Flashback – Bob Tisdale's November prediction on GISS exploiting the "warmest decade on record"

To help understand the context of the NASA GISS announcement, I’m reposting Bob Tisdales’s excellent analysis from 2009 which ran on WUWT on November 10th

Global Temperatures This Decade Will Be The Warmest On Record…

…And It Will Be Exploited By Those Who Fail To Understand The Reasons For The Rise

Guest post by Bob Tisdale

snowman_forecaster

INITIAL NOTES

For some visitors to this blog, this post will be a merging and rehashing of a few of my earlier posts. But this post is different in a very important way. I have attempted to simplify the discussion of El Nino-caused step changes for those with less technical backgrounds.

The post does assume the reader knows of El Nino and La Nina events. If not, here are links to two NOAA El Nino Frequently Asked Question web pages:

http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/general/enso_faq/

http://faculty.washington.edu/kessler/occasionally-asked-questions.html

The following narrated video “Visualizing El Nino” from the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio provides an excellent overview of the 1997/98 E; Nino, one of the El Nino events that created the aftereffects illustrated in this post.

YouTube Link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbNzw1CCKHo

I have provided links to the referenced studies and to the posts that provide more detailed explanations at the end of the following. They do not appear within the general discussion of this post.

Many of the illustrations in the following are .gif animations, with 5- to 10-second pauses between cells.

GLOBAL TEMPERATURES THIS DECADE WILL BE THE WARMEST ON RECORD

It became apparent a number of years ago that the current decade, the 2000s, would have the highest surface temperature since the start of the instrument temperature record. Prior to now, the record decade for Global Surface Temperature Anomalies, Global Lower Troposphere Temperature (TLT) Anomalies, and Global Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies had been the 1990s. Table 1 shows the average 1990s and 2000s (to date) temperature anomalies furnished by different suppliers, and the difference between the two decades. And with the end of this decade drawing near, one should expect to hear of this new record time and time again. There are those who will exploit this in the next few months and in the years to come. Those parties will, of course, blame anthropogenic greenhouse gases for the rise.

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Table 1

THOSE WHO TRUMPET THE ELEVATED TEMPERATURES WILL FAIL TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE NON-LINEAR RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE EL NINO-SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO) AND GLOBAL TEMPERATURES

There have been a number of recent research papers that have illustrated a linear relationship between El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and global temperature. These papers contradict what is clearly visible in the instrument temperature record, and that is, that the relationship between ENSO and global temperature is non-linear. In a comparison of global temperatures and natural variables, the researchers scale one of the ENSO indices, and after adjusting for other natural variables such as solar irradiance and volcanic aerosols, the researchers claim the difference between those natural variables and global temperatures must be caused by the increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gases. A simplified example of these comparisons is shown in Figure 1; it compares global SST anomalies and scaled NINO3.4 SST anomalies, one of the ENSO indices. It also shows their linear trends. I’ve excluded volcanic aerosol and solar adjustments to simplify the illustration. Note how the Global SST anomaly trend is increasing while the NINO3.4 SST anomaly trend is decreasing. As noted earlier, there are those who would like you to believe that the difference in those trends is caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

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Figure 1

MULTIYEAR AFTEREFFECTS OF ENSO ARE VISIBLE AS STEP CHANGES IN THE SST RECORDS

The first dataset to be discussed is the sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies of the East Indian and West Pacific Oceans. This dataset represents approximately 25% of the global ocean surface area between 60S and 65N. A sizeable area, as can be seen in Figure 2.

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Figure 2

Figure 2 also shows the location of the NINO3.4 region of the equatorial Pacific. Its coordinates are 5S-5N, 170W-120W. Climate change researchers use this and other similar datasets when studying the magnitudes of El Nino and La Nina events and how often those events occur. Meteorologists also monitor NINO3.4 SST anomalies and other ENSO indexes to help them forecast the impacts of the current event on regional climate, hurricanes, etc. The SST anomalies of the NINO3.4 area of the Pacific correlate well with global temperature measurements. That is, when the SST anomalies of the NINO3.4 area rise during an El Nino event, global SST anomalies, and global TLT anomalies, and global surface temperature anomalies typically rise by lesser amounts. Researchers assume this relationship is constant, that it is linear, but as will be shown in the following, it is not linear. The global response to La Nina events is not the same as it is to El Nino events. This will be clearer as the discussion progresses.

Keep in mind that it is not only the SST anomalies of the NINO3.4 that rise and fall during El Nino and La Nina events. As can be seen in the video “Visualizing El Nino” above, the SST anomalies entire tropical Pacific are impacted.

Of the 9 official El Nino events since November 1981 (the start year of the SST dataset used to illustrate the effect), only two of these specific major traditional El Nino events occurred, one in 1986/87/88 and the other in 1997/98. See Figure 3, which is a .gif animation of the time-series graph of NINO3.4 SST anomalies. The other significant traditional El Nino in 1982/83 was counteracted by the volcanic eruption of El Chichon.

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Figure 3

Links to the individual cells of Figure 3:

Link to Figure 3 Cell A:

http://i33.tinypic.com/9pw0no.png

Link to Figure 3 Cell B:

http://i36.tinypic.com/apigjq.png

Link to Figure 3 Cell C:

http://i35.tinypic.com/2yorexg.png

Something very curious happens in the East Indian and West Pacific area of the global oceans shown in Figure 2. The SST anomalies of the East Indian and West Pacific Oceans rise in steps in response to specific El Nino events. These particular El Nino events are major events that are traditional in nature, as opposed to El Nino Modoki (pseudo El Nino events), and they are also El Nino events that have not been impacted by explosive volcanic eruptions, such as El Chichon in 1982 and Mount Pinatubo in 1991.

Figure 4 is a .gif animation of two datasets presented in different ways. Cell A is a graph that compares the SST anomalies of the NINO3.4 region of the equatorial Pacific to the SST anomalies of the East Indian and West Pacific Oceans. The NINO3.4 SST anomalies have been scaled (multiplied by a factor of 0.2 in this case) so that the changes in them during the El Nino events of 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 are approximately the same magnitude as the responses in the East Indian and West Pacific Oceans. Note how the SST anomalies of the East Indian and West Pacific Oceans had little response to the 1982/83 El Nino. As discussed earlier, that El Nino was counteracted by the sunlight-blocking volcanic aerosols of the explosive eruption of El Chichon. Note also that there is a dip in the East Indian and West Pacific SST anomalies in 1991 and a rebound a few years later. That dip and rebound is caused by the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. In Cell B, linear trend lines have been added to the same datasets to show the relationship presented by researchers who assume the relationship between ENSO and global temperature is linear. The linear trends skew perspective and hide the actual cause of the rise in SST anomalies of the East Indian and West Pacific Oceans. In Cell C, I’ve included the average East Indian and West Pacific SST anomalies for the period before the 1986/76/88 El Nino, the period between the 1986/76/88 and 1997/98 El Nino events, and the period after the 1997/98 El Nino. These averages highlight the step changes that occurred in this portion of the global ocean. Again, these step changes are aftereffects of the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Nino events.

http://i37.tinypic.com/smrt44.gif

Figure 4

Links to the individual cells of Figure 4:

Link to Figure 4 Cell A:

http://i33.tinypic.com/2cparf4.png

Link to Figure 4 Cell B:

http://i38.tinypic.com/dz5go.png

Link to Figure 4 Cell C:

http://i33.tinypic.com/14wu8pk.png

As you will note, the multiyear aftereffects aren’t true step changes. The SST anomalies for the East Indian and West Pacific Oceans don’t remain at the new higher temperatures indefinitely. They do, however, remain at higher levels (failing to respond fully to the La Nina) until the next series of lesser El Nino events drive the temperatures back up again, helping to maintain the higher levels. (The effects are easier to describe as step changes, which is why I refer to them that way.)

