Tisdale: The Warming of the Global Oceans – Are Manmade Greenhouse Gases Important or Impotent?

Note: this post was two weeks in the making, and well worth your time to read – Anthony

Guest post by Bob Tisdale

Global sea surface temperatures have warmed over the past 30 years, but there is no evidence the warming was caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gases. No evidence at all.

This post was written for persons who have seen my posts around the blogosphere for the past three and a half years, or have seen other bloggers discussing them, and have wondered what I was yakking on and on about—with the El Niño this and La Niña that. This post is a basic, down-to-Earth discussion of the causes of the warming of global sea surface temperatures over the past 30 years. It’s how data, not models, account for the warming. I’ve tried to make it as non-technical as possible.

In its draft form, this post was titled Why Do Proponents of Manmade Global Warming Continue to Misinform the Public about the Roles El Niño and La Niña Play in the Warming of the Global Oceans? The answer’s pretty obvious once you understand the roles El Niño and La Niña play.

OVERVIEW

Many of you have your doubts about manmade carbon dioxide-fueled global warming. Occasionally, you might even wonder what it would be like if those myths about CO2 slowly vanished from our collective consciousness: Fewer and fewer persons would care about carbon dioxide emissions. The guilt some people feel about their carbon footprints would fade away and end with an unheard blip. SUVs with the monster V8s would start to look appealing to some people again—those who can afford the price of gasoline. Governments around the world would have to be honest with their citizens and say they want to reduce their countries’ dependences on foreign oil. The non-stop marketing of green products would cease and we could return to primary colors—like blue as in deep blue sea. Instead of feeling responsible for the melting of glaciers, for sea level rise, for the loss of seasonal sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, etc., we’d experience child-like awe of Mother Nature’s capacity to alter the configuration of the globe around us. That admiration, that wonder, we used to feel about weather-related events such as flooding, drought, blizzards, heat waves, cold snaps, would return. Alarmist climate scientists, who have tried with limited success to convince the masses that we now control those weather events, would be stripped of their rock-star images, and they’d wither into obscurity like Milli Vanilli, leaving more research funds available for those climate scientists who want to study the genuine causes and effects of global warming. Wishful thinking.

Since we live on land, we often think of manmade global warming as a land surface air temperature concern. But…

The oceans cover about 70% of the surface of the Earth. The surface air temperatures of the smaller land portion imitate and amplify the warming or cooling of the oceans. The hypothesis of greenhouse gas-dominated manmade global warming has one fundamental requirement. Greenhouse gases MUST warm the surface and subsurface temperatures of the global oceans. If they don’t—that is, if the recent warming of the oceans can be shown to be natural—then carbon dioxide and other manmade greenhouse gases lose their importance. Those anthropogenic greenhouse gases then become second or third tier causes of the warming of land surface air temperatures. Instead of being important, manmade greenhouse gases then become impotent.

In order to shift the cause of global warming from natural to manmade factors, proponents of anthropogenic global warming have misinformed, and continue to misinform, the public about the roles El Niño and La Niña events play in the warming of global sea surface temperatures. Those proponents want to keep the myth of CO2-driven global warming alive and in the forefront of imaginations of a gullible public, so they have to turn Mother Nature’s glorious children, La Niña and her big brother El Niño, into nonfactors.

I used the word “misinformed” in the preceding paragraph. A synonym of the verb “misinform” is “lie to”. Take your pick. I’ll use misinform and other synonyms in a number of forms throughout the rest of this post, but you know what I mean.

This post provides a simple overview of how the instrument temperature record confirms that El Niño and La Niña events, not manmade greenhouse gases, are the primary causes of the warming of global sea surface temperatures we’ve experienced over the past 30 years. It provides a slightly different and simpler perspective of the data-based arguments I’ve discussed and illustrated in past posts here at Climate Observations, many of which have been cross-posted at the internet’s most-viewed website on global warming and climate change WattsUpWithThat. This is the same tack—make it easy to understand—I took when preparing my popular e-book Who Turned on the Heat? – The Unsuspected Global Warming Culprit, El Niño-Southern Oscillation.

INTRODUCTION

Proponents of manmade greenhouse gas-driven global warming (scientists and bloggers) have created a number of untruths about El Niño and La Niña, which are also known in scientific jargon as El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The fabrications are intended to redirect the cause of the warming of global sea surface temperatures from the true cause, ENSO, to an imaginary cause, anthropogenic greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide. Manmade greenhouse gases have no measurable effect on global sea surface temperatures. Most of the misinformation relies on the public’s limited understanding of the natural processes that drive El Niño and La Niña events.

What’s the most-often-presented falsehood they’ve manufactured about El Niño and La Niña?

The primary myth about ENSO is the La Niña phase of ENSO is the opposite of El Niño. It sounds like it might be true, but it’s nonsense. There is nothing in the instrument temperature record that supports it. I’ll show you how the differences present themselves in the data later in the post.

The processes of El Niño and La Niña themselves are not opposites. La Niña is simply an exaggeration of the “normal” state of the tropical Pacific—that is, La Niñas are the normal state with some oomph. On the other hand, an El Niño takes naturally created warm water from below the surface of the western tropical Pacific and relocates it the surface. When it’s below the surface, the warm water is not included in the surface temperature record, but during and after the El Niño, the warm water is included in the surface temperature record. That warm water makes a short appearance in the eastern tropical Pacific—where scientists measure sea surface temperatures so that we know an El Niño is taking place—before the warm water is distributed around the global oceans, causing the long-term natural warming of sea surface and land surface air temperatures.

Further, at the end of the El Niño, sea surface temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific cool and return to normal levels. They might even cool to temperatures below normal if a La Niña follows the El Niño. That typically happens after a very strong El Niño—that is, La Niñas typically follow strong El Niños.

Now here’s where the proponents of manmade global warming get goofy. In very basic terms: some climate scientists point to the cooling temperature in the eastern tropical Pacific and say global surface temperatures should also cool because the El Niño is done where they have their El Niño-measuring thermometers. Those scientists know there’s a huge amount of warm water left over after a strong El Niño; they know the leftover warm water has been redistributed to other parts of the global oceans away from their El Niño-measuring thermometers; yet they have the gall of conmen when they to point to those El Niño-measuring thermometers in the eastern tropical Pacific and tell us the effects of the El Niño are done. They then heap it on thicker when they say, since surface temperatures have warmed away from their El Niño-measuring thermometers, the warming elsewhere must be caused by manmade greenhouse gases. They have presented that absurd argument in a good number of scientific papers. They know it makes no sense, I know it and now you know it.

The next question you may have: The El Niño released lots of warm water from below the surface of the western tropical Pacific, but how was that warm water created?

It was created during a La Niña that came before the El Niño. This happens because La Niña events reduce cloud cover and allow more sunlight than normal to penetrate and warm the tropical Pacific. It’s all so simple, and it’s all supported by data, not by incorrect assumptions implanted into the programming climate models.

There are variations of the myth that “La Niña is the opposite of El Niño”. One variation: the response of global surface temperatures to a La Niña is similar to an El Niño but of the opposite sign. That’s just as wrong as the original. The differences in the aftereffects of El Niño and La Niña are very obvious—you can’t miss them—especially after the strong El Niño events that took place during satellite era of sea surface temperature records. That’s the 30-year period we’ll discuss in this post.

Another variation to the fairy tale: ENSO is simply noise or an exogenous factor in the global surface temperature record. The fancy-schmancy word exogenous was recently and incorrectly used to describe ENSO in the 2011 Foster and Rahmstorf paper Global Temperature Evolution 1979–2010. Exogenous, according to Webster, means:

caused by factors (as food or a traumatic factor) or an agent (as a disease-producing organism) from outside the organism or system.

Actually, ENSO is an integral part of the sea surface temperature record. As such, the effects of ENSO cannot be removed from the surface temperature record. ENSO represents a natural coupled ocean-atmosphere process, not some outside factor. The events that initiate an El Niño are weather related, making El Niño basically random events, but they’re still part of normal and natural global climate. By labeling ENSO as noise or an exogenous factor, the scientists and statisticians are attempting to conceal its long-term effects—just another way to misinform the public.

This post will clearly show that global sea surface temperatures do not respond to all La Niña events as they do to the El Niño events that came before them. There’s also a major portion (33% of the surface area) of the global oceans that have defied greenhouse gases. The sea surface temperatures there have NOT warmed in three decades. That’s tough to explain in a world where greenhouse gases are supposed to be warming the oceans.

HOW THE BASIC ANTHROPOGENIC GLOBAL WARMING MYTH IS PORTRAYED

Proponents of anthropogenic global warming, including bloggers and climate scientists, have done a wonderful job of convincing the public that there are three basic components to the warming of global sea surface temperatures. They include:

(1.) An anthropogenic global warming component that is supposed to explain the warming trend of the global sea surface temperatures. That’s the part they portray as evil, but it doesn’t exist so there’s nothing sinister behind the warming of the global oceans. Then there are the two natural factors;

(2.) A sun-blocking volcanic aerosols component to explain the sudden but temporary cooling of global sea surface temperatures that are caused by catastrophic volcanic eruptions; and,

(3.) An El Niño- and La Niña-related component to explain the year-to-year wiggles above and beyond the anthropogenic global warming component (1.).

Those three components are shown in Figure 1.

According to the supposition of anthropogenic global warming, the end result of those three components is the warming of the global sea surface temperature anomalies over the past 30 years with all of its yearly variations. See Figure 2. It assumes there is an anthropogenic component that’s responsible for all of the long-term warming, and it assumes there is a volcanic aerosols component to explain the dips and rebounds caused by of the eruptions of El Chichon in 1982 and Mount Pinatubo in 1991. It also assumes that the global sea surface temperatures respond proportionally to El Niño and La Niña events, which explain the large year-to-year variations above and beyond the long-term warming trend caused by manmade greenhouse gases. That is, it assumes global sea surface temperatures will cool in response to La Niña events and warm in response to El Niño events and do so proportionally.

REALITY IS DIFFERENT THAN THE HYPOTHESES/SUPPOSITIONS/ASSUMPTIONS

One of the components discussed above is presented correctly: the volcanic aerosols component. After the two major explosive volcanic eruptions, global sea surface temperatures did cool and then warm back up gradually over a few years. Those dips and rebounds are tough to find in some parts of the global oceans, but in others you can’t miss the effects of those volcanos. Additionally, the way the El Niño-La Niña component is portrayed is partly correct. Global sea surface temperatures do warm in response to El Niño events…

If you’re waiting for me to say global sea surface temperatures cool during all La Niña events, you’ll be waiting a long time, because the sea surface temperature records don’t show they cool during all La Niñas. Let me clarify that: the sea surface temperatures for a portion of the global oceans do respond proportionally to El Niño and La Niña events, but in a much larger area, they do not.

Also, as a result, there is no evidence in the satellite-era of sea surface temperature records that manmade greenhouse gases are responsible for any portion of the warming of the global oceans.

WHY IS THAT IMPORTANT?

If a hypothesis does not agree with the data that’s used to support it, then the hypothesis is flawed. According to the climate models used as marketing tools by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), only greenhouse gases can explain the warming over the past 30 years. If the IPCC had evaluated sea surface temperature data for that time period by breaking the data into logical subsets, they’d have discovered the warming can be explained naturally. Maybe some contributing authors/scientists/computer modelers do understand and they have elected not to express it.

Consider this: Most of us live on land. The vast majority of the warming of land surface air temperatures is caused by the warming of the surface temperatures of the oceans. How vast a majority? About 85%—give or take—of the warming of land surface air temperatures is in response to warming of the global sea surface temperatures. This can be shown through data analysis and with climate model outputs available on the web. Refer to Compo and Sardeshmukh (2009): Oceanic influences on recent continental warming. Compo and Sardeshmukh didn’t identify how much of the warming of land surface air temperatures could be attributed to the warming of the sea surface temperatures, but I did in Chapter 8.11 of my book Who Turned on the Heat? Figure 3 is from that chapter. The data presented in it is from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) ModelE Climate Simulations – Climate Simulations for 1880-2003 webpage, specifically Table 3. Those outputs are based on the GISS Model-E coupled general circulation model. They were presented in the Hansen et al (2007) paper Climate simulations for 1880-2003 with GISS modelE.

The additional warming of land surface air temperatures could be caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gases, but it is just as likely the warming was caused by other factors such as land-use changes, urban heat island effect, black soot on snow, overly aggressive corrections (modifications) to the land surface air temperature records, problems associated the locations of the temperature measuring surface stations, etc.

Let me rephrase that. These additional factors—land use changes, urban heat island effect, etc.—do not impact the surface temperatures of the oceans in the real world or in climate models. Therefore, because the oceans cover 70% of the planet, the entire warming of the oceans in the climate models is assumed to be caused by manmade greenhouse gases and by changes in aerosols. That’s why carbon dioxide is considered to be so important by climate scientists. However, because the warming of the global oceans can be shown to be natural, then greenhouse gases, including the well-marketed carbon dioxide, become also-rans, with carbon dioxide vying for a place with the other land-only factors.

THE USE OF GLOBAL DATA AS A METRIC FOR GLOBAL WARMING CAN BE DECEIVING

I know the heading sounds odd, but it’s true. If we look at data on a global basis, we can only see that the global dataset has warmed—we can’t see if there are obvious reasons for the warming. To eliminate that problem, we’ll simply divide the data into two portions. We’ll call these regions the East Pacific (90S-90N, 180-80W) and the Rest of the World (90S-90N, 80W-180) to simplify the discussion. These areas are shown in Figure 4. They stretch from the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica to the Arctic Ocean surrounding the North Pole.

The East Pacific sea surface temperature data represents about 33% of the surface area of the global oceans—that’s a chunk of water—while the Rest-of-the-World data makes up the other 67%.

I’ve also highlighted an area in the eastern equatorial Pacific called the NINO3.4 region. Recall our earlier very basic discussion about an El Niño and the thermometers the scientists use to tell us when an El Niño is taking place. That’s the area. Please don’t think there’s only one thermometer bobbing around on wine bottle cork. There are weather station-like buoys measuring atmospheric and oceanic (surface and subsurface) conditions across the entire tropical Pacific. Those NOAA Tropical Ocean-Atmosphere (TAO) Project buoys are linked to satellites, which relay the data back to climate monitoring centers. The NOAA PMEL website includes an animated slide show that provides a simple, easy-to-understand overview of the TOA project.

There are other satellites that measure the skin temperatures of the global oceans twice daily, and they’ve been doing so since late in 1981. There are also ships and other buoys measuring sea surface temperatures around the global oceans.

A PRELIMINARY NOTE ABOUT OUR ENSO INDEX

As noted above, the sea surface temperature anomalies of a region of the eastern equatorial Pacific are commonly used as an indicator of El Niño and La Niña events—aka an ENSO Index. That region with the coordinates of 5S-5N, 170W-120W is called NINO3.4. We’ll use the sea surface temperatures of the NINO3.4 region as a reference in the following graphs for how often El Niño and La Niña events occur, how strong they are and how long they persist. Keep in mind, though, while the NINO3.4 sea surface temperatures indicate an ENSO event is taking place in the eastern equatorial Pacific, it is only measuring the effects of the El Niño or La Niña on the surface temperatures in that region. That may seem obvious, but people lose track of that fact and forget to account for the effects an El Niño is having outside of that region on temperatures and other variables.

The sea surface temperatures in that NINO3.4 region warm and cool directly in response to the El Niño and La Niña events, so the swings in temperature there are quite large, much greater than the variations in the other datasets we’ll illustrate. To accommodate the differences, the monthly values of the NINO3.4 data are multiplied by a common factor to reduce the variations. That simple process is called scaling. I’ve also shifted the NINO3.4 data back in time in one graph to better align the wiggles in the two variables. That was done to account for the time lag between the changes in temperature in the NINO3.4 region and the responses of the Rest-of-the-World sea surface temperatures. The scaled NINO3.4 sea surface temperatures are the purple curves in the following graphs.

