It’s official: La Niña is back

UPDATE: There’s some question about NCEP’s communications intent with this paper. While they cite “La Niña conditions” in the language, and the visual imagery lends itself to that, the numerical threshold of ONI hasn’t been reached, as has been pointed out in comments. Yet NCEP made no mention in the summary that the threshold had not been reached. I’ll see if I can locate the authors and get a clarification. – Anthony

In a document published January 19th, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (NCEP) has officially put the stamp on the cold water conditions we’ve seen growing in the equatorial mid and eastern Pacific. I first reported on this on December 4th, 2008. This does not bode well for California’s drought conditions, which are likely to continue due to this renewed La Niña event.

Sea Surface Temperatures as of January 5th, 2009. Click for a larger image

In the document, which you can see here,  NCEP says:

•Atmospheric and oceanic conditions reflect La Niña.
•Negative equatorial SST anomalies persist across the central and eastern Pacific Ocean.
•Based on recent trends in the observations and model forecasts,La Niña conditions are likely to continue into Northern Hemisphere Spring 2009.

Here is a map provided that shows the precipitation departure for the last 90 days. Note that while the Pacific northwest (notably Seattle) is taking a bath, California gets nearly nothing. The jet stream pattern has been pushed far north this past year.

conus-ncep-la-nina-pr-percent-precip

I also found this time series graph of equatorial Pacific ocean heat content anomaly for 180 to 100 degrees west of particular interest:

pacific-heat-content-anomaly

They also say that:

A majority of ENSO forecasts indicate below-average SSTs in the central equatorial Pacific through Northern Hemisphere Summer 2009, with about half of the models suggesting La Niña conditions will continue through February-March-April 2009.

Place your bets now.

There is also a wealth of information in the PDF document NCEP has prepared. I’m sure our readers can draw some interesting conclusions and analyses from it.

A hat tip to WUWT reader Alan Wilkinson for bringing the NCEP document to my attention.

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149 thoughts on “It’s official: La Niña is back

  1. Ahh, the ocean condition that can contribute to cooling but not warming. Using met office logic of course ;-)

  2. What does this mean? According to the Australian BOM site, they say Pacific Ocean cooling may have peeked. They also have the quasi disclaimer that cooler conditions in Pacific may not persist during summer (SH) 2009. So has it peeked or just starting?
    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/

  3. And in Australia we will be rejoicing if La Nina is back in 2009.
    Despite the fact that the 2008 La Nina did not break our worst ever recorded eleven year long drought in south eastern Australia, the odds are high that a 2009 La Nina together with changes in the Indian Ocean Dipole to a negative phase will ensure that this eleven year long ongoing drought that has decimated so much of south eastern and inland Australia will finally be over.

  4. I have a question, how much did we know about the effects of El Nino and La Nina on global climate back in 1988 when Hansen testified to congress about AGW? I know we’ve been aware El Nino for a long time, but is our understanding of their affect on global climate fairly recent?

  5. Viva, la Nina for eastern South Africa!
    No drought for us, it’s starting to look like a jungle here since the la nina of jan 08 and now the rain and cold has returned, unfortunately summer hasn’t happened but still good news for farmers here.

  6. In “2008 Global Surface Temperature in GISS Analysis” at:
    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2009/20090113_Temperature.pdf,Dr. Hansen et al wrote, “It is conceivable that this tropical cycle could dip back into a strong La Nina, as happened, e.g., in 1975. However, for the tropical Pacific to stay in that mode for both 2009 and 2010 would require a longer La Nina phase than has existed in the past half century, so it is unlikely. Indeed, subsurface and surface tropical ocean temperatures suggest that the system is “recharged”, i.e., poised, for the next El Nino, so there is a good chance that one may occur in 2009. Global temperature anomalies tend to lag tropical anomalies by 3-6 months….
    Given our expectation of the next El Nino beginning in 2009 or 2010, it still seems likely that a new global temperature record will be set within the next 1-2 years, despite the moderate negative effect of the reduced solar irradiance.”

    Based upon the lag time for global temperature anomalies to arise and NCEP report, it appears expectation for the next El Nino may deferred to 2010 and Dr. Hansen should now be giving odds on a new record within the next 1-2 years.

  7. Dan Lee (04:58:26) wrote: “I have a question, how much did we know about the effects of El Nino and La Nina on global climate back in 1988 when Hansen testified to congress about AGW? I know we’ve been aware El Nino for a long time, but is our understanding of their affect on global climate fairly recent?”

    The answer is very little. In fact, the “Warm Pool,” which pretty much spawns the ENSO (ElNino Southern Oscillation) events, wasn’t really “discovered” until 1996. For more info see http://www.epwp.com. To be honest, even in 2009, there is much to be learned about the teleconnections between the Warm Pool, the PDO, the AMO, the AMDO, and other cliate events.

    Jack Koenig, Editor
    The Mysterious Climate Project
    http://www.climateclinic.com

  8. I have a question. El Nino and La Nina are SST. How far down from the surface do these temperature occur, and, how far down is the PDO temperatures from the surface?

    Thanks for your answer.

  9. I note that the CPC says their Historical ONI page was updated Jan. 14. I checked on the 16th, 15th, 14th,…and found..nada.

    Moreover, they modified SON, changing it from -0.1 to 0.0, which leaves a highly unusual triad of zeroes. How does one cross zero an even number of times and end up negative?

  10. just Cait (04:38:30) :

    What does this mean? According to the Australian BOM site, they say Pacific Ocean cooling may have peeked. They also have the quasi disclaimer that cooler conditions in Pacific may not persist during summer (SH) 2009. So has it peeked or just starting?

    It means we’re still guessing about the bogeyman called “global climate”.

  11. Office logic indeed says that La Nina will absorb heat, as does El Nino release. Lower water vapor, more drought on western half and more hurricanes on the eastern half. So, a 3 way bad thing, for underlying, the planet keeps covertly sucking in energy whilst doubtlessly as it has been doing for decades now the inexorable rise of CO2 in the atmosphere. Office logic is like the credit bubble. It will burst and than we’ll really learn what global frying is.

  12. This is good news for California grapes and Florida oranges. Sun is good! Not so good for all the other states that thought they could grow grapes and oranges. We could see wine prices going back up and oranges getting scarce again. When I was a child and we were freezing in bitter cold, we drank home-made wine and one of our Christmas gifts was a family box of oranges. It was the only time Safeway had any oranges.

  13. I’m happy: It’s Official…
    Sir Anthony said:
    REPLY: We’ll see …
    Right: My champ.
    AMSU channel 5, means very active MJO?
    If the answer is yes, we have a hot January 2009 (entropy). Similar to the increase of ice in October 2008 (entropy).
    ….Thermal inertia…
    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/

  14. After reading the NOAA paper noted above it seems that there could be some discrepancies in regional averages. I know that the South east U.S. has been wetter than noted and the temperatures have been cooler than noted. Of course that could be only in a small area but I do know that December 08 and Jan 09 thus far have been below average temps and above average precipitation especially since we have finally broken the drought that began in 2005 with the precip that has occoured in Jan 09.

    Just the perspective from the deep south.

    Bill Derryberry

  15. But wait, WAIT!!! GISS said in December:

    “Indeed, subsurface and surface tropical ocean temperatures suggest that the system is “recharged”, i.e., poised, for the next El Niño, so there is a good chance that one may occur in 2009.”
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2008/

    LOL!!!!

    Sea ice is also currently doing better that 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, and a tiny bit better than 2004 :)

  16. Odd, I looked at the latest SSTs and it looked to me the region around the equator wasn’t showing as much blue as it was a few weeks ago.

    Shows what I know.

    2 La Ninas in a row. Starting to make up for all the back-to-back-to-back-to-ect. El Ninos.

    Maybe Archibald it right. Maybe we’ll be .6C cooler by May..

  17. According to the scale on the second map above it appears that some areas like Eastern Texas and Oklahoma as well as Northern California are more than 100% below average for precipitation! How can that be?

    REPLY:The map depicts in millimeters, I have no idea why they have % in the caption. – Anthony

  18. On http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/ it seems like temperatures for January are running much above normal until now. Is there someone who knows where the heat is coming from?
    I know Alaska is quite above normal for a few days now, but shouldn’t temperatures be lower with La Nina like last year happened?

  19. The 2008 El Nina was clearly seen in the AMSU 1km temps. However after a remarkable 9 day rise on Jan 18th 2009 the AMSU 1km temp was 1.12 degrees F warmer than the same day a year ago. If there is a La Nina something is very different from last year.

  20. With the drought pattern in California, there should be a lot more wildfires this summer that the AGW folks can blame on “global warming”. This should help them out since the temperatures aren’t cooperating…

  21. Thinking out loud here….cool air comes in from the west and meets warm moist Gulf air and we have a terrible spring tornado outbreak like 1974?

