The current El Niño: still hanging on

From NASA JPL, signs that “the boy” isn’t leaving. Perhaps he’s receiving too warm a welcome.

Recent sea-level height data from the NASA/European Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason-2 oceanography satellite shows El Niño 2009-2010 hanging in there. Image credit: Credit: NASA/JPL Ocean Surface Topography Team - click to enlarge

El Niño’s Last Hurrah?

El Niño 2009-2010 just keeps hanging in there. Recent sea-level height data from the NASA/European Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason-2 oceanography satellite show that a large-scale, sustained weakening of trade winds in the western and central equatorial Pacific during late-January through February has triggered yet another strong, eastward-moving wave of warm water, known as a Kelvin wave. Now in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific, this warm wave appears as the large area of higher-than-normal sea surface heights (warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures) between 150 degrees west and 100 degrees west longitude. A series of similar, weaker events that began in June 2009 initially triggered and has sustained the present El Niño condition.

JPL oceanographer Bill Patzert says it’s too soon to know for sure, but he would not be surprised if this latest and largest Kelvin wave is the “last hurrah” for this long-lasting El Niño.

Patzert explained, “Since June 2009, this El Niño has waxed and waned, impacting many global weather events. I, and many other scientists, expect the current El Niño to leave the stage sometime soon. What comes next is not yet clear, but a return to El Niño’s dry sibling, La Niña, is certainly a possibility, though by no means a certainty. We’ll be monitoring conditions closely over the coming weeks and months.”

An El Niño also causes unusual changes in atmospheric circulation and convection around the globe. JPL’s Microwave Limb Sounder instrument on NASA’s Aura spacecraft captured a large eastward shift of deep convection from the current El Niño, indicated by large amounts of cloud ice in the upper troposphere.

NASA’s Aura Sees El Niño’s Effects on the Atmosphere

http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpegMod/PIA12961_modest.jpg

An El Niño is characterized by an abnormal warming of sea surface temperatures in the equatorial central and eastern Pacific Ocean. This sea surface temperature change is accompanied by anomalous atmospheric circulation and convection changes around the globe. The 2010 El Niño reached maximum strength during January and February 2010. The Microwave Limb Sounder instrument on NASA’s Aura spacecraft observed a clear eastward shift of deep convection, indicated by large amounts of cloud ice in the upper troposphere. The enhancement of cloud ice from 13 kilometers (approximately 40,000 feet) and above is the greatest since Aura launched in July 2004.

On July 15, 2004, NASA’s Aura spacecraft launched from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base on a mission to study Earth’s ozone layer, air quality and climate. Aura’s data are helping scientists address global climate change issues such as global warming; the global transport, distribution and chemistry of polluted air; and ozone depletion in the stratosphere, the layer of Earth’s atmosphere that extends from roughly 15 to 50 kilometers (10 to 30 miles) in altitude.

Aura is the third and final major Earth Observing System satellite. Aura carries four instruments: the Ozone Monitoring Instrument, built by the Netherlands and Finland in collaboration with NASA; the High Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder, built by the United Kingdom and the United States; and the Microwave Limb Sounder and Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer, both built by JPL. Aura is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

The Microwave Limb Sounder is a second-generation instrument that is helping scientists improve our understanding of ozone in Earth’s stratosphere, especially how it is depleted by processes of chlorine chemistry. The instrument measures naturally occurring microwave thermal emission from the edge of Earth’s atmosphere to remotely sense vertical profiles of atmospheric gases, temperature, pressure and cloud ice.

For more information on Aura on the Internet, visit http://aura.gsfc.nasa.gov/.

For more information on the Microwave Limb Sounder on the Internet, visit: http://mls.jpl.nasa.gov/.

An El Niño is characterized by an abnormal warming of sea surface temperatures in the equatorial central and eastern Pacific Ocean. This sea surface temperature change is accompanied by anomalous atmospheric circulation and convection changes around the globe. The 2010 El Niño reached maximum strength during January and February 2010. The Microwave Limb Sounder instrument on NASA’s Aura spacecraft observed a clear eastward shift of deep convection, indicated by large amounts of cloud ice in the upper troposphere. The enhancement of cloud ice from 13 kilometers (approximately 40,000 feet) and above is the greatest since Aura launched in July 2004.

On July 15, 2004, NASA’s Aura spacecraft launched from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base on a mission to study Earth’s ozone layer, air quality and climate. Aura’s data are helping scientists address global climate change issues such as global warming; the global transport, distribution and chemistry of polluted air; and ozone depletion in the stratosphere, the layer of Earth’s atmosphere that extends from roughly 15 to 50 kilometers (10 to 30 miles) in altitude.

Aura is the third and final major Earth Observing System satellite. Aura carries four instruments: the Ozone Monitoring Instrument, built by the Netherlands and Finland in collaboration with NASA; the High Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder, built by the United Kingdom and the United States; and the Microwave Limb Sounder and Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer, both built by JPL. Aura is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

The Microwave Limb Sounder is a second-generation instrument that is helping scientists improve our understanding of ozone in Earth’s stratosphere, especially how it is depleted by processes of chlorine chemistry. The instrument measures naturally occurring microwave thermal emission from the edge of Earth’s atmosphere to remotely sense vertical profiles of atmospheric gases, temperature, pressure and cloud ice.

For more information on Aura on the Internet, visit http://aura.gsfc.nasa.gov/. For more information on the Microwave Limb Sounder on the Internet, visit: http://mls.jpl.nasa.gov/.

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113 thoughts on “The current El Niño: still hanging on

  1. This piece was going so well until it got to the part about Aura’s mision being related to global climate change. Pity they can’t just do science without invoking the great bogeyman of climate change.

  2. Unless the heating is caused by volcanic activity as Joe Bastardi suggested in one of his blog articles!
    If this really is the last “hurray” of the current El Ninjo observations from the past indicate a steep drop in temperatures as happened after the 1998 El Ninjo and every other El Ninjo for that matter. Let’s see and learn.

  3. This goes to show how little we know about weather and climate. I remember reading on these comments how it looked like La Nina was coming. And it has not. I remember seeing predictions saying this El Nino was coming, but it came much later than predicted. El Nino/Southern Oscillation is a key driver in climate, and we still don’t know what it is going to do with any degree of certainty. How can you model what you do not know?

  4. Of course, the longer the El Nino hangs on, the more likely 2010 will be the warmest year on instrument record. If 2010 does turn out warmer than 1998 (or 2003) this will be touted by AGW believers as proof that AGWT is correct, but will be just as quickly disputed by AGW skeptics, who will claim it is all due to El Nino, and nothing to do with AGW.
    But here’s where both groups are right, and both groups are wrong. Certainly El Nino’s have an impact on global average temperature, for they release a lot of pent up heat from the oceans, and that seems to be one way they function, just as hurricanes, but on a longer scale . But the question, which is still unanswered, remains: could AGW make El Nino’s more frequent and more intense, as Trenberth et. al. have studied? Since El Nino’s are a frequent part of the earth’s natural variability, if 2010 becomes the hottest year on instrument record, unless this year’s El Nino become the most intense on record, than what other factors (if not GH gases) would have caused 2010 to become the warmest year, especially as we have just come through such a long and deep solar minimum?
    To me, this is the central question that the skeptical part of me is asking right now: If the solar cycle and the El Nino event are more important in climate forcing than any AGW, then why would 2010 become the warmest year on record as the AGW believer part of me, and the Met Office believes is likely? In other words, what factors present in 2010 would cause this year to be warmer than 1998, if not the increased GH gases?
    The answer to any El Nino/AGW connection will only come through more research.

  5. “El Niño 2009-2010 just keeps hanging in there.” NASA JPL
    In and of itself, this is not significant; it’s about a “weather maker” and not climate (as such) –though some would disagree I’m sure. It may offer some truly bright “scientists” some insights –I hope so. I’m sure it will offer Fat Albert and his Gang of Psyentists the opportunity to make several more million dollars in speaking fees and “contributions” from the faithful. I doubt that it will help Jones, Mann, and the like, in their persuit of redemption –but you never know, life is often not fair nor just. For Members of Congress, the current Administration, Members of Parlement and the #10 Mob, I’m sure it will be something they can jot up on the tot-boards as a few votes in the coming elections — people are funny little creatures aren’t they.
    For my money, I’m watching this year’s hurricanes to see if there’s more of a tilt toward Europe: Western Ireland and Scotland and the Dutch Dikes.
    The weather is something that you can see all day and overnight. Climate takes decades, scores, and centuries and changes soooooo slowly;-)

  6. “An El Niño is characterized by an abnormal warming of sea surface temperatures in the equatorial central and eastern Pacific Ocean. This sea surface temperature change is accompanied by anomalous atmospheric circulation and convection changes around the globe.”
    If we have a El Niño every few years, how can you call the effects “abnormal”? Would not normal include El Niño and La Niña?

  7. There should be a precipitous drop in temperatures after El Nino ends just like in 1999 when the 1998 El Nino ended.
    The bigger they are the harder they fall.

  8. “how that a large-scale, sustained weakening of trade winds in the western and central equatorial Pacific during late-January through February has triggered yet another strong, eastward-moving wave of warm water, known as a Kelvin wave.”
    It must be an act of God. Why would the trade weaken in the western Pacific? During northern Winter? Care to check atmospheric pressures in Darwin? What’s that below normal temperature band right south of the Equator?
    “This sea surface temperature change is accompanied by anomalous atmospheric circulation”
    Who would say that? Fantastic, it must be the hand of God.
    These guys are totally clueless concerning the dynamics of the north Pacific aerological unit. At least they restrained from saying that it’s this current that controls the whole world.

  9. Isn’t El Nino continuing what we want if we want to see serious global cooling, Bob Tisdale did point out that the 1996 La-Nina did do all the work in getting the heat for the 98 event stored up. I
    t could be that the uptick in temps by 2001 is due to increased SST’s due to the big heat retaining event which was the 99 La Nina. And for America at least, Joe D’Aleo wrote on Intellicast a month or so ago a note of correlation of very hot summers with very big El Nino decays. (for the first half of the year).

  10. El Nino in the short run heats up the atmosphere and reduces ocean heat content, right? That atmospheric heat increase is soon lost to space, right? So El Nino’s cool the earth, right? The bigger the El Nino, the more it cools the earth (after a short lived surge in atmospheric heat content).

  11. Wade (09:58:35) : “This goes to show how little we know about weather and climate. I remember reading on these comments how it looked like La Nina was coming. And it has not. I remember seeing predictions saying this El Nino was coming, but it came much later than predicted. El Nino/Southern Oscillation is a key driver in climate, and we still don’t know what it is going to do with any degree of certainty. How can you model what you do not know?”
    Not to mention the famous “slackening of the trade winds,” of the cause of which we apparently know diddley-squat.

  12. Steve Koch (12:48:02) : “El Nino in the short run heats up the atmosphere and reduces ocean heat content, right? That atmospheric heat increase is soon lost to space, right? So El Ninos cool the earth, right? The bigger the El Nino, the more it cools the earth (after a short lived surge in atmospheric heat content).”
    Yes, Steve, an El Niño is a heat-shedding mechanism that removes calories from the ocean and transfers them to the atmosphere, much to the joy of AGW theorists. The fact that the system ends up slightly lower in heat than before never crosses their minds. The ocean has 1200 times the heat storage capacity of the air. Atmospheric temperatures are transient and chaotic and have little, if any, significance vis-a-vis Global Warming.

  13. Not being an expert with ‘El Nino’ type phenomena I decided to do a quick test. It came as a bit of a surprise that the current EL Nino convection is well correlated to the Geomagnetic field polarity in the Pacific Ocean. This may not hold for a longer period of time if the current temperature distribution is moving along in E-W / W-E direction.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC19.htm

  14. Adam from Kansas (12:30:22) : “Isn’t El Nino continuing what we want if we want to see serious global cooling, Bob Tisdale did point out that the 1996 La-Nina did do all the work in getting the heat for the 98 event stored up.”
    Adam, have you ever wondered if instead of El Niño controlling the Climate is Climate that controls the El Niño?

