NOAA cites La Niña as severe weather factor in the 2011 State of the Climate report

Back-to-back La Niñas cooled globe and influenced extreme weather in 2011

New NOAA-led report examines climate conditions experienced around the world

La Niña.

The lead character of the 2011 climate story was a double dip La Niña, which chilled the Pacific at the start and end of the year. Many of the 2011 seasonal climate patterns around the world were consistent with common side effects of La Niña. (Credit: NOAA Climate Portal).

Worldwide, 2011 was the coolest year on record since 2008, yet temperatures remained above the 30 year average, according to the 2011 State of the Climate report released online today by NOAA. The peer-reviewed report, issued in coordination with the American Meteorological Society (AMS), was compiled by 378 scientists from 48 countries around the world. It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments on land, sea, ice and sky.

“2011 will be remembered as a year of extreme events, both in the United States and around the world,” said Deputy NOAA Administrator Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D. “Every weather event that happens now takes place in the context of a changing global environment. This annual report provides scientists and citizens alike with an analysis of what has happened so we can all prepare for what is to come.”

Two back-to-back La Niñas, each characterized by cooler-than-average water temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific, affected regional climates and influenced many of the world’s significant weather events throughout the year.

These included historic droughts in East Africa, the southern United States and northern Mexico. La Niña conditions contributed to an above-average tropical cyclone season in the North Atlantic hurricane basin and a below-average season in the Eastern North Pacific. It was also associated with the wettest two-year period (2010–2011) on record in Australia, which was particularly remarkable as the wet conditions followed a decade-long dry spell.

La Niña.

La Niña chilled the eastern tropical Pacific in 2011, but ocean heat content nearly everywhere else was above the long-term average. Maps and trend graphs of 8 additional are available from climate.gov. More information.

The Arctic continued to show more rapid changes than the rest of the planet. Sea ice shrank to its second smallest “summer minimum” extent on record during 2011, as older ice (four to five years old) reached a new record minimum at more than 80 percent below average. Overall, glaciers around the world continued to lose mass. Loss from Canadian Arctic glaciers and ice caps were the greatest since measurements began in 2002.

The report used 43 climate indicators to track and identify changes and overall trends to the global climate system. These indicators include greenhouse gas concentrations, temperature of the lower and upper atmosphere, cloud cover, sea surface temperature, sea level rise, ocean salinity, sea ice extent and snow cover. Each indicator includes thousands of measurements from multiple independent datasets.

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35 Responses to NOAA cites La Niña as severe weather factor in the 2011 State of the Climate report

  1. davidmhoffer says:

    The report used 43 climate indicators to track and identify changes and overall trends to the global climate system. These indicators include greenhouse gas concentrations,
    >>>>>>>>>

    And here I thought that the claim was GHG’s drove the climate system, and now they say they’re just indicators? Poor wording or did they mean it? Let the retractions begin….

  2. OssQss says:

    Extreme?

  3. OssQss says:

    Moderators, I am uncertain if the CA-Assist [WUWT] 0.0.9 (Build 41) for the prior post worked for the image selected. If not, here is the pic for my simple statement/question.

    http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/pr/pr_images/glacier.jpg

  4. timetochooseagain says:

    “Every weather event that happens now takes place in the context of a changing global environment.”

    Given that the “global environment” has never not been changing, it would be more accurate to say that every weather event that has ever happened took place in the context of a changing global environment. But even that is still misleading, as it gives the impression that the two necessarily have something to do with one another. Are even the rare events when weather events are exactly “average” somehow “caused” by the “changing global environment”? Presumably not.

    One might also say, every weather event that happens now takes place in the context of the Earth revolving around the Sun. Yes, just as it always has, and similarly to a changing global environment, it has not always done so exactly as it does now. And the weather events and the Earth’s orbit are in some ways related. But such a statement would rightly be regarded as meaningless.

  5. R. Shearer says:

    After eliminating 57 indicators that didn’t give the desired answer, 43 climate indicators were used to indentify overall trends in the climate system

  6. Manfred says:

    Simple stage-setting with a suitable employment of anxiety-generating lauguage to justify urgent and prodigious funding for the next report, and the next, and the next, and the next…….in order to tell us “to prepare for what is to come.” It’s nothing new. The IPCC models have us all burning in hell in short order. Repent – Gaia is nigh.

