean salinity changes and correllate with them to these Ocean temperature changes?

    Thanks
    Joe

  29. Tucci says:


    Prior to the onset of gender-balancing political correctness, the term for what is called “la nina” was actually “el viejo” (“the old man”).

    That could in some way account for the lower number of hits on a Web search for the term “la nina.”

  30. Stephen Wilde says:

    “stephen richards (01:29:00) : You asked, “If the Niño/a are the major contributor to global temps, and there is no reason why they could not be, then for a cooler planet the La Niñas would need to be less cold or non existent ? Does that seem right to you.?”

    That is a matter of concern for me too. It is said that during a negative PDO phase the La Nina is stronger but the El Nino is weaker.

    Yet Bob is saying that the La Nina needs to be strong or lengthy to fuel a subsequent strong El Nino. There seems to be a logical inconsistency there.

    The most likely implication of the unlikeliness of that proposition is that something in the oceans on a larger scale is driving the ENSO and PDO phenomena.

  31. Bob Tisdale says:

    Tucci (06:39:30) : Thanks for the reminder about El Viejo. If I Google Scholar search for “El Viejo”, there are ~68,000 returns, so the returns are still significantly smaller than the 200,000 from “El Nino”. It did help bridge the gap, though.

    Regards

  32. Bob Tisdale says:

    Joe (05:28:14) : You asked, “Is there some way to get the ocean salinity changes and correllate with them to these Ocean temperature changes?”

    The Ocean Heat Content data also accounts for changes in salinity. I cannot isolate them. I also have not run into a website that offers halosteric sea level data in a user-friendly format. But there are studies that isolate the salinity (halosteric) component.

  33. JonesII says:

    Where is it the Sun in this picture?, What happened years before with the Sun that triggered the big 98-98 El Nino?, Did it happen something different?.
    If the 2010 El Nino were now to be named as such by the fishermen of north peruvian coasts it wouldn´t have received its name because it did not reach those coasts:

    http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.html

    Stephen Wilde (05:10:27) : You said it “We need something to account for the longer term cycling from MWP to LIA to date.”
    What about the two big solar events in 1989, one of which, impacted the Quebec´s electric grid. BTW, Piers Corbyn takes into account this kind of events, as these also change GMF:

    (Yes, I know this is a FORBIDDEN issue for the “Astrophysics´ Church of the 21th.millenium” and its inquisition´s friars :-) ), but freeing a little from beliefs and settled science, you intelligent guys, could think about these phenomena without censorship and give the world a more logical panorama indicating causes and not only descriptions.
    So apply the socratic maieutics method of questioning.

  34. Tenuc says:

    Good piece of work, Bob, which I enjoyed reading.

    Some interesting ideas regarding how this could be extended to correlate to longer-term climate change based on effects of the solar cycles hypothesised in a paper by Erl Happ and Carl Wolk – “Solar warming – Solar cooling” here:-

    http://climatechange1.wordpress.com/2009ow /04/05/solar-warming-solar-cooling/

    Here’s their conclusion –

    “Solar activity has weakened the [polar] vortex in both hemispheres. Periodic change in 200hPa temperature in response to changing ozone content and changing short wave radiation change ice cloud density and prevalence. This drives the Southern Oscillation. By and large it is the sea that stores energy and transports it to higher latitudes producing warmer winters. Ultimately sea surface temperature depends upon the Quasi Biennial Oscillation in ultraviolet radiation and the solar wind. The change in the solar QBO is responsible for the waxing and waning of the Southern Oscillation as it changes between El Nino and La Nina dominance.”

    I’d be very interested to see if others think the paper is useful?

  35. Dan Lee says:

    So, we start to worry about global cooling if El Niño is NOT followed by a La Niña? Or is followed by a short and mild one?

  36. lgl says:

    Stephen Wilde (05:10:27) :

    “such that the effect on the Pacific warm pool is a regional consequence of more subtle global changes involving all the oceans combined”

    Definitely global. The anomalies reverse all over: http://www.crces.org/presentations/dmv_ipwp/images/figure7.gif
    from: http://www.crces.org/presentations/dmv_ipwp/

  37. tallbloke says:

    Bob Tisdale (01:41:10) :

    rbateman (21:04:36): You wrote, “The only thing missing here is how this works when the system is seeking a long-term cooler state.”

    During the cooling phase of the AMO, does the North Atlantic provide feedback to the tropical Pacific, suppressing the intensity and frequency of ENSO events? North Atlantic SST and OHC anomalies appear to have peaked in 2005. If that is an indication that the AMO has shifted into its cooling phase, then we’ll get to watch over the next 2.5 to 3 decades.

    Great post as always Bob, thanks.
    Regarding th post I quote, the question becomes then, what causes the warming and cooling phases of the oceans on multidecadal scales. Stephen Wilde seems to be taking Leif Svalgaard at his word, I don’t. The Sun’s variability is more than the up’s and downs of TSI, which may have been underestimated anyway by our limited dataset and it’s less than perfect splicing and interpretation. The SDO mission NASA has just launched will hopefully reveal more, though how much a 5 year mission will tell us about multidecadal variability remains to be seen.

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/to-boldly-go-with-sdo/

  38. Joe says:

    Bob,
    Ruth Curry, oceanographer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute has done extensive salinity readings for a great many years.

    There is a great amount of simularities when cross-referencing the different degree of changes from the north Atlantic to the Pacific.

    Thanks Joe

  39. Tim Clark says:

    Where’s the trolls, Bob? We can’t have you scaring them off. What fun is that. Surely you can intentionally make a baseless claim for ammunition. /sarc

  40. Bob Tisdale says:

    Tenuc (07:36:00) : Regarding Erl Happ’s, “Solar warming – Solar cooling” post that you linked:

    http://climatechange1.wordpress.com/2009/04/05/solar-warming-solar-cooling/

    Refer to his Figure 2. I see no correlation between the solar cycles and equatorial temperatures at 20hPa and 200hPa. Based on it, the rest of the assumptions are just that, assumptions.

  41. JP says:

    “…Yet Bob is saying that the La Nina needs to be strong or lengthy to fuel a subsequent strong El Nino. There seems to be a logical inconsistency there.

    The most likely implication of the unlikeliness of that proposition is that something in the oceans on a larger scale is driving the ENSO and PDO phenomena.”

    I don’t think one full ENSO cycle necessairily discharges/recharges all the available stored energy of the tropical Pacific. The events leading to the 1997/98 El Nino could have been decades in the making. We just don’t have the means to accurately measure such things. One thing I think should be considered is long term cloud cover of the tropical Pacific. This obviously would have a direct implication in how much insolation makes to the ocean’s surface.

  42. JonesII says:

    Tenuc (07:36:00) : From the paper you quoted:

    As solar activity ramped strongly after 1978 the rate of evaporation from the tropical oceans increased. The Earth and particularly the lower troposphere emitted more long-wave radiation. This promoted marked heating at 100hPa. This period of strong heating came to an end about 2005 and 100hPa temperature has since returned to pre 1978 levels. In the absence of further solar stimulus the tropical oceans should gradually cool.

    http://climatechange1.wordpress.com/2009/04/05/solar-warming-solar-cooling/#comment-272

  43. JonesII says:

    And…This period of strong heating came to an end about 2005 and 100hPa temperature has since returned to pre 1978 levels. In the absence of further solar stimulus the tropical oceans should gradually cool. As 100hPa temperature falls it promotes ice cloud formation reflecting solar radiation and cooling the surface
    Remember that drop in Ap index in 2005, as pointed out by Anthony?

  44. Kevin Kilty says:

    Bob Tisdale:

    I find your ideas interesting. However, in order to have an actual explanation for something we need two separate things. First, we need some plausible mechanism by which cause becomes effect, and then we need data to show that it actually occurs. Unless I am too block-headed to see this, I feel you show us the second part without having provided the first.

    Someone earlier on this thread asked if this is a cyclic process? The answer is part of the first requirement. Someone else asked what is going on during the cooling phase? That’s also part of the mechanical hypothesis. I have long asked whether the attendant moistening of the atmosphere plays a significant role. That is also part of the mechanical explanation.

    Please respond to my paraphrasing of your hypothesis here. ENSO is a heat engine. It absorbs heat from sunlight in the tropics, converts this to work needed to transport warm water all over the Pacific and Indian oceans, and then expels waste heat in higher latitudes. This waste heat exhibits itself as anomalously high lower tropospheric temperatures in polar and temperate regions — and this raises global mean temperature.

    Now in order to explain how a cyclic engine manages to produce semi-permanent step increases and/or secular trends in temperature, something about the engine is causing it to run in a larger enclosed area in either its P-V diagram (indicator diagram in the terminology of engines) or equivalently in its T-S diagram.

  45. Joe says:

    Bob,
    Here is my assessement and why to the evidence that I have been able to explore that we are into an Ice Age and the tipping point was when the salt in the ocean started to change. Salt being a crystal has the properties to reflect sunlight. The salinity started on the surface around the equator where it is the hotest and our atmosphere is the highest. Also this is the maximum of the planets own rotational energy exerts most. The time frame past this was extreme draught in the areas. Evaporation was surpressed.
    The salt changes starting on the surface and no heavy evaporation to encourage this also suggests it to be atmospheric in nature. The only area we have not much exploration is rotation and how this would effect the pulling or stretching of the atmosphere. Changing the density in the atmosphere would change the speed of the atmosphere is being pulled along.
    Atmospheric pressure due to pressure build-up and rotation would push up on our atmosphere and not down on the planets surface.
    Pulling the salt to the surface of the oceans.
    Now the big concern is that the north Atlantic now has very little salinity in this further change which now open the evaporation flood gates.
    The changes of the currents you have shown opens the land mass now to massive precipitation.

    Joe

  46. JonesII says:

    Kevin Kilty (08:42:57) :
    First, we need some plausible mechanism by which cause becomes effect, and then we need data to show that it actually occurs
    If such a mechanism it is known then, and only then, forecasts are possible.

  47. Richard M says:

    The big question still remains. What causes ENSO in the first place. The trade winds could be an effect of ENSO with the PWP heat rising leading to the trades increasing. Also, what causes the variation in El Nino (Modoki).

    Could heat from geothermal activity be part of the equation. What about gravity? That is, Lunar, Sun, other planets and, possibly, changes in the density of the mantle/core as they move around inside the Earth. Not to mention salinity and density changes due to below surface oscillations. And, I probably missed several other possible components as well.

    I think it will be some time before we know how to put it all together. However, I am very grateful to Bob for his efforts to start understanding one of the biggest climate engines on the planet.