THE EAST PACIFIC SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE DATA DOES NOT AGREE WITH THE ASSUMPTION OF GREENHOUSE GAS-DRIVEN GLOBAL WARMING

With that in mind, let’s compare the scaled NINO3.4 data to the sea surface temperature anomalies for the East Pacific. Refer to Figure 5. One of the components that are used to explain the variations in sea surface temperature is obviously there. The East Pacific sea surface temperature anomalies (pink curve) warm in response to El Niño events shown as the large upward spikes in the scaled NINO3.4 data (purple curve) and cool in response to La Niña events as shown with downward dips in the NINO3.4 data. During an El Niño event, warm water that had been below the surface of the western tropical Pacific sloshes into the East Pacific Ocean on the surface, impacting the sea surface temperatures of the East Pacific and the NINO3.4 region directly. When the El Niño is done, the leftover warm water sloshes back out of the East Pacific. Comparing the two curves, the East Pacific sea surface temperature anomalies diverge from the scaled NINO3.4 data at times, but in general, the East Pacific sea surface temperatures mimic the ENSO index. The volcanic aerosol component also seems to be missing. It’s a tough call since the two datasets don’t follow one another perfectly.

Regardless, the component that’s very obviously missing is the anthropogenic global warming component. Sea surface temperature anomalies for the East Pacific haven’t warmed in 30 years. A trend of 0.007 deg C per decade is basically flat. That’s 7 one-thousandths of a deg C per decade, or based on the linear trend, they’ve warmed 2.1 one-hundredths of a deg C over the past 30 years. It’s foolish to think in terms that small when dealing with a body of water that’s about 120 million square kilometers or about 46 million square miles. It’s better simply to say the data shows no evidence of warming.

On the other hand, according to the climate models used by the IPCC, the East Pacific sea surface temperatures SHOULD HAVE warmed roughly 0.42 to 0.45 deg C over that period, IF they were warmed by anthropogenic greenhouse gases. Obviously, they haven’t been warmed by greenhouse gases. Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve.

Yeah but…the proponents of anthropogenic global warming repeatedly say…Yeah but…

THE SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES FOR THE REST OF THE WORLD HAVE WARMED

That’s very obvious. We showed the sea surface temperatures for the global oceans have warmed in Figure 2. If the East Pacific data hasn’t warmed in 30 years, then the warming has to have come from someplace and logically that’s going to be in the sea surface temperature data for the area we’re calling the Rest-of-the-World. We can see this in a graph that compares East Pacific and Rest-of-the-World sea surface temperature anomalies, Figure 6.

The proponents of anthropogenic global warming will argue that they’ve never claimed the globe will warm uniformly; that is, some parts warm, while others don’t. It’s a convenient excuse, one that they can’t support with climate models because the climate models say the East Pacific should have warmed, so they fabricate another misleading statement. It’s easy to do. They’ve got a long history of misinforming the public. It’s a choice they’ve clearly made.

THE SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE DATA FOR THE REST OF THE WORLD DOES NOT AGREE WITH THE ASSUMPTION OF GREENHOUSE GAS-DRIVEN GLOBAL WARMING

It was easy to compare the year-to-year warmings and coolings in the East Pacific data and our ENSO index because neither has warmed in 30 years. Let’s make the Rest-of-the-World sea surface temperature anomalies just as easy to compare to our ENSO index by removing the trend in the Rest-of-the-World data. “Detrending” a dataset is simple. First, the monthly values of the trend line for the Rest-of-the-World data are determined. Second, the values of the trend line are subtracted from the Rest-of-the-World data. It’s a quick and easy process with a spreadsheet. Figure 7 compares the Rest-of-the-World data to its detrended version.

With the trend removed from Rest-of-the-World sea surface temperatures, two things SHOULD appear when they are then compared to the NINO3.4 data. The Rest-of-the-World sea surface temperature anomalies should temporarily dip below the scaled NINO3.4 data starting in 1982 and in 1991 as the Rest-of-the-World data cools then rebounds in response to the volcanic aerosols. There’s something else that SHOULD happen if the proponents of anthropogenic global warming have been truthful about El Niño and La Niña. Sea surface temperatures in the Rest-of-the-World should warm in response to El Niños and they should cool proportionally to La Niñas, just as they had for the East Pacific data. Figure 8 compares the NINO3.4 and Rest-of-the-World sea surface temperature anomalies.

Looks like we’ve been misinformed once again.

The Rest-of-the-World data does diverge from the scaled NINO3.4 data as expected in response to the volcanic eruptions. I’ve highlighted those in green. The effects of the very strong 1982/83 El Niño were counteracted by the 1982 eruption of El Chichon and the impacts of the 1991/92 El Niño were overwhelmed by the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo.

To contradict the myth about La Niña, the sea surface temperatures for the Rest-of-the-World do NOT cool proportionately during the two La Niña events that followed the two very strong El Niño events of 1986/87/88 and 1997/98. They warmed in response to those two El Niño events, but they failed to cool in response the La Niña events that followed. I’ve highlighted those divergences in brown. If they cooled proportionally during those two La Niña events, the dark blue line would follow the ENSO Index shown in purple. The detrended Rest-of-the-World data mimics the NINO3.4 data at other times, but not after the two major El Niño events.

Why?

1. The processes that drive La Niña events are not the opposite of El Niño events.

2. After a very strong El Niño event, there can be a huge amount of leftover warm water that remains on the surface. There is also a huge volume of leftover warm water that’s below the surface, and it rises to the surface with time.

RECALL THE EARLIER DISCUSSIONS

In the introduction I wrote:

On the other hand, an El Niño takes naturally created warm water from below the surface of the western tropical Pacific and relocates it the surface. When it’s below the surface, the warm water is not included in the surface temperature record, but during and after the El Niño, the warm water is included in the surface temperature record. That warm water makes a short appearance in the eastern tropical Pacific—where scientists measure sea surface temperatures so that we know an El Niño is taking place—before the warm water is distributed around the global oceans, causing the long-term natural warming of sea surface and land surface air temperatures.

Further, at the end of the El Niño, sea surface temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific cool and return to normal levels. They might even cool to temperatures below normal if a La Niña follows the El Niño. That typically happens after a very strong El Niño—that is, La Niñas typically follow strong El Niños.

Now here’s where the proponents of manmade global warming get goofy. In very basic terms: some climate scientists point to the cooling temperature in the eastern tropical Pacific and say global surface temperatures should also cool because the El Niño is done where they have their El Niño-measuring thermometers. Those scientists know there’s a huge amount of warm water left over after a strong El Niño; they know the leftover warm water has been redistributed to other parts of the global oceans away from their El Niño-measuring thermometers; yet they have the gall of conmen when they to point to those El Niño-measuring thermometers in the eastern tropical Pacific and tell us the effects of the El Niño are done. They then heap it on thicker when they say, since surface temperatures have warmed away from their El Niño-measuring thermometers, the warming elsewhere must be caused by manmade greenhouse gases. They have presented that absurd argument in a good number of scientific papers. They know it makes no sense, I know it and now you know it.

The divergences shown in brown in Figure 8 are caused when sea surface temperatures of the Rest-of-the-World fail to cool in response to the La Niña. Basically, they don’t cool because of the warm water that’s left over after the El Niño.

Recall the discussion of the East Pacific response to El Niño events.

During an El Niño event, warm water that had been below the surface of the western tropical Pacific sloshes into the East Pacific Ocean on the surface, impacting the sea surface temperatures of the East Pacific and the NINO3.4 region directly. When the El Niño is done, the leftover warm water sloshes back out of the East Pacific.

After the El Niño, the warm leaves the East Pacific and it winds up—you guessed it—in the area we’ve been calling the Rest-of-the-World. And through phenomena called teleconnections, that leftover warm water causes the warming of land surface temperatures and the temperatures of other ocean basins, like the North Atlantic, that are not directly and immediately impacted by the leftover warm water. In simple terms, the leftover warm water counteracts the effect of the La Niña on temperatures outside of the tropical Pacific.

I’ll now show you the effects of that left-over warm water Rest-of-the-World sea surface temperature anomalies. It’s what those proponents of manmade global warming are trying to hide.

WHAT DO YOU SUPPOSE HAPPENS WHEN SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES WARM IN RESPONSE TO STRONG EL NIÑO EVENTS BUT DON’T COOL IN RESPONSE TO THE LA NIÑA EVENTS THAT FOLLOW THEM?

Under this heading, we’re back to discussing the Rest-of-the-World sea surface temperature data with its trend intact. A preliminary note: It is not by coincidence that global sea surface temperatures warm in response to an El Niño. The coupled ocean-atmosphere processes that cause this have been known for decades.

If the sea surface temperatures for the Rest-of-the-World warm in response to major El Niño events but do not cool proportionally in response to the trailing La Niña events, there has to be an ENSO-caused long-term warming of the sea surface temperature anomalies for that region. That’s precisely what’s shown by the sea surface temperature data for the Rest-of-the-World. See Figure 9. In it, I’ve isolate the months during which the major El Niño events occurred and colored them in red. The Rest-of-the-World sea surface temperature anomalies between the major El Niño events are shown in different colors. The time periods of the light blue curve before the 1986/87/88 El Niño and the orangey curve after the 2009/10 El Niño are too short to really show what’s happening during them. They’ve been provided as references. The longer 9- and 11-year periods clearly show sea surface temperatures for the Rest-of-the-World haven’t warmed very much during them—if they’ve warmed at all. The dark blue flat lines represent the average sea surface temperatures for the periods between or after the major El Niño events. They’ve been provided to show the upward warming steps caused by the strong El Niño events, and caused by the failure of the Rest-of-the-World sea surface temperature to cool proportionally during the La Niña events that followed them.

ENSO IS A NATURAL PROCESS AND THAT MEANS…

I have shown in numerous blog posts how the instrument temperature records indicate that El Niño and La Niña events are natural processes. I’ve also discussed that topic in great detail my book Who Turned on the Heat?  Some people simply won’t accept what the data tells them. Will they accept the opinions of anthropogenic global warming scientists from the blog RealClimate? Will they accept the findings of a well-known ENSO expert and climate alarmist, Kevin Trenberth?

In the recent blog post Climate indices to watch at RealClimate, contributor Rasmus Benestad writes (my boldface):

ENSO is a natural phenomenon, but may change under a changing climate and is interesting to watch over the long term.

The “yeah but” statement after the boldfaced portion is, of course, speculation.

Alarmist climate scientist and distinguished ENSO expert Kevin Trenberth admits ENSO is natural. Most recently he did so in the abstract of the (2012) Trenberth and Fasullo paper Climate extremes and climate change: The Russian Heat Wave and other Climate Extremes of 2010.  I’ll be discussing that paper in an upcoming post, but the abstract reads in part (my boldface):

A global perspective is developed on a number of high impact climate extremes in 2010 through diagnostic studies of the anomalies, diabatic heating, and global energy and water cycles that demonstrate relationships among variables and across events. Natural variability, especially ENSO, and global warming from human influences together resulted in very high sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in several places that played a vital role in subsequent developments.

As we’ve shown, the “global warming from human influences” does not exist in sea surface temperature records for the past 30 years, so the rest of the sentence is alarmist drivel. It undermines what might have been an important paper.

BOTTOM LINE ON THE WARMING OF THE REST-OF-THE-WORLD SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES

Let’s clarify what’s been presented during the discussion of the Rest-of-the-World sea surface temperature data:

Over the past 30 years, the sea surface temperatures of the Rest-of-the-World warmed during the major El Niño events but did not warm before them, between them or after them. Therefore, the long-term warming of the Rest-of-the-World sea surface temperatures occurred during and was caused by the strong ENSO events. Further, because ENSO is a natural process, and because the long-term warming of the Rest-of-the-World sea surface temperatures was caused by ENSO, then the long-term warming of the Rest-of-the-World sea surface temperatures is natural, too. In no way is that a stretch of the imagination.

A GLIMPSE AT A FURTHER BREAKDOWN

I’ve taken the discussion farther in the blog post Supplement To “ENSO Indices Do Not Represent The Process Of ENSO Or Its Impact On Global Temperature”. There I divided the Rest-of-the-World data into two more subsets so that I could show the additional rate of warming and the other impacts of an addition mode of natural variability called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. It impacts the North Atlantic sea surface temperature data.

However, that post also illustrated a very important point: the sea surface temperatures for the larger portion—representing the South Atlantic, Indian and West Pacific Oceans or about 53% of the surface area of the global oceans—actually cooled between the major El Niño events. Refer to Figure 10. It’s Figure 5-23 from my book Who Turned on the Heat? where this topic is also discussed in detail.

Because the sea surface temperatures for that dataset cool during the 9- and 11-year periods between the major El Niño events, and because the sea surface temperatures there warm only during the major El Niño events, and because the long-term data shows a significant warming trend, then one might conclude the major El Niño events are responsible for all of the long-term warming of the South Atlantic, Indian and West Pacific Oceans. It’s not an unreasonable conclusion. In fact, that’s what the data shows.

INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE EL NIÑO AND LA NIÑA AND THEIR LONG-TERM EFFECTS ON GLOBAL SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES?

This post provided an overview of how the sea surface temperature record indicates El Niño and La Niña events are responsible for the warming of global sea surface temperature anomalies over the past 30 years. I’ve investigated sea surface temperature records—sliced it and diced it, animated data-based maps to show the processes that cause the warming—for more than 4 years, and I can find no evidence of an anthropogenic greenhouse gas warming signal.

I recently published an e-book (pdf) about the phenomena called El Niño and La Niña. It’s titled Who Turned on the Heat? with the subtitle The Unsuspected Global Warming Culprit, El Niño Southern Oscillation. It is intended for persons (with or without technical backgrounds) interested in learning about El Niño and La Niña events and in understanding the natural causes of the warming of our global oceans for the past 30 years. Because land surface air temperatures simply exaggerate the natural warming of the global oceans over annual and multidecadal time periods, the vast majority of the warming taking place on land is natural as well. The book is the product of years of research of the satellite-era sea surface temperature data that’s available to the public via the internet. It presents how the data accounts for its warming—and, as I’ve said numerous times throughout this post, there are no indications the warming was caused by manmade greenhouse gases. None at all.

Who Turned on the Heat? was introduced in the blog post Everything You Every Wanted to Know about El Niño and La Niña… …Well Just about Everything. The Updated Free Preview includes the Table of Contents; the Introduction; the beginning of Section 1, with the cartoon-like illustrations; the discussion About the Cover; and the Closing.

Please click here to buy a copy. (Paypal or Credit/Debit Card). It’s only US$8.00.

You’re probably asking yourself why you should spend $8.00 for a book written by an independent climate researcher. There aren’t many independent researchers investigating El Niño-Southern Oscillation or its long-term impacts on global surface temperatures. In fact, if you were to perform a Google image search of NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies, the vast majority of the graphs and images are from my blog posts or cross posts of them. Try it. Cut and paste NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies into Google. Click over to images and start counting the number of times you see Bob Tisdale.

By independent I mean I am not employed in a research or academic position; I’m not obligated to publish results that encourage future funding for my research—that is, my research is not agenda-driven. I’m a retiree, a pensioner. The only funding I receive is from book sales and donations at my blog.

Also, I’m independent inasmuch as I’m not tied to consensus opinions so that my findings will pass through the gauntlet of peer-review gatekeepers. Truth be told, it’s unlikely the results of my research would pass through that gauntlet because the satellite-era sea surface temperature data contradicts the dogmas of the consensus.

There are, of course, arguments against what has been presented in this post. Those failed arguments have been addressed and shown to be wrong, using data. I’ve done this repeatedly over the past three years. I’ve included them in Section 7 of my book. Refer to the Updated Free Preview.

You may also have general questions about El Niño and La Niña and their long-term effects. They’ve likely been asked and answered previously. They too were included in the book, but feel free to ask questions on any thread at my blog Climate Observations.

CLOSING

I opened the post with the statement: Global sea surface temperatures have warmed over the past 30 years, but there is no evidence the warming was caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gases. No evidence at all. I confirmed that statement within the body of the post, using data, not climate models.

Back to the title question: Are anthropogenic greenhouse gases important in the warming of the global oceans?

Nope. They’re impotent!

SOURCE

The Reynolds OI.v2 sea surface temperature data presented in this post is available through the NOAA NOMADS website, or through the KNMI Climate Explorer.

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This post is available in pdf form here It’s only 1.2MB so you could email copies to your friends who are proponents of manmade global warming—and to your skeptical friends as well.

