ENSO, a bigger climate driver than once thought

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From the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

University of Miami study rethinks the ocean’s role in Pacific climate

The new study can aid scientists in better understanding regional and global effects of climate change in the Pacific

MIAMI – November 15, 2011 – University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science researchers have climate scientists rethinking a commonly held theory about the ocean’s role in the global climate system. The new findings can aid scientists in better understanding and predicting changes in the Pacific climate and its impacts around the globe.

According to the study’s lead author, UM Rosenstiel School Professor Amy Clement, the tropical atmospheric pressure system know as the Southern Oscillation (a periodic fluctuation of atmospheric pressure commonly observed as the El Niño Southern Oscillation, which brings unusually warm water across the Pacific Ocean basin) plays a bigger, more fundamental role in the climate system than just being El Niño’s atmospheric counterpart.

Scientists have long believed that the Southern Oscillation exists due to its connection to the ocean. “This study changes the textbook version of one of the most fundamental aspects of atmospheric circulation,” said Clement, whose study was published in the August 2011 issue of American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate.

In two sets of experiments, Clement, recent UM alumnus Pedro DiNezio, and co-author Clara Deser from the National Center for Atmospheric Research modeled two climate scenarios – one with a static, current-free ocean and another with a fully dynamic ocean. The team showed that atmospheric pressure, surface temperature, and precipitation were the same in both ocean scenarios, which reveals that the Southern Oscillations global signature is still present even when the ocean and atmosphere are disconnected.

In a news item in the Sept. 29 issue of the journal Nature, Research Institute for Global Change scientists Jing-Jia Luo said, “…Clement et al. argue impressively that it is not necessary to couple ocean dynamics to the atmosphere in models to reproduce tropi¬cal climate modes and their associated global connections.”

British physicist Sir Gilbert Walker discovered the Southern Oscillation in the early 20th century when trying to understand and predict India’s monsoons, which caused torrential rains and widespread famine in the region. He proved that this large-scale sea-level pressure in the tropics connected India’s weather with other weather patterns across the world.

“This new development can help link climate patterns between distant region, such as rainfall patterns in Australia and drought in the Southwestern U.S.,” said Clement.

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58 thoughts on “ENSO, a bigger climate driver than once thought

  1. “In two sets of experiments, Clement, recent UM alumnus Pedro DiNezio, and co-author Clara Deser from the National Center for Atmospheric Research modeled two climate scenarios…”

    Is it really called an experiment when you use models to get the results? I’m not a scientist, so this is an open question (not rhetorical). I would probably call it something more like two sets of model projections or something.

  2. “The team showed that atmospheric pressure, surface temperature, and precipitation were the same in both ocean scenarios, which reveals that the Southern Oscillations global signature is still present even when the ocean and atmosphere are disconnected.”

    Does “disconnected” mean that the sea surface temperature in their model doesn’t influence the atmosphere above it?

    No physical mechanism is given that could explain this, it’s only that the numbers match (to what degree?).

    Possible explanation: They accidentally copied model run #1 output to the directory with model run #2 output, overwriting model run #2 output without noticing.

    Expect retraction in 3… 2… 1…

  3. “The team showed that atmospheric pressure, surface temperature, and precipitation were the same in both ocean scenarios, which reveals that the Southern Oscillations global signature is still present even when the ocean and atmosphere are disconnected.”

    Oh brother! They use two model runs to “prove” that ENSO happens despite that huge churning heat exchanger (Covering 75+ % of the planet) that “has no influence” (according to the model). I’d be checking the model more thoroughly, kids. And furthermore, I ask the same question as James H. above. Experiment? I’d be surprised by that result enough to discount it, not publish it!

  4. A tangent – the data source for the WUWT ENSO meter on the right has missed two weekly updates in a row. Last night I sent Email to a possible maintainer and to someone else who uses that data. I was unable to find a replacement data source. Hints are welcome, otherwise I’ll start talking to researchers or fall back to a monthly source.

  5. The BEST team give precedence to the AMO over ENSO.
    As it happens I did some research into de-mystifying the AMO.
    Put in the most simplistic terms: the AMO is a delayed response (with R^2 = 0.74 ) to the semi-permanent low atmospheric pressure system over Iceland (measured at Reykjavik / Stykkisholmur) as graphically shown here:

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/theAMO.htm

    including the link to the relevant pre-print paper (currently in ‘document technical validation’ at the CCSd / HAL science archive, any constructive comments will be considered for the final paper version.)