  48. lgl says:

    tallbloke (08:13:12) :

    Another interesting question is why didn’t all the other La-Ninas cause steps in OHC, why only the 75 and 95 Ninas? LOD changed from increasing to decreasing around 73 and 93 so I’ll bet those changes in earth rotation are the real cause of the step ups. Then all we need to get a cooling phase is a flip back to increasing LOD.

  49. Bob Tisdale says:

    Stephen Wilde (07:00:11): Logical inconsistency?

    You copied and pasted stephen richards’s question to me, but you must have missed my reply to him.

    Then you wrote, “That is a matter of concern for me too. It is said that during a negative PDO phase the La Nina is stronger but the El Nino is weaker.”

    Since the PDO is an aftereffect of ENSO, you should have no concern. Refer to:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/04/misunderstandings-about-pdo-revised.html

    AND:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/05/revisiting-misunderstandings-about-pdo.html

    You wrote, “Yet Bob is saying that the La Nina needs to be strong or lengthy to fuel a subsequent strong El Nino.”

    Incorrect. The above post is very clear. Read the summary. Here it is again.
    #####
    The La Nina event of 1973/74/75/76 provided the tropical Pacific Ocean Heat Content necessary for the increase in strength and frequency of El Nino events from 1976 to 1995. The 1995/96 La Nina furnished the Ocean Heat Content that served as fuel for the 1997/98 El Nino. And the 1998/99/00/01 La Nina recharged the tropical Pacific Ocean Heat Content after the 1997/98 El Nino, returning it to the new higher level established by the La Nina of 1995/96.
    #####

    I can’t get much plainer than that. It’s based on the Tropical Pacific Ocean Heat Content and NINO3.4 SST anomaly data illustrated in Figure 3.

    And I also referenced and provided links to McPhaden (1999) to confirm the 1995/96 La Nina made the additional heat content available for the 1997/98 El Nino.

    You wrote, “There seems to be a logical inconsistency there.”

    Maybe the “logical inconsistency” is based on your failure to accept that ENSO drives the PDO, not vice versa. Or maybe it’s based on your misinterpretation/misunderstanding of what I wrote in the post or your failure to refer back to Figure 3. The summary is based on it. Or maybe you didn’t read the referenced paper. Or maybe you didn’t read my reply to stephen richards.

    But, in short, there is no “logical inconsistency” in my post.

    You concluded with, “The most likely implication of the unlikeliness of that proposition is that something in the oceans on a larger scale is driving the ENSO and PDO phenomena.”

    Sorry, Stephen, this post was about what fueled the El Nino events, not what drives them, or triggers them. For more information on what drives ENSO, refer to the ENSO Q&A post from NOAA:

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

    In case you’re referring to something other than the known coupled ocean-atmosphere ENSO processes, and if and when you find this mysterious something and can present data (something that eludes you) to show it is driving ENSO, please feel free to write a post or a paper. Otherwise, as always, your comment is based on speculation, and likely has no basis in reality since you do not rely on data.

    Regards

  50. Stephen Wilde says:

    tallbloke (08:13:12)

    I’m taking Leif at his word purely as a logical exercise.

    I’m not a scientist but I’m good with words and logic so I can take the science provided by others and look at it in new ways to try and formulate a coherent whole without a personal bias towards any specific outcome.

    Bob’s work on ENSO is extremely fine and detailed but it’s only a small portion of the whole and I don’t think he has sorted out the ‘chicken and egg’ adequately as yet.

    Erl Happ and Svensmark have some nice ideas on the response of the upper atmosphere from solar forcings which could be made to fit my proposition that the rate of energy loss to space is affected by the amount of turbulence on the solar surface which does have an effect on the thermosphere and possibly all the other portions of the atmosphere from stratosphere upwards.

    Leif might well be right about the smallness of solar variation in terms of power output but his opinion that there is no other aspect of solar variation that might have a disproportionate effect on the rate of energy flow through the Earth system I find to be somewhat questionable given the variability we see in the satellite records of outward bound infra red.

    AGW is now dead. There is lots of pent up science in the system that has been suppressed but which is now going to receive lots of attention.

    I like the attention now being given to Dr. Miskolczi’s calculations because if correct those calculations provide a sound mathematical basis for my own propositions.

    However there is lots to play for in the individual components of the climate system and for that reason I am loth to criticise the work of any other climate sceptics.

    Let this site and other similar sites try to make up the scientific ground lost over the past 20 years of climatological nonsense.

    Let Realclimate et al read and weep.

  51. lgl says:

    Richard M (09:21:09) :

    I have suggested a Lunar connection. Eclipses give extra tidal forces and when hitting low latitudes mass will get pulled towards the equator. This could change currents (atmos and ocean) either directly or via changing earth’s rotation. http://virakkraft.com/uah-rss-moon.png

  52. shellback says:

    It seems that endless days and nights of CTD deployments,busted fingers,burned hands, 200 plus days a year seatime, busted marriages, the loss of good shipmates, melanoma, etc. provided some data afterall.

    Heres to the crews of the “Oceo” and the “Disco”.
    Tradewind days shipmate.

    Thanks Bob

  53. Stephen Wilde says:

    Bob,

    I wish you would apply your attention to what drives or triggers ENSO and/or PDO because that is where climate truth resides.

    The NOAA link is not helpful in that respect nor was the reply to stephen richards.

    The fact is that there appears to be an ocean driven cycle from MWP to LIA to the Modern Warm Period and we need to bridge the gap from your ENSO work to that longer term cyclical phenomenon.

    Unless we can do that then regrettably all your work is of little value in terms of the background climate changes upon which ENSO is superimposed.

    ENSO itself is of little value if it can only deal with shorter term climate variability.

    I’m trying to help you here.

  54. Joe says:

    Rotational energy.
    Physicist are about to hate my guts but…
    You will not find this in any book as it was experimentation and theory and getting results.
    Our Planets and suns rotational energy is what has been infused already into the planet and sun by density changes. The slowdown is the slow release of this energy until it is all used up. The moons small density will have an effect on the surface of the planet as water is denser than land and has elasticity to it. Slowdown the planet? Not likely as it is pulled along with it by the atmosphere and the mgnetic field and not attached to the surface of the planet.

    The radius of a circle is not what it seems.
    Being a ball of gases or heated materials or a mixture of both, a circle is a ball of circle is a ball of circles surrounded by a ball of circles, etc. going to the center.
    When you add an axis, there is a center of balance between the center to the outer ring of a circle. When rotated, this center of balance shifts towards the outer ring. This compresses and makes dense the material or gases.
    Simple experiment:
    One, a door. As you try to open it towards the hinge side, you need more energy to push it.
    Two, A spoked wheel with a light spring and a weight closer to the center. When this is rotated, the spring compresses changing its density and incorporating energy. When allowed to be released, the enrgy slowly is released and the spring relaxes until all the energy is gone.

    Now you can see how density ccan effect the atmospheres rotational abilities.

    Joe

  55. Leo G says:

    Thanx for your reply Bob. Very much appreciated.

  56. Ruhroh says:

    Dear Sir;

    For the first time in many efforts, I comprehended a nontrivial fraction of your post, and some others now.

    The first discussion I’ve found of where the dang heat could be going while the GAT seems to be not increasing.

    In a very simplistic way, the currents act somewhat like inductors, to the extent that they have reversals of flow. Equally simplistically, the water is acting capacitively, as far as soaking up the heat.

    Surely much that is wrong with prior paragraph. Is there a level of model which is more simplistic than ‘zero-th’ order?

    Thanks for the fine work, regardless of my blither.
    RR

  57. Richard M says:

    lgl (10:02:42):,

    Very interesting. Another thing to note is the Earth’s core is also influenced by these tidal forces. That could impact geothermal output in key areas like the PWP. And, the atmosphere also is affected by these tidal forces which could explain part of what happens with the trade winds.

    So may variables, so little understood …

  58. Richard M says:

    Stephen Wilde (10:33:31),

    I have to respectfully disagree. I believe Bob’s work is of primary importance. At the present time we need to focus on what has caused the recent temperature variations. If we can show that CO2=AGW is not necessary to explain the variations then we can put the issue to rest. That gives us plenty of time to go back and figure out the rest.

    Note, I’m just as curious as you, as evidenced by my latest posts. However, I believe Bob’s work is the highest priority.

  59. Stephen Wilde says:

    Bob,

    I’ve noted your comment and found this.

    “As noted above, the 1995/96 La Nina was not a strong event, yet it recharged all of the ocean heat that had been released in almost two decades of El Nino events.”

    It’s hard to absorb the whole lot in one go :)

    I can see the points you are making about the recharge process and the way you allocate particular periods of recharge to particular periods of release but some of the examples strain credibility.

    In particular a period of recharge that was not particularly strong or lengthy is proposed to have recharged for two decades of El Nino events that were pretty substantial in themselves.

    Can you be sure that the El Nino / La Nina processes combined are all that is involved here (apart from the sun that is) ?

    It would explain a lot more if there were variations in the water temperatures coming from the oceanic circulations BEFORE they became involved in the ENSO process. In particular that could provide a plausible connection to the longer term climate and oceanic cycling that I have referred to.

    After all a slightly less cold upwelling entering the ENSO process from below would manifest itself in warming at the surface (and vice versa) and that would help to account for the apparent disjunction between the strengths of the La Nina and El Nino phases in your article.

  60. Stephen Wilde says:

    Richard M (12:04:09)

    I agree about the importance of Bob’s work provided we can link it to the longer term climate cycles. I have often complimented Bob’s work.

    As regards AGW I am already convinced that Bob’s work has helped to do the business of scotching that by helping to point out that most if not all of the 20th century temperature changes can be accounted for by oceanic and solar behaviour without invoking CO2.

    That job having been done the next question is to determine how Bob’s work fits into a more general long term climate description.

    The issue for me lies in deciding whether Bob’s work helps to enlighten us beyond the PDO timescale and that is where the chicken and egg problem comes in.

    If it be the case that the MWP/LIA/ Modern Warm Period cycle is primarily ocean induced then it is outside Bob’s work and implies a possibility that the PDO phase shift is not merely an ENSO artifact but rather an independent feature modifying ENSO over a time scale upon which the longer term ocean cycling interacts with ENSO events.

    Indeed it is plausible that longer term ocean cycles (different in each ocean) averaged out globally first affect the air circulations and then affect the Trade Winds resulting in the ENSO cycle.

    Thus possibly (I’m not sure on this yet) Bob could have the causation reversed.