  7. davidmhoffer says:

    Worldwide, 2011 was the coolest year on record since 2008, yet temperatures remained above the 30 year average,
    >>>>>>>

    Dateline July 11, 2051 AD
    In a new report on climate, NOAA determined that the year 2050 was the coolest year on record since 1843. “This is still well above the 300 year average,” said NOAA director Dr. Ima B. Leever. “Those who point to the last 30 years of cooling are deluding themselves. There’s a difference between weather and climate. Climate happens on centurial time scales, not decadal ones. The earth is still warming up due to CO2 levels which are now well past the safe limit of 3,000 ppm, the temperature record clearly shows that.”

    In other news, Team UN beat Italy, Greece, France and Russia in succession at the world cup of soccer. Complaints by several countries that Team UN only won by continually moving the goal posts were investigated by the UN, who quickly exonerated themselves. A UN special prosecutor has been appointed to press charges against the various countries that complained, and threatened hefty fines. Russia’s response was to threaten to cut off cut wood supplies to Europe, which would be devastating with winter lows of -45C being forecast across Europe. Greece and Italy scoffed at the notion, pointing out that this would only increase their debt to the UN which they weren’t planning on paying off anyway. France indicated that they considered the charges spurious and that the UN wasn’t serious, but surrendered just in case.

  8. u.k. (us) says:

    “2011 will be remembered as a year of extreme events, both in the United States and around the world,” said Deputy NOAA Administrator Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D. “Every weather event that happens now takes place in the context of a changing global environment. This annual report provides scientists and citizens alike with an analysis of what has happened so we can all prepare for what is to come.”
    —————–
    This statement, is nothing more than a policy position.

    It is all politics, it makes me sick to imagine, someone let this leave their computer (where the quote will never die), and polluted the unwashed masses.
    You underestimate your audience.
    As will become clear.

  9. johnmcguire says:

    Those NOAA and NASA guys and all the other government parasites say many things. The question is does anyone believe a word they say? I certainly don’t and never will again.

  10. Is it just my amateur at ENSO eyes or does it look like a La Nina is overcoming the current weak El Nino?

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_update/sstanim.gif

    Though this may different:

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

  11. Marian says:

    This is what NZTV claimed.

    Report shows increase in natural disasters

    For the first time scientists say man-made climate change is causing extreme weather events like droughts, heat waves and floods.

    Nearly 400 experts from around the world produced a report with evidence human activity and an increase in greenhouse gas emissions is influencing major climate events.

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Reports-shows-increase-in-natural-disasters/tabid/1160/articleID/260986/Default.aspx

    And the NZ Chicken Littles.

    State of the climate 2011: extreme heat our fault

    http://hot-topic.co.nz/state-of-the-climate-2011-extreme-heat-our-fault/

  12. Julian Braggins says:

    ” It was also associated with the wettest two-year period (2010–2011) on record in Australia, which was particularly remarkable ~~ as the wet conditions followed a decade-long dry spell.
    I love a sunburnt country,
    A land of sweeping plains,
    Of ragged mountain ranges,
    ~~ Of droughts and flooding rains.
    I love her far horizons,
    I love her jewel-sea,
    Her beauty and her terror
    The wide brown land for me!
    Dorothea McKeller wouldn’t have been too surprised as she wrote this ~100years ago.

  13. HenryP says:

    I made an interesting discovery.
    According to my latest calculations, on the development of the speed of warming and cooling,
    – looking at it on what energy we get from the sun -, ie. the maximum temperatures,
    (who nobody who is anybody in climate science is plotting)
    I get that global warming started somewhere in 1945 and global cooling started in 1995.
    That is a cycle of 50 years.
    Does that ring a bell somewhere?
    There is very likely an ozone connection.
    http://www.letterdash.com/henryp/global-cooling-is-here

  14. Mark.R says:

    So when did weather( extreme) become climate?.

  15. Manfred says:

    Marian says: July 11, 2012 at 10:45 pm “This is what NZTV claimed.”

    And meanwhile Marian: Marcus Lush was spouting on the radio this morning about:
    “A study into global warming has revealed our planet is now absorbing a much larger amount of carbon dioxide than it was 25 years ago. The finding poses many questions – particularly whether the increase is temporary. If so, reducing CO2 levels may get even harder in years to come.
    New Zealand scientist Sara Mikaloff-Fletcher who was involved in the study says it’s been known for quite sometime what happens to CO2 released from burning fossil fuels.
    Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/CO2-study-not-climates-magic-bullet—scientist/tabid/1160/articleID/261045/Default.aspx#ixzz20OBdWaph.