  22. How does this impact Hansen’s “Super El Nino” event to create the warmest year ever recorded this year? ( which I find strange that the AGW Champion would put all his hopes in a weather pattern emerging to prove his claims about climate change… weather events are not climate or so we are told repeatedly. Unless they are deadly and/or destructive, hot, or very rare( regardless of what it is, Snow in Baghdad, etc) then they are a Horseman of the Environmental Apocalypse.

    I would guess as in the Solar Cycle Arena they will just keep pushing the dates back and decreasing the intensity until it happens to match up, seems to be the best way to ensure accurracy and increase confidence in your abilities.

  23. La Nina conditions are back, as they have been for a few weeks. However, there is also evidence of a Kelvin wave developing (see page 16 of the NCEP doc).

    Depending on the strength of the Kelvin wave, La Nina conditions may be gone within a month. If this occurs, there will not be enough time for this to be classified a La Nina episode (see page 21).

  24. Something doesn’t seem right in that graph of precipitation. Wisconsin is shown as mostly white (-25 to 25% or around average) but didn’t they just break the all-time (130 year) record for snowfall? I know that my relatives still living there are delighting in telling me about their six foot snow drifts.

  25. It’s official: La Niña is back

    ….er…no it isn’t, the benchmark for a cool ENSO event is an SST index of 0.8. Anything inbetween is cassified as neutral. http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/ahead/about-ENSO-outlooks.shtml#Warm
    We were close to a cool even last week when the SST at NINO3was recorded at -0.68, it is now at -0.46. The temperatures in the equatorial Pacific are now rising making the chances of a sustained cooling event (i.e. below -0.8 ) more unlikely. This is clearly shown on these graphs. You will also notice the whole of the equatorial Pacific is showing signs of warming http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/indices.shtml .
    Also the NOOA have not said that there is now a La Nina, rather that the conditions ‘reflect’ La Nina. If you read page 25 of their latest report you will read this:
    Historical Pacific warm (red) and cold (blue) episodes based on a threshold of +/-0.5 oCfor the Oceanic Nino Index (ONI) [3 month running mean of ERSST.v3b SST anomalies in the Nino 3.4 region (5N-5S, 120-170W)], calculated with respect to the 1971-2000 base period. For historical purposes El Niño and La Niña episodes are defined when the threshold is met for a minimum of 5 consecutive over-lapping seasons.
    This is the latest ONI figures: -1.4-1.4-1.1-0.8-0.6-0.4-0.10.00.00.0-0.3,
    the threshold of -0.5 has not even been reached yet…and this figure needs to happen 5 more times to be classified as a La Nina!
    Which ever way you look at it the ENSO conditions are still neutral, there just seems to be confusion in the language!

    REPLY: I agree, the NCEP language is baffling. Why say it “reflects La Niña” and “La Niña conditions are likely to continue into Northern Hemisphere Spring 2009” if the threshold is not met? Odd very odd. Thanks for pointing this out. Apparently they view the term “La Niña conditions” differently than regular folks with an interest in the subject. Citing another “cool” event, clearly a “failure to communicate” on NCEP’s part. ;-)
    Anthony

  26. We really could use some rain here in California. I wanted to take the kids up to the snow next month but I am not sure there is going to be any. We already have political problems as it is with out legislature unable to pass a budget, all we need is a water shortage to really get people upset.

    We are probably in for a lot less rain in California over the next 20 years than we had in the past 20.

    • Hmmm. Bob, I’ll admit I was taken in by the language in this paper produced by NCEP. Why did they produce it in the first place if conditions are neutral? And why make a statement saying these three points in two places, beginning and end?

      •Atmospheric and oceanic conditions reflect La Niña.
      •Negative equatorial SST anomalies persist across the central and eastern Pacific Ocean.
      •Based on recent trends in the observations and model forecasts,La Niña conditions are likely to continue into Northern Hemisphere Spring 2009.

      There’s no mention of neutral in the summary, no mention of it not meeting the specs. It certainly seems as if they believe La Nina conditions exist. Odd, very odd.

  27. “Wisconsin is shown as mostly white (-25 to 25% or around average) but didn’t they just break the all-time (130 year) record for snowfall”

    Rough rule of thumb is that each foot of snow equals an inch of rain (varies according to how “dry” and fluffy the snow is). And if it is still frozen as snow, none of it is getting into the water table. The problem comes if it all blows away or evaporates (sublimation) before it has a chance to thaw. It isn’t so important that precipitation falls, it is important that it gets into the ground. Snow falling on frozen ground is not charging the ground water table (yet).

    So a six foot drift might mean only a couple of feet of ground cover which is only a couple of inches of rain.

  28. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a stretch of neutral conditions. It has been a while since we’ve had one. I’m speaking of “officially labeled” conditions. We may go into El Nino’s, and La Nina’s without them reaching the 5 consecutive, overlapping 3 month periods that would give them the episode classification. Only 2 of them since 1950 that were extended. JJA 1958 – JAS 1962, and JFM 1979 – MAM 1982. The first noted stretch was even longer(to MJJ 1963), but the new data set(ERSST.v3b SST) reclassified ASO 1962 – DJF 1963 as a La Nina. Every once in a while, nature does find some balance.

  29. I have a question, how much did we know about the effects of El Nino and La Nina on global climate back in 1988 when Hansen testified to congress about AGW? I know we’ve been aware El Nino for a long time, but is our understanding of their affect on global climate fairly recent?

    We have known about that for a long time. What we did NOT know until almost 2000 was that multidecadal oscillations caused either Los Ninos or Las Ninas to predominate.

    With a positive PDO, we see more Ninos. With a negative PDO, we see more Ninas. It has been quite a while before there were two Ninas in a row without an intervening Nino.

  30. Minnesotans For Global Warming

    http://www.m4gw.com:2005/m4gw/home.html

    They even have a nice song video !

    Their headquarter is homed in a luxury accomodation, no doubt, financed by big oil industry… (well, to be fair, only in part considering that they heat it with a wood stove)

    Enjoy !

  31. OT: interesting recent CNN article Surveyed scientists agree global warming is real

    I would like to know which crowd of “scientists” were surveyed. They also seem to like to point out that

    Petroleum geologists and meteorologists were among the biggest doubters, with only 47 percent and 64 percent, respectively, believing in human involvement.

    Meanwhile, the “real” scientists are purported as

    The strongest consensus on the causes of global warming came from climatologists who are active in climate research, with 97 percent agreeing humans play a role.

    This smells funny to me. Propaganda machine running overtime?

  32. 97% of scientists receiving grants to study anthropogenic global warming agree that AGW is real. The other 3% are ungrateful and will be dealt with shortly.

  33. AMSU daily temps are showing a huge departure from December, but what does it mean? Is this indicating an end to La Nina and reversal of temperature for 2009? Or does it mean we are witnessing a preparation for a new wave of massive cooling coming in February and beyond?

    One would think SST should be reflecting a gain in heat if there is an El Nino approaching.

    Heat released into the atmosphere not being replaced in the oceans results in ???

    Inquiring minds want to know. Where is Roy Spencer when we need him?

  34. Anthony, present (week centered on Jan 14, 2009) NINO3.4 SST anomalies are at -1.08 deg C. That’s not neutral. Looks to me like it’s just taking time for monthly averages and three-month averages to catch up so the indices can reflect what’s happening. They’re reporting present conditions, which are not neutral.

  35. I still want to know how anything can be more than 100% below average rainfall?

    I’m not too comfortable with southern Wisconsin being below normal for precipitation either. You don’t wait until it melts to measure it, it is measured as it falls so when and how if melts has nothing to do with precipitation measurements.

    It is possible that late October and November were dry with fall rains coming early and November precip just being snow. I think I am saying that data may be created by the 90 day time frame with a couple feet of November snow not making up for a few lost inches of rain.

  36. Sekerob (06:46:07) :
    Office logic indeed says that La Nina will absorb heat, as does El Nino release. Lower water vapor, more drought on western half and more hurricanes on the eastern half. So, a 3 way bad thing, for underlying, the planet keeps covertly sucking in energy whilst doubtlessly as it has been doing for decades now the inexorable rise of CO2 in the atmosphere. Office logic is like the credit bubble. It will burst and than we’ll really learn what global frying is.

    gee, “inexorable” and “global frying”. It all seems so certain to you Mr Rob. Still not replied to my many requests for you to inform us all why the IARC-JAXA ice extent data is so worthless in your eyes and Nansen is the bee’s knees. Please inform us.

  37. The strongest consensus on the causes of global warming came from climatologists who are active in climate research, with 97 percent agreeing humans play a role.

    I wonder where all these climatologists come from, considering that, up to about two decades ago, it was difficult to find a university anywhere which offered climatology courses.

  38. I thought with the switch of the multidecadal Pacific Oscillation to colder times (Alaska suddenly being regularly colder) there is a mitigation of the El Nino/La Nina cycles.