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158 thoughts on “Tisdale: The Warming of the Global Oceans – Are Manmade Greenhouse Gases Important or Impotent?

  1. I’m seeing the article posted twice. Thanks for your dedication to the oceans, Bob, and sharing your insights with us.

  2. The article has worse problems than the text being posted twice — there are extra WordPress previous-article links, which implies that there might be a WordPress problem.

  3. WHAT DO YOU SUPPOSE HAPPENS WHEN SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES WARM IN RESPONSE TO STRONG EL NIÑO EVENTS BUT DON’T COOL IN RESPONSE TO THE LA NIÑA EVENTS THAT FOLLOW THEM?

    I suppose that this has been going on for as long as there have been el Ninos and la Ninas. The graph indicates added warmth at about 0.1c every couple of decades (to be conservative), so working that back in time, the earth has been cooler by 1C every 200 years. This puts the global sea surface temps durng the MWP at about 5C cooler than today. Interesting.

  4. Possibly on of the best posts i have read anywhere. No one of logical mind could possibly dispute this. And the fact that the alarmist crew actually have any credibility at all is mind blowing in itself. The only thing they have to stand on are heavily adjusted temperature records, instead of clear and concise factual data.

    Look forward to buying the book Bob and reading through it.

  5. All oscillations are just that – one moment you are warming the next cooling. The overall effect is neutral.

    The only addiional input to sea temps according to you is? Why do they keep warming.
    Solar is just about constant – something must be adding energy,

    If you have air at 35C above water at 30C the only way the water can cool is by evaporation and also the air will warm the surface layer which will mix.
    If you have air at 25C above water at 30C evap will still occur but now the water will lose energy to the Air.

    Thus the energy content of the water will be affected by the air temp. The air temp IS affected by GHGs.

  6. Seems like it has been posted twice.
    Anyway, interesting work Bob will consider buying the book.
    I have had an alarmist -greenie person blame temperature swings on El Nino but then asked her a) what actually was SOI and El Ninos – she had trouble with that
    b) what caused SOI and El Nino, could it have something to do with the sun? She was stumped by that but said the IPCC had found that the variations of the radiation from the sun were too small to cause temperature changes so the cause must be man (oh what a horrible word) made.
    This supposedly educated (PhD) environmental scientist at a university was not able to consider the effect of clouds, and clearly had no understanding of heat and mass transfer.

  7. I guess I missed something. I get the fact that the Eastern Pacific has no warming trend, and I get the idea that the rise in global oceanic surface temperature is caused by excess warm water fro El Ninos, but what I don’t get is how the heat from this warm water is supposed to dissipate if the global sea surface temperature is to remain static. Clearly, the graphs indicate that it is not dissipating with sufficient speed to allow global Oceanic surface temperatures to remain constant over the last 30 years, so the question is either, why has the rate of dissipation fallen? or if dissipation rate is constant then why have recent El Ninos put out more warm water that the oceans can dissipate between cycles?

  8. Bob – I paid to purchase your book, went through the steps, computer indicated download complete, but when I went to read it today, nothing was there. Anybody else encounter the same thing?

  9. I don’t think there is much argument as to the fact ENSO is a natural process, but what is causing the blue lines to go up in figure 9? Bob says it because the ocean is warmed by el nino but not cooled by la nina, if I have it right, so it just keeps getting warmer. David Archibald will be most displeased as I can’t see another ice age on the horizon. What will the temperature of the oceans be after another couple of thousand el nino’s?

  10. Bob,

    Thanks for a very informative read. When you say a PDF version is available (here) is that able to be saved to my computer. I have a humungous Climate file, where I like to store informative climate papers, but I wasn’t able to download this.

    Is that colorful cover an actual cover of a book, available or to be available.

    Why don’t people get it that the oceans store energy, because solar spectrum radiation goes deep, but back LWIR from clouds or atmosphere GHGs doesn’t.

    George

  11. Statistics are our only clues at present, and the analysis seems correct, but we need to understand how the solar warming of the western Pacific from reduced cloud cover during La Ninas “teleconnects” to the atmosphere to cause the failure of the trade winds that allows El Ninos. In the sense of trade winds/no trade winds the phases of ENSO reallly are opposite.

  12. Good post Bob, even I can understand most of it. But when we are told about how extreme our climate is today I’m intrigued by NOAA’s reconstruction of the last 1000 years of the PDO.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_decadal_oscillation See the last 100 years down at right and the last 1000 years below that at the link. Both graphs enlarge and the longer index shows hundreds of years of cool phase and then 100s of years of warm phase of the PDO.
    At the start of the index Australia’s east coast would have had hundreds of years of cyclones and major flooding and the USA west coast would have had mega droughts at the same time.
    Then the PDO switched and the reverse would have applied for about 150 years. What I’d like to ask Bob is whether there is a proportion of say two to one la ninas expected in a cool phase PDO and 2 to 1 el ninos expected in the warm phase PDO?
    Or is it much more random than that?

  13. Say Bob,

    I very much appreciate your work and I’d like to ask you to check out an item, or possibly two that I read in the Paleoclimatology area of the AGU papers a couple of years ago that traced the origin of the current ice age glaciation and inter-glaciation periods to the closing of the Isthmus of Panama that prevented Pacific – Atlantic flows about 2.5 million years ago. I also recall a paper from that same general time frame that stated that as long as a continental land mass remained at either pole that we would remain in an ice age (that we remain in) subject to periodic glaciation (approximately 100,000 years of ice and 15-20,000 years of interglacial warmth).

    Is it possible for you to comment on this point at some time?

    Thank you sir.

  14. Also Bob,

    Or perhaps someone from Anthony’s volunteers, how do I print a copy of your post unencumbered by Q&A? I want to forward it without a huge comment file,

    Thank you

  15. Given the density of water, i would expect it to take a few hundred years for CO2 to have an effect on overall temperature. I think it would take the sun a mere decade even for a minor tick.

  16. I just love looking at empirical data. The question,as always, is, who gets it?

    We appear to have just lived through a grand solar maximum, just after the LIA. Only the 8.2kya event approaches it in the Holocene where climate minima may intercede on your consciousness. A couple of hundred years later, past the half-precessional old Holocene, we get the strongest solar maxima in 8kyrs…..

    And suddenly, the sun goes all quiet on us. Solar cycle 24, our index begun during the Maunder Minimum, is struggling to spawn well-delinested sunspots, and those at a paltry numerical population in normal insolation at N65 time-space.

    Use whatever Machiavelliam tactic comes to hominid mind, at the possible end of the most benign extreme interglacial we have conjured the tools to ever understand to elucidate your case as to why this one might “go long”, just like MIS-11 did, the last time we were at a 400kyr eccentricity minimum.

    At the possible end of the Holocene extreme interglacial, we are left to ask our evolved selves what it is that we should do?

  17. I liked the thread, thanks for posting it. What concerns me is that each El Nino has an additive effect of raising the temperature in the ‘rest of the world’ oceans. That makes sense as you indicated. But if La nina does not provide a subtractive effect, it seams the oceans in the rest of the world will always continue to go up as we have more and more El Nino’s. Are we having more now then in the past? Please explain what has to happen to have the trend line to go back down for the ‘rest of the world’ oceans. Thanks.

  18. A very important observation!
    We know from satellite data since 1983 that global cloud cover has decreased 2-4% until year 2000 and been at that low since. With more direct sunshine reaching the oceans surface… why wouldnt the oceans warm ? There is a very good correation with the GMT data and cloud cover data since 1983.
    Global mean cloud cower:

  19. Thank you for this. As a pensioner I’m restricted to the pdf file which downloaded fine. Will attempt to manipulate offspring into providing a copy of the book at Christmas. (assuming the Maya and the BBC are wrong. :-) )

  20. thefordprefect asked:

    “The only addiional input to sea temps according to you is? Why do they keep warming.
    Solar is just about constant – something must be adding energy”

    Solar induced albedo changes on centennial timescales commensurate with the cyclical swings from MWP to LIA and LIA to date.

  21. Nick Kermode says:

    September 16, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I don’t think there is much argument as to the fact ENSO is a natural process, but what is causing the blue lines to go up in figure 9? Bob says it because the ocean is warmed by el nino but not cooled by la nina, if I have it right, so it just keeps getting warmer. David Archibald will be most displeased as I can’t see another ice age on the horizon. What will the temperature of the oceans be after another couple of thousand el nino’s?

    I think this has lot to do with the warm PDO. Given that the majority of the period until 2007 was in a warm state the La nina’s were brief and not strong enough to counter the effects. Bob has a great video on youtube here showing that the effects of El nino last years around the entire globe.

    Its my belief that the counter effect has now begun as the Cold PDO has gained strength since 2007. Also dont forget the AMO is warm also, by the end of the decade both will be cold and you will see the response of SST first, then global temperatures.

  22. I read numerous paragraphs into the article and found nothing but nearly information free unsupported denials of alamist claims. I don’t have time to read such a long article with so much junk at the top. There may well be something important in the rest of it, but after so much wasted time at the top I do not have enough time to waste reading the rest to find out. Abbreviate the accuations and denials and put more good stuff near the top.

    And although I think the alarmists lie to make their case more alarming, I am sure that at the same time they strongly and truly believe CO2 is causing dangerous warming. You know how many people do look very very hard to support their belief and are extremely blind to contradictory evidence. I think nearly all of them are true believers. They will drink the cool aid if called to. They believe so hard that they think we skeptics must be lying paid shills and nuts. Don’t make the same mistake of assuming the other side must be lying because you don’t see their side.

  23. Unfortunately for this analysis, or any climate related analysis so far, is that it is virtually impossible to attributed any underlying signal to anything. Just say there was some magical el nino warming force, like a really subtle, underlying “el nino event” such as weaker than normal trade winds that has been occurring since the little ice age, how on earth would you detect that anomaly if your data is only good since 1957? Answer: You don’t. Whats your baseline or reference period? There isn’t one.

    Your only hope is using proxy data, but even then, what caused the weakening in the winds in the first place? Proxy data sounds fishy too……think of the hockey stick controversy.

    “No other credible explanation” is often used by alarmist frauds in the literature, but thankfully that ignorance can be translated by people with half a brain to simply mean there isn’t good enough data, which is then followed by claims that delay = denial, etc…

  24. Neville. says: “What I’d like to ask Bob is whether there is a proportion of say two to one la ninas expected in a cool phase PDO and 2 to 1 el ninos expected in the warm phase PDO? …Or is it much more random than that?”

    The multidecadal variability of the PDO is not only dictated the frequency, magnitude and duration of ENSO. The difference between ENSO and the PDO is caused by changes in the sea level pressure of the North Pacific.

  25. Bob

    I think that the key part of the discussion/solutions was early on in your article;

    “Governments around the world would have to be honest with their citizens and say they want to reduce their countries’ dependences on foreign oil.”

    Ever since the oil shock of the 70’s we have been livimg on borrowed time. The stand off in the Straits of Hormuz at present, Chinas instatiable appetite for oil, the political use of oil by countries who don’t like us, all suggest we need to urgently wean ourselves off the stuff and use nuclear as a transition to something more sustainab;e/safe whilst creating a fuel source that is chaep and can continue to promote economic growth.

    However, the security angle rarely features and instead our Govts have wasted our time/resources by trying to reduce our dependancy by using the green-rather than security-angle. Perhaps shale gas will be a temporary game changer-at least in the Us. Not sure about Europe though who seem scared of the stuff

    tonyb

  26. anthonyvioli says: “I think this has lot to do with the warm PDO.”

    The PDO is an aftereffect of ENSO. The PDO is also impacted by the sea level pressure of the North Atlantic.

  27. Than you Bob, for the best introduction to a post you’ve ever written. There are so many potential quotes in there….

    I once calculated that the entire heat capacity of the atmosphere was equivalent to the heat capacity of just 3.7 metres depth of ocean. As the great Ernest Rutherford once said, “When you’ve got an elephant and a flea, it’s the flea that jumps”. The ocean is the elephant, and the atmosphere is the flea.

    A hot bath will warm the air in a bathroom in minutes. Try heating a cold bath with a hair-dryer (don’t actually try this at home, unless you’re aiming to get a Darwin Award… ;-) ).

  28. MIndbuilder says:
    September 17, 2012 at 12:18 am

    “I read numerous paragraphs into the article and found nothing but nearly information free unsupported denials of alamist claims. I don’t have time to read such a long article with so much junk at the top. There may well be something important in the rest of it, but after so much wasted time at the top I do not have enough time to waste reading the rest to find out. Abbreviate the accuations and denials and put more good stuff near the top.”

    As I just posted – I rather enjoyed “wasting my time” reading the “junk at the top”. IMHO the best stuff WAS at the beginning. Impatience is NOT a virtue.

  29. Go Home says: “Please explain what has to happen to have the trend line to go back down for the ‘rest of the world’ oceans.”

    We’re seeing the effects of two natural factors in the Rest-of-the World data: ENSO and the AMO. The upward shifts were only caused by the very strong El Nino events of 1986/87/88 and 1997/98—we’ll have to wait a while to see where we stand after the 2009/10 El Nino. But the rest of the lesser El Nino events did not cause the upward shifts. If we don’t have the stronger El Nino events we shouldn’t have the upward shifts, or they wouldn’t be as large. Also, after the AMO reaches its peak, it will stop its additional contribution to the warming of the global oceans and will eventually turn the other way and the North Atlantic will suppress the overall warming.

  30. Hi Bob,
    Thanks for your analysis, which I think is broadly correct. I would like to raise a possibility you may not have sufficiently considered though.

    I took your figure 8 and overlayed the TSI record:

    I also took the liberty of filling in some more green where the ‘rest of world’ drops below the scaled NINO index.

    As you can see, the big El Ninos in 87, 97 and 2010 all started around solar minimum, and the SST’s rose worldwide as the solar cycles grew. These were the events where the ‘rest of world’ SST’s stayed higher while the East Pacific dropped into La Nina conditions. I suggest this is largely due to reduced cloud

    Contrast this with the El Nino events in 83, 93-96 and 2003-2006. These all occur on the trailing side of the solar cycles, and afterwards, the ‘rest of world’ SST’s drop below the East Pacific SST’s. Notice though, that in 83 and 2003-2006 the ‘rest of world’ SST’s do rise, but not as much as the scaled NINO index. It’s only really the Pinatubo eruption that seems to send the ‘rest of world’ SST’s strongly downwards. It seems likely that increased cloud as the solar cycle weakened, along with the volcanic aerosol from Pinatubo muted the ‘rest of world’ SST response at the time of these solar max lagging events.

    So in conclusion, I’m saying that the volcanic forcing is over-rated, because a goodly proportion of the negative forcing attributed to them in the satellite age is actually due to to solar forcing of cloud variation. This viewpoint is further backed up by the general reduction in cloud from ~1960-1998 while the Sun was strong revealed by the new Spanish and Chinese studies published in the literature this year.

    Of course, the co2 theorists need a strong volcanic forcing to get their models to work, given the overblown forcing they attribute to co2. So I expect continued studied ignorance of the solar effect on cloud to continue.

    Cheers

    TB

  31. Slabadang says:
    September 16, 2012 at 11:49 pm
    A very important observation!
    We know from satellite data since 1983 that global cloud cover has decreased 2-4% until year 2000 and been at that low since. With more direct sunshine reaching the oceans surface… why wouldnt the oceans warm ? There is a very good correation with the GMT data and cloud cover data since 1983.

    We have a winner.

    And what would cause decreased clouds over this period?

    Maybe, all those pollution controls that reduced cloud seeding aerosols and particulates.

  32. thefordprefect says: “All oscillations are just that – one moment you are warming the next cooling. The overall effect is neutral.”

    Nonsense. Did you somehow overlook Figure 8?