  15. R. Gates: You asked, “Since El Nino’s are a frequent part of the earth’s natural variability, if 2010 becomes the hottest year on instrument record, unless this year’s El Nino become the most intense on record, than what other factors (if not GH gases) would have caused 2010 to become the warmest year, especially as we have just come through such a long and deep solar minimum?”
    The assumption behind your question is that global temperatures respond linearly to ENSO events; that is, you assume for every degree increase in NINO3.4 SST anomalies, global temperatures rise “x” amount and for every degree decrease in SST anomalies global temperatures drop “x” amount. It works that way for most of the globe, but the author you referred to, Trenberth, noted, “Although it is possible to use regression to eliminate the linear portion of the global mean temperature signal associated with ENSO, the processes that contribute regionally to the global mean differ considerably, and THE LINEAR APPROACH LIKELY LEAVES AN ENSO RESIDUAL.” [My caps for emphasis.]
    The quote is from Trenberth et al (2002) “Evolution of El Nino–Southern Oscillation and global atmospheric surface temperatures”:
    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/papers/2000JD000298.pdf
    These residuals appear as upward steps in TLT anomalies of the mid-to-high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere:
    http://i37.tinypic.com/2ue1jz8.png
    And they appear as upward steps in the SST anomalies of the East Indian and West Pacific Oceans:
    http://i33.tinypic.com/14wu8pk.png
    These were discussed in this post that also ran here at WUWT:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/11/global-temperatures-this-decade-will-be.html
    And it includes links to numerous other posts that go to much more detail to explain those residuals or lingering effects.
    Regards

  16. C. James (11:37:06) : In response to MattN (10:11:55), you attached a link to the ONI index and wrote, “If the number gets to 2 the El Nino is considered to be strong. This one made it to 1.8.”
    Do you have a link to a reference that says the ONI SST anomaly value has to reach 2 deg C in order for the El Nino to be considered strong? I believe I’ve also seen that temperature. But the CPC has 1.5 deg C as the dividing temp in this document, (second paragraph):
    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_disc_oct2009/ensodisc.pdf
    So according to it, the 2009/10 El Nino was a strong event.

  17. R. Gates (10:43:33) :
    “…if 2010 becomes the hottest year on instrument record, unless this year’s El Nino become the most intense on record, than what other factors (if not GH gases) would have caused 2010 to become the warmest year, especially as we have just come through such a long and deep solar minimum?”
    I, for one, believe that solar effects, like the recent lower activity, manifest over the course of decades and not in a years time. The recent minimum, if it continues, may have a profound impact in the decades ahead, but will not really be discernible for a few more years. Certainly, the ever increasing concentration of CO2 would have a warming influence, but all indications are that this influence is very small. Ultimately, I believe the PDO is the largest factor. The problem is that the PDO does not act like a light switch, turning from cool phase to warm phase and back again in a short period of time. It looks like we may have to get 5 or 10 years past the transition to know it was a transition.
    2010 could be the warmest year in the instrument or satellite record because we are at the end of a warm phase or just beginning of the cool phase of the PDO, plus we are experiencing a moderately warm El Nino, plus CO2 is higher.
    Our location on the PDO curve plus the El Nino are the most important factors. The PDO warm phase may be over, but we are still at the top of that curve.
    Temps may very well cool significantly over the next few years as all factors, aside from CO2, point to cooling. The weak CO2 warming influence doesn’t stand a chance against a cool PDO, potentially weak sun and a dominance of La Ninas.
    That is my forecast.

  18. The article states, “…a large-scale, sustained weakening of trade winds in the western and central equatorial Pacific during late-January through February has triggered yet another strong, eastward-moving wave of warm water, known as a Kelvin wave.”
    And this eastward-moving wave of warm water can be seen in the animation of subsurface equatorial Pacific temperature anomalies here:
    http://i46.tinypic.com/2nt8ao9.gif
    You can see it forming early in February.
    The most up-to-date version is here:
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_update/wkxzteq.shtml

  19. Currently, I see this as the result of a larger than normal ice melt from the antarctic area below the west pacific, superimposed on a preexisting El nino. Coriolis forces drive this cold meltwater equitorially where it induces cooling air to slump down over it increasing wind speed and possibly promoting low cloud amplification of the ocean temperatures.This resulting higher air pressure in the west pacific perpetuates the El nino.
    Two other features I see as important. The melt below the eastern pacific was also large causing a cooling and increased trade wind speed against south america and the arctic atmosphere lost a lot of heat this N.H. winter [negative ao].

  20. jorgekafkazar (13:03:45) : The ocean has 1200 times the heat storage capacity of the air. Atmospheric temperatures are transient and chaotic and have little, if any, significance vis-a-vis Global Warming.
    Exactly! I would love to see 50 years with accurate Argo ocean data, I strongly suspect that these would be smooth and continuous and make much more sense than the wildly fluctuating air data. Then perhaps, we may see patterns due to PDO and other at present unknown ocean cycles that may give us much valuable insight.

  21. Sorry my computer is playing up!
    I see the negative ao as increasing atmospheric circulation over the northern pacific increasing the northern trade winds.The warm water in the central pacific is thus currently trapped between high pressures in the west, and increased trade winds from the north and south east.
    Soon I think the trade winds will win but then it will be very interesting to see where the warmer waters get driven to. I suspect the stronger N. H. trade winds will prevail [PDO negative] driving warm water down the western limb of the south pacific gyre. This might inhibit ice formation in this area, possibly more so in the west pacific area of antarctica.

  22. R. Gates (10:43:33) : Of course, the longer the El Nino hangs on, the more likely 2010 will be the warmest year on instrument record. If 2010 does turn out warmer than 1998 (or 2003) this will be touted by AGW believers as proof that AGWT is correct
    Since 2010 may be “warmer” than 1998 we strongly demand a daily update of ocean heat content based on Argo ocean data:
    http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/Argo_Data_and.html
    For example something along the lines of the brilliant daily earth temperatures from satellites provided by John Christy and Roy Spencer:
    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/
    A couple of skilled SW engineers would implement a service like this in a couple of weeks! Full spead ahead!

  23. We’ve just experienced a pretty cold winter in the Northern hemisphere even though there has been a strong El Niño.
    What difference would there have been to the NH winter, i.e., would it have been colder, warmer, wetter or whatever?, had this not been an El Niño year?

  24. For those interested, OI.v2 SST data is updated weekly on Mondays at the NOAA NOMADS website (The NOMAD1 server’s kinda slow today):
    http://nomad1.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh
    The weekly NINO3.4 SST anomalies for the week centered on March 10, 2010 are 1.22 deg C:
    http://i44.tinypic.com/30j5tky.png
    And the NINO3.4 SST anomalies 6 weeks before that was 1.23 deg C, so the decline has slowed considerably over the past month and a half. But as you can see, the rises and falls do pause.

  25. As far as I know, this is not a “long-lasting” El Nino as of yet. It was formally declared in early July. The links I’ve looked at say they usually last 9-12 months.

  26. I used to welcome El Nino events because the have a good influence on fishery in the Atlantic, but I have come to dread them – because, they allow for such nonsense as
    “2009: The HOTTEST year in (exaggerated number) of YEARS!!!”
    It is sure to follow, that this “extended” El Nino will be called the “worst” El Nino “ever” and all the result of “climate change”

  27. I only noticed one correct American-English spelling. We only have 26 letters in our alphabet. “El” is a shape. Therefore, it’s “The Ninyo/Ninya”.
    Also, our “j” is not pronounced like “y”. I found that to be an odd spelling. But, who am I to criticize?

  28. I’m just glad the friggin snow is gone. My acreage looks like a bomb went off on it. Tree branches snapped off by heavy snow all over the place. Upside – a good start on firewood for the next “unexpected” bad winter. I went through 6 cords this year.

  29. It looks like the El Nino might have finished dumping its heat into the atmosphere for now.
    Outgoing long-wave radiation anomalies from these regions (Nino 4) correlate pretty well with the global temperature changes (inversed – negative anomalies mean heat is being held in the atmosphere by cloud cover – positive means heat is escaping – and 50 watts/metre2 are very large anomalies).
    This is really the source of the lag between temperatures and the ENSO as well. The El Nino peaked in mid-December and it took until now for the energy to finish making its way into the atmosphere.
    http://cawcr.gov.au/bmrc/clfor/cfstaff/matw/maproom/OLR/ts.r11.l.gif
    http://cawcr.gov.au/bmrc/clfor/cfstaff/matw/maproom/OLR/ts.r4.l.gif
    These charts look the same for the 1997-98 El Nino and others ENSO events. Negative in the month or two after an El Nino and positive in the months after a La Nina.
    There is a possibility of a re-strengthening since the upper ocean heat anomalies have reorganized but a La Nina will follow a later date.

  30. This El Nino has caused huge floods in Australia, whereas they normally bring drought conditions. It has been suggested that it’s a Modoki El Nino – the same but different – as if it’s behaving like a La Nina.
    ENSO needs more research dollars, I feel a strong La Nina coming on.

  31. Adam from Kansas (12:30:22) :
    If we are to be at all scientific in our curiosity, we should not “want” any outcome. This desire is what has ruined climate science.
    On another level, I certainly don’t want more cold – a little warming, say of 5C, would be good for Canada.

  32. Bob Tisdale (14:02:06) : ….No I don’t have a link. That is the number I was taught many years ago but if CPC uses 1.5, I’d go with that. This would then obviously be a strong El Nino although not nearly as strong as 82-83 or 97-98. The SOI index is only in the moderate range.

  33. Does anyone know if this “sea surface temperatures in the equatorial central and eastern Pacific Ocean” place is what is called the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool?I have only read one article about this IPWP and it did not mention if it is the place where the ENSO starts. Thanks

  34. Bob Tisdale (14:02:06) :
    Bob, do you ever read Klaus Wolter?
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/people/klaus.wolter/
    Discussing the current El Nino (his framework is the MEI), he writes:
    The most recent (January-February) MEI value has increased significantly to +1.50, its highest value since April-May 1998, more than one decade ago. The most recent MEI rank has risen from 52nd (10th highest) to 57th (5th highest) out of 61 for this season, now even above the decile (upper 10%) threshold for strong MEI rankings for this season. After four continuous months in the moderate category, the MEI has indeed risen to levels not seen since the strong event of 1997-98. Since 1950, only 1973, 1983, 1992, and 1998 saw stronger El Niño conditions during January-February than in 2010, as measured by the MEI.
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/people/klaus.wolter/MEI/index.html#discussion
    I added the “bold.” So this perhaps qualifies as a “strong” El Nino, based on the recent upswing in the MEI (and SST’s), but it still falls well short of “Super” El Nino category.

  35. I agree pretty much with your forecast, Jim Clarke –
    except, I don’t believe CO2 in the air has anything to do with anything that anybody can perceive.
    I’m not alone

  36. Sioned L (17:01:22) : You asked, “Does anyone know if this “sea surface temperatures in the equatorial central and eastern Pacific Ocean” place is what is called the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool?”
    Nope. The Indo-Pacifc Warm Pool is also known as the West Pacific Warm Pool:
    http://i33.tinypic.com/24xf0cw.jpg
    Very briefly, during Non-El Nino periods (La Nina and ENSO Neutral months), trade winds blow warm surface water from east to west. The warm water runs into New Guinea and Indonesia and collects in the western Pacific and eastern Indian Ocean to depths of 300 meters. The area where the warm water collects is called the Pacific Warm Pool, or Indo-Pacific Warm Pool. When the trade winds relax, that pool of warm water sloshes from the Pacific Warm Pool to the east, to the central and eastern tropical Pacific to cause an increase in sea surface temperatures there, and that’s called an El Nino.
    Bill Kessler of NOAA has a relatively easy-to-read FAQ webpage on ENSO:
    http://faculty.washington.edu/kessler/occasionally-asked-questions.html

  37. Basil (17:10:48) : You concluded with, “So this perhaps qualifies as a “strong” El Nino, based on the recent upswing in the MEI (and SST’s), but it still falls well short of “Super” El Nino category.”
    Agreed. The 2009/10 El Nino was (is) a central Pacific El Nino, while the 1982/83 and 1997/98 El Nino were Central and Eastern (Traditional) El Nino events.