It is important to notice that the response of the East Indian and West Pacific Oceans to 1998/99/00 La Nina was not the same as the response to the El Nino that came before it. The SST anomalies for this area of the global oceans rose as would be expected in response to the El Nino, but it did not respond fully to the La Nina phase. Global SST response to La Nina events is not always the same as it is to El Nino events. And this difference between how Global SST responds to El Nino and La Nina events causes Global SST to rise.

These step changes in the East Indian and West Pacific Ocean SST anomalies are important for a number of reasons. First, the oceans represent approximately 70% of the surface area of the globe, and SST anomalies are included in the calculation of global surface temperature by GISS, Hadley Centre, and NCDC. Refer again to Table 1. In fact, the NCDC’s Optimum Interpolation SST dataset (OI.V2) used in Figure 4 has been included by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in their GISTEMP product since 1982. Second, these step changes are not reproduced by climate models. They also are not acknowledged by the scientific community–if they were, the papers listed at the end of this post would not illustrate a linear relationship between ENSO and global temperature. I have searched but have been unable to find any scientific paper that discusses these step changes. Third, the step changes bias the global SST anomalies upward and give the impression of a gradual increase in SST anomalies. This can be seen in a comparison graph of the SST anomalies of the East Indian and West Pacific Oceans, the SST anomalies of the “Rest of the World” (East Pacific, Atlantic, and West Indian Oceans), and the combination of the two, Figure 5. The period since 1996 is unique in the last 40+ years. There haven’t been any major volcanic eruptions to add noise to the data. This is why the data in Figure 5 starts in 1996.

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Figure 5

Note how in Figure 5 the East Indian and West Pacific SST anomalies linger at the elevated levels while the SST anomalies for the “Rest of the World” are mimicking the variability of the NINO3.4 SST anomalies, shown in Figure 3. (That is, the SST anomalies for the “Rest of the World” are responding as researchers expect to both El Nino and La Nina events.) Over the next few years, ocean currents “mix” the elevated SST anomalies of the East Indian and West Pacific Oceans with the depressed SST anomalies of the “Rest of the World” oceans, dropping one and raising the other, until they intersect in 2003. This is more than 4 years after the end of the 1997/98 El Nino. Because the Global SST anomalies are a combination of the two, they are biased upward by the elevated East Indian-West Pacific SST anomalies and by the mixing with the waters of the “Rest of the World”. This gives the false impression of a gradual increase in global SST anomalies.

In other words, the effects of the major traditional El Nino events can linger for at least 4 years, causing gradual increases in global sea surface temperatures during that time. This gradual increase is incorrectly attributed to anthropogenic sources.

These effects are also discussed and illustrated in my video “The Lingering Effects of the 1997/98 El Nino”.

YouTube Link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uv4Xc4D0Dk

MULTIYEAR AFTEREFFECTS OF ENSO ARE ALSO VISIBLE AS STEP CHANGES IN THE TLT RECORDS

Since 1979, two groups have analyzed the satellite-based Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) radiometer data to determine atmospheric temperatures at different levels. These groups are Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). We’ll be using the data from RSS in this discussion. One dataset, the Lower Troposphere Temperature (TLT) anomalies, correlate well with the global surface temperature anomalies determined from direct land and sea surface temperature observations.

Lower Troposphere Temperature (TLT) anomalies also show upward step changes in response to the significant traditional 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Nino events. And similar to the discussion of sea surface temperatures above, only a portion of the global TLT anomalies show clear signs of these upward steps. In this case, it’s the latitude band of 20N to 82.5N or the Mid-To-High Latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Refer to Figure 6 for the area of the globe included within these latitudes. It represents in the neighborhood of 33% of the global surface area.

http://i34.tinypic.com/id7h4k.png

Figure 6

The graph in Figure 7 compares the NINO3.4 SST anomalies to the Lower Troposphere Temperature (TLT) anomalies of the Mid-To-High Latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. The scaled NINO3.4 SST anomalies are used again as a reference for the timing and magnitude of significant traditional El Nino events. As you can see, the TLT anomaly data for this area of the globe is noisy, but it is obvious that the TLT anomalies rose since 1979, a rise that is normally attributed to manmade greenhouse gases.

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Figure 7

A common technique used to reduce data noise is to smooth it by calculating the average of a number of months before and after a given month, and to calculate this average for each month for the entire length of the dataset. (The same technique was used in Figure 5.) The TLT anomaly data in Figure 8 has been smoothed with a 13-month running average filter. Note how, when compare to Figure 7, there is much less noise in the smoothed data. Figure 8 is another .gif animation. It illustrates the TLT anomaly data for the Mid-To-High Latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere and the scaled NINO3.4 SST anomalies from different points of view. Cell A illustrates the data without any comments. Depending on your perspective, you can see a gradual rise in the TLT anomaly dataset that’s disrupted by ENSO events and volcanic eruptions or you can see three periods of relatively flat TLT anomalies that are punctuated by ENSO and volcanic eruptions with two major step increases caused by the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Nino events. In Cell B, the impacts of the two major volcanic eruptions are noted. These are the 1982 eruption of EL Chichon and the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991. As with the SST data, the El Chichon eruption counteracted the impact of the 1982/83 El Nino. But the lesser El Nino in 1991/92 was no match for the Mount Pinatubo eruption, and TLT anomalies made a substantial drop. The TLT anomalies rebounded a few years later as the volcanic aerosols in the stratosphere dissipated. Cell C shows the positive linear trend of the TLT anomalies for the Mid-To-High Latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere and it shows the negative trend in the SST anomalies of the NINO3.4 region of the equatorial Pacific. The difference between the two, as discussed earlier, is attributed by researchers to anthropogenic greenhouse gases. However, the attribution is unfounded when the global data is broken down into smaller subsets. The heat released by significant El Nino events can and do cause step changes in the TLT anomalies of the Mid-To-High Latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. This is clearly visible when the average temperatures before and after those significant El Nino events are displayed on the graph, Cell D.

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Figure 8

Links to the individual cells of Figure 8:

Link to Figure 8 Cell A:

http://i37.tinypic.com/30rraky.png

Link to Figure 8 Cell B:

http://i37.tinypic.com/2yjocr9.png

Link to Figure 8 Cell C:

http://i38.tinypic.com/2jcdc13.png

Link to Figure 8 Cell D:

http://i37.tinypic.com/2ue1jz8.png

It is primarily those two shifts in the Mid-To-High Latitude TLT Anomalies of the Northern Hemisphere that cause the upward trend in Global TLT Anomalies.

DO ANTHROPOGENIC GREENHOUSE GASES FUEL EL NINO EVENTS?