  61. Bob Tisdale (08:23:37) : O/T: Bob, would you, Anthony (or someone you know!) please give a heads up on this article from RealClimate on Gamma (temperature induced) CO2 feedbacks:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/02/good-news-for-the-earths-climate-system/#more-2817

  62. erlhapp says:

    Hi Bob,
    Hope to read your post in detail during the week. I have one query at this time. Have you checked the relationships between ENSO 3.4 SST anomalies, tropical Pacific SST anomalies and global tropical SST anomalies? I don’t think ENSO 3.4 anomalies are at all representative of the global tropics.

    I would point out that skin temperatures at mid latitudes show a much greater temperature increase than at the equator (on a global basis) prior to and during El Nino events.

    Tropical Pacific Ocean Heat content is one component of global ocean heat content. The Pacific, and what happens in local waters in its east and west is the focus of ENSO studies and these phenomena are commonly compared to the march in global temperatures but its what happens in the global ocean that is really important for temperature gain and loss on a global basis. The trades sweep waters towards the equator. If the waters outside the tropics are pre-warmed, we are actually measuring a lagged response to activity elsewhere.

    There is a conundrum here. How does the ocean gain calories when its surface temperature indicates cooling?

    My impression is that it is the area of the cloud free subtropical high pressure cells of descending air that is a strong variable factor explaining the change in the temperature of the in-feed waters that become the westerly currents that occupy the tropical latitudes. An increase in the cloud free area is a strong amplifying factor when tropical convection increases. If we are to get a real idea of the rate of tropical convection that drives Hadley cell dynamics and the size of the subtropical high pressure cells we need to measure the rate of evaporation from the tropical ocean. Alternatively look at temperatures at 850 hPa where the bulk of the moisture condenses or the actual areas of those high pressure cells.

  63. Pascvaks says:

    Bob Tisdale:
    Curious if these links has anything to do with (or can help you with) the questions you still have:

    http://www-app2.gfz-potsdam.de/pb1/op/grace/

    http://www-app2.gfz-potsdam.de/pb1/op/grace/results/grav/g003_eigen-cg01c.html

  64. JonesII says:

    If not considered other acting forces we´ll remain in a flintstones´universe where everything is disconnected, made out of rounded flintstones and we can only observe if the witch sea pot it´s boiling up or it is not, we can´t go further this way.

  65. R. Gates says:

    Interesting post. 2010 will be most exciting to watch, as many trends converge. Increasing Solar Cycle 24, decreasing GCR’s, waning El Nino?, increasing CO2 and Methane.

    The year has started out warm, but will it continue? Arctic Sea ice starting out like 2007 when it hit a low low summer minimum, but will it continue?

    Here’s a nice chart to keep Jan. 2010 in perspective when talking about Global Temps. The dominant color on this chart is obvious:

    http://iridl.ldeo.columbia.edu/maproom/.Global/.Atm_Temp/Percentiles.html

    But was that El Nino driven? And if not, then what?

  66. Pascvaks says:

    Ref – Pascvaks (12:53:08) :
    Bob Tisdale:
    “Curious if these links HAVE anything to do with (or can help you with) the questions you still have:”
    _____________
    Here’s another version, this one’s flat

  67. tallbloke says:

    lgl (10:02:42) :

    I have suggested a Lunar connection. Eclipses give extra tidal forces and when hitting low latitudes mass will get pulled towards the equator. This could change currents (atmos and ocean) either directly or via changing earth’s rotation. http://virakkraft.com/uah-rss-moon.png

    There are longer term lunar cycles which may be linked to oceanic changes too.

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2009/11/30/the-moon-is-linked-to-long-term-atlantic-changes/

    However Paul Vaughan warns there may be a counfounding issue with a similar length solar cycle.

  68. tallbloke says:

    lgl (09:46:12) :

    tallbloke (08:13:12) :

    Another interesting question is why didn’t all the other La-Ninas cause steps in OHC, why only the 75 and 95 Ninas? LOD changed from increasing to decreasing around 73 and 93 so I’ll bet those changes in earth rotation are the real cause of the step ups. Then all we need to get a cooling phase is a flip back to increasing LOD.

    An early indicator could be a change in the rate the north magnetic pole is moving:

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2009/12/11/north-pole-position-shifts/

    It looks like there could be a short term shift around 2017, but it’s a tough one to call

  69. Pascvaks says:

    Ref – Pascvaks (12:53:08) :
    Bob Tisdale:
    “Curious if these links…”
    _________________
    Curious how close magnetism and gravity match up. Heres a dated (2000) global declination diagram. Know you’ve probably considered all this, but just in case…

  70. Bob Tisdale says:

    Kevin Kilty: Many thanks for your insightful comment. Unfortunately, every post I write on ENSO cannot include all facets of it. You paraphrased my post and asked me to comment. You wrote, “ENSO is a heat engine. It absorbs heat from sunlight in the tropics, converts this to work needed to transport warm water all over the Pacific and Indian oceans, and then expels waste heat in higher latitudes. This waste heat exhibits itself as anomalously high lower tropospheric temperatures in polar and temperate regions — and this raises global mean temperature.”

    The comparison of ENSO to a heat engine brought back memories. It reminded me of a series of posts written about a decade ago, by NASA or NOAA or a college. Wish I could find it. It was a year or so after the 1997/98 El Nino.

    Regardless, a few clarifications if I may. There are numerous papers written about ENSO discharge and recharge. La Nina is the recharge phase. It allows more sunlight to warm the tropical Pacific. The increased trade winds carry that warm water to the Pacific Warm Pool and also return to the west any remaining warm water that had been released by the El Nino. Some of this warm water will be carried poleward by surface currents, or to the Indian Ocean by way of the Indonesian Throughflow. The warm water carried poleward during the La Nina will continue to release heat. During the El Nino, the discharge phase, warm water that had been stored in the Pacific Warm Pool sloshes to the east where it spreads across the surface, raising sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific. On the surface, it releases more heat than normal, which is carried poleward by normal atmospheric processes. However, since the location of the warm water has changed, so has the area with the convection. This change also shifts global atmospheric circulation patterns, causing rises in surface temperatures outside of the tropical Pacific.

    You continued, “Now in order to explain how a cyclic engine manages to produce semi-permanent step increases and/or secular trends in temperature, something about the engine is causing it to run in a larger enclosed area…”

    It’s really not a semi-permanent step. It appears so because of the focus on the El Nino as the discharge phase, but in reality the warm water released by the El Nino remains on the surface during the La Nina phase. This can be seen in a graph of the SST anomalies for an area in the Northwest Pacific that’s east of Japan known as the Kuroshio Extension…

    Note that the lagged rise in SST anomalies is approximately 40% as high as the rise in NINO3.4 SST anomalies during the El Nino, but that the rise in the Kuroshio Extension SST anomalies occurs during the La Nina. The North Atlantic (not illustrated) also governed by the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, which had caused the North Atlantic SST anomalies to rise at a rate more than 2 times faster than the global SST anomalies…until ~2005. The North Atlantic SST anomalies now appear to be dropping in response to a shift in the AMO.

    And the engine, as you call it, runs in a larger enclosed area because ocean currents and atmospheric circulation carry the heat toward the poles, with the majority going to the Northern Hemisphere. Since the SST anomalies and TLT anomalies of the Northern Hemisphere rose in response to the 1997/98 El Nino and portions rose during the La Nina that followed, it gives the appearance of a permanent upward step. But with the SST anomalies of the North Atlantic now dropping in response to the AMO, will the appearance of upward steps continue? We’ll have to watch and see.

    Kevin, please let me know if that answered your questions.

  71. Austin says:

    Interesting post.

    This makes the La Nina the equivalent of the boiler phase.

    The West Coast of the US gets huge amounts of rain during El Nino years, transferring huge amounts of heat to space from the oceans via condensing water vapor. During La Nina years, this heat transfer does not occur.

    O/T – but I’ve been looking at fisheries catches. Then started looking at proxies for fisheries biomass.

    First, catches:

    Looking at Fisheries catches is another way to see long-term La Nina/El-Nino effects. The biomass production of both has a very strong feedback effect dependent totally on La-Nina driven cold water upwelling. Sardines are more temperature sensitive that Anchovies – the Sardines thriving during warmer conditions.

    Now, biomass production going back to 300 AD.

    The above graph has some very interesting cycles. You can clearly see the effects of the LIA and the MWP.

  72. Bob Tisdale says:

    Caleb: You wrote, “I’d like to know more about what makes the Trade Winds stronger, and what makes them weaker, because it seems to be the difference between the Pacific ‘recharging’ or ‘discharging.'”

    Have you read Bill Kessler’s FAQ web page on ENSO? It provides a not-to-technical discussion of the coupled ocean-atmopsphere processes associated with El Nino and La Nina events.

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

  73. Bob Tisdale says:

    JP: You wrote, “We just don’t have the means to accurately measure such things.”

    The NOAA TAO Project has had buoys collecting atmospheric, sea surface and subsurface data in the tropical Pacific since the late 1970s/early 1980s.

  74. Bob Tisdale says:

    Richard M (09:21:09) : You wrote, “The big question still remains. What causes ENSO in the first place. The trade winds could be an effect of ENSO with the PWP heat rising leading to the trades increasing. Also, what causes the variation in El Nino (Modoki).”

    ENSO processes are well understood. Refer to Bill Kessler’s FAQ web page for an overview:

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

    El Nino Modoki are discussed in great detail (78 pages worth) in Ashok et al (2007) “El Nino Modoki and its Possible Teleconnection.” https://www.jamstec.go.jp/frcgc/research/d1/iod/publications/modoki-ashok.pdf

    Regards

  75. Bob Tisdale says:

    Stephen Wilde (10:33:31) : You wrote, “I wish you would apply your attention to what drives or triggers ENSO and/or PDO because that is where climate truth resides.”

    My research of and attention toward ENSO have been to explain the rise in global temperatures since 1975. Nothing more, nothing less.

    You wrote, “The NOAA link is not helpful in that respect nor was the reply to stephen richards.”

    Try Google.

    You wrote, “The fact is that there appears to be an ocean driven cycle from MWP to LIA to the Modern Warm Period and we need to bridge the gap from your ENSO work to that longer term cyclical phenomenon.”

    Do you have data to support this claim? Also, I have no interest in the MWP or LIA. You do.

    You wrote, “Unless we can do that then regrettably all your work is of little value in terms of the background climate changes upon which ENSO is superimposed.”

    Again, my work helps explain the natural rise in global temperatures since 1975. Please identify and document, using data, the percentage of that that you attribute to the “ocean driven cycle from MWP to LIA to the Modern Warm Period” you refer to. And as I constantly remind you, without data, your comments are conjecture.

