On Dana1981’s Meaningless ENSO Exercise at SkepticalScience

Dana Nuccitelli (Dana1981) of SkepticalScience has redefined El Niño and La Niña years in a meaningless exercise to show that the warming trends of El Niño, La Niña and ENSO-neutral years are comparable. It confirms his limited understanding of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and its impacts on global surface temperatures, or his willingness to misrepresent them, or a combination of the above. Dana also made some flawed assumptions with his new definitions of El Niño, La Niña and ENSO-neutral years. “Flawed assumptions” is the nicest way I can phrase that.

INTRODUCTION

Dana Nuccitelli went to great lengths to redefine El Niño and La Niña years and to create a misleading graph (gif animation), Figure 1, in his SkepticalScience post Was 2012 the Hottest La Niña Year on Record? According to his new definition of El Niño, La Niña and ENSO-neutral years, global temperatures warmed at similar rates for the three phases of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

01 ENSO_Temps_677

Figure 1 – Dana Nuccitelli’s Meaningless Graph

NOAA defines an El Niño and La Niña year as:

A La Niña (El Niño) year is defined here as occurring when the first three months of a calendar year meet the La Niña (El Niño) criteria as defined by the CPC.

Dana Nuccitelli apparently did not want to use NOAA’s definition for his meaningless graph. And he definitely couldn’t have used the older version of NOAA’s Oceanic NINO Index with NOAA’s definition of El Niño and La Niña years because 2012 would not have qualified as a La Niña year.

SO DANA1981 REDEFINED EL NIÑO, LA NIÑA, AND ENSO-NEUTRAL YEARS

Dana Nuccitelli writes:

Rather than define a somewhat arbitrary threshold for a La Niña/El Niño year (i.e. based on the size of the index and number of months exceeding a certain threshold) or limiting the analysis to one ENSO index, I first took the average of the three indices mentioned above (ONI, MEI, and SOI, accounting for the fact that positive SOI indicates La Niña conditions while the opposite is true for ONI and MEI).

I then examined the data over the past 45 years, and split the average annual ENSO index in three, defining the 15 years having the largest La Niña influence as “La Niña years”, the 15 years having the largest El Niño influence as “El Niño years”, and the 15 years in the middle as “Neutral years”. In this analysis I assumed a 4-month lag between changes in ENSO and changes in global surface temperature, consistent with the results in Foster & Rahmstorf (2011).

In essence, I’m simply grouping the years whose temperatures had the most (in the uppermost 33%) La Niña/El Niño influence over the past 45 years, and seeing what those groupings tell us. I excluded years which were strongly influenced by the El Chichón (1983–1985) and Mount Pinatubo (1992–1994) volcanic eruptions (because large eruptions release particulates into the atmosphere which cause a strong short-term cooling), and looked at the temperature trends in each of the three categories (Figure 1).

Dana Nuccitelli assumes there were 15 El Niño, 15 La Niña and 15 ENSO-neutral years; that is, that they were split evenly. As a reference, according to NOAA’s definition, there were only 8 El Niño years since 1968. See Figure 2. Or to look at it another way, Dana assumes the threshold of the 15th weakest El Niño will be comparable to that of the 15th weakest La Niña. Let’s see if it is.

02 SOTC graph 201213

Figure 2

I’ve assumed that Nuccitelli inverted the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) data to account for its inverse relationship with the other two datasets, and I’ve assumed that the “4-month lag” means he redefined a year so that it starts in September and ends in August. Also, assuming he averaged the three ENSO indices, Dana would have had to standardize them, because the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI data here), Oceanic NINO Index (link includes ONI data), and Southern Oscillation Index (BOM SOI data here) all represent different variables with different scales.

So to replicate Dana Nuccitelli’s Average ENSO Index (what I’ll call the “Nuccitelli ENSO Index”), Figure 3 in monthly form, I inverted the SOI data, standardized all three indices, then averaged them. Figure 4 shows the Nuccitelli ENSO Index in annual form, with years lasting from September to August. The year from September 1967 to August 1968 is listed as 1968, and so on. Note the 1976 Pacific Climate shift in Figure 3. It stands out like a sore thumb. Also note the decay in the strengths of El Niño events from 1982 to present in Figure 4, which seems to have accelerated a little since the early 2000s. Why didn’t Nuccitelli illustrate and discuss his newly created ENSO index?

03 Monthly Ave ENSO Index

Figure 3

##############

04 Annual Ave ENSO Index

Figure 4

Using the methods employed by Nuccitelli, I’ve identified the 15 strongest positive anomalies and classified them as El Niños in Figure 5, and I’ve done the same with La Niñas. According to the Nuccitelli ENSO Index, the threshold for El Niños is +0.45, while the threshold for La Niñas is -0.32. The Nuccitelli ENSO Index makes it easier to qualify as a La Niña than El Niño. What nonsense!! Another was way to look at it, the Nuccitelli index shows that ENSO was skewed toward El Niño conditions during the period he chose to examine. Why didn’t Nuccitelli present that at SkepticalScience?

