Weak El Niño could lead to U.S. Northeast Coldest Winter in a Decade

Bloomberg: U.S. Northeast May Have Coldest Winter in a Decade

By Todd Zeranski and Erik Schatzker

The SOI has gone weakly positive again - click for larger

Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. Northeast may have the coldest winter in a decade because of a weak El Nino, a warming current in the Pacific Ocean, according to Matt Rogers, a forecaster at Commodity Weather Group.

“Weak El Ninos are notorious for cold and snowy weather on the Eastern seaboard,” Rogers said in a Bloomberg Television interview from Washington. “About 70 percent to 75 percent of the time a weak El Nino will deliver the goods in terms of above-normal heating demand and cold weather. It’s pretty good odds.”

Warming in the Pacific often means fewer Atlantic hurricanes and higher temperatures in the U.S. Northeast during January, February and March, according to the National Weather Service. El Nino occurs every two to five years, on average, and lasts about 12 months, according to the service.

Hedge-fund managers and other large speculators increased their net-long positions, or bets prices will rise, in New York heating oil futures in the week ended Sep. 22, according to U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data Sept. 25.

“It could be one of the coldest winters, or the coldest, winter of the decade,” Rogers said.

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48 thoughts on “Weak El Niño could lead to U.S. Northeast Coldest Winter in a Decade

  1. 1976-77, 1977-78 and 2002-03 come to mind of a weak El Nino (02-03 did go moderate for a time) leading to a cold winter. However, there are a number of other factors that need to line up besides the equatorial Pacific.

  2. My prediction: no matter how cold it gets in Northeast USA it will be reported as the ?th warmest on record.

  3. The August PDO index went barely positive (0.09) after 23 months in negative mode. El Niño seems to be less than robust. The Sun seems unable to generate much in the way of sunspots, relevant or not. The hurricane season, while not over, seems never to have gotten underway. Ice on the Arctic Ocean is forming, not melting. Antarctic area ice is at a recent high. Along with the above, another thing I’m watching is the snow level in the Cascade Mountains – down to 4,000 feet (~1220 meters) today. Oh, and the trees I see through my window – Larches, actually – and they are turning golden and about to shed on my lawn. The only thing I know for sure about all this is . . . . . . I’ll get back to you, maybe.

  4. The 2006-07 El Nino was of similar strength and produced nearly the warmest beginning to winter ever recorded in the US. Here in New York we were planting bulbs and performing general landscaping well into December and January 9th was one of the warmest on record in the Northeast. Many all-time monthly max temperature records fell that day. Additionally, the ground had yet to freeze until January 13th of that winter and the lake across the street from our house didn’t freeze over until the 16th! February turned around to be quite chilly, 14th coldest on record in the Northeast, but the winter as a whole was about 3°F above normal.
    The winter on 2004-05 wasn’t particularly cold either. There were two notable cold snaps in January but that winter also ended slightly above the long term mean.
    Weak El Nino also struck in the winter of 1951-52 and that was also a top ten warmest for the winter season in the Northeast. Much of that winter was spent 3-5 degrees above normal AND that was during a -PDO.
    There are examples, however, of very cold winters occurring during a weak El Nino winter, notably the winters of 1963-64 and 1968-69. December of 1963 was one of the coldest months on record for the nation as a whole with an arctic outbreak of air rivaling that of the extreme cold of February 1899. In each of those winters of the 60’s there was a strong blocking pattern over the North Atlantic corresponding to a -NAO, especially so in December at the start of meteorological winter.
    The winters of 1951-52, 2004-05, and 2006-07 all had +NAO indices during the month of December.
    Of course, all this is moot is El Nino doesn’t behave as NOAA expects, which I feel it won’t.
    NOAA has been calling for an intensification of El Nino to moderate strength. This has been a point of contention for me since NOAA made the announcement a couple months back. I expect a continuation of weak El Nino into early December where we may eventually trend back towards an ENSO neutral state across the Pacific.
    The 30-day and 90-day running mean of the SOI index has been in positive territory for almost a full month. SST anomalies have leveled off since late summer across the ENSO regions (dropping markedly, however, in region 1.2, though this region does have the most variability) and we’ve yet to transition into a high atmospheric angular momentum pattern, as measured by the WB2009 GWO. Additionally, sub-surface anomaly data provided by TAO buoy array shows an atypical slope to the thermocline to what one would expect if El Nino was intensifying.

  5. ENSO Wrap-Up
    CURRENT STATUS as at 30th September 2009
    Next update expected by 14th October 2009 (two weeks after this update).

    Despite a slight cooling over the past fortnight, Pacific Ocean temperatures remain at levels typical of an El Niño event. These warm conditions are forecast to persist until at least year’s end by most leading climate models.

