History suggests: don't bet on La Nina this year

Typical (Average) El Nino, Traditional El Nino, and El Nino Modoki Events

Guest Post by Bob Tisdale

Sea Surface Temperatures, Week of April 21, 2010

Recently, there have been a number of posts around the blogosphere about the current El Nino or about Sea Surface Temperatures (SST). Accompanying them are predictions by the authors of those posts or by commenters of a pending La Nina event. But the “typical” El Nino event is not followed by a La Nina event. Also, the current 2009/10 El Nino event is an El Nino Modoki; that is, simply, the area with elevated SST anomalies is located more towards the center of the tropical Pacific than a traditional El Nino event; and few La Nina events follow El Nino Modoki.

A number of months ago I noticed some of my visitors arrived from Google searches of “typical El Nino” or “average El Nino”. I prepared this post for them back then but got sidetracked and never posted it.

This post looks at the development and decay of the average El Nino, of the average traditional El Nino, and of the average El Nino Modoki. I’ve also segmented the data into two periods, before and after 1979 to illustrate the change in development and strength of El Nino events. Last, as references, are spaghetti plots of the development and decay of all El Nino events since 1950 (excluding the current El Nino, since it’s not complete). The post could also be used by those bloggers who like to make predictions or by those wanting to see whether prognostications have any basis in history.

THE AVERAGE EL NINO

Figure 1 illustrates the development and decay of the average El Nino event for the period of 1950 through 2007. It starts in January of the development year and ends in December of the following (decay) year. To create the graph, I averaged the SST anomaly (ONI) values for the 24 months associated with each official El Nino event identified on the CPC’s Oceanic Nino Index (ONI) webpage:

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

The average El Nino reaches the +0.5 deg C threshold of an El Nino in late May, peaks in December, then quickly decays until it drops below the +0.5 deg C El Nino threshold in mid March. The SST anomalies of the average El Nino do drop below zero, but during the following ENSO season they do not cross the -0.5 deg C threshold for a La Nina event.

http://i39.tinypic.com/k3vuvo.png

Figure 1

BEFORE AND AFTER 1979

The frequency and magnitude of ENSO events changed about 1976. Between the mid-1940s and the mid-1970s, La Nina events dominated (with a period of El Nino dominance in the 1960s), and after, El Nino events were dominant. This can be illustrated with a long-term graph of NINO3.4 SST anomalies smoothed with a 121-month filter, Figure 2.

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

Figure 2

But studies such as Trenberth et al (2002) divide the data into periods before and after 1979, based on the development of El Nino events, so I’ve divided the data in this post at 1979. (The 1976/77 event was a weak traditional El Nino, and the 1977/78 El Nino was a weak El Nino Modoki.) Link to Trenberth et al (2002) “Evolution of El Nino–Southern Oscillation and global atmospheric surface temperatures”:

http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/papers/2000JD000298.pdf

The average SST anomalies of the El Nino events before and after 1979 are shown in Figure 3. It comes as no surprise that El Nino events after 1979 are stronger and last longer than those before the cutoff year. Still, even in more recent decades, the average El Nino is not followed by a La Nina.

http://i40.tinypic.com/2wpto8w.png

Figure 3

TRADITIONAL EL NINO VERSUS EL NINO MODOKI

Central Pacific versus Eastern Pacific El Nino events are discussed in a number of recent papers. Ashok et al (2007) “El Nino Modoki and its Possible Teleconnection”… https://www.jamstec.go.jp/frcgc/research/d1/iod/publications/modoki-ashok.pdf

…provides an equation that can be used to identify El Nino Modoki:

“EMI= [SSTA]A-0.5*[SSTA]B-0.5*[SSTA]C …(1)

“The square bracket in Equation (1) represents the area-averaged SSTA over each of theregions A (165E-140W, 10S-10N), B (110W-70W, 15S-5N), and C (125E-145E, 10S-20N), respectively.”

Ashok et al further describe the basis for their selection of El Nino Modoki events: “Based on the time series of the EMI shown in Figure 4a, we have identified seven typical El Niño Modoki events that lasted from boreal summer through boreal winter, peaking in one of these seasons (seasonal standard deviations for boreal summer and winter are 0.5ºC and 0.54ºC respectively). These typical El Niño Modoki events occurred in 1986, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 2002, and 2004. Additionally, we identified a typical El Niño Modoki during the boreal winter of 1979-80 that lasted through the summer of 1980, though its amplitude fell below the threshold of 0.7 σ by then.” And they clarify with the footnote, “We call an El Niño Modoki event ‘typical’ when its amplitude of the index is equal to or greater than 0.7 σ, where σ is the seasonal standard deviation.”

Ashok et al appeared to use two definitions of an El Nino Modoki: first, the average of boreal summer through boreal winter for most events, and, second, the average of the boreal winter for the 1979 event. Using the average boreal summer through winter (June through February) El Nino Modoki Index and the boreal winter El Nino Modoki Index, Figure 4, as references, I’ve identified the typical El Nino Modoki events before 1979 (based primarily on the boreal winter data when they conflict). These along with traditional El Nino events are shown in Table 1, as are the breakdown of El Nino events after 1979.

http://i40.tinypic.com/16kc3kg.png

Figure 4

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http://i39.tinypic.com/24e7v2t.png

Table 1

Note 1: El Nino Modoki events identified by Ashok et al that do not qualify as official El Nino events on the ONI Index have been excluded.

Note 2: As illustrated in Table 1, there were more El Nino Modoki before 1979 than after, yet in press releases we’re advised that El Nino Modoki events are new, and that this NEW TYPE is resulting in a greater number of hurricanes with greater frequency and more potential to make landfall.” Refer to the press release…http://media-newswire.com/release_1094000.html…for the Hye-Mi Kim, et al (2009) paper “Impact of Shifting Patterns of Pacific Ocean Warming on North AtlanticTropical Cyclones”:

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/325/5936/77

The press release describes El Nino Modoki as “new” more than once. The “newness” of El Nino Modoki was also contradicted by data in my July 6, 2009 post There Is Nothing New About The El Nino Modoki.