  38. R. Gates.
    You adhere to the UAH measurements, I commend you.
    However. I want to see the equivalent UAH measurements from the late ’40s & early ’50s when the Earth appeared to cool.
    Oh, sorry, they’re not available.
    It’s an interesting anomaly which actually proves nothing.
    DaveE.

  39. Incidentally.
    I forgot to mention that temperature alone means absolutely nothing.
    DaveE.

  40. This is more or less OT, but of considerable interest … and really related.
    Popular Science has 137 years of their magazine in an online archive.
    http://www.popsci.com/archives
    Type in “climate” and look at some old articles. October 1906 is of interest.
    You can likely think of more climate-related keywords.
    Clive

  41. Jim Clarke (14:08:38) : You wrote, “Ultimately, I believe the PDO is the largest factor.”
    Here are links to three papers that say the PDO lags ENSO, making the PDO an aftereffect of El Nino and La Nina events.
    Zhang et al (1997):
    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~david/zwb1997.pdf
    Newman et al (2003):
    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/people/gilbert.p.compo/Newmanetal2003.pdf
    Shakun and Shaman (2009):
    http://www.leif.org/EOS/2009GL040313.pdf
    I discussed the misunderstandings about the PDO in a post that also ran here at WUWT:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/04/misunderstandings-about-pdo-revised.html

  42. 1. Examining the climatic record in accordance with the Galactic travels of the earth paint the recent Multidecadal Temperature changes of the Pacific Ocean as being very erratic and thus symptomatic of a Galactic cold signal.
    2. It is a travesty that modern surface temperature records have become political tools that devalue their weather forecasting utility. The curious can find plentiful evidence supporting the conclusion that the most recent warm PDO obscured the ongoing trend to cold. If so there is every reason to expect that we should expect global temperatures to exceed the cold variance recorded as the peak of the 1940s -70s cold PDO/ cold AMO because the cold trends will flip the Atlantic’s Multidecadal Oscillation much sooner than previously recorded trends (those watching..KNOW that water temperatures in the Atlantic are definitely signaling a capacity for a quick turn).
    3. I interpret the temperature analysis work of Spencer and Christy to be an excellent marker of (a) the changes to Earth’s Radiative Budget (1) higher tropospheric temperatures are an indicator of greater irradiative forcing
    (b) the water vapor/ precipitation/ cloud cover potentials of the atmosphere that are all equal to the atmosphere’s capacity to cool the earth through the processes of determining the earth’s radiative budget.

  43. Jimmy Haigh (14:41:58) : We’ve just experienced a pretty cold winter in the Northern hemisphere
    Some places in the N. H. may have been cold but not all. In the U.S. Pacific Northwest it has not been either cold or wet. The snow pack and the reservoirs are below that desired by the local east-of-the-Cascade-slope irrigators. This seems to be about normal for a reasonably strong El Nino fall and winter season.
    The not-so-cold winter is graphically shown here:
    http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/climate/temp_graphs.php?stn=KYKM&submit=Change+Station&wfo=pdt
    Between Nov. 27, 2009 and Jan. 20, 2010 I drove between Ellensburg and Yakima everyday- some days twice, and missed three days. I had several days of fog and 1 day of nasty snowy weather — the other 50 days didn’t resemble a good winter. There was a week of cold in early December.

  44. 1. Examining the climatic record in accordance with the Galactic travels of the earth paint the recent Multidecadal Temperature changes of the Pacific Ocean as being very erratic and thus symptomatic of a Galactic cold signal.
    2. It is a travesty that modern surface temperature records have become political tools that devalue their weather forecasting utility. The curious can find plentiful evidence supporting the conclusion that the most recent warm PDO obscured the ongoing trend to cold. If so there is every reason to expect that global temperatures to quickly exceed the cold variances recorded as the peak of the 1940s -70s cold PDO/ cold AMO because the cold trends will flip the Atlantic’s Multidecadal Oscillation much sooner than previously recorded trends (those watching..KNOW that water temperatures in the Atlantic are definitely signaling a capacity for a quick turn).
    3. I interpret the temperature analysis work of Spencer and Christy to be an excellent marker of (a) the changes to Earth’s Radiative Budget (1) higher tropospheric temperatures are an indicator of greater irradiative forcing
    (b) the water vapor/ precipitation/ cloud cover potentials of the atmosphere that are all equal to the atmosphere’s capacity to cool the earth through the processes of determining the earth’s radiative budget.

  45. Smokey,
    Do you know how to save or print these articles other than do screen captures? (That is easy to do, but a PITA. )
    Thanks,
    Clive

  46. David Alan Evans (18:32:11) :
    R. Gates.
    You adhere to the UAH measurements, I commend you.

    For January and February of this year there is a reason why someone who advocates manmade global warming would stick to UAH. But in a few months that reason will be plunging down.

  47. NORMAN, Okla. — A powerful storm began blowing through Oklahoma and the southern Plains on the first day of spring Saturday, bringing heavy snow and strong winds a day after temperatures reached into the 70s.

  48. John F. Hultquist (19:13:38) :
    Wasn’t too bad here in the mid-Pacific Northwest.
    Shasta Res. is filling up, and the Trinity Alps look like somebody poured a giant bowl of ice cream on them. Snow levels stayed around 5,000′ most of the winter. Percip. about normal. December freeze caught most looking.

  49. (clarifying-emending- the thought experiment)
    Examining the climatic record in accordance with the Galactic travels of the earth paint the recent Multi-decadal Temperature changes of the Pacific Ocean as being very erratic and thus symptomatic of a Galactic cold signal.
    2. It is a travesty that modern surface temperature records have become political tools that devalue their weather forecasting utility. The curious can find plentiful evidence supporting the conclusion that the most recent warm PDO obscured the ongoing trend to cold. If so there is every reason to expect global temperatures to quickly exceed the cold variances recorded as the peak of the 1940s -70s cold PDO/ cold AMO because the ERBE cold trends will flip the Atlantic’s Multidecadal Oscillation much sooner than previously recorded events (those watching..KNOW that water temperatures in the Atlantic are definitely signaling a capacity for a quick turn).
    3. On ERBE: I interpret the temperature analysis work of Spencer and Christy to be an excellent marker of (a) the changes to Earth’s Radiative Budget (1) higher tropospheric temperatures are an indicator of greater radiative forcing
    (b) the water vapor/ precipitation/ cloud cover potentials of the atmosphere summate the atmosphere’s capacity to cool the earth through the processes determining the earth’s radiative budget.
    (c) As a response to the increasing gravitational effect had by the sun as an entailment of it retaining more energy during low sunspot cycles (heavier chemical makeup of its core and energy conveyors), High Latitude Volcanic activity increases the density potential of the magnetosphere thereby increasing radiative forcing and the temperature of the stratosphere. To accomplish similar effect, mid and lower latitude volcanic eruptions must (a) be more numerous and frequent (b) be of proportionately greater magnitude
    Without going in to detail for those smart enough to have figure it out, understand why the Carrington Event is only a reflex action potential occurrence and why its in process modern sunspot maximum was a joke.

  50. rbateman (19:58:35) :
    You are correct. I generalized too much. I haven’t really mapped the pattern for this winter so I should not have suggested all of the PNW was less stormy than normal – just that the major storms mostly tracked south of the State of Washington and that was expected and is expected to continue. East-slope Cascade reservoirs in WA could use some of that water and snow you are talking about.
    Some generalized information is here:
    http://cses.washington.edu/cig/fpt/cloutlook.shtml
    Specific snow information is here:
    http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/snotel/Washington/washington.html

  51. Clive (18:58:42) :
    This is more or less OT, but of considerable interest … and really related.
    Popular Science has 137 years of their magazine in an online archive.
    http://www.popsci.com/archives
    Type in “climate” and look at some old articles. October 1906 is of interest.
    You can likely think of more climate-related keywords.
    Clive
    ———
    Hey, thanks!! “Build your own ruby laser,” 1964 Popular Science!! I must have read that a million times when I first had it!

  52. Amino Acids in Meteorites said (to Bob Tisdale)
    “I don’t think R. Gates will understand you.”
    Actually, not only do I understand Bob, I happen to think he’s a pretty darn smart guy…but thanks for your vote of confidence!
    Having said that though, nothing Bob has written or said has changed my position of being 75% convinced that AGWT is likely correct, and a 25% skeptic. Bob, like many other AGW skeptics has many interesting ideas, and certainly knows a great deal about climate. But there are many billiant people on other side with exceptional credentials as well, and were in not for people like Bob, I might be true believer in AGWT. So I appreciate the points he and other knowledgable AGW skeptics raise. It make me go back and check and double check my assumptions, and pepper my climate research friends with endless questions. Sometimes (okay, most of the time) their answers are way over my head, but generally I’ve studied enough to get the general drift.
    So in short, to reply to your statement that R. Gates will not understand what Bob T. has to say– well, yep, I get it, at least most of it, and even agree with some of it, but the devil is indeed in the details in AGWT, and El Nino is one of those details that is still fairly poorly understood overall. The overall process in known, but the causes of that process, the triggers, the interactions, the “teleconnections” with other events are still not well understood.
    My essential point about the current El Nino, which despite latency issues, and that it is not a linear process, remains unchanged, and not fully answered by AGW skeptics– if this year’s El Nino is not as severe as 1998, but 2010 turns out to be the warmest year on instrument record, then why? One reasonable and simple answer from a believer in AGWT would be: because less heat is able to escape during this El Nino because more heat is being absorbed and re-emitted in the troposphere because of the higher GH gases present now than in 1998. Furthermore, AGWT would say that future El Nino years will also have a high degree of probability of being record warm years for the same reason, and because of the linkages between the atmosphere and ocean and potential AGW and stronger El Ninos, it is worth watching El Ninos to see if they display some change in their length and intensity, though this will take decades of study.

  53. Brian G Valentine (15:11:28) :
    I used to welcome El Nino events because the have a good influence on fishery in the Atlantic, but I have come to dread them – because, they allow for such nonsense as
    “2009: The HOTTEST year in (exaggerated number) of YEARS!!!”
    It is sure to follow, that this “extended” El Nino will be called the “worst” El Nino “ever” and all the result of “climate change”

    ———–
    Good news.
    2009 wasn’t that hot. 2007 was hotter, and 2005 hotter still: 2002 was just as hot as 2009, as was 1998.
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt
    As for the El Nino, it is weaker than the 1998 one:
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf
    (page 22 of 38 shows the ONI number, Oceanic Nino Index – 1973, 1983 and 1998 are all larger).
    If 2010 becomes the new “hottest year ever” it won’t be because of this El Nino.