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

  6. I will make my forecast for the 2009/10 winter on 1st March 2010…
    In the meantimne has anyone got a scientifc handle on what all this may mean for Europe in general and the UK in particular this coming winter?
    tonyb

  7. Here in Kansas temps. have been below normal for most days this month, in fact we’re supposed to start off October with most days in the 60’s. If NOAA announced this was the warmest September ever, the heat sure wouldn’t have been over here.
    The El Nino continues to fail developing and continues to fail getting all systems to fall in line with a typical El Nino event, according to Unisys most SH anomalies on the warm side are weak and the only stronger ones for the most part are in the Northern Hemisphere. Assuming Tallbloke is correct and we’re seeing the ocean batteries continuing to drain then we should see the anomalies drop off before long, though I’d wait for his opinion.

  8. “There are examples, however, of very cold winters occurring during a weak El Nino winter, notably the winters of 1963-64 and 1968-69. December of 1963 was one of the coldest months on record for the nation as a whole with an arctic outbreak of air rivaling that of the extreme cold of February 1899. In each of those winters of the 60’s there was a strong blocking pattern over the North Atlantic corresponding to a -NAO, especially so in December at the start of meteorological winter.”
    So basically-back when winters were cold-a weak El Nino gave us cold winters. Now that winters are warm-a weak El Nino gives us warrm winters. Is that it?

  9. TonyB:
    Very wise not to predict this winter in the UK. Unlike the MetOffice which said today that they expect it to be mild. Maybe they think El Nino will give them the odds.
    I am not wise enough to keep my neck covered but I am not guessing from statistics. After the jetstream shifted in 2007 and we got a wet summer and the Met predicted a normal summer, I predicted that 2008 would be the same – unless the jetstream changed, it didn’t and it was. Under a bit of prodding the MetOffice finally looked at the jetstream, but predicted a mild winter – it wasn’t. I predicted that at some point the winters would shift to cold and clear – maybe 2008/2009. I was right. I also expected another wet summer – the MetOffice said it would be a barbie. I was right again.
    So – how come I, a mere ecologist, generalistic policy analyst can get so much right, and the supercomputing meteorologists get so much wrong? I think it will be another cold winter, maybe colder than last (the coldest in 20 years), maybe the coldest in 40 years….
    I read the signs, as well as the papers. In the past two years the normal low pressure systems centred over Iceland have been replaced by mobile polar high pressure cells that seem to originate in Canada and move eastwards to Greenland and Iceland, then leap the Norwegian Sea to settle for a while over Scandinavia and head off into Siberia. The normal high pressure over the Azores is now interspersed with low pressure cells and they seem to track due East into Iberia rather than looping up over the UK and into Norway (as pre-2007). We seem to be in the middle of a phase-shift and the pattern is not settled yet.
    When the anti-cyclone is over Greenland, we get cold clear air coming from the north to the western Atlantic seaboard instead of warmer south-westerlies. When it moves over Scandinavia, we get the updraft of continental air coming in from the south-east. In the summer, this updraft is warm and dry, but in the winter, it will be cold and snow-laden. Right now we have had a couple of weeks of this warm dry air from the old polar high. Now a new polar high is over Greenland again and the northerly winds will set in bringing cool but dry air and autumn sunshine. These highs move slowly and can settle for weeks.
    So – over this winter – I expect this pattern to persist – many weeks of dry and very cold weather, interspersed with cool and moist conditions at times, with the potential for severe snow storms from the east.
    Actually, there is one more factor. This shift is marked by the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation index and this seems to coincide with periods of warm water build-up in the upper ocean waters. This warm water gets trapped in the north-atlantic gyre and the Hadley maps have shown this area as ‘red’ anomaly of Sea Surface Temperature for two or more decades. Now it is going ‘blue’. This means to me that the upper ocean heat store has been depleted – and it was this and the westerly prevailing winds that kept western Europe so warm between 1977-2007.
    With that heat all-but gone either this year or next, I expect future winters to be much colder and summers to be cool and cloudy with less rain. I suspect that behind-the-scenes in the MetOffice, the supercomputers agree with me, because they have a short-range modelling team (to 2030) that gets no publicity (though it does publish in the peer-reviewed lit) compared to the long-range team’s projections to 2050 or 2080 (median projections to 2080 is 4 C warming).
    I have complained that people such as I, who advise land-use planners, need to know more about the next 25 years, than the 25 or 50 following them – but to little avail. That’s because the MetOffice is an arm of government, of course – and answers to the Ministry of Defence.

  10. Anthony,
    The headline is completely wrong.
    It should read:
    “Near record setting warm winter for the US-Northeast predicted. Could be 10th warmest of this millenium”.

  11. TonyB (07:46:10) :
    In the meantime has anyone got a scientifc handle on what all this may mean for Europe in general and the UK in particular this coming winter?
    Not scientific but ENSO would of course have an effect everywhere. However it would probably be better to look at the Atlantic. I did a plot some time back matching AMO and England temps. It’s a bit old and a bit rough but there isn’t a strong correlation. Latest is AMO down from .282 to .205 and I think it will fall lower this month.
    http://i599.photobucket.com/albums/tt74/MartinGAtkins/AMO-Eng.jpg
    I think while everyone’s busy beating the warmists to death with the Hockey Stick I’ll see what NAO and AO look like. I’ll post them tomorrow.