Figure 5 compares the average El Nino Modoki and Traditional El Nino event since 1950. The typical Traditional El Nino is stronger than the El Nino Modoki and it results in a La Nina event, where the typical El Nino Modoki decays to a neutral SST anomaly of ~0.

http://i44.tinypic.com/5pkhn8.png

Figure 5

MORE COMPARISONS

Figures 6 through 9 provide further comparisons of El Nino Modoki and Traditional El Nino events before and after 1979. I won’t discuss these individually, other than to call your attention to the comparison of El Nino Modoki and Traditional El Nino events prior to 1979, Figure 8. Note that El Nino Modoki events were stronger and their durations were longer than Traditional El Nino events.

http://i41.tinypic.com/qz222u.png

Figure 6

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http://i41.tinypic.com/bk4ux.png

Figure 7

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http://i42.tinypic.com/dqzon.png

Figure 8

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http://i39.tinypic.com/elcfa0.png

Figure 9

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COMPARISONS OF INDIVIDUAL EL NINO EVENTS

Figure 10 compares the ONI SST anomalies for the 8 Traditional El Nino events from 1950 to 2007. Dashes are used to identify the El Nino events before 1979. Of the 8 Traditional events, only two El Nino events did not transition into La Nina events. The 1976/77 El Nino was followed by the 1977/78 El Nino Modoki.

http://i44.tinypic.com/jtxvg9.png

Figure 10

And the 1951/52 El Nino was not followed by a La Nina. The 1951/52 El Nino is also anomalous in that it peaks before the typical El Nino peak months of November, December, and January. However, looking at maps of ICOADS SST anomaly data (the basis for the Hadley Centre and NCDC’s SST data) for the tropical Pacific for October through December 1951 and for January 1952, Figure 11, we can see that there were few to no SST readings during those months in the NINO3.4 region (and most of the tropical Pacific for that matter), so the 1951/52 El Nino data could be considered suspect. (Always keep in mind that much of SST data before the eras of buoys and satellites are infilled.)

http://i42.tinypic.com/qod3bq.png

Figure 11

And Figure 12 is a comparison of the 10 El Nino Modoki events. I’ve also identified the earlier events with dashes. Of the 10 El Nino Modoki, only 2 events transitioned into La Nina events, the 1963/64 and 1994/95 El Nino events. The SST anomalies during the ENSO season following the 2004/05 El Nino dipped below the La Nina threshold, but did not remain there long enough to be considered an official La Nina.

http://i44.tinypic.com/72deeq.png

Figure 12

CLOSING COMMENT

Will a La Nina follow the 2009/10 El Nino? Considering that only 2 of 10 El Nino Modoki events since 1950 were followed by La Nina events, the odds are against it. But nature does provide surprises.

SOURCES

The ONI data is available through the NOAA CPC webpage:

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

The HADISST SST anomaly data used for the El Nino Modoki graph, and the ICOADS data used for the tropical Pacific SST maps are available through the KNMI Climate Explorer:

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

I also used the KNMI Climate Explorer to create the maps.

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110 thoughts on “History suggests: don't bet on La Nina this year

  1. So why do we get El nino modokis instead of the stronger normal el ninos that seem to end in more la ninas and then lower temps?
    It seems that on average the temp plunge after a modoki isn’t as great and the result is often ( 8 out of 10 ) a change to neutral phase and not la nina.
    Does this make sense?

  2. So there is an 80% probability that May weather in the Pacific Northwest will continue as it did in April. A noticeable bite in the air slowly tapering off to October when things will be back to ‘normal’.

  3. Facinating Bob, thanks so much for compiling all that information. With the overall higher ocean heat content since the big climate shift of 76-77, I think there is nothing that anyone should take for granted. Though your point in the difference between El Nino and El Nino Modoki seem quite clear, I wonder if general cyclical ocean events are all being altered since the 76-77 climate shift, and the overall higher ocean heat content. How could they not be?

  4. Let me assure you all that El Nino’s are not what we wish in Hawaii. Particularly on Kauai. We have been watching the last 3 with interest. Hurricane frequency have been less than normal for about 10 years. And the “run” is also a lot shorter. Hmmmm

  5. @Bob
    An impressive investiation you made , thankyou.
    In this article:
    http://joannenova.com.au/2010/05/the-la-nina-shark-rises-to-bite/
    I mostly rely on the Metoffice prediction:
    http://hidethedecline.eu/media/Death%20og%20GW/3.jpg
    The Metoffice concludes La Nina, actually a stronger La Nina in just a few months.
    But obviously, The Met Office has been wrong before! – And im sure a lot of your considderations where never thought of by the Metoffice.
    However, the Metoffice´s La Nina prediction seems to go hand in hand with the marked change in the SOI index:
    http://hidethedecline.eu/media/Death%20og%20GW/5.jpg
    And then of course, the fact that under the Nino area of the pacific, most warm water has vanished:
    http://hidethedecline.eu/media/Death%20og%20GW/2.jpg
    I allways respect 100% your analysis, Bob, and in this case i think i will conclude nothing, and follow the pacific closely 🙂
    The thing is: One more La Nina, and the period of No global warming will be too long for many GW believers to accept. A La Nina could be the end of GW.
    http://hidethedecline.eu/media/Death%20og%20GW/1.jpg

  6. That 121 month filter seems too long. That’s 10 years and will shift peaks significantly. What happens when a 36 month filter is used?

  7. Stephan says:
    May 1, 2010 at 9:30 pm
    OT but I wonder how our famous Dr Leif will argue this one away
    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/2/024001/fulltext

    The lead author of this paper is Mike Lockwood. This is the same Mike Lockwood who publshed other papers which included the following conclusions:

    “It is shown that the contribution of solar variability to the temperature trend since 1987 is small and downward; the best estimate is -1.3% and the 2? confidence level sets the uncertainty range of -0.7 to -1.9%.”