  54. R. Gates: You wrote in part, “…AGWT would say that future El Nino years will also have a high degree of probability of being record warm years for the same reason, and because of the linkages between the atmosphere and ocean and potential AGW and stronger El Ninos…”
    El Nino events aren’t getting stronger.
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/09/el-nino-events-are-not-getting-stronger.html
    Also, there is nothing to indicate that anthropogenic greenhouse gases have any impact on Ocean Heat Content. Refer to:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/09/enso-dominates-nodc-ocean-heat-content.html
    And:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/10/north-atlantic-ocean-heat-content-0-700.html
    And:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/12/north-pacific-ocean-heat-content-shift.html

  55. andy adkins (21:27:25) : You wrote, “The curious can find plentiful evidence supporting the conclusion that the most recent warm PDO obscured the ongoing trend to cold.”
    How would it do this? The PDO does not represent the SST anomalies of the North Pacific (North of 20N).
    http://i43.tinypic.com/29fp8ad.jpg
    The PDO does not even represent the difference between North Pacific SST anomalies and Global temperature anomalies:
    http://i42.tinypic.com/345kgsk.jpg
    And the PDO does not represent detrended North Pacific SST anomalies (like detrended North Atlantic SST anomalies represent the AMO):
    http://i42.tinypic.com/17pev8.jpg
    The PDO only represents the pattern of the SST anomalies:
    http://i39.tinypic.com/20v1934.jpg
    I discussed this in a post that also ran here at WUWT:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/04/misunderstandings-about-pdo-revised.html

  56. R. Gates (23:12:32): You wrote in part, “even agree with some of it,” with respect to my earlier comment and the post linked to it.
    What don’t you agree with? The ENSO-induced shifts in the temperature anomaly data exist. I haven’t manufactured them. I’ve just broken the global temperature data down into subsets to make those shifts visible.

  57. Bob Tisdale (00:49:46) :
    Also, there is nothing to indicate that anthropogenic greenhouse gases have any impact on Ocean Heat Content. Refer to:
    link And link And link:

    ——————
    There is evidence that anthropogenic greenhouse gases put 94.4% of their global warming heat into the oceans:
    An observationally based energy balance for the Earth since 1950 (Murphy 2009) showed that 94.4% of the global warming heat goes into the oceans (the rest into the land and atmosphere). If the ocean is absorbing 0.77 ± 0.11 Wm−2, this puts the total energy imbalance at around 0.82 ± 0.12 Wm−2. This is a slight underestimate as Murphy 2009 included ocean heat down to 3000m, not 2000m.
    Earth’s Global Energy Budget (Trenberth 2009) examined satellite measurements of incoming and outgoing radiation for the March 2000 to May 2004 period and found the planet accumulating energy at a rate of 0.9 ± 0.15 Wm−2.
    You look at only the upper 700 meters of the entire ocean.
    The deepest part of the ocean, the Marianas Trench, goes down 10,900 meters.
    The top 700 meters of ocean heat content is a lot more variable than the top 2000 meters, which shows a steady absorption of energy at the rate of 0.77 ± 0.11 Wm−2 for the years 2003 to 2008, inclusive (a time period when the upper 700 meters seems to halt its warming).
    The important point is that Argo floats now allow us to look at the ocean heat content down to 2000 meter depths, not the 700 meters you are concentrating on:
    http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/FrHow_Argo_floats.html
    At this depth, there has been no stalling of the heat content rise, such as the 700 meter top of the ocean from 2004 to 2009:
    http://tinyurl.com/yeurhn3
    Global ocean heat storage is definitely rising, in the top 2000 meters of the ocean, during this time.
    This graph is based on data from Schuckmann 2009, and a free pre-print version of that paper is here:
    http://www.euro-argo.eu/content/download/49437/368494/file/VonSchukmann_et_al_2009_inpress.pdf
    From the paper:
    5. Conclusion
    During the six years of in-situ measurements [2003-2008], an oceanic warming of 0.77 ± 0.11 Wm−2 occurred in the upper 2000m depth of the water column.
    Major advances in measuring the global ocean hydrographic changes have been made by the implementation of the Argo observing system
    In addition to the rates of global hydrographic changes, the large-scale spatial patterns of temperature and salinity variability have been estimated. With our finndings it is possible to classify time scales of variability within different latitude bands, at least over the period of our in-situ field. These show large amounts of interannual and decadal fluctuations at northern mid-latitudes which reach deep into the water column.

    And from the Introduction:
    In addition, the long-term global warming trend is also largly caused by warming in the Southern Ocean that extends deep into the water column
    It is hard to see the warming “deep into the water column” if you are not measuring there – 0 m to 700m measurements are not looking at 700m to 2000m ocean heat.
    If the Argo network were more numerous and the floats went deeper, we would have an even better understanding of where all the extra heat from global warming is going – the vertical flows, the ocean currents involved and their oscillations, how deep the warming is penetrating, etc. But Argo is definitely a good start.

  58. In a recent interview, the “Ultimate Weatherman,” Ken Ring he said that the El Nino will be extended in duration due to lunar influences. Ken’s spectacularly accurate weather forecasts use historical patterns based on tidal air movements caused by lunar passage and variability in distance from Earth.
    Interview Here:
    http://bit.ly/a3PYTP

  59. for this long-lasting El Niño

    Where does the idea come from that this is a long-lasting El Niño? Sure, given the rather high (record) temperature anomalies – despite this moderate El Niño, just a few sunspots and a negative PDO – I can imagine that certain people who don’t want to Global Warming to be true, or at least for it not to be man-made, these past 8 months feel like an awful long time. If someone wants to influence public perception on AGW and delay action, I can imagine that person is thinking “the sooner it’s over, the better it is”.
    But El Niños from 1950 onwards have lasted an average 10 months, with the Super El Niño from 1997-1998 lasting 13 months and the El Niño from 1986-1988 even lasting 19 months. La Niñas have been less frequent from 1950 onwards (12 events versus 19 Niño events), but lasted longer on average, almost 16 months. So 8 months so far isn’t that particularly long-lasting. It’s a bit too soon to say this.
    If you add up the SST anomalies from each event (based on this chart) and divide them by the total months the event lasted, here’s what you get:
    Highest Average
    1997 1.738
    1982 1.393
    1972 1.318
    1991 1.133
    2009 1.125
    1965 1.118
    1986 1.111
    2002 1.027
    1957 0.993
    1963 0.857
    The average of the current El Niño will probably go down in the coming few months, unless it stops all of a sudden, which would make it the opposite of ‘long-lasting’.
    Lowest average
    1988 -1.292
    1973 -1.111
    1950 -1.067
    2007 -1.044
    1998 -0.988
    1954 -0.976
    1964 -0.930
    1970 -0.905
    1967 -0.720
    1995 -0.629
    I always thought the last La Niña event was extremely powerful, but it turns out from this (flawed) calculation that it was just powerful.
    These are the highest peaks and deepest troughs in the Oceanic Niño Index:
    Highest Peak
    1997 2.5
    1982 2.3
    1972 2.1
    2009 1.8
    1991 1.8
    1986 1.6
    1965 1.6
    Deepest Trough
    1973 -2.1
    1954 -2.0
    1988 -1.9
    1950 -1.7
    1998 -1.6
    2008 -1.4
    1964 -1.2
    What I would like to know: Will the next moderate El Niño cause the UAH dataset to break monthly anomaly records again? The sun is bound to be more active in a year or two, three.

  60. Anu:
    2009 wasn’t that hot. 2007 was hotter, and 2005 hotter still: 2002 was just as hot as 2009, as was 1998.
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

    Those are using the “meteorological year” figures of Dec thru Nov. — the calendar year figures show 2009 as being higher up on the warm scale. Here are the figures of those two categories, met-year to the right:
    1998: 56 57
    2002: 56 57
    2005: 62 61
    2007: 57 59
    2009: 57 56
    Only one calendar year was warmer than 2009, 2005.

  61. rogerkni (09:41:12) :
    Only one calendar year was warmer than 2009, 2005.

    ————
    OK, quite right -I prefer calendar years anyway.
    2009 was tied with 2007, and slightly warmer than 2002 and 1998, and warmer still than 2003 and 2006. And it made 2008 seem almost as cold as 1997.
    I guess it was pretty warm.
    Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that’s even remotely true.
    — Homer Simpson

  62. Neven (09:17:43) :
    What I would like to know: Will the next moderate El Niño cause the UAH dataset to break monthly anomaly records again? The sun is bound to be more active in a year or two, three.

    ——————–
    UAH isn’t the only organization analyzing NASA satellite measurements of global (well, -82.5 deg. latitude to 82.5 deg. latitude, not quite global) temperatures – don’t forget RSS (Remote Sensing Systems) and UW (University of Washington).
    Some say UAH has made many errors over the years, and is not as trustworthy as RSS – and UW corrects them both for lower stratosphere contributions:
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/msu.html

  63. Bob T,
    Your contention that El Ninos have not grown stronger in the past few decades is partially backed up by looking at El Ninos prior to 1900, in so-called “Super El Nino events”. What is the source of your pre-1900 data, how has it been checked and verified? All my reading of the research puts very little credibility in any data prior to 1900, and really, prior to about 1914. What is the source of your pre-1900 data that makes you so certain that the past few decades of strong El Ninos is nothing unusual?
    Also, please address the issue of the so-called 1976/77 “climate shift” related to both ENSO and the PDO. I’d be very curious to get your current take on this event (or non-event) as the case may be….

  64. Anu said:
    “If 2010 becomes the new “hottest year ever” it won’t be because of this El Nino.”
    I agree 100%, and still have not heard a sastifactory answer from the AGW skeptics as to what they will attribute 2010’s “potentially” modern instrument record breaking heat to.
    Can’t be the sun as we’re just coming off a prolonged and deep solar minimum…
    Can’t be El Nino or the PDO or the NAO…
    Oh yeah, that’s right, “Mars is warming”…maybe that’s it!
    Or could it be because we’ve got even more GH gases in the troposphere now than the last strong El Nino?
    Nope, probably is because “Mars is warming.”

  65. R. Gates (10:43:33) : “what other factors (if not GH gases) would have caused 2010 to become the warmest year, especially as we have just come through such a long and deep solar minimum?
    To me, this is the central question that the skeptical part of me is asking right now: If the solar cycle and the El Nino event are more important in climate forcing than any AGW, then why would 2010 become the warmest year on record as the AGW believer part of me, and the Met Office believes is likely? In other words, what factors present in 2010 would cause this year to be warmer than 1998, if not the increased GH gases?”
    Could it be that the world is warming naturally? If it is, then years will become the warmest on record, year after year. There is no need to hypothesize GH gases.

  66. R. Gates (11:09:37),
    We’re not “AGW skeptics.” We are scientific skeptics.
    If you can provide empirical, testable evidence that astrology is valid and can make accurate predictions, you will have elevated astrology from a conjecture to a theory. In the mean time, without testable evidence, astrology is a conjecture.
    Same with AGW.

  67. Iceman said:
    “Could it be that the world is warming naturally?”
    __________
    “Naturally” would imply by natural causes and known cycles. Every known factor that affects the earth’s climate has been pretty thoroughly accounted for in AGWT, from solar cycles, astronomical, ocean heat, etc., and working together, these paint a pretty well understood pattern of climate variability. AGWT would posit that AGW, specifiically through the relatively rapid (geologically speaking) buildup on GH gases in the past few hundred years are now playing the role of the dominant signal in climate variability. From the long term decline in sea ice to the cooling of the stratosphere, AGWT posits very specific and observable signals that warming due to GH gases will create. These signals are now being observed (at least in the N. Hemisphere for arctic sea ice).
    Again, simply saying that “natural warming” is the cause of the potentially warmest year on record is not a specfic answer to the question as to why 2010 may become the warmest year on record. AGWT would give a specific reason why…i.e. the build-up of GH gases. Skeptics must provide equally specific “natural” causes…be precise and explicit…WHAT natural causes?