05 Annual Ave ENSO Index With Danas Definitions

Figure 5

If Dana had made +/- 0.45 the thresholds, then 2009 and 2012 would not have qualified as La Niña years and there’d be no reason for his post. On the other hand, if he used the thresholds of +/- 0.32, then 4 additional years would qualify as El Niño years: 1978, 1982, 2004 and 2010.

Then he and his fans at SkepticalScience would have been forced to ponder why ENSO is skewed toward a greater number of El Niño events. They’d likely blame it on human-induced global warming. To counter those assumptions, the abstract of Ray and Giese (2012) Historical changes in El Niño and La Niña characteristics in an ocean reanalysis ends with:

Overall, there is no evidence that there are changes in the strength, frequency, duration, location or direction of propagation of El Niño and La Niña anomalies caused by global warming during the period from 1871 to 2008.

ISOLATING EL NIÑO, LA NIÑA AND ENSO-NEUTRAL YEARS

Just for fun, let’s plot the annual NCDC global land plus sea surface temperature anomalies, for the Nuccitelli-defined years of 1968 to 2012, looking at El Niño, La Niña and ENSO-neutral years where each event type is isolated. We’ll present them using the breakdowns as defined by Nuccitelli and by NOAA. And we’ll exclude volcano years to be consistent with Nuccitelli’s presentation.

ENSO NEUTRAL YEARS

Figure 6 shows the ENSO-neutral years as defined by NOAA. The global surface temperatures during NOAA-defined ENSO-neutral years appear to rise pretty much continuously. On the other hand, the rate at which global surface temperatures warmed as Dana Nuccitelli defined them appear to slow drastically in recent years, Figure 7.

06 Neutral2 NCDC

Figure 6

###############

07 Neutral2 Dana

Figure 7

EL NIÑO YEARS

The El Niño years are isolated in Figures 8 and 9. Using the El Niño years as defined by Nuccitelli, Figure 8, it could be argued that the warming rate of global surface temperatures slowed in recent years but it’s for a short time period, but with the NOAA method, the warming rate of El Niño years have definitely slowed, Figure 9.

08 El Nino2 Dana

Figure 8

###############

09 El Nino2 NCDC

Figure 9

LA NIÑA YEARS

The recent slowing in the rate of warming shows up quite well when the La Niña years are broken out, regardless of whether we use the Nuccitelli method (Figure 10) or the NOAA method (Figure 11).

10 La Nina2 Dana

Figure 10

###############

11 La Nina2 NCDC

Figure 11

I don’t think Dana Nuccitelli thought through his attempts to segregate ENSO phases. For fun, someone was bound to do what I did—eventually.

ADDITIONAL MISDIRECTION

In his post, Dana Nuccitelli states:

It’s also interesting to note that four of the past five years qualify as La Niña years in my methodology – they are in the top 33% of the strongest La Niña-influenced years since 1968. There has not been a similar El Niño year since 2005.

The year 2010 had a positive “Nuccitelli ENSO Index” value of +0.38, while 2009 and 2012 had negative values of -0.32 and -0.36 respectively. Refer to Table 1.

Table 1

Table 1

I believe Dana needs to look at his data again. Makes one wonder why he misled his followers. That portion of his post had little impact and all he did with it was allow the data to show that he was wrong—then again, he didn’t post the data.

DANA NUCCITELLI MISREPRESENTS THE IMPACTS OF ENSO ON GLOBAL SURFACE TEMPERATURES

The intent of Dana Nuccitelli’s meaningless exercise is summed up in the closing sentence of his post. He writes:

But when we break the data into La Niña/El Niño/Neutral categories, or when we filter out their effects as Kevin C did, we see that the underlying global surface warming trend of approximately 0.16°C per decade remains beneath the short-term noise.

In other words, according to Dana Nuccitelli, ENSO is only short-term noise on a human-induced global warming signal. That’s nonsense, of course.

For four years, I’ve been illustrating the long-term effects of El Niño and La Niña events on satellite-era sea surface temperatures–that is, that El Niño and La Niña events are primarily responsible for the warming of global sea surface temperatures over the past 31 years. And I’ve been showing for about 3 ½ years how ocean heat content data indicates that Mother Nature is responsible for its warming. I won’t weigh down this post with that discussion again. But if the discussion is new to you, refer to my illustrated essay “The Manmade Global Warming Challenge” (42MB), introduced in my post here. And for a more detailed discussion, refer to my ebook Who Turned on the Heat?, which is for sale here in .pdf form for US$8.00.