  39. watssupwiththat says:

    Hmmm. Bob, I’ll admit I was taken in by the language in this paper produced by NCEP. Why did they produce it in the first place if conditions are neutral? And why make a statement saying these three points in two places, beginning and end?

    This is updated weekly.
    Look at this page:
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/MJO/enso.shtml
    about halfway down the page under
    “Expert Discussions/Assessments”
    find the link
    “Weekly ENSO Evolution, Status, and Prediction Presentation”
    leading to the document you cite.

    They have attempted to define the language they are using, right in the document (I assume for the lay observer such as myself). Also, the NCEP is defining El Nino/La Nina conditions as ONI of +0.5/-0.5, not 0.8 as Mary Hinge suggests. It’s right in the paper on page 21.

    Lyman Horne

  40. I am confused about one thing: they state that a Kelvin wave is starting, and it sure appears to be, but they also state that La Nina conditions are expeced to continue through “Spring 2009”. These seem to contradict to me.

  41. This La Nina seems to have plateaued over the last few weeks.
    I think it’s going to fizzle out rather soon. Other barometers point to more continued cooling though. Sea ice is up, solar activity is zilch, meaning we may be entering a GORE MINIMUM,

    Or maybe we ought to call it the MESSIAH MINIMUM!

    I still like The Gore Minimum.

  42. So, it’s a mini-Nina, or “La Ninette”? Darn, this will make it that much harder for the warmists to find a fall guy for the fact it isn’t warming. Guess they’ll have to fall back on aerosols again.

  43. Squidly,
    Who believes the MSM?
    Have they made the data of their survey public?
    You’re asking the right question: “Who did they survey?”

  44. “…The strongest consensus on the causes of global warming came from climatologists…”

    And CNN never thought to mention that the biggest recipient of government funding for combating man-made climate change are those same climatologists who are 97% certain that its man-made.

    If I were a climatologist, I’d be at least 97% sure that I want that funding to continue.

  45. Evanjones
    I read somewhere that 7 of the last 11 ENSO incidents have been La Ninas. This pretty much confirms what scientists have been saying: We have enetered a negative PDO.
    Might want to sell that beachfront property in Greenland. I’ve got a whole list of suckers who’d buy it.

  46. I’m tired of chroma bias. If were are going to quartile, quintile or even dodecatile spectral data such as temperature or precipitation we need standards. And the one standard IMO that needs remain inviolate is that the plots be centered on zero variance with a neutral color and deviations be perceptually scaled for symmetry. For example the precipitation chart above. 0 to +25% is white but 0 to -25% is medium brown.

  47. Squidly:

    If you read the fine print You’ll find that only 3164 geoscientists out of 10200 responded. Can you think of any other branch of science where anyone would even think of publishing a Gallup where 69% did not answer?

  48. What will be interesting is if a negative PDO cycle will cause temperatures to reach the lows experienced during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s in North America.

  49. Re: NCEP ‘report’

    This report is simply a weekly update document. It doesn’t usually change too much but it does give the weekly anomalies for the NINO regions (see page 5). I’m guessing these anomalies are now in La Nina territory (i.e. at or below -0.5). In fact they have probably been in La Nina territory for a couple of weeks but the official definition of La Nina is based on a much longer period. Mary Hinge has something which talks about “5 consecutive over-lapping seasons”. Basically the ONI index uses 3-monthly readings (See Pages 24, 25 & 26) e.g. Oct-Nov-Dec (OND). OND is the most recent reading at -0.3, i.e. not yet La Nina. NDJ probably will go under the La Nina threshold but this needs to be maintained for further periods – though 5 seems a lot. I wonder if they really mean 3 which would cover 5 months.

    Anyway MH is right, we might have La Nina conditions but not for sufficient time for the ENSO status to be categorised as La Nina. Also, as someone else has already remarked, I too think that conditions have weakened recently so I’m not sure where that leaves us. JH could be ‘on the money’ we could have the beginning of an El Nino by the end of the year.

  50. crosspatch (09:26:28) :

    “And if it is still frozen as snow, none of it is getting into the water table. The problem comes if it all blows away or evaporates (sublimation) before it has a chance to thaw. It isn’t so important that precipitation falls, it is important that it gets into the ground. Snow falling on frozen ground is not charging the ground water table (yet).”

    In my patch of Wisconsin, we had the entire years worth of snow by mid December, and most of that has already melted. I have to agree with Jeff Naujok, Something is not correct with the map.

    wattsupwiththat (09:55:24) :

    Odd, very odd.

    Could this simply be sensationalism ?. “Nothing happened today” does not have the same tone as “Earth ending ‘like’ conditions existed today”.

  51. John Finn (11:55:37) :
    I wonder if they really mean 3 which would cover 5 months.

    I think you might be right, it would make more sense considering the normal time frame for an ENSO event. The NOAA’s language is confusing and as Anthony said it is all very odd. The only thing I can think of is that they are trying to ‘support’ their model forecast back in September/October. There’s, then shortly afterwards the UKMet, predicted cool ENSO conditions whilst four other models including the Australian and Japanese predicted neutral conditions. This generated lively debates here between Kim and myself!
    I think this report is a way out, they are saying the ENSO ‘conditions’ ‘reflect’ La NIna instead of saying that ENSO remains at neutral for the time being. They should take a leaf out of the Aussies book!
    Well Anthony I guess we are in agreement about NOAA fudging for once, I hope someone from NOAA can explain what they actually meant to say.

  52. Such sloppiness in the way CPC put together their report.

    It’s clear from the report that a La Niña episode has not begun, yet the summary states that “La Niña conditions are likely to continue.” However, CPC’s standard for La Niña conditions are that SST departures meet or exceed -0.5°C for 3 consecutive months. For the current 3-month season (OND), the SST departure is only -0.3°C. We won’t know the status of the next 3-month season (NDJ) till mid-February.

    At best, CPC can say that conditions are shifting from neutral to La Niña-like conditions.

  53. In the above map, how can precipitation be 150 percent below normal? Once it’s 100 percent below normal isn’t it at zero? Where does the extra 50 percent come from?

  54. “Mary [snip]:
    Also the NOOA have not said that there is now a La Nina, rather that the conditions ‘reflect’ La Nina”

    Thanks for the laugh!…you can bob and weave better than Mohamud Ali or a Wallstreet banker ;*)
    “We didn’t actually LOSE money, rather our financial statements ‘reflect’ a loss.”

    JimB

  55. In a document published January 19th, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (NCEP) has officially put the stamp on the cold water conditions we’ve seen growing in the equatorial mid and eastern Pacific.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t believe a thing they [NOAA] says.

  56. There is no confusion over the language about the predictions.

    “La Nina *Conditions*” are a combination of low SSTs and wind weather patterns (easterly winds) that indicate La Nina and which only need to occur for a single week or month. If you watched the week-to-week predictions there was also a couple weeks where the forecasters hedged their bets and were claiming something like “La-Nina-Like” conditions before the SSTs and wind patterns definitively changed to La Nina.

    A “La Nina *Event*” needs to have a trailing 3-month record of low SSTs. So we are probably about 1.5 months into a La Nina event which we won’t know for sure for another 1.5 months sometime in March after the Dec-Jan-Feb ONI numbers come out.

    This is kind of similar to the formal economic definition of a recession, which always comes long after 90% of people and economists have figured out that we’ve been in a recession.

    The weekly NOAA ENSO diagnostic discussion can be found here:

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf

    It comes out every Monday. They clearly define what “conditions” and “events” are if you read closely.

    Also note that a new warm phase of a Kelvin wave is starting and the current La Nina conditions should weaken over the next month or two (although it may then restrengthen, who knows…)

  57. OT: Al Gore ice sculpture unveiled in Fairbanks as invitation to discuss global warming

    “Compeau used Monday’s unveiling to publicly invite the Nobel-winner to visit Interior Alaska — specifically, Tetlin Junction, where reports indicated temperatures earlier this month bottomed out at close to 80 degrees below zero — and explain, first-hand, global warming theories. “

  58. If the NDJ value is -0.5 or less(-0.6, etc.), and continues that way for 4 more periods(DJF, JFM, FMA, MAM), it’ll get the official “La Nina” designation for the books (5 consecutive, overlapping 3 month periods). The weekly anomalies are averaged over these 3 month periods to obtain the value for the period. OND of -0.3 is the average anomaly for that 3 month period. You can have La Nina conditions, and still have fallen short of the official designation. Sometimes these events are short lived.

  59. Regarding:
    “The strongest consensus on the causes of global warming came from climatologists who are active in climate research, with 97 percent agreeing humans play a role.”