  68. R. Gates (10:56:43): You asked, “What is the source of your pre-1900 data, how has it been checked and verified?” and “What is the source of your pre-1900 data that makes you so certain that the past few decades of strong El Ninos is nothing unusual?”
    The NINO3.4 SST anomaly data source was listed at the bottom of the post:
    SOURCE
    HADISST Anomaly data is available through the KNMI Climate Explorer:
    http://climexp.knmi.nl/selectfield_obs.cgi?someone@somewhere
    You’d have to read the papers that accompany the HADISST dataset to determine how it was “checked and verified.”
    Rayner, N. A.; Parker, D. E.; Horton, E. B.; Folland, C. K.; Alexander, L. V.; Rowell, D. P.; Kent, E. C.; Kaplan, A. (2003) Global analyses of sea surface temperature, sea ice, and night marine air temperature since the late nineteenth century, J. Geophys. Res., Vol. 108, No. D14, 4407 10.1029/2002JD002670
    http://badc.nerc.ac.uk/data/hadisst/HadISST_paper.pdf
    You wrote, “All my reading of the research puts very little credibility in any data prior to 1900, and really, prior to about 1914.”
    I would agree that equatorial Pacific SST anomaly data prior to 1914 is questionable. Before the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914, there was little ship traffic in the NINO areas. However, Southern Oscillation Index data (based on sea level pressure data from Tahiti and Darwin, Australia) is available as far back as 1876 through the Australian Bureau of Meteorology:
    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/soihtm1.shtml
    I’ve inverted the BOM’s SOI data in the following graph so that El Nino events are positive:
    http://i40.tinypic.com/24df191.png
    There are significant El Nino events in the early decades of the SOI dataset as well. So there are two ENSO datasets based on different variables that illustrate major El Nino events in the early part of the instrument record.
    Also, in paleoclimatological terms, current NINO3 SST anomalies are not unusual:
    http://s5.tinypic.com/20b26p0.jpg
    Now let me ask you, since you only believe data after 1914, how can you be sure that the increase in the frequency and magnitude of El Nino events is unusual?
    You wrote, “Also, please address the issue of the so-called 1976/77 “climate shift” related to both ENSO and the PDO. I’d be very curious to get your current take on this event (or non-event) as the case may be….”
    The phrasing of your request infers I had a prior “take” on the 1976/77 climate shift. And I’m not sure why you would imply that it was a non-event. There are numerous papers that acknowledge and illustrate its effect on the strength and evolution of ENSO events. My “take”? Personally, I believe the 1976/77 climate shift’s impact on ENSO resulted from the additional tropical Pacific Ocean Heat Content that was made available by the 1973/74/75/76 La Nina.
    http://i46.tinypic.com/2vja1z5.png
    I don’t pay attention to the PDO. I’ve already posted links to three papers on this thread that show the PDO is a lagged aftereffect of ENSO, so I won’t bother to comment on it.

  69. Anu quoting the Von Schuckmann study “During the six years of in-situ measurements [2003-2008], an oceanic warming of 0.77 ± 0.11 Wm−2 occurred in the upper 2000m depth of the water column.”
    Maybe next time a skeptic points out that the atmosphere hasn’t warmed for six years (or a similar time period), you will admit that six years is long enough to detect a trend against detractors who say that six years (or similar period) is too short. That would seem to be consistent with your position on ocean warming.

  70. R. Gates says “relatively rapid (geologically speaking) buildup on GH gases in the past few hundred years”
    Here’s the past “few hundred years” of anthrocarbon: ftp://cdiac.ornl.gov/pub/ndp030/global.1751_2006.ems Basically less than 1% of the natural flux until about 1950. The reason for most of the warming of the past few hundred years is (natural) recovery from the Little Ice Age.

  71. Anu (08:44:04) : In response to my comment, “Also, there is nothing to indicate that anthropogenic greenhouse gases have any impact on Ocean Heat Content. Refer to…” you replied, “There is evidence that anthropogenic greenhouse gases put 94.4% of their global warming heat into the oceans:
    An observationally based energy balance for the Earth since 1950 (Murphy 2009) showed.”
    The numbers 94.4 or 5.6 do not appear in Murphy et al. Please advise which paragraph or table or illustration in Murphy et al provides you with those percentages. And please don’t link ClimateProgress or SkepticalScience. Quote Murphy et al, please.
    And when you’re done reading Murphy et al, please advise me how they account for ENSO, AMO, and sea level pressure in the form of NPI and NAO. The three posts I linked, which you referred to in your reply, illustrated the effects of those natural variables on individual ocean basin OHC subsets. Those posts also showed decadal to multidecadal declines in OHC for some ocean basins, and for other ocean basins there were multidecadal periods with little to no rise in OHC, followed by short-term rises that correspond to ENSO events or to shifts in the NPI or NAO. Does Murphy et al address those flat or declining multidecadal periods in ocean basin subsets or the short-term rises caused by those natural variables?
    Curiously, in response to the three posts I provided, which illustrated the magnitude of the natural effects on OHC for individual ocean basins from 1955 to present, you wrote, “Earth’s Global Energy Budget (Trenberth 2009) examined satellite measurements of incoming and outgoing radiation for the March 2000 to May 2004 period and found the planet accumulating energy at a rate of 0.9 ± 0.15 Wm−2.” Please advise how “satellite measurements of incoming and outgoing radiation for the March 2000 to May 2004 period” contradicts what I’ve presented for OHC data from 1955 to present. You’re off by a few decades in your time span.
    You wrote, “You look at only the upper 700 meters of the entire ocean.”
    Of course. The only dataset that’s available to the public on an easy-to-use gridded basis is the NODC OHC data (0-700 meters) through the KNMI Climate Explorer. There’s a link to it at the bottom of each of the three posts. Do you have a link to another OHC dataset to 3000 meters from 1955 to present that KNMI could add to their Climate Explorer?
    Also, Domingues et al, Levitus et al, Wijffels et al, and Ishii and Kimoto all present OHC to depths of 700 meters. So, I’ll have to ask you, if OHC to greater depths was so critical, why don’t these studies present data for the lower depths? Data availability maybe? Increased errors to depths of 3000 meters? The lack of resolution to 3000 meters? Have you noted that the 0-3000 meter data in Levitus et al (2005) ends with the 5-year period of 1994-1998 (effectively 1996), while the 0-300 meter and 0-700 meter data end in 2003? Have you noted that the 0-3000 meter data in Levitus et al (2005) is only presented in pentads while the 0-300 meter and 0-700 meter data are presented annually? The data I’ve plotted in my posts, which is associated with Levitus et al (2009) is presented in 3-month periods.
    You wrote, “The deepest part of the ocean, the Marianas Trench, goes down 10,900 meters.” Thanks but I learned that in high school geography many decades ago.
    You continued with link to an ARGO website and to a graph from von Schuckmann et al (2009):
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/images/ocean-heat-2000m.gif
    Please advise how OHC data for the period of 2003 through 2008 or your much quoted “During the six years of in-situ measurements [2003-2008], an oceanic warming of 0.77 ± 0.11 Wm−2 occurred in the upper 2000m depth of the water column,” contradicts the three posts I provided that covered the period of 1955 to 2009.
    Last, downward longwave (infrared) radiation from greenhouse gases can only warm the upper few centimeters of the oceans. But the argument has been presented that DLR (infrared radiation), through mixing caused by waves and wind stress turbulence, would warm the mixed layer of the ocean. This in turn would impact the temperature gradient between the mixed layer and skin, dampening the outward flow of heat from the ocean to the atmosphere. The end result according to the argument: OHC would rise due to an increase in DLR (infrared radiation) caused by increases in greenhouse gas emissions.
    Consider this: the majority of the OHC datasets that I presented in the three posts do not show long-term increases in OHC that one would anticipate with anthropogenic greenhouse gases. They show decadal and multidecadal periods of little to no rise or decadal and multidecadal declines in OHC, followed by short-term rises, and as discussed earlier, these short-term rises were shown to correspond to ENSO events and changes in sea level pressure. So let’s assume von Schukmann et al were correct and OHC to depths of 2000 meters continues to rise. If the top 700 meters shows no signs of anthropogenic warming, how would the longwave radiation bypass the top 700 meters to warm the ocean below? It can’t. Warm waters from the top 700 meters that show no signs of anthropogenic warming would have to be subducted to warm the depths below, so the warming of the lower depths would have to be natural as well.
    In short, your reply did not address the natural variables discussed in my posts and most of your reply did not even address the period of 1955 to present discussed in my posts. To save you the time needed to scroll up, here are the links to the posts again:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/09/enso-dominates-nodc-ocean-heat-content.html
    And:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/10/north-atlantic-ocean-heat-content-0-700.html
    And:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/12/north-pacific-ocean-heat-content-shift.html

  72. Eric (skeptic) (17:35:12) :
    Anu quoting the Von Schuckmann study “During the six years of in-situ measurements [2003-2008], an oceanic warming of 0.77 ± 0.11 Wm−2 occurred in the upper 2000m depth of the water column.”
    Maybe next time a skeptic points out that the atmosphere hasn’t warmed for six years (or a similar time period), you will admit that six years is long enough to detect a trend against detractors who say that six years (or similar period) is too short. That would seem to be consistent with your position on ocean warming.

    ——————–
    The Argo ocean sensors were only deployed in the early 2000’s, and did not reach its target number of 3000 sensors till 2006. Analyzing the data that one has is the best you can do.
    If the data shows warming, it shows warming. This can be measured.
    Whether the warming is “statistically significant” or implies a trend or not depends on the mathematical assumptions made about the system being measured.
    The significance of this ocean warming is that it occurred during a time period that showed little warming in the upper 700m of the ocean, not that it proves a trend.
    The trend is shown with >5 decades long, upper 700m data, which seems to “stall” in warming sometimes.

  73. R Gates – have you considered that the long term temperature of the earth has been steadily increasing for centuries, with a 65 year zigzag cycle superimposed, and with the El nino / La Nina and shorter cycles on top of these again.
    All three main influences pushed the temperature upwards in 1998.
    In contrast, the zigzag was going down from 1943 to 1975.
    If you chart these using NCDC data 1880 onwards, there’s nothing left for CO2. (Hadley-CRU can give you another ZigZag half leg upwards from the early 1850’s).
    Each of the upward Zig legs are of the same order of magnitude, both as to degrees risen and time elapsed (32 or 33 years or so).
    The downward zags cover similar time frames, but look more shallow than the upward zigs, because the zags oppose the long term upward trend. You can also see that enduring upward trend in the long term Central England series which covers many centuries of rising temperature.
    The way to see this clearly is to detrend the NCDC data from 1880 onwards, by subtracting its linear trend, leaving the zigzag, El Nino’ La Nina and short term residuals.
    The Zigzag term then stands out very clearly.
    Again, there’s no space left for CO2.

  74. AusieDan (00:02:50) :
    R Gates – have you considered that the long term temperature of the earth has been steadily increasing for centuries, with a 65 year zigzag cycle superimposed, and with the El nino / La Nina and shorter cycles on top of these again.

    I don’t know about R.Gates but I haven’t considered that because I don’t thinks it’s necessarily true.
    The downward zags cover similar time frames, but look more shallow than the upward zigs, because the zags oppose the long term upward trend. You can also see that enduring upward trend in the long term Central England series which covers many centuries of rising temperature.
    Throughout the 1800s (1800-1900) CE temperatures are pretty much flat, i.e. there is no trend though a zig-zag effect can be detected.
    The way to see this clearly is to detrend the NCDC data from 1880 onwards, by subtracting its linear trend, leaving the zigzag, El Nino’ La Nina and short term residuals.
    The Zigzag term then stands out very clearly.

    Cycles are probably present but there is also an underlying trend (the one that you’ve subtracted). Also we should be on the downward zag now but there’s not much sign of it.
    Again, there’s no space left for CO2.
    Apart from the underlying trend.

  75. Vuk etc.
    You mentioned the geomagnetic effect and how the strengthening lines of magnetic force seems to mirror the rise of global temperature through quite a long time frame.
    Have you any evidence that this is more than just a coincidence, like the correlation of CO2 levels with temperature?
    I’m very interested, seeing how much the changing magnetic force lines are evident in the sun itself, the lines of force between earth and sun and the relationship with the cosmic ray theory of cloud formation.
    Is there any established connection here or just a lot of common concepts without a causal relationship?