    His punchline paraphrased: “Gaia may, just may, save us.”

    Marian, I suggest if you’re keen to preserve your sanity, you spare yourself the constant stream of brainwashing bias that is the staple offering of MSM NZ.

  16. tmtisfree says:

    Every weather event that happens now takes place in the context of a changing global environment.

    Every weather event that happens now takes place in the context of a changing global environment, as it always has been the case.

    See, me too am a climate scientist.

  17. Bill Irvine says:

    There is a reason why in Queensland, Australia, the traditional house was built on stilts, big sturdy stilts, and it was not because of drought.

  18. Ian Cooper says:

    Marian,

    thanks for the heads up on that thing from TV3 (New Zealand). Now I am reminded as to why I don’t watch that channel. It is like they are competing with TVNZ (the govt. broadcaster) as to who can put out the greatest amount of CAGWG, the second “G’ being for Garbage!

    I presume that it is you stirring up the blood of the climate zealots over at Hot Topic? Some very scary thinking from the faithful in there! Gareth seemed rather mute in his response. Maybe he will boil over later?

    I see some of the usual suspects are involved in this latest effort, including our very own Dr Jim Renwick of NIWA. Dr Jim was the man who made the prediction that thanks to CAGW frosts on the high volcanic plateau in the centre of the North Island, New Zealand would become a thing of memory. This was back in August 2007. They must seem like heady days when a bright, shiny young climatologist could be so brash to make such predictions.

    “Frosts in most of the North Island will be virtually “unknown” by the end of the century, a leading climate scientist says.
    Since the 1950s there has been an average of three fewer frost days per decade. In South Island areas and at higher elevations the decline has been closer to 10 to 15 days per decade.
    A decline of three days in 10 years did not sound much, but if the rate of climate change continued it would become more significant, Dr Renwick said.
    “In another 50 years if we get a further degree of warming, which is what’s expected, then you might see quite a decrease in the number of frosts.
    “In a lot of the low-lying parts of the North Island I would expect frosts to be unknown by later this century,” Dr Renwick said.”

    I live in one of those ‘low-lying parts of the North Island’. The frost figures for the past 14 years at my place at 15m MSL are; 1999,12; 2000,14; 2001,30; 2002,14; 2003,29; 2004,17; 2005,19; 2006,16; 2007,17; 2008,18; 2009,36; 2010,26; 2011,16; 2012, 19 (and we are only half way through the potential frost period at present).

    I only count the physical frosts so if the arrival of cloud before dawn or a breeze inhibits ice forming then that is a negative result, while I believe that NIWA/Agresearch and other data providers include any day where the temperature dips below a threshold, therefore they count a greater number than me. As you can see in my small sample there is a good amount of healthy ‘noise’ aka natural variation as one would expect.

    Unfortunately I have some gaps in my own records thanks to the loss of some of my work diaries (where I kept those records). I do have the actual continous raw data from the Agresearch site at Turitea near Massy University in Palmerston North (20km east of me). I just have to work out their criteria for determining frosts from the readings and then I can do some direct comparisons with my own records where I have a full set of recordings.

    Not satisfied with that announcement Dr Jim was to the fore when NIWA announced in May 2008 that, “Hot, dry Auckland summers, a wetter West Coast and plummeting frost-days await us if the latest climate change predictions come true.
    The predictions were included in National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research’s latest climate change report, released yesterday.
    It uses new data and draws on far more climate models than the previous report in 2004. It bases the predictions on the mid-range of expected ongoing greenhouse gas emissions, and draws its predictions out to the end of this century.
    It states an unusually warm year today could be classed as very cold by the end of the century.
    The expected 2C rise across the country is likely to coincide with a predominantly westerly wind, bringing more rain to the west and leaving less for the east.
    Frost days have already fallen across the country, with 20 fewer frosts per year today in the Canterbury and Marlborough regions than there were in the 1970s. They could fall further, with the Central Plateau’s 30-40 frost days expected to reduce to 5-15 days.”

    And this doozy – “Changes in temperature
    The mid-range projections are that New Zealand temperatures will increase by about 1°C by 2040, and 2°C by 2090, relative to 1990. However quite a wide range of future warming is projected for New Zealand when the results of all the models are analysed and all IPCC emissions scenarios are considered: 0.2–2.0°C by 2040 and 0.7–5.1°C by 2090. ”

    5 degrees C no less! Wow, even double wow!! People won’t have to travel to the tropical islands like Vanuatu for a holiday, they can catch a bus to Manawatu and the Costa del Foxton!