  6. “…Clement et al. argue impressively that it is not necessary to couple ocean dynamics to the atmosphere in models to reproduce tropical climate modes and their associated global connections.”
    Sure… and my stereo amp works just fine with the filter caps disconnected in the power supply.

    Granted, I have only limited modeling experience with complex systems, but one think it didn’t take me long to realize is that you can not model a system you do not thoroughly understand. The only thing a computer buys you is multiple iterations. Sure, you can run a set of calculations thousands, or even millions of times in a few minutes where it might take you several lifetimes to do the same by hand with a pencil. But, computers are still nothing but big fast adding machines. Oh, I forgot, nobody knows how to add of subtract using a pencil anymore… just punch buttons on a keypad and the answer magically appears.

  7. “According to the study’s lead author, UM Rosenstiel School Professor Amy Clement, the tropical atmospheric pressure system know as the Southern Oscillation (a periodic fluctuation of atmospheric pressure commonly observed as the El Niño Southern Oscillation, which brings unusually warm water across the Pacific Ocean basin) plays a bigger, more fundamental role in the climate system than just being El Niño’s atmospheric counterpart”.

    Where does this warm water come from in the first place?.

    “the El Niño Southern Oscillation, which brings unusually warm water across the Pacific Ocean basin”.

    So this “unusually warm water” is always some where in the Pacific Ocean?.
    So if the warm water is in the East Pacific it warm us up.
    And when in the west Pacific it cools us down?.

  8. James H says:
    November 15, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Is it really called an experiment when you use models to get the results? I’m not a scientist, so this is an open question (not rhetorical). I would probably call it something more like two sets of model projections or something.

    Here’s a quote from Wikipedia:

    An experiment is a methodical procedure carried out with the goal of verifying, falsifying, or establishing the validity of a hypothesis. Experiments vary greatly in their goal and scale, but always rely on repeatable procedure and logical analysis of the results. A child may carry out basic experiments to understand the nature of gravity, while teams of scientists may take years of systematic investigation to advance the understanding of a phenomenon.

    If the physics is well understood, a computer model can be more informative than trying an experiment on a physical system. If nothing else, it’s faster to change parameters in a computer model than it is to re-machine a part or build a new printed circuit board. Of course you want to confirm your results on the real thing.

    The trouble with the atmosphere and ocean is that those systems are not adequately understood to model for many purposes. So, we can model storm surges in a fjord and ask the question: What would happen if we dredge this channel? We would have a reasonable expectation that the model’s answer would be useful. On the other hand, we could ask the question: What will the climate be in ten years? A dart throwing chimpanzee would probably do just as well as our computer model at answering that.

    Both models can be looked on as experiments. The results of one are reliable and the results of the other; not so much. Even though an experiment produces junk results, it’s still an experiment. ;-)

  9. I think all the climatologists should be flown to Durban in a brand new aircraft that has never flown before but which aerodynamic models show is perfectly safe and has engine models show that the range to get them to Durban. After all they have a total trust in model output. /sarc

  10. I fully realize this is about ocean temperature but I’ve lost patience. Excuse me for that. Something is driving MY weather, or climate as AGW fanatics like to call it when we get a few hot days – here’s my temperatures for this week to Saturday here in Fort McMurray, Alberta. All night time temperature – Wed -16C. Thu -20C. Fri -21C. Sat -25C. All daytimes well below zero.

    The fact is everything about Earth’s weather or climate is studied piece meal – or some sort of zombie reconstruction by AGW hired guns to find Global Warming whether or not its exists. But I want to know – and if anyone here can answer me then this is the time – between Canada and Russia, the two largest land masses on planet earth with land and sea claims virtually to the north pole, why are WE so poorly represented on world wide temperatures scales to the exact same extent as small pacific islands and other assorted southern zones that can fit into Canada’s or Russia’s North and still get lost in the tundra when global warming is supposed to be a global temperatures with ALL points being equally represented. Moreover, why aren’t the earth’s mountains represented which again comes back to ALL of Canada’s and Russia’s mountain ranges? From the bottom to the top? We too cold for being included? We are part of the earth, are we not? What about the Antarctic – why isn’t it represented to the exact same degree as Europe?

    Why isn’t anyone demanding a real earth temperature?

  11. This is very interesting, I hope it leads scientist to find an efficient and reliable way to predict monsoons and other natural disasters that are related to climate. Many lives could be saved!