  12. Seeing Peter Taylor’s comment and the fact the Sun is going back to sleep after those spots, I wouldn’t discount the predictions made by those such as the Farmer’s Almanac, which don’t use CO2 as a factor, who predict a very cold Winter.
    In fact the Farmer’s almanac predicted an early freeze or even deep freeze for parts of the northern midwest at the end of this month as a precursor to their predicted bitter cold Winter, looked at Unisys’ low temperature contour and to an extent were right.

  13. Peter Taylor
    I agree with you that Uk and Europe are heading for a cooler winter than last year and for several decades to come . The Winter NAO and the AMO are both trending to the negative in their current trend and they are both major players shaping Europe’s winter climate . The period 1962-1987 was a similar cooler period for Europe. AMO went negative in 1964 and was negative or cool for 23 of the 26 cooler years . Winter NAO was negative for 14 years in this period . The warmer winters were when NAO was positive[like 1973-1976 and 1982-1984]. Europe had a brief taste of this cooler winter earlier this year when AMO and winter NAO were both negative.

  14. MARTIN G.ATKINS
    MARTIN, if you plot winter NAO, AMO and winter European temperatures , the pattern will be more evident. If you need sources for the data let me know

  15. Peter Taylor
    Piers Corbyn had better look to his laurels now you have taken up forecasting… Last year the trees turned at much the same time as this year and I forecast (in advance!) a cold winter in our local paper and substantially upgraded our house insulation.
    This year I have not had such a clear indication of what will happen during the winter, but am inclined to think it will be cooler than (recent) normal-but whether it will be colder than last year we will see.
    I am hoping for severe snowstorms grounding all flights to Copenhagen in December…
    MartinGAtkins
    Interesting graph. as you say there doesn’t seem to be a lot of correlation. Look forward to your update.
    tonyb

  16. I recently listened to a dialogue on BBC NEWS between Dr Vicki Pope of the Met Office and Emeritus Prof. Phillip Stott of London University discussing the recent global cooling prediction of 1-2 decades by Dr M. Latif of Germany
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8258000/8258459.stm
    What was of interest to me was that Dr. Pope clearly denied that there would be cooling during the next decade. She said that they [the Met Office] had also done predictions and that it would get warmer during the next decade and that over the long term it would get warmer due to global warming. She said that their models used data for conditions below the ocean surface as well and that their model had been tested and they have reproduced past climates using actual past records.She said that their model was more realistic than the model used by Latif’s German model who uses ocean surface data only.
    She did say that she accepts the possibility of a decade or 10 years of temperatures levelling off or small amount of cooling.[ presumably not next decade?]
    She also said that any accelerated warming or cooling was the result of natural effects [natural variability]
    It would appear to me that she and the Met Office seem to be changing the AGW argument by 180 degrees. IPCC said that the unprecedented and accelerated warming of the last 30 years was the problem caused primarily by man [most temperature records were set here ]and that this warming would accelerate for 100 years or more. In other words They said that this 30 year temporary warming was caused by man and not due to natural variability. Dr Pope seems to be saying that the long term trend of the last 150 years is the real global warming. Since the last accelerated warming only lasted for about 12 years1994-2006, a relatively short period , Is she saying that the recent accelerated warming then is due to natural causes? If so it is a major change and a new shift in the climate debate by the AGW camp.
    I personally disagree with the forecast of the Met Office especially for the next several decades. They are predicting now a temperature rise of 4 C by 2060. It seems to me that there is more political manoeuvring prior to Copenhagen here than science.
    matt

  17. UHN is an ETN that you can trade in any stock account. It holds options contracts on Heating Oil. UHN popped 5.9% today. Looks like a decent bottom is in, today was the bottom of a “dip” and it popped on oil inventory news (comes out Wednesdays in non-holiday weeks).
    http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/advchart/frames/frames.asp?symb=uhn&time=&freq=
    ought to get you a chart of it as long as wordpress didn’t choke on the special characters in the link.

  18. E.M.Smith (16:30:57) :
    ought to get you a chart of it as long as wordpress didn’t choke on the special characters in the link.
    The problem with only looking at one year graph like that is that you can’t know if the raised volume indicates a bottom or if it’s a seasonal signal.
    I won’t dwell on this subject because technical analysis of financial derivatives are not the brief of this web site.

  19. She said that their model was more realistic than the model used by Latif’s German model who uses ocean surface data only.
    Professor Philip Stott answered the way a good scientist should when the subject has many confounding variables.
    Asked (by inference) if he thought the climate would get warmer or colder he replied.
    “Well I think importantly John we don’t know.”
    Dr. Vicky Pope when asked the same thing makes the blindingly stupid reply. (in part)
    “We do agree that over the long term it will continue
    warm due to global warming.”
    Brilliant observation. What she couldn’t bring her self to say is warming will continue because of CO2 levels.
    This is because it would expose the nefarious nature of the Met office’s outlandish predictions based on their models.