The proponents of anthropogenic global warming over at SkepticalScience appear to find climate models to be more credible than data in discussions of global warming. So for them, I’ll provide a reminder of the Karnauskas et al (2012) paper A Pacific Centennial Oscillation Predicted by Coupled GCMs. I posted about that paper in the blog post here, and it was cross posted at WattsUpWithThat here.

The Abstract reads (my boldface):

Internal climate variability at the centennial time scale is investigated using long control integrations from three state-of-the-art global coupled general circulation models. In the absence of external forcing, all three models produce centennial variability in the mean zonal sea surface temperature (SST) and sea level pressure (SLP) gradients in the equatorial Pacific with counterparts in the extratropics. The centennial pattern in the tropical Pacific is dissimilar to that of the interannual El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), in that the most prominent expression in temperature is found beneath the surface of the western Pacific warm pool. Some global repercussions nevertheless are analogous, such as a hemispherically symmetric atmospheric wave pattern of alternating highs and lows. Centennial variability in western equatorial Pacific SST is a result of the strong asymmetry of interannual ocean heat content anomalies, while the eastern equatorial Pacific exhibits a lagged, Bjerknes-like response to temperature and convection in the west. The extratropical counterpart is shown to be a flux-driven response to the hemispherically symmetric circulation anomalies emanating from the tropical Pacific.

Significant centennial-length trends in the zonal SST and SLP gradients rivaling those estimated from observations and model simulations forced with increasing CO2 appear to be inherent features of the internal climate dynamics simulated by all three models. Unforced variability and trends on the centennial time scale therefore need to be addressed in estimated uncertainties, beyond more traditional signal-to-noise estimates that do not account for natural variability on the centennial time scale.

On page 17 of 19 in pdf edition of Karnauskas et al (2012), the Summary and Concluding Remarks includes (my boldface):

1) If nature exhibits such strong natural variability of tropical Pacific SSTs on centennial time scales, then assumptions that the observed trend over the past century to a century and a half is a response to radiative forcing are tenuous. It could in fact be that the observed trend over the past century and a half is merely reflective of internal variability. If so, it could strengthen or weaken in the future as the natural variability evolves. This will combine with, and potentially interact with, any forced response and thus have implications for tropical Pacific and global climate.

2) If the centennial variability in the models is spurious, then it nevertheless is a robust component of the three analyzed models, is likely to exist in other models, and therefore will continue to influence coupled GCM projections of future climate, as well as initialized decadal hindcasts and forecasts conducted with GCMs. In all cases, it must be known at what stage the natural centennial variability exists at the beginning of a forecast or projection to isolate the forced change from the modeled internal variability.

Ocean heat content data and satellite-era sea surface temperature data both confirm the warming of the global oceans occurred naturally.

Thanks to blogger cohenite for reminding me about Karnauskas et al (2012).

ON FOSTER AND RAHMSTORF (2011)

Assumedly, to add credibility to his post, Dana Nuccitelli referred to the Foster and Rahmsorf (2011) paper “Global Temperature Evolution 1979–2010”. It too misrepresents the processes of El Niño and La Niña events. The blatantly obvious failings of Foster and Rahmsorf (2011) were illustrated and discussed in the post Revised Post – On Foster and Rahmstorf (2011).

CLOSING

In order to mislead the true-blue believers of human-induced global warming at SkepticalScience about the impacts of ENSO on global surface temperatures, Dana Nuccitelli redefined El Niño, La Niña and ENSO-neutral years. He also assumed that the 45 years of his analysis were evenly divided among those three ENSO phases, so that there were 15 each El Niño, La Niña and ENSO-neutral years. Replicating his results showed how his assumptions were flawed, because his new definition indicated that his newly defined ENSO index was skewed toward El Niño events during those 45 years.

And we discussed (previewed) how Dana Nuccitelli’s animated graph (Figure 1) was solely intended to misrepresent the long-term impacts of ENSO on the global surface temperature record. Then again, that’s nothing new for authors of posts at SkepticalScience.

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About Bob Tisdale

Research interest: the long-term aftereffects of El Niño and La Nina events on global sea surface temperature and ocean heat content. Author of the ebook Who Turned on the Heat? and regular contributor at WattsUpWithThat.
This entry was posted in ENSO, Global warming. Bookmark the permalink.

70 Responses to On Dana1981’s Meaningless ENSO Exercise at SkepticalScience

  1. Bob, why do you read the pathetic site. If everyone ignored it, it would close down, the sooner the better.

  2. Green Sand says:

    There are issues when using the indexes.

    Typically the situation that exists today and has led the BOM to post the following explanation :-

    Southern Oscillation Index:

    The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) has steadily increased over the past two weeks, mainly associated with higher than normal pressures in the tropical Pacific. This is considered to be largely a weather effect, and doesn’t necessarily reflect the boarder climate situation. The latest (10 March) 30-day SOI value is +9.5.