    You wrote, “ENSO itself is of little value if it can only deal with shorter term climate variability.”

    That’s all I concern myself with, short-term climate variability, because data (something you do not rely on) is available for short-term analysis.

    You concluded with, “I’m trying to help you here.”

    You refer to my post with phrases like “logical inconsistency” and “the unlikeliness of that proposition” and state that you’re trying to help. Yet you missed the topic of the post and appear to have misunderstood what I had written.

    Adios, Stephen.

  76. Kevin Kilty says:

    Bob,

    Thanks for your reply. What you have described doesn’t quite get to my point. However, I may have a better picture of your hypothesis because of your discussing the connection of ENSO to the PDO in another posting on this thread. I had assumed your hypothesis is one of explaining a secular increase in global temperature, but now I realize you may be saying that varying intensity of ENSO leads to the longer cycle we call PDO, and, who knows, the PDO leads to longer cycles and so on ad nauseum. We short-lived humans look at the climatic data and think we are looking at a secular trend, but we are simply looking at a long cycle wrought by ENSO. I can accept this as a reasonable possibility.

    Did I paraphrase your thinking correctly?

  77. Kevin Kilty says:

    Austin (14:13:42) :

    Interesting post.

    This makes the La Nina the equivalent of the boiler phase.

    Not exactly. I wouldn’t use the term “boiler phase”. As a heat engine ENSO has a continuously operating “boiler” in the equatorial western Pacific. The boiler does not operate at a constant heat input rate, however. Variations in cloudiness perhaps, and variations in the inflow of surface wind lead to large swings in heat input. This leads to large swings in heat to run the engine itself, which runs spasmodically. Thus, rejected heat in the temperate and polar regions is also spasmodic, and we observe from this occasional runs upward in global temperature, with a slow decay back toward a baseline of some sort.

    As an engine running in some sort of cycle, ENSO has to pass back through the same state variables occasionally. I had interpreted Tisdale’s suggestion of steps upward, as saying, in effect, that the engine was now running so as to pass through states of larger magnitude. If you read my posting above at 15:22:18, you’ll see that I now interpret him as saying there are simply long cycles (PDO) driven by shorter ones (ENSO). There is a way to paraphrase Swift in all this, but I don’t quite see how at present.

  78. Bob Tisdale says:

    Pascvaks (12:53:08) : Thanks for the links. I’ll have to study it.

  79. JonesII says:

    Kids, repeat after me: It´s the sun, It´s the sun. It´s the sun…

  80. Bob Tisdale says:

    Erl Happ: You asked, “Have you checked the relationships between ENSO 3.4 SST anomalies, tropical Pacific SST anomalies and global tropical SST anomalies? I don’t think ENSO 3.4 anomalies are at all representative of the global tropics.”

    Yup:

    Looks to me as though Scaled NINO3.4 SST anomalies and the Tropical SST anomalies for the Globe and Pacific all match up quite well. There’s some divergence after the 1997/98 El Nino, but nothing unexpected.

  81. Bob Tisdale says:

    Stephen Wilde: You wrote in reply to Richard M, “If it be the case that the MWP/LIA/ Modern Warm Period cycle is primarily ocean induced then it is outside Bob’s work and implies a possibility that the PDO phase shift is not merely an ENSO artifact but rather an independent feature modifying ENSO over a time scale upon which the longer term ocean cycling interacts with ENSO events.”

    As I continuously remind you, without data to support your claims, they are speculation, nothing more.

    You wrote, “Indeed it is plausible that longer term ocean cycles (different in each ocean) averaged out globally first affect the air circulations and then affect the Trade Winds resulting in the ENSO cycle.”

    More unfounded speculation, without data to support it.

    You wrote, and the part of your comment I strongly object to, “Thus possibly (I’m not sure on this yet) Bob could have the causation reversed.”

    If you’re not sure, then you have no basis on which to comment. My writings on the relationship between ENSO and the PDO are based on the findings of Newman et al (2003):

    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/people/gilbert.p.compo/Newmanetal2003.pdf

    And on Zhang et al (1997), which was the paper that established the calculation of the PDO, and is the method used by Nate Mantua to this day:

    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~david/zwb1997.pdf

    If you’d like references for Pacific basin SST anomaly patterns and how they originate in the tropics, refer to Evans et al (2001):

    http://iceman2.umd.edu/www/preprints/pdv.pdf

    and to Shakun and Shaman (2009):

    http://www.leif.org/EOS/2009GL040313.pdf

  82. Bob Tisdale says:

    Ruhroh: You asked, “Is there a level of model which is more simplistic than ‘zero-th’ order?”

    I’m in the process of writing a very detailed, very basic multi-part post on the topics discussed in this one. I don’t know your background or how well versed you are on these discussions, but I’ll let you know it is intended for those new to ENSO, AMO, etc. Even has more basic discussions such as why anomalies are used. I’ve written the first part and have managed to keep it free from acronyms (other than two uses of ENSO). But I want to release all of the posts at once, so it may take me another few months to get through it all.

  83. jorgekafkazar says:

    Impressive post, Bob. It seems to have stimulated a lot of curiosity in this field; perhaps some of us are a bit over-stimulated. That means you’ve done a fine job!

    And thanks for the link to Dr. Kessler’s FAQs. Very helpful, particularly this: “We don’t know what initiates El Niño. But we do see that it apparently does not take much to destabilize the strong-trade-wind/large-temperature-contrast non-El Niño state discusse(d) in the section above. This is because of ocean-atmosphere coupling.”

    My theory, if anybody is interested, is that upwelling cold water in the Eastern Pacific raises the local ocean viscosity and simultaneously increases the density of the air above. (Ocean density will also increase because of plankton, etc.). Eventually, these factors, working in concert, impede the trade winds just enough to trigger the El Niño portion of the cycle. Once that 1/2 meter hump of water begins to slide east from Indonesia, there’s no stopping it.

    Other triggers likely exist, as mentioned in the FAQs:

    http://faculty.washington.edu/kessler/occasionally-asked-questions.html#q1

  84. Douglas DC says:

    Thank you Bob for your help on all of the questions here. One more from me.
    -It appears this Nino is dropping quite fast temperature wise,is this an unusual
    drop or just the fact that it peaked quickly?
    Neutral by April, I say…

  85. Paul Vaughan says:

    Lights are on here:

    lgl (09:46:12) “Another interesting question is why didn’t all the other La-Ninas cause steps in OHC, why only the 75 and 95 Ninas? LOD changed from increasing to decreasing around 73 and 93 so I’ll bet those changes in earth rotation are the real cause of the step ups.”

    Bob, the 1973/74/75/76 & 1995/96 events correspond with decadal-timescale peaks in the rate of change of terrestrial angular velocity – i.e. -LOD’ – the red curve here…

    … and with minima in terrestrial nutation obliquity…

    … and also with negative surges in terrestrial nutation longitude.

    As for the trend in step-changes:

    See also a figure on the page lgl points out:

    lgl, that figure explains a lot:

    Panels c & d help explain patterns here:

    For those interested – details here:

    http://www.crces.org/presentations/dmv_ipwp/

    See particularly:

    and

    … and compare with the lower panels here:


    Tenuc, I think those guys are overlooking confounding – see here:

    http://www.sfu.ca/~plv/JN_QBO.png [Note: There's also QBO phase-coherence with interannual aa index, but it's intermittent & complex.]
    Note the slight phase-contrast-shift in the ’60s when LOD suddenly rose sharply – this shows up as a zero-crossing in this plot:

    Coupling snapped back together following the climate shift:

    Compare with:


    Bob Tisdale (09:51:44) “Since the PDO is an aftereffect of ENSO [...] ENSO drives the PDO, not vice versa”

    Strongly disagree with this portrayal Bob. Oversimplifying the narrative helps it reach some branches of the masses, but there are some bright folks around here who know that an r^2 of 0.5 is missing half of the picture, including what happens around climate regime shifts (as Ninderthana has explained here in the past).

    The easy out is to consider that both PDO & ENSO, which are different-timescale manifestations of related processes, are being bounced around by a 3rd factor.

    Thanks for the link to Kessler’s FAQ – the speculative notes on priming & triggering are useful in contemplating why interannual filtering methods based on simple concepts from recurrence methodology (like in Tsonis et al.) helps clarify SOI multivariate-phase-coherence timescale.


    Re: Joe (11:11:55)
    Looks like you might have been reading Barkin.

    Stephen Wilde, my impression is that you are underestimating the atmosphere. Consider that all it takes is small decadal pressure changes in the atmosphere (think about what this does to wind) to drive cumulative redistribution. See Sidorenkov & Barkin.


    Bob Tisdale (16:38:30) ” http://i49.tinypic.com/111utmr.png Looks to me as though Scaled NINO3.4 SST anomalies and the Tropical SST anomalies for the Globe and Pacific all match up quite well.”

    The 2004 event stands out as an example of when N3.4 does not tell the right story locally. Were I to give a presentation to knowledgeable local folks, they would immediately note the 2004 discrepancy, so thanks to Erl for reminding us to look at related variables that sometimes tell local stories better.


    lgl, how can we calculate (or download) the eclipse curve?
    http://virakkraft.com/uah-rss-moon.png

  86. Keith Minto says:

    Bob, at (03:38:52), you wrote During a La Nina event, tropical Pacific trade winds rise above normal levels. The increase in trade winds reduces cloud cover. Reduced cloud cover allows more Downward Shortwave Radiation (visible light) to warm the tropical Pacific.” I should have added “…raising tropical Pacific Ocean Heat Content,” to eliminate the possibility of confusion. Note in the above graph how tropical Pacific OHC rises during the La Nina events of 1995/96 and 1998/99/00/01.
    The increase in Trade Wind strength reduces cloud cover and thus warms the tropical Pacific. This helps me to understand at least partly the mechanism going on here. I can imagine a circular flow chart with La Nina at the top and El Nino at the bottom as this event seems to be cyclic with amplitude variation. Does such a flow chart exist ?
    Thanks for the good work.

  87. John McLean says:

    Claiming that La Nina events fuel El Nino events is exaggerating one factor at the expense of another.

    During a La Nina the trade winds push warm water across the Pacific and cold water upwells behind it and heat is exchanged with the atmosphere. When that warm water reaches the western Pacific it rises and, in the main, tracks back along the equator in the upper atmosphere and loses its heat to space. In contrast, during an El Nino the trade winds cease and the water warms from the sun. This causes upwelling in the central Pacific – a lot of cloud near the dateline – and in this situation the Hadley Cell circulation distributes it into the mid latitudes and further north if the circumpolar jetstreams will allow it to (i.e. the winds aren’t extending a long way south).

