La Niña fading, El Niño may soon return

Sea Surface Temperatures as of 5-11-09 click for larger image

Sea Surface Temperatures as of 5-11-09 click for larger image

Source: http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/data/anomnight.5.11.2009.gif

Bill Illis writes in comments:

The newest Ocean SST map shows the La Nina conditions have gone away and we are in slightly positive ENSO conditions.

Also interesting is that the negative PDO seems to be moving back to neutral right now. The cool SST conditions off of Alaska (which has been there for 3 years now) looks to be moderating as well.

From my perspective, the other interesting feature is how the recent La Ninas have loaded up cool SSTs in the Pacific off south-east Asia which will soon move into the Kuroshio currrent which will then flow across the north Pacific.

The upper ocean heat content is signaling we are going to move rapidly into El Nino conditions although most forecasts are calling for neutral conditions.

Source:

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ocean/anim/wkxzteq_anm.gif

Atmospheric Angular Momentum has really turned negative recently (signaling La Nina), the Trade Winds have fallen off to nothing (signaling El Nino).

So overall, the north Pacific is offically schizophrenic right now.

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113 thoughts on “La Niña fading, El Niño may soon return

  1. Not really surprising that this can happen. No matter what phase the PDO is in, if I remember from some previous figures displayed, it’s not some monolithic event. The real world isn’t as clear-cut and pretty as we’d like to portray on some graph. The PDO may be entering a weakened period now, only to come roaring back later. It should be interesting to see how this one plays out.

  2. Flanagan over at the discussion board at globalwarminghoax.com has sternly reminded us that Hansen predicted a major El Nino in 2009…
    Maybe, just maybe, he will get one prediction right… *rolls eyes*

  3. Nothing unexpected. By looking at the record, the last times that an already finished La Niña event has managed to return, it has only got half way and quickly changed into a rather strong El Niño event: check years 96-97 or 85-86.
    So I wouldn’t be surprised either if a strong El Niño starts to develop during the following months. However we will not experience the temperatures we had in 1998, due to the sun’s quiet status and the more benign PDO.
    Personally I will be glad to have a milder winter. And Argentinians will love to have a wet year after the last dry one.

  4. I think a few people here predicted a 2009 El Nino as early as last autumn. It’s been almost 3 years since the beginning of the last one. If I remember correctly, the last El Nino began in Oct 2006 and aburptly ended in June of 2007. It was short and weak.
    I don’t think we will be seeing anything eventful. El Ninos occur even during negative PDO cycles. This one will probably be like the 2006-2007 event. Even NASA isn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary.

  5. Leon Brozyna (08:28:40) :
    Not really surprising that this can happen. No matter what phase the PDO is in, if I remember from some previous figures displayed, it’s not some monolithic event.

    True – which begs the question: How do we know if we’re in along term negative PDO phase or just a short term flip. I remember asking this on another blog and was howled down by other posters.

  6. Bill touches on something very key to the core of these oceanic cycles and that is the “relaxing of the trade winds”. I have always believed the winds to be the prime force in these cycles whether long or short lived. The question then becomes what is the forcing mechanism for the trade winds. Either pressure gradients from highs and lows or is it the replacement of air circulated to the poles or a combination of both.
    One relative theme I’ve read here at WUWT is how cold conditions bring light or no winds. This is one of the arguements against the usefullness of wind generated electricity when conditions are cold. I have access to no advanced weatther monitoring equipment so I have no way of proving my point. I would suspect because we are witnessing colder conditions at the poles that the air replacement cycle may weaken as a result. This shows up as weak trade winds at the equator.
    As glacial growth and colder conditions at the poles increase as we now know is the case, there must be some way the earth uses to feed the growth of fresh landbound ice and snow which is kept and not lost due to colder climate. To me the earth is simply reloading moisture content removed by these conditions. This may explain why global climate change (cooling) does not occur as a linear function but rather a step function.
    To me this is the earths demonstration of its ability to seek and meet its new climate conditions which is to say the earth regulates very effectively the loss or gain of heat in its atmosphere. It would be very beneficial for our readers to hear from someone who has superior knowledge about what are the driving forces of the earths wind circulation patterns. Afterall, we know the winds are the driving force of these oceanic cycles. Getting to know more about what controls the wind can lead us to a better understanding of the direction our global climate is headed.

  7. Just because there’s suddenly a patch of warmth doesn’t mean anything….There have been a lot of El Nino scares lately…Long-range forecast indicate a weak El Nino by late fall or winter but no earlier than that.

  8. Thank goodness for food supplies and energy use, but, of course that will just fuel the global warming baloney.

  9. La Niña fading, El Niño may soon return
    Hedge your bets: Plant both Early Girl and Better Boy.

  10. Those are just pale oranges, the reddest ink NOAA got this time, meaning mostly one degree celsius anomaly (year of reference not shown), and here, in the southern hemisphere, we are not yet in winter time and we do not see any warm pool whatsoeverheater is off, so all bets are those yellows and pale oranges will turn blue.
    In front of El Nino 1+2 (lat -12) we have had clear skies (logically due to colder seas) and that in turn warmed sea surface a little, but weather is beginning to get cold, so chances are La Nina will reappear in all its cool beauty.

  11. We are living in “interesting times” so do not take el nino, la nina, PDO or whatever as always, this time winds will behave differently, watch all these phenomena as totally new, we are witnessing the unfolding of a minimum

  12. Joe Bastardi of Accuweather predicts in the Accuweather Pro website, a weak to moderate “rebound” El Nino which he feels would be expected after such a deep La Nina. He doubts that a major or “super” El Nino is going to occur. Joe feels that one of the implications of a weak to moderate El Nino after a deep La Nina would be a fairly severe winter for the NE. The Accuweather Pro website is a pay-website but for those who are wiiling to pay, it is a fantastic website and a great weather resource.

  13. This will be interesting to watch. I think it is too soon, though, to conclude, as the headline does “El Nino may return soon.” But “may” is perhaps the key word here.
    I confess I cannot follow everything he’s talking about, but I read Ed Berry’s blog every week, and I don’t think he’s written La Nina off yet. From his latest:
    “In general, slightly positive SST anomalies cover the equatorial Pacific Ocean basin and the slope of the thermocline continues to decrease. Anomalous surface westerly wind flows linked to the ongoing MJO has contributed to this evolution. However, for numerous [emphasis in original] reasons the ENSO situation is unclear and diligent monitoring must continue. For example, if coherent dynamics start to “heat” the equatorial west Pacific substantially during boreal summer into autumn, then I will get impressed about the possibility of transitioning to a warm event. Regardless, subseasonal activity (GWO/MJO, etc.) will continue, and these will impact North America.”
    “In other words, and consistent with the past 2008-09 boreal cold season, I offer that the GWO is again driving the MJO. It is clear to me that the extratropics are currently forcing the tropics. [I’ve added the italics.] Could this kind of behavior be telling us something about where ENSO is going?”
    “Summing up so far, could our “May surprise” be a re-emergence of stationary tropical forcing across the Eastern Hemisphere favoring an eventual return to La-Nina? [Again, emphasis added.] Or, will we finally see the initiation of decent coherent MJOs that could significantly impact the equatorial Pacific? These are only 2 of an infinite number monitoring issues, and stay tuned. I wanted to make a bit of an effort to get readers to gain an even better appreciation of some of the serious real-time scientific matters that are currently (and always) involved spanning wide time and space scales. This is an example of the next level of weather-climate research/monitoring that is needed, and hopefully that will come to fruition via the ESRL/PSD GSDM web page.”
    In other words, who knows? “Stay tuned.”