    Sustained positive values of the SOI above +8 may indicate a La Niña event, while sustained negative values below −8 may indicate an El Niño event. Values of between about +8 and −8 generally indicate neutral conditions.

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

  3. Bob says:

    Excellent review. Not being a climate scientist, I had assumed that these events were well-defined or at least were classified in well-understood events. Apparently not.

  4. knr says:

    Dana1981’s /Meaningless, what else is there to say .
    In all religions ‘true believers’ have tired to redefine reality to suit their views , SS is just following a very well laid down path .

  5. jonny old boy says:

    Dana Scully holds more interest for me if I am honest… :0)

  6. JPS says:

    I have only given this a cursory examination- but if I read it correctly, he basically assigns colder years to La Nina, warmer to El Nino, and then acts surprised when they line up that way?

  7. JohnWho says:

    I agree with cementafriend, above.

    The site is well named, however –

    one should certainly be skeptical that there is any science there.

  8. Coldlynx says:

    Talking about the ocean heat content. Have anyone else noticed that warm saline atlantic water sink to very large depths inte very cold deep water?
    Very strange and very worrying. Thermohaline circulation is not expected to behave like this.
    Global temperature at 700 meter:

    http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/global/nctest/viewer.shtml?-global-temperature-700-small-rundate=latest

    Atlantic temperature at 700 meter

    http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/ofs/viewer.shtml?-natl-temp-700-small-rundate=latest

    Temperature at 1000 meter:

    http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/ofs/viewer.shtml?-natl-temp-1000-small-rundate=latest

    And salinity also at 1000 meter:

    http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/ofs/viewer.shtml?-natl-sal-1000-small-rundate=latest

    This warm water was supposed to heat NW Europe before it sink into the abyss in the arctic.
    Seems that conditions for warm water to sink deep is not common in the Pacific.

  9. Dana’s exercise wasn’t meaningless. His intention was to make sure his readers understood his rendition of ENSO. Whether it was right or not didn’t matter. .

  10. adrien says:

    It’s totally stupid to assume ex ante that there is the same number of El Nino, neutral and La Nina years in the last 45 years ! Or very misleading…

  11. LearDog says:

    Hey hey hey HEY! MUCH too Ad Hom!

    This is NOT appropriate, pull this down and re-write in a more scholarly manner. I font care if you disagree – that’s fine. But do so in a gentlemanly manner!!

    ;-/

  12. Andyj says:

    So, a region of the Earth’s ocean is warming due to the sun shining. Pity this graph does not correct for air pressure; they could do better than that. Interestingly, this ocean area is also slap bang over where the crust is expanding by far and away the fastest.
    However, it seems to reflect the natural warming graphs of the rest of the World, like the dip in the ’70’s and our present decadal flatline where C02 has increased from 370 to 396ppm.

    C02 must try harder! hahaha

  13. Rick K says:

    Bob, just a note of thanks for your dedication and willingness to investigate and explain this information and make it easily accessible and understood by the layman. Much appreciated!

  14. mycroft says:

    OUCH! That ones gotta hurt, as ever great work Bob.Some people should learn not to touch things they don’t understand.
    Hope Anthony invite Dan to post his reply here as well as Schleptical Science.

  15. Lew Skannen says:

    Poor old SkS. They are really not having much luck this week.
    Identifying Richard Betts (Head of the Climate Impacts at the Met office) as the arch-satan of the climate denial conspiracy didn’t help and now Dana appears to be a few cycles short of an ENSO…

  16. mycroft says:

    Ooops Typo
    Should read> Hope Anthony invites Dana to post his reply here as well as at Schleptical Science.

  17. James says:

    I think the deception here is much simpler. The problem currently for the SS crowd is that there are 15 years of steady temps at the end of the time series creating a flatlined trend. 15 years looks like a long time!

    How to fix that? Hmm. Perhaps if we divide the data into three buckets, then each bucket would only have 5 data points at the end that might appear flattish. Yeah! That’s the ticket!

    You could have done any even split of the data to get the same effect. I am surprised they didn’t split things up into 15 buckets to really disappear the stall. If the flat line continues, look for the number of buckets to increase! LOL.

    James

  18. Camburn says:

    Dana does the best he can with what he has left. He suffers from Skeptical Science Syndrome, and it is probably terminal in his case.

    We can only wish him well during his wanning time.

  19. DD More says:

    Bob,
    Question on your Fig 5. – You show neutral at 0, but averaging the numbers for ‘neutral’ in Table 1, I got a value of 0.1372612? Did I miss add?
    I also alway question the global surface temperature curves these guys use. Are these ‘adjusted’ or raw numbers, knowing how manipulated some are.

  20. Bob Tisdale says:

    LearDog says: “Hey hey hey HEY! MUCH too Ad Hom!”

    Please quote which sentences you believe are ad hom in my post!

    I can’t find any and I wrote it.