  76. John Finn,
    My understanding is that the earth has been mostly warming for the last 10,000 years, ever since the last ice age. In these 10k years, the sea level has gone up about 120 meters, or about 1.2 meters/century. My understanding is that the sea level went up about a foot in the last century (i.e. about 1/3 the rate over the previous 100 centuries).
    Does this sound correct to you?

  77. Eric (skeptic) said:
    “The reason for most of the warming of the past few hundred years is (natural) recovery from the Little Ice Age…”
    I tend to agree with this…to a point. I think it’s been a mixture up to the late 1970’s…then the I think the warming may begin to be more anthropogenic. But I’m a 25% skeptic, and I think the next few years will really tell.
    If during the period 2010-2015 we don’t hit at least 1, 2 or 3 new record instrument high global temps, I will be shifting my opinion to 50/50.

  78. Bob T,
    What if there was no El Nino, how would that impact climate? What if the trade winds which push warm water west would no longer blow steadily? Alternatively, what if these same trade winds blew relentlessly?

  79. “..Throughout the 1800s (1800-1900) CE temperatures are pretty much flat, i.e. there is no trend though a zig-zag effect can be detected.”
    Mmmm… sounds rather Mannian to me (you know, flat temperatures until the late 20th Century). All things considered, the earth has been warming since the coldest decades of the LIA, and this warming began to accelerate right after the end of the Dalton Minimum. Most of the recent retreat of glaciers began in the middle of the 19th Century.

  80. R. Gates (10:43:33) : You MUST know the following: This is not a current El Nino. The actual El Nino was named as such by the peruvian fishermen after the warm current north-south which opposing the south-north cold Humblodts’s current, appears in the El Nino 1-2 zones (along the northern coasts of Peru). This phenomena has not happened this year, and, as shown by our friend Vuk (Vuk etc. (13:12:12) 🙂
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC19.htm
    it seems is migrating northwards, so whatever it is it can not be called El Nino anymore. Once more: The so called warm current IT DID NOT APPEAR along the peruvian coasts. It is ABOVE, NORTH of the equatorial line:
    http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.gif
    We are watching how it looks like our planet during “interesting times”

  81. Bob Tisdale (19:02:32) :
    The numbers 94.4 or 5.6 do not appear in Murphy et al. Please advise which paragraph or table or illustration in Murphy et al provides you with those percentages. And please don’t link ClimateProgress or SkepticalScience. Quote Murphy et al, please.

    ——————–
    I think you’re right – my notes were a bit unclear on that 94.4% figure, so I found the original papers:
    Murphy 2009
    http://www.knmi.nl/~laagland/KIK/Documenten_2009/murphy_jgr_2009.pdf
    Murphy merely quotes Leviticus 2005:
    Changes in atmospheric, land, and ice heat contents are very small compared to the oceans [Levitus et al., 2005].
    Leviticus 2005 is here:
    ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/PUBLICATIONS/grlheat05.pdf
    His Figure 3 shows the oceans absorbed 84% of the planet’s increase in heat content 1955-1998, not 94.4%.
    Still, that’s by far most of the global warming heat.
    Note that the recent warming of the lithosphere (boreholes show the rocks of the continents are warming) also soaks up some global warming heat.
    ———-
    There is no doubt that the heat content of the world’s oceans slosh around from place to place and among its different depths. Are you implying that sometimes large amounts of heat disappears for awhile, or jumps into the atmosphere as the oceans cool ? Conservation of energy is a pretty solid expectation.
    Murphy 2009 states:
    In addition to heating of the top 700 m, some heat is transported to the deep ocean. The heat content to 3000 m depth has been estimated to add about 30% to 40% to recent increases above 700 m on the basis of limited deep ocean temperature data [Levitus et al., 2001]. Another estimate [Ko¨hl et al., 2007] based on an ocean model assimilation of temperature, wind stress, and other data leads to a 40% correction for heat transported deeper than 700 m, with most of this after 1990 [Ko¨hl and Stammer, 2008]. The coefficient of thermal expansion of water varies with temperature and depth, so steric sea level rise does not uniquely constrain ocean heat content. For the purposes of
    this paper we estimate that from 1950 to 2003 the increase in the heat content of the ocean deeper than 700 m was 40 ±15% of the increase from 0 to 700 m. For a given year, the deep ocean heat content is scaled to the heat content above 700 m averaged over the preceding 10 years. The actual lag
    may be longer but the results here are insensitive to the averaging period and longer averages require more assumptions about the heat content before 1950.

    If just the top 700 meters of the ocean were all-important, why are the Argo floats designed to probe to 2000 meters ?
    The OHC data from 2003 to 2008 for the upper 2000 m does not contradict your 700 m data, it just shows that ocean currents have vertical components that transfer heat below 700m, and sometimes up to 700 m layer. 25% to 55% of the heat of the ocean sloshes across that 700 m layer boundary, according to Murphy 2009.
    Don’t forget the layer mixing by the vertical currents in the Southern Ocean and the North Pole – waves and wind is not the only mechanisms for transferring heat to the deep ocean layers.
    Your “natural variables” are just regional sloshing of ocean heat contents. You are forgetting that a very small delta of ocean temperature represents a tremendous amount of heat: From Leviticus 2005:
    Thus, a mean temperature change of 0.1C of the world ocean would correspond roughly to a mean temperature change of 100C of the global atmosphere if all the heat associated with this ocean anomaly was instantaneously transferred from the ocean to the atmosphere.
    the mass of the ocean is 1.4  10^21 kg
    the mass of the atmosphere is 5.3  10^18 kg
    As to why the oceans do not heat uniformly as the CO2 rises uniformly, Leviticus 2005 states:
    one question put to us is that since atmospheric greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, etc. are well mixed in the atmosphere, why isn’t the ocean responding uniformly? There are two reasons one does not expect uniform heating of the ocean from the observed increase in greenhouse gases. The first is that the natural and anthropogenic aerosols are not well mixed geographically and can have a substantial effect on regional warming rates. This has been documented for the northern Indian Ocean by
    Ramanathan et al. [2001a, 2001b] who estimate a decrease of absorbed surface solar radiation exceeding 10 Wm2 over much of the Indian Ocean due to aerosols. Also, the Houghton et al. [2001] report documents the geographical variability of various aerosols, ozone, black carbon, etc. that
    affect the amount of radiation available to enter the world ocean. The second reason is that any change in the Earth’s radiative balance may induce global and regional changes in the circulation of the atmosphere and ocean which could in turn affect the net flux of heat across the air-sea interface on
    a regional basis.

    When you look at the fits and starts in the longterm ocean heating in the top 700 meters,
    http://i38.tinypic.com/zxjy14.png
    don’t forget about the 1300 meters below that top layer. The data might not be reduced yet for easy Web access, but the Argo data has been collected – perhaps you can grab the raw data and analyze it yourself if you don’t trust Schuckmann and Murphy, but you cannot state that these deeper ocean layers are not important to ocean heat content.
    Yes, too bad we didn’t have Argo like coverage of the oceans, down to 2000 meters, back to 1955:
    http://www-hrx.ucsd.edu/www-argo/status.jpg
    Better late than never.

  82. Enneagram,
    I do of course get the distinction, and also more, following along Trenberth’s distinction as outlined here:
    http://www.nws.noaa.gov/ost/climate/STIP/FY09CTBSeminars/jin_020409.htm
    I would also suggest everyone read this little bit about the climate shift of 1976/77, when the character of Pacific Ocean (at least in recent times) changed:
    http://horizon.ucsd.edu/miller/download/climateshift/climate_shift.pdf
    Could this “climate shift” be related to AGW? Yes. And it also might not be. And certainly the warming of the Pacific Ocean n 2009-2010 could be as well.

  83. Steve Koch (07:14:36) : You asked, “What if there was no El Nino, how would that impact climate?”
    Not sure of all of the impacts, but if El Nino events did not exist, there would be a larger temperature difference between the equator and the poles. The equator would be warmer and the poles would be colder.
    You asked, “What if the trade winds which push warm water west would no longer blow steadily?”
    They aren’t steady. At present, when they relax or reverse, there’s an El Nino. And when the trade winds increase in strength, there’s a La Nina.
    You asked, “Alternatively, what if these same trade winds blew relentlessly?”
    Without ever varying, just a constant velocity, year in, year out? Doesn’t happen. Would that be your no El Nino scenario?

  84. Bob T,
    Would the planet be a bit hotter without El Ninos (since heat would not be as efficiently transferred to the poles where it is more efficiently radiated to space)?
    What I was getting at with the trade winds either blowing all the time or never blowing was just a mental experiment about how those (unrealistic) scenarios would affect climate (assuming everything else is equal). I’m guessing that the steady state situations (i.e. of either no wind or steady wind all the time) would produce a warmer world than the stormy weather produced by El Nino.
    Is it true that stormy weather is more efficient at radiating energy to space than calm weather?

  85. Anu (09:46:29): You wrote, “Murphy merely quotes Leviticus 2005”
    You’ve added a syllable to the last name of Sydney Levitus.
    You asked, “Are you implying that sometimes large amounts of heat disappears for awhile, or jumps into the atmosphere as the oceans cool ?”
    No. Do you find anything in my posts or in the accompanying graphs that imply that “large amounts of heat disappears for awhile?”
    And thanks for the quote from Murphy et al, which in part read, “For the purposes of this paper we estimate that from 1950 to 2003 the increase in the heat content of the ocean deeper than 700 m was 40 ±15% of the increase from 0 to 700 m. For a given year, the deep ocean heat content is scaled to the heat content above 700 m averaged over the preceding 10 years. The actual lag may be longer but the results here are insensitive to the averaging period and longer averages require more assumptions about the heat content before 1950.”
    But, if we look at the comparison graph of OHC to three different depths (300, 700, 3000 meters), which is Figure 1 from Levitus et al (2005), we see there is no lag. Anu, what do you suppose adding a non-existent lag to the deeper dataset would do to their results? Since it does not appear in the studies they reference, they had to have added it for a reason. Why?
    http://i40.tinypic.com/2mchst0.png
    You wrote, “If just the top 700 meters of the ocean were all-important, why are the Argo floats designed to probe to 2000 meters ?”
    Excuse the phrasing of my rhetorical question in my last reply. I believe I answered why 700meters was used in the questions that followed.
    You wrote, “25% to 55% of the heat of the ocean sloshes across that 700 m layer boundary, according to Murphy 2009.”
    Please clarify how you derived those percentages. They do not appear in Murphy et al.
    You wrote, “Don’t forget the layer mixing by the vertical currents in the Southern Ocean and the North Pole – waves and wind is not the only mechanisms for transferring heat to the deep ocean layers.”
    I haven’t, which is why I wrote in my 19:02:32 yesterday, If the top 700 meters shows no signs of anthropogenic warming, how would the longwave radiation bypass the top 700 meters to warm the ocean below? It can’t. Warm waters from the top 700 meters that show no signs of anthropogenic warming would have to be subducted to warm the depths below, so the warming of the lower depths would have to be natural as well.
    And there is always Figure 5.1 from the IPCC AR4 to put things in perspective:
    http://i43.tinypic.com/x6habk.png
    You wrote, “…don’t forget about the 1300 meters below that top layer. The data might not be reduced yet for easy Web access, but the Argo data has been collected…”
    My posts deal with the long-term rise. At the present time, I have little interest in the short-term data. But you have to take the ARGO data with a grain of salt. There are corrections on top of corrections on top of corrections… Here’s a gif animation that shows the January 2010 correction to the NODC (Levitus et al 2009) OHC data:
    http://i48.tinypic.com/14e6wjn.gif
    Does von Schuckmann (2009) include those corrections? Nope.
    Regards

  86. Steve Koch (13:55:39) : You asked, “Would the planet be a bit hotter without El Ninos (since heat would not be as efficiently transferred to the poles where it is more efficiently radiated to space)?”
    Sounds logical, though I have never seen it presented that way.
    You asked, “Is it true that stormy weather is more efficient at radiating energy to space than calm weather?”
    Dunno. Sorry.