    ENSO is not an oscillation. It’s a coupled ocean-atmosphere process. Here’s the fourth paragraph of my book:
    Also, the use of the word “oscillation” in “El Niño-Southern Oscillation” is a matter of convenience—nothing more. The Southern Oscillation was discovered decades before it was found to be related to El Niño and La Niña events, which are not repetitive in time, so they are not parts of a true oscillation. While there are portions of El Niño and La Niña processes that behave as cycles, those cycles break down, and an El Niño or a La Niña can evolve as an independent event. Further, El Niño and La Niña are not opposites. That’s also very obvious in the sea surface temperature records. La Niña is an exaggeration of the normal state of the tropical Pacific, while an El Niño is the anomalous phase. That’s why many researchers believe there are only two states of the tropical Pacific: El Niño and “other”. Also, over the last 30 years it’s rare when a La Niña has been as strong as the El Niño that preceded it. How then could a La Niña counteract an El Niño? Of course, the temperature records also show a multidecadal period when La Niña were as strong as El Niño, and it’s no coincidence that global surface temperature did not warm during it.

    It’s included in the preview here:

    http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/preview-of-who-turned-on-the-heat-v2.pdf

    thefordprefect says: “Solar is just about constant – something must be adding energy,

    It’s briefly explained in the post, and it’s part of the process of ENSO. Apparently you missed that part.

    thefordprefect says: “Thus the energy content of the water will be affected by the air temp. The air temp IS affected by GHGs.”

    Why then hasn’t the East Pacific warmed in 30 years? Why then do the South Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific data cool between the major El Nino events?

    According to your discussion, with all of the additional warming from greenhouse gases, are the marine air temperatures warming faster than sea surface temperatures? That’s what the climate models show.

  33. since water has a high heat capacity, water retains heat. Air has a low air capacity and doesn’t retain heat. It is the oceans that give heat to the atmosphere. Air cannot give heat to water content, therefore that heat comes from somewhere else (sun, underwater heat sources etc)

  34. Your ENSO ocean temperature increases seem to be related to the rather rampant sun we had in the later half of the twentieth century. What is your thoughts on the heat created by the ENSO in the quite period of the sun that now seems upon us?

  35. Excellent Post.
    The GHG theory seems to ignore the fact that the incoming solar radiation saturates the (so called) GHG’s so that each molecule starts to emit radiation, at a lower frequency due to energy loss in heating the molecule. The adsorption and emission spectra. The radiated energy from the surface is LIR the same as that emitted by the GHG’s so how can it be adsorbed when it is in the emission band? This is ignoring all other law violations.

  36. Goldie says: “…but what I don’t get is how the heat from this warm water is supposed to dissipate if the global sea surface temperature is to remain static.”

    The additional heat from the leftover warm water is dissipating with time. That shows up in the South Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific data shown in Figure 10. The impact of the North Atlantic with the AMO is the reason the Rest-of-the-World data is so flat between the major El Nino events.

    Goldie says: Clearly, the graphs indicate that it is not dissipating with sufficient speed to allow global Oceanic surface temperatures to remain constant over the last 30 years, so the question is either, why has the rate of dissipation fallen?”

    The portion of the South Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific dataset that’s most impacted by the leftover warm water is the East Indian-West Pacific. It shows significant decreases in sea surface temperatures between the major El Nino events:

    Using the new and improved HADSST3 data, I looked at the East Indian-West Pacific during the pre-satellite era in my new book. The cooling trends between the major events are lower during the earlier period, but you have to take the pre-satellite era data with a grain of salt:

    The HADSST3 data ends in 2006 so there was no reason to include the trends for the latter two periods on the graph.

    Goldie says: “or if dissipation rate is constant then why have recent El Ninos put out more warm water that the oceans can dissipate between cycles?”

    There was more warm water available for the El Nino events. The warm water was created during the 1973/74/75/76 La Nina for the 1986/87/88 El Nino, and for the 1997/98 El Nino, it was created by freakishly strong trade winds in the western tropical Pacific (weather related) during the 1995/96 La Nina.

    Regards

  37. Seems to be one unanswered question: why is there always a source of warm water in the deep areas, available for transfer?

    The most easily available source would be from volcanic or geothermal heating. In other words, the ENSO cycle is just a very slow rolling boil. The warm depths roll to the surface during El, then the (now-cool) depths get rewarmed during La.

    Overall this would explain the gradual increase, which otherwise wouldn’t make sense.

  38. MIndbuilder says:
    September 17, 2012 at 12:18 am
    “I read numerous paragraphs into the article and found nothing but nearly information free unsupported denials of alamist claims. I don’t have time to read such a long article with so much junk at the top. There may well be something important in the rest of it, but after so much wasted time at the top I do not have enough time to waste reading the rest to find out. Abbreviate the accuations and denials and put more good stuff near the top.”

    I disagree strongly – in my opinion it is a very well written text for people who haven’t followed every detail of the climate debate over the past 3 years.

    I’m not saying this to criticize Mindbuilder, he has a right to his opinion; different people have different needs. And we know Bob can also write in a very dense style; this post was obviously aimed at interested laymen. And it did what it was made to do very well – in my opinion.

  39. I’ve read Bob’s peices for some time now and do not understand a couple of things that seem very important to Bob’s hypotheses.

    First, this idea of step changes, with basically flat temps between El Ninos, does not explain where the additional total energy content comes from. I cannot see how a flat-with-steps line can be distinguished from a saw-tooth line that has been titled upwards due to some other warming source (e.g. CO2).

    Also, Bob’s point that the tropical pacific temps have been basically flat for 30 years can be explained using Willis’s thermostat hypothesis, in which case that flat pacific temps and the warming in the rest of the world are not contradictory – in fact, the warming in the rest of the world is a consequence of the tropical thermostat redistributing heat enery towards to poles.

    So overall, not convinved, I’m afraid.

  40. Nick Kermode says: “I don’t think there is much argument as to the fact ENSO is a natural process, but what is causing the blue lines to go up in figure 9? Bob says it because the ocean is warmed by el nino but not cooled by la nina, if I have it right, so it just keeps getting warmer.”

    It only keeps getting warmer at that rate if there are very strong El Ninos like there were in 1986/87/88 and 1997/98. You also have to keep in mind that the AMO is contributing to the warming during the last 30 years, and it will soon reach its peak.

    Nick Kermode says: “David Archibald will be most displeased as I can’t see another ice age on the horizon. What will the temperature of the oceans be after another couple of thousand el nino’s?”

    Nick, I’m only concerned about explaining the warming of sea surface temperatures over the past 30 years. That’s the period when the IPCC’s climate models say only greenhouse gases could have caused the warming. But if you’re concerned for David Archibald, I would have to assume the Milankovitch cycle would win hands down against ENSO since ENSO is fueled by the sun.

  41. george e. smith says: “I have a humungous Climate file, where I like to store informative climate papers, but I wasn’t able to download this.”

    George, I just downloaded it two ways using that link. If you’re still having trouble, leave a comment at my blog and I’ll email you a copy.

  42. Thanks, Bob.
    Cycles, you mention 10-11 years, are easier to understand when there is a start point. When riding a bicycle, there is an effect from pushing down on the pedal and another of lifting weight off the pedal later – or earlier? But where is the start? It’s semantic, but it’s interesting because once you identify a start point, you start to identify a start mechanism. You say it has to do with cloud extent north of Oz, but this can vary between 0% and 100%, so it is limited. Like the cyclist has only so much muscle.

    Like others above, I’m worried about why the rest of ocean gets warmer by the decade, particularly off N-E USA. The last 30 years could be detrended if you could show changes below the depth of SST sensors, then CO2 could come out of the equation with more certainty.

    It’s hard to work with ocean temperature data. The seas where you start your cycle arounf Indonesia are too shallow for Argo. The Aust BOM has set up a series of stations there, including tidal gauges, but I’m not sure how public they make their data. So congrats on a lucid explanation.

  43. Great post, Bob. I have read your work for a while and it just now really clicked. The source of the warming is irrelevant, although the very intuitive explanation of extra hours of the 1000 watts per metre tropical sunlight pumping extra energy into the tropical ocean beckons. The fact that atmospheric temperatures are led by sea surface temperatures is well demonstrated and with this post you show that the distribution of sea surface temperature changes is completely inconsistent with a well mixed atmosphere of higher CO2 concentration forcing these changes, as this would demand a “well-mixed signal” across all the ocean basins. Instead, the sea surface temperature increases are shown to be the result of the distribution of the warm waters of an El Nino event. How can an atmosphere-wide long wave radiation forcing warm one geographically isolated patch of water, and thereby the rest of the world? Maybe it can but until someone postulates such a mechanism CO2 driven “global” warming seems an untenable concept. Very, very well said, Mr Tisdale.

  44. Nick Kermode says:
    September 16, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I don’t think there is much argument as to the fact ENSO is a natural process, but what is causing the blue lines to go up in figure 9? Bob says it because the ocean is warmed by el nino but not cooled by la nina, if I have it right, so it just keeps getting warmer. David Archibald will be most displeased as I can’t see another ice age on the horizon. What will the temperature of the oceans be after another couple of thousand el nino’s?

    I must admit I have a problem with this. Surely an El Nino should cause a loss of heat from the ocean to the atmosphere which in turn should radiate energy to space. I can see how ENSO events are responsible for wide fluctuations in air temperature, but I cannot understand how they explain long term trends.

  45. gymnosperm says: “Statistics are our only clues at present, and the analysis seems correct, but we need to understand how the solar warming of the western Pacific from reduced cloud cover during La Ninas “teleconnects” to the atmosphere to cause the failure of the trade winds that allows El Ninos. In the sense of trade winds/no trade winds the phases of ENSO reallly are opposite.”

    In chapter 4.15 of my book, I discuss the 4 weather events that are known to initiate Westerly Wind Bursts, which slow the trade winds long enough to initiate an El Nino, with links to the respective papers. Then, I include a paper that basically says that ENSO creates the conditions under which those factors exist. In other words, ENSO has the ability to trigger itself.

  46. MIndbuilder says: “I read numerous paragraphs into the article and found nothing but nearly information free unsupported denials of alamist claims. I don’t have time to read such a long article with so much junk at the top…”

    On the other hand, MostlyHarmless says: “Than[k] you Bob, for the best introduction to a post you’ve ever written.”

  47. I think the salient point is not about what causes warming but that the pattern of sea surface temperature changes is inconsistent with a CO2 signal. The extra downwelling CO2 driven long wave radiation should be warming all of the oceans’ surfaces more all less equally. Why would the effect be geographically isolated?

  48. Richard111 says:

    September 16, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    Thank you for this. As a pensioner I’m restricted to the pdf file which downloaded fine. Will attempt to manipulate offspring into providing a copy of the book at Christmas. (assuming the Maya and the BBC are wrong. :-) )

    The Mayans were wrong, for them the world ended a long time ago.

  49. Enjoy the article and could follow the logic trial.

    The question that I can’t seem to find the answer to is what triggers the switch? What cause them to start and what cause them to stop? What is the self regulating mechanism?

  50. tallbloke says: “I suggest this is largely due to reduced cloud…”

    Please provide data to support your suggestion. I’m not disagreeing with you, but you haven’t provided anything to confirm it. If you’re using the ISCCP cloud amount data, there are two problems with it. The early data was impacted by volcanic aerosols, and there’s also a wide band of data missing across the western Indian Ocean before the late 1990s.

    Regards

  51. Tisdale: There was more warm water available for the El Nino events. The warm water was created during the 1973/74/75/76 La Nina for the 1986/87/88 El Nino, and for the 1997/98 El Nino, it was created by freakishly strong trade winds in the western tropical Pacific (weather related) during the 1995/96 La Nina.

    Are you suggesting that trade winds heat the water or just distribute heat.

    If distribution then you need to explain where the heat is coming from.
    I know that LWIR pentrates only a fewmicrons and Visible many metres.so the bulk heating is done by the solar insolation not the IR
    However if air is above water temp then the net heat flow must be from air to water.
    Evaporation will cool the water and will cool more in the tropics = higher evap rates at higher temps.

    You have not stated where your additional heating is coming from.although you suggest looking at fig 8 and ENSO plot. BUT where does ENSO source its extra energy?

  52. Interesting post Bob.

    However, I think it would have more credibility if you avoid calling people liars an avoid some much of the similar inflammatory remarks. While I don’t totally disagree, it is not productive and detracts from any scientific point you are putting forward.

    Despite the significant length of this piece, it seems to boil down to showing ENSO is a significant player, ENSO is natural (even Trenberth “admits” it ) , hence global warming is natural.

    Therein lies weakness of all this. “Natural” is not black and white , yet that one almost arbitrary conclusion is the crux of your whole idea.

    Yes ENSO would be there with or without anthropogenic CO2 and it is a naturally occurring phenomenon. However, we do not understand what causes the timing and magnitude of these events, which as you explain affect global climate.

    There is nothing in what you show that prevents CO2 radiative effects from contributing in part to the timing and scale of ENSO events and hence climate.

    Another logical problem is that you spend a lot of effort spitting at official climate science but then call up GISS-E climate model to back up your thesis. You cannot reject climate models and use their results, Make a choice.

    One thing you do not mention is that El Nino , while being perceived as a warming event at the surface is a cooling event in terms of ocean heat content and is probably a significant negative feedback mechanism.

    ENSO is certainly a key factor in climate but assuming it is totally “natural” cannot be justified without a far better understanding of the mechanism.

  53. wayne Job says: “Your ENSO ocean temperature increases seem to be related to the rather rampant sun we had in the later half of the twentieth century. What is your thoughts on the heat created by the ENSO in the quite period of the sun that now seems upon us?”

    The warm water that fueled the strong El Nino events of 1982/83 and 1986/87/88 El Nino events was initially “created” during and by the 1973/74/75/76 La Nina. And the warm water for the 1997/98 El Nino was created during the 1995/96 La Nina. Both of those La Nina events occurred toward solar minimums. This leads me to believe the warm water available for the El Ninos is more a function of trade wind strength pushing aside cloud cover than of where we are in the solar cycle.

  54. Bob writes: “…would be stripped of their rock-star images, and they’d wither into obscurity like Milli Vanilli.”

    Great line, but I hope that future generations will learn from our having been conned and REMEMBER the likes of Hanson and Mann as we do Sen. McCarthy from the 1950s. I’m reminded of a song by The Who – ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ which, despite the noble aspiration, ends with the bleak line, “Meet the new boss / Same as the old boss”.

  55. polistra says: “Seems to be one unanswered question: why is there always a source of warm water in the deep areas, available for transfer?”

    It’s not an unanswered question. The process through which the warm water is created in the top 300 meters of the west Pacific Warm Pool, which is the warm water that fuels an El Nino, has been known for decades. It is created during the La Nina before the El Nino, by stronger-than-normal trade winds, which reduces cloud cover, which allows more downward shortwave radiation (visible sunlight) to warm the tropical Pacific to depth. The warm water is carried west by the trade wind-driven North and South Equatorial Currents and it accumulates in the west Pacific Warm Pool.

    Regards

  56. Bob

    Presumably, sooner or later, the excess heat introduced by large El Ninos will be dissipated and temperatures will return to “normal”. Will this happen gradually, or will we see it as a step change ?

  57. steveta_uk says: “First, this idea of step changes, with basically flat temps between El Ninos, does not explain where the additional total energy content comes from.”

    The total energy comes from the La Nina events that precede the El Nino events.

    steveta_uk says: “I cannot see how a flat-with-steps line can be distinguished from a saw-tooth line that has been titled upwards due to some other warming source (e.g. CO2).”

    That’s why I included Figure 8…

    The upward steps are caused by the failure of the Rest-of-the-World sea surface temperature data to cool during the La Nina events that followed the major El Nino events. If they had cooled proportionally during the La Nina, then there would be no long-term trend. That dataset would look like the East Pacific data:

    steveta_uk says: “Also, Bob’s point that the tropical pacific temps have been basically flat for 30 years can be explained using Willis’s thermostat hypothesis…”

    Figure 5 was for the entire Eastern Pacific, from pole to pole not the tropical Pacific. Willis’s thermostat hypothesis addresses the tropics, not the extratropics, if I recall correctly. And his thermostat hypothesis does not contradict ENSO, he’s simply discussing why tropical sea surface temperatures appear to be relatively stable.

  58. Geoff Sherrington says: “Cycles, you mention 10-11 years…”

    The word “cycle” does not appear in my post and I do not state “10-11 years” in my post. If you have a specific question, please ask it. Please don’t make inferences that do not exist in my post or previous posts.