  20. We are frequently told that this is a “weak El Nino” – but the day-to-day UAH satellite temperatures for 2009 are consistantly warmer (by about a 1/4 degree!) than the comparable date in the “Super El Nino” year of 1998.
    So, why was that a super El Nino, but warmer temp’s this year only define a “weak, short lived” El Nino? Anything else change, or are we measuring two different phenomona?

  21. Ralph
    I don’t think it had anything to do with the ElNino of 1963. During December 1963 both the AMO and Winter NAO were both negative or cool . Amo had gone cool or negative already in MAY and had been cooling since its peaks in 1937/1944 . It went negative in july 1964 for the next 30 years .The 1960’s had the most cold or negative NAO winters on record. Seven of the 10 winters of the 1960’s had negative Nao. The winter 1963 NAO was -4.89 which is the lowest winter record[for 3months] . It went -5.1 in Jan/64[1month].
    Personally i think we are in a similar period now with both the AMO and WINTER NAO trending cooler now for many years.

  22. Ralph
    It was not just Uk that had cold winter in the period 1962-1963. Atlantic Coast and the Great Lakes Area of Canada which are also affected by AMO and NAO had cold winters . 1963 Winter was the 4th coldest ever out of the last 61 years for the Great LAKESand St Lawrence area in Canada. The winter of 1962 was the 20th coldest for the Atlantic region. I have checked the US RECORDS for their winters and 1963 winter was the 21 coldest ever out of 114 years . So it was cold for many areas and not just UK
    AMO and NAO are the prime climate makers for our Eastern Coast. I think the coooler winter expected along the Eastern North America will be due to the expected negative NAO and AMO this winter. A weak EL Nino has very little to do with this in my opinion.

  23. “NINO3.4 SST anomalies are still in the 0.8 to 0.9 deg C range where they’ve been for a few months.”
    Ok, I’m probably wrong: This event may well actually meet NOAA’s own definition of an official El Nino occurance. With no winds to pile up warm water, however.
    I’m still betting this is a neutral regime and an artifact of elevated H2O and concomitant cloudiness leaving the Tropical atmosphere a better retainer of heat.

  24. MartinG.Atkins
    Since the climate of this planet is the result of many factors, no single variable plotted against the global temperature anomalies will show perfect correlation. I have looked at a number of variables on the same graph like ENSO/PDO, AMO, NAO, VOLCANO ERUPTIONS, ETC., to get a more complete picture. Bob Tisdale has done many excellent graphs showing various Ocean SST vs. various regional global temperatures and showed some good regional correlations.
    I have found that a plot of ANNUAL AMO and annual global HADCRUT3 anomalies gives a fair picture on a decadal basis only and part of the total the picture .Adding NAO to this plot makes it more informative . The best correlation I have found is the Southern Hemisphere SST with Hadcrut3. This is understandable as Southern Hemisphere SST is a major part of global HADCRUT 3. Also regional graphs show better correlation. Joe D’Aloe has many of these plots on his ICECAP blog. For Europe I would use AMO and NAO and for winters, I would use Winter NAO and AMO..

  25. matt v. (14:21:19) :
    If you need sources for the data let me know
    Thanks for the offer matt but I have a whole slew of data sources here.
    TonyB (14:29:00) :
    Interesting graph. as you say there doesn’t seem to be a lot of correlation.
    Here’s one of NAO and England winter. It’s a much better fit than AMO.
    http://i599.photobucket.com/albums/tt74/MartinGAtkins/NAO-Eng-Temp.jpg
    And one for rain. Although it’s a messy fit it does indicate a positive NAO leads to wetter and warmer England winter conditions.
    http://i599.photobucket.com/albums/tt74/MartinGAtkins/NAO-Eng-rain.jpg

  26. My solar based forecast for the three months of this N.H winter indicates a warmer wetter period from around the solstice for 5 or 6 weeks. I would expect to see well below normal temperatures through November and the first half of December, and February turning sharply cold after the milder January. Heavy N.H. snow is likely at the end of December/start of January. Late heavy snow falls are likely in S.Hemisphere locations such as New Zealand and S.America in November.
    I see Harris Mann has a similar outlook for the US this winter.

  27. I won’t claim an understanding of the El Nino/winter temperature connection, but here, we just had to turn on the heat for the time. Here is within a few miles of UAH, incidentally.

  28. MartinGAtkins
    Martin , you have it right on . I had only done similar plot of winter NAO but for all of Europe.

  29. MartinGatkins
    Have you done an Excel type of verical bars graph showing the winter NAO bar and corresponding UK winter temperature bar. The line graph can be misleading since these are specific winter periods only and not related from year to year. It is only useful for comparing trend of individaul lines and not specific individual winter fits as well. [Does a negative NAO result in a temperature decline ] I found that for Europe as a whole only 2/3 of the winter temperature changes could be accounted by a corresponding NAO in the same direction.