  14. This will be an interesting test of whether a negative PDO phase really does suppress El Nino and enhance La Nina.

  15. MC 09:01:12
    I might go along with the winds being drivers of short term ENSO type oscillations or cycles but I am very doubtful about the air driving longer term phase changes.
    Continuing close observations should help to resolve that issue.
    There is a lot of density, volume and inertia in the oceans so I dont see the air being in ultimate control.
    That is the main flaw I see in the ideas of Tyndall et al. All their hypotheses are based on the air alone. Many still follow that approach.

  16. It is obviously very difficult to predict what is going to happen. The indicators keep switching back and forth and seem to be contradictory to each other. I guess that would signal Neutral conditions but one can’t ignore the upper ocean heat content.
    The other important point is that 80% of El Ninos and La Ninas occur around December. They trend usually starts in May/June and builds slowly over the summer and it does not become obvious that a significant event is going to occur until late in the year.
    The last La Nina, however, did not follow this pattern, it started much later than normal, so there is always a chance for a non-typical 20% event to occur.

  17. A good piece to introduce a very key topic for the next 24 months.
    This is the first time in nearly 2 years that ALL Enso zones are positive. (Zone 4 didn’t make it last summer).
    This isn’t a false dawn by any stretch of the imagination and the ECM, CPC and Nasa predictions for ENSO over the last few months have been turning increasingly positive particularly from the deterministic models such as CFM.
    Similar years might be 62-63 or 96-97.
    A key topic mainly through it’s effects on Global temperature. with a 1-3 month lag time we can expect global temperature anomalies to start increasing again from Jun-Aug onward. Also important will be the Jun-Jul_Aug monthly temperature figures which should have a pretty even natural driver set up which doesn’t heavily have the effects of ENSO, PDO or Solar.
    Finally I agree with the PDO-ENSO connection that Bill mentions, ENSO acts as a capacitor to discharge heat and store it. The effects of PDO on ENSO look likely to be a slower charge of the capacitor leading to fewer ENSO events, but not a complete lack of them.
    The question of PDO and Salinity also then gets raised, The effects of PDO on ENSO look to be down to Salinity and temperature changes in ocean circulation in the pacific.
    If AGW is having an effect the main consequence will be to decrease the effects of PDO on temperature and salinity, leading to more charging of the capacitor and more positive ENSO events than would be expected or for example experienced during the last negative PDO time range.
    BTW the range of likely probabilities for ENSO by Oct would be from 1.0 to 2.0 IMO with a distinct possibility of the most positive ENSO for 10 years.
    Cheers

  18. Sorry Pierre,
    Missed it, Yes almost every hurricane forecast for this year features an El Nino developing and a tailing off of tropical storm activity from Sept/Oct onwards. Mainly though increased shear.

  19. Let’s keep in mind here, too, of the distinction between El Nino and ENSO-neutral. In this week’s NOAA/CPC ENSO outlook, they state:
    “A majority of ENSO forecasts indicate near-average SSTs (−0.5°Cto +0.5°C) in the central equatorial Pacific through the remainder of 2009.”
    That’s just ENSO-neutral, not El Nino. Only some of the higher dynamical forecasts, including the CFS ensemble, are projecting a possibility of El Nino. The statistical models are predominantly ENSO-neutral through the rest of the year, with ONI values of several remaining negative.
    “Stay tuned.”

  20. Not unexpectedly, climate will oscillate. It’s been apparent from the early months this year, that no further drop into a more deeply negative phase is in the making. A rebound is underway that may extend for a year or two, if past patterns hold. Despite much anticipation here of an upcoming grand minimum, cycles do persist. 2012 should be a very telling year in the larger picture.

  21. The PDO area has done this to an extent before
    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/data/anomnight.12.8.2008.gif
    Notice that SST anomalies were close to neutral off the immediate Alaskan coast and warmer water reached all the way to California’s coast in this graphic? The PDO must go up and down over the short term as well as having long term phases, if it’s like in late December the PDO will get cooler again.

  22. Does anyone know what the lag time is between these conditions warming and the appearance on UAH?
    This month thus far is quite cool on UAH daily temps – is this warming of the pacific reflected in those numbers?

  23. In the last longterm -PDO phase, -PDO months outnumbered +PDO months about 2 to 1, and La Ninas outnumbered El Ninos about 2 to 1 as well.

  24. Something else I’d like to add…I think a decent analog to this year might be 1951, when a weak El Nino developed over the summer, peaked in the fall, and then died during the winter.

  25. Reading what the experts have to say; I tend to think that a weak El Nino or neutral conditions should be observed in the near future.
    Adolfo Giurfa (10:10:52) :
    “La Nina is not gone…She just went a few minutes to the toilet to arrange herself..”
    I nominate for Quote of the week! (and prediction of the season)

  26. John-
    The lag time for UAH seems to be about 4-6 months, while for surface temps (GISS and HadCRU), it seems to be more like 3-5 months.

  27. John, i too noticed the cool UAH numbers, so far this month, especially at 25,000 feet. IMHO, an El Nino is not likely in the near future, as the characteristic cool pool at 150m depth, 160-180e is not present. It was evident in every El Nino sinchttp://www.bom.gov.au/bmrc/ocean/results/ocean_anals/SEQ_Equator/2009/May.gife 1980……fm

  28. What is the the word “Oscillation” in ENSO and PDO means that people don’t understand? IT’S OSCILLATING!!!

  29. I agree with Adolfo, nothing is clear about current ENSO/PDO movements. I was nonplussed with the failure of La Nina to assert herself last Nov. I also noted Erl’s prediction of movement toward El Nino by March end.
    But as Frank Mosher has repeatedly noted, there is no warm water to generate an El Nino. In lieu of that, we’re in for neutral conditions, with an occasional quarter in El Nino range at most.

  30. You mean some of the usual things seen during El-Ninos isn’t there right now? Oh my, has the Pacific lost its mind, giving us mixed signals and unable to make squat of whether it wants to bring us an El-Nino or not!?
    If we end up having a schitzophrenic ENSO and PDO, all could break loose on what we thought we knew about these phases and the climate following that.

  31. Yes, if our 30 year negative PDO becomes a two-year negative PDO, that will indeed be quite interesting, and AGWers can be relied on to suddenly find new respect for PDO-ology!
    But then it really should take a couple years to determine that for sure.

  32. all this froth gravitates towards a basic understanding that is needed, is it :
    ( with respect to thermal balance )
    sun drives atmosphere drives ocean OR
    sun drives ocean drives atmosphere OR
    sun drives ocean and atmosphere with ocean and atmosphere seeking equilibrium ?
    yes, my presumption is that our star is the “engine” if you will, it alone is the source of what we are calling climate. i take a more thermodynamic view of all this, if you will.
    i am tending to think that, with respect to history, the PDO will remain in/into its negative mode. remember, those who cannot remember history are doomed … 🙂

  33. Off topic
    But the BBC has just put out it’s report on the Catlin expedition which has ended
    here’s the link
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7897392.stm
    You should look at the second video clip with is one of the most distorted pieces of journalist even for the BBC. It’s David Shukmans report on meeting the team after the expedition. Full of library pictures, sunny weather, nuclear submarines, surfacing at the pole etc. One could be forgiven for wanting a holiday on ice! Even shows one of the team in a survival suit swimming in the “thin ice” which looks to be less that 6 inches thick
    Ludicrously distorted and a sham
    Tony Berry

  34. IMO as long as the sun continues its quiet streak it will be difficult for El Nino to reload. As things go in cycles and oscillations we may find this trend towards El Nino short lived with La Nina reloading and rebounding stronger than before.

  35. steptoe fan (13:56:26)
    “Froth” says it all.
    Ocean and atmosphere can store, transport and release energy, but looking only at these to understand climate reminds me of the blind men trying to describe an elephant. An examination of climate needs to include the energy sources, which are variable.

