La Niña is back

Image from NOAA, dated 12/04/08 – click for larger image h/t to Fernando

It will be interesting to see what November UAH and RSS satellite data brings forth.

La Niñas occurred in 1904, 1908, 1910, 1916, 1924, 1928, 1938, 1950, 1955, 1964, 1970, 1973, 1975, 1988, 1995, and in 2007. It looks as if that 2007 event is hanging on.

Here are some FAQs on the subject:

Typically, a La Niña is preceded by a buildup of cooler-than-normal subsurface waters in the tropical Pacific. Eastward-moving atmospheric and oceanic waves help bring the cold water to the surface through a complex series of events still being studied. In time, the easterly trade winds strengthen, cold upwelling off Peru and Ecuador intensifies, and sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) drop below normal. During the 1988- 89 La Niña, SSTs fell to as much as 4 degrees C (7 degrees F) below normal. Both La Niña and El Niño tend to peak during the Northern Hemisphere winter.

What’s the difference between La Niña and El Niño?*

Both terms refer to large-scale changes in sea-surface temperature across the central and eastern tropical Pacific. Usually, sea-surface readings off South America’s west coast range from the 60s to 70s F, while they exceed 80 degrees F in the “warm pool” located in the central and western Pacific. This warm pool expands to cover the tropics during El Niño but shrinks to the west during La Niña. The El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the coupled ocean-atmosphere process that includes both El Niño and La Niña.

What are the global impacts of La Niña?

Both El Niño and La Niña impact global and U.S. climate patterns. In many locations, especially in the tropics, La Niña (or cold episodes) produces the opposite climate variations from El Niño. For instance, parts of Australia and Indonesia are prone to drought during El Niño, but are typically wetter than normal during La Niña.

What are the U.S. impacts of La Niña?

La Niña often features drier than normal conditions in the Southwest in late summer through the subsequent winter. Drier than normal conditions also typically occur in the Central Plains in the fall and in the Southeast in the winter. In contrast, the Pacific Northwest is more likely to be wetter than normal in the late fall and early winter with the presence of a well-established La Niña. Additionally, on average La Niña winters are warmer than normal in the Southeast and colder than normal in the Northwest.

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73 thoughts on “La Niña is back

  1. What are the impacts of La Nina on Europe’s weather? The past two summers in UK have been cooler and wetter than “normal.” Are we to expect more of the same if this La Nina becomes established? What is the “normal” length of time that a La Nina lasts?

  2. The globe is cooling, folks. For how long even kim doesn’t know.
    ========================================

  3. It will be interesting to see what November UAH and RSS satellite data brings forth.
    RSS is up (+0.22) according to Steve Milloy, but temperatures tend to lag ENSO by a couple of months. Nevertheless, Hadley/GISS/RSS/UAH have risen all steadily over the past few months despite NINO index anomalies being zero at best. I’ve said it before on here – there is no long term cooling trend. A lack of warming, maybe, but definitely not cooling.

  4. he he!! -if it means rain – we got it- yup!! – my area broke the record for November rain, I know we weren’t alone.

  5. Anthony: If -0.5 Deg C is the threshold for a La Nina, then we’re still shy of mild La Nino. As of last week, NINO3.4 SST anomalies were still hovering at -0.399 Deg C. That’s the most recent OI.v2 SST reading for the area for the week centered on November 26, 2008.
    http://i37.tinypic.com/246q8h0.jpg
    My monthly updates for SSTs are here:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2008/12/november-2008-sst-update.html
    Off topic: Your readers will enjoy this, Anthony. Did you ever wonder why GISS uses Hadley Centre SST data when the NCDC has the Extended Reconstructed SST data? Over the period used in GISTEMP, January 1880 to November 1981:
    The HADSST2 data had a linear trend of 0.038 Deg C/Decade, and
    The ERSST.v2 data had a linear trend of 0.026 Deg C/Decade.
    http://i37.tinypic.com/2uy3q6v.jpg
    I covered that here:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2008/12/why-does-giss-use-hadsst2-data-from.html
    Regards

  6. Yeah, we are still a ways from a technical La Nina, which needs a 3 month average to be below -0.5C. La Nina conditions will likely return this winter, and persist until mid summer. NOAA is expecting this to be a weaker La Nina than last year’s, so it might prove to be just another dull winter.

  7. C,mon Anthony,
    this headline is sensationalistic as well as innacurate. We are nowhere near a mild La Nina as yet and the SST’s in the relevant areas of the tropical pacific are much higher than this time last year. http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/data/anomnight.12.6.2007.gif
    Only Nino 2 is showing a negative SST anomoly of under -0.5 http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/indices.shtml
    and most of the models are showing neutral conditions throughout the southern hemisphere summer. http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/ahead/ENSO-summary.shtml
    A more accurate title would have been ‘Enso conditions remain neutral with slight cooling possible’. Maybe your title is fodder for the believers of the new ice age such as Kim, but for the rest of us try and keep it real!
    REPLY: We’ll see. I was laughed at in 1989 here in California when I was the only one declaring the drought was over. If you really want to gripe about headlines, how about the one on ocean noise, which is from your side of the aisle?- Anthony

  8. I like to use the animation link at the NOAA site the SST picture from above comes from.
    Let it load up and then speed up the animation as fast as your computer will allow – you might have to start over if you speed it up too much and it freezes.
    You can start to see how La Ninas and El Ninos develop – watching the cold water waves move across the Pacific is at least quite interesting – sometimes you can see the location where the colder water from below wells up and helps contribute to a La Nina.
    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/anom_anim.html

  9. John Finn, you are playing semantics. But I believe your statement there is no cooling trend is wrong. The trend is definitely a cooling one.