    This notion of La Nina fuelling El Nino is limited to a shift in the thermocline, from a La Nina condition of a deep thermocline in the west and shallow in the east (i.e. sloping down as you move east to west), to a relatively flat thermocline under El Nino conditions. The depth of the thermocline in the west is somewhat limited because oceanic warming cannot continue indefinitely. Heat is constantly being exchanged with the atmosphere and that causes an uplift, seen as developing cloud. The warmer the water the greater the uplift.

    The period 1945-76 saw very few El Nino events and a progressive increase towards La Nina conditions. That sustain period of La Nina conditions wasn’t reflected in the very next El Nino, which according to Bob should have been huge.

    And finally I note that Bob wrote his piece without even one mention to last year’s JGR paper that I wrote with two colleagues and in which we discussed how ENSO activity very largely drives subsequent global temperatures. I’m aware that Bob doesn’t seem to like the SOI calculated according to the Troup system, and I wonder why.

  88. lgl says:

    Paul Vaughan (20:51:42) :

    I haven’t seen a curve. I made it from a file named 5MCSE-Maps-10.pdf
    Think it’s http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/5MCSE/5MCSE-Maps-10.pdf but can’t get there at the moment.

  89. Stephen Wilde says:

    Paul Vaughan (20:51:42)

    “The easy out is to consider that both PDO & ENSO, which are different-timescale manifestations of related processes, are being bounced around by a 3rd factor.”

    Quite so.

  90. tallbloke says:

    lgl and Paul,

    That bump at 1976 is veeeery interesting.

  91. JonesII says:

    Pascvaks (14:02:10) :The new emerging paradigm is the electric nature of the universe, the plasma universe. In this view our sun relates to earth as an anode to a cathode, and by the “solar wind” (solar currents to earth), proton flares and/or GCR (90% protons), change “winds”(field drived) changing climate, Ninos to Nina (clockwise tradewinds to counterclockwise).
    This is, of course, “blasphemous” to the accepted creed, but we should risk excommunion, even malediction from the inquisition friars,if we are to go ahead.

  92. Bob Tisdale says:

    John McLean (23:01:53) : You wrote, “Claiming that La Nina events fuel El Nino events is exaggerating one factor at the expense of another.”

    I would have to conclude from your opening sentence that you disagree with my presentation and description of the data in this post, John. The graphs present the data, so I have to conclude you disagree with my description of what the graphs show. And I note a not-too-friendly tone in your comment, so I will maintain it in my reply.

    You then went on to provide an incomplete and disjointed description of ENSO, John, lasting for a number of paragraphs. Why incomplete and disjointed? Let’s look at a few sentences in your description.

    You wrote, “In contrast, during an El Nino the trade winds cease and the water warms from the sun.”

    You weren’t very explicit on where the sun warms the water, John. Is it central or western or eastern tropical Pacific? Nor did you describe how the water warms from the sun. Was there a decrease in cloud cover? If so, where? Cloud cover increases over the central and eastern tropical Pacific during an El Nino, and it decreases over the Pacific Warm Pool. Convection and cloud cover follow the location of the warm water. And the variations in downward shortwave radiation oppose the variations in cloud cover. That is, a decrease in cloud cover yields an increase in downward shortwave radiation. Higher trade winds yield less cloud cover over the central and eastern tropical Pacific, which in turn yields more downward shortwave radiation, which in turn yields warmer water. If you were saying that the central and eastern tropical Pacific SST anomalies warm during an El Nino event because of an increase in downward shortwave radiation, you are wrong, John. Over the central and eastern tropical Pacific, cloud cover increases and downward shortwave radiation decreases during an El Nino.

    You wrote next, “This causes upwelling in the central Pacific – a lot of cloud near the dateline – and in this situation the Hadley Cell circulation distributes it into the mid latitudes and further north if the circumpolar jetstreams will allow it to (i.e. the winds aren’t extending a long way south).”

    There are so many shifts in the topics being discussed in that sentence, John, it’s hard to keep track of them. That’s my example of the disjointed parts of your ESNO description.

    Your use of upwelling is associated with warm water, but upwelling is normally associated with cool waters. And your description of why the water warms in the central equatorial Pacific is lacking. The trade winds cause a temperature gradient across the tropical Pacific, with the water in the west warmer than it is in the east. The trade winds also “pile” the warm water in the west so that it is higher in elevation in the west than it is in the east. When the trade winds relax, they no longer hold the warmer water that’s higher in elevation in the west and gravity causes it to slosh east. This raises the temperature of the central and eastern tropical Pacific as the warmer water travels to the east. Your description also fails to include the all-important Kelvin wave(s), but that part’s nitpicky.

    I’ve written so many posts about the processes that take place during ENSO events it’s hard to pick a few. I believe if you were to read about ENSO-induced changes warm water volume…

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2008/11/equatorial-pacific-warm-water-volume.html

    …and if you were to read about ENSO-induced changes in the Pacific Equatorial Currents and the Pacific Equatorial Countercurrent…

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/02/equatorial-currents-before-during-and.html

    …and if you were to read about the variations in subsurface equatorial Pacific temperatures…

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/02/cross-sectional-views-of-three.html

    And:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/02/cross-sectional-views-of-three_28.html

    …and if you were to read about ENSO-induced changes in tropical Pacific sea level anomalies…

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/12/animations-of-aviso-tropical-pacific.html

    (The above posts are descriptions of the linked animations, but I’m sure you could acquire data if you liked and study it.)
    …and if you were to study ENSO-induced changes in Downward Shortwave Radiation presented in Pavlakis et al (2008) “ENSO Surface Shortwave Radiation Forcing over the Tropical Pacific” (2008)…

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/8/6697/2008/acpd-8-6697-2008-print.pdf

    …and if you were to study Trenberth et al (2002) “Evolution of El Nino–Southern Oscillation and global atmospheric surface temperatures”…

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/papers/2000JD000298.pdf

    …and if you were to read my series of posts on the multiyear aftereffects of ENSO events…

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/11/more-detail-on-multiyear-aftereffects.html

    AND (with your attention on this one):

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/11/more-detail-on-multiyear-aftereffects_26.html

    AND:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/12/more-detail-on-multiyear-aftereffects.html

    …you would find that my presentation and description in this post is confirmed by the papers and by my presentations of the many coupled ocean-atmosphere processes that take place during ENSO events.

    You wrote, “The period 1945-76 saw very few El Nino events and a progressive increase towards La Nina conditions. That sustain period of La Nina conditions wasn’t reflected in the very next El Nino, which according to Bob should have been huge.”

    I don’t believe I wrote or implied that every strong La Nina event or a sustained period of La Nina events would generate a huge El Nino, John. And I believe I was quite clear on which specific La Nina events raised tropical Pacific OHC. In the summary, I wrote, The La Nina event of 1973/74/75/76 provided the tropical Pacific Ocean Heat Content necessary for the increase in strength and frequency of El Nino events from 1976 to 1995. The 1995/96 La Nina furnished the Ocean Heat Content that served as fuel for the 1997/98 El Nino. And the 1998/99/00/01 La Nina recharged the tropical Pacific Ocean Heat Content after the 1997/98 El Nino, returning it to the new higher level established by the La Nina of 1995/96.

    So this part of your comment either expresses your misunderstanding of what was written or expresses your intentional misrepresentation of it.

    Also, the data appears to contradict your statement, John. If you were to examine the NINO3.4 SST anomaly data I presented above in Figure 17…

    …for the period of 1955 to 1975, you would find that the moderate to strong La Nina events were in fact followed by moderate to strong El Nino events, and that during a “sustained period of La Nina conditions”, such as the one from the late 1950s to the mid 1960s, the La Nina conditions (negative anomalies) were weak and so was the El Nino that followed.

    You wrote, “And finally I note that Bob wrote his piece without even one mention to last year’s JGR paper that I wrote with two colleagues and in which we discussed how ENSO activity very largely drives subsequent global temperatures.”

    There were hundreds of papers I could have cited, John. Also, it would have been nice if you had provided a link to the July 2009 paper you referred to: “Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature”…

    http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/InfluenceSoOscillation.pdf

    That way those reading your comment wouldn’t have to chase it down on their own.

    In short, your paper discusses using the SOI to reproduce global TLT anomalies from the 1960s to present. In your abstract, you wrote, “Change in SOI accounts for 72% of the variance
    in GTTA for the 29-year-long MSU record and 68% of the variance in GTTA for the longer 50-year RATPAC record.” Where GTTA is global tropospheric temperature anomalies. I, on the other hand, have shown that global temperature anomalies using HAdCRUT data can be reproduced as a function of NINO3.4 SST anomalies for the period of the 1910s to present, if one assumes that the global oceans integrate the effects of ENSO:

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

    In other words, had you used NINO3.4 SST anomalies and global surface temperatures for your study, you may have been able to extend your research back for another four decades and you may have captured more of the rise in global temperatures for the longer time period.

    You concluded with, “I’m aware that Bob doesn’t seem to like the SOI calculated according to the Troup system, and I wonder why.”

    Really? Have I written that I don’t “seem to like the SOI” somewhere? Please cite your source.

  93. Pascvaks says:

    Bob Tisdale –
    Looking at the image/pic above. Is there anything that has appeared telling about changes in the jet streams for the period you are studying? (Sorry if I missed something already addressed, still on 1st cup of eyeopener.)

  94. Bob Tisdale says:

    Paul Vaughan: Thanks for the links to the LOD data. Please feel free to post it in your comments during any subsequent threads. Note the subject matter of this post. It’s very specific. In no way have I attempted to explain every facet of ENSO. It’s impossible. Also, the LOD/ENSO relationship appears to be hotly contested, so if I were to include it in posts, it would draw from the points I try to make.

    You wrote, “Strongly disagree with this portrayal Bob,” in response to my comment about the PDO being an aftereffect of ENSO.

    We can disagree, Paul, I have no problem with that, but in another reply, I posted links to four papers that discussed that the PDO and the basin-wide patterns in the Pacific are aftereffects of ENSO:

    Newman et al (2003):

    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/people/gilbert.p.compo/Newmanetal2003.pdf

    Zhang et al (1997):

    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~david/zwb1997.pdf

    Evans et al (2001):

    http://iceman2.umd.edu/www/preprints/pdv.pdf

    Shakun and Shaman (2009):

    http://www.leif.org/EOS/2009GL040313.pdf

    I’ve also written two posts that address many of your concerns, and I believe you’ve read at least one of those already, but here they are for those who may be unfamiliar with them:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/04/misunderstandings-about-pdo-revised.html

    AND:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/05/revisiting-misunderstandings-about-pdo.html

    The first one was also co-posted here at WUWT, for those who want to run through the comments:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/28/misunderstandings-about-the-pacific-decadal-oscillation/

    Last, you wrote regarding the effects of ENSO on local climate, “The 2004 event stands out as an example of when N3.4 does not tell the right story locally.”