  30. Now this gets very interesting – and once more indicates the great value of this blog. Vicky Pope says that Hadley have a better short-term model than Latif – though Latif’s is out there for public consumption at major conferences, and Hadley seem a bit coy about their’s. I had thought this was because it confirmed my view that the next decade would show either more flatlining, or real cooling – hence over-riding the main driver (according to IPCC). The real danger of publicising this before Copenhagen is of course that general science observers such as myself will be thinking – heh! If the IPCC describe their knowledge of oceanic variability as ‘low’ (especially of oscillations), and the models show a natural flatline from 1950-2000 (Fig1 of IPCC 2007 Summary for Policy Makers) without CO2, but now the natural variability overwhelms the signal – then could not the warming signal have been amplified in the first place? Of course it could, and has – all the cycles we know about – PDO,AO,NAO,AMO and ENSO, as well as good ole Sol, peaked between 1998 and 2007, even if we didn’t know what ‘drives’ them. Carbon’s signal comes on top of that – and I argue in my book ‘Chill’ that we can get an upper estimate of the GHG effect – especially by looking at the Arctic – I make it 20% of the driver. Max.
    I could be wrong – but it is a valid argument and worthy of debate and I use real data and peer-reviewed papers to support the argument.
    Now Vicky Pope brings in the upper ocean heat content. The only data accessible on their website shows broad inter-decadal comparisons – with no analysis of why upper ocean heat content has remained flat since about 2002. A published paper by Matthew Palmer at Hadley confirms the work of Gouretski and others that the previous estimates of upper ocean heat content (Barratt, based on Levitus) were out by a factor of 2. They don’t say how this new work undermines the previous models used by the IPCC – which of course, it does – but that would be to embarrass their own government, to whom they are answerable. So – yes, these ‘improved’ models, using new upper ocean data, show a flatline – and that is very very important. Vicky may say – ‘we expect some warming over the next decade’ – but how much? And how much compared to the previous IPCC model?
    And as for the long-term warming….what aspects of the old model are still unrevised? Do the long term models incorporate the ocean cycles? What predictions do they make about solar cycles?
    Its time to ask for an open seminar on these questions. Scientist to scientist (even if some of them, like myself, are generalist policy analysers with a background in systems ecology and no published climate papers or professorships to my name). I will make a request and see how far I get. Of course, Hadley will be very busy and it might not be possible before Copenhagen – so, lets hope no irrevocable commitments are made there on the basis of faulty models.

  31. matt v. (10:03:48) :
    Have you done an Excel type of verical bars graph showing the winter NAO bar and corresponding UK winter temperature bar.
    It is difficult to see but you must remember that the chart begins at 1950 and if grid lines are set too close the dates become cluttered. Try this one with line points. Remember the X axis grid lines are five years apart. To make it easier to see I’ve enlarged the minor ticks.
    http://i599.photobucket.com/albums/tt74/MartinGAtkins/NAO-Eng-Tem-pt.jpg
    I could set the grid at minor xtics but I think you would agree that it would be visually unpleasant.

  32. MartinGAtkins
    Thanks for the better graph,but it is still hard to tell. Just eyeballing the graph I counted about half the years showed a relationship. [That is when the WINTER NAO goes up or down the Temperature follows in the same direction in step.
    When I looked at Europe as a whole during the last cool spell about [1962-1987] or 26 years
    14 years -the NAO and temperature anomaly moved in step [during these 14 years, the AMO was negative during half of these years.
    9 years AMO and temperature anomaly moved in step [ but no NAO realtionship[ that is the NAO and temperatures went in opposite directions ]
    3 years were a mix where NAO and AMO went in one direction and the temperature anomaly went the opposite[ other factors in play ]
    What this showed to me is that both NAO and AMO seem to affect the EUROPEAN winter temperatures . The fact that this entire period was cooler than normal and AMO was negative or cool for 23 of the 26 years , it would appear that the cool or negative AMO lowers the back ground winter temperature and the NAO seems to amplify or reduce this background level depending whether it is negative or positve .