  10. Speaking of the SOI:
    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/121542494/abstract
    Exploratory Analysis of Similarities in Solar Cycle Magnetic Phases with Southern Oscillation Index Fluctuations in Eastern Australia
    ABSTRACT
    There is growing interest in the role that the Sun’s magnetic field has on weather and climatic parameters, particularly the ~11 year sunspot (Schwab) cycle, the ~22 yr magnetic field (Hale) cycle and the ~88 yr (Gleissberg) cycle. These cycles and the derivative harmonics are part of the peculiar periodic behaviour of the solar magnetic field. Using data from 1876 to the present, the exploratory analysis suggests that when the Sun’s South Pole is positive in the Hale Cycle, the likelihood of strongly positive and negative Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) values increase after certain phases in the cyclic ~22 yr solar magnetic field. The SOI is also shown to track the pairing of sunspot cycles in ~88 yr periods. This coupling of odd cycles, 23–15, 21–13 and 19–11, produces an apparently close charting in positive and negative SOI fluctuations for each grouping. This Gleissberg effect is also apparent for the southern hemisphere rainfall anomaly. Over the last decade, the SOI and rainfall fluctuations have been tracking similar values to that recorded in Cycle 15 (1914–1924). This discovery has important implications for future drought predictions in Australia and in countries in the northern and southern hemispheres which have been shown to be influenced by the sunspot cycle. Further, it provides a benchmark for long-term SOI behaviour.

  11. I dunno, it might be dull and warm somewhere, but right now we’re running 12-14 degree’s F below “normal” and it looks to be that way for next 10 days at least and has been for the last several days. That is in the U.S. mid section. This is the coolest year that I can remember taken in the aggregate.

  12. One important point is that an El Nino or a La Nina typically occur around December (any time in the period from November to February).
    In the record, there are a few other events that don’t match that timeline but it is considerably more common around the December period.
    I imagine the phenomenon is influenced by the seasonal change in solar energy that occurs in the late summer and over the fall since the trend up or down starts near this time.
    It might be a little late for a La Nina to meet the expected timeline. We should be in the -1.0C to -1.5C territory already and it is mostly neutral.

  13. Johnnyb (02:56:07) :

    Yeah, we are still a ways from a technical La Nina, which needs a 3 month average to be below -0.5C.

    Looks like there are more ways to define a La Nina than there are to skin a cat.
    http://iri.columbia.edu/climate/ENSO/background/pastevent.html says

    How do we define El Niño and La Niña?
    Given that there are typical characteristics of El Niño and La Niña, how are specific “ENSO events” defined? How different from neutral conditions do things have to be to qualify as an event, since things will never be perfectly neutral? The definition of an El Niño or La Niña event is based on one (or more) of the standard indices used in monitoring and involves both the magnitude (value) of the index as well as how long it persists. (See ENSO Basics for typical characteristics and Monitoring ENSO for information on indices).
    But just how large must the value of the index be, and for how long must it persist in order for an El Niño or La Niña to be identified? On these points different researchers have different ideas and there is no single method used to identify events. However, a common method in use is based on the NINO 3.4 Index, which is the departure in monthly sea surface temperature from its long-term mean averaged over the NINO 3.4 region. In this method, an El Niño or La Niña event is identified if the 5-month running-average of the NINO 3.4 Index exceeds +0.4 deg. C (for El Niño; -0.4 deg. C for La Niña) for at least 6 consecutive months (see Trenberth, 1997 in Links and References). The 5-month running-average (data is averaged over 5-month, overlapping periods incrementing one month at a time) is used to smooth out variations in sea surface temperature not associated with ENSO.

    So, this says you declare La Nina five months after it’s been in effect for six months. That’s harsher than declaring a recession….
    That may be worthwhile for historical studies, something like a 3 month average below -0.5 seems more workable for “realtime” testing by us impatient types.

  14. “Yeah, we are still a ways from a technical La Nina”
    By the same token the 3-month average never crossed the zero line and La Nina winds never departed. Why did we ever say La Nina was over?
    “-0.399 degrees”
    The -0.5 degree definition is also limited to Nino 3.4 OSI measurements.
    As we’re splitting hairs: Mary, Mary quite contrary, what says the CSIRO?

  15. We are back to nighttime temps in the teens (and dipping lower each time) and 10 to 20 degrees colder than the strong baby girl made us last year. We are also back to the NWS way over-estimating the predicted lows, leading to freezing pipes in trusting homes. Last year they also took a month or more to stop predicting rain after an entire month of snow, not the predicted rain. This month appears to be no different. Rain is predicted for Wallowa County. Where’s the odd maker when I need him? While December 3rd continued to show record highs around Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, I’ll bet that will be the last of it. Why? Because the lows are as cold as last year and the jet stream pouring down from the Arctic cold is moving over us now instead of East.

  16. RE: Hunter
    I cannot let it pass that you blame Bush for the non-passage of Kyoto. As per Wiki (below) and all other information available to anyone willing to read, it was the Clinton Administration that never even bothered to submit the treaty to the Senate for ratification. It failed to become law 2-1/2 years before Bush even took office. Before you worship at the altar of AGW you’ll need to expand your knowledge if you wish to offer an informed opinion on this topic.
    “On 25 July 1997, before the Kyoto Protocol was finalized (although it had been fully negotiated, and a penultimate draft was finished), the U.S. Senate unanimously passed by a 95–0 vote the Byrd-Hagel Resolution (S. Res. 98),[68][69] which stated the sense of the Senate was that the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol that did not include binding targets and timetables for developing as well as industrialized nations or “would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States”. On 12 November 1998, Vice President Al Gore symbolically signed the protocol. Both Gore and Senator Joseph Lieberman indicated that the protocol would not be acted upon in the Senate until there was participation by the developing nations.[70] The Clinton Administration never submitted the protocol to the Senate for ratification.”