  36. Interesting side note, and may be due to some kind of PDO lag and/or Arctic jet stream loop, but record cold temps are being recorded all over Oregon in the higher plains, breaking records from the 40’s.
    000
    SXUS76 KPDT 131815
    RERPDT
    RECORD EVENT REPORT
    NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PENDLETON OR
    1120 AM PDT WED MAY 13 2009
    …NEW DAILY RECORD LOW TEMPERATURES FOR MAY 11TH…
    NOTE: STATIONS MARKED WITH * INDICATE THAT THE STATION REPORTS ONCE
    PER DAY. FOR CONSISTENCY…THESE VALUES ARE CONSIDERED TO HAVE
    OCCURRED ON THE DAY THE OBSERVATION WAS TAKEN BUT MAY HAVE ACTUALLY
    OCCURRED (ESPECIALLY FOR MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE) ON THE PREVIOUS DAY.
    STATION PREVIOUS NEW RECORDS
    RECORD/YEAR RECORD BEGAN
    *JOHN DAY(CITY), OR 28 / 1958 26 1953
    *JOSEPH, OR 23 / 1943 23 (TIED) 1893
    *LONG CREEK, OR 24 / 1964 23 1957
    MEACHAM, OR 25 / 2006 25 (TIED) 1948
    *MONUMENT 2, OR 29 / 1974 28 1961
    *MORO, OR 29 / 1958 29 (TIED) 1928
    PENDLETON(ARPT), OR 33 / 2006 33 (TIED) 1934
    THE DALLES, OR 36 / 2006 36 (TIED) 1948
    *SUNNYSIDE, WA 33 / 1974 33 (TIED) 1948

  37. Pamela-lots of cold records around here(NE Oregon) have been broken or tied this spring.-Makes me think of the Early 1950’s when Barley was being considered as a cash crop by wheat growers….
    (and as stated above,1951 was an El Nino year…)

  38. Konrad (15:36:10) :
    “An examination of climate needs to include the energy sources, which are variable.”
    Never a truer word. The forces are complex and the turning points hard to pick.
    gary gulrud (13:07:22) :
    “Erl predicted El Nino by May”.
    SST 20°N to 20°S has been on the increase since mid 2008. May is here and no El Nino. So, I want to adjust my breeches.
    ‘El Nino’ has a defined meaning in terms of ENSO 3.4 temperature and the SOI. A tropical warming event can begin from a low base and not reach defined levels in terms of ENSO 3.4 or the SOI. I want to focus on ‘warming events’. I prefer to keep the focus on the entire tropics 20°N to 20°S, rather than just the Pacific theater because of all the ‘oscillator’ garbage spoken about ENSO, as if the thing is generated in the ocean. That said there is nowhere that the forces driving tropical warming events are more manifest than off the coast of South America at 20-30°S latitude. There is also the difference in ocean areas between the hemispheres to consider. The same forces work in the NH off California, even more strongly but there is less ocean to influence. The ocean is the hot water bottle to use Stephen Wilde’s terminology.
    Bill Illis has pointed out the clear relationship between the strength of the trade winds and sea surface temperature change in the Pacific. The strength of the trades depends upon the East west pressure differential.
    Bob Tisdale rightly points out that the tropics is where the energy is garnered or not garnered.
    Pressure in the west Pacific changes little. The increase in atmospheric pressure in the South East Pacific reached a high point in late 2008 (peak of La Nina), We have seen a swift fall in sea surface pressure up to May 2009 but that fall in pressure has stalled short of upper limit of the long term trend for rising pressure (diminishing potential for El Nino) that starts in 1978. If it renewed, I see a brief rise of temperature largely coming from northern hemisphere summer due to the drying of the atmosphere (La Nina is a precipitation event) .
    Counter to that, de-seasonalized sea surface temperature is already falling off Chile and has been doing so for some months in line with an even more recent stalling of the fall in atmospheric pressure. The in-feed zone for ENSO 1+2 is cooling. In the past this in-feed zone has led the major changes in temperature in the equatorial region by about nine months.
    The force behind this remorseless long term potential for reduced El Nino is the decrease in ozone content of the upper troposphere. Ozone drifts down from the stratosphere and the more strongly so as soon as 20hPa temperature begins to fall, thereby reducing convection in the Brewer Dobson circulation. The change in ozone content of the upper troposphere has implications for surface pressure because less heating aloft means less interference with the downdraft in the columns of air in the high pressure cells.
    The pressure change in the south east Pacific is one indicator of the strength of the vortex that brings nitrogen oxides from the mesosphere mixing this compound that erodes ozone into the stratosphere. Less ozone in the stratosphere means that there is less feeding down into the upper troposphere when 20hPa temperature falls on the QBO time scale. The upper troposphere then becomes less reactive to UVB.
    The QBO in the stratosphere is the pendulum that gives the timing to the change in sea surface temperature in the tropics. The correlation between temperature in the stratosphere (due to change in ozone content) and geomagnetic activity from the sun has been documented here: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/5936/1/Luetal_2006JD007864_JGR_NORA.pdf
    That reference is to cover off for the inevitable attack from Leif. There is plenty of other material that makes the same point and it goes back a long way in time.
    I have also got to look out the window and see what is happening. The cloud that has dogged us for so long has disappeared. That is normal to some extent for this time of the year but it suggests that more sunlight will be reaching the ocean. However, when I look at the SST anomalies for 20-30°S they indicate cooling. So, I am going to stick my neck out again and say La Nina will renew, but when? Perhaps by end of year.
    What makes me nervous is solar cycle 24 and the potential for change in geomagnetic activity and irradiance. Rapid change in the QBO is possible. Since 2000 it has been on about a 2 year time schedule as against the 27.1 month long term average. This prediction business is nerve wracking.
    It seems also that post 2000 warming events have been led by changes in the stratosphere very much closer to the equator than in the past. As the ozone content of the stratosphere is reduced and its temperature falls the southern oscillation will swing less wildly.
    The glass is not absolutely clear. Its still a puzzle.

  39. Forgive my ignorance, what is the driving mechanisms for El Nino and La Nina?
    I mean, I understand the principles of thermohaline circulation, but I don’t know what causes the El Nino/La Ninas.
    Thanks in advance.
    Ben

  40. Bill,
    Where are you getting your information to support the statement that “the negative PDO seems to be moving back to neutral right now”?

  41. MC (09:01:12) :
    Stephen Wilde (11:05:49) :
    Under a high sun the ocean absorbs energy – find a view from space taken with the Sun behind and the ocean directly underneath, water appears black because it isn’t reflecting much. Meanwhile, the atmosphere is also loading with water vapor which increases its buoyancy. Over this area the air rises and low pressure develops. Air from both north and south moves toward this region and turns toward the west – thus the Trade Winds. While these processes cover a very large area, they are not particularly strong but persistence and Earth-rotation help to move the surface water away from the coasts of N. & S. America and toward the western Pacific. Are the Trade Winds the driver of this? I don’t think so.
    “…the Trade Winds have fallen off to nothing…”
    Tell me why this should be so and I’ll be a step closer to understanding and enlightenment!
    Meanwhile for a good read about oceans, weather, and winds try this:
    http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poem.html?id=173253
    Some explanation here:
    http://www.teachit.co.uk/armoore/poetry/mariner.htm
    Watch for the geographical references as the ship sails south in the Atlantic Ocean, rounds South America, and heads north in the Pacific Ocean. When this was written (it first appeared in 1798) they knew the Trades could fail and they knew why. I doubt the explanation will help us very much.