  33. PETER TAYLOR
    http://www.heartland.org/bin/media/newyork09/PowerPoint/Syun_Akasofu.ppt#524,30,Slide 30
    Using the above graph for discussion purposes, what Vicky Pope seems to be saying is that the blue and red areas below and above the black line are the result of natural variation in Earth’s cycles? [NAO, AMO, ENSO, etc]. I don’t have problem with this as the latest global warming was just one of these natural cycle bubbles . She seems to be saying that the black solid line [or the long term temperature slope of about 0.5C per century] is due to global warming and that it will go up [I assume she means the slope will rise and not go down due to global cooling ?]. She has not said what drives this solid black long term line to go up, natural cycles or co2. Many of us feel that the slope will go down for the next few decades.The Met Office is saying that this slope will go up by 4C in the next 50 years due to man generated green house gases. It is here where I have problem. The solid black line which has slight slope shows that additional heating is being applied gradually[ or the line would be flat] which ultimately shows up as increased heating through the natural cycle warming. This additional heating has been going on for hundreds of years and prior to any carbon dioxide level increases due to man [since the last ice age] and has periods of active and slow cycles. More recently [the last 100 years] there has been more solar activity and more heating over the long term. In my judgment, the solar energy is transferred by means other than just solar radiation [solar wind generated rapidly fluctuating magnetic fields generated electrical currents which can cause joule heating, lighting heating, etc]. The jury is still out on the exact mechanism for transferring more solar wind energy to the planet and I accept this. I may not have the exact mechanism straight. I don’t know if anyone has? This is where the scientific debate should be, not with carbon dioxide.
    The co2 issue appears to me to be a diversion perhaps to demonize fossil fuel, sell more nuclear plants, give out more free money for research and give an excuse for taxing the world with global carbon tax . This is big business now.

  34. I have suggested on the tips and notes thread here that Anthony institutes a lighht hearted competion to see who makes the best forecast for the NH winter.
    We have a number of interesting forecasts here-all very credible.
    MartinGAtkins
    Thanks for the NAO graph update. That appears to be a pretty good fit but seems to be looking back. Are you able to extrapolate its current mode into what is likely to happen this winter in the UK?
    tonyb

  35. MattV/Peter Taylor
    Matt- your link didn’t work-can you repost? I have read your post with interest I have always been doubtful of the hypothesis that climate is as sensitive to man made co2 as is claimed (it obviously has some affect though)
    I produced a series of graphs-I don’t have the resources of Nasa or Scripps so it is a work in progress- that explored the relationship and sensitivity of co2 to our climate. The graph reproduced below (one of a sequence of ten) is based on several fixed points;
    1) We know the actual CET temperatures back to 1660
    2) We know the claimed co2 emissions back to 1750
    3) We know the actual co2 figures from 1960 to 2008
    4) We know the current temperature and the current co2 levels.
    It night be necessary to adjust scales, so this is an early attempt at combining actual recorded temperatures over actual known (and speculative) co2 emissions.
    http://cadenzapress.co.uk/download/beck_mencken.xls
    After looking at the graph above I came to one of three conclusions;
    1) The graphs are hopelessly incorrect and to the wrong scale!
    2) Co2 lags temperature by many years and the current co2 levels are responding to the higher temperatures of the MWP
    3) There is very little correlation between co2 and temperatures
    AS a result of 3) I then inserted some of the figures that Ernst Beck produced of historic measurements for co2-recorded from 1830 onward-these are the gold dots. (the graph is interactive so hover your mouse over the data points)
    If you look at the graph you will see I have inserted various notes and amplify them here;
    * Firstly it can be seen where the idea of co2/rising temperatures scare came from- until they are seen in a historic context
    * Temperatures preceded co2 rises
    * Bearing in mind these are mostly ‘Little ice age’ temperatures the modern era temperatures are not ‘unprecedented’ and are not even particularly warm
    * Inserting Co2 spikes pre 1960 (Beck and the Victorians) goes a long way to explaining the previous high temperatures- otherwise they were apparently achieved without the benefit of high levels of co2.
    * Co2 levels are responsive to temperatures (temperatures rise first) and reading across the chart the high Port Barrow Co2 measurements in the 1940’s (warm temperatures) and the low co2 levels at the start of the (cold) period when Scripps commenced observations in the late 1950’s can be seen in context.
    This all leads to the question-Are co2 levels much more variable than we believe? We have only recorded them through a warm period- except the early seventies-cold period-when they declined markedly
    I understand there is a potential exchamge of 160GT of co2 betwen ocean and atmosphere so the variable amountss shown here are well within potential variability. The Beck figures are ‘disproved’ by ice cores. However after reading on the subject and the problems with fractionation I tend to view them with an even more jaundiced eye than I do tree rings.
    All in all there appears to be great natural variation either without man made co2 or by variable levels of co2 not picked up since 1958. Whatever is the real answer this seems to chime with your post.
    Beck is somewhat ridiculed by the scientific intelligentsia so generally the data is not discussed in polite scientific circles.
    Peter Taylor makes some reference to his 2007 work in his book ‘Chill’ but generally Beck’s work has not achieved any great traction.
    I would be interested in anyones reaction but in particular perhaps Peter could clarify his latest thoughts on the subject bearing in mind our knowledge of climate (which seems very imperfect) is moving on all the time.
    tonyb