  17. David Jones – wondering about the UK summers –
    If you click on to the whole world animation at weather-action, following the link on the right of the site – you get the last 2 or 3 days cloud and storm tracks – it is very interesting to follow the standing waves of the jetstream – Charles Perry at USGS says there is a sense among oceanographers that the surface temperature of the northern Pacific feedsback via high -pressure warm air systems to affect the jetstream – and the shift to colder air in 2007 off Alaska did that – shifting the loop eastward so that instead of looping north over the UK (and coming down in Norway), it came straight up from the SW bringing the torrents and floods – same in 2008. The winter pattern is different because the polar vortex is affected by the polar night’s cold – and the wave now seems compressed – the Alaskan loop is depressed, the stream comes into the US further south, and then upwards off massachusetts and then loops across iceland before coming DOWN into the UK, bringing all the arctic cold and snow of the last week here.
    The jetstream may also be affected by the status of the solar cycle – with a long-term shift during the Maunder type minimum (and we are in some kind of minimum 2007-2008).
    In the summer I asked Hadley if they had anyone working on this – the hadn’t, and referred me to a US commercial aviation website! When I get the time, I would like to track these changes through the transition of 2006-2007 in Pacific ocean temperatures. The storm tracks show us where heat is being extracted from the oceans and where it is dumped as precipitation or cloud radiative energy on land (or ice). We should now watch the SSTs in the North Atlantic.

  18. Anthony-I was working fires out of Chico,Chester and Redding that summer.
    Read in the San Fran Comical a statement to the effect-by a Sierra Club Drone,
    “Due to Global Warming-this is an indication that Northern California is becoming more like the Sonoran Desert!!” then on Labor Day the skies opened, and we went home.-Proving to me that God has a sense of humor…

  19. La Niña is back — PDO in its negative phase — SC24 still looking rather anemic. Looks like a recipe for renewed PETA activism. Have to save the animals from mankind’s predation in the face of a cooler world.
    *sigh*
    No matter what happens, it’s mankind’s fault. If the world gets warmer, the AGW crowd will get you. If it gets colder, PETA will nail you. Let’s all crawl back into our caves and wait to die.

  20. edward @08:27:42
    Good information, and it’s always worth reminding everyone that the Senate passed a Sense of the Senate resolution 95 – 0, stating that the U.S. will not seriously damage our economy with AGW policies. And that any such policies must apply across the board, not just to the industrialized countries.
    But I think hunter @05:41:15 was being sarcastic.
    The sad thing is, the AGW/CO2 runaway global warming climate catastrophe contingent often sounds just like hunter’s post.

  21. “” Basil (05:41:54) :
    Speaking of the SOI:
    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/121542494/abstract
    Exploratory Analysis of Similarities in Solar Cycle Magnetic Phases with Southern Oscillation Index Fluctuations in Eastern Australia “”
    So why is it that people continue to deny any solar earth climate link via the magnetic fields; and their resultant effect on cosmic rays and solar charged particle flux on earth, wehich affect water droplet nucleation and hece cloud formation.
    And as to the Kyoto thing which the Senate rejected by 95-0 during the Clinton Administration; by what sort of Political machination would anybody imagine a new incoming President to champion a cause (Kyoto) which the only legal authority on susch treaties (the US Senate) had unanimously rejected; that would be political suicide. The Bush bashers must think the American Public are just stupid to think they can hang the Kyoto situation of Bush. It was a non starter from the beginning of his Presidency.
    OK now we have a vote for “Change we can believe in” which is simply a return to the Clinton years, and management team. So now they have a chance all over again to prove how green they are, and ratify this nonsense treaty. Well the only way there is any green there, is in the new chairman of the board who has exactly zero management experience. So let’s see how he makes out, while he still has pretty muich the same opposition to such a treaty in the same Senate.
    Al Gore is still about the only friend that Kyoto has. Both India and China have already told the Europeans (and us) what we can do with our carbon nonsense. Just try to find any “scientific concensus” among the scientists of those two countries that contain nearly half the world population.
    But what I am curious about is this La Nina question. When it left town last year, it was supposedly replaced by the PDo moving to a cold phase, and the pretty Pacific Ocean chart above shows the Eastern Pacific (US west coast) nice and blue.
    So how does PDO factor into this ENSO saga. Some of us non climatologists would like to understand some of this.