  12. Ian W says:
    November 15, 2011 at 9:44 am

    I think all the climatologists should be flown to Durban in a brand new aircraft that has never flown before but which aerodynamic models show is perfectly safe and has engine models show that the range to get them to Durban. After all they have a total trust in model output. /sarc
    ___________________________
    You forgot one.

    The plane will be flown by a computer using a pilot simulation model.

  13. Sorry guys, but after going to Wikipedia, our 1-Stop Science Shop, I found the definitive answer.
    (your calculations may vary)

    Total ocean water mass is 1.4×10 to the 21 kg
    Total atmospheric mass is 5×10 to the 18 kg
    Total atmospheric CO2 mass is 3.16×10 to the 15 kg
    Total anthropogenic CO2 mass is 2.7×10 to the 13 kg

    Utilizing techniques I learned from An Inconvenient Truth, I subtracted 13 from 21 to get 8, which is how much more powerful CO2 is than earth’s total ocean’s mass is at governing climate.
    We know this to be true for several reasons. First, we can ignore any unknown heat input to the oceans from inside the earth. Second, the anthropogenic caused heat input from the last 50 to 100 years overrides the dynamic heat content and transfer of the oceans already in motion. Third, it sounds good when you say that anthropogenic CO2 drives climate change.

    A similarly qualified treatise on dinosaurs will follow as soon as I finish watching the Land Before Time.

  14. Ian W says
    At t9:44 Nov14
    I was a commerical pilot and would not fly your model a/c, even with an ejection seat.Ha!

  15. This is a little strange.

    There is still a southern oscillation (cycle that is) even when a static ocean is used. The conclusion would then be that the independently active southern oscillation is the driver of the ENSO’s weather/climate impacts. There must also be other independent oscillations as well then (in the tropics and potentially other places).

    Either that or there is some bug/unphysical tuning in the climate model.

  16. Wil – the decision process behind the spatial lay down of climate data/models has frustrated ne for years.

  17. In two sets of experiments, Clement, recent UM alumnus Pedro DiNezio, and co-author Clara Deser from the National Center for Atmospheric Research modeled two climate scenarios – one with a static, current-free ocean and another with a fully dynamic ocean. The team showed that atmospheric pressure, surface temperature, and precipitation were the same in both ocean scenarios, which reveals that the Southern Oscillations global signature is still present even when the ocean and atmosphere are disconnected.

    If you have a coupled climate model, and you get the same result regardless of whether you couple it to a full or a “static, current-free” representation of the ocean … well, I must confess, my first explanation would be “trouble with the model”.

    In addition, I don’t know how you’d test to find out about the trouble. I mean, if the coupled model gives the same results with any ocean … makes it hard to figure out what’s going on.

    The abstract says:

    Simulations with atmospheric general circulation models that have varying degrees of coupling to the ocean are used to show that the SO emerges as a dominant mode of variability if the atmosphere and ocean are coupled only through heat and moisture fluxes.

    So the hype is only partially true. You need to couple the ocean heat and moisture fluxes to get the SO response …

    I’ll have to get the article and read it. I’m not even sure what they think they’ve done, much less what they have actually done.

    w.

  18. Willis, you said:”I’m not even sure what they think they’ve done, much less what they have actually done.” I’ll go you one farther… I’m not sure they know what they they’ve done.

  19. Jean Parisot says:
    November 15, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Wil – the decision process behind the spatial lay down of climate data/models has frustrated me for years.
    —————–
    Hopefully Anthony and others will use this site to question why as you and I apparently have been doing for decades.

  20. Willis said: “I’m not even sure what they think they’ve done, much less what they have actually done.”
    ===================================
    In a nut shell, they discovered that I can’t grow tomatoes in a La Nina year………….. ;)

  21. In two sets of experiments, Clement, recent UM alumnus Pedro DiNezio, and co-author Clara Deser from the National Center for Atmospheric Research modeled two climate scenarios – one with a static, current-free ocean and another with a fully dynamic ocean. The team showed that atmospheric pressure, surface temperature, and precipitation were the same in both ocean scenarios in their model, which reveals that the Southern Oscillations global signature is still present in their model even when the ocean and atmosphere are disconnected.

    “This new development can help link climate patterns between distant region in our model, such as rainfall patterns in the model Australia and drought in the model Southwestern U.S.,” said Clement.

    There ya go. Fixed that for ya.

  22. Joe Crawford says: “Willis, you said:”I’m not even sure what they think they’ve done, much less what they have actually done.” I’ll go you one farther… I’m not sure they know what they they’ve done.”