  36. Peter Taylor (13:16:33) :
    “[…]Now Vicky Pope brings in the upper ocean heat content. The only data accessible on their website shows broad inter-decadal comparisons – with no analysis of why upper ocean heat content has remained flat since about 2002. A published paper by Matthew Palmer at Hadley confirms the work of Gouretski and others that the previous estimates of upper ocean heat content (Barratt, based on Levitus) were out by a factor of 2. They don’t say how this new work undermines the previous models used by the IPCC – which of course, it does – but that would be to embarrass their own government, to whom they are answerable. So – yes, these ‘improved’ models, using new upper ocean data, show a flatline – and that is very very important. Vicky may say – ‘we expect some warming over the next decade’ – but how much? And how much compared to the previous IPCC model?
    And as for the long-term warming….what aspects of the old model are still unrevised? Do the long term models incorporate the ocean cycles? What predictions do they make about solar cycles?
    Its time to ask for an open seminar on these questions. Scientist to scientist (even if some of them, like myself, are generalist policy analysers with a background in systems ecology and no published climate papers or professorships to my name). I will make a request and see how far I get. Of course, Hadley will be very busy and it might not be possible before Copenhagen – so, lets hope no irrevocable commitments are made there on the basis of faulty models.”
    Reply: I don’t think that even the best of the current generation of climate models are capable of predicting future climate with accuracy and it will take many more years before this becomes a possibility. it is important to realise that this is still a very young science and it is trying to deal with an extremely complex system, using limited amounts of data of low granularity.
    The accuracy of some of the older historic data used by the modellers also leaves much to be desired, with error bars often greater than the precision the model is trying to achieve. So even models which hind-cast well have less predictive power.
    The other problem faced is that our climate is non-linear system. To attempt to produce models with good predictive power for these sorts of dynamic chaotic systems requires several bits of the jigsaw which are still missing.
    The first big piece of this puzzle is an accurate and quantifiable understanding of how all the different climate mechanisms work together and the rate of energy transfers involved across the total of these climate interaction.
    The second is that chaotic systems are very sensitive to initial conditions and the floating-point accuracy of current generation supercomputers is insufficient to avoid error divergence in the models which grows rapidly over time.
    My view is that this generation of climate models are useful gaining insight into how different climate systems operate, but are not yet capable of making accurate enough forecasts for the UN and world governments to base policy on.
    Panicking about the largely falsified CAGW hypothesis is not the way forward for the peoples of this Earth.

  37. Tonyb
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Winter-NAO-Index.png
    Winter NAO pattern is less prdictable than say AMO or PDO . The past pattern does show a period of negative NAO in the 1950-1970’S corresponding with cooler winters . It seemed to go more positive the next 20-30 years thereafter with much warmer winters for the affected areas . The current trend is again going negative [last winter as well]. Some of us feel that the pattern of 1950-1970’s may repeat.

  38. TonyB (00:58:03) :
    MattV/Peter Taylor
    Matt- your link didn’t work-can you repost? I have read your post with interest I have always been doubtful of the hypothesis that climate is as sensitive to man made co2 as is claimed (it obviously has some affect though)
    I produced a series of graphs-I don’t have the resources of Nasa or Scripps so it is a work in progress- that explored the relationship and sensitivity of co2 to our climate. The graph reproduced below (one of a sequence of ten) is based on several fixed points;
    1) We know the actual CET temperatures back to 1660
    2) We know the claimed co2 emissions back to 1750
    3) We know the actual co2 figures from 1960 to 2008
    4) We know the current temperature and the current co2 levels.
    It night be necessary to adjust scales, so this is an early attempt at combining actual recorded temperatures over actual known (and speculative) co2 emissions.
    http://cadenzapress.co.uk/download/beck_mencken.xls
    After looking at the graph above I came to one of three conclusions;

    After looking at the numbers in the spreadsheet I came to the conclusion that the victorian CO2 ppm figures (are these Beck’s?) are highly suspicious. The ppm numbers for 1827, 1828 and 1829 are 481, 431 and 385 respectively. In 2 years around 96 ppm seems to have been removed from the atmosphere. in 1843, the concentration is 308.6 ppm but in 1844 it’s jumped to 400 ppm. Where did ~90 ppm suddenly come from? It’s a similar story throughout the record – flat periods followed by huge rises/falls representing the addition/removal of hundreds of Gigatons of CO2. How come we haven’t noticed these massive fluctuations in the past ~50 years.
    Beck is somewhat ridiculed by the scientific intelligentsia so generally the data is not discussed in polite scientific circles.
    There might be a reason for this.
    Peter Taylor makes some reference to his 2007 work in his book ‘Chill’ but generally Beck’s work has not achieved any great traction.
    Hmmm.