  22. I’m with Smokey…I was chuckling at the sarcasm.
    OTOH…if it WASN’T sarcasm?…well…there’s a host of problems there then 😉
    JimB

  23. Mary Hinge (04:17:33)
    I defy you to show where I’m predicting a new Ice Age. What I’ve said repeatedly is that the globe is cooling, for how long even kim doesn’t know. Now let’s go back to talking about the multiple model runs that show a high likelihood of a La Nina developing this winter and deepening into next summer. Weren’t you the one who tried to palm off two weird data points about sea level on us a while back, too.
    Please, if you can’t engage in honest rhetoric, at least cease misrepresenting what I say. Better idea; keep it up. You only indict yourself and your arguments. This we see a lot from the alarmists.
    My goodness, what ever happened to the spirit of scientific wonder, curiosity, and rigourous attention to data? As I mentioned to someone else, how about joining the community of the curious and not the flock of the fearful?
    ===========================================

  24. However, Mary, I’m honored that you remember me. Must have hurt you a little for you to snark inaccurately. So, keep it up. Schadenfreude is an inelegant emotion, but you keep dragging me back in.
    =============================================
    [Inappropriate taunting, let’s all try and behave shall we? ~ charles the moderator]

  25. Hunter (05:41:15)
    Heh, you can’t fool me. Your facetiousness is subtle, and funny.
    =======================================

  26. Pofarmer, also, no acorns this year. Not the natural grown oaken ones, anyway.
    ==================================

  27. But Teach, she started it. Waaahhh.
    ========================
    [Be that as it may, I’m a hit and run admin, and don’t have the time to necessarily analyze an exchange in its entirety. When I note inappropriate behavior, I want both sides to stop without assessing blame to either–or to put it in the vernacular you used: I don’t care who started it! ~ charles the moderator]

  28. John Finn: “RSS is up (+0.22) according to Steve Milloy, but temperatures tend to lag ENSO by a couple of months. Nevertheless, Hadley/GISS/RSS/UAH have risen all steadily over the past few months despite NINO index anomalies being zero at best. I’ve said it before on here – there is no long term cooling trend. A lack of warming, maybe, but definitely not cooling.”
    You may be right, but you cannot draw that conclusion based on a couple month small temperature increase while the ENSO index turns slightly negative. There are simply too many other variables to consider in the short term.
    So, let’s look at longer term averages. Last month, I too noticed the ENSO index truning negative and posted on the subject. As part of my look at it, I collapsed ENSO into 5-year averages to see what the chart looks like.
    The collapsed chart, coincidentally I’m sure, just happens to show that persistent La Nina conditions over the longer term occur during times of cooling and persistent El Nino conditions occur during times of warming.
    Then Anthony posted the study that showed the contribution of ENSO and AMO that demonstrated significantly high correclation in temperature to these indexes.
    There may be some overall warming trend that is slight, but the more extreme slopes sure seem to be driven by non-AGW sources, if you look at what happens to the charts when you look at all these things:
    ENSO: http://digitaldiatribes.wordpress.com/2008/11/21/a-quick-look-at-the-enso-index/
    PDO: http://digitaldiatribes.wordpress.com/2008/12/04/pacific-decadal-oscillation-pdo-index-back-into-the-negative/
    Sunspots: http://digitaldiatribes.wordpress.com/2008/10/02/some-fun-stats-with-sunspots-and-how-the-current-activity-stacks-up-against-recent-history/
    and http://digitaldiatribes.wordpress.com/2008/10/07/solar-cycle-length-sunspot-count-and-temperature-an-insurance-pricing-analysis/

  29. Sure, charles, you’re the boss. I was joking with you anyway. I very much admire the job you and all the other moderators do with a difficult task. How did Anthony get so lucky? By the way, haven’t seen Dee Norris, lately.
    ================================

  30. It looks to me like we can now see one way that glaciations can occur. Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen cosmic ray theory looks to be valid. I have been observing the following conditions:
    1. There has been more cloud cover of the planet for the past year and it seems to be present most of the time from 30 degrees North to the North Pole, and from 30 degrees South to the South Pole.
    2. Air temperatures away from water have been cold and sometimes colder than the means especially in mid to higher latitudes. For example temperatures in Siberia have been very low for the past month and I notice today that the temperature in Verhojansk, Russia is -54C. This must be a cold temp for early December even in this region.
    3. Air temperatures influenced by oceans have been slower to cool. The North American West coast has been influenced by pacific air and in Canada we have had consistent jetstream from the Pacific into BC and Western Canada. In Eastern Canada the influence of Hudson Bay and the Atlantic seem to be temporarily moderating temperatures there.
    3. The solar wind has been generally quieter except for the occasional sunspot or coronal hole.
    4. Humidity appears to be higher than normal everywhere. I don’t recall past humidity levels being as consistently high as they have been here in Northern BC. At any rate, precipitation seems to be up as well all over the planet.
    The cloud layers seem to be reducing the solar insolation striking the earth surface and I am seeing constant reductions of up to 90% measured in Watts/M^2 on my weather station. The same cloud cover and humidity that is cooling areas away from the oceans seems to be retarding the heat loss of the oceans in the far North and South because of the greenhouse effect. I notice that except for the UK, Europe seems to be slightly warmer as does Canada’s North around open water. The Arctic ice formed very rapidly, but even the energy given off by the change in state appears to retard the further ice growth for a while. I also noticed in past records that some of the warmest years like 1998 and 2002 had some very cold early temperatures in the arctic. The sun was more active then and the cloud cover was not as prevalent which allowed heat to escape much more quickly.
    The cooling of the planet should definitely continue, but not as fast as I thought it would a few months ago. If this is how glaciations occur, it is certainly a fascinating time to be alive to observe this. I hope the sun remains quiet long enough to verify these things.
    We might just learn to appreciate CO2 as a plant fertilizer for ever diminishing agricultural land areas.
    Cheers

  31. Kim, nice to see you posting with passion. How are things at dot earth? You know how people wear radiation detectors on their shirts to see how much exposure from radiation they might get at a nuke plant? That is how I feel about posting at Dot earth. I had way too much exposure. Maybe I will post again after I recover.