    I believe it would be proper to ratchet down cynicism. Most likely, even most skeptical scientists in the AGW debate would agree that “humans play a role.” If we deforest eastern Africa, that will affect precipitation around Kilimanjaro and elsewhere. If we irrigate valleys in the West, that will affect temperature. If we built cities and change prairies to farmland, we will increase nocturnal temperatures. If we build roads and houses, we will decrease the albedo effect. (I believe that we have over 2.5 million square kilometers of blacktop in the United States – that is larger than the loss of Artic Ice under discussion and probably is impactful that the ice loss.) . . . Oh, I have not mentioned CO2 yet, and that subject has potential. Perhaps in the real world, CO2 has only 50 to 100% of the laboratory impact on temperature, but that is still more than zero. And we could also look at secondary socioeconomic impacts – increased CO2 has increased crop production which has enabled more humans to “thrive” and produce more heat through transportation, cooking, and HVAC activities.

  60. Tony B
    For most of the Australian continent, the recorded history of droughts only goes back to around the 1840’s.
    Australia was first settled in 1788 at Sydney cove, principally for use as a convict settlement by the british.
    So we are a very young country with only a short historical record to draw from.
    There is evidence of a 20 year long drought starting in about 1640 in the Great Barrier Reef coral cores.

  61. “I read somewhere that 7 of the last 11 ENSO incidents have been La Ninas. This pretty much confirms what scientists have been saying: We have enetered a negative PDO.
    Might want to sell that beachfront property in Greenland. I’ve got a whole list of suckers who’d buy it.”

    5 out of the last 11 are La Ninas.

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ensoyears.shtml

    going back 12 years, there’s 38 months of la nina events and 39 months of el nino events.

  62. One of the problems the AGW’ers seem to be labouring under is the idea that “Classical Mechanics” works, especially when it comes to understanding things at large. Would it be too much to ask the AGW’ers to try to catch up a bit?

  63. Mary Hinge:
    First a coffee:
    Unfortunately, I saw what happened to the models for ENSO. (Except CFS). October 2008.
    All indicated neutral to El Niño.
    Politely, politely, without eternal discussions.
    My opinion:
    Kasparov vs. Deep Blue – Game 2

  64. correcting myself:

    A “La Nina *Event*” needs to have a trailing 3-month record of low SSTs

    i forgot that it needs to hit the low threshold for 5 overlapping consecutive seasons… but that doesn’t change, and in fact reinforces, the fact that the triggering of the definition of a “la nina event” happens long, long after the start of the event.

  65. An Inquirer:
    “Most likely, even most skeptical scientists in the AGW debate would agree that “humans play a role.”

    I’m not sure this is true…what are you basing this on?

    “If we irrigate valleys in the West, that will affect temperature. If we built cities and change prairies to farmland, we will increase nocturnal temperatures.”

    Then you believe that the human population can definitely control the earth’s temperature.

    Might I ask what temperature you are lobbying for?…and what you base that ideal temperature on?, and where should it be measured? Is it warmer than what we’re seeing now, meaning we should increase the activities that you believe cause temps to rise?

    JimB

  66. I’m in agreement with Anthony, Mary H., & others seeing an inconsistency in the language. When a squall hits the Florida coast and whips up 45 mph winds, you don’t say “tropical storm conditions” when there’s no tropical storm involved. A tropical storm is a specific type of event that is distinguished by a lot more than just wind speed.

    Likewise since there is a precise definition of La Nina or El Nino, I don’t understand why they’re saying “La Nina conditions” unless we’re experiencing an actual La Nina.

  67. hardly a word on the relation of SST patterns to the jetstream – it is the latter that distributes the heat and the moisture to land by its effect on lower level winds, clouds and storm tracks – by my understanding it has geneally shifted south not north, but the standing wave changes andcan be influenced bySSTs – take a look at the northern Pacific right now on Intelliweather’s site – the air masses are directed northward almost vertically from the trough of the wave, hence depriving California of rain – it is as if the American land mass somehow blocks the wave – I don’t know why, but a similar blockng pattern in the Atlantic this past month or so sent warmth and moisture north into Labrador nstead of westward and Europe froze – right now we are getting the downloop of cold moist air from the N Atlantic, rather than the uploop fromfurther south – it looks to me as if the amplitude of the wave has increased since the summer when it moved south generally – but I am no expert and have just this year been paying this subject due attention – what causes the blocks in the waves? What shifts it south when solar magnetics are low – as durng the Maunder Minimum (Shindell, 2001)?

  68. Well speaking of jetstreams and the ocean cycles I’ve tried to deal with them in an overall climate scenario here:

    http://co2sceptics.com/attachments/database/Do%20More%20Greenhouse%20Gases%20Raise%20The%20Earths%20Temperature__0__0__1232399431.pdf

    Although it is ostensibly about CO2 the conclusion arises because of observed jetstream and ocean behaviour over the past decades.

    The trouble is that although it all makes sense to me it is devilishly difficult to put the concept into words so apologies if it’s all a bit heavy.

    I’m not even certain there isn’t a fatal logical or scientific flaw so if there is one then someone should point it out and stop me from wasting my time.

    However, if I’m right then there are implications.

  69. I’d have to say our Mary was more right than I a month and a half ago. I fully expected La Nina winds to turn the SSTs over for OND.

    Could there be too little energy in the system?

    Erl is forecasting a move away from La Nina in March.

  70. “This does not bode well for California’s drought conditions, which are likely to continue due to this renewed La Niña event.”

    crosspatch (08:59:42) :

    “We really could use some rain here in California. I wanted to take the kids up to the snow next month but I am not sure there is going to be any. We already have political problems as it is with out legislature unable to pass a budget, all we need is a water shortage to really get people upset.

    We are probably in for a lot less rain in California over the next 20 years than we had in the past 20.”

    Not sure where this idea of La Nina causes droughts in California has come from. I work in water resources in California and have found little evidence of such a correlation. If anything El Nino events could be tied to drought in California simply because we tend to see more extremes of either dry of wet conditions. The worst drought conditions in the past 50 years occurred during El Nino events (see the NCEP pdf document and look at 1977 and 1992).

    What I’ve found is that for Northern California – which really feeds the rest of the State’s water supply – has a greater standard of deviation in annual precipitation in El Nino years. La Nina years have less variability, thus when it is dry during a La Nina it tends not to be that extreme.

    Yes California is in it’s third year of below normal precipitation, but I would not blame it on La Nina. There’s really little to point to in the historical record.

    BTW – I’m looking at the ECMWF and think we could be pretty wet by the middle of next week. So should be plenty of new snow in February :-)

  71. JimB,
    Let’s start off with an understanding of my terminology. In the AGW debate, I see a continuum ranging from global warming pessimist to skeptics. A global warming pessimist believes six steps: (1) increased CO2 levels induce temperature increases under laboratory conditions, (2) this reaction is duplicated in uncontrolled chaotic real atmosphere, (3) that humans are responsible for significant increases in atmospheric CO2, (4) that there are positive feedbacks that magnify the impact on temperature beyond the laboratory results, (5) that these CO2-induced temperature increases will swamp other impacts on temperatures and (6) that the resulting temperature increases have dire environmental consequences. As I have listened to skeptics such has Spencer, Christy, Pielke, McKitrick, I do not hear many objections to the first three. (In fact, they seem to accept that the earth is now hotter than it has been in the last 150 years – a conclusion that I am somewhat hesitant to accept until someone can explain why the dramatic impact of 1930s weather conditions are not being repeated now and why we need to assume that thermometers in the 30s were biased upwards.) However, skeptics do have problems – and point to contrary evidence – to the last three points. Also, they have pointed out we should not limit ourselves to CO2 in understanding increased temperatures. Any reading of Pielke should lead you to his views on the impact of land use. Christy points out that increased temperatures in the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys have not followed GCMs but rather have been spurred by irrigation. McKitrick’s studies show that increased temperature measurements by locality are highly correlated with robust economic activity. Other scientists have concluded that UHI leads to decreased differences between daytime and nocturnal temperatures. Smith and Freeman have separately pointed out that coal ash from China’s (polluting) coal plants might be having a substantial melting effect on snow and ice.
    Therefore, I believe that most skeptical scientists would point out that “humans play a role.”
    You have a legitimate concern on who should play the role of God in determining what is the optimal temperature, but your (taunting) question does not follow from my post.

  72. Might I ask what temperature you are lobbying for?…

    I’ve been pondering mightily along those lines myself. That is, until I start thinking about the Earth’s Core, not to mention the Universe.

  73. “Have a role” is not the same as “is the major influence on”. I would not be at all surprised that 97% of climate scientists agree with “have a role”.

    The question comes down to CO2. If humans increased CO2 in the atmosphere, then even with negative feedback, humans had a role. If CO2 follows temperature only, then humans may not have had a role. But if that’s the case, we should be seeing dropping CO2 levels already. I don’t think we are.