  42. So how the Sun’s magnetic activity affects the climate on Earth has to be understood with the changes that go practically all the way up through the atmosphere.
    That is interesting stuff, it really does show there’s still more to be learned about how climate works, if we learn enough maybe someone can actually make a model that is accurate for even 10 years?

  43. Re: MC (09:01:12)
    I’m not an expert on wind, but I can note that in studying the following articles, I noticed patterns similar to ones I’ve noticed in wind time series:
    Harald Schmitz-Hubsch & Harald Schuh (1999). Seasonal and short-period fluctuations of Earth rotation investigated by wavelet analysis. Technical Report 1999.6-2 Department of Geodesy & Geoinformatics, Stuttgart University, p.421-432.
    http://www.uni-stuttgart.de/gi/research/schriftenreihe/quo_vadis/pdf/schmitzhuebsch.pdf
    Y.H. Zhou, D.W. Zheng, & X.H. Liao (2001). Wavelet analysis of interannual LOD, AAM, and ENSO: 1997-98 El Nino and 1998-99 La Nina signals. Journal of Geodesy 75, 164-168.
    NS Sidorenkov. 2005. Physics of the Earth’s rotation instabilities. Astronomical and Astrophysical Transactions Vol. 24, No. 5, October 2005, 425-439.
    http://images.astronet.ru/pubd/2008/09/28/0001230882/425-439.pdf
    Gross, R. S. 2005. The observed period and Q of the Chandler wobble, in Forcing of Polar Motion in the Chandler Frequency Band: A Contribution to Understanding Interannual Climate Change, edited by H.-P. Plag, B. F. Chao, R. S. Gross, and T. van Dam, pp. 31-37, Cahiers du Centre Européen de Géodynamique et de Séismologie vol. 24, Luxembourg, 2005.
    http://www.sbl.statkart.no/literature/plag_etal_2005_editors/gross_1_CWTQ_final.pdf

    I particularly recommend a careful reading of the Sidorenkov (2005) article in conjunction with an attentive look at the figures in the Zhou, Zheng, & Liao (2001) article.
    Hopefully some wind experts will join more WUWT discussions and comment on interrelations.

  44. There is this esoteric concept called Atmospheric Angular Momentum. [You can skip through this if you don’t want to read my theory on the ENSO].
    Basically, the winds on the Earth are a response to the rotation of the Earth. The Earth rotates east to west and the atmosphere and the strongest winds rotate west to east.
    These winds actually create a little drag on the rotation. But there is no stopping the Earth’s rotation. Its force (with the mass of the whole Earth behind it) will overwhelm any force created by the less massive atmospheric winds.
    The winds create this little drag on this rotation since mountains (and trees and hills) are in the way in a few places. The winds will tend to move back into balance with the rotation. When they are creating too much drag on the mountains, the Earth’s rotation pushes back and slows them down. When they are lighter than the equilibrium rate, the Earth’s rotation speeds up, ever so slightly, and the effective wind rate speeds back up, back to the normal equilibrium rate.
    The length of the day actually changes by a few thousandths of second through this interaction.
    The winds in question here are primarily the stronger mid-latitude ones. The mid-latitude winds blow west to east, opposite to the rotation and it is these winds that are constantly being pushed back into balance.
    The Trade Winds at the equator move in the opposite direction to the mid-latitude winds, with the rotation, and they are, as well, a balancing mechanism to the mid-latitude winds. The Trades are a balance for the Earth’s rotation fighting against the mid-latitude winds fighting against the rotation.
    Atmospheric Angular Momentum is a measure of how far off balance the mid-latitude winds are, whether they will speed up or slow down and secondly, whether the secondary balancing mechanism, the Trade Winds, will speed up or slow down.
    The ENSO is really driven by the Trade Winds. When they are stronger than average over the ENSO region, we have a La Nina as colder, deeper ocean water is brought to the surface. When the Trades are weaker than average, warmer water stays in place and gets heated day after day by the equatorial Sun and warmer West Pacific ocean water moves into the ENSO region and we have an El Nino.
    But the Trade Winds are driven by the mid-latitude winds which are driven by the Atmospheric Angular Momentum.
    The Trade Winds drive the ENSO.
    http://img264.imageshack.us/img264/1156/tradesnino34of0.png
    And the Trade Winds are driven by the Atmospheric Angular Momentum and the stronger mid-latitude winds.
    http://img15.imageshack.us/img15/8463/aamnino34.png
    Again, the year-long animation of clouds and winds illustrates this concept in some manner.
    https://www.ucar.edu/publications/nsf_review/animations/ccm3.512×256.mpg
    And here is the latest measures of Amospheric Angular Momentum (signaling a return to La Nina conditions eventually, if the ocean waters below the ENSO regions are cold enough and it does not appear they are at the current time.)
    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/reanalysis/aam_total/gltotaam.sig.90day.gif

  45. steptoe fan 1:56:26
    I’d say sun drives ocean and air with ocean and air seeking equilibrium but oceans being so large and dense it is the air that has to do the adjusting.
    Note that I say air and not atmosphere. For the purposes of solar energy transmission through the planetary system both ocean and air perform similar delaying functions and so should together be regarded as the atmosphere.
    Ocean is just water vapour in liquid form and it’s effect is so much greater than that of the air that in effect the oceans set the Earth’s equilibrium temperature and not the air.
    The work of Tyndall et al is fine as regards the air but useless in climate terms because they never involved the oceanic effects in their consideration of the Earth’s thermal balance.
    See here :
    http://climaterealists.com/attachments/database/Balancing%20the%20Earths%20Energy%20Budget.pdf

  46. Bill Illis (21:01:18) :
    There is this esoteric concept called Atmospheric Angular Momentum. [You can skip through this if you don’t want to read my theory on the ENSO].
    Basically, the winds on the Earth are a response to the rotation of the Earth. The Earth rotates east to west and the atmosphere and the strongest winds rotate west to east.

    This is sort of an inertia effect, as the air has not much cohesion to the ground, no?
    What about ocean currents. Water is not very stuck on the bottom either. Do they follow a similar pattern?

  47. I am not talking about the tides, but rather if a collective long term effect similar to the one you describe for the atmosphere has been observed.

  48. It is interesting that at the Panama Canal, the sea lavel on the Pacific side is about 20 centimeters higher than the Carribean. That indicates, i think, that if there was a sea level cut made in the isthmus the prevailing current would be from the Pacific to the Carribean. That is counterintuitive after looking at the wind animation, but of course I might be missing something.

  49. “And the Trade Winds are driven by the Atmospheric Angular Momentum and the stronger mid-latitude winds.”
    I like it, a simple, elegant explanation. We’re in an equilibration period following the change in regime from a active Sun with-in NH-positive PDO and AMO. The instability is expected, like changing direction while stirring a pot of paint.
    Now BI, BT and EH, please tell us how the Antarctic circumpolar currents and the Humbolt figure in all this. So the atmosphere is the stirring stick, still the media is in the pot.