The source of heat for El Nino events is the Tropical Pacific, and there is no evidence that greenhouse gases have a significant effect on the Ocean Heat Content (OHC) anomalies of the Tropical Pacific. Refer to Figure 9. It is also a .gif animation. Cell A shows the comparison graph of Tropical Pacific OHC, scaled NINO3.4 SST anomalies, and scaled Sato Index of Stratospheric Aerosol Optical Thickness. The Sato Index data is presented to illustrate the timing of explosive volcanic eruptions. Like the other comparisons in this post, the NINO3.4 SST anomalies are used to illustrate the timing and magnitude of El Nino and La Nina events. The OHC dataset was created by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC). It presents OHC to depths of 700 meters. This OHC data was introduced with the Levitus et al (2009) paper “Global Ocean Heat Content 1955-2008 in light of recently revealed instrumentation problems”. Cell B highlights the two decade-long declines in Tropical Pacific OHC. Cell C calls attention to the upward surges (steps) in Tropical Pacific OHC that occurred during the multiyear La Nina events that followed the 1972/73 and 1997/98 El Nino events. And Cell D highlights a curious rise in Tropical Pacific OHC that occurred in the few years leading up to the 1997/98 El Nino. I have searched for but have not found any scientific paper that discusses this sudden surge that fueled the 1997/98 El Nino.

http://i36.tinypic.com/dpzu6h.gif

Figure 9

Links to the individual cells of Figure 9:

Link to Figure 9 Cell A:

http://i33.tinypic.com/2gwys1t.png

Link to Figure 9 Cell B:

http://i37.tinypic.com/kamom.png

Link to Figure 9 Cell C:

http://i35.tinypic.com/w075g6.png

Link to Figure 9 Cell D:

http://i34.tinypic.com/10e28ic.png

An additional note about Figure 9: Note how the OHC dips during the El Nino events and rebounds during the La Nina events. The El Nino discharges heat from the Tropical Pacific, and the La Nina recharges the heat. This is accomplished by variations in total cloud amount. If the La Nina is not being impacted by volcanic aerosols and if the La Nina lasts for more than one year, ocean heat content rises above its previous level, creating the upward step.

The changes in Tropical Cloud Amount Percentage mimic NINO3.4 SST anomalies. Refer to Figure 10. That is, when NINO3.4 SST anomalies rise, Tropical Pacific Cloud Amount increases, and when NINO3.4 SST anomalies drop during the La Nina phase, Tropical Pacific Cloud Amount decreases. Less cloud cover means more downward shortwave radiation (visible sunlight) is able to warm the Tropical Pacific. In Cell C of Figure 10, the sudden drop in Tropical Pacific Cloud Amount in 1995 is highlighted. As noted above, it appears this decline in cloud amount fueled the 1997/98 El Nino.

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Figure 10

Links to the individual cells of Figure 10:

Link to Figure 10 Cell A:

http://i35.tinypic.com/4rxele.jpg

Link to Figure 10 Cell B:

http://i36.tinypic.com/2z4d6hc.jpg

Link to Figure 10 Cell C:

http://i36.tinypic.com/34obno7.jpg

NATURAL VARIATIONS IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC SST ALSO CONTRIBUTED TO THE DIFFERENCE IN GLOBAL TEMPERATURE BETWEEN THE 1990s AND THE 2000s

The SST anomalies of the North Atlantic Ocean are also impacted by another natural variable, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation or AMO. The AMO is a semi-periodic variation (50 to 80 years) in the SST anomalies of the North Atlantic that has its basis in Thermohaline Circulation (THC) or Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). These variations are visible in the reconstruction of North Atlantic SST from 1567 to 1990, Figure 11. This dataset was created by Gray et al (2004) “Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) Index Reconstruction”. (IGBP PAGES/World Data Center for Paleoclimatology Data Contribution Series #2004-062. NOAA/NGDC Paleoclimatology Program, Boulder CO, USA.)

http://i36.tinypic.com/wld5kl.jpg

Figure 11

For the period of the instrument temperature record, the AMO is presented as detrended North Atlantic SST anomalies. Refer to Figure 12, which is also a .gif animation. Cell A of Figure 12 illustrates the AMO data calculated by the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) from January 1956 to March 2009. The data has been smoothed with a 37-month filter to remove the noise. Cell B notes that the AMO is a naturally occurring variation in the SST anomalies of the North Atlantic. And Cell C illustrates the average AMO SST values for the 1990s and the 2000s. The difference between these two averages represents the contribution of the AMO to the rise in North Atlantic SST Anomalies from the 1990s to the 2000s. Keep in mind that, while the North Atlantic covers only a surface area that is approximately 15% of the global oceans, the AMO is also known to also impact the surface temperatures of Europe and North America and the SST of the Eastern Tropical Pacific.

http://i38.tinypic.com/oj4bqg.gif

Figure 12

Links to the individual cells of Figure 12:

Link to Figure 12 Cell A:

http://i37.tinypic.com/mwqeqh.jpg

Link to Figure 12 Cell B:

http://i34.tinypic.com/kaqtjq.jpg

Link to Figure 12 Cell C:

http://i35.tinypic.com/2gtddn7.jpg

CLOSING

There is little doubt that the decade of the 2000s will have higher land surface, sea surface, and lower troposphere temperature anomalies than the 1990s. There will be those who will wrongly attribute the rise from decade to decade to anthropogenic greenhouse gases, when it is very apparent that the actual cause is the lingering effects of the 1997/98 El Nino event. Attempts will be made to contradict the obvious by those who fail to acknowledge or comprehend the multiyear aftereffects of significant traditional El Nino events. They will present numerous unfounded arguments. Here are a few that have been tried.

Argument 1: The short-term global warming of El Nino events are countered by the short-term global cooling of the La Nina events that follow them.

What The Instrument Temperature Record Shows: That’s true for only parts of the globe and for some El Nino events. It is not true, however, for the SST anomalies of the East Indian and West Pacific Oceans and for the TLT anomalies of the Mid-To-High Latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Refer to Figures 4 and 8. The effects of the 1986/87/88 and the 1997/98 El Nino lingered through the La Nina events that followed them in those datasets. This created the appearance of gradual rises in global SST and TLT anomalies.

Argument 2: Global warming caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gases is responsible for the increase in the number of major El Nino events since 1975. (This argument is normally made by someone referring to an ENSO Index that starts in 1950.)

What The Instrument Temperature Record Shows: There are multidecadal variations in the frequency and magnitude of ENSO events. This can be seen by smoothing the NINO3.4 SST anomalies from 1870 to 2009 with a 121-month filter. Refer to Figure 13. During epochs when the frequency and magnitude of El Nino events outweigh the frequency and magnitude of La Nina events, global temperatures rise. And during epochs when the frequency and magnitude of La Nina events outweigh the frequency and magnitude of El Nino events, global temperatures drop.

http://i43.tinypic.com/33agh3c.jpg

Figure 13

Argument 3: El Nino events don’t create heat.

What The Instrument Temperature Record Shows: During El Nino events, warm water that had been stored below the surface of the western tropical Pacific (in the Pacific Warm Pool) sloshes to the east and rises to the surface. Tropical Pacific SST anomalies increase in response. In this way, more heat than normal is released from the tropical Pacific to the atmosphere. But El Nino events not only release heat into the atmosphere, they also shift atmospheric circulation patterns (Hadley and Walker Circulation, surface winds, cloud cover). These shifts in the circulation patterns and cloud cover cause surface temperatures and OHC outside of the tropical Pacific to rise.