  32. From Pofarmer (06:11:43) :
    I dunno, it might be dull and warm somewhere, but right now we’re running 12-14 degree’s F below “normal” and it looks to be that way for next 10 days at least and has been for the last several days. That is in the U.S. mid section. This is the coolest year that I can remember taken in the aggregate.
    -end quote
    Yup. Look north. Alaska went cold first, then the cold started moving south. You can see the same thing in the S.H. This cold phase started at the poles and is running out from there. Moved the jet stream (which I would speculate might be influencing the La Nina developing)
    The folks who are holding up global averages to try and show there is no cooling are unclear on the concept of change spreading over time and space. It’s an inflection point. Smoothing and averages hide them.
    Same fault frequently happens in stock traders. They see a trend and predict it with smoothing and averages and quant models into the indefinite future. Works great right up to an inflection point. Most of my work has been spent on inflection detection. So far I’ve done rather well (called the last top). Right now I’m calling a bottom in the stock markets AND I’m calling an inflection in the weather / climate to a cold phase for a decade or three. We’ll see if I’m right. (Hey, when you’re betting real money on it, public embarrassment is nothing 😉
    FWIW, this fascination with both markets and weather has a long history. Look at the work of William Stanley Jevons on crops, sunspots, and economic crisis. (There is a creepy correlation between sunspot minima and financial crisis that is very annoying. I’d like to think we were more rational than that…)
    BTW, on one of these threads someone said it would be up to the climatologists et. al. to decide if we were entering a cold phase. I’d argue that it is up to the sun and earth… We’re just along for the ride, folks…
    Pofarmer, I’d also suggest that you look at the Old Farmers Almanac, they do a good job of calling weather for farmers. I’d also suggest that you look at what crops grew well 500 miles or so north of you. That’s likely to be what will work for you in a cold phase (if one is developing). At a minimum, I’d be looking at ‘catch crops’ that do well in short cold seasons if you have a crop failure. Buckwheat and Sorghum are your friends… And millet… If you are a very small farmer, consider Amaranth. It’s a specialized niche market, but amaranth is more flexible on moisture and cold than other grains. Harder to harvest, though. Lentils are faster than soybeans and need less heat, if your a legume farmer.
    Hmm… Rather a lot of money is riding on the weather… I’d expect that might ague for folks willing to contribute to a Linux like collaborative weather modeling program (as discussed on another of the threads here)…
    Anthony: When you get a chance this summer, go take a dip in the creek above Bidwell park for me… Alligator hole… the rock slide… Sigh…

  33. RH,
    I’m a great fan of Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen cosmic ray theory , and it ties in nicely with sunspots cycles.
    Since sunspot magnetic fields reverse between cycles, the net magnetic field influence on cosmic rays should affect the earth temperaturew ith a 22 year periodicity.
    The sunspot peak of 1957/58, the IGY year was the highets sunspot count ever recorded in all of sunspot history (around 190), and the three immediately preceeding peaks, ahd shown successive step ups from a lot lower level.
    Then since 1958, the sunspot peaks have been consistently in the vicinity of 140-150, much higher than any previous history of sunspot cycles, and not surprisingly we had a period of warmer temperatures on earth, that evidently ended with susnpot cycle 23. Well we still don’t know what cycle 24 has planned for our entertainment; but this is one physicist who finds the Cosmic ray thesis to be very credible
    Cosmic and solar charged particles get trapped or at least manouvered by the net loacl magnetic field, and with stronger fields, the particles get selectively steered towards the magnetic poles, which happen to be regions of low atmospheric water vapor, so not much cloud nucleation can occur; but when the magnetic fields are weaker, there is a larger cosmic ray flux in the tropics where ther is plenty of water vapor, and more clouds form cooling the planet.
    So to me it is self evident; the exact mechanism may be quite complex, but I am convinced that cloud modulation is regulating the temperature of this planet, and CO2 has virtually nothing to do with it.
    More CO2 simply means we get s light bit warmer and get more water vapor and more clouds to block more sunlight.
    All of which has nothing to do with ENSOs or PDOs or AMOs or any othe rOs which I am sure are germane to the local climate of the planet; but the gross question of net energy gain or loss, is all a result of cloud modulation IMHO, and I admit to knowing virtually nothing about all those ocean oscillations; but I’m glad a lot of other people do know.

  34. Bob B (14:58:42)
    Thanks, I had a lot of fun over there on DotEarth starting with the mammoth 1200 comment AGU thread and running until Andy Revkin required registration in order to comment. I came to believe in Andy’s honesty and curiosity, but I failed to convince him of my skeptical message and don’t think I dented the beliefs of any other commenters there. Nonetheless, if I turn out right, the message is all there for anyone to review. There is still a skeptical presence over there, and sometimes I read a thread, but the echo chamber is deafening and boring. Just in case anyone missed it, my message was:
    We are cooling, folks; for how long even kim doesn’t know.
    ====================================