  21. Bob Tisdale says:

    Lew Skannen says: “…a few cycles short of an ENSO…”

    Thanks, that’s great. I think we may see it used again…and again.

  22. Bill Illis says:

    If you are going to use the ENSO, it really has to be done on monthly basis. The annual figures just more-or-less lead one to an inaccurate conclusion or don’t work good enough.

    I always use monthly numbers with a 3 month lag, global temperatures lag behind the ENSO by 3 months, but others have used other forms of lags, accumulated impacts.

    Dana Nuccitelli plays around with the base numbers more than anyone else I have ever come across in this debate. I mean, more than anyone. And there have been a lot of players in this field that have done so before. So to be the worst is really saying something. But then, the warmers kind-of like their information to be distorted so that it supports the belief system so he is popular now with the warmers.

    For example, he is supposed to get his own blog or at least posting privileges on the UK Guardian Environmental Blog.

  23. Bob Tisdale says:

    DD More says: “Question on your Fig 5. – You show neutral at 0, but averaging the numbers for ‘neutral’ in Table 1, I got a value of 0.1372612? Did I miss add?”

    DD, all I did was highlight zero to make the disparity between the El Niño and La Niña thresholds show up better.

    Your average for ENSO-neutral, though, looks good. My spreadsheet says its 0.13726.

    Regards

  24. Bernie McCune says:

    This whole exercise discussed here is based on a very shortened dataset (in timescale). Because of Pacific Decadal Oscillations that tend to be 50 to 60 years long (at least in the recent past), looking back one hundred years or more is much more appropriate for “climate change” considerations. I found a nice piece of work by Joseph D’Aleo and Don Easterbrook at SPPI that gives a much broader yet concise picture (quite meaningful) of the issues that should be interesting to anyone looking into ENSO climate related issues. Here:

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/reprint/multidecadal_tendencies.html

    to download as a PDF.

    Bernie

  25. Bob Tisdale says:

    Bill Illis says: “If you are going to use the ENSO, it really has to be done on monthly basis. The annual figures just more-or-less lead one to an inaccurate conclusion or don’t work good enough.”

    Or should climate scientists examine each El NIno and La Nina as an independent event? Background conditions, initiating event and time, evolution, decay, primary location along the equatorial Pacific, the volume of residual water left over from an El Nino and where it is transported afterwards, etc, are all different. Global weather patterns and surface temperatures respond differently as a result. Will climate science ever bother to examine the data to that degree? Unlikely with the CO2 mindset of the climate science community.

  26. john robertson says:

    Nice work Bob, seems to me Dana is desperate for attention or jealous of the latest hokey stick and wanted to contribute his own pile of marcott.
    Its good that you are observing the “action” at SS somebody has to what the looneys.

  27. john robertson says:

    Watch the loony.

  28. LearDog says:

    Bob –

    You might have just said “Dana, you ignorant slut!” (Referencing Point-Counterpoint by Jane Curtin and Dan Akroyd on SNL years back).

    Specifically, the phrase “… confirms his limited understanding of … ENSO …. or his willingness to misrepresent them” has NO place in this discussion. Its a view (perhaps valid) – but has no place in a technical discussion.

    Ratchet it back, bucko. No need for that.

  29. I can’t even take Dana Nuccitelli seriously about anything. His article “China Takes a Leading Role in Solving Climate Change” has to be the most preposterous article I have ever read. If I were a AGW believer, the last thing I would do is praise China for anything relating to climate change. China is ramping up building coal power plants as fast as it can. And it merely throws some lip service to the global warming crowd to keep them at bay.

    Now, of course, I agree with what China is doing. They are bringing people out of poverty. Those coal power plants are saving lives. But Dana couldn’t write a convincing argument to save his life.

  30. PM says:

    I concur with lear dog. No need to put meaningless into every graph. This climate war is won by cold analyses, not intentionally pissing people off.

    When we have the data to prove some AGW over the top stuff wrong, lets just use the data. Usually its better just better to ignore SS. That site is blatantly biased.

  31. Reed Coray says:

    On another note, July 2012 was the hottest winter month ever in Dallas, Texas.

    Dana seems to have taken Mark Twain’s comment “The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco” as science rather than humor.

  32. Bob Tisdale says:

    Coldlynx: Thanks for the links.

  33. Reed Coray says:

    LearDog says: March 21, 2013 at 8:04 am wrote:

    Bob –
    You might have just said “Dana, you ignorant slut!” (Referencing Point-Counterpoint by Jane Curtin and Dan Akroyd on SNL years back).
    Specifically, the phrase “… confirms his limited understanding of … ENSO …. or his willingness to misrepresent them” has NO place in this discussion. Its a view (perhaps valid) – but has no place in a technical discussion.
    Ratchet it back, bucko. No need for that.