It is important to note that the vast majority of the warm water that sloshes east during the El Nino had been stored below the surface before the El Nino. While below the surface (to depths of 300 meters) it was not included in the instrument temperature record. But during the El Nino, that warm water has been relocated to the surface and is included in the surface temperature record. So, El Nino events relocate warm water from an area that was not included in the calculation of global temperature to the surface where it is included.

Argument 4: Climate models used by the IPCC reproduce these El Nino-induced step changes.

What The Climate Models Show: Most of the climate models (GCMs) used by the IPCC in AR4 for hindcasting 20th Century climate do not bother to model ENSO. Those that make the effort do not model it well. The frequency, magnitudes, linear trends, and multiyear aftereffects of those models do not match the surface temperature record. The step changes that exist in the instrument temperature record, which are the bases for the much of the rises in global temperatures, do not exist in the model outputs of the 20th century.

If and when GCMs can reproduce the past frequency and magnitude of ENSO events, if and when GCMs can reproduce the multiyear aftereffects of ENSO events, which are these El Nino-induced step changes (including the ones that also appear in the OHC records), then GCMs may have some predictive value. At present they cannot reproduce ENSO or its multiyear aftereffects. At present they have no value.

This failure of GCMs to properly account for the multiyear impacts of major El Nino events (and other natural variables such as the North Atlantic Oscillation) can be seen in a graph of the actual rise in global OHC versus the projected rise forecast by GISS, Figure 14. The GCM used by GISS based its projection on the rise in Ocean Heat Content during the 1990s, assuming the trend would continue at that pace. But during the 1990s, the vast majority of the rise in OHC was caused by the combined effects of ENSO and the North Atlantic Oscillation, and these are natural variables that the GISS GCM did not model. Since 2003, Global Ocean Heat Content has been relatively flat, while the GISS projection reaches to unrealized levels.

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Figure 14

LINKS TO MORE DETAILED DISCUSSIONS

The upward step changes in the SST anomalies of the East Indian and West Pacific Oceans were discussed in the following posts:

1.Can El Nino Events Explain All of the Global Warming Since 1976? – Part 1

2.Can El Nino Events Explain All of the Global Warming Since 1976? – Part 2

And I discussed the step changes in the Mid-To-High Latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere in the post RSS MSU TLT Time-Latitude Plots…Show Climate Responses That Cannot Be Easily Illustrated With Time-Series Graphs Alone.

The erroneous assumption that the relationship between ENSO and global temperatures is linear was discussed in the following posts:

1.Multiple Wrongs Don’t Make A Right, Especially When It Comes To Determining The Impacts Of ENSO

2.Regression Analyses Do Not Capture The Multiyear Aftereffects Of Significant El Nino Events

3.The Relationship Between ENSO And Global Surface Temperature Is Not Linear

This link discusses and illustrates that El Nino Events Are Not Getting Stronger.

The impacts of natural variables (ENSO and NAO) on Ocean Heat Content were discussed in the following posts:

1.ENSO Dominates NODC Ocean Heat Content (0-700 Meters) Data

2.North Atlantic Ocean Heat Content (0-700 Meters) Is Governed By Natural Variables

3.NODC Corrections to Ocean Heat Content (0-700m) Part 2

Refer also to La Nina Events Are Not The Opposite Of El Nino Events.

The curious drop in cloud amount in 1995 and its possible impact on the 1997/98 El Nino is discussed further in Did A Decrease In Total Cloud Amount Fuel The 1997/98 El Nino?

LINK TO LEVITUS ET AL (2009)

I referred to the Levitus et al (2009) paper “Global Ocean Heat Content 1955-2008 in light of recently revealed instrumentation problems”. Here’s a link to the paper:

ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/PUBLICATIONS/grlheat08.pdf

PAPERS THAT PORTRAY A LINEAR RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ENSO AND GLOBAL TEMPERATURES

In a good portion of this post, I’ve illustrated that the relationship between ENSO and global temperatures is not linear. The following is a list of papers that portray a linear relationship even though the instrument temperature record indicates otherwise. There are likely more of them in existence, and there will likely be more of them in the future.

Lean and Rind (2008), How Natural and Anthropogenic Influences Alter Global and Regional Surface Temperatures: 1889 to 2006

http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2008/2008_Lean_Rind.pdf

Lean and Rind (2009), How Will Earth’s Surface Temperature Change in Future Decades? http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2009/2009_Lean_Rind.pdfSanter, B.D., Wigley, T.M.L., Doutriaux, C., Boyle, J.S., Hansen, J.E., Jones, P.D., Meehl, G.A., Roeckner, E., Sengupta, S., and Taylor K.E. (2001), Accounting for the effects of volcanoes and ENSO in comparisons of modeled and observed temperature trends

http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2001/2001_Santer_etal.pdfThompson, D. W. J., J. J. Kennedy, J. M. Wallace, and P. D. Jones (2008), A large discontinuity in the mid-twentieth century in observed global-mean surface temperature

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v453/n7195/abs/nature06982.html

Thompson et al (2009), Identifying signatures of natural climate variability in time series of global-mean surface temperature: Methodology and Insights

http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2F2009JCLI3089.1

Preprint Version:http://www.atmos.colostate.edu/ao/ThompsonPapers/TWJK_JClimate2009_revised.pdf

Trenberth, K.E., J.M.Caron, D.P.Stepaniak, and S.Worley, (2002), Evolution of El Nino-Southern Oscillation and global atmospheric surface temperatures

http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/papers/2000JD000298.pdfWigley, T. M. L. (2000), ENSO, volcanoes, and record-breaking temperatures

http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2000/2000GL012159.shtml

SOURCES

OI.v2 SST data is available through the NOAA NOMADS website:

http://nomad3.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh?lite=

Sato Index data is available from GISS:http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/strataer/tau_line.txt

The AMO data is available through the NOAA ESRL website:

http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/data/correlation/amon.us.long.data

The RSS TLT data is available here:http://www.remss.com/data/msu/monthly_time_series/RSS_Monthly_MSU_AMSU_Channel_TLT_Anomalies_Land_and_Ocean_v03_2.txt

HADISST data (Used in Figure 13) NODC OHC data and ISCCP Total Cloud Amount data is available through the KNMI Climate Explorer website:

http://climexp.knmi.nl/selectfield_obs.cgi?someone@somewhere

The data for the North Atlantic SST Reconstruction is available through the NCDC’s World Data Center for Paleoclimatology:

ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/treering/reconstructions/amo-gray2004.txt

For those who want to verify the outputs of the GCMs used by the IPCC, refer to the KNMI Climate Explorer webpage here:

http://climexp.knmi.nl/selectfield_co2.cgi?someone@somewhere

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Douglas DC

Thanks, Bob, very prescient, got a question-is it me or is Nino fading a bit?…

Thank you, Bob Tisdale, for keeping the spotlight of truth focused on the pseudo-science of global climate warming.
Decades of scientific distortions and data manipulation lie beneath the tip of the climategate iceberg!
Keep up the good work,
Oliver K. Manuel

Ron de Haan

A really great job. Thanks

Chuck near Houston

Just a point order and Web Site editing but did ya’ll mean for the entire article to be posted without a jump? – Chuck, still near Houston

Kevin Kilty

Bob,
I generally like your analyses regarding this connection between El Nino and northern hemisphere temperatures. I’d suggested to you at one time that the sensible temperature is one contribution that El nino makes, but it also humidifies the troposhere and perhaps there is an enhanced “greenhouse effect” also.
One question, though, one of your plots shows data smoothed with a 37 month filter, but the plot goes right up to 2009. Is this an error or is the filter one-sided? If one-sided, then there is a phase issue. Ordinarily people use the filter two-sided to avoid the phase problem, in which case you cannot plot any closer to the current value than 19 months back (in the case of a 37 month filter).