  39. Quoting the orginal article in NEWSCIENTIST re M.Latif’s prediction of global cooling ahead for the next several decades , he said ,
    Breaking with climate-change orthodoxy, he said NAO cycles were probably responsible for some of the strong global warming seen in the past three decades. “But how much? The jury is still out,” he told the conference. The NAO is now moving into a colder phase. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17742-worlds-climate-could-cool-first-warm-later.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news
    To look at the past global warming periods, one has to look at the annual NAO index , not just the winter NAO. The Annual PC based NAO index [ per Jim Hurrell’s data] shows the following pattern of number of positive NAO years per 3 decades.
    1890-1910 [9] COOL PERIOD
    1920-1940 [14] WARM PERIOD
    1950-1970 [9] COOL PERIOD
    1980 -2000 [17] WARM PERIOD
    M.Latif seems to be right. Positive NAO tends to give milder winters for eastern North America and warmer weather over Europe. This tends to contribute to more global warming in years when the ANNUAL NAO is positive.

  40. Tenuc
    As you are aware ,scientists from all over the world have been saying that the multi-decadal weather is more the result of the interaction between the atmosphere and ocean surface temperatures as modified by deep ocean currents than any changes in the global carbon dioxide levels. Professor William Gray wrote about this extensively in his paper entitled Climate Change: Driven by the Ocean not Human Activity. http://www.heartland.org/custom/semod_policybot/pdf/24891.pdf
    Prof. Gray said,
    Following a lag of 5-10 years global surface temperatures undergo cooling during times of stronger than average MOC conditions and warming during times of weaker than average MOC conditions.
    He also said,
    More upwelling of colder water in the Southern Hemisphere tropical oceans during positive MOC periods gradually brings about more upper-ocean cooling (estimated 2-4 W/m2averages over the globe).
    I have previously noted that the multi-decadal cycle changes of AMO, PDO and NAO seem to correlate with global temperature anomalies. If Professor Gray is right, then there should be early warnings of global temperature changes in the temperature anomalies of the Southern Hemisphere tropical ocean temperature prior to this showing up in the AMO or PDO.
    According to Gray, when the MOC has been strong for a long period and cold water upwelling in the Southern Hemisphere has been greater than the long period average, this leads to global temperatures becoming gradually cooler than average.
    Changes in Southern Hemisphere STT are the earliest indicators of Global cooling or warming [Even earlier than AMO, NAO or PDO?] The Southern Hemisphere starts to cool before the Northern Hemisphere cools and seems to point to an eventual global temperature change.
    Currently Southern Hemisphere SST and South and North Atlantic ocean SST anomalies have been dropping for several months [since July]. Cool weather ahead?
    I don’t know what the MET OFFICE models include for above or below surface conditions , but these maybe clear early signs of possible cooling ahead as Prof Gray claims.
    .

  41. John Finn
    OK, so you must agree therefore that we can have very considerable natural climate variability at a constant 280ppm?
    tonyb

  42. Here is what Sept month end ice extent averages (NSIDC) look like:
    September (month end averages) NSIDC (sea ice extent)
    30 yrs ago
    1980 Southern Hemisphere = 19.1 million sq km
    1980 Northern Hemisphere = 7.8 million sq km
    Total = 26.9 million sq km
    Recorded Arctic min yr.
    2007 Southern Hemisphere = 19.2 million sq km
    2007 Northern Hemisphere = 4.3 million sq km
    Total = 23.5 million sq km
    Last yr.
    2008 Southern Hemisphere = 18.5 million sq km
    2008 Northern Hemisphere = 4.7 million sq km
    Total = 23.2 million sq km
    This yr.
    2009 Southern Hemisphere = 19.1 million sq km
    2009 Northern Hemisphere = 5.4 million sq km
    Total = 24.5 million sq km
    On September 12, 2009 Arctic sea ice extent dropped to 5.10 million square kilometers (1.97 million square miles).

  43. Another month is done and it’s time for more data to be released.
    My view is Nino 3-4 will be down. The weekly chart shows it hovering at +0.79. This is a nice site for those of you that like to follow these things and will give values for all weekly ENSO zones.
    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/indices.shtml
    So 0.79 looks good for the Sept average. SOI says down for next month.
    http://i599.photobucket.com/albums/tt74/MartinGAtkins/soi30-1.png
    AMO is some what more difficult as there are is no weekly data and as it’s a complex composite the monthly value usually comes out late.
    Zooming in to 1979 onward the values seem high.
    http://i599.photobucket.com/albums/tt74/MartinGAtkins/amo79.jpg
    And for the region the latest SST’s seems to say that it won’t stay that way. This site has no archive but my obsevations say that September will be down for AMO.
    http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/sst/ophi/nwatl_anomaly_ophi0.png
    UAH and RSS at least for equatorial values should be down for September.

  44. I don’t know how almost all of the readers of this blog missed the lesson on the difference between weather and climate. It also appears that most of your readers lack a basic understanding of statistics.
    You CAN NOT use one, two, or even 5 years of weather to draw conclusions on climate.
    n= N-1. When n>30 the assumption that S = sigma can be used.
    REPLY: Wrong. This article is about forecasting weather for winter. You’re the one who is confused, but perhaps not, you are showing clear signs of trollism now. Readers just ignore him

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