    And I’m not only not sure what they think they’ve done matches what they’ve actually done, I’m not sure what they think they said they’ve done matches either what they’ve said they’ve done or what they think they’ve done.

  23. I’m not sure these people have discovered anything except how to get publicity. Willis Eschenbach is being kind. I am not even sure a fully dynamic ocean model exists. I know they have models called this. I have not examined any for some years so I could be out of date. I have not had a physical oceanography course for a long time. Maybe they now have static models so good or dynamic models so poor that the results are the same. This is like looking for an absolutely straight line, of macro length in nature. Good luck.

  24. In two sets of experiments, Clement, recent UM alumnus Pedro DiNezio, and co-author Clara Deser from the National Center for Atmospheric Research modeled two climate scenarios – one with a static, current-free ocean and another with a fully dynamic ocean. The team showed that atmospheric pressure, surface temperature, and precipitation were the same in both ocean scenarios, which reveals that the Southern Oscillations global signature is still present even when the ocean and atmosphere are disconnected.

    Wonder if they also disconnect the land masses from the atmosphere in their computer simulation would they also show an unchanged ENSO signature?

    Could it be the internal simulation atmosphere dynamics have been so tuned in the model that it always produces the same assumed “world”. Seems that might explain a lot we have seen in these model generated papers.

  25. It strikes me that there is sometimes some disconnect between what is published in the Anglosaxon world and elsewhere.

    This article reminds me of the challenging hypothesis by Leistenschneider (Germany). See:

    http://www.eike-klima-energie.eu/news-anzeige/la-nina-und-el-nino-was-sich-dahinter-verbirgt-und-was-sie-wann-ausloest-die-sonne-ist-an-allem-schuld/

    It is in German, but with Google Translator one might get the gist of it.

    I would be grateful for comments from people who are more knowledgeable than I am in these sorts of things.

  26. Is it really called an experiment when you use models to get the results? I’m not a scientist, so this is an open question (not rhetorical).

    James, that’s not an easy question to answer.

    A scientific experiment is a situation designed to allow measurement of some effect predicted by a scientific theory/hypothesis.

    In this case, the effect they are measuring is whether ENSO as an atmospheric phenomena is linked to or driven by ENSO as an ocean phenomena.

    They aren’t actually measuring anything real, So i’d say this isn’t a scientific experiment.

    However, what they are doing is deriving predictions from 2 different theories (coupled and uncoupled ENSO) and then comparing these predictions to the results of previous experiments encapsulated in the model(s). So I’d say this is science.

    ‘Reanalysis’ is IMO a better term for what they have done.

  27. And then there is La Nina. That erratic box of climatctic chocolates.
    Is La Nina more or less signifcant because it’s erratic, or because it might be the overall Ice Age Cycle signal that ultimately ends the Interglacial?

  28. [snip - Mr. Sargent, while this is not directed at me, I really do grow tired of your condescending attitude toward me and others here - you are welcome to rewrite your submission, and resubmit it, sans the degrading snark - Anthony]

  29. Scientists have long believed that the Southern Oscillation exists due to its connection to the ocean.

    No, is that so? That’s like saying that scientists have long believed that rain exists due to its connection to the clouds or similar. That’s stating the bleedin’ ovbious surely……..

  30. It started as a way of entertaining British troops in WW2, and now it’s driving the climate?

    Gracie Fields would be proud.

  31. Some sources say that Gilbert Walker’s work was never accepted by “mainstream” climate prophets. Be that as it may, Andres Urdaneta, an Augustinian navigator for the Spanish , needing to get back to Mexico from the Philippines in 1565, reasoned that a wind gyre like that known to exist in the Atlantic might also exist in the Pacific. He sailed north, picked up the westerlies and made landfall 4 months later off the California coast whence he sailed home to Acapulco. For the next two hundred years the eastern Pacific was a Spanish lake. Galleons sailed west from Acapulco and touched land around much of the southwestern Pacific, while also running a regular schedule to and from the Philippines. Maps of the period also indicate that the Spanish were aware of the prevailing currents along their preferred routes.
    What practical knowledge do we get from this study that Urdaneta didn’t know? Who named the Southern Oscillation El Nino? Was that name influenced by the statue of a Christ Child that Magellan presented to the wife of the ruler of Cebu? Urdaneta discovered this statue and built a church to house it in 1565. Answers at: william.s.kessler@noaa.gov Your tax dollars at work.