    Geoff Sherrington says: “Like others above, I’m worried about why the rest of ocean gets warmer by the decade, particularly off N-E USA.”

    Please advise where others above have mentioned that they’re worried about the sea surface temperatures of the North Atlantic on this thread. I’m the only person on this thread to discuss that basin.

    Geoff Sherrington says: “The last 30 years could be detrended if you could show changes below the depth of SST sensors, then CO2 could come out of the equation with more certainty.”

    You well know there is no reasonable subsurface temperature data prior to the ARGO era, so why do you raise this?

    Geoff Sherrington says: “It’s hard to work with ocean temperature data.”

    We get by with the mounds of data that’s available.

    Geoff Sherrington says: “The seas where you start your cycle arounf Indonesia are too shallow for Argo. The Aust BOM has set up a series of stations there, including tidal gauges, but I’m not sure how public they make their data.”

    The NOAA TOA Project was started in the 1980s and was finished in the early 1990s.

  59. John Finn: In a reply to Nick Kermode, you wrote,” I must admit I have a problem with this. Surely an El Nino should cause a loss of heat from the ocean to the atmosphere which in turn should radiate energy to space. I can see how ENSO events are responsible for wide fluctuations in air temperature, but I cannot understand how they explain long term trends.”

    You must not have read the post, because it was explained, I believe, quite clearly.

  60. Fascinating reading Bob and thank you for putting up this comprehensive article. Time well spent and thoroughly absorbing.With the effect of both those events demonstrating that the planet is just basically plodding along and doing what it does and if we include the problems that Anthony has highlighted and demonstrated regarding those weather station failures, it would appear that in reality there really is nothing or very little going on.
    The excuses, denial and responses from the “learn-ed” experts will be interesting but I am running out of popcorn.

  61. William Ballinger says: “The question that I can’t seem to find the answer to is what triggers the switch? What cause them to start and what cause them to stop? What is the self regulating mechanism?”

    William, sorry, I could not explain all of the intricacies of ENSO in this post.

    An El Niño is triggered by a weakening of the trade winds, which is caused by weather events like tropical cyclones in the western tropical Pacific. Refer to the first portion of Section 1 in the preview:

    http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/preview-of-who-turned-on-the-heat-v2.pdf

    An El Niño event creates the byproduct that causes it to end. This is the basis of the delayed oscillator theory. Refer to the IRI discussion here:

    http://iri.columbia.edu/climate/ENSO/theory/index.html

    I provide an explanation of the delayed oscillator theory in layman terms, or as close as I can get to layman terms, in chapter 4.9 of my book.

  62. A very provocative, timely and detailed article. Many thanks for both preparing it and sharing it here. I hope it reaches a suitably wide audience, particularly in the corridors of influence and power.

  63. sergeiMK says: “Are you suggesting that trade winds heat the water or just distribute heat…”

    Sorry for the incomplete explanation. The stronger-than-normal trade winds push aside cloud cover which allows more downward shortwave radiation (visible sunlight) to warm the tropical Pacific to depth.

    Regards

  64. Reminds me of the old joke with the old man who was just at the doctors and started wearing tuxedos all the time. “If I’m going to be impotent, I’m going to dress impotent!”

  65. Bob Tisdale says:
    September 17, 2012 at 4:12 am
    tallbloke says: “I suggest this is largely due to reduced cloud…”

    Please provide data to support your suggestion. I’m not disagreeing with you, but you haven’t provided anything to confirm it. If you’re using the ISCCP cloud amount data, there are two problems with it. The early data was impacted by volcanic aerosols, and there’s also a wide band of data missing across the western Indian Ocean before the late 1990s.

    Hi Bob, well I did mention the Spanish and Chinese studies which were covered here on WUWT recently. I didn’t think it was too controversial any more. Especially considering you invoke reduced cloud during La Nina to ‘recharge’ the Pacific Warm Pool for the next El Nino.

    Which cloud data did you use to support that hypothesis if not ISCCP data?

  66. P. Solar: The evidence we have that the frequency, magnitude and duration of ENSO has not been skewed by CO 2 is the multidecadal variability of ENSO has been working its way back to ENSO neutral in recent years while CO2 emissions continue to rise:

    Regarding your comments about climate models, all of my discussions and presentations of how poorly climate models work have one thing in common. The models are trying to simulate the warming of sea surface temperatures from anthropogenic forcings. My use of the models as a reference in this instance is significantly different. The sea surface temperature data is used as the primary forcing. I’m not being hypocritical in any way.

  67. Paul Homewood says: “Presumably, sooner or later, the excess heat introduced by large El Ninos will be dissipated and temperatures will return to “normal”. Will this happen gradually, or will we see it as a step change ?”

    Looking at the slow decadal cooling taking place in the South Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific data…

    …it appears to be gradual there. When the influence of the AMO reaches its peak in the North Atlantic, it will eventually counter any impacts of future large ENSO events, but the AMO also has a gradual influence.

  68. Goldie: A portion of my earlier reply to you was incomplete as noted by sergeiMK. My earlier reply included:
    There was more warm water available for the El Nino events. The warm water was created during the 1973/74/75/76 La Nina for the 1986/87/88 El Nino, and for the 1997/98 El Nino, it was created by freakishly strong trade winds in the western tropical Pacific (weather related) during the 1995/96 La Nina.

    What I should have included was:
    The stronger-than-normal trade winds during the La Nina push aside cloud cover which allows more downward shortwave radiation (visible sunlight) to warm the tropical Pacific to depth.

    Regards

  69. Dearest Bob,

    I’m on a mission of sorts here, so bear with me. Although most people are sadly unaware of it, Bayesian analysis can accomplish three things. Given a model and the evidence, it can determine the best values for the model parameters in the sense that they provide the best explanation for the data within the model. As a consequence of this, it determines the likelihood function — the best prediction of the probability distribution that corresponds to the evidence within the model. And finally — and most apropos in the context of your lovely rant above — it can compare models on the basis of the evidence!

    As it does the latter, it automatically corrects for parametric overcompleteness by degrading models with more parameters compared to models with fewer ones (while also compensating for differences in the quality of fit). In other words, it builds “Ockham’s Razor” right into the comparative process by reducing the final plausibility of a model with many parameters compared to one that does just as well with fewer parameters.

    If I were going to criticize your paper above as a referee, my primary criticism is that your argument is strictly heuristic. The IPCC scenario does fit the data, the evidence. The question is how well does it fit the data compared to alternative models that might or might not have similar internal complexity in terms of the number of parameters required in the fit. Bayesian analysis would help you put actual numbers to your assertion, and make quantitative claims about the comparative quality of your model explanation versus the IPCCs. It would also let you leave out most of the allegations of impropriety and vested interest because rather than making an heuristic argument alleging a vast conspiracy you’d be simply pointing out that their model is not the best explanation of the data along with easily recomputable, verifiable analysis demonstrating why.

    My second criticism would be based on Bayesian analysis — Bayesian analysis you could have done but omitted in your paper. The thermometric data for the world over the last (say) 140 years is hopelessly corrupted and very little reliable data exists at all for the oceans, which (as you note) cover 70% of the Earth’s surface. However, one piece of virtually uncorrupted data that has not been “adjusted” out of any correspondence with the original sources is the tidal gauge data used to measure sea level rise from roughly 1870 on. This data is more or less pristine — there are many contributing gauges, they are scattered all over the world, they are physically fixed (and some of them may well be still in use or at least physically available to calibrate modern replacements) and finally, they are in quite good correspondence with satellite results from only the last decade or so.

    The ocean is one huge thermometer. Sea level is almost completely insensitive to global ice melt (if one can demonstrate that there has been any significant degradation of land-based ice at all) and almost entirely comes from thermal expansion of the water in response to changes in its total enthalpy content. Furthermore, it is a relatively well-mixed thermometer — because the sea surface is, on average, more or less isostatic, the ocean itself does the mixing of warming in one place to everywhere else (including to and from the land) on a timescale that nicely “erases” almost all of the short term noise including ENSO. One graph says it all:

    If we normalize this graph to make it correspond to the supposed rise in global temperatures over that time (in other words, construct the map between sea level and temperature just as we do in an actual thermometer) we immediately observe two things. First, there is a dominant linear trend across all 140 years. This linear trend is so pronounced that it “explains” almost the entire dataset enormously well, especially if one normalizes the thermometer in degrees Kelvin, so that the entire linear trend is over less than one degree out of perhaps 260. Deviations from the trend are uniformly less than 0.1 degree (eyeballing, mind you). There is some structure visible, but even if it corresponds to ENSO oscillations (versus longer timescale macroscopic oscillations e.g. the PDO or NAO) this does not support the assertion that ENSO is responsible for the warming either of the oceans or of the Earth itself.

    Second, the “cause” of this linear warming trend clearly predates any significant levels of anthropogenic CO_2 and persists virtually unaltered across all 140 years, with at most a tiny bit of “acceleration” visible at the end that is absolutely unresolvable (a Bayesian model that fit e.g. a linear term plus a quadratic would slightly improve the fit, but at the expense of one more parameter, which would, I suspect, not make it more plausible given the noise and natural variance visible in the evidence any more than the “acceleration” visible in the stretch from 1930 to 1950 is likely to be significant).

    In order for ENSO to be explanatory as a “coin flip” of sorts — some sort of random process that either warms things a bit or cools them a bit (on average) with warming/cooling cumulative, the coin would have to be heavily biased towards warming over the entire 140 years of the evidence.

    Which leads us to my final criticism of your assertions. You present a reasonably convincing (given the shortness of the time being discussed) fit of SSTs that suggests that ENSO, not CO_2, is responsible for SST increases as a proxy for general global warming. If true, however, ENSO is a highly biased process, not random at all, more or less stuck on warming. This leaves one shy an explanation. Why is the El Nino/La Nina series net warming over (if the SLR “thermometer” is to be believed, as I think it should be) 140 years?

    Note well that this graph confounds everything that is believed about global warming. It reduces the whole raft of model parameters currently held to be of crucial importance in understanding global climate to (probable) insignificance, to noise. ENSO is noise on this graph — it is almost inconceivable that it is a cause. The PDO, NAO, and other global oscillations may have a slightly stronger effect but they are still just noise, less than 10% of the explanatory power. Volcanic aerosols and other aerosols are completely invisible — averaged away by the enormous multiple time scale latency and mixing. As far as I know, there is no single parameter used in global climate models that increases monotonically and linearly over the last 140 years and that can serve as a plausible primary explanation for the current warming trend. If there were, it would almost certainly be something (using your two dollar word) exogenous — quite possibly exogenous to the entire planet, e.g. long term trends in solar state with some very subtle coupling that erases any fourier signature from the oceanic data.

    This is the scientific puzzle that is being ignored. Why has sea level (and hence global enthalpy) risen with a nearly perfect linear trend for 140 years?

    The answer is almost certainly not Carbon Dioxide. It is not vulcanism. It is not ENSO, or the PDO, or anything associated with oscillations. It smacks of Milankovitch kinds of explanations — slow, inexorable changes in orbital characteristics that e.g. bias the hell out of the ENSO fluctuation into a steady state warming mode or the like. ENSO might be the cause, but what is the cause of the cause — not of ENSO itself but of its apparent nearly uniform warming bias.

    There is a smoking gun out there waiting to be discovered, and CO_2 ain’t it.

    rgb

  70. Sir,
    First, a typo, need to add “ El Niño takes naturally created warm water from below the surface of the western tropical Pacific and relocates it ++TO++the surface”

    Second; We know that sea water warms when it is on the surface. And, we know that warm water is a little less dense than cold water. So there must be some physical mechanism causing the warm water to first submerge then come back to the surface and also to slosh back and forth across the Pacific. I.e., ENSO temperature changes are the result of some physical process. It would help a Simple Red Neck like me if there were a “on-the-back-of-a-napkin” explanation of that mechanism.

    Regards,
    Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin)

  71. Oops, I meant to say that Bayesian analysis yields the posterior distribution, not the likelihood function, in the comment above. The likelihood comes from the model and the evidence, the posterior is the model prior after incorporating the likelihood, the model evidence. My bad. The overall statement and conclusion is still correct, though, one can compare the posterior predictions (given the evidence) and make a rational choice as to which one best explains the data (or whether or not there is any significant difference in the quality of explanation, as both can easily be consistent with their own priors within the model).

    rgb

  72. Bob, your fig8 shows 1.5 volcanic events and 2 ls ninas. Any conclusions draw from that are pretty speculative. I don’t say wrong but there really is not enough information there to draw any conclusion. Especially when you have both showing cooling but one has a big volcano superposed on it.

    What you could also suggest is the both volcanoes produces a warming rebound (even though you miss the Mt Chinon cooling. From your detrended analysis, Mt Pinatubo actually produced more warming than cooling. If your analysis is correct.

    I _suspect_ that volcanoes have minimal overall effect, so this is interesting. They also are the main excuse for exaggerated CO2 “forcing”. Without the supposed cooling effect of volcanoes CO2 warming disappears in a puff of smoke.

    Climate models do this very poorly. Cooler summers are accompanied by warmer winters. You may like to look at whether ENSO is part of the negative feedback that allows the climate to correct for volcanic cooling.

  73. Can’t you be correct about step wise warming caused be El Ninos and there still be an anthropological CO2 effect happening at the same time? i.e. Is it not possible that without an anthropological component, natural processes would have caused more significant cooling during non El Nino periods, but, because of increased CO2, this didn’t happen?

    I suppose figure 5 is supposed to show that this is not a possible explanation, but since the extra warmth is supposed to be being driven deep (not measured) and then released (sent elsewhere) I am not convinced that a lack of overall warming trend in this data set is an indication that there is not a CO2 contribution.

    I probably don’t understand something that you are saying, but I really don’t get how anything you have said rules out the influence of CO2.

  74. rgbatduke: Feel free to perform any analysis you like. I have no need to carry this any farther than I have presented in my book or in past posts. But I would strongly suggest if you want to analyze sea surface temperature you use sea surface temperature data, not sea level data, and that you limit your analysis to the satellite era of sea surface temperature data as I have done. The Reynolds OI.v2 data is spatially complete and the satellite biases have been corrected.

    You wrote: “Sea level is almost completely insensitive to global ice melt (if one can demonstrate that there has been any significant degradation of land-based ice at all) and almost entirely comes from thermal expansion of the water in response to changes in its total enthalpy content.”

    Here’s a comparison of the total rise in satellite-era sea level data versus thermosteric sea level data. Since 1993 the thermosteric component is only about 27% of the total rise:

    Would you like to alter your statement?

    You wrote: “If I were going to criticize your paper above as a referee, my primary criticism is that your argument is strictly heuristic. The IPCC scenario does fit the data, the evidence.”

    Apparently you’ve never compared the IPCC’s models to sea surface temperature data. You must be taking the IPCC’s word for it. Refer to:

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/what-do-observed-sea-surface-temperature-anomalies-and-climate-models-have-in-common-over-the-past-17-years/

    And:

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/march-2012-sea-surface-temperature-sst-anomaly-update-a-new-look/

    And:

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2011/04/10/part-1-%e2%80%93-satellite-era-sea-surface-temperature-versus-ipcc-hindcastprojections/

    And:

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2011/04/10/part-1-%e2%80%93-satellite-era-sea-surface-temperature-versus-ipcc-hindcastprojections/

    And:

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/492/

    You wrote: “Second, the “cause” of this linear warming trend clearly predates any significant levels of anthropogenic CO_2 and persists virtually unaltered across all 140 years…”

    I only use satellite-era SST data because of its completeness and since the IPCC says that only greenhouse gases can explain the warming over that 30 years. The data disagrees with them.

    Regards

    PS: Assuming you’re from Duke University, I enjoyed it when I visited there on business in the 1970s. Pretty campus.

  75. Charlie Z says: “Can’t you be correct about step wise warming caused be El Ninos and there still be an anthropological CO2 effect happening at the same time?”

    In Figures 6 and 10, please show me the CO2 component.

  76. rgbatduke:

    You correctly say Milankovitch “like”, as known cycles cancel between the hemispheres and over time. Your one degree K over 140 years would be really impressive over 20,000 years.

    It ain’t Milankovitch either.