  35. A basic question, but one I’ve seen addressed before: Please correct my (assumed) facts below.
    There are six global climate computer models that hold the earth’s economy/energy future in their projected grasp.
    The classic definition of these six computer models is that they calculate the radiation energy into a 500 km square area of the earth, then the energy and (I assume) the water vapor and heat lost to the adjacent 500 km squares, then iterate the exchanges between all squares until some stable output results. One assumes that these 500 km squares do properly show the radiated solar energy “into” the atmosphere as a function of latitude, but I know they all assume one single unvarying factor for cloud cover (which affects re-radiation), and that cloud cover factor does not ever change with time of the simulation (days, months, years, centuries ahead.
    The re-radiation coefficient for water vapor (from their evil greenhouse gass CO2) is a (10x multiplied factor of the amount of CO2 present, but I don’t know what other assumptions are made for water vapor. I have read that they (Hansen) increases significantly the amount of water vapor assumed to be present in the air – but just how much more a 1.0 degree change in temperature changes the relative humidity is certainly open to speculation, since there is no where (even in tropical wetlands) where the atmosphere is completely saturated all the time. Water vapor in the atmosphere over land is limited – not by temperature but by the amount of available water to evaporate. And, as shown, over sea (as measured at islands or seacoasts) water vapor is never at 100% relative humidity all the time.
    Does Hansen include:
    Coriollas effect?
    Jet streams?
    Coastlines and the Ocean boundaries themselves?
    El Nino or La Nina event?
    Just how basic are these simulations, and who has written about them – in terms of exactly what simplifying assumptions are being made?
    It is only a 1.3 trillion dollar question. 8<)
    do these

  36. La Niñas occurred in 1904, 1908, 1910, 1916, 1924, 1928, 1938, 1950, 1955, 1964, 1970, 1973, 1975, 1988, 1995, and in 2007. It looks as if that 2007 event is hanging on.

    The latter half of the 20th century’s oddness stands out. The first half has no oddities, with the second half rising to a rate of 57% oddness.

  37. “” Robert A Cook PE (16:59:56) :
    A basic question, but one I’ve seen addressed before: Please correct my (assumed) facts below.
    There are six global climate computer models that hold the earth’s economy/energy future in their projected grasp. “”
    Heck you’re scaring me to death.
    Somebody actually made measurments and concluded that these wild assumptions are valid ones to put into a model.
    I’ve spent a lot of time laying on my back out in the open looking up at clouds (it’s good for the soul) and I can assure you that the clouds don’t stay the same for 100 years; or even 100 minutes.
    It would be very nice if the UN required that the complete specification of these (six you say) climate models, was available on line somewhere or even one of them so everybody could play with them.
    As far as I am concerned, and purported model of climate that does not properly account for clouds according to the laws of Physics, is not worth the disk space it is occupying, since clouds seem to be the obvious regulator of the global net energy flow into or out of planet earth.

  38. From Robert A Cook PE (16:59:56) :
    One assumes that these 500 km squares do properly show the radiated solar energy “into” the atmosphere as a function of latitude, but I know they all assume one single unvarying factor for cloud cover (which affects re-radiation), and that cloud cover factor does not ever change with time of the simulation (days, months, years, centuries ahead.
    -end quote
    Leaving aside the problem of 500 km being way too large (It can be 105 F in San Jose, California when it is 65 F and foggy in San Francisco 50 miles away… so what temp / cloudiness is right?)… The lack of accounting for clouds and the inaccuracy of aerosols are the two biggest OMG WTFrack structural issues I see in the models. Add in some imaginary positive feedback loops, leave out some negative ones, stir at a rate 4 time reality and Viola! a fictional crisis Right Now!!! …
    Clouds are everything to weather (and thus to climate) yet they are ignored. Beyond shameful.
    OTOH, maybe there is something to the notion of a GHG… Bear with me, this is rampant speculation 8={)
    from http://www.ghgonline.org/otherstropozone.htm
    Tropospheric ozone can act both as a direct greenhouse gas and as an indirect controller of greenhouse gas lifetimes. As a direct greenhouse gas, it is thought to have caused around one third of all the direct greenhouse gas induced warming seen since the industrial revolution.
    […]
    The largest net source of tropospheric ozone is influx from the stratosphere.
    -end quote
    Ignoring where that stratospheric ozone came from and how it can be caused by the industrial revolution …
    So has anyone looked at what happens at the poles when a long winter night comes, the sun is quiet, and there is little to no UV to make ozone up there? Supposedly we had a significant ozone hole over antarctica this last year; so if the GHG theory has merit (a big if…): Would that not argue for a quiet sun opening an ozone hole and thus a nice big heat radiation portal? Might that explain the coolness of the poles now that the sun has gone quiet? Ozone reduced. Freezing cold takes water out of the air. CO2 dissolving into very cold water … repeat until Ice Ball Earth 😎 We Must Burn ALL the COAL NOW!!!!!!
    I’ve also wondered if the lack of aurora activity would allow more heat to leave / less to enter… and if the aurora make ozone … but that’s another speculation…
    At any rate, all these and more are missing from the models. And I’m pretty sure all the rOS (h/t George 😉 are missing as well.
    From George
    So to me it is self evident; the exact mechanism may be quite complex, but I am convinced that cloud modulation is regulating the temperature of this planet, and CO2 has virtually nothing to do with it.
    -end quote
    I think you are spot on. What’s regulating the clouds is speculative, but that they are critical is clear, and that they are left out of the models is criminal.
    Are clouds variable with El Nino / La Nina cycles?

  39. The ENSO 3.4 index is a poor measure of the forces driving change in the easterly wind in the tropics. You are looking at results not causes. It is atmospheric phenomena that drives sea surface temperature. Gilbert Walker realised that 100 years ago. Atmospheric pressure over Tahiti at 17 S Lat. depends upon upper troposphere (200hPa) temperature that is driven by the interaction between short wave solar radiation and ozone. Lower 200hPa temperature accentuates the downdraught in the high pressure cells and higher temperatures weakens the dowdraught. If the dowdraught is weakened the easterlies at the surface falter.
    If we really want to assess the forces that drive the strength of the easterly winds that relate to the distribution of the waters in the warm pool we must look to the traditional Southern Oscillation Index.
    More about ENSO causation at http://climatechange1.wordpress.com/2008/11/21/the-enso-driver/ Look at ‘The ENSO Driver’ and ‘How ENSO rules the oceans’.