  74. “The 2008 El Nina was clearly seen in the AMSU 1km temps. However after a remarkable 9 day rise on Jan 18th 2009 the AMSU 1km temp was 1.12 degrees F warmer than the same day a year ago. If there is a La Nina something is very different from last year.”

    I thought the same thing. So far Jan 09 is significantly warmer than Jan 08. I did a comparison between 2007 and 2009 and it looks like we still well below January 07 temps.

    This January will be warmer than last January, but no where near any record. Still, I wonder where the heat is with all this bitterly cold air over the eastern US, Canada, Europe, etc.

  75. If humans increased CO2 in the atmosphere, then even with negative feedback, humans had a role.

    Yes, there is no doubt that, if the Queen had balls, she would be King. However, I think you are asking too much.

  76. Dan Lee (04:58:26) :”I have a question, how much did we know about the effects of El Nino and La Nina on global climate back in 1988 when Hansen testified to congress about AGW? ”

    Back when I was a child we called El Nino: The red tide. Fishermen knew that at this time shell fish could be dangerous to eat. People as far back as the Mayans knew about these ocean effect. Because modern man renamed it doesnt mean its anything new…

    The problem with saying that we should be seeing the same weather with a new La Nina as the last one is that a great deal of moisture was “relocated” and in our case the land is saturated, that alone will change next years weather. The rules of the game have changed dont ya see. Or if you prefer, we have new variables to consider. Ah that is the beauty of our world, I have never seen one year exactly like another. The sooner people get over that, the better we all will be. Instead of predicting world wide disasters, we might be better served to set up aid for folks who will be impacted adversly each year by mother natures changing nature. And.. if were good and observant and get all our ducks in a row, we might be able to talk about pollution again and make this planet a better place without having to scare the bjesus out of folks to get them to care.

    PS.. Hansen is [snip]

  77. Squidly (10:09:31) :

    “OT: interesting recent CNN article Surveyed scientists agree global warming is real

    I would like to know which crowd of “scientists” were surveyed. They also seem to like to point out that

    Petroleum geologists and meteorologists were among the biggest doubters, with only 47 percent and 64 percent, respectively, believing in human involvement.

    Meanwhile, the “real” scientists are purported as

    The strongest consensus on the causes of global warming came from climatologists who are active in climate research, with 97 percent agreeing humans play a role.

    This smells funny to me. Propaganda machine running overtime?”

    Squidly, That is not all.

    Look at the NYT website that now shows a big add from EPA against coal.
    IPCC and WorldWatch pressing Obama to take measures immediately and all the usual crap about the melting/cracking ice plates/caps.
    HANSON STATING THAT 2009 WILL BE THE WARMEST YEAR IN HISTORY?

    Maybe the NOAA report is made to provide a solid excuse to explain the current cold spells?

    Who knows?

  78. “An Inquirer:
    You have a legitimate concern on who should play the role of God in determining what is the optimal temperature, but your (taunting) question does not follow from my post.”

    I apologize for my “taunting” question, but I believe it to be a genuine and acceptable part of the debate. I am also unfamiliar with the varying degrees of pessimists to skeptics. I’m so used to seeing everyone who doesn’t agree with the C02 theory lumped into the same bag, if you will.

    The reason I feel my questions are valid is your statement that “Therefore, I believe that most skeptical scientists would point out that “humans play a role.”
    I have no belief and therefor no understanding of a “God” element in any of this, so I reject that analogy.

    So what’s the temp?…and who gets to set it?…assuming the theories of control are correct? Or is it that humans can have an impact, but not control?

    JimB

  79. James Hansen’s prediction :

    “Given our expectation of the next El Nino beginning in 2009 or 2010, it still seems likely that a new global temperature record will be set within the next 1-2 years, despite the moderate negative effect of the reduced solar irradiance.”

    His past predictions have been wrong. So I don’t see a reason to incline myself to believe this one. With each wrong prediction, with each inaccurate set of data released, with each correction of past data from outside sources, and with each ungentlemanly voice coming from GISS, James Hansen’s reputation is marred further. This would be a case of self destruction. We don’t need to help expose who he is to the public; he’s doing a fine job of it for himself, thank you very much.

    Also

    “The strongest consensus on the causes of global warming came from climatologists who are active in climate research, with 97 percent agreeing humans play a role.”

    “play a role”– how ’bout them words! They never specify how much of a role. These polls should include categorizations, like, “less than 1% of a role”, “+ or – 50% role”, “small role”, “large role”, etc. As ‘An Inquirer’ alluded to in a comment above man does have an effect on climate. But what is implied in these polls is that if a climatologist agrees that man plays a role in climate that means he is agreeing that Al Gore’s movie is accurate. They should ask the question : “Do you agree with Al Gore’s movie?”.

    Also, to say that study still needs to be done on how man impacts climate is not an inaccuracy for anyone on either side of this issue to say. It is still not known exactly how much of an impact man has on climate. But we can see it is small, some say irrelevant. I’m satisfied with that level of knowing. But to say we know exactly, well, we just can’t say that. I don’t know exactly how much I weigh either. I have it satisfactorily narrowed down. But I don’t know exactly.

    So would anyone like to send me some money so I can continue to buy, and then step on, a wider variety of scales to determine just exactly how much of an impact I have on a scale when I step on it?

    With the impression I get from Congress and this 700 billion thingy they did a few months ago I bet I could get the money from them!

  80. “” Pamela Gray (06:49:09) :

    This is good news for California grapes and Florida oranges. Sun is good! Not so good for all the other states that thought they could grow grapes and oranges. We could see wine prices going back up and oranges getting scarce again. When I was a child and we were freezing in bitter cold, we drank home-made wine and one of our Christmas gifts was a family box of oranges. It was the only time Safeway had any oranges. “”

    How do you figure that Pamela ? We aren’t going to have enough water in California, to even grow grapes; well maybe the farmers can grow sun-dried rasins right on the vine; that should make them cheap.

    George

  81. The current SST numbers are low enough to officially call this a La Nina but there has been a change in the conditions recently.

    The big driver of the ENSO is low level Trade Winds at the equator – which blow east to west at the equator.

    When the Trades are sustained above average for long periods of time, the warmer ocean surface waters gets blown/pushed to the western pacific and they are replaced by cold upwelling water from below and we have a La Nina.

    When the Trades are below average for long sustained periods of time, the ocean surface stalls in place and gets heated day after day by the equatorial Sun and we are left with an El Nino. Sometimes, the Trades just stop and the warm water in the western pacific sloshes backwards into the ENSO region and we have a Kelvin Wave.

    At one time, they used the Southern Oscillation index (which is probably too far to the West) to predict these winds but we now have better monitoring and we can directly measure the Trades Winds over top of the ENSO region.

    For whatever reason, the Trade Winds in the centre of the ENSO regions have stopped blowing in the past several days and they have now gone below normal. There is very cold water below the Nino regions but if the Trades are not blowing, there is no upwelling of the cold water.

    So, it is looking less likely a significant La Nina will develop but the current numbers are low enough to call it one.

    Here is the time series of low level Trade Winds measured each day (Sept 2008 to Jan 20th, 2009).

  82. “” Pierre Gosselin (11:55:00) :

    tty
    Maybe only 3164 respondents were counted! “”

    Well that scientist survey was just a scam. They asked basically two questions.
    1/ do you believe we have had a period of warmer temperatures in recent years (or words to that effect) ? Who wouldn’t say yes to that ?

    2/ Do you think man has any influence on the climate ? Well who wouldn’t say yes to that.

    3/ The question they didn’t ask. Do you think the extent of man’s influence on climate is significant ? So who would say yes to that.

    So you ask some stupid questions, and you get some stupid answers.

  83. With a positive PDO, we see more Ninos. With a negative PDO, we see more Ninas. It has been quite a while before there were two Ninas in a row without an intervening Nino.

    I say we have a cigar either way.

  84. “” An Inquirer (13:07:36) :

    Regarding:
    “The strongest consensus on the causes of global warming came from climatologists who are active in climate research, with 97 percent agreeing humans play a role.”

    I believe it would be proper to ratchet down cynicism. Most likely, even most skeptical scientists in the AGW debate would agree that “humans play a role.” If we deforest eastern Africa, that will affect precipitation around Kilimanjaro and elsewhere. If we irrigate valleys in the West, that will affect temperature. If we built cities and change prairies to farmland, we will increase nocturnal temperatures. If we build roads and houses, we will decrease the albedo effect. (I believe that we have over 2.5 million square kilometers of blacktop in the United States – that is larger than the loss of Artic Ice under discussion and probably is impactful that the ice loss.) . . . Oh, I have not mentioned CO2 yet, and that subject has potential. Perhaps in the real world, CO2 has only 50 to 100% of the laboratory impact on temperature, but that is still more than zero. And we could also look at secondary socioeconomic impacts – increased CO2 has increased crop production which has enabled more humans to “thrive” and produce more heat through transportation, cooking, and HVAC activities. “”

    All very good points enquirer.