    See http://rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/464/2094/1387.abstract

    “The conclusions of our previous paper, that solar forcing has declined over the past 20 years while surface air temperatures have continued to rise, are shown to apply for the full range of potential time constants for the climate response to the variations in the solar forcings.”

    See http://rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/464/2094/1367.abstract

    “The observed rapid rise in global mean temperatures seen after 1985 cannot be ascribed to solar variability, whichever of the mechanism is invoked and no matter how much the solar variation is amplified.”

    See http://www.warwickhughes.com/agri/lockwood2007.pdf
    You make the mistake of thinking that the AGW crowd denies solar variability. On the contrary they rely on solar variability to explain past climate fluctuations. Without them they would have to admit they don’t know. If the Lockwood paper (your link) is correct then the AGW case is strengthened.
    Apologies for the OT comment.

  8. EL NINO events arise in an area of the equatorial Pacific where crossings of the magnetic (Z-component) and geographic equators are found. The equatorial crossing has moved east-wards during the last 400 years.
    When the longitude of the equatorial crossings is plotted, the ‘20 year’ timescale chart is reminiscent of the global temperature trend for the same period.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC20.htm

  9. For years I used to read this or that global warmer saying that “1998 was a warm year because of … ” or “it’s cooling now because of the….” followed by el nino or La nina, and I used to believe these were a physical phenomena. I.e. that something physically measurably was happening that could be identified as a “change” which in turn would explain the climatic phenomena.
    But when I went to look, there seemed to be no real definition of these events. People just seemed to draw graphs and call the highs one and the lows another. Eventually I realised that explaining climate using these were a bit like saying: “it’s cold today because of a frosty event”. Or it is wet today because of a “rain event”.
    Unless or until someone shows me evidence to the contrary as far as I am concerned these are not perturbations on the climate, they are part of the climate. They are not variations that affect the climate, they are part of the natural climatic/weather variation.

  10. OT News: Head Rolls at Met Office After Volcanic Ash forecasts?
    According to the Met Office website Keith Groves, the UK Met Office’s Operations & Customer Service Director with responsibility for Forecasting, Observations, and Operational Service Delivery has mysteriously left the Met Office Executive with no sign of any announcement in their press release archive (and nothing obvious on the web). Keith had an active role briefing on the role of “the Met Office as a Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre and how we use our models to advise the aviation industry” (http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2010/volcano/experts.html) during the closure of European airspace following Met Office computer predictions. With no explanation for his disappearance on the executive board it is possible the poor PR for the Met Office (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/7608722/Volcanic-ash-cloud-Met-Office-blamed-for-unnecessary-six-day-closure.html) may explain his sudden and unexplained absence from the executive. For current executive see: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/board/executive_info.html
    He has been replaced by Rob Varley as Operations & Services Director whose previous role on the executive as Government Services Director has been filled by Phil Evans.
    Rob Varley is also a member of the Met Office board and has taken over responsibility for “weather, climate and ocean observations, forecasting and the delivery of operational services for customers and the public in the UK and throughout the world.” This strengthens the “climate change” view in the Met Office because since Mr Varley moved to Exeter in 2003, he has mainly worked with public sector customers: “helping the UK to manage the risks and exploit the opportunities associated with our changing weather and climate.”
    Phil Evans role as Government Services Director now includes responsibility for: “predictions on climate change; advice on the spreading of airborne animal diseases”.

  11. Great piece!
    I think Joe Bastardi would love to to read this article!
    He is pretty convinced a La Ninja is on it’s way!
    Not this year but the next.

  12. jorgekafkazar May 2, 2010 at 12:31 am: You wrote, “That 121 month filter seems too long. That’s 10 years and will shift peaks significantly.”
    The filter is centered, not weighted toward one end. That is, I’m averaging the 60 months before and the 60 months after the base month.

  13. Atlantic basin hurricane frequency and strengths are often affected by the el nino characteristics. This year is analogous to 2005. Last year, shear destroyed most hurricanes before they got started. This year there is a lot of heat content in the tropical eastern Atlantic and wind conditions may be setting up as conducive to cyclone formation.
    More and stronger hurricanes (especially compared to last year) will create a buzz with the AGW proponents.

  14. Thank you Mr Tisdale for explaining this so clearly. The amount of good science coming out of this blog heartens me.
    ___________________________________________________________________
    Stephan says:
    May 1, 2010 at 9:30 pm
    OT but I wonder how our famous Dr Leif will argue this one away
    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/2/024001/fulltext
    ______________________________________________________________
    “We stress that this is a regional and seasonal effect relating to European winters and not a global effect…” Other wise known as lets ignore all the data from China and else where because we need to support CAGW to get this paper published and we need the paper so we can confuse the sheep, excuse me the people.

  15. OT – Der Spiegel (Google Translate):

    Copenhagen Protocols
    Secret recording reveals Commotion at climate summit
    There is a log of the failure: A secret audio recordings, SPIEGEL present the shows in detail how the climate summit in Copenhagen ended in a fiasco. Der Riss zwischen EU, USA, China und Indien ging tiefer als bekannt – Wortgefechte unter anderem mit Merkel, Sarkozy und Obama sind dokumentiert. The rift between EU, U.S., China and India went deeper than known – battle of words among other things, Merkel, Sarkozy and Obama are documented.