    Ratchet it back, bucko. Now there’s a phrase worthy of any scientific discussion.

  34. Bob Tisdale says:

    LearDog: Thanks for pointing out the ad homs. I’ll try to ratchet them back in the future.

  35. Henry Galt says:

    LearDog says:
    March 21, 2013 at 8:04 am

    They are the reasons for the post. Not ad-hom either(in my not-so-humble opinion)

    Thanks Bob.

  36. GeoLurking says:

    SatiricalScience seems to be a better name. Much more accurate.

  37. Bob Tisdale says:

    Bernie McCune says: “I found a nice piece of work by Joseph D’Aleo and Don Easterbrook at SPPI that gives a much broader yet concise picture (quite meaningful) of the issues that should be interesting to anyone looking into ENSO climate related issues…”

    Bernie, the problem with the D’Aleo and Easterbrook discussion is that there is no mechanism for the Pacific Decadal Oscillation to vary global surface temperatures as they show. In fact, the sea surface temperatures of the region where the PDO is calculated are inversely related to the PDO.

    It’s ENSO that’s doing the work. The PDO is an aftereffect of ENSO. The reason for the differences in the multidecadal variations in ENSO and the PDO is the spatial patterns of the sea surface temperatures in the North Pacific (which is what the PDO represents) are also influenced by the sea level pressures (which reflect wind patterns there).

    Working back in time, refer to my blog posts here:

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2011/06/30/yet-even-more-discussions-about-the-pacific-decadal-oscillation-pdo/

    And on the AMO+PDO dataset:

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/on-the-amopdo-dataset/

    Back to the PDO:

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/an-inverse-relationship-between-the-pdo-and-north-pacific-sst-anomaly-residuals/

    And more on the PDO:

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2010/09/03/an-introduction-to-enso-amo-and-pdo-part-3/

    And:

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2010/04/16/is-the-difference-between-nino3-4-sst-anomalies-and-the-pdo-a-function-of-sea-level-pressure/

    And:

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2009/04/27/misunderstandings-about-the-pdo-%e2%80%93-revised/

    Regards

  38. _Jim says:

    John Kosowski says March 21, 2013 at 8:11 am

    I can’t even take Dana Nuccitelli seriously about anything. His article “China Takes a Leading Role in Solving Climate Change” …

    Are you series? Did he actually write that up? Like he was on the PAYROLL or something? LOL … btw nearly lost a cup of coffee on the desktop on that one … some of this stuff just *cannot* be made up!

    Courtesy of Zerohedge:

    “Nine Pollution Picture Perfect Days In Beijing” (originally sourced from Reuters)

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-03-21/nine-pollution-picture-perfect-days-beijing

    .

  39. Coalsoffire says:

    If it’s okay to redate, certainly redefining is no less acceptable as long as it gives you the results you want. After all it’s in the tradition of hiding the decline, upsidiing the proxies, switching the sign and fudging the stats. Sounds like these “calls” could incorporated into a great square dance routine.

  40. Bob Tisdale says:

    mycroft says: “Hope Anthony invites Dana to post his reply here as well as at Schleptical Science”

    My WordPress stats page says I’ve had a handful of visits to the cross post at my blog from the ultra top secret SkepticalScience forum. So they know the post exists.

  41. Bob Tisdale says:

    Somewhat on topic. There’s a new post at SkS authored by someone who calls themself “Dumb Scientist”. I kid you not.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/circular-argument-blaming-warming-on-amo.html

    Some might think the author’s name sums up the content of the post.

  42. Bernie McCune says:

    Bob

    I completely agree with you that PDO is an after effect of ENSO. I only started looking at all the ENSO related issues because I had done a quick look analysis of long term NM temperatures in 2007 using as many stations that I could find (with at least 100 years of decent data) to determine whether global warming was affecting us here. I found a 60 year pattern in the NM temp data that was slightly out of phase of recent PDO cycles. One rural station that I now like to cite when discussing the effects of global warming on NM is Cimarron, NM which has the PDO pattern as well as a flat temperature signature over a period from 1905 until now. Of course, short term annual average temp fluctuations for all NM sites are dramatic – +/- 3 or 4 degrees over every 7 or 8 years. I did a quick analysis of annual average Japanese temps for several stations and found similar patterns but with plots of temps that were out completely (180 deg exactly) of phase with NM plots – and closer to PDO cycles (in phase)?!! I do not presume to really know why any of this is so (except that ultimately “it is the sun dummy”) and I will continue to look at all your excellent efforts to try to teach myself. Including your list in your posting here. Thank you so much for your work.

    Bernie

  43. Don says:

    I suggest that for convenience and accuracy we refer to Nuccitelli’s article as:

    “Nuccitelli Offers Non-Standard ENSO”,

    abbreviated as NONSENSO.