  40. I just have just started reading the comments on this site. Great read. I have been reading like crazy on the sun spots effect on the earths temp latley. A person I think everyone might want to read is Timo Niroma. In 1998 he predicted the solar cycle 24 would be much reduced than the ones we have been having. He then updated it in 2007 and 2008. He is saying, we look to be entering a Dalton minimum. How could he know this so far in advance. He is now looking for the next cycle 24 to begin in mid 2009. He looking pretty prescient. No body else seem to have seen this coming. Especially all the government payed for solar folks. A search of of solar cycle predictions for cycle 24 all are wrong. You would think that they would smart enough to get them off the web. Read his stuff and his reason for the the 88 yr (Gleissberg) cycle.
    Jupiter has a very off centered orbit. 11.8 years. It will be hanging around in close to the sun when it wants go active for a long long time. It has been just the opposite
    for most of our lives. In close at solar minimum.
    Tell me what you think. If he is still right 3 years from now. i would say that he has the only know forecasting model that works in the world.
    We have a natural gas industry set up to supply gas for very warm winters. The degree heating days are blowing out in the country’s mid section right now. If this keeps up this winter the gas in storage a going to be joke. Its about average for the last 5 years. Guess were I am putting my hard earned money.

  41. John Finn, you are playing semantics. But I believe your statement there is no cooling trend is wrong. The trend is definitely a cooling one.
    Which trend? and over what period?

  42. John Finn (01:44:59)
    By cherry-picking timescales, you can demonstrate almost any degree of heating or cooling you desire, as John Philips so cleverly did on another thread. But if you take the UAH and RSS record for this century, a slight downtrend is manifest. More important, in my estimation, is that the Argos buoys also demonstrate a slight cooling of the ocean for the last four years, at least to two miles deep. The recent stasis in sea level rise is evidence to me that ‘extra heat’ is not accumulating deeper in the ocean. It is ocean heat content that rules. The climate is the continuation of the ocean by other means.
    ======================================

  43. John the trend over the last 7yrs-10yrs–almost 1/3 of the only source to be trusted–satellite data–surface temp data are all crap and not to be trusted

  44. kim (04:48:00) :
    More important, in my estimation, is that the Argos buoys also demonstrate a slight cooling of the ocean for the last four years, at least to two miles deep.

    Forgive my shameful joy in this case but the Argos/Argo measurements are to 2KM not 2 miles as you so incorrectly stated. The reason this is important is that the average depth of the oceans is 3.5 km and we know for certain that the currents at the bottom of the Atlantic, all part of the ocean conveyor belt are 3km down.
    if you look at the latest Uni Colorado graph (link above) you see that the latest sea levels have ecovered sharply from the strong La Nina (as I pointed out to you earlier the Pacific is cooled by increased evaporation) and is now following the long term rising trend.

  45. Mary Hinge (11:47:13)
    I may be mistaken, but it is my understanding that the Argos buoys dive to 3,000 meters, which is 3km, or approximately two miles. And if you look at the sea level graph shown in another thread here on Watt’s Up, you’ll see that the stasis in sea levels persists.
    ==================================

  46. OK, Mary, two different references I’ve found claim the Argos buoys drift at 6,000 feet, barely over a mile down, and surface periodically to transmit data. I’ve read otherwise elsewhere, but can’t find it now. I imagine they are programmable for varying tasks. Does anyone know, authoritatively, what they are doing? I don’t.
    ================================

  47. Six thousand feet is less than 2km, but more than a bit more than a mile deep. It encourages your point. I’d like to encourage a greater appreciation for the importance of ocean temperatures in this whole discussion, because of the much greater heat capacity in the oceans compared to the atmosphere. Obviously, we need data over an even greater range of depths. I’d also read that temperatures are also measured while the buoys are rising and falling. It seems that the buoys are subject to varying conditions.
    =============================================

  48. Bob
    John the trend over the last 7yrs-10yrs–almost 1/3 of the only source to be trusted–satellite data–surface temp data are all crap and not to be trusted
    The trend over the last 10 years (120 months) is positive whichever data is used. The trend (for all data) is in, all probability, not statistically significant but none of the records show cooling which link in nicely to Kim’s post.
    The recent stasis in sea level rise is evidence to me that ‘extra heat’ is not accumulating deeper in the ocean. It is ocean heat content that rules.
    No argument on this. I never said it was warming just that it isn’t cooling.

  49. Leon Brozyna (09:00:36) :
    Buck up Leon – way too pessimistic there.
    Remember that the AGW Crowd is proposing a massive shift in industrial infrastructure – a herculean task requiring an enormous investment of technical knowhow and excellence in project management to carry it all off.
    I suspect that incompetance will hamper their efforts and slow the whole process down and allow for other more sensible options to become more viable as the costs start to come home and the benefits are not seen.