  16. Mike Haseler says: Refer to the Bill Kessler/NOAA FAQ page here.
    http://faculty.washington.edu/kessler/occasionally-asked-questions.html
    El Nino events release heat from the tropical Pacific. During an El Nino, warm water from the surface and below the surface of the West Pacific Warm Pool sloshes east and speeads across the surface. The change in location of the warm water (western tropical Pacific to central and eastern tropical Pacific) and the “surfacing” of the warm water raises sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific. It also changes atmospheric circulation patterns, causing sea surface temperatures to rise in areas remote to the eastern tropical Pacific.
    And La Nina events recharge the heat released during the El Nino. I’ve provided lots of detail on the process in a series of posts:
    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

  17. Mike Haseler says: May 2, 2010 at 1:42 am
    “For years I used to read this or that global warmer saying that “1998 was a warm year because of … ” or “it’s cooling now because of the….” followed by el nino or La nina, and I used to believe these were a physical phenomena…………..
    Unless or until someone shows me evidence to the contrary as far as I am concerned …. They are not variations that affect the climate, they are part of the natural climatic/weather variation.”
    Hear, Hear! Of course I tend to agree; see my post vukcevic says: May 2, 2010 at 12:50 am
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/01/history-suggests-dont-bet-on-la-nina-this-year/#comment-381851
    or http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC20.htm
    or http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC20.htm

  18. Mike Haseler: Also, here’s a gif animation (~1MB) of global SST and global TLT anomaly maps that’s part of a project I’ve been working on. I’ve used a 12-month filter on the maps to minimize the seasonal noise. You can see the 1997/98 El Nino form in the eastern tropical Pacific and the TLT anomalies rise in response. Then you can watch the elevated TLT anomalies travel east and toward the poles. After, as the La Nina forms, the elevated TLT anomalies work their way to the mid latitudes, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, and remain elevated during the La Nina.
    http://i40.tinypic.com/2isvzf6.gif

  19. I always appreciate the fact Bob gives us observations based on actual data. It seems much more valuable than theory-based-on-adjustments.
    For the past few years I’ve adopted the premise we are entering a period much like 1930-1960, which we have poor records for. (Bob does a good job pointing out how the records from Oct 1951 to Jan 1952 are, to say the least, “incomplete.”) When I visit the site at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf
    and look at the historical data on page 24 I notice the 1951-1952 El Nino was followed by 27 months of basically neutral conditions. (We need a name for such events, perhaps “El Neutral,” or “La Wishy-washy.”) This was followed by a long, 34 month period of La Nina conditions, (which should be called “La Nina Bill Gray,” if history repeats itself, as he has predicted a swing back to cooler “forsings.”)
    The wild card is the quiet sun. This was not occurring back in the 1930-1960 period, and could mess all our predictions up.

  20. melinspain (May 2, 2010 at 5:14) …Pero si…”El Niño”…”La Niña” … I swear by my
    old scout honour I didn’t copy from your post…But why not “MelenEspaña?”..[“Swedish”
    keyboard!]

  21. Thank you Bob for a most helpful overview.
    I’m very impressed by the substantial Sea Surface Temperature increase (about 0.2*C) shown in Fig 3.
    That indicates an enormous amount of heat added in the more recent Nino events.
    As such, this data seems to me the most robust evidence of global warming yet presented.
    Is there anyone you would recommend who has done comprehensive ocean heat content measurements that are publicly available and as intelligible as your Nino/Nina work?

  22. Hmm. so what Bob is saying that if we go neutral. there is no heat going into the system.
    From my point of view that is not good. I was under the assumption that Nina was
    inexorably linked to Nino….
    Thanks for all that hard work Bob..
    I’m also wondering if our local farmers should look at barley-again.
    having lived through the late 1950’s and 60’s in NE Oregon….

  23. The traditional El Nino typically has a later start in the year than a Modoki. The event you marked as 87/88 really starts in late 86, and fits the late start pattern, and wanders on for 19 months, quite an exceptional length. My analysis of this; http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ensoyears.shtml is that the Vernal Equinox is the pivotal uplift point that kicks the El Nino in.
    Forecasts of potential warming can go a long way to plot how likely this El Nino will last, I made a solar based forecast on December 2007 for Ocean warming in Autumn 2008 but no El Nino, then stronger warming Spring 2009 leading to an El Nino by Summer 2009. Did anyone else forecast this El Nino?
    Regardless of solar forecasts, looking at Zonal Wind conditions can also help predict the lifespan of the current event;
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/CDB/Tropics/figt3.gif
    200hPa Trade wind don`t look like they are in a huury to turn +ve yet. 20/30hPa (QBO) look the they are following the 2000-2002 pattern and have a long way to go before becoming +ve.

  24. A very good post with lots of great information. This is what makes this a great site and we all appreciate all the work. Maybe a small clink in the tip jar is in order.
    Most ocean sst charts show a hot spot between Canada and Greenland – what causes this? Maybe Mr Tisdale can explain.

  25. BOB
    Interesting anlysis. Of the last 18 El Nino’s , 50% have had a La Nina follow within 1-7 months after the El Nino ends . El Nino years also bring more negative AO[cold] . 61% of El Nino months also had negative and cold AO. Hence the colder weather in many parts of the globe. So it is not that positive that a La Nina will not form in my opinion.Traditional wisdom has not been making accurate forecasts when it comes to weather prediction during the recent past as the Met Office found out about their winter forecast. My best judgement is that temperatures will start to drop after this El Nino goes neutral and we will have cool year even though traditional wisdom calls for a warm year after an El nino ends. I also happen to think a La Nina will form this year. In my judegement , volcanic ash may also play a role in creating more cooler weather this year in several parts of the globe.

  26. Jack Morrow: You asked, “Most ocean sst charts show a hot spot between Canada and Greenland – what causes this?”
    Looking at a graph of the SST anomalies for that area, there has been a mid-year seasonal spike in recent years, but this one is early. Last time we had an early one like this was during the 2002/03 El Nino.
    http://i43.tinypic.com/261gthe.png
    But not all recent El Nino events have caused an early spike.

  27. Douglas DC says: “From my point of view that is not good.”
    Why is that not good? If the tropical Pacific releases heat through an El Nino but doesn’t replace it with a La Nina, tropical Pacific Ocean Heat Content drops.

  28. etudiant says:
    “Is there anyone you would recommend who has done comprehensive ocean heat content measurements that are publicly available and as intelligible as your Nino/Nina work?”
    ———–
    This is really the best place to start:
    http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/
    From there go to:
    http://ioc-unesco.org/index.php?option=com_oe&task=viewDocumentRecord&docID=4781
    and download the study of OHC in pdf form at that site.
    And when discussing all things related to ocean heat, one ought to get a good foundation of the climate shift that occurred in 76-77 by starting at these sites:
    http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/pi/arch/climate_shift.shtml
    http://horizon.ucsd.edu/miller/download/climateshift/climate_shift.pdf
    From my understanding of some AGW skeptics arguments, the climate shift that occurred in 76/77 is now shifting back to a cooler period, and the whole rise in temps that we saw since that time (and associated cycles of stronger El Ninos) is all a normal cyclical event and in no way connected to AGW. Is that correct my skeptical friends?