Douglas DC: You asked, “…is it me or is Nino fading a bit?”
NINO3.4 SST anomalies have dropped the last few weeks.
http://i48.tinypic.com/5d2xzr.jpg

Chuck near Houston

And by “jump”, I meant an href with a “Read the rest of this entry” rather than posting the entire article on the main page. Not complaining mind you, just thought I should point it out. later.

John Galt

1) It does not take a Carnac the Magnificent to make a prediction about GISS attempting to exploit a dubious climate claim. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnac_the_Magnificent)
2) The current decade began at 12:00:00 AM on January 1, 2001. The next decade begins on at 12:00:00 AM on January 1, 2011.
3) If NASA doesn’t know when decades begin and end, can we really believe anything they claim?

The ghost of Big Jim Cooley

John Galt, with regard to decades, you are a man after my own heart. Couldn’t believe it when billions of people celebrated the Millenium a year early! Still can’t get my head around the fact that people can’t see it.

Gary Pearse

The Australian “Skeptical Science” (an AGW site) cites an analysis of surfacestations. org finding that the poorly located sites had a cooling bias. WUWT. Do you think that NASA corrected for the cooling bias of the badly located stations?:
http://www.skepticalscience.com/On-the-reliability-of-the-US-Surface-Temperature-Record.html

AJ

Hey Bob,
Any comment on this:
How to eliminate ENSO from global temperatures
By Luboš Motl
http://motls.blogspot.com/2009/12/how-to-eliminate-enso-from-global.html
Thanks, AJ

Hank Hancock

OT: Sorry, the Tips and Notes section doesn’t appear to be working.
John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel to sue Al Gore and cohorts for global warming fraud.
Story here:
http://www2.hernandotoday.com/content/2010/jan/22/global-warming-fraud/news/
Moderator, you can delete this if you want.

Bob:
You are so on top of things.
Could you take a couple minutes to check out some S.D.’s for the temperature measurements, year to year, month to month, decade to decade?
I’m continuously LIVID about the various LINEAR CURVE FITS through data which has S.D. (Standard Deviations) large enough to indicate THE CHANGES ARE NOT SIGNIFICANT OVER THE NOISE OF THE DATA.
Basic science here. I’m sure you understand it. Running averages, yes. Oscillations, yes. Linear trends? I don’t think so.
Max

Kevin Kilty: “One question, though, one of your plots shows data smoothed with a 37 month filter, but the plot goes right up to 2009.”
Kevin, the hashmarks in Figure 12 are in four-year increments, so the data ends in 2008.

KPO

Sorry very OT, but possibly some might find it intriguing. Pics of Frozen Niagara Falls circa 1911 here: http://www.snopes.com/photos/natural/niagarafalls.asp

AJ: Thanks for the link to Luboš Motl post on ENSO. No comment off the get-go. I will have to study it.
Thanks again.

adrian smits

Sorry folks a decade does not represent climate change.Based on all these long and shorter term ocean cycles I would guess even 30 years would not give a good idea of whats happening with climate.The very minimum because of the up and down phase of the PDO is probably 60 or 70 years. Now if we do that the warmest unajusted year in the 20th century pops up in the dirty thirties. They where called that because it was so hot and dry and dusty. Compare the 30s to the 2000s and you will probably see warming that is so minor it is of no consequence.

Steve Goddard

Hansen expected the decade to be the warmest and he was apparently correct. However, land temperatures seem to have cooled dramatically in recent years at many locations.
What will be interesting is what happens moving forward.

Bridget H-S

http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/science_technology/s_t_cru_inquiry.cfm
Inquiry into CRU – check it out and submit your questions. I think it needs some well thought out questions to try to elicit the true facts behind the science.
These are the questions posed:
-What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?
—Are the terms of reference and scope of the Independent Review announced on 3 December 2009 by UEA adequate (see below)?
—How independent are the other two international data sets?
The Committee intends to hold an oral evidence session in March 2010.

Thanks for the thorough analysis, Bob.
Speaking about the record warmth during the past decade, one thing that astonishes me is that respectable institutions (NASA, Hadley,…) try to portray this fact as a demonstration that the world keeps warming (as predicted). Well, no. Temperature could have actually fallen during the past decade and still the average temperature of the decade would be the highest on record. Is this so difficult to get?
Let´s assume that I´m trekking in the mountains. During the first hour of my trek I climb a steep slope from 3000 ft of elevation to 5000 ft. Then, during the secong hour I walk across a flat plateau at 5000 feet. The average elevation I´ve been trekking at during the second hour has certainly been higher than during the first hour but I didn´t ascend at all during that time.
Does the record average temperature during the past decade tell us anything about the warming of the world? No. All it says is that temperatures have not fallen below the average of the ´90s. But all records except for GISTEMP show a zero trend so, for the time being, warming has stopped.

Henry chance

Fantastic.
On November 24, Joe Romm posted November 2009 was the warmest November ever. Dishonest people make claims before gathering data. He included warmest year ever in his clai,
If you know what it will be, you can make those claims if you can have James Hansen et al tweak the data to fit the prediction.

PhilW
Younus

Bob Tisdale (09:33:13) :
Kevin, the hashmarks in Figure 12 are in four-year increments, so the data ends in 2008.
You have a type in the text saying that the data starts in 1956, you mean 1856.

John Finn

The ghost of Big Jim Cooley (09:10:24) :
John Galt, with regard to decades, you are a man after my own heart. Couldn’t believe it when billions of people celebrated the Millenium a year early! Still can’t get my head around the fact that people can’t see it.

You were correct about the millenium because there wasn’t a year ZERO. However a decade is simply a period of 10 consecutive years, e.g. the 1980s (1980-1989).

Chris H

I wish Bob Tisdale could give a short explanation of his theory (one page max), because most people aren’t going to bother reading such a long discussion (in the detail required to follow what is said).
A short explanation would also help people understand the longer explanation, since they would know roughly where it was heading, and be able to pick-out the important points.

Leif Svalgaard (11:14:02): Thanks for finding the typo, Leif. I corrected it in the original at my site.

Richard deSousa

NASA has a rebuttal to the surfacestations.org findings…
http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ushcn/v2/monthly/menne-etal2010.pdf

Chris H (12:58:29) : You wrote, “I wish Bob Tisdale could give a short explanation of his theory (one page max), because most people aren’t going to bother reading such a long discussion (in the detail required to follow what is said).”
I’ll write a summation and post it on my blog within the week. One page max?
BTW, I’m not sure that I’d call it a theory. I’m discussing what the instrument temperature record shows if you break it down into the right subsets.
Regards

Barry R.