    Anyway I think I can consign Dr Jim’s prognosis to the dustbin along with Dr Vine’s infamous call on snow back in 2000!

    Cheers

    Coops

    I live in one of those low-lying parts of the North Island and I have been keeping records of actual frosts that occur at my home for 32 years

  19. matt v. says:

    Back to back La Ninas have happened at least 6 times since 1900 prior to the latest 2009-2012 set. Is there evidence that they caused similar subsequent warming events in the past?
    1908-1911
    1954-1956
    1970-1972
    1973-1976
    1983-1985
    1998-2001

  20. Bob Tisdale says:

    matt v. says: “Back to back La Ninas have happened at least 6 times since 1900 prior to the latest 2009-2012 set.”

    Some of the ones you listed were continuous La Nina events. There is a difference with the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 La Nina events. They are separated by an ENSO neutral period. If the NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies during the 2008/09 ENSO season had been stronger or lasted longer, that also would have been the second of back-to-back but separate “official” La Nina events.

    It appears the ENSO sequence of a major (primary) El Nino event transitioning to a strong La Nina that are followed by a series of weak (secondary) El Nino events has ended. That pattern started with the 1972/73 El Nino and also includes the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Nino events as the initiating (primary) events of those sequences.
    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2009/07/12/similarities-of-the-multiyear-periods-following-significant-el-nino-events-since-1970/

    Regards

  21. Katherine says:

    A “historic” drought in the southern United States? Do they mean it was worse than the Dust Bowl? As for sea ice shrinking to its second smallest “summer minimum” extent on record, they’re willfully ignoring peer-reviewed research that found evidence of no summer Arctic sea ice in the past. Bunch of fear-mongering, cherry-picking crimatologist.

  22. matt v. says:

    I would feel more comfortable with this study if the 6 previous multi-year La Nina cases whether continuous or separated by a short neutral period were compared to the latest 2009-2012 case . The conclusions that they draw about the latest case may not be that unusaul in terms of extreme events , different regions experiencing warmer or colder weather, impact on the Arctic , etc. It is no secret that La nina years can bring colder winters to some parts of North America and bring moderate winters to other parts like Europe, or extra rain to south west part of the Pacific like Australia or drought to some and not to others . When it comes to North America one should also note what the AMO sign was . There is a tendency to blame all current weather on climate change when in actual fact these events have been happpening all along but the previous events were not studied by 378 scientists in 48 countries looking at 43 different factors .

  23. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    From OssQss on July 11, 2012 at 7:30 pm:

    Moderators, I am uncertain if the CA-Assist [WUWT] 0.0.9 (Build 41) for the prior post worked for the image selected. If not, here is the pic for my simple statement/question.

    CA Assistant provides HTML options in the toolbar that must be allowed on the specific blog you’re posting on. Placing images in the comments is reserved on WUWT for those with admin privileges.

    Which is a good thing as images at a specific address could be changed after posting. Today it’s a pic of a Hockey Stick, tomorrow it could be changed to a naked Mann. Think of the children!

  24. matt v. says:

    McCabe ,Palecki and Betancourt in their paper called PACIFIC AND ATLANTIC OCEAN INFLUENCES ON MULTI-DECADAL DROUGHT FREQUENCY IN UNITED STATES in 2004 showed the reason for the drought in the US SOUTHWEST including Texas is not because of La Nina realted heat waves alone but the combination of a positive AMO and negative PDO. Similar warm AMO situation happened in 1860-1880, 1930-1960 , and exists again today

  25. MattN says:

    What “they” will say is that even with back-to-back La Ninas, the planet was STILL above normal temperature-wise. And, they might have a point.

    At some point, we are going to need to see some difinitive cooling from the negative PDO and below normal solar activity, or all these things we’ve been saying that matter will be comprehensively dismissed….

  26. Guy Leech says:

    “The Arctic continued to show more rapid changes than the rest of the planet. Sea ice shrank to its second smallest “summer minimum” extent on record during 2011, as older ice (four to five years old) reached a new record minimum at more than 80 percent below average.”

    “On record” is a common and useless reference to an unknown time period. It would be more informative to say “since [date]” rather than “on record” or “new record”. And “below the average since [date]“. And to comment on the reliability and coverage of the data series which form the records and average referred to.

    I’m sure this isn’t a new point, but without that information, the paragraph quoted above doesn’t seem to mean anything.

  27. DR says:

    Aren’t we supposed to be in a permanent El Nino?