  29. “Bob Tisdale says:
    May 2, 2010 at 8:37 am”
    How much lattitude has this?
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_update/wkxzteq.shtml
    If it were 10N to 10S then you may have a point, if its just a line along the eqautor, then it could be missing some of the current warmest regions. It differs somewhat from surface obseravations on this animation up to 21st April;
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_update/gsstanim.shtml

  30. etudiant wrote: “That indicates an enormous amount of heat added in the more recent Nino events.
    “As such, this data seems to me the most robust evidence of global warming yet presented.”
    It was the La Nina event of 1973/74/75/76 that fueled the post 1976 El Nino events, through 1994. Then the 1995/96 La Nina replenished it for the 1997/98 El Nino. Refer to the following graph…
    http://i46.tinypic.com/2vja1z5.png
    …from the following post:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/02/la-nina-underappreciated-portion-of.html

  31. It seems that we never dare to see the origin of earth´s climate, el Nino and La Nina included:
    http://www.geomag.bgs.ac.uk/earthmag.html
    The sunlight not only makes the air conduct, it also heats it causing thermo-tidal winds. These winds combine with the tidal winds caused by the gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon and drive the ionospheric dynamo. This dynamo generates currents as the conducting ionosphere is driven through the Earth’s magnetic field. These current systems form two closed loops: an anti-clockwise vortex in the northern hemisphere and a clockwise vortex ..
    This is why Piers Corbyn has always succeded in his forecasts, if instead of seeking for the cause (that big and round light up above, called SUN) we´ll keep on groping in the dark, making “acceptable” by consensus and post normal science statistics and play station “models”.

  32. OT – apologies if this has already been posted.
    this is well worth watching, climategate and the world temperature data manipulations summed up.
    http://www.blip.tv/file/3539174
    “On April 16th, the Cooler Heads Coalition and the Heritage Foundation hosted a briefing on Climategate by Dr. Patrick J. Michaels, Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies, Cato Institute and Joseph DAleo, Executive Director, ICECAP, and Consulting Meteorologist. “

  33. Staffan Lindström says:
    May 2, 2010 at 6:45 am
    melinspain (May 2, 2010 at 5:14) …Pero si…”El Niño”…”La Niña” … I swear by my
    old scout honour I didn’t copy from your post…But why not “MelenEspaña?”..[“Swedish”
    keyboard!]
    Thank you Steffan for your suggestion…..I will think about it.

  34. I’m betting on a switch to La Nina starting soon (the peak is usually in November to January so it will start slow).
    Equatorial Upper Ocean Heat Content in the Nino regions declined a full 1.0C in April and is now negative -0.03.
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ocean/index/heat_content_index.txt
    The traditional circulation pattern will bring the even cooler water below to the surface soon.
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ocean/anim/wkxzteq_anm.gif
    Yesterday’s cross-section.
    http://www.ecmwf.int/products/forecasts/d/charts/ocean/real_time/xzmaps/
    The Nino regions lag about 1 month behind these Upper Ocean Heat numbers so we should be very close to Zero anomaly for the ENSO in May.
    http://img62.imageshack.us/img62/7098/ensovseuoha.png

  35. “John Finn says:
    May 2, 2010 at 12:38 am”
    1) Cold winters on CET are much more likely to found around solar max, when there are less coronal holes. Recent odd numbered cycle maximums (C23, C21, C19 etc.) have showed up as warmer, but gave many of the coldest winters through Maunder and Dalton, while even numbered cycles were low during LIA, have more recently become stronger.
    A clear phase change has taken place from LIA to present.
    2) The solar signal changes sharply on a short term basis. If you look at temperatures, 3-5 months after most of the coldest winters on CET, very positive anomalies usualy occur. The current winter/spring is is a good example. The timing of these drops in the solar signal relative to the seasons, is critical to whether the N.H. gets a cold winter or not. Looking at trends in solar activity will not spot this all important detail.
    GW since 1985 can be easily expressed as a drop in the number of negative anomalies, especially in N.H. winter time, and due to higher solar wind velocity during recent winters, exactly when, and where the warming is observed. And yes, the solar wind velocity was low during the last winter.

  36. Thanks for a great post Bob, it really got me thinking!
    I have a couple of question which I’d be grateful if you can have a stab at please.
    Do prolonged neutral El Niño conditions result in a greater loss in total ocean energy than the other the other events?
    Is there a link between El Niño strength and the SH polar vortex?

  37. R. Gates says:
    May 2, 2010 at 9:27 am
    If, my skeptical counterpart friend, the world were composed of airport tarmacs, M as in METAR mistranscribings, pal-reviewed paper circular reasonings, IPCC National Inquirer style findings, gridded GISS anomalies, catastrophical sea level rises of a few millimeters in a world populated by ants, a trace gas with magical powers of ten thousand times the ordinary water molecule and a Super-Methane molecule that no biologic species or physical process could break down, then yes, the dire consequential model holds water.
    Such a theory has all the technological advatages of the TRS-80 computer as of today, May 02, 2010.
    Let me ask you a question:
    Do the climate models run you, or do you run the models?

  38. rbateman says:
    “Do the climate models run you, or do you run the models?”
    ———–
    Wow, that question came from out of the blue. Neither of those is the case as I am not a scientist…merely a curious observer of all phenomena of the natural world, trying to find and observe the evidence of any CO2 induced AGW signal amidst all the natural noise from solar cycles, ENSO’s, PDO’s, AMO, volcanoes, etc. etc. etc. and trying also to weed out the true science from all the noise thrown up from the true believers on both sides of the issue.