I noticed something: If I’m reading the charts correctly, two out of the three largest El Nino events of the last thirty years have been counteracted by very large tropical volcanoes. If that is true, then is it possible that the volcanoes triggered a building El Nino sooner than it would have otherwise occurred?
Here’s the logic: To drastically oversimplify, the La Nina/El Nino cycle is sort of like a battery. During the La Nina part of the cycle, heat is building up in the deep tropical ocean. At some point the heat differential between that heat reservoir and surrounding areas gets high enough that the hot water breeches the barriers that have kept it sequestered and spreads the built-up heat over much of the rest of the planet. A large enough tropical volcano (Pinatubo, etc) spews out sulfur dioxide, which cools the surrounding ocean and presumably makes the differential greater, triggering the El Nino. Does that make sense?
If this is all true, and I have to admit that I’m speculating here, (a) A volcano that occurred close to when an El Nino was going to happen would have less impact on short-term air and water temperatures than one that happened shortly after the end of an El Nino, when the built-up heat has dissipated and the ‘battery’ hasn’t had time to ‘recharge’. (b) Very large tropical volcanoes could have a larger longer term temperature impact than is at first apparent. If they turn what would have been an El Nino in a couple of years into a temperature negative event, then not only are the two or three years where the sulfur dioxide lingers in the stratosphere colder, but a larger El Nino that would have happened within the next two or three years doesn’t happen, and its heat isn’t transported out to the places where it would have ordinarily have gone. If that’s the case, it’s possible that volcanoes prevented very warm years comparable to 1998 in the early 1980s and in the early 1990s (c) If two tropical strato-volcanoes happened within four or five years of one another, the second one should have a larger than normal impact, because there wouldn’t be an El Nino to partially offset it.
If all of this is true, and I’ll admit that it’s pure speculation, then you could see a stratovolcano eruption reducing temperatures below what they would have been for much longer than the two to three years that people normally assume.
By the way, as near as I can figure, there have been 19 tropical volcanoes potentially large enough to have a noticeable world-wide temperature impact in the 193 years since Tambora gave us the “Year Without a Summer”. That’s an average of one every 19.3 years. It’s been roughly 19 years since Pinatubo, but there really isn’t much of a pattern in the spacing. There have been gaps of as many as 48 years and as few as 3 years. We’re currently in the fourth longest gap between big tropical volcanoes in the last 200 years.
Another BTW: If you start looking for it, you’ll notice that charts showing the extent of global warming almost always start in the 1880s, just in time for Krakatoa to drop the initial average and make the slope steeper. One wonders: why not start in the 1890s when the volcano cooling wouldn’t bias the trend line upward and thermometers really were approaching world-wide distribution.

Great article, explains a lot. But I still have a question about the physics. At the end of the day, we are trying to use temperature data as a proxy for the energy being retained by the earth. I think knowing how all the processes move energy around and how to interpret the results is hugely important. But it doesn’t actually answer the question as to how much energy the planet is gaining, or what changes are contributing how much. And that is where I just don’t understand how the laws of physics are compatible with warming theories.
If you model the earth as an ideal Black Body (its not, but stick with it for now) the amount of energy it would radiate back to space would vary with the absolute temperature raised to the power of 4. A decent article on Black Body calculations is here http://www.egglescliffe.org.uk/physics/astronomy/blackbody/bbody.html
So even a small increase in temperature would have an out of proportion increase in the amount of energy being radiated back. At say 300 K (27 C) and increase of just 1 degree would result in an increase in radiance of 6.0 watts/m2. Compare that to the theoretical musings of the IPCC which suggest current CO2 levels are adding 1.4 watts. The increase in cold areas like the arctic would be even bigger. And temps have gone up more in the arctic than the global average, making it an even bigger delta.
With earth radiance increasing dependant on temperature raised to the power of 4, how could forcing from CO2 keep up except for a very very small increase in global energy balance?

Sharon

Read and learn, Chris H! I have a very rudimentary grasp of statistics, but I was able to follow this article well enough. The animated graphs are especially nice. Thank you, Bob, Anthony, and the other authors here at WUWT too, for the wonderful balance of technical detail and clarity of expression in these posts.
And oh yes, how well I remember the 97/98 El Nino. I believe it was December 1997 or 98 when the snapdragons in my garden bloomed until just before Christmas. In upstate New York. I think I took a picture.

MrLynn

I’m a little confused. On the one hand, Bob Tisdale agrees with the ‘official’ agencies that “There is little doubt that the decade of the 2000s will have higher land surface, sea surface, and lower troposphere temperature anomalies than the 1990s.”
On the other hand, we hear that the infection of Climategate and ersatz warming has spread to the USA, GISS, NASA, etc., e.g. here: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/climategate_cru_was_but_the_ti.html
and many times on WUWT. So if the temperature data are not to be trusted, and there may not be any warming at all, what is it that Bob Tisdale is trying to explain?
No doubt I am missing something obvious—explication welcome.
/Mr Lynn

u.k.(us)

wow.
an “excellent analysis” it is.
it’s now in my archive, along with the great links he supplied.
should be re-posted every few months for newcomers, like me.
thanks.

Paul K2

Bob Tisdale, I don’t find your analysis compelling. I understand the ENSO cycle influences global temperatures, tending to increase temperatures during El Nino and decreasing during La Nina. But we also know volcanoes influence temperatures, and lets not forget the solar cycle. A proper analysis would examine the impact of all three influences on global temperatures. If we knew the exact influence of each, we could adjust the measured temperatures for these known impacts, and could see if there is an underlying trend.
Apparently several investigators have done just that. A good read for the layman would be Tamino’s post name “Exogenous Factors” that backed out volcanoes and ENSO variations. Todd Friesen commented on that post, showing analysis that backed out all three influences. His analysis resulted in this graph:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_PwOeFv7HIQE/S0ARx7eWURI/AAAAAAAAABc/URfsFDgfAIQ/s1600-h/GISS+Adjusted+(1975-2009).JPG
His comment on what to expect for 2010 is interesting. This year the full ENSO impact will be felt, even as we are still near the minimum for the solar cycle. Putting in the expected AGW impact, Friesen comments:
“Given no model bias, the chance of 2010 not breaking a new record is quite slim. A single-tail probability of less than -1.2 s.d. would be required (< 10%). The current El Nino (assuming it pans out for a few more months as per NOAA's predictions) is plenty strong enough to overcome any decline in solar irradiance relative to 2005."
Comments?

Paul K2

The impact of ENSO on the UAH temperature record (from satellite observations) is also interesting. The UAH record appears particularly sensitive to ENSO. To illustrate this, most of the respective monthly records for the UAH record were set in 1998 and 2005, the two El Nino years.
I am interested in the projection that the January ‘10 UAH anomaly should set a new record high for that month (Lubos Motl). I checked the UAH data, and Jan 2010 will likely be the highest Jan anomaly in the data, beating 0.59 in Jan 07 and 0.58 in Jan 98.
In addition, the UAH anomaly hit 0.50 last November, the highest Nov anomaly in the records. The runner-up was Nov ‘05 with 0.40 and only two other Nov anomalies exceeded 0.30.
And the September UAH anomaly hit 0.42, the second highest for that month. The record was Sep ‘98 with 0.43, and only other September reading to exceed 0.30 was Sep ‘05 with 0.35.
And the July UAH anomaly was also 0.42, the second highest in the record. The record was Jul ‘98 with 0.52, with the third place going to Jul ‘05 with 0.33. Only one other July exceeded 0.30.
Notice that the other years were El Nino peak years following the January El Nino, and 2010 will be the El Nino peak year, following this January El Nino peak. This will likely mean that the UAH record is about to show four of the last seven months as some of the hottest respective months in the database. If the El NIno effect lingers through June as expected, then it is possible that the UAH running 12 month mean could approach or exceed the record this year.
Do you expect the UAH record to set the highest 12 month global temperature this year? And this will happen even during a low solar period?
This year apparently is going to smash a lot of unproven hypotheses.