  28. Daybyday says:

    I live in Alaska and so watch the arctic sea ice extent. I could not understand why the report did not mention the record high extent this year culminating in March 2012. Then I realized it must have only begun in 2011 and thus was easy to leave out of the report. But I agree with MattN that some significant cooling will have to begin soon or what are we talking about?

    I often wonder if the temps reported and “adjusted” aren’t actually recording warming when in fact the planet is really cooling. It would be such a massive fraud… But the Wegman report explains how that can happen. Sigh

  29. Pamela Gray says:

    Notice how the warmers are no longer talking about the missing heat issue? Guess what. It is still missing. The hypothesis says we should be a lot warmer, especially the oceans. All one has to do is look at the predicted differences between the dynamical models for El Nino events vs the statistical models. All but a few of the dynamical models encorporate hypothesized AGW algorithms while only a few of the statistical models use a “fudge” factor (a.k.a. “historical trend”). The “extreme weather” tome is a cover-up and a poor one at that. It is designed to distract us away from the fact that the hypothesized mathematic results in the model outputs do not match observations in terms of heat build-up.

    Who cares about weather extremes. Those things are natural events associated with oceanic and atmospheric factors with CO2 safely ignored. Where is the missing build-up of heat ALL the AGW-ing models say we should be experiencing?

  30. NetDr says:

    There is absolutely nothing unusual about the weather this summer.

    It is summer period. Nothing unusual at all but the media is absolutely hysterical.

    I believe it is the last gasp of a dying global warming movement.

  31. Marian says:

    “Ian Cooper says:
    July 12, 2012 at 1:47 am
    Marian,

    thanks for the heads up on that thing from TV3 (New Zealand). Now I am reminded as to why I don’t watch that channel. It is like they are competing with TVNZ (the govt. broadcaster) as to who can put out the greatest amount of CAGWG, the second “G’ being for Garbage!

    I presume that it is you stirring up the blood of the climate zealots over at Hot Topic? Some very scary thinking from the faithful in there! Gareth seemed rather mute in his response. Maybe he will boil over later?”

    Ian. C.

    Yes that was me stirring up the pot a bit over in Chicken Little Hot Topic Land. ;Their squawking cries of impeding CO2 induced climate doom gets very tedious. Since they have the ear of the MSM and Politicians.

    TV3 does do some really big whoppers of stretching the truth when it come to putting on AGW/CC stories.

    One of TV3s worst ones was a few years ago. Claiming the Himalayas were melting in winter because of GW. Turned out it was some of the annual seasonal spring thaw runoff into the local rivers and they turned spring into winter!

    As for the local frosts. Yes we’ve had some good ones, even up here in South Auckland off and on over the last few weeks. Infact the worst frost burnoff of leaves and killed off plants in the garden since I’ve lived here for many years.

    As for NIWA’s James Renwick. Yes he’s NZ’s version of the OZ Tim Flannery. = Fail.rate pretty high.

    NIWA are just as hopeless when it comes to their climate forecasts.. Only marginally better than the UK Met Office. I suppose you can’t expect any better since they pretty much use the same methodologies and Supercomputers. GIGO. :-)

  32. kwinterkorn says:

    Arctic ice (which is mostly sea ice) is about 10% of the volume of Antarctic ice (which is mostly land ice), but gets about 90% of the attention of the CAGW’ers. My understanding is that the Antarctic ice anomaly is in positive territory and the global ice anomaly has been about zero for decades. I guess that is too boring for this article to point out.

  33. silver account says:

    That’s quite a difference, with climate “skeptics” Watts and Goddard initially predicting a minimum 2010 Arctic sea ice extent of 5.75 million square km and 70% of WUWT readers believing it would exceed the 2009 minimum, vs. tamino’s 4.78 million square km prediction with 89% likelihood of not exceeding the 2009 minimum, and Dikran’s 4.93 million square km prediction.

  34. Billy Liar says:

    “2011 will be remembered as a year of extreme events, both in the United States and around the world,” said Deputy NOAA Administrator Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D.

    No it won’t. Warmists absolutely rely on the public not being able to remember what the weather was yesterday, let alone a year ago.

    It’s about time she starting remembering the extreme weather that’s been going on for hundreds of years – CO2 or no CO2. The thousands of ancient wrecks up the East Coast of the US are a testament to the extreme weather of the past. (and I’m not referring to the population of Florida)

  35. Brian H says:

    “coolest (EVAH!) since 2008″??

    Groan.

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