  39. Weekly Tropical Climate Note
    at 1300 CST Tuesday 27 April 2010
    El Nino-Southern Oscillation Update
    The 30-day Southern Oscillation Index [SOI] to 25 April was +15. During the past 2 weeks the SOI has returned to positive values after tracking negative since 11 October 2009. Contributing pressure anomalies were -0.7 hPa at Darwin, and +1.3 hPa at Tahiti. The monthly SOI for March was -11, and the 5-month running mean [centred on January] was -10.
    http://www.bom.gov.au/

  40. Is there a way to assess the effects of a weak or strong sunspot cycle on strength and/or duration of El Niño events? Since there is likely to be a lag time of indefinite amount, I suggest using a non-parametric correlative analysis, such as grading. For example, if a sunspot cycle is weak, average, or strong, give it a 1,2 or 3. For the other way of gauging strength, length of cycle, this may give a better result using duration years of the cycle. The trick would be to find out the lag time, since it must take a while for maxima to influence a decrease in cloud cover that concomitantly increases heat which then gets stored near Japan and released later in an El Niño event.

  41. Ulric Lyons says:
    May 2, 2010 at 10:54 am (John Finn comment)
    Correction: “while even numbered cycles were low during LIA, have more recently become stronger”
    should have said; were higher during LIA, became weaker ( from early 1800`s) until recently.

  42. Bob Tisdale says:
    May 2, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Am I right that etudiant had it the wrong way around – re. your recent posting on heat discharge and recharge associated with the ENSO cycle. You explained that it is the La Nina that recharges ocean heat (at least Pacific) and conversely the el Nino that discharges heat. So the long term ocean heat trend results from the balance of the two processes.

    Kevin Trenberth’s recent “dude – where’s my heat?” article about the “missing” heat presented a graph showing falling ocean heat content while rising radiative budget due to CO2.
    http://www2.ucar.edu/news/missing-heat-may-affect-future-climate-change
    It makes sense in the context of your ENSO heat exchange description, that in a period dominated by el Nino, such as the last 30 years or so, that heat discharge should exceed recharge and thus OHC should be on a downward slope. As Trenberth asserts and other sources of data also support – OHC is indeed declining over the last decade or two. Or maybe not? I guess OHC globally is tricky to assess so there are different assessments out there. What is your take on this? (Douglass and Knox also concluded that global OHC is currently declining.)

  43. R. Gates says:
    May 2, 2010 at 11:17 am
    Don’t take it personally. It’s a philosophical/workplace question that is found in many trades.
    It takes many forms:
    Never let the machine run you, you run the machine.
    Do you run the xxxx, or does xxxx run you?
    In the climate business, too many are running off on a model output that seems right, but the observational data walks away from. In effect, the models are running them in circles. What should be happening, R. Gates, is that the climatists should be running the errant models into the recycle bin.
    Without the models being run independently, there is no way to verify the output other than recent events agreeing or disagreeing. When an untested/unverified model has to have corollaries attached to it in a never-ending process, the handwriting is already on the wall.

  44. Enneagram says: May 2, 2010 at 8:57 am
    Though we are in “interesting times”, in a minimum, so here you can find el Nino data from 1525:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/30810082/Ninos
    ‘Enneagram’ that is a very fascinating and telling list of the El Nino events. If delta T for intense El Nino is plotted along time scale, then it is evident the same periodicity as one in the long term solar cycle spectrum or the Sunspot anomaly.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC22.htm

  45. Hello Bob.
    Distinguishing between ‘normal’ El Nino and the ‘Modoki’ variety seems to be a useful approach.
    Going by Fig 4 it looks like the Modoki index is higher during a cooling spell than it is during a warming spell.
    Would you go along with that ?
    If so, I wonder whether a reduced flow of energy from ocean to air is the factor that generally results in a weakened Modoki version of the standard El Nino.
    As regards any subsequent La Nina do you see any corresponding change in the nature of La Nina events that follow a Modoki as against those that follow the standard El Nino.
    I ask because whatever causes the El Nino to manifest itself in a slightly different form could also do the same to any subsequent La Nina.
    Where I am going with this query is to try and ascertain whether reduced/increased rates of energy transfer from the oceans affect the forms of both El Nino and La Nina as part of a general cooling/warming trend.
    It makes sense that for a trend towards either warming or cooling then both El Nino and La Nina SST patterns might be affected.

  46. phlogiston: You wrote, “It makes sense in the context of your ENSO heat exchange description, that in a period dominated by el Nino, such as the last 30 years or so, that heat discharge should exceed recharge and thus OHC should be on a downward slope. As Trenberth asserts and other sources of data also support – OHC is indeed declining over the last decade or two.”
    The ENSO discharge and recharge taking place in the tropical Pacific contributes to global OHC, but the biggest contributor to the decline in OHC in recent years is the North Atlantic. It’s also the biggest contributor to the rise for the prior few decades. My complaint with the new Trenberth study is that, on one hand, he’s claiming that the warm water is being subducted and lost from the record and will return in future decades, but he neglects to mention how much of the recent rise is the return of warm waters from a previous AMOC “cycle”.

  47. phlogiston May 2, 2010 at 11:46 am: You italicized, “Am I right that etudiant…” and appeared to the attribute it to me. Just a clarification. I didn’t write what you italicized.

  48. Stephen Wilde: You asked, “Going by Fig 4 it looks like the Modoki index is higher during a cooling spell than it is during a warming spell. Would you go along with that ?”
    Assuming you’re calling the period before 1979 the cooling spell and the period after 1979 to warming spell, I’ll clarify, the El Nino Modoki index may be higher in the early period, but El Nino Modoki EVENTS are stronger during the period after 1979 (the warming spell). Refer to Figure 7:
    http://i41.tinypic.com/bk4ux.png
    You asked, “As regards any subsequent La Nina do you see any corresponding change in the nature of La Nina events that follow a Modoki as against those that follow the standard El Nino.”
    I haven’t looked, but there were only two La Nina events following El Nino Modoki events, which really isn’t enough to determine a pattern:
    http://i44.tinypic.com/72deeq.png
    Ashok et al does discuss La Nina Modoki, though:
    https://www.jamstec.go.jp/frcgc/research/d1/iod/publications/modoki-ashok.pdf

  49. Re the naming of neutral phases of the ENSO, I’ve always been partial to “La Nada”.

  50. Tenuc: You asked, “Do prolonged neutral El Niño conditions result in a greater loss in total ocean energy than the other the other events?”
    An El Nino event releases more heat than normal from the tropical Pacific, so I’d have to say no.
    You asked, “Is there a link between El Niño strength and the SH polar vortex?”
    I haven’t studied it. Sorry.