    So how come you didn’t say that any of those influences would be deletarious; or of any great significance.

    The rain forests on the plains around Kilimanjaro, were all cut down centuries ago (by the natives), so nothing much has changed there in centuries. The ice still doesn’t melt, but it does sublime because of low humidity over the mountain; and that has nothing to dow ith global warming.

  85. As regards the spike in temperature during January, Anthony was kind enough to forward my question from the PROJECTS thread to Dr. Spencer. This spike appears to be part of a cyclic phenomenon(TIO or MJO) which seemed to gain strength in the 2nd half of 2008. Dr. Spencer calls it the TIO and gives it a 30-60 day periodicity. It is primarily a precipitation event that starts in the western Pacific/Southern Indian Ocean and works it’s way around the world. It is associated with EL Ninas which would lend credence to being in an El Nina phase. I wonder if it is some sort of relief valve for the relatively higher SSTs of the Western Pacific during a La Nina. Another piece of the puzzle?

  86. WANTED: STATISTICAL DATA ANALYSIS HELP

    The following is a graph of the latest and greatest version [ERSST.v3b] of NINO3.4 and Southern Ocean SST anomalies. It’s always struck me that there was an underlying component of the Southern Ocean SST anomalies in the NINO3.4 SST anomaly data, but proving it is beyond my capabilities. Even though I’d be reprimanded for it, the best I could do would be to put a 6th-order polynomial trend of the NINO3.4 data on the graph and say, “Hmm, that looks like it fits,” which is exactly what I’ve done with that graph.

  87. ROM (13:12:10) :
    Tony B
    For most of the Australian continent, the recorded history of droughts only goes back to around the 1840’s.
    Australia was first settled in 1788 at Sydney cove, principally for use as a convict settlement by the british.
    So we are a very young country with only a short historical record to draw from.

    British settlement that is – apart from our indigenous peoples who have been in Australia for at least 40,000 – 60,000 years.

  88. A dry California is a better wine producer. Here is why:

    PRECIPITATION

    Grapes grow best under mild, dry spring weather conditions, followed by long, warm dry summers after bloom. Cold temperatures and rainfall during the flowering period may interfere with fruit set. Rain and wet weather at any time can create climate conditions conducive to the growth of pathogens detrimental to crop production and vine health. Rain at harvest may also reduce fruit quality. The advantages or disadvantages of rain depend on when, how long and how much it rains.

    http://www.farmwest.com/index.cfm?method=pages.showPage&pageid=547

  89. Actually, Pamela, a dry California means no irrigation, for the water does not fall during the growing season. The snowpacks and runoff are stored in reservoirs up & down the length of the state for the dry season, which now extends into the wet season. The reservoirs are nearly empty or very low.
    This is much worse than 1976-77.
    With no available records of what the climate was here in the Maunder or the Dalton, the climate that will be here should those two scenarios play out is unknown. And, there is no warning to prepare.
    NASA screams warning to the new President, and who wants to guess which way they lean?

  90. MattN (15:41:55) :

    From the http://www.drroyspencer.com/ site:

    The fairly large fluctuations seen within individual months are usually due to increases (warming) or decreases (cooling) in tropical rainfall activity, called “intraseasonal oscillations”.

    Has there been any unusual precipitation in the tropics?

    If this is true how does the ENSO El Nino fit into this in any way?

  91. What is extraordinary about my last post is that the above farmwest online publication is for Canada. Putting into place a vineyard in Canada is just plain stupid (there is currently about 7500 acres in British Columbia). It is a one-generation or less, short sighted farming practice that will not put good quality low priced food on the table year after year, much less a stable year in and year out quality wine.

    I believe that the wine industry rode in on the coattails of the past 30 years of warming caused by warm cycles out in the oceans. Does the current farmer understand that? Not if he, she, or the corporation “it” is a newbie to the land they till. This is what happens when farms are sold instead of handed down to the next generation. The collective wisdom of the space you cultivate is lost and the world is the poorer for it.

    The family farm is the only way to assure a steady supply of good, basic, inexpensive food sent round the world. And is the only way to fight and win against the decadal variations in weather patterns as they relate to food production.

  92. Maybe this isn’t a La Nina, but instead a cooling of the ocean not caused by the swapping of warm and cold water. This could possibly mean this is a start of an EL Ninas that is already cooled. It could also mean the cycle is becoming broken from lack of energy to drive it.

  93. Hey! I just noticed something. At the end of each blog (scroll to the bottom till it stops at the “SUBMIT COMMENT” section), down at the bottom left, is a tiny smiley face! I thought it was a dirty speck on my screen and tried to scratch it off! Is this like the Playboy bunny search? Do I get a prize?

    REPLY: I too noticed that long ago. It is either an artifact of wordpress coding or the theme I’m using. – Anthony

  94. I guess we’re all going to have to watch “Out in the Cold” at (I apologize in advance for messing up the html…)

  95. California has also “rode in” on the tails of a warm, wet weather pattern for a bit under half a century, one that will change back to the drought of years gone by when dust bowl laborers flocked to one of the only states still able to produce. However, that was then. Like Oregon, lizard dwelling high desert plains are now filled with crops. And like Oregon, its ability to maintain wet weather pattern production with reservoir reserve during decadal drought is a pipe dream, but only if there is water in them pipes. California’s saving grace is that it has warmer nights and in many areas, a year long growing season. Oregon’s crops pretty much have a few months to make it or die on the vine. I don’t know how this is going to pan out. Will farmers return to low profit plain Jane food or stick it out with high profit but risky grapes? Hell, we couldn’t even harvest a decent pumpkin this past fall. They froze while still green.

  96. Pamela Grey (20:35:33) ????
    The only thing in the lower left of my screen, below the “Submit Comment” tab is a “Box” to “check”, if requesting to be notified of follow-up comments via email????

    No smiley face???

  97. The current farmer hasn’t a clue.
    There was no agriculture here just over 150 years ago (Western N. America).
    It’s all corporate farms now, and I’m quite sure they think everything can be solved with petrochemicals and cloud seeding. They have no roots even with early agriculture, let alone long-term climate change of any genre, no matter what happens to the sun, oceans or whatever other models might be considered.

  98. in regards to

    George E. Smith (17:32:18) :

    “The rain forests on the plains around Kilimanjaro, were all cut down centuries ago (by the natives),”

    A study done by some French fellows says it’s continental lift caused by tectonic plate activity that makes there to be less snow on Mount Kilimanjaro, not from global warming and not from deforestation

  99. Here’s what I was refering to :

    L’EXPRESS
    THE SNOWS OF MOUNT KILIMANJARO By Claude Allegre
    The cause of climate change remains unknown. So, let us be cautious.
    September 21, 2006
    “So, the question that arises is whether there is climate warming or not? The argument that builds upon the retreating white cap of Kilimanjaro seems implacable. The retreating white cap is observable, tangible. Indeed, but things are not as straightforward as they seem. The gradual retreat of the snows of Kilimanjaro is often imputed to local phenomena, the main one of these being desertification in East Africa. In a recent issue of Science magazine, French researchers have shown that this desertification was in a large measure due to tectonic activities responsible for the gradual uplift of the African continent, thereby inducing a reorganization of atmospheric circulation. Greenhouse effect plays no significant role in these processes.”

  100. Squidly (10:09:31) :
    Petroleum geologists and meteorologists were among the biggest doubters, with only 47 percent and 64 percent, respectively, believing in human involvement.
    […]
    This smells funny to me. Propaganda machine running overtime?

    Makes perfect sense to me. Two of the most ‘no bull’ groups I’ve ever met were geologists and meteorologists. Well grounded in reality. Often employed to produce real results with lots of money dependent on getting it right. “Climatologist researchers” on the other hand…

    The only thing I’d quibble about is that I think they had to hand pick their geologists and meteorologists to get the numbers that high!

  101. Peter (11:05:13) :
    I wonder where all these climatologists come from, considering that, up to about two decades ago, it was difficult to find a university anywhere which offered climatology courses.

    It’s all the student interns, silly goose! ;-O You weren’t thinking it took an advanced degree to be a ‘scientist working in the field’ did you?…

  102. JimB (12:57:32) :
    “Mary [snip]:
    Also the NOOA have not said that there is now a La Nina, rather that the conditions ‘reflect’ La Nina”
    Thanks for the laugh!…you can bob and weave better than Mohamud Ali or a Wallstreet banker ;*)

    How can I be bobbing and weaving when I have been shown to be correct? I said in the fall there would be no La Nina, there is no La Nina event now and there is unlikely to be one now. Don’t you like that? Does that spur you to ad hominem attacks?

    Fernando (13:15:57) :
    Mary Hinge:
    First a coffee:
    Unfortunately, I saw what happened to the models for ENSO. (Except CFS). October 2008.
    All indicated neutral to El Niño.