  50. So far the discussion revolves around winds in a linear fashion – whether trade winds or upper atmospheric jets. But the major regional weather systems are dominated by spiral vortices – cyclones and anticyclones – with the former drawing air (and water vapour) upwards, leaving low pressure, and the latter bringing air downward to create high pressure at sea level – the anticyclones are bringing in dry air and spiralling it outward (clockwise) and the cyclones are opposite.
    I don’t have a picture of how the mass balance operates throughout the atmosphere.
    When General Circulation Models were first introduced for the oceans, they entirely missed the operation of vortices – mesoscale eddies, that could transfer water from surface to depth and stir up what were regarded as peaceful abyssal depths into abyssal storms. I would expect modern Coupled GCMs to have the same limitations – an inability to model these vortices.
    If you look at the 84% of global warming the IPCC says is locked in the upper 200m of the ocean – by tracking upper ocean heat content (Hadley Centre and Lyman have different methods but similar maps) you will find two major accumulations in the North Pacific and North Atlantic gyres – spirals that drag the warm water into the first few hundred metres.
    These zones are affected by the tracking of the jetstream and the transfer of heat and moisture from west to east by the spiralling vortices of the cyclones that follow the jetstream track – thus the jetstream which is implicated in the solar-atmospheric heating-cyclic affect on SSTs has a role in the gradual build up and depletion of the upper ocean heat stores.
    As the heat is sucked out of the stores, the depth of the temperature anomaly reduces until eventually it is zero and the surface waters suddenly show cold (as in late 2006 off Alaska?) – the Atlantic looks as if it is turning, and westerlies into England this Spring feel decidedly cool.

  51. There is an apparent difference between ENSO predictive models. The “dynamical” models predict El Nino. The statistical models predict ENSO neutral conditions. Does anyone have a description of the “dynamical” models that are used? I wonder if it includes a calculation for supposed predicted CO2 warming. I am assuming that statistical models do not include theorized mechanisms such as global warming and are based on statistical analysis only.
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf

  52. erlhapp,
    The lingo you have used suggests to me that you definitely either lurk at easternuswx, and read many of the discussions around there by some of us, or you post under a different name there. Which one is it ?
    And I disagree about your returning La Nina thoughts by years end. Not unless you think Cycle 24 is going to take off like a rocket. Because the deck is stacked for El Nino, or neutral at worse.

  53. Peter Taylor 04:57:24
    We are all on the right track but cause and effect and the relative power of each observed phenomenon leave much room for debate.
    You and others see the air as creating the short term oceanic oscillations of the ENSO type thereby influencing the rate of energy flow from water to air and thence to space.
    I have difficulty envisaging the air causing multidecadal phase shifts and so have suggested additional independent oceanic cycles in the background behind the ENSO type cycles.
    The oceans being a fluid are clearly internally mobile but act slowly as compared to the air so I cannot see that any ideas about climate would be complete without accounting for internal oceanic variability.
    Over time any such internal oceanic variations must also affect the rate of energy flow from water to air to space.
    Purely on grounds of size and power (and observations) I feel that the oceans themselves must independently cause the initial underlying multidecadal trends which dictate the net flow of energy from water to air to space at any given moment and so determine overall warming or cooling for decades at a time.
    The air movements caused by those independent oceanic phase changes would themselves vary over time and create the shorter term ENSO type variations. Such changes in the air movements involve the latitudinal positioning of all the weather systems.
    Ignoring the potential for oceanic variations of such a type merely perpetuates the error of Tyndall and others in concentrating solely on changes in, and characteristics of, the air alone.

  54. Given that the ONI for (FMA) was -.5, it seems unlikely that an El Nino will develope this year. Only twice since 1950, and not at all since 1965. In 1951 from -.6, and 1965 from -.2. 1951 turned out to be a minimal El Nino, barely reaching values to qualify as an El Nino. Evidently the process must be under way by April, or at least neutral, for an El Nino to form. Given the presence, at depth, of a large cool pool, extending from 160e to 100w, with warmer anomalies near the surface, i would expect the warm SST anomalies to persist for another month or so, then give way to cool SSTs, due to upwelling of the cool pool. Just my $.02 worth. fm

  55. “The lingo you have used suggests to me that you definitely either lurk at easternuswx, and read many of the discussions around there by some of us, or you post under a different name there.”
    Grasshopper, Erl has his own blog and is a humble farmer of wine grapes down under. Lurker? How quaint.

  56. The oceans have 1200 times the heat capacity of the atmosphere. it’s clear to me which is the tail and which is the dog. An El Nino is a heat-shedding mechanism. In the short run, the atmosphere will warm up and the usual suspect will chortle with glee. In the long run, the oceans will be that much cooler, and the rest of the world will follow suit. What will happen when, despite the media, people eventually look out their windows and realize they’ve been deceived?

  57. Correction. There have been 6 El Ninos, not 2, with the FMA ONI negative, since 1950. Still fairly rare. fm

  58. Bill Illis,
    Interesting ideas. You might want to look into some theories about how the sun can actually influence the rotation-speed of the earth, and play around with how it fits into your own ideas.
    Sorry I can’t supply a link, (without spending more time on this computer than my schedule allows…..tempting, but I’ve tomatoes to transplant.)
    I keep bumping into the solar-minimum-volcano-connection as I surf the meteorological web. The idea suggests a change in rotation during minimums stresses the crust, and causes earthquakes and volcanoes. Therefore when you look back at major minimums you see major volcanoes going off, and the ash has as much (if not more) to do with cooling as the sun’s ray’s do.
    Then, just to boggle your brains more, there is some link between cooling volcanoes and warming El Ninos, something like five years later.
    The more I poke into how our earth works, the more in awe of it I am, and the more convinced I am that computer models over-simplify.
    I was trying to comprehend the formation of clouds, the other day, which involved me in cosmic rays, which involved me in magnetic fields, which involved me in attempting to comprehend the iron center of our earth. I found it a bit unnerving, as I transplanted summer squash, to think I was shoving my spade into a thin crust over a sphere of molten iron, with a ball of solid iron spinning at the center.
    Regarding the El Nino, I think therohaline circulation plays a part which isn’t recognized. A pet peeve of mine is that Al Gore’s political crew refused to fund Dr. Bill Grey’s desire to study thermohaline circulation.
    While it may take 1000 years for actual water molecules to sink off Greenland and slowly move towards upwelling off Peru, I wonder if waves of some sort might move through that medium, perhaps seen as a rise and fall of the thermocline. If a lot of water subsides off Greenland, in a hurry, and then abruptly stops for the winter, it seems it might create some sort of pulse in the thermohaline circulation. When this pulse reached Peru, the upwelling (which in some ways is where the thermocline reaches the surface) might increase. The sudden appearance of very cold water off the coast of Peru would have to have an effect, increasing a La Nina, or blunting an El Nino.
    I’ve met fishermen who were off the coast of Peru as El Ninos turned to La Ninas, and they said the change is mind-blowing. The ocean goes very quickly from being a lifeless desert without a gull in sight to being loaded with either anchovy or sardines, with the sky full of birds. The color of the water even changes, as plankton has a population explosion in all the upwelling deep-sea nutrients.
    The odd thing is that I see no branch of the thermohaline circulation winding up off the coast of Peru, on any maps of that circulation. There is no branch shown despite the fact Peru’s fishing grounds are the richest in the world, during a La Nina. (I can’t help but wonder if we have Al Gore’s refusal to fund Dr. Grey to thank, for that blank in the knowledge of thermohaline circulation.)
    In any case, even if thermohaline circulation does play a part in El Nino duration-and-strength, I am fairly certain it is but one part, and there are many other parts. The further you look the more you see, and the science is far, far, far from settled.