  51. Bob Tisdale says:
    May 2, 2010 at 8:37 am
    Bob,
    The majority of the warmer water in the central Pacific should be north of the equator till next autumn, its whether it will maintain warm by the time it returns that will decide.

  52. Ulric Lyons: You asked, “How much lattitude has this?”
    I’ve searched for the latitudes a couple of times but never found the answer.

  53. Mr. Tisdale,
    How dare you use historical data to actually come up with a prediction. What’s next, the sky is blue and the grass is green? 😉 Anyway, nice work.

  54. melinspain says:
    May 2, 2010 at 5:14 am
    Is it possible to spell correctly “El Niño” and “La Niña”? Thanks
    ________________________________________________________
    Some of our keyboards do not allow accents so to get the correct spelling it takes cut and past of yours. I have to do that for french all the time.
    REPLY: one way is to use keyboard keys Alt + 0241 = ñ (241 in the numeric keypad) – Anthony

  55. etudiant says:
    May 2, 2010 at 6:55 am
    Thank you Bob for a most helpful overview.
    I’m very impressed by the substantial Sea Surface Temperature increase (about 0.2*C) shown in Fig 3.
    That indicates an enormous amount of heat added in the more recent Nino events.
    As such, this data seems to me the most robust evidence of global warming yet presented.
    Is there anyone you would recommend who has done comprehensive ocean heat content measurements that are publicly available and as intelligible as your Nino/Nina work?
    _______________________________________________________________________
    Take it a step further. As water warms it dissolves less CO2 (out gases) and therefore a warming of the oceans by 2 degrees would CAUSE an increase in CO2. The next question is where is the heat actually coming from. Willis had an interesting post here. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/14/the-thermostat-hypothesis/

  56. Bob Tisdale says:
    May 2, 2010 at 12:53 pm
    I messed up the italics – sorry for giving the wrong impression! It was all me – there was no quote from you.

  57. aurbo says:
    May 2, 2010 at 1:52 pm
    Re the naming of neutral phases of the ENSO, I’ve always been partial to “La Nada”.
    _______________________________________________________________________
    I second the motion, all in favor say Aye….. ROTFLMAO

  58. Bob Tisdale says:
    May 2, 2010 at 12:45 pm
    “The ENSO discharge and recharge taking place in the tropical Pacific contributes to global OHC, but the biggest contributor to the decline in OHC in recent years is the North Atlantic. ”
    Yes indeed this new ocean that we have since the Triassic makes things more complex and interesting. I guess that the Norwegian sea downwelling is a dominant factor in the thermo-haline circulation (THC). I do have trouble with the idea – that Trenberth appeals to – that warm water sinks to the bottom and joins THC, and represents “warming in the pipeline”. Downwelling as I understand it occurs when seawater is close to or at freezing point, and the low temperature combined with increased salinity due to ice formation, give the unfrozen seawater a high enough density to sink down into the sub-thermocline depths. If this water is slightly warmer it would not sink. But I dont have facts and figures to prove this. However it might be that the volume and pattern of downwelling could vary, rather than the temperature of the downwelled water, than this could provide linkage between climate variation and THC variation over century timescales.
    (hope I got the italics right this time!)

  59. REPLY: one way is to use keyboard keys Alt + 0241 = ñ (241 in the numeric keypad) – Anthony
    Thanks for the tip Anthony. Unfortunately it does not work on this computer. Hubby has a Unix system on it. Linux maybe

  60. melinspain: You requested, “Is it possible to spell correctly ‘El Niño’ and ‘La Niña’?”
    I’ve just added “El Niño” and “La Niña” to the autocorrect in MS Word, so the spelling will be correct in future posts.
    Regards

  61. I am no authority but I would contend that these terms have been used enough in the English language to qualify as English words of Spanish origin rather than Spanish words. And since English vowels don’t wear hats, none are needed. It is a longstanding tradition among anglophones to steal things from other languages and misuse them as we see fit. It is just our way.

  62. I meant to say that our letters don’t wear hats. And I don’t mean to disparage the fashions of other languages but merely point out that English letters like to go au naturel. I suppose that last bit should have been italicized but then that brings up a whole other annoying issue.

  63. Bob,
    Thank you for the helpful clarification.
    Your concept, that heat accumulates during Nina phases and is dissipated during Nino episodes, is very plausible. My query was because the more recent Ninos show a substantially higher SST than previous, indicating greater heat accumulation in recent decades.
    The NOAA data referenced by R Gates likewise shows a large increase since 1990 in ocean heat content.(more than 10*23 Joules for the top 700 meters).
    The Trenberth chart you posted also shows continued increase in ocean heat, albeit at a substantially declining rate, as opposed to the steeper increase expected by the AGW models.
    In your model, these data should result in more frequent as well as longer Ninos, to dissipate the increased heat, pretty much as we are seeing.
    But I’m still puzzled where the extra heat is coming from.

  64. Bob,
    Take a note of my temperature outlooks for this year and check them against measurements as the year progresses.
    May above average especially from around the 20th.
    June heatwave starting from around the 12th and another uplift from around the 27th.
    July heatwave starting around mid month.
    August starts warm but drops dramatically mid month, leading to much rain.
    September starts on a warmer signal, uplifts mid month and gets hotter toward month end.
    October starts on a very strong uplift, very warm month.
    Looks like a classic Indian summer coming on.
    November also starts on a hot note, an unusually mild November, very wet.