  32. Ric Werme says:
    November 15, 2011 at 9:05 am

    A tangent – the data source for the WUWT ENSO meter on the right has missed two weekly updates in a row. Last night I sent Email to a possible maintainer and to someone else who uses that data.

    No replies, but my Email may have worked, http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/data/indices/wksst.for got updated this AM, and I updated the ENSO meter before dinner.

    The last six weeks from last year and this year:

    Weekly SST data starts week centered on 3Jan1990
    
                    Nino1+2      Nino3        Nino34        Nino4
     Week          SST SSTA     SST SSTA     SST SSTA     SST SSTA
     06OCT2010     18.7-2.1     23.2-1.7     24.8-1.8     27.1-1.4
     13OCT2010     18.9-2.0     23.0-1.9     25.1-1.5     27.1-1.3
     20OCT2010     19.1-1.9     23.2-1.7     25.1-1.5     27.0-1.4
     27OCT2010     19.8-1.4     23.6-1.4     25.2-1.4     27.0-1.4
     03NOV2010     19.7-1.7     23.4-1.6     25.2-1.3     27.0-1.4
     10NOV2010     19.5-2.0     23.5-1.5     25.2-1.3     27.2-1.2
     ...
     05OCT2011     19.8-1.0     24.1-0.8     25.7-0.9     27.7-0.7
     12OCT2011     19.7-1.2     24.1-0.8     25.8-0.8     27.9-0.5
     19OCT2011     20.0-1.0     23.9-1.0     25.8-0.7     28.1-0.3
     26OCT2011     21.2 0.0     23.8-1.1     25.4-1.1     28.0-0.4
     02NOV2011     20.5-0.9     23.9-1.0     25.6-0.9     27.9-0.5
     09NOV2011     20.5-1.0     23.9-1.1     25.7-0.8     27.9-0.4
    

    Less strong, umm, less anomalous than last year.

  33. Ric Werme says:
    November 15, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    There is a distinct pattern in them thar numbers that encapsulates the east to west nature of ENSO nicely.

    Notice how the anomalies are stronger in the 1+2 region than the 3 region which in turn are stronger than the 4 region.
    In the 2011 list, we see the 1+2 region varying somewhat with pools of warm water infiltrating the upwelled cool water.
    In other words, La Nina is about to get strangled at the source, the 1+2 region.

    It’s also interesting to note that despite the menace this La Nina threatened with (the Australian BoM was in a tizzy because they were put under pressure by the Queensland Government for a long range forecast) it (the menace) didn’t and won’t eventuate because the SOI never reached the dizzy heights of last year.

  34. Wil says:
    November 15, 2011 at 9:53 am
    Moreover, why aren’t the earth’s mountains represented which again comes back to ALL of Canada’s and Russia’s mountain ranges? From the bottom to the top? We too cold for being included? We are part of the earth, are we not?

    Surely you are not suggesting that by placing thermometers in the low points on land where cities and towns are most likely to be found, that the global temperature record does not reflect global temperatures. Surely you can’t be suggesting that because mountains are almost entirely excluded from temperature records in place like BC which is almost entirely mountains, that just maybe the temperature records are not accurate.

  35. Maybe I’ve got this wrong but … if the atmosphere does not affect the ocean AND CO2 is part of the atmosphere AND the oceans are warming … doesn’t this mean CO2 is not responsible for ocean warming? So, if the oceans have been warming then it seems like the only thing left is that big shiny thing in the sky. Oh yeah, if that big shiny thing can warm the oceans might it not be able to warm the atmosphere as well?

    We’re these guys trying to disprove AGW?

  36. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/15/enso-a-bigger-climate-driver-than-once-thought/#comment-797694

    “including the link to the relevant pre-print paper”

    Where will this “pre-print” be published?

    “A preprint is a draft of a scientific paper that has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preprint

    “Expressed in the Crossref terminology, any draft, starting from the Author’s Original Version but prior to the Accepted Version is a preprint, whereas any draft from the Accepted Version onward, including the Version of Record or Definitive Work is a postprint.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postprint

    So please do inform us all, once your “pre-print paper” has passed the postprint stage, if you don’t mind..

    The website states;

    “HAL is a multi-disciplinary open access archive for the deposit and dissemiation of scientific research papers, whether they are published or not, and for PhD dissertation. The documents may come from teaching and research institutions in France or abroad, or from public or private research centers.”