  87. Anu and Bob Tisdale, a recent comment by Trenberth in Science Perspective contains this chart of measured net TOA radiation versus the changes in Ocean Heat Content down to 2000 metres and other measures.
    There is a lot of “Missing” or Unaccounted for energy in the Ocean Heat Content and surface temperature data versus that expected.
    http://img202.imageshack.us/img202/7316/trenberthmissingheat.png
    Schuckmann is suspiciously not referenced and the OHC data used is not consistent with Schuckmann’s data. [I always assumed there was a problem with the adjustments done since it is not consistent with the upper 700 metres].
    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/Tracking%20Energyv5.pdf

  88. @Bob Tisdale (15:23:52) :
    Do you find anything in my posts or in the accompanying graphs that imply that “large amounts of heat disappears for awhile?”
    Yes, from the upper 700m of the ocean, for instance
    http://i34.tinypic.com/1zgx284.png
    The brown curve, Global Ocean Heat Content, goes down in part of the 60’s and 80’s – this heat either goes deeper into the ocean for awhile, or is transferred to the continent or atmosphere. The point is, what is described as “natural variability” could be described much more precisely, if the measurements were there. That is what Trenberth was talking about in his famous stolen email.
    You wrote, “25% to 55% of the heat of the ocean sloshes across that 700 m layer boundary, according to Murphy 2009.”
    Please clarify how you derived those percentages. They do not appear in Murphy et al.

    For the purposes of this paper we estimate that from 1950 to 2003 the increase in the heat content of the ocean deeper than 700 m was 40 ±15% of the increase from 0 to 700 m.
    Murphy et. al. page 2
    If the top 700 meters shows no signs of anthropogenic warming,
    I’m saying that the top 700 m of the ocean is warming:
    http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/
    warming about 17 * 10^22 joules in 50 years, and that periods where it seems to be cooling might be explained by heat being sloshed to lower depths of the ocean. Yes, the Argo global-coverage measurements of this deep ocean level did not arrive till the early 2000’s, and so we cannot look at 5 decade trends for this more comprehensive data, but look at what it does show:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/images/ocean-heat-2000m.gif
    (from the Schuckman et al 2009 paper, page 51)
    http://www.euro-argo.eu/content/download/49437/368494/file/VonSchukmann_et_al_2009_inpress.pdf
    During 2004 to 2010, when the OHC of the upper 700m of the worlds oceans seem to not warm, we see that if you look at the more inclusive upper 2000m, they do warm, showing the importance of vertical ocean currents in moving heat around the vast oceans. As Murphy et al said:
    On the other hand, the error bars would underestimate the uncertainty if
    most of the warming took place in poorly sampled regions such as the Southern Ocean.

    Even in June 2009, with years of full Argo system operation, the Southern Ocean, with substantial vertical currents, remains “poorly sampled”.
    I think von Schuckmann et al include the Willis corrections to the Argo and XBT data: it is 2 years after the errors are pointed out, and he cites the key Willis paper:
    Willis, J., J. Lyman, G. Johnson, and J. Gilson (2007), Correction to ‘Recent cooling of the upper ocean’, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, doi:10.1029/2007GL030323.
    I agree the ocean data is somewhat sparse, and recent. I would like to see 20,000 ocean sensors instead of 3200, more sampling of the Arctic and Southern Oceans, and sensors that could drift better with ocean currents, horizontally and vertically, for long periods before surfacing and downloading recorded data. But I wouldn’t be surprised if all the data was consistent with inexorably warming oceans. And I wouldn’t be surprised if such data, decades from now, is used to make predictions of phenomena like ENSO and PDO as precise as lunar eclipses.
    Well, maybe a bit less precise.
    Cheers.

  89. Bill Illis (17:21:32) :
    Anu and Bob Tisdale, a recent comment by Trenberth in Science Perspective contains this chart of measured net TOA radiation versus the changes in Ocean Heat Content down to 2000 metres and other measures.
    There is a lot of “Missing” or Unaccounted for energy in the Ocean Heat Content and surface temperature data versus that expected.
    http://img202.imageshack.us/img202/7316/trenberthmissingheat.png
    Schuckmann is suspiciously not referenced and the OHC data used is not consistent with Schuckmann’s data. [I always assumed there was a problem with the adjustments done since it is not consistent with the upper 700 metres].
    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/Tracking%20Energyv5.pdf

    ——————-
    Thanks for the citation – it’s a short paper, so I read it just now.
    Trenberth mentions that:
    By 2004 the ocean observing system had reached new capabilities, as some 3000 Argo floats populated the ocean for the first time to provide regular temperature soundings of the upper 2000 m, giving new confidence in the ocean heat content assessment.
    but as you point out, he merely cites Levitus and his study of the top 700m:
    10. S. Levitus, et al., Global ocean heat content 1955-2008 in light of recently revealed instrumentation problems. Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L07608, doi:10.1029/2008GL037155 (2009).
    That paper is here:
    ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/PUBLICATIONS/grlheat08.pdf
    Levitus explicitly says he is only updating his estimates of the Ocean Heat Content (OHC) of the upper 700 meters of the ocean (which he calls OHC700). Nowhere does he deal with the full upper 2000m, which the Argo floats make available.
    von Schuckmann explicitly works with the full 2000m data:
    http://www.euro-argo.eu/content/download/49437/368494/file/VonSchukmann_et_al_2009_inpress.pdf
    In section 3 we carry out a detailed description of long-term and seasonal hydrographic changes in the water column down to 2000m.
    (from the Introduction).
    I think the reason 2000m data is not “consistent” with 700m data is that heat can slosh around, vertically as well as horizontally. It’s like moving furniture from your house to your garage, and back. If you look only at the data from “the house”, furniture will seem to magically disappear and reappear. If you look at data from “the house plus the garage”, you will see all the furniture. The 1300m below the top 700m is like “the garage”. And in this analogy, the house/garage system is steadily acquiring furniture.
    Levitus et al stated (in the Introduction):
    We acknowledge that ocean temperature data are sparse in the polar and subpolar regions of the world ocean but we still refer to our OHC estimates as global. We do this because the OHC estimates are volume integrals so that
    only relatively small contributions are expected from the polar regions to our global estimates. Nevertheless there are locally important changes in OHC in these regions such as warming of the North Atlantic Water in the Arctic Ocean
    that may play an important role in climate change.

    The polar oceans are where most of the vertical mixing with deep ocean layers takes place, so I expect that future, higher resolution Argo-type measurements at the poles will shed much light on the “sloshing” of heat between these two layers. Perhaps current Argo sensors do not function well in vertical conveyor belt currents, I haven’t looked into this…
    These deep water ocean currents seem to be between 2000m and 4000m deep:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Atlantic_Deep_Water
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Thermohaline_Circulation_2.png
    I think Trenberth will get around to publishing a look at deeper ocean heat content, and find much of his “missing energy”.
    I guess a future Argo-type global ocean sensing system should look even deeper, to 4000m.

  90. Anu said “The Argo ocean sensors were only deployed in the early 2000’s, and did not reach its target number of 3000 sensors till 2006. Analyzing the data that one has is the best you can do”
    If 6 years is not good enough for a surface temperature trend change, then it is not good enough for ocean temperature either. It doesn’t matter at all whether it is “the best you can do”.

  91. RGates said “If during the period 2010-2015 we don’t hit at least 1, 2 or 3 new record instrument high global temps, I will be shifting my opinion to 50/50.”
    That sounds reasonable. I would raise my “don’t care / care”: opinion to 50/50, but I would like to see a better instrument network over that time frame. Since it is in the future, we can do it if we truly care about this issue.

  92. Anu (20:15:28) : You replied, “Yes, from the upper 700m of the ocean, for instance
    http://i34.tinypic.com/1zgx284.png
    “The brown curve, Global Ocean Heat Content, goes down in part of the 60’s and 80’s – this heat either goes deeper into the ocean for awhile, or is transferred to the continent or atmosphere.”
    Or there is less downward shortwave radiation reaching the oceans due to increases in cloud cover or increases in aerosols such as Saharan dust… Lots of potential reasons for the declines.
    You replied, “I’m saying that the top 700 m of the ocean is warming,” to my statement, “If the top 700 meters shows no signs of anthropogenic warming…”
    I did not say the global ocean was not warming. I wrote that it showed no signs of anthropogenic warming. There is a significant difference between your reply and what I wrote. I’ve shown that the warming can be explained as responses to natural factor such as ENSO and changes in sea level pressure.
    You replied, “During 2004 to 2010, when the OHC of the upper 700m of the worlds oceans seem to not warm, we see that if you look at the more inclusive upper 2000m, they do warm, showing the importance of vertical ocean currents in moving heat around the vast oceans.”
    And I advised that there have been multiple corrections to the ARGO data, including one as late as 2010, which could not have been included in von Schuckmann (2009), and that that correction changed the trend for the past few years from positive to negative. Here’s the gif animation again:
    http://i48.tinypic.com/14e6wjn.gif
    You quoted Murphy et al: “On the other hand, the error bars would underestimate the uncertainty if most of the warming took place in poorly sampled regions such as the Southern Ocean.”
    The opening prepositional phrase in your quote, “On the other hand,” implies that they made the opposite point in the previous sentence.
    And you quote Murphy et al, “For the purposes of this paper we estimate that from 1950 to 2003 the increase in the heat content of the ocean deeper than 700 m was 40 ±15% of the increase from 0 to 700 m,” to explain how you came up with the following in an earlier comment, “The OHC data from 2003 to 2008 for the upper 2000 m does not contradict your 700 m data, it just shows that ocean currents have vertical components that transfer heat below 700m, and sometimes up to 700 m layer. 25% to 55% of the heat of the ocean sloshes across that 700 m layer boundary, according to Murphy 2009.”
    The 40 ±15% is a value assumed by Murphy et al. It was not a value they determined. Also as I discussed in my earlier comment, they calculate the heat content at depths below 700 meters as a lagged value of the top 700 meters even though an earlier study shows that there is no lag.
    You made a number of references to von Schuckmann et al, including, “I think von Schuckmann et al include the Willis corrections to the Argo and XBT data”
    They could not have accounted for the more recent (2010) corrections noted above, which was why I referred to those corrections in my earlier comment.
    Regards

  93. Bill Illis: You wrote, “Schuckmann is suspiciously not referenced and the OHC data used is not consistent with Schuckmann’s data. [I always assumed there was a problem with the adjustments done since it is not consistent with the upper 700 metres].”
    Based on the wide variations in the representation of fundamentally the same source data, it appears that OHC over decadal and shorter multiyear periods is very dependent on interpretation and assumptions made by researchers:
    http://i44.tinypic.com/5uizit.png
    And based on the differences between von Schuckmann and other reports on the same data, whether OHC rises or falls over the past few years depends on whether the researchers are looking for funding for better measurement systems (Trenberth) or looking to be included in an IPCC report (von Schuckmann).

  94. Anu,
    Good stuff but maybe you could write a few words about why the missing ocean heat content is such a big deal. Back in 2005, Hansen predicted OHC would go up by (IIRC) 10^22 joules/year for several years. It did not come close to happening, in fact OHC leveled off and has even declined recently.
    Isn’t it past the time for Hansen to be honest with the public and admit that this AGW hypothesis was falsified, that the GCMs still don’t have the ability to accurately model the climate, and that the science of AGW is not settled? Maybe at the same time he could define in public a new falsifiable hypothesis for AGW.