  50. “” E.M.Smith (19:29:09) :
    From George
    So to me it is self evident; the exact mechanism may be quite complex, but I am convinced that cloud modulation is regulating the temperature of this planet, and CO2 has virtually nothing to do with it.
    -end quote
    I think you are spot on. What’s regulating the clouds is speculative, but that they are critical is clear, and that they are left out of the models is criminal.
    Are clouds variable with El Nino / La Nina cycles? “”
    E. M. I’m not a Meteorologist, and I don’t know much about the different cloud types and what physical conditions determine what kind of clouds form; but I do know that to get clouds, you first have to get water droplets to form, or ice crystals depending on how cold the air mass is. Water evaporates quite readily, but it is not in any great hurry to condense back into water droplets. A drop of water has an internal pressure that is higher than the ambient air pressure around it; because of surface tension. Surface tension in water arises because the water molecule is a polar molecule because of that 104 degree bend betweein two two Hydrogen atoms. The Oxygen end is negative because of it borrowing the electron from the hydrogen, and the hydrogen ends are positive becasue the electrons spend a lot of time with the Oxygen. So the molecule is a little electric dipole, and they attract each other nose to tail so to speak. At the surface you are missing the molecules above pulling, so the surface sees a net downward force that results in the surface area shrinking to the smallest area, which creates an excess pressure inside. It is a trivial exercise using what is called the principle of virtual work, to calculate just what the excess pressur is, and it comes out to 2t/r, where r is the radius of the droplet, and t is the surface tension in Newtons per meter. in a soap bubble with an inner and outer surface the excessinternal (vapor) pressure would be 4t/r.
    Now droplets have to start off small, and the smaller r is the higher is the internal pressure. The same thing occurs in boiling water, where bubbles form inside the bulk of the water, and the internal vapor pressure has to exceed ambient by 2t/r, so it has to get hotter than 100C to form a bubble, unless there is some “core” for the bubble (or water droplet to nucleate on. Dust or microbes or even charged particles can act as nucleation centers, and if that happens to superheated water, you can get explosive bubble formation, which is why the pot bangs on the stove when you are boiling clean water
    So the process fo droplet, and hence cloud formation is strongly dependent on the presence of nucleation sites for water droplets to grow on; and this is the activator of the Cosmic ray effect. Water droplets can form high in the atmosphere when high energy charged particles either from the sun, or cosmic rays strike the atmospheric gases and create heavy ionisation tracks. This is the principle of the Wilson Cloud chamber that was used to image charged particle tracks and reactions in the early days of nuclear physics.
    So dust, aerosols, bacteria, charged particles; anything that goives water a core to grow on, aids in the formation of clouds so clouds will form at a lower humidity than in the absence of nucleation sites.
    Water as a vapor, is a positive feedback warming mechanism, but water as a liquid or solid, forms clouds, and they always act as a negative feedback cooling influence, because they reflect sunlight to space (albedo), and they block additional sunlight from the surface, which results in cooling the surface. Now the cloud will be warmer due to the extra solar absorption, and also IR warming from the ground, but the warmed cloud rises, and transports that energy to higher altitudes, where eventually iyt will be radiated to space.
    The cooling effect of volcanic eruptions is NOT the scattering and blockage of incoming solar radiation, but the dust froms nucleation sites for cloud droplets, and it is the cloud increase that cools the surface; and incidently helps remove that dust from the atmosphere..
    Increase in CO2 creates a small surface warming which evaporates more moisture from the top few microns of the oceans and lakes, and that leads to more clouds, which lower the ground level sunlight so the surface doesn’t get as warm as the AGW modellers claim it should.
    Water is the ONLY GHG that exists in the atmosphere in all three phases, to provide this self regulating temperature control. Anything that inhibits cloud formation, will allow surface temperatures to rise, and anything that enhances cloud formation, will allow temperature to adjust downward.

  51. Kim:
    the link to the Argo home page is here http://www.argo.net/.
    There are 3,000 bouys and the diagram shows how long they stay at particular depths. They drift for 8-10 days at 1km before descending to a maximum depth 0f 2km. They then acend to the surface recording details.
    he Colorado graph is the latest updated version we have available. the sea level graph you mention is I’m sure the older version of this graph as linked above http://sealevel.colorado.edu/. That graph only went up to February and the sea level was depressed due to the strong La Nina.

    I’d like to encourage a greater appreciation for the importance of ocean temperatures in this whole discussion, because of the much greater heat capacity in the oceans compared to the atmosphere. Obviously, we need data over an even greater range of depths.

    I would wholeheartedly agree with this. SST’s give a good indication but are affected by cloud, winds and currents. Using the sea level data in conjuction with SST’s gives more accurate results but we really need to be able to measure ocean conditions over a wide area of the sea bed, especially the lower ‘conveyor belt’ currents.

  52. gary gulrud (07:58:31) :
    “Yeah, we are still a ways from a technical La Nina”
    By the same token the 3-month average never crossed the zero line and La Nina winds never departed. Why did we ever say La Nina was over?

    The general consensus is for NINO 3 temperatures to be 0.8C below normal. Temperatures are average at the moment.

    As we’re splitting hairs: Mary, Mary quite contrary, what says the CSIRO?

    Not splitting hairs, just telling as it is ;-). CSIRO will update you in a couple of days, if you can wait that long!

  53. NOAA ….. 12/08/2008
    Niño 4………..-0.4ºC
    Niño 3.4…… -0.5ºC
    Niño 3 ………-0.3ºC
    Niño1+2 ……-0.9ºC
    FM

  54. George E. Smith (00:02:06) :
    “”E.M.Smith (19:29:09) :
    From George
    So to me it is self evident; the exact mechanism may be quite complex
    -end quote
    I think you are spot on. […]
    Are clouds variable with El Nino / La Nina cycles? “”

    Thanks for the details. yes, quite complex. I was hoping for a general statistical yes/no, but maybe that’s too simplistic…
    IF reduced solar gave reduced sst AND more clouds (via cosmic rays or…) then there would be a correlation and that would be valuable to know. Then again, with so many moving parts and long time delay effects maybe it was too much to hope for…

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