    Erl had probably noted that regional responses to ENSO events varied between El Nino events well before El Nino Modoki were defined and well before the regional effects of El Nino Modoki were isolated from traditional El Nino events. And as someone whose winery is strongly impacted by El Nino events, Erl could probably note differences between one traditional El Nino event and another and between one El Nino Modoki and another. But my reply was to Erl’s specific question about tropical SST anomalies and NINO3.4 SST anomalies.

    Regards

  95. lgl says:

    tallbloke (02:18:20) :

    And that’s where I cheated a little some will say. There’s a low latitude eclipse in october 76 but since that’s so late in the year I didn’t give it a low lat score. Somewhere around zero would be more correct.

  96. Paul Vaughan says:

    Re: John McLean (23:01:53)
    Thanks for dropping by and sharing valuable notes.


    Bob, the links you need are:

    1) EOP (Earth orientation parameters):

    http://hpiers.obspm.fr/

    2) SSD (solar system dynamics):

    http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/?horizons

    There’s a learning curve for both.

    In the past I have disagreed with you regarding your portrayal of SOI & PDO relations. I continue to do so – more strongly now since you continue to ignore EOP & SSD.

    Investigations of terrestrial oscillations involving EOP & SSD are not necessarily “competing” with all of your views – one option I can suggest is regarding them as “complementary”.

    When investigating multivariate phase-relations, the interesting features are the mismatches. If all the wiggles matched, we’d have nothing to learn and there would be no need for discussion – indeed we’d simply have redundant variables that could be tossed away without loss of info. From the timescale-specific phase-mismatches between LOD, QBO, GLAAM, SOI, NAM, SAM, etc. we can learn about SOI priming, triggering, etc.

    Consider that the solar system is gently rocking the anomaly tendencies one way or another from the central limit (of chaotic & stochastic components) in a manner that integrates meaningfully at some timescales. The notion that the trigger (rocker) does little if the system isn’t primed (piled WPWP) is very useful. Explaining phase-contrast residuals might be easier than most have imagined.


    tallbloke (13:44:10) “[...] Paul Vaughan warns there may be a counfounding issue with a similar length solar cycle.”

    Solar system – (not solar).


    lgl, one way or another an objective calculation of the eclipse curve is needed. I’ll keep watching in case you turn up some useful links. I want to pursue this – and efficiently. Thanks for sharing the graphs to direct our attention.

  97. JonesII says:

    The 2010 El Nino, which really wasn’t, it didn’t reach the SA west coast to be baptized as such:

    http://www.elnino.noaa.gov/

    Not even NOAA could make it happend.

  98. lgl says:

    Paul Vaughan (11:28:08) :

    The link I gave should be correct so maybe there’s a server problem. I saved a copy long ago I can e-mail you if you like (if my mailsystem accepts 20 MB)
    Here’s another curve back to 1930, as objective as I’m able to :-)

  99. Bob Tisdale says:

    Paul Vaughan: You wrote, “In the past I have disagreed with you regarding your portrayal of SOI & PDO relations. I continue to do so – more strongly now since you continue to ignore EOP & SSD.”

    It could be that you and I have a different perspective on the PDO and its variability. Let’s look at the curves created by subtracting the different NINO indices (NINO1+2, NINO3, NINO3.4 & NINO4) from the PDO available through JISAO. The NINO datasets are based on HADISST.

    The differences present the decadal variability that I’m sure you’re aware of, and upon which you may base your opinions. The JISAO PDO data is the leading PC of North Pacific SST anomalies North of 20N. JISAO uses three SST datasets spliced together to create the PDO: UKMO Historical SST for 1900-81, OI.v1 for 1982 to 2001, and OI.v2 for 1983 to present. Does the difference between the datasets impact the curve? Dunno. UKMO (Met Office) SST data may have ended in 1981. It surely has been replaced by HADSST and HADSST2. But that’s really not the point I’m trying to make or illustrate.

    There are, of course, other SST datasets. The NCDC created a number of versions of their ERSST before arriving at the present version, ERSST.v3b. And the NCDC publishes PDO data using the same methods used by JISAO.
    ftp://eclipse.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/ersstv3b/pdo/pdo.1854.latest.situ.v3b.ts

    There are differences between the two PDO datasets, which are visible by subtracting the ERSST.v3b PDO data from the JISAO PDO data.

    And there are differences between Hadley Centre and NCDC versions of NINO SST data. This can be illustrated as HADISST NINO3.4 SST anomalies minus ERSST.v3b NINO3.4 SST anomalies.

    The differences between the ERSST.v3b version of the PDO data and the various ERSST.v3b NINO Indices create curves that in no way resemble the JISAO/HADISST versions.

    The differences between the versions of the PDO Minus NINO data suggest to me that there may not be the multidecadal divergences between PDO and ENSO that many believe exist. In other words, the JISAO/HADISST version creates a convenient curve that people like.

    Also, I while back on a thread here at WUWT I explained how the PDO pattern was created by ENSO, and if I can dig it up I’ll throw it here for you.

    Regards

  100. Paul Vaughan says:

    Re: Bob Tisdale (18:18:39)

    Thanks for the elaboration Bob. It helps clarify that technicalities & definitions can drive misunderstandings.

    We are indeed focused on different aspects of related phenomena – not a bad thing – complementary as I see it.

    Thanks to all who have participated in this thread – the various links provided by contributors have been useful.

  101. gary gulrud says:

    Good, fundamental post.

  102. Bob Tisdale says:

    Stephen Wilde (12:16:47): It appears I missed one of your comments in my earlier passes through the thread.

    In the comment you posted at 12:16:47 on February 14, you questioned my credibility and the credibility of my post and the credibility of my reference without justification when you wrote, “I can see the points you are making about the recharge process and the way you allocate particular periods of recharge to particular periods of release but some of the examples STRAIN CREDIBILITY.” [My caps for emphasis] Then you confirm that, although you questioned the credibility of my post, you failed to research the matter on your own. You did this with your next group of statements, “In particular a period of recharge that was not particularly strong or lengthy is proposed to have recharged for two decades of El Nino events that were pretty substantial in themselves.”

    The data is supported by the McPhaden (1999) reference and the data used in it.

    You continued, “Can you be sure that the El Nino / La Nina processes combined are all that is involved here (apart from the sun that is) ?” and “It would explain a lot more if there were variations in the water temperatures coming from the oceanic circulations BEFORE they became involved in the ENSO process. In particular that could provide a plausible connection to the longer term climate and oceanic cycling that I have referred to.”

    If there were data to support the possibility that warm waters transferred from another basin, rest assured I would have posted those graphs and illustrated that effect. But to counter your doubts, here’s a graph of the OHC for the mid-to-high latitudes of the North Pacific. No corresponding drop in OHC there in 1995/96.

    And here’s a graph of the OHC for the mid-to-high latitudes of the South Pacific. No corresponding drop in OHC there in 1995/96 either.

    And here’s a graph of the Indian Ocean OHC. Once again, there was no corresponding drop in OHC in 1995/96, only a minor rise. The rise in tropical Pacific OHC was not caused by a transfer of warm waters from another basin, Stephen.

    But you suggested that the 1995/96 rise in Tropical Pacific OHC may have come from below the 700 meter level, when you wrote, “After all a slightly less cold upwelling entering the ENSO process from below would manifest itself in warming at the surface (and vice versa) and that would help to account for the apparent disjunction between the strengths of the La Nina and El Nino phases in your article.”

    You can also rested assured that, back in September, when I first posted the NODC OHC data and noted the anomalous 1995/96 rise in Tropical Pacific OHC, I used another dataset that reaches well below the 700 meter level to verify it. The 1995/96 rise also appears in satellite altimetry-based Sea Level Anomaly data for the Tropical Pacific.

    Your attempt to discredit me and my post failed, Stephen. Again, you should rely on data instead of speculation.

  103. Stephen Wilde says:

    Bob,

    I am not trying to discredit you.

    I was simply seeking to bridge the gap between the ENSO process that you describe and the longer term climate cycling that seems to be ocean driven. I have noted your previous comment that you are not interested in that so I have stopped pursuing it with you.

    I did not question your credibility. I questioned the credibility of certain assertions. I am unlikely to have been the only reader with similar thoughts and my crystallising them helps you to express your findings more clearly if you respond in a helpful manner. Just referring a less knowledgeable reader to reams of previous work is not especially helpful. I constantly have to repeat and rework the expression of my ideas for those who fail to see the point.

    I think you are too sensitive. Your reactions to others are sometimes just as brittle but you seem to single me out for special treatment.

    You voluntarily put your material up here for comment by all. I have been courteous throughout but I do not feel that you have been.

    Don’t forget that we are all on the same side here.

  104. Stephen Wilde says:

    Bob,

    One doesn’t need to postulate a transfer of warm water from another basin. Merely a discontinuity in the temperatures along the flow line of the thermohaline circulation or some other oceanic circulation.

    But you don’t want to discuss it so that’s that.

  105. RB says:

    Bob,
    Thanks for this post – it was very informative. Over at the TAV blog, I saw the oceanic oscillations as being similar to a similar inductive-capactive tank as expressed by Ruhroh. I look forward to your introductory material on the various oceanic oscillations.

  106. Bob Tisdale says:

    Stephen Wilde (06:30:38): You wrote, “I am not trying to discredit you.”

    Yet in an earlier comment on this thread you wrote, “…but some of the examples strain credibility.” In another comment you wrote, “There seems to be a logical inconsistency there.” And in another one, you wrote, “The most likely implication of the unlikeliness of that proposition…” And you continued, speculating, “Thus possibly (I’m not sure on this yet) Bob could have the causation reversed.”

    And now you claim, “I have been courteous throughout but I do not feel that you have been,” and, “I think you are too sensitive.”

    Here at WUWT and at other science blogs, if a courteous blogger with research-based knowledge of the subject matter disagrees with a post or part of it, they explain their disagreement and document the basis of their disagreement with data, most times in the form of graphs, and/or they document it with links to papers or blog posts. You, however, speculate, and through that speculation, you cast doubt on the work of others. On this thread and others, you present objections that have no foundation, no basis in fact. You often shift timescales outside of the one being presented (well beyond the instrument record) and present conjecture. Many times you write in such general terms that when you are confronted with instrument records that contradict your speculations, you shift to paleoclimatological timeframes, and then when confronted with paleoclimatological reconstruction data that refute your conjecture, you rely on the generality of your writings to claim it wasn’t what you meant.