  59. Jim Hughes (06:28:32) :
    You say:
    “erlhapp,
    The lingo you have used suggests to me that you definitely either lurk at easternuswx, and read many of the discussions around there by some of us, or you post under a different name there. Which one is it ?”
    Only one name. Its Erl Happ and it may sound funny but it happens to be real, just like I imagine “Jim Hughes.” is real. No, I am not familiar with the site you mention though I have seen it come up occasionally on a Google Alert for ENSO or “solar cycle” You can see my efforts at my blog http://climatechange1.wordpress.com/
    Re: whether it is to be El Nino or La Nina: The ozone level of parts of the stratosphere correlates well with solar flux and also geomagnetic activity. Both should be now on the turn. The El Nino that marks the start of the solar cycle starts its upward trend in global tropical sea surface temperature via the relationship with sea surface pressure in the South East Pacific and it usually gets going prior to solar minimum. You can see that on the graph at http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg220/erlandlong/FirstElNino.jpg
    Data is a 12 month moving average of monthly figures centered on seventh month. Sea surface pressure is inverted so as to make the comparison with sea surface temperature easier. So, when pressure is shown as falling, it is actually rising. The scale numbers tell you that, but they have a minus sign in front of them because actual data is multiplied by minus 1. I describe why I use this pressure data rather than the SOI on my blog.
    The trend of sea surface pressure is to rise (fall on the graph) from 1978 onwards as you can see. I am guessing that the current faltering of the fall in pressure (upwards movement on the graph) heralds a return to higher sea surface pressure and La Nina. The other piece of information that leads me in that direction is the knowledge that since about 2002 sea surface temperature has peaked with 20hPa temperature at 20-30°S.
    But there is a quandary. Looking here: http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg220/erlandlong/20hPaandSST.jpg
    you see that SST prior to Solar Cycle cycle 23 more often than not rises as 20hPa temperature in the latitude band 20-30° begins to fall. But, in cycle 23 it is mostly rising with 20hpa temperature. I am thinking that the leopard is not going to change his spots right at this minute and SST will now begin to fall with 20hPa temperature.
    Notice the general depression of 20hPa temperature in 1997-8 and the heavy falls in solar cycle 21.
    So, I look to the stratosphere to see what will happen in the troposphere. The stratosphere is where the solar connection is established via the influence of solar activity on ozone content.
    And, since I live in Western Australia I don’t have a lot of interest in Eastern US weather.

  60. gary gulrud (08:53:17) :
    “The lingo you have used suggests to me that you definitely either lurk at easternuswx, and read many of the discussions around there by some of us, or you post under a different name there.”
    Grasshopper, Erl has his own blog and is a humble farmer of wine grapes down under. Lurker? How quaint.
    gary gulrud,
    I’m not sure what him having a blog has to do with what I asked. People from all over the world read the discussions at eastern, even many professionals from within the field, and many have previously mentioned after joining that they lurked for long periods. So I’ll stand by what I said and I wasn’t being disrespectful. And Erl can answer for himself if he wishes.

  61. Stephen Wilde (06:58:35) :
    How does this sit with you: “All fluctuation in surface temperature is ultimately a response to changing cloud cover.” Cloud presence depends upon the relative humidity of the air. Change the temperature of the air and cloud cover will change. Increase the ozone content of the air and the temperature of the air will increase.”

  62. Ian Holton (21:52:37) :
    The cause of tropical warming events (and the relationship with global temperature) is the great issue of the moment because without an understanding of the mechanism we are in no position to assert that it does not change on decadal or 100 year or 1000 year time scales.
    Predictions are just fine but what the prediction based on? What the ants are doing?

  63. Jim Hughes (06:28:32) :
    “And I disagree about your returning La Nina thoughts by years end. Not unless you think Cycle 24 is going to take off like a rocket. Because the deck is stacked for El Nino, or neutral at worse.”
    What stacks the deck Jim?

  64. SandyInDerby (13:45:41) :
    The iceberg (11:24:24) :
    Similar years might be 62-63 or 96-97.
    I hope not 62-63 was the big freeze in the UK. See
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1963_United_Kingdom_cold_wave
    I read the link posted above by SandyInDerby, and I read a little further. . . Look at this quote (Wikipedia, emphasis mine) regarding the situation in the almost as cold winter of ‘46/47 : Note that the referenced “Labour Party” is akin to America’s Democrat Party today.
    After reading the passages below, please tell me how this is somehow not frighteningly and chillingly (pun intended) similar to the present and forthcoming situation in America RIGHT NOW !
    “The winter also had political ramifications and caused the public to lose faith in a Labour government who could not maintain food and electricity supplies. An example of this emerged when, at Mary Churchill’s wedding on 11 February, her father, Winston Churchill was cheered by the crowd but prime minister Clement Atlee was booed. Emmanuel Shinwell, unpopular with the public, was made a scapegoat and sacked from his ministerial position. Despite this, the winter is cited as a factor in Labour’s loss of a large number of seats to the Conservative Party led by Churchill in the 1950 election.
    The effects of the winter came at a time of heavy government spending with 15% of the GDP being spent on the military and large expenditure on the new National Health Service and post-war reconstruction. This made the currency less stable and, coupled with the emergence of the dollar as the currency of choice for foreign reserves, led to the government slashing the Bretton Woods official exchange rate from $4.03 to $2.80. This was a milestone in Britain’s decline from superpower status. ”
    With food crops being diverted worldwide to biofuels, and the biggest cost increases (and potentially shortages) in electricity (Cap’N Trade and NIMBY) about to be imposed by Congress or EPA, a couple of winters like ‘46/47 or ‘62/63, and you’re gonna see some changes alright. . . BIG TIME !

  65. GW (09:59:00) :
    For some reason, the emphasis I had added to the quote to explicitly highlight the points I wanted to get across did not copy into the post.
    Someday I’ll need to learn how to properly do that………..

  66. Erl Happ,
    Thanks for the reply. As far as eastern that’s just the name so do not be fooled. And it’s probably the best weather-climate forum on the Internet and many of the posters are anything but inept for the most part. And numerous professionals within the long range weather forecasting field discuss things.
    And some of these meteorologists work in the energy market sector where the cream of the crop work. So this is where cutting edge long forecasting techniques are discussed in regards to things like the ENSO, or MMW’s in the stratosphere. Or their cyclical nature etc….And I’d be more than happy to post some links to their prior forecasts or discussions.
    BTW I originally asked you these questions because your name, along with your language (better?), also rang a bell. Now I remember. I recall you making comments to Ed Berry at his blog a while back. Right?
    And I’m familiar with the solar-ENSO connection and I’ve had a very good record of forecasting the ENSO trends over the past 15 years by using it. And my forecasts have always gone on record with both the people within the field, and some news industry contacts.
    So I look forward to seeing what happens during the winter of 2008-09.

  67. Caleb (09:05:47) :
    The fact that peruvian coast it is still a desert area where it does not rain shows that La Nina is by far more predominant than El Nino.
    Now, as I said, we are having clear and sunny days, but as we approach winter time cooler nights, so, as i mentioned before, those sunny days may have caused that little warming of sea waters, during the delayed summer time we had.
    There is an apparent contradiction here, because we were supposed to have more clouds due caused by the solar minimum according to Svensmark’s theory, but it would seem it works the other way around: clearer skies better night time convection.

  68. I meant the winter of 2009-2010 above when talking to Erl Happ in regards to whether or not we see an El Nino or La Nina develop.

  69. “So I’ll stand by what I said and I wasn’t being disrespectful.”
    Beg your pardon. Perhaps the abrasiveness I perceived is merely cultural. A Yankee then?

  70. “erlhapp (09:25:06) :
    Stephen Wilde (06:58:35) :
    How does this sit with you: “All fluctuation in surface temperature is ultimately a response to changing cloud cover.” Cloud presence depends upon the relative humidity of the air. Change the temperature of the air and cloud cover will change. Increase the ozone content of the air and the temperature of the air will increase.” ”
    Hi Erl,
    Not sure about the ozone point. I would have thought sun and oceans would have a more powerful effect.
    Agreed that cloud cover will change with temperature. Whilst warming is in progress relative humidity declines so less cloud because warm air holds more water vapour and it takes a short time for the evaporative process to catch up. Vice versa for cooling.
    I think that changes in the rate of ocean energy release will change global air temperatures and the amount of cloud will follow the temperature change.
    I seem to differ with you and others on the relative influences of oceanic changes and changes in the air. I favour solar driven oceanic changes as the ultimate driver with the air circulation following and working to regain temperature equilibrium between sea and air.
    I have to stick with that until there is empirical evidence one way or the other. All my work in this field depends on that relationship so if I’m wrong I’d like to be shown to be wrong as soon as possible so as not to waste too much of my life.
    The clincher for me was the observation that the weather systems started to move latitudinally AFTER the SSTs started to change in the 1970s and around 2000.
    I see no evidence that the air temperatures changed first and that the SSTs followed.