  44. Jim says: “re you series? Did he actually write that up?”

    I kid you not:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/china-leading-role-solutions.html

  45. Kasuha says:

    One thing makes sense on this approach to me. Instead of declaring a calendar year being El Nino or La Nina year based on first three months of the year and discarding whatever happens in the following nine, concentrating on what could be called “Nino season” and has the strongest effects of that season in the middle. 12-month sum of such period is definitely going to provide clearer image of effects of the corresponding Nino/Nina while still leveling out the annual period.

  46. DaveG says:

    Bob. Great work as ussual. Many thanks.

  47. Bill Illis says:

    Regarding the latest post by Dumb Scientist on the AMO just reflects temperature and is not a cycle,

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/circular-argument-blaming-warming-on-amo.html

    … here is Foster and Rahmstorf 2011’s methodology extended back in time (from their cherrypicked starting point) so that one can immediately see there is now an AMO cycle in it.

    So the AMO is either a main driver of a 60 year cycle in temperatures (which probably varies some from the 60 year cycle) or it is a very good proxy for whatever is driving a 60 year temperature cycle.

    Another interesting chart. The Northern Portion of the Gulf Stream which in this case is not detrended like the AMO index is. Now we have a real 60 year cycle that has no global warming trend in it. What is driving this pattern in the Northern Gulf Stream. Obviously, it is related to major Atlantic ocean circulation systems.

    North Atlantic Ocean Heat Content appears to be cycling down now.

  48. trafamadore says:

    Thanks for the heads up on the Dana1981 article, Bob. A nice simple read, with basically one new figure to make a rather nice simple point.

    Has anyone come with an idea of why there have been so many La Nina years lately?

  49. A.D. Everard says:

    Sorry, I do not agree with Lear dog.

    I don’t see a problem with “confirms his limited understanding”. I thought Bob was very polite about it. Suggesting that someone has limited understanding gives an allowance of ignorance and room to improve. It’s where mistakes can live without heavy penalty. On the other hand, if it is assumed that Dana knows his stuff, the the conclusion must be reached that he is deliberately misleading (lying).

    Either Dana has limited knowledge or he is deliberately misusing it. Which is it? Maybe we don’t actually know, in which case, it is far kinder and more lenient to allow Dana the possibility of having limited understanding.

    Bob? Don’t change anything. If you “ratchet” it back any further, you’ll be bending over backwards. Don’t give in to every little criticism, it’s how tha activists cornered us in the first place, using our own sense of fairness and “political correctness” against us. “Confirms his limited understanding” is a long way from insulting and nothing to be ashamed about. Think of how they talk to and about us.

    Some people would like to back us all the way into saying the alarmists are actually correct, even when they are not, simply because it would be “more polite” (then they’d claim the win). Bugger that! Tell ‘em like it is.

    Great article, by the way.

  50. Bob Tisdale says:

    A.D. Everard: I could have written the opening paragraph as follows, using SkepticalScience instead of Dana’s name…

    SkepticalScience has redefined El Niño and La Niña years in a meaningless exercise to show that the warming trends of El Niño, La Niña and ENSO-neutral years are comparable. The post confirms SkepticalScience’s limited understanding of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and its impacts on global surface temperatures, or their willingness to misrepresent them, or a combination of the above. SkepticalScience also made some flawed assumptions with the new definitions of El Niño, La Niña and ENSO-neutral years. “Flawed assumptions” is the nicest way I can phrase that.

    Now it’s no longer personal, but I’ve said the same thing. LearDog may or may not agree this edition would be a ratcheting back, but it works for me.

    Thanks for the kind words.

    Regards

  51. Bob Tisdale says:

    trafamadore says: “Has anyone come with an idea of why there have been so many La Nina years lately?”

    Just the normal blogosphere scuttlebutt that we’ve returned to the conditions that existed before the 1976 Pacific Climate Shift. Some say the shift occurred during the 1998-01 La Niña, but that La Niña and the 3 minor El Niños of early- to mid-2000s appear to be secondary effects of the 1997/98 El Niño—similar to the trailing La Niñas and secondary strings of lesser El Niños following the 1972/73 and 1986/87/88 El Nino events.

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2009/07/12/similarities-of-the-multiyear-periods-following-significant-el-nino-events-since-1970/

    So I would tend to believe the shift occurred in 2007, which was the start year of the first set of double-dip La Niñas.

    Regards

  52. AnonyMoose says:

    It looks like he started with the myth that El Nino and La Nina are a balanced cycle, and then busted his data with that myth.

    Maybe he also thinks that the number of hurricanes are balanced by the number of blizzards.

  53. Jantar says:

    I am also doing a bit of work using the SOI data, but looking at precipitation and river flows rather than temperature. The best definition of an ENSO yera that I have found is in SALINGER, M., RENWICK, J. & MULLAN, A., (2001) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/joc.691/abstract
    Where they take the ENSO year as May-April. The May – April ENSO year has immense providence as it was also defined that way by Gordon (1986) and by Walker and Bliss (1932).