Richard

Someone correct me if I am wrong (thoughts gathered from a 2 minute perusal of the post):
1. A linear trend line fitted on the the temperature records is meaningless / wrong.
2. Adjusting for El Nino the temperatures show step changes including the lingering effect of the 1997-98 El Nino, making this last decade the warmest in the temperature records
3. There is no evidence that anthropogenic greenhouse gases are the cause of this last decade being the warmest.
Everything else points to a gradual lowering of the temperatures over the coming decades? (not in the post – but my guessing)
(Just returned from a great holiday on the Gold Coast, Surfers paradise – where I heard on TV the Crudd mention something about some legislation that might appease the Greens and may even appease – name forgotten- who has the extreme position of denying “climate change”. How the hell can any legislation appease anyone who thinks that man and his laws have nothing to do with the climate? The only thing that would appease me would be if Crudd and Key were locked up in a loony bin and the keys thrown away)

Paul K2: You wrote, “Bob Tisdale, I don’t find your analysis compelling.”
Then you have failed to read the accompanying posts or have misinterpreted what was written.
You wrote, “A proper analysis would examine the impact of all three influences on global temperatures,” referring to ENSO, volcanoes and solar. Then you linked a post by Todd Friesen.
This post had nothing to do with solar or with volcanic aerosols. What this post does show, though, is that the methods used to remove ENSO from the instrument temperature record fail to capture the ENSO residuals, the lingering multiyear aftereffects of El Nino events. That’s one of the early discussions. It begins with:
There have been a number of recent research papers that have illustrated a linear relationship between El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and global temperature. These papers contradict what is clearly visible in the instrument temperature record, and that is, that the relationship between ENSO and global temperature is non-linear…
The methods employed by Tamino and Todd Friesen assume a linear relationship between ENSO and global temperature and the relationship is not linear. I’m not sure how I could have been clearer on this point.
You asked in a later comment, “Do you expect the UAH record to set the highest 12 month global temperature this year?”
I don’t make predictions, especially when UAH has not yet explained if the anomalously high January 2010 Channel 5 readings are the result of the drift, or some other sensor problem.
Regards

MrLynn: You wrote, “On the other hand, we hear that the infection of Climategate and ersatz warming has spread to the USA, GISS, NASA, etc., e.g. here.”
The post you linked was about land surface temperatures and the tinkering with that data. This post does not discuss land surface temperature data, other then the initial reference. It deals with satellite-based sea surface and lower troposphere temperature anomalies.
You asked, “So if the temperature data are not to be trusted, and there may not be any warming at all, what is it that Bob Tisdale is trying to explain?”
That the rises in Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies and Lower Troposphere Temperature (TLT) anomalies are caused by the multiyear aftereffects of El Nino/La Nina events.
Regards

Gail Combs

Thanks Bob, I think you are on the right track.
Younus (11:02:30) :
Look what’s going to happen:….
http://www.appinsys.com/globalwarming/rs_alaska.htm
Reply:
Did you notice this graph of historic temperatures seems to show (by eye ball) a sinusoidal curve of approximately 60 years?

Ian Cooper

John Finn (12:37:55) :
The ghost of Big Jim Cooley (09:10:24) :
You were correct about the millenium because there wasn’t a year ZERO. However a decade is simply a period of 10 consecutive years, e.g. the 1980s (1980-1989).
John,
your first line is correct but your point also applies to decades as well. Starting with the first decade of this era, the original ‘Noughties,’ that first decade ended at midnight of Dec 31st 10 A.D. Every other decade since follows suit, i.e. ending with a year that finishes with zero and not 9.
It may seem counterintuitive but 1980 was not part of the decade we call , ‘the Eighties.’ 1980 was the last year of the 1970’s, just as 2000 was the last year of the 1990’s, the 20th Century, and the second millenium. You can’t have it both ways.
For some reason life just wasn’t meant to be simple, especially when it comes to our calendar!

Ian Cooper

Back on topic,
I will have to read through this again but it will put a different perspective on my collection of meta-data regarding the years after significant El Nino events. Much to ponder on.

Ninderthana

Bob,
Correct me if I am wrong, but I think that you have shown that when the PDO is postive, the frequency of El Nino events exceeds the frequency of La nina events, and so the World’s temperatures increase. Similarly, when the PDO is negative, the frequency of La Nina events exceed those of the El Nino events, leading to decreasing World temperatures.
I have pointed out to you that the work of Gergis et al (2006) clearly shows that the intensity of El Nino events progressively (over time) get stronger, while the PDO is in its postive phase, and then progressively (over time)get weaker, while the PDO is in its negative phase.
To me this is proof that the PDO phase (positive or negative) is describing a phenomenon that is responsible for the relative frequency of El Nino and La Nina events as well as the intensity of El Nino events. This does not support the model that each of the two very distinct PDO phases are just the integral sum of the shorter term effects of the El Nino/La Nina phenomenon.
(Note: The Line-of-Nodes join the points in the Lunar orbit where the
tilted lunar orbit crosses the Earth-Sun plane (ecliptic). When the
Line-of-Nodes points at the Sun, eclipses of the Moon occur at
the New and Full phases i.e. syzygy where the Earth, Moon and Sun
line up).
(Note: The Line-of-Apse (or Apsides) join the points in the Lunar orbit
where the Moon is at perigee (closest to the Earth) and apogee
(furthest).)
I would like to propose that the two main natural cycles that are seen in the PDO i.e. the bi-decadal oscillation (~ 20 years) and the hexa-decadal oscillation (~ 60 years) are just manifestations of two long-term lunar cycles that are evident in the extreme solar/lunar tides that effect (up welling of cool deep ocean water) the Earth’s oceans:
a) The 19 year Nodal/Perihelion Cycle.
This cycle represents a natural cycle in the strength of exetreme
lunar/solar tides. If the Line-of-Nodes of the Lunar orbit points
at the Sun at the time of Perihelion (when the Sun is closest to
the Earth), then it takes almost 19 Julian (calender) years for it
to return to the same configuration. The years where there are
peaks in the extreme tides (e.g. 2010 & 2011) are marked by
the occurance of solar/lunar eclispse in the December/January.
b) The 62 year Apside/Nodal/ Perihelion Cycle
This cycle also represents a natural cycle in the strength of exetreme
lunar/solar tides. If we take a time where both the Line-of-Nodes
and Line-of-Apsides of the Lunar orbit points at the Sun, at the time
of Perihelion, then it takes almost 62 Julian (calender) years for it
to return to the same configuration. The years where there are
peaks in these type of extreme tides are marked by the occurance
of solar (usually anular eclipses)/lunar eclispse that occur at lunar
perigee in the December/January.
I believe that ENSO (La Nina/El Nino) phenomenon are natural internal oscillations within the Earth/Ocean/Atmosphere system that are synchronized with/by the shorter (2.1, 2.4, 3.6, 4.8, and 6.2 year) cycles
of the extreme lunar tides (i.e in the form of the extreme proxigean
spring tides). Hence, I beleive that the PDO is linked with the ENSO
but only because the PDO represents the (possibly different) response of the Earth’s climate system to the longer term (19 and 62 year) cycles in the extreme lunar tides.