  71. Latest NOAA SST map is in
    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/data/anomnight.5.14.2009.gif
    If El-Nino is forming it looks more like it’d be taking its time to me.
    PDO looks like it’s going to neutral with warming of Alaskan waters, but the bottom of the horseshoe shaped cool anomaly area has re-materialized somewhat, there’s also 2 or so tiny cool anomaly areas popping up just off of South America in one of the Nino zones

  72. gary gulrud (10:49:01) :
    “So I’ll stand by what I said and I wasn’t being disrespectful.”
    Beg your pardon. Perhaps the abrasiveness I perceived is merely cultural. A Yankee then?
    A yankee ? : ) ……..Yes.

  73. To Caleb,
    On why the ENSO region is not described as a node of the Thermohaline Ocean Circulation.
    Thermohaline is a conjunction of two words which means “temperature” and “salinity”. The equatorial Pacific is the warmest (significant) ocean system there is and some of the least salty as well, so, in essence, it is the top, top of the overall ocean circulation or even almost isolated from the deep ocean circulation system. It really doesn’t get invited to the Thermohaline Ocean Circulation parties. All the action happens with colder, more salty water.
    But there are a few significant ocean currents which flow into the ENSO region. The Peru-Humbolt Current is the biggest (which is partly related to the issues that you were talking about).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humboldt_Current
    There is also an upwelling coastal current along Peru where deeper ocean water (a few hundred metres only) wells up (and does so more strongly during La Ninas) and then there is the North Equatorial Counter Current (which flows west to east opposite to the ENSO region surface currents and then turns back into the ENSO region).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ocean_surface_currents.jpg
    So, the ENSO is not a node of the Thermohaline Ocean Circulation but it is one of the three most active regions where energy is being exchanged between the atmosphere and the oceans (along with the other two, the north Atlantic and the south Atlantic deep ocean sinking regions).

  74. “I seem to differ with you and others on the relative influences of oceanic changes and changes in the air. I favour solar driven oceanic changes as the ultimate driver with the air circulation following and working to regain temperature equilibrium between sea and air.”
    I don’t know how much is disagreement versus differing focus.
    Erl’s ozone discussion is somewhat dependant on UV variability. The solar cycles tend to occur in groups with sunspots a lagging effect of solar activity or inactivity.
    We have had no solar flaring for two years, i.e., reduced UV variability, unlike the 23 minimum, part of an active regime. Erl’s diagram locating El Nino’s near minimums has one such declining regime cycle, 20. Note a false upturn or two ahead of the indicated El Nino.
    This time around cycle 24’s weakness is of a different order and we may be a year away from months above 10 in Wolf number. We may not get an official El Nino this time around at all and the current move neutral may not be the expected upturn.

  75. Bill Illis (21:01:18)
    “The Earth rotates east to west […]”

    Better check this “fact”.
    Out of curiosity, I just did some Google searches to (comparatively) see how many hits come up for the following phrases:
    1. “the earth turns from west to east”
    2. “the earth turns from east to west”
    3. “the earth rotates west to east”
    4. “the earth rotates east to west”
    yikes

  76. anna v (23:10:20) “This is sort of an inertia effect, as the air has not much cohesion to the ground, no?”
    I recommend seeing Sidorenkov’s (2005) discussion about concentric Earth shells. [Note: Access to the paper is free – the link is posted at Paul Vaughan (20:33:47).]

    anna v (23:10:20) “What about ocean currents. Water is not very stuck on the bottom either. Do they follow a similar pattern?”
    It is called oceanic angular momentum (OAM). I cited a paper by Gross (2005) above. In it you will find a reference to his earlier work in which he related Earth’s Chandler wobble to OAM & AAM. There is a whole branch of the literature that addresses such interrelations. I have run some analyses on related time series and it is crystal clear that this body of literature is very important in the climate discussion. Hopefully some of the experts from that very interesting branch of research will start joining WUWT discussions.

  77. This is interesting.
    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/execute.csh?amsutemps
    Channel5 (the channel I think Roy Spencer said gives the closest match to official monthly UAH temps.), shows the latest day shown there being the third coldest on the map behind only 1999 and 2008 and below the average line.
    I thought for sure the current warmup in SST’s would stem that slow trend downward by now, maybe the effect of the quiet sun is slowly kicking in or something (which right now has sunspots too small to see in the thumbnail on this site).

  78. El Niño coming back? Just in time for Cap and Tax! WooHoo
    No more Car Payment
    No more mortgage payment
    Free Health Care
    Free Power from Solar and Wind
    Millions of new high paying jobs

  79. I think the “thermo-haline” circulation is somewhat overblown.
    Do we have any measured physical evidence that the gulf stream or its kin have ever stopped circulating.
    If we have any such observational data ,(not computer modelling) do the instances of ocean circulation stopping, coincide with the instances of stopping of the earth’s rotation. How often does the earth stop rotating; to stop the ocean from circulating?
    Other than the earth stopping its rotation what other physical phenomenon would cause the oceans to stop circulating ?
    Wake me with the answers.
    George

  80. Re: George E. Smith (15:10:16)
    Some of the more interesting cases I’ve seen argued in the literature involve massive influxes of fresh (i.e. non-saline) water.

  81. Steven Hill (14:58:24) :
    No, that frankenstein
    surely by NOAA created
    from dark abyssal waters made
    a phantom monster did originate
    a false Nino, a Nino fake
    No, a virginal Nina I do prefer
    a natural, cool and handsome girl,
    and no invented lie
    will make her disappear
    A sad and lonesome Sun
    of her joy in need
    will surely her dance, merrily, proceed.
    The fake Nino won´t last a week
    soon replaced by a Nina humble and meek

  82. gary gulrud (12:42:53) :
    Re UV.
    Gary, I don’t think that there is a direct relationship between sunspot number and the power behind radiation in the very short wave spectrum. I would like to see data on this. Any sources?
    I am also aware that very small solar cycles have in the past produced the most vigorous swings in the SOI and surface temperature, particularly on the downside. I think it is the QBO in solar activity that drives the system and it does so by shifting the atmosphere between the winter pole and the equator so affecting the strength of the vortex. The major dynamic seems to be the change in ozone content of the stratosphere rather than the strength of UV as such. So, you see there is a shift in my story. Mind you, once the ozone content is changed, change in UVB becomes important in determining the temperature swings in the upper troposphere.
    The ‘enlightenment’ for me came with observation of marked cooling of the tropical stratosphere during the sudden stratospheric warming of January- February this year. Simultaneously there was a jump in sea surface temperature, especially about 30°S. you can see the dynamics if you compare pole with tropics at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/strat-trop/
    Jim Hughes (10:20:41) :
    Yes Jim I certainly did comment on Ed Berry’s blog and I am very interested in any notions of what drives tropical warming events and would appreciate any pointers at all to discussions.
    You seem pretty sure of an El Nino materializing late in this year but what is the rationale?
    Adolfo Giurfa (10:21:01) :
    That graphic of the ocean heat content down to 400 metres in a tiny latitude band across the Pacific has absolutely no predictive value in terms of what will happen to tropical SST. As I think you know, most of the volatility in cloud cover and radiation is away from the equator. It is the in-feed zones between 10 to 35° of latitude that determine the issue. The equator is where we see the output.
    Yes, the piggy bank has very little warm water and very little cold water in the east or the west. If anything this should cause a re-think about the cause of the ENSO cycle in academia.