    Hi Fernando. This is the latest model from NCEP, http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/people/wwang/cfs_fcst/images/nino3SSTMon.gif unfortunately I haven’t got the October chart. They are still showing ENSO as cool and predicting cool conditions into May/June. Compare this to NASA’s models which show almost the opposite happening http://gmao.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/products/climateforecasts/index.cgi For the recent record NASA has been more accurate than NCEP in ENSO forecast.
    I did mention on another post that I would stick my neck out and say an El Nino was a strong possibility next SH summer, this is starting to look more and more likely.

    For those who are interested. an interesting link here to maps of outgoing long wave radiation, a good indicator of cloud depth and rainfall. http://www.bom.gov.au/bmrc/clfor/cfstaff/matw/maproom/index.htm

  103. “Pamela Gray (20:13:16) :

    This is what happens when farms are sold instead of handed down to the next generation. The collective wisdom of the space you cultivate is lost and the world is the poorer for it.”

    This is what CAN happen…doesn’t mean it WILL happen, or HAS to happen. It depends on the entity that owns the farm. Not all corporations are evil, or bad stewards of the land.

    “The family farm is the only way to assure a steady supply of good, basic, inexpensive food sent round the world. And is the only way to fight and win against the decadal variations in weather patterns as they relate to food production.”

    While it is ONE way, it certainly isn’t the ONLY way.
    I don’t know if there is a family farm left in Nebraska?…Iowa?…Indianna?

    As for vineyards in Canada, Brights in Ontario was founded in 1874…so at least they have somewhat of a track record.

    Not trying to be argumentitive, I just don’t think you can make absolute statements like that.

    JimB

  104. Pamela Gray (20:13:16) : wrote:
    What is extraordinary about my last post is that the above farmwest online publication is for Canada. Putting into place a vineyard in Canada is just plain stupid (there is currently about 7500 acres in British Columbia).
    ———————————————-

    Pamela, stupidity is in the eye of the beholder. If you’re told that there’s only going to be warming from here on out then it would be “sensible”. A litigator might use a different word – “damages”.

    I shall keep you updated, space-permitting, on the progress of my 2-year old Pinot noir vines in the East San Francisco Bay this year. They are already budding. Must be the carbon dioxide? Which would bring me full circle to my first sentence if I wasn’t being sarcastic.

  105. As a Chicagoan I monitor great lakes water levels on an almost daily basis. There was a lot of press given to the record low lake levels in 2007 and what was expected to be an even worse 2008. Low and behold as of of Jan 2009 Lake Erie, Ontario, Lake St. Clair (I know not a Great Lake but part of the system) are all already at or above the long term mean lake level for this time of year.
    Lake Superior was about 5″ below the long term mean at it’s last reported reading December 8th. For some reason, NOAA has not updated Lake Superior levels for the last 40 days or more despite several emails to the contact listed describing the error. To the extent that the other lake levels are already 7-8″ ahead of 2007, it’s likely that Lake Superior has also recovered close to the long term mean level.

    Lake Michigan is still about 10-12″ below the long term mean but has recovered significantly in just one year. There are some man-made problems (St. Clair river dredging, Chicago Sanitary canal and increasing consumptive use) that create outflows out of Lake Michigan that partially explain much of it’s lower lake levels compared to the other great lakes.

    The NOAA forecasts show a very high probability that 2009 will see Lake Levels that are at or very close to the long term mean.

    Although La Nina is tied to more severe weather events it’s probable that it will contribute to increased lake levels due to colder weather that will limit winter evaporation.
    thanks
    Ed

    http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/wr/ahps/curfcst/curfcst.html

  106. Erl is an expert in wine production. I first started paying attention to what he had to say years ago when he gave a description of what sunspots have to do with wine in France. He is an intuitive entrepreneur who “puts his money where his mouth is” and is very practical. He is a person who looks at the world and asks “why” is this happening, the way in which science was conducted prior to the wide spread use of computer models. I don’t know whether or not his opinions on climate are right or not but, what he has to say about wine I’d bet are dead on.

  107. To clarify the significance of evaporation:

    If water is warmer than air the latent heat of evaporation comes from the water which cools rapidly.

    If water is cooler than air the latent heat of evaporation comes from the air and so is no longer available to warm the water.

    If downwelling longwave radiation warms the water surface then any energy added to the water surface is taken away by the latent heat of evaporation.

    Evaporation occurs at all temperatures if the air is not saturated because air is less dense than water.

    Neither air nor downwelling radiation are able to warm water because the evaporative process always uses the energy supply most readily available and if the water is warmer than the air it is taken from the water and any warming effect negated.

    If one cannot warm the oceans one cannot warm the air. If extra heat is put into the air from say extra GHGs it cannot be retained because the air temperature at the surface has to match the SST globally. The mechanism which maintains the equilibrium is the latitudinal position of the weather systems.

    Don’t ask me why this is not all obvious to the climate professionals

  108. “” Just want truth… (22:20:16) :

    in regards to

    George E. Smith (17:32:18) :

    “The rain forests on the plains around Kilimanjaro, were all cut down centuries ago (by the natives),”

    A study done by some French fellows says it’s continental lift caused by tectonic plate activity that makes there to be less snow on Mount Kilimanjaro, not from global warming and not from deforestation “”

    None of which negates my assertion that the local natives did in fact cut down all that forestry, to use for whatever they needed it for. Who knows; maybe the rmoval of all that wood weight was the reason from the tectonic uplift that Frechie asserted.

    However it is established that the snow/ice on Kilimanjaro sublimes because of low humidity, and does not melt due to high temperatures. Kilimanjaro is 20,000 feet high.

    There is some rain forest on the lower slopes of the mountain which does create local moisture and rain in some streamlets; but it is too small an area to maintain the envirinment that was there thousands of years ago.

    In any case in recent years, K has been as snowy as ever so is in fine shape.

  109. So the sun is less active and less energy is going into the oceans.

    At the same time the weather systems have moved equatorward so that there are increased areas where polar air is attempting to extract energy from the oceans to compensate for the negative ocean oscillations withholding energy from the atmosphere.

    That sounds like the most likely explanation for observed ocean cooling but, hey, the problem has gone away after ‘reinterpreting ‘ the results.

  110. “” Stephen Wilde (10:19:40) :

    To clarify the significance of evaporation:

    If water is warmer than air the latent heat of evaporation comes from the water which cools rapidly.

    If water is cooler than air the latent heat of evaporation comes from the air and so is no longer available to warm the water.

    If downwelling longwave radiation warms the water surface then any energy added to the water surface is taken away by the latent heat of evaporation.

    Evaporation occurs at all temperatures if the air is not saturated because air is less dense than water.

    Neither air nor downwelling radiation are able to warm water because the evaporative process always uses the energy supply most readily available and if the water is warmer than the air it is taken from the water and any warming effect negated.

    If one cannot warm the oceans one cannot warm the air. If extra heat is put into the air from say extra GHGs it cannot be retained because the air temperature at the surface has to match the SST globally. The mechanism which maintains the equilibrium is the latitudinal position of the weather systems. “”

    The downward radiation from the atmosphere is long wave IR due to the temperature of the atmosphere. The capture of 14.77 micron band IR from the earth’s surface by CO2 or other GHG and other wavelengths (water vapor too) is part of what warms the atmosphere.
    That downward IR is all absorbed in less than the top 10 microns of the ocean surface (73% of planet’s surface), so it leads to immediate prompt evaporation.
    The solar spectrum radiation propagates tens of metres deep in the ocean, and is only slowly returned to the surface by convection.

    But evaporation occurs because the kinetic energy of the surface molecules is increased, and it is the higher energy tail of the statistical distribution, of molecular velocities, which escape the surface attraction into the atmosphere. The warmer the atmosphere is, the more receptive the atmosphere is to accept the water molecule, but the energy of the molecule came with it right out of the water. The density of water molecules in the boundary layer, will determine how many of them return to the water; so there is a dynamic exchange going on. If the air is warmer, then atmospheric convection will transport the water vapor away from the surface so those molecules can’t return to the ocean.

    The loss of that high energy tail of velocity distribution, is the reason why the average temperature of the water surface decreases due to evaporation.

    The atmosphere may be the source of the energy that heats the water surface, but the energy transported with the water molecule, comes right out of the water.

    George

    And yes I agree; why don’t they know this?

  111. Pearland and Aggie,

    I can’t prove this but you might want to compare the article you posted with the article I posted. Here they are again:

    http://www.examiner.com/x-1586-Baltimore-Weather-Examiner~y2009m1d21-Oceans-are-cooling-according-to-NASA

    and

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/OceanCooling/page1.php

    I couldn’t help but notice that the Baltimore Weather Examiner article follows the NASA article almost exactly (though not literally copying from it) and the graphs on on the BWE article are also present in the NASA article. But the strange thing is – besides some misquoting, ie Takmong Wong never said the cooling could be due to melitng Arctic ice – that the BWE doesn’t finish the story that it turned out there was a problem with the measurements and thus there was no global cooling. He just leaves the most important thing out!