  95. @Bob Tisdale (04:00:14) :
    Or there is less downward shortwave radiation reaching the oceans due to increases in cloud cover or increases in aerosols such as Saharan dust… Lots of potential reasons for the declines.
    This would be covered under “this heat either goes deeper into the ocean for awhile, or is transferred to the continent or atmosphere.” If the upper 700m of the oceans lose heat, it has to be going somewhere.
    I did not say the global ocean was not warming. I wrote that it showed no signs of anthropogenic warming. There is a significant difference between your reply and what I wrote. I’ve shown that the warming can be explained as responses to natural factor such as ENSO and changes in sea level pressure.
    ENSO is just a redistribution of existing ocean heat. Even the 700m data from the 50’s shows longterm warming. Saying this is due to “natural factors” is no explanation – you must propose where the heat is coming from. Energy must be conserved.
    And how does “changes in sea level pressure” cause ocean warming ?
    Yes, corrections to graphs on NODC websites are disconcerting,
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/31/nodc-revises-ocean-heat-content-data/
    but since the site still says:
    Data distribution figures, temperature anomaly fields, and heat content fields updated from the paper Global ocean heat content (1955-2008) in light of recent instrumentation problems published in Geophysical Research Letters. See the manuscript below for details.
    it is just as likely that the NODC webmaster made a mistake generating the graph from the paper’s data, as the paper was further corrected by unspecified Argo corrections.
    Until I see any actual Argo float data corrections from Jan 2010, I will assume the von Shuckmann results for the upper 2000m stands:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/images/ocean-heat-2000m.gif
    And the fact remains, even with the OHC700 subset of data, the oceans have been warming since 1955. ENSO-like sloshing around of heat can’t explain such longterm warming.
    The opening prepositional phrase in your quote, “On the other hand,” implies that they made the opposite point in the previous sentence.
    There is no need to guess what Murphy said before my quoted section, I gave you the URL for the entire paper:
    http://www.knmi.nl/~laagland/KIK/Documenten_2009/murphy_jgr_2009.pdf
    Don’t forget that PDF readers have a “search” function built-in.
    The 40 ±15% is a value assumed by Murphy et al. It was not a value they determined.
    The paper says “we estimate”, not “assume”. Yes, too bad research papers are not hyperlinked to more detailed, underlying notes, data and procedures. It is hard to parse research papers line by line without being in the field. Not to mention that research papers are “owned” by journals that do not even want them on the Web for people like you and I to read for free.
    Yes, that lag stuff Murphy talks about seems weird. I don’t pretend to understand every single sentence in the Murphy paper. von Schuckmann doesn’t mention it at all – I don’t see why measured temperatures in the 1300 meters below the top 700m should depend in any way on the history of the temperature of the top 700m.
    Again, I have not seen any “corrections” in January 2010 to Argo data – I just see that NODC made an error on some graph on some webpage. Hardly conclusive. Presenting results to the public on the Web are a low priority for active scientists, and probably some low level employee at NODC made a mistake in some plotting software.
    (Although, if it turns out there was another small correction to Argo data, I wouldn’t be too surprised. Seems like they are still settling in since the system got up to speed in 2006. Oh well.)
    p.s You have nice graphics on your blogspot. Maybe you can consult for NODC 🙂

  96. Steve Koch (08:53:50) :
    Anu,
    Good stuff but maybe you could write a few words about why the missing ocean heat content is such a big deal. Back in 2005, Hansen predicted OHC would go up by (IIRC) 10^22 joules/year for several years. It did not come close to happening, in fact OHC leveled off and has even declined recently.

    ——————
    Yes, if the oceans were not warming, that would be a big problem for the AGW crowd, since their measurements and calculations of radiative imbalance caused by the buildup of CO2 require that the retained solar heat go someplace, and 85% to 90% of that heat would be in the oceans.
    However, as I’ve said above in this thread, the Ocean Heat Content of the upper 2000m shows just that, whereas the upper 700m shows a recent stall in the decades-long, on-again, off-again warming of the oceans.
    Figure 11 (page 51) of:
    http://www.euro-argo.eu/content/download/49437/368494/file/VonSchukmann_et_al_2009_inpress.pdf
    shows a warming of 0.75 * 10^8 Joules/m^2 for Jan 2006 to Dec 2008.
    Given an ocean area of 3.61 * 10^14 m^2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean
    this is a total warming of 2.7 * 10^22 Joules.
    Hansen was correct.
    Isn’t it past the time for Hansen to be honest with the public and admit that this AGW hypothesis was falsified, that the GCMs still don’t have the ability to accurately model the climate, and that the science of AGW is not settled? Maybe at the same time he could define in public a new falsifiable hypothesis for AGW.
    Perhaps it is time for the people criticizing Hansen to step up their game and learn what’s actually going on, so they don’t become funny historical footnotes:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/22/the-guardian-sees-the-light-on-wind-driven-arctic-ice-loss/#comment-350967
    I predict that one day, Dr. Hansen will be on a postage stamp, too:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cd/Stamp-robert_h_goddard.jpg
    There is already a TV show based on him:
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3102/2827189481_d6edb26115.jpg
    http://tinyurl.com/ywdlrr

  97. Anu (09:28:44): You replied, “This would be covered under ‘this heat either goes deeper into the ocean for awhile, or is transferred to the continent or atmosphere.’ If the upper 700m of the oceans lose heat, it has to be going somewhere.”
    Wrong. Read what I wrote again. “Or there is less downward shortwave radiation reaching the oceans due to increases in cloud cover or increases in aerosols such as Saharan dust…” OHC can also decline if there is less Downward Shortwave Radiation (visible light) warming the oceans.
    You replied, “ENSO is just a redistribution of existing ocean heat. Even the 700m data from the 50’s shows longterm warming. Saying this is due to “natural factors” is no explanation – you must propose where the heat is coming from. Energy must be conserved.”
    I have proposed where it’s coming from. You must not have read the posts I linked earlier. There will be more links in this comment that will reinforce them.
    You wrote, “it is just as likely that the NODC webmaster made a mistake generating the graph from the paper’s data, as the paper was further corrected by unspecified Argo corrections.”
    Really? Nice try at spinning that, blaming a graphing error on the webmaster. Actually, I checked with the NODC via email before I posted my most recent update. The data is correct. And you can verify the current values of the NODC OHC data through the KNMI Climate Explorer. It’s available on a gridded basis, and it’s identified as “1955-now: NODC 0-700m” about two-thirds of the way down the page:
    http://climexp.knmi.nl/selectfield_obs.cgi?someone@somewhere
    Here, let me save you the trouble. The following OHC update was also posted here at WUWT:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/02/ohc-linear-trends-and-recent-update-of.html
    Your other option if you continue to think the webmaster made a mistake is to notify him by email. The NODC, like most researcher institutions and individual researchers, does return emails from the public. And in my experience, they’re helpful and more than willing to share information or point you in the right direction.
    You wrote, “ENSO-like sloshing around of heat can’t explain such longterm warming.”
    There’s much more to ENSO than the “sloshing around of heat”. ENSO warms the oceans remote to it, like the North Atlantic, through changes in atmospheric circulation. ENSO warms the oceans adjacent to it through changes in atmospheric circulation and through the redistribution of warm waters by ocean currents (your sloshing). El Nino events discharge heat from the surface (and below the subsurface to depths of 300 meters) of the tropical Pacific and La Nina events recharge it by reducing cloud cover and allowing more downward shortwave radiation to warm the tropical Pacific. Here, these three posts will help:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/11/more-detail-on-multiyear-aftereffects.html
    AND:
    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
    And the posts I linked in my earlier reply also illustrate the long-term effects on OHC of changes in sea level pressure, specifically in the North Atlantic and North Pacific.
    You wrote, “There is no need to guess what Murphy said before my quoted section, I gave you the URL for the entire paper”
    I didn’t guess. I read the paper years ago, and I still have a copy. My comment was a different way to suggest your view was one sided.
    You replied, “The paper says ‘we estimate’, not ‘assume’.”
    Do they say it’s a calculated value? Nope. Do they provide any calculations? Nope. Are there large error bars? Yup. And as noted in the following, their estimated value not only exceeds their references in that paragraph, or leans to high end, they also appear to misquote the values presented by one of those references.
    You wrote, “I don’t see why measured temperatures in the 1300 meters below the top 700m should depend in any way on the history of the temperature of the top 700m.”
    Murphy et al is not using measurements below 700 meters. They’re making the assumption that there is a lag and calculating the OHC below 700 meters using that lag with their “estimate” that it will be 40% of the OHC to 700 meters. But the comparison graph of measured OHC to three different depths that I posted earlier shows the three datasets mimic one another—with no lag. Here it is again:
    http://i40.tinypic.com/2mchst0.png
    You’ve quoted the Murphy et al “estimate that from 1950 to 2003 the increase in the heat content of the ocean deeper than 700 m was 40 ± 15% of the increase from 0 to 700 m.” Murphy et al state, “Another estimate[Kohl et al., 2007] based on an ocean model assimilation of temperature, wind stress, and other data leads to a 40% correction for heat transported deeper than 700 m,” but the referenced paper reads, “Over the last 30 years the heat content increases by about 35×10^22 J, of which 25×10^22 J result from the top 700 m, and 10 x 10^22 J from the depth range 700-3000 m.” (10/35=28%) So the Murphy 40% appears to overstate Kohl et al.
    Murphy et al also appears to refer to the wrong Levitus et al paper in that paragraph, paragraph 8. Murphy et al write, “In addition to heating of the top 700 m, some heat is transported to the deep ocean. The heat content to 3000 m depth has been estimated to add about 30% to 40% to recent increases above 700 m on the basis of limited deep ocean temperature data [Levitus et al., 2001].” But Levitus et al (2001) “Anthropogenic Warming of Earth’s Climate System” only deals with the depths of 0-3000 meters. The depth of 700 meters does not appear in it.
    http://fire.pppl.gov/GCC_Levitus_Barnett.pdf
    If we assume Murphy et al meant to refer to Levitus et al (2005), their 40% still appears high. The change in global OHC of the 0-700meter depth in Table T1 of Levitus et al (2005) is 77% of the 0-3000 meter depth. The global OHC trend of the 0-700meter depth in Table T2 of Levitus et al (2005) is 69% of the 0-3000 meter depth. But those trends are not for similar time periods and Levitus et al does not provide the data for the comparable terms. Even if we assume Murphy et al’s approximation of Levitus et al (2005) values (30 to 40%) is correct, their “estimate” of 40% is still toward the high end of their reference.
    Would the lag and an over estimation of OHC from 700 to 3000 meters skew their results, Anu?
    You wrote, “Again, I have not seen any ‘corrections’ in January 2010 to Argo data.”
    Let me ask, where would you expect to find it? Maybe in an update to an OHC dataset? And who makes the corrections, the data supplier or the user? If ARGO data is anything like land surface and sea surface temperature data, it’s up to the user (GISS, NCDC, Hadley Center) to correct the data. And again, the NODC corrected the OHC data for 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 in January 2010, as I noted in an earlier comment.
    You wrote, “You have nice graphics on your blogspot.”
    Thanks.
    Regards

  98. R. Gates (12:09:31) said in response to my “Could it be that the world is warming naturally?”:
    “Naturally would imply by natural causes and known cycles. Every known factor that affects the earth’s climate has been pretty thoroughly accounted for in AGWT, from solar cycles, astronomical, ocean heat, etc., and working together, these paint a pretty well understood pattern of climate variability. ” Really! I am amazed. You mean you can predict an El Nino event? You can explain why the century on century standard deviation of temperature during the last glacial period was around 4 deg C, as opposed to 0.4 deg C during this interglacial? Could you provide some evidence for your success?

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