    I wonder if Dana is going to submit a paper to any journal redefining the ENSO Year.

  54. I thought the intent of SS was to accurately present the current state of consensus climate science. At what point did it degenerate into self published junk science?

  55. Lars P. says:

    John Kosowski says March 21, 2013 at 8:11 am

    I can’t even take Dana Nuccitelli seriously about anything. His article “China Takes a Leading Role in Solving Climate Change” …
    rofl, but yes, he is absolutely right about it. China took the lead already since several years, being now on a parity of CO2 production per person with the European Union and producing in absolute numbers 2 times more CO2 then the US. And wait to see all that is still going to come.

    Dana1981 obviously denies the temperature standstill registered by instruments and tries to explain it away: “it was masked by the ENSO”. As long as his explanation is good enough for his followers it is good enough for him. Remember it is not about numbers or data, what is important is the message.

  56. Bernie McCune says:

    Bob
    After reading some of the source material that you pointed me to regarding PDO that indicates a NH and SH disconnect it reminded me of Petr Chylek’s paper on the Arctic and Antarctic surface temperature seesaw that showed them completely out of sync. As I recall there is some explanation for this in the paper which might help shed light on what you are seeing in the north Pacific versus the rest of the Pacific. The Abstract is found here:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2010GL042793/abstract

    I remember getting a copy of the paper. Petr is at LANL at Los Alamos, NM.

    Bernie

  57. Theo Goodwin says:

    Dana is incompetent (or PC: sloppy) at handling data but otherwise he shows great promise at becoming a grant getting climate scientist. After all, what they do is manipulate the data until they find something that they can call a signal of AGW then they publish their work as showing that AGW is increasing or strong or whatever.

  58. Bob Tisdale says:

    Derek Sorensen says: “Related?
    http://blogs.nicholas.duke.edu/thegreengrok/el-nino-la-nina-and-global-warming/

    They’re related by the fact that they miss the ENSO-global warming connection–that is, that strong El Nino events are the primary cause of the warming of sea surface temperatures over the past 31-years, and that La Nina events provided the fuel for those El Ninos. In other words, the sea surface temperature and ocean heat content data indicate that ENSO acts as a natural recharge (La Nina)-discharge (El Nino) oscillator. Refer to my essay “The Manmade Global Warming Challenge” (44mb):

    http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/the-manmade-global-warming-challenge.pdf

    Regards

  59. Bob Tisdale says:

    Derek Sorensen: I just left a similar comment on the Duke University thread:

    http://blogs.nicholas.duke.edu/thegreengrok/el-nino-la-nina-and-global-warming/

    It’s awaiting moderation.

    Screen cap of first half:

    Screen cap of second half:

    I’ll check tomorrow to see if they posted it.

    Regards

  60. Rhoda R says:

    I suspect that China does take a leading role in addressing climate change — it’s to her benefit to cripple the western economies/industries after all.

  61. James Bull says:

    If you torture the data long and hard enough it will give you what you want to see….Simples!
    James Bull

  62. Doug says:

    So, because he didn’t like the “arbitrary threshold” that was being used, he created his own arbitrary threshold.

  63. Bob Tisdale says:

    Except, Doug, that Dana Nuccitelli’s arbitrary threshold was skewed.

  64. Bob Tisdale says:

    Thanks, Anthony!!!

  65. Bob, thanks for the clarity!

  66. Mario Lento says:

    cementafriend says:
    March 21, 2013 at 3:29 am
    Bob, why do you read the pathetic site. If everyone ignored it, it would close down, the sooner the better.
    ++++++++
    First, we should be thankful people like Bob Tisdale go to that site. Whether or not you and I like it, they have a following of low information people who want to be told how to feel. They are also told how to deal with us so called deniers. That pathetic site feeds misinformation to people, and we on the other side would like to not be in the dark.

    I instantly recognize people who are under mind control by how they respond with stock argumentative responses to what’s really happening. At this point, we can recognize them as parrots. They really can not debate based on facts and won’t look at real data.

    We should thank Bob, not question why he is willing to debunk the nonsense from SKS.

    Thank you Bob!!!!

  67. ExWarmist says:

    Dana1981s technique is amazingly powerful – lets just assume that E = MC cubed, and howzat – Nuclear Power can now satisfy all our needs for electricity for just about an eternity.

    Dana has been selling his method short and not appreciating just how powerful re-definition is!

    Now lets just apply this method to my income tax return by redefining what “income” is – I’m sure that the Tax department (IRS) will go along – what could go wrong???

  68. ExWarmist says:

    Rhoda R says:
    March 21, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    WRT China.

    Seeking competitive advantage is one thing – destroying your own markets is another.

    Have another think about it Rhoda.

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