    So, my take is that the Baltimore Weather Examiner wanted to make a point and that whatever didn’t fit this point would simply be left out. I think it’s even conceivable that he wanted guys like you, Pearland and Aggie, to post links to his article to spread misinformation. So, please be careful what articles you link to. Do some research first.

    Neven

  112. of course you glazed over the part about how they came to decide the data needed “correction”…that, of course, is okay as long as the measured cooling goes away.

    no need to get preachy with me, mr. palindrome.

  113. oh, and never mind the fact that a second, independent study corroborates the uncorrected NASA data…

  114. you know, after reading them again, i’m going to apologize for posting that article. it does appear that some information was left out, but i think the point about the rationale behind correcting the data was glossed over and appears somewhat subjective.

    if you hadn’t been so pontifical in your second post, i may have responded differently…

  115. Not sure where to put this, so it’s landing here:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7843186.stm

    Quotes from the article:

    “The continent of Antarctica is warming up in step with the rest of the world, according to a new analysis.”
    ” Most of Antarctica’s scientific stations are located along the peninsula, and scientists have known for many years that this portion of the continent is getting warmer.”
    “”We have at least 25 years of data from satellites, and satellites have the huge advantage that they can see the whole continent,” said Eric Steig from the University of Washington in Seattle.

    “But the [land] stations have the advantage that they go back much further in time. So we combined the two; and what we found, in a nutshell, is that there is warming across the whole continent, it’s stronger in winter and spring but it is there in all seasons.”

    Now I go look at globalwarminghoax, and find this from Feb, 2008:

    “the Antarctic is now at record levels of ice extent, ice concentration and the growth continues. You don’t have to believe us you can see the data yourself at The National Snow and Ice Data Center. Simply compare January 1980 (the first January after satellite measurements began) with January 2008. The difference is striking, 44.1% greater ice extent and 30% greater ice concentration in January 2008 compared to 1980. So much for “global” warming, if it occurred the Antarctic definitely missed out on it.”

    And I recall an article here on WUWT from last summer sometime, maybe August?…

    So frankly, I’m confused.

    Anyway, seems there are some pretty big discrepencies regarding whats up with the antarctic…

    JimB

  116. Does evaporation occur when the water beneath is frozen? As an example, water levels on the great lakes tend to be higher after a cold winter when there has been a great amount of the lake surface covered in ice. Liquid water cannot evaporate through an ice covered surface. Is this accurate and are there any implications to the rest of the planet as it relates to the poles and the amount of ocean covered in ice?

    Reply: Ice can evaporate directly without ever changing to liquid water. The process is known as sublimation ~ charles the moderator

  117. George E. Smith (14:52:44) :
    “” Stephen Wilde (10:19:40) :

    To clarify the significance of evaporation:The loss of that high energy tail of velocity distribution, is the reason why the average temperature of the water surface decreases due to evaporation.

    The atmosphere may be the source of the energy that heats the water surface, but the energy transported with the water molecule, comes right out of the water.

    George

    And yes I agree; why don’t they know this?
    ————————————————

    George or Stephen, thanks for all of that. I think I followed it all but, being a bit new to this, I need the final loop closed in my thought processes on this specific aspect of energy transfer: If I’m understanding it correctly, the downward radiative transfer from the GHG is essentially transferred to water molecules which then become airborne via evaporation (adding no energy to the ocean). How much of this energy is lost from the atmosphere before the molecule comes back down in a raindrop, and presumably a slightly more energy-containing raindrop than it would have been without the GHG (unless the answer is 100%) ??

    Isn’t the answer to your last question – they do know this, which is why they had to invent positive feedback mechanisms ??

  118. Pamela Gray (20:13:16) :

    What is extraordinary about my last post is that the above farmwest online publication is for Canada. Putting into place a vineyard in Canada is just plain stupid (there is currently about 7500 acres in British Columbia). It is a one-generation or less, short sighted farming practice that will not put good quality low priced food on the table year after year, much less a stable year in and year out quality wine.

    There is an saying here that the way to make a small fortune is to start with a large one and buy a vineyard in England. :-)

    The Romans grew grapes in Northumberland (55N) in 250AD. The Norman invaders did the same in around 1100AD. Today, not a chance, the English vineyards are all south of Watford (51:30N). On the basis that 200 miles is worth about 1C, we are 1.5C cooler than the MWP.

  119. philincalifornia,

    Raindrops are usually at the temperature of air higher up and so usually carry less energy than the ocean surface.

    The professionals should also know that positive feedbacks don’t work either because the weather systems just change their positions to maintain an equilibrium between sea surface temperature and surface air temperature without disturbing the balance between energy arriving at the Earth from the sun and energy leaving the Earth to space. Because those movements balance the energy budget no temperature rise can occur.

    The latitudinal movement of the weather systems thus cancels out the variability in energy flow from the oceans and any disturbance in the energy budget of the atmosphere alone.

  120. Just an update to the Pacific Equatorial SST’s. The latest map is out and is showing pronounced anomolous warming of the eastern equatorial Pacific, mid equatorial Pacific waters are alos warming. Compare the below to the header map.

  121. Pearland Aggie,

    Sorry about the preachy tone, I am one of the ‘alarmed’ after all. ;-)

    It’s just that pieces like that on the website you linked to get on my nerves. I think that a ‘skeptic’ side to the debate such as WUWT has a part to play in the near future but this part is heavily undermined by misinformation such as the piece by the Baltimore Weather Examiner and even more so by sites like Icecap that give such stories a prominent place. Of course, only undermined inasmuch people research the background and provenance of these stories. Otherwise the purpose of dishing out misinformation is well-served of course.

    I might be wrong about this but I have a feeling some time soon there will have to appear a dividing line in the ‘skeptic’ community between the part that deliberately misinforms for financial reasons (for instance Fred Singer) and egotistical reasons (such as Tim Ball and all those other old men that IMO systematically fail to show any wisdom corresponding to their age), and the part that is honestly questioning everything surrounding AGW.

    Actually, in that light I have high hopes for WUWT, entirely based on the picture I have of Anthony Watts based on how he responded to me in the recent past (on the question what the moral implications of (un)deliberately spreading misinformation are) and the fact that he’s a proponent of renewable energy (or at least he has solar panels on his roof). But it’ll take a few more years of science rolling in to see which way things’ll be progressing.

    Neven

  122. Just a comment or two. I’m just now reading some of the blogs and found this discussion interesting, so I thought I would throw in my $0.02!

    Just a quick background on me so folks know where I am coming from: by training I am a climatologist (degrees in Physical Geography) from a large university in the south. I spent a few years at one of the 6 Regional Climate Centers here in the US as well as running a statewide mesonet for two years. For a total of four years I have worked (and still am working) in operational weather/hydrology for the agency that does the weather & water forecasting for the U.S (including a year in the Arctic). I have walked in the academic, research, climate and operational sides of this insanely broad field, so I get the viewpoints of many of the sides. My opinions are of course my own.

    As far as the main part of this post…CPC issues a weekly ENSO briefing no matter what the conditions. I too read the brief this week with some curiosity, but saw what CPC was trying to say. The atmosphere and ocean are responding and the temperatures are in the right range, but the NOAA definition of an LA Nina event has not been met (three consecutive three-month periods of -0.5C SSTA’s in the Nino 3.4 region). It is a technicality, but it is one the folks at CPC have to make.

    As far as the survey of meteorologists not buying into ‘global warming’ (I hate that term), I’m not surprised. Part of it is training- many climatologists couldn’t forecast their way out of a paper bag, but many mets don’t have the broad training in the climate system (or stats!) either. Scale is another issue as well…long vs short. Finally, I think alot of it comes back to faith in the data. We see data all the time in operational weather/hydrology that frankly is poor for hydromet use. So how can we believe the data for longer terms? On the other hand, a station that is poor for operational met may be excellent for climate because it hasn’t moved in decades (or in a few cases globally, 100’s of years). I liken the difference to engineers and physicists. I trust a physicist to make the big discovery, however I would never get on a bridge he designed!

    All in all…great blog and some great and excellent comments! Keep up the work Anthony!

    Cheers folks! :)

  123. To update the ENSO situation. The latest SST shows rapid warming of Eastern Pacific equatorial waters and continued slower warming of the rest of the equatorial waters. http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/data/anomnight.1.26.2009.gif

    This is also shown by the NINO charts showing warming throughout the range. http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/indices.shtml
    SOI is down to is lowest value since September http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/soi30.png

    This should confirm that there will be no La Nina, indeed the rapid warming of the Eastern Pacific and the Southern Pacific suggests an intense El Nino later this year is becoming more probable.

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