  77. P. Solar: “Bob, your fig8 shows 1.5 volcanic events and 2 ls ninas. Any conclusions draw from that are pretty speculative. I don’t say wrong but there really is not enough information there to draw any conclusion. Especially when you have both showing cooling but one has a big volcano superposed on it.”

    You misunderstand the graph, P.Solar. The Rest-of-the-World data diverges (cools away) from the NINO3.4 data following the volcanic eruptions. The Rest-of-the-World data diverges from the NINO3.4 data during the 1988/89 and 1998/99/00/01 La Nina because it doesn’t cool. They are not “both showing cooling”.

  78. Surprised you didn’t know this Bob but this is rgbatduke.

    As there are step changes with large El Niños, some people have assumed that temps will continue to rise. It’s only intuition but I suspect that Arctic sea ice recedes and allows a path for SST cooling periodically.

    DaveE.

  79. Bob T.,

    In figure 6, you showed me the potential CO2 component by drawing a linear trend. What I am suggesting is what you show in figure 7 – if you de-trend the data from figure 6, then would this graph show how ENSO would be affecting temperature without a contribution from CO2? Basically, would temperature be behaving as tilted steps with upticks and then longer cooling, but because of CO2, the steps are flat, as you have identified them in figure 9.

    Since you ask about figure 10, could the loss of heat shown during non El Nino periods be greater if it were not for increased in CO2?

    I am suggesting that just because you have identified steps, you haven’t ruled out a CO2 contribution.

  80. rgbatduke “Oops, I meant to say that Bayesian analysis yields the posterior distribution, not the likelihood function” Shame. Up till then you sounded quite convincing.

  81. Geoff Sherrington says:
    September 17, 2012 at 3:24 am
    “The seas where you start your cycle arounf Indonesia are too shallow for Argo. The Aust BOM has set up a series of stations there, including tidal gauges, but I’m not sure how public they make their data.”

    I’ve been monitoring the BOM’s South Pacific Sea Level & Climate Monitoring Project data for the last few years.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/oceanography/projects/spslcmp/data/monthly.shtml

    Stations were installed starting in 1993. All stations except one show a sharp SST warming after 1997/8, then either a slow reduction or stasis since. The exception is Papua New Guinea, the furthest west, which shows a fairly steady (and startling) increase of 0.64 °C/decade since recording began in 1994.

  82. Bob, you’re correct I was misreading part of the graph. There is a “brown” area around 1985 , why do you not fill that one as well? That amounts to a rebound from the volcanic cooling. There would also be one after Pinotubo if you had not arbitrarily cooled the data by detrending.

    You need to explain why you “detrend” the ROW temperature rise. It OK to help see the similarity in form and that’s interesting, but you cannot start talking about “cooling” since it’s you that cooled the data. What do you attribute that residual rise to , co2 ??

    My impression is that post volanic cooling is followed by a rebound caused by some negative feedback. I don’t think there is any significant global cooling _offset_ 10 years after these events. Your stronger El Ninos of ’88 and ’98 may well be part of this rebound mechanism.

    As I noted above El Nino is a cooling event form OHC perspective. It is the heat reservoir of the ocean reheating SST and the atmosphere.That has all the hallmarks of a negative feedback.

    La Nina is an energy storage phase. The asymmetry that you point out here is due to the fact that in the latter case it is not the atmosphere that heats the ocean since it can’t (heat capacity). It is a different process.

    The basic oscillation is always there. Differences in the cycle provide a feedback mechanism.

    Climate models need a permanent cooling so that they can invoke amplified CO2 (three time what the physics suggests CO2 would cause). More extreme, warmist activists (eg .Hansen) use stronger volcanic forcing.

  83. Rgbatduke

    You said;

    “However, one piece of virtually uncorrupted data that has not been “adjusted” out of any correspondence with the original sources is the tidal gauge data used to measure sea level rise from roughly 1870 on. This data is more or less pristine — there are many contributing gauges, they are scattered all over the world, they are physically fixed (and some of them may well be still in use or at least physically available to calibrate modern replacements) and finally, they are in quite good correspondence with satellite results from only the last decade or so.”

    I am genuinely astonished that you say this. On what study do you base this information-the Church paper? How many tidal gauges do you believe were active in 1870 and have remained uncorrupted since then? Its an even worse record than Giss land temperatures and the tidal gauge information as unreliable as the Mann Hockey stick.
    tonyb

  84. Only shortwave radiation from the Sun is capable of penetrating and heating the oceans. IR from GHGs only penetrates a few microns to cause evaporative cooling of the ocean skin. There are several papers demonstrating correlations between solar activity and ocean oscillations.

    Observational data recorded in-situ on the ocean demonstrates that doubled CO2 levels will cause no significant ocean warming from either increased IR “backradiation” or “decreasing the thermal gradient” between the ocean and atmosphere.

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2012/09/realclimate-admits-doubling-co2-could.html

  85. Charlie Z says: “I am suggesting that just because you have identified steps, you haven’t ruled out a CO2 contribution.”

    Charlie Z, I would agree with you IF the East Pacific (Figure 5) showed evidence of CO2 warming, but it does not.

    Let me try another way to present this. Here’s Figure 6 again. It compares the East Pacific to the Rest-of-the-World:

    If the Rest-of-the-World data had cooled proportionally during the 1988/89 and 1998/99/00/01 La Ninas like the East Pacific data, there would be no trend in the Rest-of-the-World data. It would be just like the East Pacific data. The only reason it has a trend is because it did not cool proportionally during the La Nina.

  86. @thefordprefect says:

    >If you have air at 35C above water at 30C the only way the water can cool is by evaporation and also the air will warm the surface layer which will mix.
    >If you have air at 25C above water at 30C evap will still occur but now the water will lose energy to the Air.

    At low Delta T’s the ocean water skin is always cooler than the air. The surface water is not warmed by the air. The boundary between them is saturated at all times with water vapour leaving the water and returning to it continuously. As soon as some water vapour moves out of the zone it leaves the surface cooled, whatever the temperature of the air. It also applies to ice (sublimation).

    There is a phenomenon whereby very warm air (many degrees warmer) can heat water by condensing water vapour out of the air, if it is available. This effect is real and reproducible but very low in heat content compared with the heat capacity of the oceans. For all practical purposes, a slightly warmer atmosphere cannot warm a cooler ocean. Certainly not a degree or two and certainly not unless the air was fantastically warmer which is not the CAGW claim.

    The idea that GHG’s can warm the air slightly and have this appear, detectably, in ocean temperatures is fantasy. You can quickly convince yourself of this by taking the mass of the atmosphere, its specific heat (Cp) and do the same for the oceans. Calculate a temperature average for each. Increase the temperature of the whole volume of the atmosphere by 1 degree and see what a difference it makes in the oceans. Be amazed.

    An alternative ‘warmist’ approach is to say that only the surface air temperatures are increasing, so they will increase more than the whole atmosphere (because of GHG’s). Applying that to the above equation ultimately means reducing the total thermal mass of the portion of the atmosphere that is supposed to be having an influence. Slightly warmer air does not slightly, detectably, warm the oceans.

    You can easily see the saturated region of a water-air interface by bring a pot of water slowly to a boil in a no-wind environment. Just below the boiling point you will see the super-saturated layer just above the water. Evaporation/condensation is a two-way street in that region. If you blow a little breath over the layer, you can move it aside. The region exposed immediately drops in temperature. If you use a hair dryer on ‘high’ to do the blowing, the temperature of the exposed water will still drop. That is just how it is. In fact, why don’t you try to heat a pan of water using a hair dryer blowing across its surface? See how effective it is and then report to us your result. Try to estimate the heating efficiency.

    Now, observe the same with a freezer, say an open topped freezer in a shopping mall. There is a layer of condensed water vapour trapped above the frozen food insulating it from the passing air above. The warm air in the store has nearly no effect at all on the frozen contents of the freezer which very slowly and inefficiently (given the temperature of the air) gain a layer of frost. The heat released by the freezing remains in the air layer above the food slightly delaying the next spike of frost.

    If one were to argue that disturbing the layer continuously transfers heat, you are back to the Cp air v.s. Cp ocean calculation above. If it is real, you can’t detect it. Tisdale has shown us the real data. If AGW is real, it is so small as to be completely undetectable in the natural background noise.

  87. Hockey Schtick: You wrote in your linked post, “The RealClimate post then shows the experimental evidence [a single paper]….”

    You’d better check again. That’s a guest post by one of the scientists who were on board a research vessel and performed that field experiment. I never found a peer-reviewed paper associated with his guest post. As far as I know, there is no peer-reviewed paper, and the graph you’ve shown is just the image created for that RealClimate post. Please confirm if there’s a peer-reviewed paper that accompanies that image and that post.

  88. P. Solar says: “You need to explain why you “detrend” the ROW temperature rise…”

    I did in the post. I wrote, It was easy to compare the year-to-year warmings and coolings in the East Pacific data and our ENSO index because neither has warmed in 30 years. Let’s make the Rest-of-the-World sea surface temperature anomalies just as easy to compare to our ENSO index by removing the trend in the Rest-of-the-World data.

  89. Monckton of Brenchley says: “Bob Tisdale’s work is potentially of great significance. If at all possible, he should get it into one of the leading reviewed journals.”

    Thanks for the kind words, Christopher. But the satellite-era SST data contradicts the consensus opinions of global warming. For that reason, my discussion of how and why SSTs warm would never make it past the gatekeepers of peer review.

    I will let you know one thing that’s positive: My website received visits today from modeling groups and the keepers of the surface temperature data, so I must be on the right track and be stepping on toes.

  90. rgbatduke asked:

    “what is the cause of the cause — not of ENSO itself but of its apparent nearly uniform warming bias.
    There is a smoking gun out there waiting to be discovered, and CO_2 ain’t it”

    The increasing level of solar activity across the period caused the polar vortices to become more positive with the climate zones drawn poleward.

    Global cloudiness decreased and more solar energy entered the oceans to keep skewing the ENSO process more and more in favour of El Ninos relative to La Ninas.

    Hence the upward temperature stepping from one positive phase of the Pacific Multidecadal Oscillation to the next.

    Most likely such upward stepping goes right back to the LIA and before that there would have been downward stepping from MWP to the LIA.

    It will be interesting to watch and measure the system response over a couple of quiet solar cycles.

    I also think that ozone quantities respond to solar variations far more than to CFCs and that atmospheric CO2 quantities follow ocean heat content and / or sea surface temperatures on that timescale of MWP to LIA and LIA to date.

  91. tallbloke says:
    September 17, 2012 at 6:02 am
    Bob Tisdale says:
    September 17, 2012 at 4:12 am
    tallbloke says: “I suggest this is largely due to reduced cloud…”

    Please provide data to support your suggestion. I’m not disagreeing with you, but you haven’t provided anything to confirm it. If you’re using the ISCCP cloud amount data, there are two problems with it. The early data was impacted by volcanic aerosols, and there’s also a wide band of data missing across the western Indian Ocean before the late 1990s.

    Hi Bob, well I did mention the Spanish and Chinese studies which were covered here on WUWT recently. I didn’t think it was too controversial any more. Especially considering you invoke reduced cloud during La Nina to ‘recharge’ the Pacific Warm Pool for the next El Nino.

    Which cloud data did you use to support that hypothesis if not ISCCP data?

  92. This hypothesis of ENSO being the culprit of global warming has been suggested before here:

    http://members.iinet.net.au/~glrmc/McLean_deFreitas_Carter_JGR_2009.pdf

    It was rebutted in less than a year later here:

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/2009JD012960.pdf

    If this last paper (Foster et al 2010) has some statistical flaws or other mistakes then Mr. Tisdale should have written a rebuttal to the same magazine. AGU always, I repeat, always issues corrections of mistakes made in articles. Any article. And no Mr. Tisdale: It doesn’t cost you a single dime. You can do that here: http://www.agu.org/pubs/authors/submission_review/ You seem to have the expertise to do so. McLean et al clearly weren’t able to write one.
    Since you consider yourself to be a specialist of ENSO and knows apparently more than all the very well educated climate scientists put together why haven’t you written the rebuttal? Should have been a piece of cake for you and this highly significant article by McLean et al 2009 was right up your alley, because it “proved” your hypothesis.
    The way Mr. Tisdale looks down on scientists trying to fight it out the scientific way while Mr. Tisdale himself keeps safely away from this scientific playground I think says it all. It’s that particular denigrating tone of his in this piece that is disturbing.
    Any guess why he doesn’t produce papers in the scientific literature about this ENSO being the culprit of global warming? It would be the news of the century if he would be right, but his ENSO hypothesis itself is on very shaky grounds. Just like the McLean et al 2009 paper was, but at least that was a very courageous step in the way how it should be done scientifically and I admire these authors for that greatly.

    Science has looked at this ENSO hypothesis and it failed to explain the warming of the last 30 years. It failed to explain longterm warming at all. It just failed!

    And if Mr. Tisdale would be interested in any suggestions: Please stop complaining about models being wrong, proponents of AGW being wrong, the “impotence” of CO2, the IPCC and all other trivial subjects that have nothing to do with this very complicated subject. They are too distracting and only leading away. Please just explain to us why ENSO is the culprit of global warming and explain the mechanism how it really works.

  93. Bob T. said “Charlie Z, I would agree with you IF the East Pacific (Figure 5) showed evidence of CO2 warming, but it does not.”

    Don’t get me wrong, I am just trying to understand the argument.

    I saw figure 5 and the associated text, but I really didn’t see why the East Pacific showing no warming suggested that CO2 doesn’t have a global influence. Your suggesting that the heat accumulating there is being occasionally dumped to the rest of the world. If it is being dumped, then there seems to be no particular reason for a localized long term accumulation. A flat trend in that particular region, although intuitively unexpected, doesn’t necessarily contradict a global CO2 influence.

  94. tallbloke, it looks like we’re chasing each other between your blog and here.

    tallbloke says: “Hi Bob, well I did mention the Spanish and Chinese studies which were covered here on WUWT recently. I didn’t think it was too controversial any more. Especially considering you invoke reduced cloud during La Nina to ‘recharge’ the Pacific Warm Pool for the next El Nino… Which cloud data did you use to support that hypothesis if not ISCCP data?”

    It’s not a hypothesis. The interactions between the tropical Pacific trade winds and cloud cover in response to ENSO have been known for decades.

    To answer your question, I used the ISCCP cloud cover data but only for the tropical Pacific, which is, of course, directly impacted by ENSO. So the problem with the Indian Ocean never comes into play. Also, I started my comparisons of the impacts of ENSO in tropical Pacific cloud amount in 1995 so that they would not be impacted by the volcanic aerosols.

    You know that. You’ve read my book.

    Regards

    PS: Sorry I missed your earlier reply.

  95. Those who claim that a constant sun means a constant global temperature (except for the presence of man-made CO2) have an argument that is so simplistic that it’s virtually DOA. The data clearly show where that extra heat is coming from,and it’s from the sun – radiation that does not heat the ocean except during La Nina. Nor is it logical to assume that the ENSO process has either always been the same or had the same dominating position. Until the exact mechanism triggering ENSO events are understood,no one is in a position to say much of anything about past histories, much less future events, etc. For our purposes, the issue is the here and now of the events and the effects they are producing, which clearly seems to be allowing more solar radiation to get through and warm the oceans, etc. Since ENSO apparently existed long before AGW, it is impossible to claim it the result of AGW. The patently obvious association of sea warming to ENSO events likewise dismisses any direct tie-in to AGW.

  96. tallbloke: I’m not disagreeing with graph. Adding the solar cycle data as you had provides a great visual.

    As you noted, I’m cautious, I like to have data to support what I write.

    Thanks again for the intro at your blog and the time you’ve spent discussing this.

    Regards

  97. Great post Bob,

    “If you’re using the ISCCP cloud amount data, there are two problems with it. The early data was impacted by volcanic aerosols, and there’s also a wide band of data missing across the western Indian Ocean before the late 1990s.”

    I don’t see these problems having any overall contribution. The early data caused by volcanoes did cause an 2 percent increase in low global cloud data, but this quickly responded back to previous levels shortly after. The wide band missing is very unlikely to affect global trends unless this region behaves significantly differently. I don’ know of any evidence that this region does and post 1990’s immediately after the trend continued as normal. The trend did change later, but this wasn’t caused by the convergence of data.