  83. Adam from Kansas (11:39:09) :
    Latest NOAA SST map is in
    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/data/anomnight.5.14.2009.gif
    If El-Nino is forming it looks more like it’d be taking its time to me.
    PDO looks like it’s going to neutral with warming of Alaskan waters, but the bottom of the horseshoe shaped cool anomaly area has re-materialized somewhat, there’s also 2 or so tiny cool anomaly areas popping up just off of South America in one of the Nino zones
    Adam from Kansas,
    I wouldn’t expect any formation, Region 3.4 wise, before late summer. Since this is not going to be a strong event, or at least the chances are extremely slim for this.
    So this means that it will develop both later and slower. Because we would already be looking at much warmer SST’s if we were going to see a 1997-1998 type event.

  84. Bill Illis,
    You piqued my curiosity with the statement; “Also interesting is that the negative PDO seems to be moving back to neutral right now.”, as I have been watching the PDO as of late and hadn’t noticed any mention such as this. So I e-mailed Nathan Mantua at the University of Washington to see if there was yet an April 2009 update to his PDO index. He responded:
    PDO index values for 2009
    January -1.40
    February -1.55
    March -1.59
    April -1.65
    In other words, the PDO is still negative, and has been getting more so every month this year.
    Cheers

  85. Adam from Kansas. 1999 and 2008 were La Ninas. I too have noticed the relatively cool anomalies in ch5, and others. Erl’s posts provide very interesting reading…..fm nice thing about predicting an ENSO event is the wait is only a few months.

  86. Bill Illis,
    Thanks for the info. Of course, I immediately have my curiosity whetted, and a whole slew of questions arise.
    If the upwelling off Peru comes from a source region 500 meters down, what replaces it when it arises? What feeds the pool 500 meters down? Is there some sort of current down at that depth?
    Is the upwelling off Peru at all similar to the upwelling off California?
    I was involved in a discussion about the upwelling off California at some point, wherein measurements of the dissolved CO2 and acidity of the upwelling were discussed. (The measurements had changed, which some were using as a “reason for alarm.”)
    Does anyone have any idea how “old” the water in the Peru and California upwelling’s are? I know the thermohaline circulation waters spend between 800 and 1600 years down deep, before arising. Is the Peruvian upwelling “younger?”
    Pages 22 to 26 at:
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf
    has some decent charts of past La Ninas and El Ninos. My guess is that we are finishing a La Nina period like 1949-1951, and are entering a warm-side-of-neutral period like 1951-1954 (just prior to the whopper La Nina 0f 1954-1957.) I’m picking that analog mostly due to similarities in the PDO and AMO. Of course, if other factors, such as a long solar minimum or a big volcanic eruption, occur, it will provide a handy excuse when (and if) my guess is wrong.
    Thanks again for the info.

  87. “I don’t think that there is a direct relationship between sunspot number and the power behind radiation in the very short wave spectrum”
    My recollection is ozone is created via visible spectrum and heats via UV absorption. Solar flaring boosts UV up to 100% and is weakly correlated with sunspots. At SWPC one can review Sept. 1996. No spots yet flares persisted.
    UV therefore has been near its minimum since March 2007, again reviewed at SWPC.

  88. “My guess is that we are finishing a La Nina period like 1949-1951, and are entering a warm-side-of-neutral period like 1951-1954 (just prior to the whopper La Nina 0f 1954-1957.) I’m picking that analog mostly due to similarities in the PDO and AMO.”
    Interesting.

  89. Re cause of ENSO
    Academia is noticing the phenomena that I have described above:
    See: http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/9/12141/2009/acpd-9-12141-2009.html
    Title:
    Northern winter stratospheric temperature and ozone responses to ENSO inferred from an ensemble of Chemistry Climate Models
    Abstract. The connection between the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the northern polar stratosphere has been established from observations and atmospheric modeling. Here a systematic inter-comparison of the sensitivity of the modeled stratosphere to ENSO in Chemistry Climate Models (CCMs) is reported. This work uses results from a number of the CCMs included in the 2006 ozone assessment. In the lower stratosphere, the mean of all model simulations reports a warming of the polar vortex during strong ENSO events in February–March, consistent with but smaller than the estimate from satellite observations and ERA40 reanalysis. This anomalous warming is associated with an anomalous dynamical increase of total ozone north of 70° N that is accompanied by coherent total ozone decrease in the Tropics, in agreement with that deduced from the NIWA total ozone database, implying an increased residual circulation in the mean of all model simulations, during ENSO. The spread in the model responses is partly due to the large internal stratospheric variability but it is shown that it crucially depends on the representation of the tropospheric ENSO teleconnection in the models.
    So, the connections that I describe are validated by observation and modeling by others. Unfortunately they have the causation precisely 180° the wrong way about.
    It is change in the vortex that forces ENSO. Judge for yourself. My explanation is at:
    http://climatechange1.wordpress.com/2009/03/08/the-atmosphere-dancing-in-the-solar-wind-el-nino-shows-his-face/t
    http://climatechange1.wordpress.com/2009/04/05/solar-warming-solar-cooling/

  90. Paul Vaughan (13:09:05) :
    Bill Illis (21:01:18)
    “The Earth rotates east to west […]“
    Better check this “fact”.

    OK, the sun goes in the sky from east to west. The earth rotates from west to east. I always count on my fingers.
    Bill is in good company. Time to tell my Feynman story once more.
    I had been lucky to attend a theoretical ( I was presenting progress in bubble chamber neutrino experiments) workshop in Crete practically thirty years ago. Feynman was giving some lectures on how he saw QCD ( which is another story). The first evening of arrival at the workshop we are sitting on a large balcony facing the calm Aegean with a drink in hand, in an idyllic moment, with the moon rising full in the horizon. And Feynman waves to the moon and says:” that must be the West, then”.
    You can imagine the consternation and sputterings ( but but but but) of the group of physicists, mostly senior ones, who had come to meet and honor such a great scientist.

  91. “Feynman was giving some lectures on how he saw QCD ( which is another story). ”
    Do get to that story someday.

  92. anna v (05:41:42) “The first evening of arrival at the workshop we are sitting on a large balcony facing the calm Aegean with a drink in hand, in an idyllic moment, with the moon rising full in the horizon. And Feynman waves to the moon and says:” that must be the West, then”.”
    Thanks for sharing this gem-of-a-story Anna
    ! Cheers!

  93. gary gulrud (13:10:23) :
    “Feynman was giving some lectures on how he saw QCD ( which is another story). ”
    Do get to that story someday.

    Well, it is not really on topic reminiscing about past workshops :).

  94. erlhapp (04:10:34) :
    Re cause of ENSO
    erlhapp,
    Have you ever considered a common source of forcing for both the polar and tropical stratosphere? As your probably well aware it is supposed to be impossible to forecast stratospheric warmings from well out. At least for within a certain time frame.
    Here’s a link to my own stratospheric warming forecast for this past winter which ended up being slightly off, peak wise. But like some meteorologists said, it was made from well out, so they were willing to give me some wiggle room. And nobody else tries to make these type of specific forecasts anway.
    I also made a forecast the winter before and it had it’s ups and downs. No pun intended. I can supply the link to it if you want.
    http://www.easternuswx.com/bb/index.php?showtopic=182573

  95. The development of the El Nino is coming along nicely. I hope there are still no doubts about where we are headed. Everything continues to look good space weather wise also.

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