Ninderthana

Bob,
Please don’t get me wrong. I do not mean the above post as a crticism, just an expression of my (& other’s) ideas.
I think what you have talked about in this post, and the work that you have done over the past few years is absolutely brilliant! You have helped to lay the foundation of a better understanding of the factors which drive the World’s mean temperatures.

Ninderthana: You wrote, “Correct me if I am wrong, but I think that you have shown that when the PDO is postive, the frequency of El Nino events exceeds the frequency of La nina events, and so the World’s temperatures increase. Similarly, when the PDO is negative, the frequency of La Nina events exceed those of the El Nino events, leading to decreasing World temperatures.”
Actually, I have shown that the PDO is an aftereffect of ENSO. Refer to:
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/04/misunderstandings-about-pdo-revised.html
And:
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/05/revisiting-misunderstandings-about-pdo.html

Baa Humbug

Chris H (12:58:29) :
My simple understanding is as follows…
There are some very powerful ocean circulations which store and circulate vast amounts of energy. This energy effects the globes temps. as can be demonstrated by the data available.

Paul K2

Bob Tisdale… excuse my mis-understanding your post, but I came to the same conclusions that Richard stated:
1. A linear trend line fitted on the the temperature records is meaningless / wrong.
2. Adjusting for El Nino the temperatures show step changes including the lingering effect of the 1997-98 El Nino, making this last decade the warmest in the temperature records
3. There is no evidence that anthropogenic greenhouse gases are the cause of this last decade being the warmest.
The problems is that the first point isn’t substantiated in the post. In your graph (version C) above you make the statement that the linear trend is misleading. But you overlay a linear fit on top of temperature data NOT corrected for the three main drivers of global temperatures that we know about; ENSO, volcanoes, and solar cycle. I linked to an analysis by Friesen that adjusted for these three drivers that shows a pretty good linear fit, with an upward trend in temperatures. Tamino independently reached the same conclusion, as well as several published papers showing the ENSO impact on global temperatures.
For readers of this thread, check out this graph and you can clearly see that statistically adjusting for ENSO, volcanoes, and solar cycle on annual average global temperatures shows a clearly recognizable trend.
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_PwOeFv7HIQE/S0ARx7eWURI/AAAAAAAAABc/URfsFDgfAIQ/s1600-h/GISS+Adjusted+(1975-2009).JPG
(Readers can find this discussion in the post “Exogenous Factors” at Tamino’s site.)
So the first point above is clearly falsified. Regarding the third point, the absence of any AGW induced warming trend, Friesen put an AGW warming trend into his analysis, and produced this graph from this relatively simple model:
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_PwOeFv7HIQE/SxYFkUJh1zI/AAAAAAAAAA8/pTF7BFWo5z0/s1600-h/Actual+vs+Model+(smoothed).JPG
This model seems to mimic the recent variations in global temperatures pretty well, considering natural climate variation. The big rises in El Nino years followed by drops in La Nina years, are clearly caught by the model. This model is a much more compelling analysis, since it fits the observed temperature data, whereas the step change model you propose does not. In addition, the step change model doesn’t address the issue of where the energy that causes the step changes came from. If you want to sell your model, you need some energy balance information, since the step change model rejects AGW as the source of the step warming.
I did my best Bob, and I simple don’t see the data that back up your conclusion that a linear warming trend coupled with known exogenous warming factors can’t explain the temperature record.

Bart

Ninderthana (18:03:52) :
Interesting. I have been looking for a 3.6 year and 20-ish year cycle source since analyzing CO2 data here.
Since 1959, the data are very well characterized by the following expansion:
P = 312.79 + 1.0011*t + 0.0091*t^2 + dP
dP = 0.5803*cos(0.2992*t-2.1391) + 0.3622*cos(0.7392*t+2.4275) + 0.2615*cos(1.7453*t-0.9375) + 2.8407*cos(6.2832*t-1.6924) + 0.7963*cos(12.5664*t+1.0631) + 0.1133*cos(18.8496*t+1.9666) + 0.0921*cos(25.1327*t-1.3672)
where t is time in years since January 1959. The first term has a period of 2*pi/0.2992 = 21 years. The second, a period of 8.5 years, and the third, a period of 3.6 years. The other terms are 1 year, 1/2, 1/3, and 1/4 years, which are obviously naturally varying terms associated with a Fourier series expansion of a periodic series with an annual fundamental. This equation fits the data to within +/- 0.39 ppmv RMS.
Coincidence? Maybe. But, two out of three suggests it is at least worth investigating. Do you have any idea of where one might find an 8.5 year natural cycle?

Paul 2K: “Paul K2: You wrote, “excuse my mis-understanding your post, but I came to the same conclusions that Richard stated…”
But then you contradict yourself by stating why Richard’s conclusions are wrong. Self contradiction is not a very good way for you, Paul 2K, to start your argument.
Let me address a few of the points you were attempting to make.
You wrote, “But you overlay a linear fit on top of temperature data NOT corrected for the three main drivers of global temperatures that we know about; ENSO, volcanoes, and solar cycle.”
Again, I responded to this point in my earlier reply to you, but maybe I did not make myself clear. Let me rephrase it for you, Paul 2K. The East Indian and West Pacific Oceans (approximately 25% of the world’s oceans between 60S and 65N) do not warm solely in response to an El Nino. They also warm in response to a La Nina. With that in mind, look again at Figure 4. So the methods used by Tamino and Todd Friesen fail to capture this part of the warming. And here are two posts that illustrate and discuss the processes that cause that part of the global oceans to warm during La Nina events:
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/11/more-detail-on-multiyear-aftereffects_26.html
AND:
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/12/more-detail-on-multiyear-aftereffects.html
You wrote, “Regarding the third point, the absence of any AGW induced warming trend, Friesen put an AGW warming trend into his analysis, and produced this graph from this relatively simple model…”
It’s nice that Friesen has a simple model that uses an AGW signal, but here’s a graph that compares the global temperature anomaly curve to a simple reproduction that uses only natural variables: ENSO, volcanic aerosols, and solar:
http://i42.tinypic.com/2zqufzp.jpg
Personally, I like mine because it shows that the instrument temperature record CAN be reproduced without anthropogenic forcings. Did you know, Paul 2K, that you can reproduce the global temperature record without anthropogenic forcings? That graph is from this post:
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/01/reproducing-global-temperature.html
You wrote, “I did my best Bob, and I simple don’t see the data that back up your conclusion that a linear warming trend coupled with known exogenous warming factors can’t explain the temperature record.”
Sorry that you didn’t catch the points I was trying to make, Paul 2K. But hopefully my clarification and the additional links I’ve provided will help.