    So that pretty much means that, if you how to write something, they’ll post it.

  37. climate driver?
    The sun drives the climate. ENSO is a domino further down the causality chain. It can be a bigger or smaller domino on closer inspection, but it ain’t a climate driver.

  38. Just to be annoying: Where does the study show a larger ENSO driven component in climate?

    It just argues for a new view on the interaction between atmosphere and ocean in what we view as ENSO.

  39. EFS_Junior says:
    November 15, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    some snarky twaddle

    He’s asking for comments, not proclaiming the paper as having been brought down from the summit of Mt Sinai. If you’ve read it and have something constructive to add, you know where to do so.

  40. Careful! Studies such as this are funded by you-know-who, and you know what good old you-know-who will do to each and every one of us if we laugh too hard or too soon at this trojan-horse press release. It’s too too late for those who have commented already, their goose is cooked, they’ve crossed the Rubicon with loaded dice, if you know what I mean. But for those who are thinking that this is just another quack study from a bunch of meat-heads who don’t know the first thing about simulations, model-based studies, 6th tier computer programming, and the sense of humor of Chinese bankers indirectly footing the bill for all this high-interest scientific research, please, I beg you, STOP, think again. I have no doubt whatsoever that the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science will soon be passing out an addendum to their press release and all those who laughed and ridiculed this breathtaking breakthrough in Post-Modern Climate Science will be eating their words for breakfast. Well… I have no doubt that they hope that will be what happens if they can re-boot the computer in the Public Relations Department and get something out via the National Science Foundation’s Website after it’s been blessed by you-know-who who’s you know where in Asia or somewhere. Now the chances of their success are quite small, that is to say, in Polly-Speak, Very Significant; so if you haven’t said anything that’s likely to get your head shaved, you may want to hold off for at least another 3 hours. (Once again, from the land of LSD and mayhem, where Bozos and New New Math reign forever, this is Walter “Bunkem Baby” Corkright saying, Good Night, Good Weather, and Stop That CO2! Oh yes… and Sarc/Off)

    PS: Opppps… I have the terrible feeling that you-know-who isn’t going to like what I just said about the Great, Fascinating, Groundbreaking Scientific Study. I guess I’m toast too.

  41. The more I think about this, the fact that the climate model used in this paper creates an ENSO effect in the atmosphere without it being coupled to the ocean may be a sign of significant problems with the climate model.

  42. This is a nit, but I was looking at the Nino3.4 on the WUWT Reference Pages, and noticed that for the last 4 SST declines since 2007 (including the current one) there is a pause on the way down that occurs shortly after the decline starts (~1-3 months by eye). The Feb-Aug 2007 pause is the longest one.

    Does this have any mechanistic significance, or is it just coincidence?

  43. When a model give you unexpected results that are contrary to all observational science done in the past century, there are two possibilities:

    1) You have discovered something new through purely analytical work. This does happen sometimes.

    2) The model has a fatal problem and isn’t correctly modeling the real world.

    Which happens more often? I don’t have any observational evidence, but I have a model that suggests that case number two is significantly more likely. lol.

  44. Bob Tisdale (November 15, 2011 at 5:20 pm) wrote:
    “Yet another model-based study.”

    I agree that this is a problem.


    Bob Tisdale (November 16, 2011 at 5:21 pm) added:
    “The more I think about this, the fact that the climate model used in this paper creates an ENSO effect in the atmosphere without it being coupled to the ocean may be a sign of significant problems with the climate model.”

    I would suggest that we be careful here.

    The pressure gradient force is a function of temperature gradients. Equator-pole temperature gradients would exist with any distribution of land & sea. Land-sea heat-capacity contrast (which exists without coupling) produces gyres [ http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/67/Ocean_currents_1943_%28borderless%293.png ] because of the geometry of air basin boundaries (meteorological equator & continents).

    I would suggest that they’ve realized what has already been obvious to Earth Orientation Parameter (EOP) experts. If so, this marks a crucial spark (of historical significance) in climate science and paves the way to appreciating & understanding solar & lunisolar constraints on mass distribution & flow. With a firming grip on the role of simple spatial geometry & absolute gradients (as opposed to anomaly averages), they may be close to opening their minds to the notion that interannual terrestrial oscillations follow strange non-chaotic attractors that can be modeled like tides.

  45. If you want to predict El Nino, you have to predict the solar wind speed, and stratospheric volcano eruptions. Low SW speeds, and
    large eruptions, both drive El Nino conditions.

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