    Changing global temperatures so there is no trend in global low clouds provides interesting reading.

    If the global temperatures response to low clouds were less, then warming to 1995 shown above would almost become stable and the cooling after reduced.

    In this scenario low clouds can be shown to be the main factor in warming at the surface, but this is linked to ENSO as already touched on because the more low clouds covering the pacific ENSO region during a La Nina the less energy contributing towards the next El Nino. When we start getting a period with less solar energy contribution towards El Nino’s (either albedo and/or externally), this will show a future cool down overall for global temperatures. Do you agree that the last moderate/strong El Nino had a reduced global affect and the next one or two could well show this possible cool down?

  98. Charlie Z says: “I saw figure 5 and the associated text, but I really didn’t see why the East Pacific showing no warming suggested that CO2 doesn’t have a global influence. Your suggesting that the heat accumulating there is being occasionally dumped to the rest of the world…”

    Nope. The East Pacific simply receives a quick blast of warm water every couple of years from El Ninos. There’s no heat accumulating there, That is, the warm water from below the surface of the WESTERN tropical Pacific is released by an El Nino, and it’s carried east into the East Pacific, where it stays until the end of the El Nino. When the El Nino is done, it sloshes back out.

    If CO2 were to have a blatantly obvious effect on any ocean basin, it would be the East Pacific, because the East Pacific is only the temporary home of the water released by an El Nino. But the East Pacific sea surface temperatures show no influence from CO2. They haven’t warmed in 30 years.

    On the other hand, the only reason the Rest-of-the-World warmed is because that’s where the leftover warm water goes after the major El Niño events are done.

    Charlie Z, I’m not arguing with you. I’m trying to find the way to make this make sense, that’s all. I look at it as if I haven’t explained it properly for everyone. I’ll keep at it.

    Regards

  99. But I would strongly suggest if you want to analyze sea surface temperature you use sea surface temperature data, not sea level data, and that you limit your analysis to the satellite era of sea surface temperature data as I have done. The Reynolds OI.v2 data is spatially complete and the satellite biases have been corrected.

    I appreciate why you say that and agree that only the last 35 years or thereabouts of satellite based data is truly apples to apples — mostly — consistent and probably instrumentally reproducible. The problem, of course, is that 30, 40, even 60 years of data if you include atmospheric soundings, is a pitiful baseline upon which to base any sort of theory at all. For one thing it doesn’t include a complete cycle of many of the large decadal oscillations that almost certainly have as much total influence as ENSO (and may be cofactors in what ENSO does).

    Here’s a comparison of the total rise in satellite-era sea level data versus thermosteric sea level data. Since 1993 the thermosteric component is only about 27% of the total rise:

    Would you like to alter your statement?

    Of course not. You’ve now taken perhaps half of the inadequate time baseline of your analysis and shown a couple of lines that aren’t in agreement across that time, where the difference between both lines is insignificant noise on the scale of the 1870-2010 data. This isn’t quite cherrypicking (since that is the entire era where there are halfway decent satellite measurements of the SLR in the first place) but it in no way rebuts the assertion that straight up sea level is likely to be a very good proxy for global temperature across the entire stretch. To be honest, this is likely to be true even if there is a land ice melt component as long as the melt rate is in some sense itself proportional to global temperature, as seems fairly reasonable.

    If it weren’t for two things — the fact that the satellite measurements have significantly reduced the variance/error in the measurements in the final decade and a half of the series and the fact that the interval where this is true is a decade and a half long, one could actually look at that interval and detect an “acceleration” compared to the 140 year trend and perhaps attribute it to ice melt adding to thermal expansion. Sadly, there are similar “accelerations in the intervals 1935-1960 and perhaps elsewhere, only the error bars are too large to be certain, and even more sadly we don’t have even 16 or 17 years of ARGO data, more like 8. Hence our knowledge of the enthalpy content of the ocean to the far side of the thermocline (upon which knowledge of ice melt versus thermal expansion proportions seems to depend) is not terribly precise and is based on few measurements and many assumptions the further back you go.

    Apparently you’ve never compared the IPCC’s models to sea surface temperature data.

    Actually, I have read each of your posts with great interest, and have even suggested several times you contact Koutsoyiannis, who gets almost identical punctuated shifts out of Kolmogorov-Hurst analysis of similar data sets in hydrological applications. Again, the issue isn’t with the data or even your interpretations of it, it is with the relative lack of sophistication in your analysis of it. You make assertions that this is noise, that isn’t noise, CO_2 isn’t well correlated, ENSO is well correlated — but those assertions are not quantitative. They could be, and if they were they would be a lot more convincing. That’s all.

    Bear in mind that I’m a skeptic, right, and if anything inclined to agree with you. But we both need to watch out for our own personal biases, and the only way to eliminate personal bias and elevate a discussion of this sort from politics to science is through the use of sound statistical analysis, as Steve McIntyre has demonstrated repeatedly on CA.

    I only use satellite-era SST data because of its completeness and since the IPCC says that only greenhouse gases can explain the warming over that 30 years. The data disagrees with them.

    Regards

    PS: Assuming you’re from Duke University, I enjoyed it when I visited there on business in the 1970s. Pretty campus.

    And I agree, on both counts. In particular with the assertion that “only” GHGs can explain it. However, I think that one powerful argument to that effect is the observation that SLR displays little sign of any sort of “hockey stick” upturn and indeed appears to be continuing a linear trend at least 140 years old, that displays no significant causal correlation with — well, anything. That’s a pretty serious problem.

    And yes, I’m at Duke;-)

    As far as the precision of the tidal gauge record compared to the thermometric record — note well the error bars in the figure. I’m happy enough with inch-sized errors 140 years ago, but there is still only 10% of the overall variation, and scarcely weakens the argument that there is a strong linear trend and doesn’t weaken at all the assertion that there is no visible systematic accleration (although one can certainly discern patches of noise or systematic “something” on top of the linear trend.

    rgb

  100. Bob says: Let’s make the Rest-of-the-World sea surface temperature anomalies just as easy to compare to our ENSO index by removing the trend in the Rest-of-the-World data.

    You’re missing my point. You can compare form like that and note the correlation in the cyclic component but you can’t talk about “cooling” when it’s actually warming but you have cooled it by removing a “trend”. What is this trend you are removing? Are you attributing it to something else physically that you wish to say accounts for it and then look at what is left? That does not seem to be the case.

    The divergence you are attributing to Mt P is much smaller without your arbitrary detrending and there was a subsequent warming rebound except that you removed it.

    Why are you removing 0.12 K/decade from that data? Why not 0.6 or 2.4 ?? What would it mean for it not have a trend? It’s arbitrary.

    I think you have found a clear indication of the important asymmetry in the ENSO processes. You could say more about why they are different. That is key to people realising they are not two phases of the same thing.

    The unattributed “trend” is just inviting someone to say it is CO2 !
    You could better show the effect by focussing on each Nino/Nina pair without interference. Real temps and real warming/cooling magnitudes. The fact that ROW closely follows the El Nino rise but falls only about half the Nina drop clearly shows a resulting residual surface temperature rise.

    You also note it’s fairly level in between.

    Now the last El Nino was fairly unremarkable and gave only a modest rise. It also came rather late , as did the solar minimum.

    So were the strong Ninos related to volcano rebound, or controlled by something else? The previous big shift was about 1975 IIRC. About the same delay after Mt Agung ? I’ll have to look more closely at that.

    I don’t think trends are appropriate for chaotic systems. I don’t think you need it other than to emphasis the similarity in form. Talking about a “cooling” that you have largely created does not make sense unless you attribute the warming trend to something physically real that you wish to remove. I don’t think you want to say it’s CO2 do you?

  101. climatereason says:
    September 17, 2012 at 11:53 am

    “I am genuinely astonished that you say this. On what study do you base this information-the Church paper? How many tidal gauges do you believe were active in 1870 and have remained uncorrupted since then? Its an even worse record than Giss land temperatures and the tidal gauge information as unreliable as the Mann Hockey stick.”

    I am genuinely astonished that YOU say this. Where’s your evidence?

  102. Mostly Harmless

    Hers my evidence.

    Please go and look at AR4 chapter 5 which is the one referenced by wiki.

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

    Their graph showing historic sea level rise (page 3) is highly misleading as it does not provide any context. Chapter five of the IPCC 4 assessment is the relevant document (link given below)

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter5.pdf

    This is the entire 800 page IPCC Assessment 4 from which it is taken. This is substantially different in tone and content to the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) used by politicians.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_ipcc_fourth_assessment_report_wg1_report_the_physical_science_basis.htm

    Figure 5.13 on page 410 is the basis of many graphs used by Government and their agencies to promote scary sea level rises which are then eagerly picked up by the more sensationalist media and Al Gore.

    This paper provides context as it expresses the IPCC’s own caveats (which can be read in Chapter 5 of the link above) It can be seen that much of the historic sea level record is a computer generated model as the actual historic global tidal gauge measurements either simply do not exist, or are based on data gathered from three highly fractured historic tide gauges in Liverpool, Amsterdam and Stockholm. (Referenced in my links)

    In this respect it is useful to look at figure 5A2 (above) which shows tide gauge numbers used. These slowly grew from 3 in the 1700’s until in 1900 they stood at 20 in the Northern Hemisphere and 2 in the Southern Hemisphere.

    There are only 7 gauges that have not moved that are at least 100 years old.
    Here they are under slide 27 of this presentation by The US National Academy of Sciences

    http://www.nasonline.org/site/DocServer/Yokoyama_Yusuke.pdf?docID=53500

    That’s it. A global sea level has been manufactured based on a tiny number of northern hemisphere tide gauges in which much of the information has been made up.

    tonyb

  103. Mostly Harmless:

    I offer you a tip for future reference.

    Never doubt TonyB unless you have rock-solid evidence because the record shows he only makes statements he can back-up with documented information from a variety of sources and types.

    Richard

  104. Bob
    Thanks for the reply.
    Interestingly it seems that big La Ninas potentially have other climactic affects apart from taking on heat for the next El Nino. The really big La Nina of 74 was followed a couple of seasons later by a stepwise change (drop) in rainfall. Since the last La Nina was pretty big too, I am wondering whats nevt. If you have an explanation of the mechanism in your book, please say so and I will gladly go there rather than get you to reiterate here.

    Thanks.

  105. You can’t imagine the type of feather ruffling that occured when the cold-mother syndrome finally went down in flames. And I believe it went down in flames because mothers got their knickers in a twist and started using foul language to describe scientists and doctors who kept telling them they were at fault for the distant behavior of their child. So you think Bob spends too much time putting heat to his voice? Don’t make a mother mad.

    Love the way you write Bob. You can’t paint a pretty color on dog poop and call it something else. So you might as well leave it un-adorned and call it dog poop.

  106. Tony:

    Thanks for the link to Dr. Yokoyama’s National Academies talk.

    That the East Antarctic Ice Sheet stopped melting 3000 years ago is consistent with recent studies finding that the Holocene has in fact been cooling since the Minoan Warm Period about 3300 years ago.

    Remarkable that San Francisco’s tide gauge is the only far field (remote from rebounding crust in the North Atlantic region) station useful for measuring sea level rise due to the Greenland Ice Sheet, which, along with the West Antarctic Sheet, is still melting, thanks to the continuation of the present naturally occurring but now cooling interglacial period.

    I noticed no indication in the presentation that the rate of sea level rise has increased since 1900. If so, it would probably be within the range of estimated rise due to the GIS & WAIS melting.

  107. Bob, have a look at the Southern Atlantic. There is an even tighter tie-in with the ENSO here. They move in almost identical patterns for a decade or more at a time before the south Atlantic trends off to a new base. I’ve started using a Southern Atlantic Multidecal Oscillation Index which greatly improves my temperature reconstructions (as in the pesky 1940 to 1946 period and other time periods) and has a strange direct correlation with the ENSO.

  108. For people who keep asking “Where does the extra energy come from?”, the answer is: The Sun. The answer is always: The Sun. That is the answer even in the AGW paradigm. It’s exactly the same in either case: something changed in the climate state which precipitated a net accumulation of energy from: The Sun.

    But, just because you can point to a particular something that has changed, e.g., the human release of latent CO2 in fossil fuels which many believe has affected the CO2 state, does not preclude a change in other, perhaps more sensitive, perhaps much more sensitive, physical states which affect the climate.

    Despite the abundant evidence of recurring greater and lesser ice ages, climate optima, and other events, people have this odd tendency to cling to the notion that, but for the intervention of humankind, the climate is static, and cannot change without our say so. It is an oddly egocentric and childlike viewpoint.

  109. rgb makes an important point. Sea level from tide gauges is probably the bet century+ metric we have. 150 years ago getting sea level and tidal measurements right was considered much more important than getting air temperature measurements right.

    And sea level rise is pretty much a straight line up, with perhaps a slight acceleration after 1970 (eyeballing). This combined with the LIA strongly indicates a cycle of several centuries at work. What proportion is thermal expansion and what proportion is ice melt doesn’t matter too much, as both are good proxies for climate warming.

    Bob, you need a succinct description of how ENSO can be causative of the SST trend. Showing ENSO is the mechanism isn’t the same thing as being the cause. In a stable system, in order for a trend (that isn’t part of a cycle of some kind) to exist there must be a causative agent that is also changing or has changed in the past. If ENSO is the cause, how is ENSO changing or has changed?

  110. richardscourtney says:
    September 17, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Mostly Harmless:

    I offer you a tip for future reference.

    Never doubt TonyB unless you have rock-solid evidence because the record shows he only makes statements he can back-up with documented information from a variety of sources and types.

    But he didn’t, did he? He made a totally unsupported statement – am I, as a sceptic, not entitled to question it? Are you suggesting that I should simply defer to the authority of someone who may, or may not, know more than I do on a subject? In his reply to me, he has only provided his opinion that the IPCC analysis is corrupted, not the data itself, which is what he stated. I critically question everything I read on the ‘net, as any true sceptic should. I question what Bob’s written here and elsewhere, until I can be sure that I can accept his statements. I’m sure he would not only accept, but applaud such questioning and checking of his statements and analysis of data – he’s certainly given plenty of evidence for that here in his measured, polite, and detailed replies to comments.

  111. Matt G says regarding ISCCP cloud amount data: “The early data caused by volcanoes did cause an 2 percent increase in low global cloud data, but this quickly responded back to previous levels shortly after.”

    Has the data that’s online been corrected? I haven’t found mention of any corrections for volcanic aerosols in the support literature.

    Matt G says: “The wide band missing is very unlikely to affect global trends unless this region behaves significantly differently.”

    Your assumption here is that it does not behave differently. For example, the Indian Ocean Dipole impacts cloud cover and precipitation in the western Indian Ocean and its contribution to global cloud cover.

  112. This is excellent work, and easily read and well presented.

    It reminds me again of the views of the late Robert Stevenson, oceanographer, on ocean heat, in 2000 when he critiqued the first Levitus et al paper on ocean heat content:

    “Yes, the Ocean Has Warmed; No, It’s Not ‘Global Warming’” – Dr Robert Stevenson,

    http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/articles/ocean.html

    “How the Oceans Get Warm
    Warming the ocean is not a simple matter, not like heating a small glass of water. The first thing to remember is that the ocean is not warmed by the overlying air.

    Let’s begin with radiant energy from two sources: sunlight, and infrared radiation, the latter emitted from the “greenhouse” gases (water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and various others) in the lower atmosphere.

    Sunlight penetrates the water surface readily, and directly heats the ocean up to a certain depth. Around 3 percent of the radiation from the Sun reaches a depth of about 100 meters.

    The top layer of the ocean to that depth warms up easily under sunlight. Below 100 meters, however, little radiant energy remains. The ocean becomes progressively darker and colder as the depth increases.

    The infrared radiation penetrates but a few millimeters into the ocean. This means that the greenhouse radiation from the atmosphere affects only the top few millimeters of the ocean.

    Water just a few centimeters deep receives none of the direct effect of the infrared thermal energy from the atmosphere! Further, it is in those top few millimeters in which evaporation takes places. So whatever infrared energy may reach the ocean as a result of the greenhouse effect is soon dissipated.