    In my (04:03:11) reply to you today, I responded to one of your earlier speculative objections with graphs that indicated there is no evidence that warm water transferred from another ocean basin to the tropical Pacific to cause the 1995/96 rise there. I showed that the height of the water column of the tropical Pacific reflected the same rise as the 1995/96 OHC, countering your inference that a pocket of warm water rose up from below the 700 meter depth in the tropical Pacific. As is typical, in your most recent reply, you offered conjecture with respect to the 1995/96 rise in tropical Pacific OHC when you wrote, “One doesn’t need to postulate a transfer of warm water from another basin. Merely a discontinuity in the temperatures along the flow line of the thermohaline circulation or some other oceanic circulation.”

    Once again, I will ask you to document your unspecific conjecture (with data or with a reference that confirms your statement) that “a discontinuity in the temperatures along the flow line of the thermohaline circulation or some other oceanic circulation” is the cause of the 1995/96 rise in tropical Pacific OHC. If you attempt to use data, I will suggest that you center your research on the Pacific Warm Pool, because that’s where the 1995/96 rise was located, as one would expect and as documented in the reference linked to the post. And if you elect to use coordinate-based data, you must also consider that the Pacific Warm Pool varies in geographic area in addition to temperature and depth. This could add some complexity to your studies.

    Will you respond by documenting your conjecture about the 1995/96 rise in tropical Pacific OHC, Stephen?

  107. Stephen Wilde says:

    There is nothing wrong with raising questions.

    There is nothing wrong with conjecture based on the available data.

    That is the essence of science.

    None of us knows everything and all you are suggesting to me is that I go away and find out for myself without bothering you. Yet the data just isn’t there to answer such questions. If your dismissive assertions were an appropriate response then there would be no point in these blogs at all.

    Anything that occurs to me will occur to others and we would all benefit from a clear polite response.

    Actually I’m beginning to see why I irritate you so much.

    My questions are exposing holes in your neat self-contained ENSO / PDO scenario every bit as large as the gaps which I readily acknowledge in my own endeavours and which you have so forcefully (and often rudely) brought to my attention.

    You seem to be treating every chunk of warm water in each ocean as a discrete moveable item. You then go on to suggest that the ocean heat content profiles in each ocean are readily determinable on the basis of eyeballing some ocean heat content charts. The data used to produce those charts is far from perfect.

    You then draw conclusions and produce lots more charts and diagrams as though you are describing some complete and incontrovertible truth.

    The trouble is that you then cannot link any of that to the wider and longer term scenario in relation to which it only forms part and you don’t like me trying to do just that.

    It’s not only me who has noticed that you cannot demonstrate what causes ENSO in the first place. You correctly mention air circulation and the Trade Winds and that’s fine, it’s obviously the proximate cause of ENSO events. But what initially causes those air circulation changes?

    We cannot just say ENSO causes air circulation and Trade Wind changes which then cause ENSO in a never ending loop divorced from the rest of the Earth system

    However you have said as much elsewhere :

    “It is clear that significant El Nino events can and do cause upward step changes in Ocean Heat Content. This indicates that ENSO events do more than simply release heat from the tropical Pacific into the atmosphere. Apparently, El Nino events also cause changes in atmospheric circulation in ways that impact Ocean Heat Content”.

    Essentially you are saying that ENSO via EL Nino and La Nina events can cause pretty much every climate change via it’s influence on the atmospheric circulation without considering other ways that global ocean heat content could either vary or move about and thereby affect the air circulation on a much more global basis than just via ENSO.

    That’s why you have to stipulate that PDO is a mere statistical artifact or a consequence of ENSO. If PDO has any independent existence then your chain of causation falls into question. You cannot accept any suggestion that PDO is an independent phenomenon driven by other forces because that would affect your all powerful view of the ENSO mechanism. The same applies to the oscillations in all the other ocean basins.

    I propose that something other than ENSO occurs first and that is likely to be a change in the net rate of energy transfer from all the oceans to air (globally averaged). The air circulations then shift positions and intensities, the Trade Winds alter and ENSO follows.

    So like you I agree that the oceans are the key but you seem to have tied yourself to ENSO alone whereas in fact every ocean has a similar oscillation and they don’t all work together. Sometimes they offset one another and at other times they supplement one another and although it is the biggest I do not think ENSO has absolute control.

    You also ignore any possibility of temperature discontinuities along the line of the thermohaline circulation which could go unnoticed by the currently inadequate ocean heat content figures but greatly affect the rates of energy release from oceans to air over time.

    Note that I refer to RATES of energy transfer. I do not refer to absolute temperatures in a defined area. I think that all climate phenomena are a consequence of changing RATES of energy transfer over time in varying parts of the Earth system. Thus there are primarily internal system changes forcing climate responses, not primarily external such as the absolute value of solar power (except over much longer time scales).

    Indeed the ENSO process itself may well be a negative feedback working against the forces (varying rates of energy transfer) that caused the air circulation changes in the first place. It might not be a cause at all in itself.

    It is very important to resolve the causation issue and to give ENSO the correct weighting because that opens the door to fitting ENSO into the wider perspective especially the climate cycling from MWP to LIA to date. If your ENSO description cannot accommodate that longer term cycling then ENSO is being ruled by other forces and does not have the influence on the atmosphere that you attribute to it.

    Conjecture and speculation from observation and recognising the limitations of the available data is critical for the progression of science.

    There are many other contributors here who approach climate issues from a generalist point of view yet you have been mostly picking on me. Perhaps my comments are inconvenient for you. It is aggressive attention from you that has drawn me to look at your work in more detail and frankly despite all the wonderful decor that you produce at the heart of it there is no more a demonstrable truth than is provided by the efforts of the rest of us.

  108. Bob Tisdale says:

    Stephen Wilde: I asked, “Will you respond by documenting your conjecture about the 1995/96 rise in tropical Pacific OHC, Stephen?”

    And you did not.

  109. Stephen Wilde says:

    My reference to the 95/96 rise in tropical OHC was an acceptance that I had missed something you said previously. I was conceding a point.

    My main point was entirely separate i.e. that without additional information it was inherently implausible (i.e. not entirely credible) that 3 years of La Nina in the 70’s would energise two decades of strong El Ninos without supplementary assistance and I proposed that such assistance might arise from temperature discontinuities in the horizontal flow of the thermohaline circulation.

    One of the problems I have with you is that you keep misreading things that I say and then you go off at an irrelevant tangent. I have the same type of problem with warmists.

  110. Stephen Wilde says:

    Bob,

    OK, I can see the confusion. I was initially talking about the 1970’s La Ninas energising the subsequent two decades but in fact you were talking about the 05/96 La Nina replacing what had been lost in the previous two decades.

    However my basic point remains valid. Given that the ocean heat data are not particularly accurate I don’t see how you can jump to such a neat conclusion that La Ninas and El Ninos always and at all times integrate to provide the necessary energy swings to account for all climate variability.

    It’s true that you can produce chart after chart expressing linkages but they are just part of the wider scenario and I think you need my perspective to get from ENSO to the longer term climate cycling from MWP to LIA and today.

    As I said before:

    “We cannot just say ENSO causes air circulation and Trade Wind changes which then cause ENSO in a never ending loop divorced from the rest of the Earth system.”

    I have never wished to fall out with you but I do find your attitude to my attempts at understanding deeply frustrating. It really is not necessary to assume ill will on my part.

    Perhaps you could now address my points in a way that would be enlightening for all ?

  111. Stephen Wilde says:

    Whoops 95/96 La Nina is what I should have typed.

  112. Paul Vaughan says:

    lgl, the Nasa eclipse web server is now functional:

    http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse.html

    I’ve accessed the map file. Can you explain for us the method by which you derive the curves from the sequence of maps?

  113. Paul Vaughan says:

    Piers Corbyn has a humorous take on using El Nino as an “explanation”:

    “The problem is El Nino does not cause weather it IS weather and all these clever-sounding so called causes of weather and climate the Met Office come up with (El Nino, La Nina, Arctic Oscillation, North Atlantic Oscillation etc etc) are description NOT CAUSE. They are like saying:

    -There are a lot of people in Oxford street because it’s crowded.
    – Crime waves cause crime
    – Climate Change causes climate change.”

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=5090


    Stephen, I would suggest that external factors influencing atmospheric pressure variations (& hence flow AND CLOUDS), which operate on more than one timescale, are largely responsible for what many choose to ascribe to “ocean cycles”. I recommend googling the works of Russian scientists Sidorenkov & Barkin (while also keeping an eye on whatever Piers Corbyn might eventually decide to share with us about the solar-disruption part of the picture).

  114. Stephen Wilde says:

    Paul Vaughan (21:41:19)

    Yes that is one of the options but generally I find it implausible because of the thermal inertia of water and the need to accommodate those larger MWP to LIA to date climate swings.

    Also one would need to observe the air circulation systems moving latitudinally BEFORE the ocean sea surface temperatures change and I don’t think that happens does it ?

    Still, with so many now looking into it the answer should become clearer soon.

  115. Bob Tisdale says:

    Stephen Wilde, hopefully this is a final note to you from me on this thread.

    Your continued conjectural comments and your misrepresentation of the content of my work expose your failure to understand what I have done for over a year and continue to do. Climate alarmists claim the rises in OHC, SST and TLT anomaly data are overwhelming proof of anthropogenic global warming. I have illustrated and document that there are multiyear aftereffects of ENSO events that cause the positive trends in SST and TLT anomalies outside of the tropical Pacific, and I have shown that the rise in global OHC, when broken down into logical ocean basin subsets, is dominated by natural variables. If I were to speculate about additional natural factors; such as THC/MOC, or some assumed millennial ocean cycle, or some third unknown factor that impacts ENSO and the PDO, or some initiator of ENSO events; that speculation would detract from my work, not add to it. It would afford others the opportunity to discredit my posts–something you seem hell bent to do. If and when you can provide data or references to document your claims, or if you were to point me to those data or references–data and references that would help illustrate and document my posts, (which are about the multiyear aftereffects of ENSO events on global SST and TLT anomalies, and about the discharge/recharge aspects of ENSO, and about the impacts of ENSO, NAO, NPI, AMO on OHC, not the PDO, not what initiates ENSO events, not millennial ocean cycles, etc.)–I would be happy to include it. Until then, your continued speculation about issues you believe are important detracts from the very obvious intent of my posts.