    The concept proposed in some predictive models is that any anomalous heat in the mixed layer of the ocean (the upper 100 meters) might be lost to the deep ocean. It is clear that solar-related variations in mixed-layer temperatures penetrate to between 80 to 160 meters, the average depth of the main pycnocline (density discontinuity) in the global ocean. Below these depths, temperature fluctuations become uncorrelated with solar signals, deeper penetration being restrained by the stratified barrier of the pycnocline.

    Consequently, anomalous heat associated with changing solar irradiance is stored in the upper 100 meters. The heat balance is maintained by heat loss to the atmosphere, not to the deep ocean.”

    It’s worth having a look again at the whole article.

  113. rgbatduke says: “I appreciate why you say that and agree that only the last 35 years or thereabouts of satellite based data is truly apples to apples — mostly — consistent and probably instrumentally reproducible. The problem, of course, is that 30, 40, even 60 years of data if you include atmospheric soundings, is a pitiful baseline upon which to base any sort of theory at all. For one thing it doesn’t include a complete cycle of many of the large decadal oscillations that almost certainly have as much total influence as ENSO (and may be cofactors in what ENSO does).”

    You miss the obvious. This is a discussion of satellite based sea surface temperature data, which is used because it is spatially complete. Also, the past 30 years is the time period when the IPCC says only greenhouse gases can cause the warming

    rgbatduke says: “Of course not. You’ve now taken perhaps half of the inadequate time baseline of your analysis and shown a couple of lines that aren’t in agreement across that time, where the difference between both lines is insignificant noise on the scale of the 1870-2010 data.”

    The time period being discussed is the last 30 years, not the last 140.

    rgbatduke says: “This isn’t quite cherrypicking (since that is the entire era where there are halfway decent satellite measurements of the SLR in the first place) but it in no way rebuts the assertion that straight up sea level is likely to be a very good proxy for global temperature across the entire stretch.”

    We’re not discussing GLOBAL sea surface temperature in this post. How could you miss that obvious fact? This is a discussion of the impacts of a process called ENSO on the sea surface temperatures of specific regions of the oceans. These processes impact sea surface temperatures out in the middle of the ocean differently than they impact temperatures along shorelines.

    rgbatduke says: “Again, the issue isn’t with the data or even your interpretations of it, it is with the relative lack of sophistication in your analysis of it. You make assertions that this is noise, that isn’t noise, CO_2 isn’t well correlated, ENSO is well correlated — but those assertions are not quantitative. They could be, and if they were they would be a lot more convincing.”

    My readers here and at my blog are not scientists or statisticians. They are laypeople interested in global warming and climate change. I try to make my presentations of data as simple as possible to illustrate the differences between model simulations and data. Anyone who is interested can take the findings farther to satisfy any scientific needs they have.

    Regards

  114. P. Solar says: “You’re missing my point. You can compare form like that and note the correlation in the cyclic component but you can’t talk about ‘cooling’ when it’s actually warming but you have cooled it by removing a ‘trend’. “

    I’m not missing your point. You originally misread the graph, so I suspect you’re misinterpreting something else. Please quote the entire paragraph of my post that concerns you.

  115. Goldie says: “Interestingly it seems that big La Ninas potentially have other climactic affects apart from taking on heat for the next El Nino. The really big La Nina of 74 was followed a couple of seasons later by a stepwise change (drop) in rainfall. Since the last La Nina was pretty big too, I am wondering whats nevt.”

    The really big La Nina lasted a whole lot longer than 1974. It started after the 1972/73 El Nino and ended in 1976. The seasonal minimum temperature is one indicator of La Nina strength, but the Pacific basically stayed in La Nina phase for more than 3 years. Based on duration it was a super La Nina.

    My book deals primarily with the satellite era of sea surface temperature data, but that La Nina is discussed a few times in the book.

    Goldie says: “If you have an explanation of the mechanism in your book, please say so and I will gladly go there rather than get you to reiterate here.”

    Goldie, ENSO is described in intimate detail in my book, including the interactions in the tropical Pacific of sea surface temperatures, subsurface temperatures, trade wind strength and direction, cloud clover, precipitation, downward shortwave radiation (visible sunlight), ocean heat content, ocean currents, etc. The primary variable used when discussing the global impacts of ENSO is sea surface temperature. There are also chapters that discuss the impacts on precipitation, land+sea surface temperatures, lower troposphere temperatures. Take a look at the Table of Contents in the preview:

    http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/preview-of-who-turned-on-the-heat-v2.pdf

    Regards

  116. Bill Illis: Which long-term SST reconstruction are you using? The reason I ask, the 1997/98 El Nino does not appear in the Reynolds OI.v2-based SST data as such a large spike. I use slightly different coordinates (60S-0, 70W-20E).

  117. Philip Bradley says: “rgb makes an important point. Sea level from tide gauges is probably the bet century+ metric we have.”

    This post is about the impacts of the processes of ENSO on the sea surface temperatures out in the middle of ocean basins, not along the shorelines. It is also widely known that sea level data is impacted by post glacial rebound. With both of those points considered, sea level data is useless for this discussion.

  118. Philip Bradley says: “Bob, you need a succinct description of how ENSO can be causative of the SST trend. Showing ENSO is the mechanism isn’t the same thing as being the cause.”

    I believe my post described the mechanism. Did you read the post?

    Philip Bradley says: “In a stable system, in order for a trend (that isn’t part of a cycle of some kind) to exist there must be a causative agent that is also changing or has changed in the past. If ENSO is the cause, how is ENSO changing or has changed?”

    When has climate ever been a stable system? I have described the causing agent. Did you read the post?

  119. Robbie says: “This hypothesis of ENSO being the culprit of global warming has been suggested before here:

    http://members.iinet.net.au/~glrmc/McLean_deFreitas_Carter_JGR_2009.pdf

    It was rebutted in less than a year later here:

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/2009JD012960.pdf”

    And you continued, “If this last paper (Foster et al 2010) has some statistical flaws or other mistakes then Mr. Tisdale should have written a rebuttal to the same magazine. AGU always, I repeat, always issues corrections of mistakes made in articles. Any article. And no Mr. Tisdale: It doesn’t cost you a single dime. You can do that here…”

    Robbie: You obviously do not understand the difference between sea surface temperature data and lower troposphere temperature data. You also fail to grasp the differences in what Foster et al and I have presented. I have presented oceanic processes and the responses of sea surface temperatures to those ocean processes. Also, my first posts on this subject were published before McLean et al. McLean et al used statistical methods to show the response of TLT to ENSO, something that has been known for decades. McLean et al then made an error in logic. I have not used the same methods. I also have not made the same error in logic. As such Foster et al (2010) is not applicable to my post.

    Since you apparently do not understand the subject matter, I suggest you might consider researching it before you attempt to comment here again. Otherwise you’ll continue to make yourself look foolish.

    Adios.

  120. Bob says: I’m not missing your point. You originally misread the graph, so I suspect you’re misinterpreting something else. Please quote the entire paragraph of my post that concerns you.

    It’s not “one paragraph” it’s the idea of removing an arbitrary trend. It is arbitrary since you do not attribute it to anything physical. Any talk of “cooling” after that is a fiction of your own making. That is why I suggest you make the same argument without reference to detrended data which has no physical meaning. I think you can make the same case without the arbitrary data processing and that makes it more credible.

    Also since you chose to look at volcanic effects you cannot do that if you mess with the data.

    Last year I was not convinced by your idea of step changes. But viewed as asymmetric changes due to ENSO I find it more credible. You have a good demonstration that ENSO is not a neutral “internal variation” that can be ignored as a cause of long term warming, as is currently done mainstream climatology. Kudos.

    Since global temps are not always on the rise, I think you now need to show what happens during cooling periods. Can these be shown to be small Nino followed by large Nina or does the cycle simply become neutral letting the Earth cool by losing energy to space?

    I’ve already pointed out that El Nino is a cooling event in OHC terms. Once this heat is out of the ocean it is on its way to space. Can you show evidence of a subdued ENSO cycle during periods of cooling. That would establish ENSO as the major player in global warming which I think it what you are aiming to show.

    The question then remains what drives/controls ENSO but I think it’s clear the answer won’t be CO2.

  121. Pamela Gray says: “You can’t paint a pretty color on dog poop and call it something else.”

    As Anthony noted in the intro here, this post was a couple of weeks in the making. It didn’t take me two weeks to write it. I was also working on a YouTube video to accompany the post. But no matter what I did, I didn’t like the video.

    I was watching one of Louis Black’s stage shows last night, when what you wrote clicked with what I was doing with the video. I was trying to paint the dog poop a pretty color. I now have a new direction for the video—but it won’t be as caustic as Louis Black.

  122. Mostly Harmless:

    At September 17, 2012 at 4:45 pm I offered you some sincere and kindly advice. And at September 18, 2012 at 2:12 am you have replied

    But he didn’t, did he? He made a totally unsupported statement – am I, as a sceptic, not entitled to question it? Are you suggesting that I should simply defer to the authority of someone who may, or may not, know more than I do on a subject?

    Your questions do not relate to my advice. Question anybody, but be aware of the response you are likely to get. Tony B is always polite but his responses can be devastating because he has so much information at his fingertips. If I were intending to dispute anything he said then I would want to be certain that I had good reason to think he was wrong. And that is all I was saying.

    Richard

  123. Bob

    It would appear to me that the number of strong or longer term climate altering El Ninos had a bearing on the extra warming that took place between 1970 and 2000. Going back to 1900 there have been typically one strong El Nino per decade ,but during the period 1970-2000 there were two or double the number.

  124. William McClenney says:
    September 16, 2012 at 11:16 pm
    At the possible end of the Holocene extreme interglacial, we are left to ask our evolved selves what it is that we should do?
    =============
    Pray that CO2 causes warming and that China and India continue to industrialize, and the Africa is allowed to use its massive as yet unmapped coal deposits to lift itself out of poverty.

    What is generally unrecognized is that much of this is not accidental. The current economic slump is not going to go away so long as the threat of cap and trade hangs over energy supplies.

  125. P. Solar: Thanks for your patience.

    My detrending the Rest-of-the-World data is simply to aid in the visual comparison.

    I had two options for the visual comparison: I could detrend the Rest-of-the-World data; data is regularly detrended and compared to an ENSO Index; sea level data at the University of Colorado Sea Level webpage for example…

    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/content/2012rel4-gmsl-and-multivariate-enso-index

    …or I could add a trend to the NINO3.4 data, which is unusual. I elected detrending.

    But I immediately followed that detrended graph with a graph the trend intact.

    Regards

  126. matt v. says: “Going back to 1900 there have been typically one strong El Nino per decade ,but during the period 1970-2000 there were two or double the number.”

    You’re assuming the ENSO record in the early part of the 20th Century properly portrays the strength of El Niño events. The Giese et al (2009) paper “The 1918/19 El Niño” argued that the 1918/19 portion of the 1918/19/20 El Niño was underestimated in the NINO3.4 sea surface temperature reconstructions, and that it was likely comparable in strength to the 1982/83 and 1997/98 El Niño events. Giese et al (2009) also suggested that the 1912/13 and 1939/40/41/42 El Niño events were also under-rated.

    http://soda.tamu.edu/documents/Giese_et_al_BAMS_2010.pdf

    Regards

  127. Bob

    Good points. Both of the El Ninos that you mentioned were during the previous warming phase from 1910-1945. In my count of strong El Ninos I had included the 1940/1941 El Nino for the 1940’s decade and I had none for the 1910’s decade , so my comment about one strong El Nino per decade prior to the 1970’s still appears about right. There are different criteria for measuring the strength of an El Nino. I know I got slightly different answers depending on which I used

  128. Bob Tisdale says:
    “You obviously do not understand the difference between sea surface temperature data and lower troposphere temperature data. You also fail to grasp the differences in what Foster et al and I have presented.”

    Some of your many quotes from this piece:
    – “Those proponents want to keep the myth of CO2-driven global warming alive and in the forefront of imaginations of a gullible public, so they have to turn Mother Nature’s glorious children, La Niña and her big brother El Niño, into nonfactors.”
    – “Another variation to the fairy tale: ENSO is simply noise or an exogenous factor in the global surface temperature record.”
    – “As such, the effects of ENSO cannot be removed from the surface temperature record. ENSO represents a natural coupled ocean-atmosphere process, not some outside factor.”
    – “The vast majority of the warming of land surface air temperatures is caused by the warming of the surface temperatures of the oceans.”
    – “The coupled ocean-atmosphere processes that cause this have been known for decades.”

    Need I say more? My original post still stands.

  129. Bob:

    What do you think causes El Niños?

    If the proximate cause be a weakening of the tropical easterly winds, what accounts for that weather change? Dr. Ball argues that the ultimate cause may be the effect of the solar wind on the earth’s magnetosphere, hence on the atmosphere and ocean waves. Here’s what he posted recently:

    http://drtimball.com/2012/what-causes-el-nino-la-nina-ipcc-doesnt-know-but-builds-models-and-makes-projections-anyway/

    Please excuse my asking twice. I would greatly appreciate your opinion.

  130. Bob Tisdale says:
    September 18, 2012 at 3:47 am
    Bill Illis: Which long-term SST reconstruction are you using? The reason I ask, the 1997/98 El Nino does not appear in the Reynolds OI.v2-based SST data as such a large spike. I use slightly different coordinates (60S-0, 70W-20E).
    ———————————–

    It looks like I screwed up the coordinates and inadvertly used the entire southern ocean other than the south Atlantic. Which is why it was so tied-in to the ENSO. The proper coordinates are still useful but that is for another day. Sorry.

  131. Bob

    Can you explain the significant global air temperature rise[0.454C] and NH SST rise [0.4C] between say 1930 and 1941. There were no strong El Ninos during the period until the 1939/1940/1941. The previous strong one was 1930/1931. [ I was looking at HADCRUT 3GL and HADSST]. Is it purely a SST rise that started after the 1910 trough ? It seems very significant in such a short time .

  132. Bob Tisdale says:

    September 18, 2012 at 2:45 am

    “Has the data that’s online been corrected? I haven’t found mention of any corrections for volcanic aerosols in the support literature.”

    Not that I know of, the graphs previously still contain the error.

    “Your assumption here is that it does not behave differently. For example, the Indian Ocean Dipole impacts cloud cover and precipitation in the western Indian Ocean and its contribution to global cloud cover”

    I don ‘t know if it does behave differently to rest of the planet in the long term. It might be was suggested towards no change in trend during data changes. Have you noticed this indian ocean dipole behave differently to the global trends overall?.

  133. milodonharlani says: “What do you think causes El Niños?… If the proximate cause be a weakening of the tropical easterly winds, what accounts for that weather change?”

    Sorry you had to ask your question twice. I missed it the first time.

    Phenomena called Westerly Wind Bursts or Westerly Wind Events are what weaken the trade winds, and they have been studied, known of, for decades. These include tropical cyclones, cold surges from mid-latitudes, and convective cloud clusters associated with the Madden-Julian Oscillation. A 2003 paper noted that ENSO establishes the conditions by which those Westerly Wind Bursts can happen, so ENSO has the ability to trigger itself.

  134. matt v. says: “Can you explain the significant global air temperature rise[0.454C] and NH SST rise [0.4C] between say 1930 and 1941.”

    matt v, sorry, I haven’t looked at land only surface temperature data in a while, other than for the model-data comparisons I did late last year and included in my first book. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the SST records and LST records during the early warming period don’t match up too well.

  135. I’ll surely be spitting into the wind, but I’d like to point out as a Spanish speaker (non native) how much the retention of the definite article hurts my ears, especially in forms like “the El Niños.” One “the” is enough, and it’s “los niños”. After all, weren’t the Niñas invented by climatologists? I’m not aware of any female Christ child. –AGF

  136. Mr. Foster:

    I live in Chile half the year, & have been speaking Spanish for 45 years, so am aware of plural articles. I’m sorry my use of the singular annoys you, but in this case “El Niño” is a climate phenomenon, not an actual child. The La Niña phenomenon was indeed named by scientists, possibly oceanographers rather than climatologists however.

    Bob:

    Thanks for explanation on winds, but I also wondered about your opinion as to the ultimate cause, ie what atmospheric or astronomical forces account for the shifts.

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