    If THC/MOC, or some assumed millennial ocean cycle, or some third unknown factor that impacts ENSO and the PDO, or some initiator of ENSO events are so important to you, write a post for WUWT.

  116. lgl says:

    Paul Vaughan (21:16:44) :

    The method I used is very simple. Using 2010-2013 as example, the eclipses in 2010 and 2013 are typical low latitude and those in 2011 typical high latitude. So I would give 2010 and 2013 a value of 1 and 2011 a 0 value. There will be a few like 2012 on mid-latitude which is hard to determine but it doesn’t matter whether you give it a 0 or a 1. On a long time span you will get the average periode of 3.6 years regardless.

  117. Stephen Wilde says:

    Bob,

    For what it’s worth I have always considered that your work as described in your post of (03:57:45) has been entirely successful.

    I will seek elsewhere the information I need to take the further steps.

    Thank you.

  118. Bob Tisdale says:

    Stephen Wilde: You replied, “For what it’s worth I have always considered that your work as described in your post of (03:57:45) has been entirely successful.”

    Yet this post that you disgree with so heartily is simply a rewording of my past posts “as described in” my “post of (03:57:45).” The only new aspect was the illustration of the shift in the Northern Hemipshere SST anomalies for the Mid-to-High Latitudes. So your last comment disagrees with your prior comments on this thread.

  119. Paul Vaughan says:

    Stephen Wilde (00:59:57) “Also one would need to observe the air circulation systems moving latitudinally BEFORE the ocean sea surface temperatures change and I don’t think that happens does it ?”

    In Barkin’s paradigm, the Earth is not a uniform, homogeneous sphere – i.e. things like topography have a role. Also, cause and effect aren’t likely to fall into nice, separate boxes when there is coupling.

    …But there is enough complexity for us all to agree to play different roles in these discussions — disagreement is normal given the complexity – and therefore not a stressor. Thanks for your contributions, which come in a form which I’ve noticed many here appreciate.


    Bob, I appreciate your level of awareness of the different datasets – that is of great value to the community – thanks again for the notes.


    lgl, so basically 18.6 / 6 (i.e. the 6th harmonic of the lunar nodal cycle) is what you believe you’ve isolated (on average) from the eclipse maps?

  120. Paul Vaughan says:

    Correction: 18 / 5 (i.e. the 5th harmonic of the Saros Cycle) – is that what you are thinking lgl?

  121. Paul Vaughan says:

    Or perhaps the beat of 3 years with the LNC? And before I turn my attention to this more seriously, it will be helpful to know what caused you to even look into this – Corbyn’s notes? a journal article? Any notes you are willing to share will be appreciated – if I can avoid time spent reinventing the wheel, thanks for the notes.

  122. Stephen Wilde says:

    Bob Tisdale (15:25:07)

    That unfortunate misapprehension has been a source of discomfort for both of us.

    Your work is clear and sound for the purpose of disposing of AGW but not for the purpose of a full climate description.

    If one could extend your work in the way I have suggested then it would be strengthened not weakened but I accept your explanation that you did not want to introduce issues that would have given warmists sticks to beat you with.

    Now that AGW is imploding perhaps you could reconsider ?

    I hope we can discuss matters in the future without such a misapprehension in the background.

    Believe me, I’ve had to put up with a lot worse elsewhere than you have had to put up with here.

  123. lgl says:

    Paul Vaughan (20:47:55) :

    I was actually looking for traces of Basils 9 year cycle http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/30/what-do-we-really-know-about-climate-change fig.1 so it was just a coincidence.
    I don’t know why 3.6 years but since the Saros is linked to the synodic, anomalistic and draconic months I guess the 3.6 is also.

  124. Paul Vaughan says:

    lgl, I worked it out:

    It’s the beat of LNC with 3 terrestrial years.

    I will likely have more to say about this in the days/weeks/months ahead since it reinforces what I’ve already demonstrated here:

    http://www.sfu.ca/~plv/DRAFT_VaughanPL2009CO_TPM_SSD_LNC.htm

    (Btw, that page needs a fairly serious round of updating.)

    I’ll likely initially comment in tallbloke’s forum, which affords a less rushed pace and does not tolerate political obstruction. I hope you will join the discussions there. To find the forum, just click on tallbloke’s name above.

    Best Regards,
    Paul.

  125. lgl says:

    Paul Vaughan (13:41:24) :

    Looking good but I’m afraid I still don’t understand why 3.6 years (or “beat of LNC with 3 terrestrial years”)
    tallbloke’s seems like a good place for the really puzzling things in life.

  126. phlogiston says:

    Bob Tisdale

    You case for cyclical heat release and recharging is persuasive, it almost has an anthropomorphic ring to it – as if the ocean says “Hey what did I do with that heat, quick – I’d better get it back again”.

    A question that emerges is – does the ENSO cycle actually drive long term (at least multi-decadal) change in climate, as a result of the balance of heat gain and loss, or is it a cycling superimposed on long term variation driven by other factors? I appreciate this wider question is complex and not in the scope of the present article.

    Some have proposed that astronomical cycles, such as lunar cycles e.g. LNC (see comments by Paul Vaughan) might be entraining the ENSO cycle. RIchard Holle has posted previously with research showing planetary gravitational effects on the sun causing a small wobble in solar centre of gravity with a 4 year periodicity, and a possible ENSO link. These are intriguing possibilities.

    One aspect of the El Nino – La Nina cycle is how it affects a historically very important fishery – The Peruvian anchovy. Anchovies prefer the La Nina since the upwelling of deep nutrient-rich water at the eastern Pacific fuels a huge plankton bloom sustaining a multi-million ton annual fishery of anchovies off Peru. However the El Nino cuts off this upwelling and decimates the anchovy shoals. In particular the 1972 and 1998 El Ninos, combined with overfishing, devastated the Peruvian anchovy.

  127. phlogiston says:

    p.s. I share however Stephen Wilde’s reservation on the accuracy of the heat budget data – how well do we know Pacific, let alone global, OHC? Also – the ocean heat constant of 5-8 yrs calculated by Scafetta and others – is this related to (or reflected in) the ENSO cycle?

  128. Bob Tisdale says:

    phlogiston (23:56:11): You wrote, “You case for cyclical heat release and recharging is persuasive…”

    It’s not my case or proposal. The ENSO discharge-recharge cycle has been discussed in papers as long as the Warm Water Volume data has been available from the TAO Project, possibly longer. I haven’t traced it back any further than that.

    You asked, “A question that emerges is – does the ENSO cycle actually drive long term (at least multi-decadal) change in climate, as a result of the balance of heat gain and loss, or is it a cycling superimposed on long term variation driven by other factors?”

    The only ocean subset where there appears to be a long-term rise is the North Atlantic. However, if you break that dataset down more, there are apparent ENSO, NAO, and possibly AMOC drivers. Refer to:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/10/north-atlantic-ocean-heat-content-0-700.html

    The other ocean basins show long-term declines or little positive trend between periods of sudden rise, and for most of them, the rises are timed with the multiyear La Nina events of 1973/74/75/76 and 1998/99/00/01.

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/09/enso-dominates-nodc-ocean-heat-content.html

    The North Pacific also shows a long-term decline that is then offset by a sudden rise, also. And it appears to be driven by Sea Level Pressure, timed with the NPI:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/12/north-pacific-ocean-heat-content-shift.html

    I have not studied the proposals of extraterrestrial causes, so I cannot comment.

    Regarding your PS: You wrote, “I share however Stephen Wilde’s reservation on the accuracy of the heat budget data – how well do we know Pacific, let alone global, OHC?”

    Stephen has reservations about many datasets since his hypotheses are many times contradicted by data. Also, if I was trying to determine the amount of energy released, recharged and redistributed during an El Nino event, I’d also be concerned about accuracy. But my posts on OHC deal with the timing of the sudden shifts and the factors that cause those shifts.

    You wrote, “Also – the ocean heat constant of 5-8 yrs calculated by Scafetta and others – is this related to (or reflected in) the ENSO cycle?”

    I believe they’re trying to determine the lag using SST data. And if I recall, they remove the ENSO signal from the SST data prior to their analyses, which now strikes me odd based on how quickly the Pacific recharges.

    Regards

  129. Stephen Wilde says:

    I have reservations about many datasets because there are NO hypotheses that are not many times contradicted by data.

    So one has to go back to basics and look how it could all fit together and try to discern why there are so many contradictions on various timescales.

    At present I have reached a stage where there is a hypothesis that fits many observations without contradicting basic physical laws.

    The fact that there are contradictions does not disprove the hypothesis, it only suggests incompleteness.

    As time goes by I have been filling in the blanks and finding that the general hypothesis does provide possible explanations for phenomena that were not in my mind at an earlier stage of the construction process. That is usually a sign of being on the right general track.

    I would like to fit Bob’s hypotheses into the scenario because much of what he describes in the ENSO phenomenon accords with my expectations. To do that I need to find a link between ENSO, PDO and the longer term cycling from MWP to LIA to date.

    The evidence in favour of such a link is the observation that the ITCZ and other air circulation system components have changed over those longer time spans.

    That suggests a separate driving force behind the ENSO phenomenon with an as yet unresolved issue of causation involving the sea surface and air interaction that leads to ENSO.

    Bob has so far concentrated on debunking AGW. I have been trying to incorporate his data into a general climate overview.

    The discharge and recharge process explained in Bob’s article must be correct on the timescales he discusses but there is clearly another underlying process that dictates whether there is a background upward temperature stepping or a background downward temperature stepping.

    That is what I am seeking to confirm because it bridges the gap between Bob’s work and the longer term climate cycling.

  130. An Inquirer says:

    I realize that I am posting on an old post, but I wanted to ask a question of Bob.
    I just noticed what has been happening to TSI. I recognize that TSI is not the only — nor perhaps the best — representation of how the sun is influencing the earth’s climate. However, it was interesting that TSI was gradually dropping from 2003 to mid 2009. Then since late 2009, TSI has been increasing rapidly. This seems to be highly correlated to sea surface temperatures. Any comments? http://www.climate4you.com/images/TSI%20LASP%20Since2003.gif

    Also, there has been several claims that recent U.S. snowstorms is consistent with global warming since warmer oceans put more moisture in the air. Yet, the moisture for the U.S. snowstorms has come from Gulf of Mexico & Atlantic where temperatures are relatively cooler. Meanwhile, Idaho to Arizona which rely on Pacific for moisture have been dry even though the Pacific has been warm.

  131. Bob Tisdale says:

    An Inquirer: You asked about a correlation between TSI and SST. Using scaled Sunspot Numbers as a proxy for TSI…

    …there is no correlation between TSI and SST.

    Regards

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