  65. Ulric Lyons says:
    May 2, 2010 at 6:00 pm
    Precipitation outlooks are for the N.H. and are the inverse to the S.H. where the temperature uplifts during May/June/July will increase rainfall.

  66. Gail Combs says:
    May 2, 2010 at 3:46 pm
    Take it a step further. As water warms it dissolves less CO2 (out gases)

    That’s not neccesarily true. Henry’s Law predicts this, but Henry’s Law specifically excludes any reaction with the dissolved gas. In sea water, CO2 combines (reversabily) to form carbonic acid, and also reacts with Calcium ions to form Calcium Carbonate. There are undoubtedly other ions in sea water which react with CO2 – any of which stop Henry’s Law being accurate.
    How CO2 reacts with rising temperature, then also depends on the thermal profile of all the side-reactions along with the “normal” dissolved gas. Has anyone done any experiments on this?

  67. Gail Combs says:
    May 2, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    melinspain says:
    May 2, 2010 at 5:14 am
    Is it possible to spell correctly “El Niño” and “La Niña”? Thanks
    ________________________________________________________
    Some of our keyboards do not allow accents so to get the correct spelling it takes cut and past of yours. I have to do that for french all the time.
    REPLY: one way is to use keyboard keys Alt + 0241 = ñ (241 in the numeric keypad) – Anthony

    Another way is to use tilde-names (or whatever they should be called).
    For El Ni˜o I typed El Ni˜o.
    Some of the key ones are listed at my http://home.comcast.net/~ewerme/wuwt/
    E.g. It reached 91°F (91°) at our property on Mt Cardigan today. Not appreciated, way too hot for brush cutting and hiking back uphill. It was only 86 south and lower at a Vantage Pro station (as opposed to cheap indoor/outdoor thermometer in the shade, but our property is on a south facing slope, and a south wind on a sunny day gets extra heat.

  68. etudiant says: You wrote, “Your concept, that heat accumulates during Nina phases and is dissipated during Nino episodes, is very plausible.”
    The concept of ENSO discharge/recharge has been around for at least a decade.
    You wrote, “The NOAA data referenced by R Gates likewise shows a large increase since 1990 in ocean heat content.(more than 10*23 Joules for the top 700 meters).”
    The NOAA NCDC data is the same data used in my OHC posts. I just break it down into subsets that can be explained. 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
    You wrote, “The Trenberth chart you posted…”
    I didn’t post a Trenberth chart. The italics in the comment by phlogiston you read are misplaced.

  69. This is so good I have to repeat again.
    Well said, Rob. Very eloquent…
    Chris
    Norfolk Virginia USA
    ==================================
    rbateman says:
    May 2, 2010 at 11:02 am
    “If, my skeptical counterpart friend, the world were composed of airport tarmacs, M as in METAR mistranscribings, pal-reviewed paper circular reasonings, IPCC National Inquirer style findings, gridded GISS anomalies, catastrophical sea level rises of a few millimeters in a world populated by ants, a trace gas with magical powers of ten thousand times the ordinary water molecule and a Super-Methane molecule that no biologic species or physical process could break down, then yes, the dire consequential model holds water.
    Such a theory has all the technological advatages of the TRS-80 computer as of today, May 02, 2010.
    Let me ask you a question:
    Do the climate models run you, or do you run the models?”

  70. rbateman says:
    May 2, 2010 at 9:07 pm
    OT: Don’t bet on any sunspot reporting integrity.
    http://sidc.oma.be/images/combimap800.png
    Catania reports 4 regions.
    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/latest/DSD.txt
    swpc/noaa counts 3 new regions.
    SOHO MDI shows 1 for 05/02/2010
    A check of GONG images shows only the one spotted region for the day.
    Perhaps someone has a fistful of SDO images and is counting things no one has seen before?
    _______________________________________________________________________
    Layman’s Sunspot Count site was saying the same thing:
    “2010/05/02 05:29 There is lots more continuing speck activity that NOAA and now to some extent the SIDC are having a field day with. During these unusual times the scientific record is being butchered. 1064 achieved 13 pixels and only lasted a few hours, there are 2 other regions that may attract attention from NOAA that are not measurable so far.
    The NOAA monthly mean for April is 11.2. The SIDC coming in at 7.9 which is suggesting a shift from their normally conservative recording. The Layman’s April count will be much lower this month. Full update in the next 24-48 hours. Meanwhile the Layman spotless streak is at 25 days.”

    I check there for the sunspot count since they have made an effort to match their measurements to that of the historical record. Counting specks that last for a few hours means the “modern count” can not be compared to historical counts.
    However you look at it the sun is still in a funk. With luck we will not have Iceland’s Katla volcano adding to the problem but the earthquake on April 28 suggest she is awakening. The news report did not define “significant earthquake” in the story. http://scienceray.com/earth-sciences/icelands-katla-volcano-new-seismic-activity-42810-eruption-imminent/

  71. Gail Combs says:
    May 2, 2010 at 10:02 pm
    “However you look at it the sun is still in a funk.”
    With recent class C x-ray flares and high solar wind velocity levels that we have not seen for a few years… very funky.
    Laymans count(G.Sharp) is expecting a weak cycle, I would have thought SSN 71 on Feb 8th is already too shocking to bear, especially this early in the cycle!

  72. Ulric Lyons says:
    Take a note of my temperature outlooks for this year and check them against measurements as the year progresses.
    May above average especially from around the 20th.
    June heatwave starting from around the 12th and another uplift from around the 27th.
    July heatwave starting around mid month.
    August starts warm but drops dramatically mid month, leading to much rain.
    September starts on a warmer signal, uplifts mid month and gets hotter toward month end.
    October starts on a very strong uplift, very warm month.
    Looks like a classic Indian summer coming on.
    November also starts on a hot note, an unusually mild November, very wet.

    It’s possible to bet on the monthly GISStemp anomalies at https://www.intrade.com. For instance, the last odds that the May anomaly will exceed .55 was 50%. The last odds that the June and July anomalies will exceed .50 was also 50%. Bets for future months will become available as time marches on.

  73. Gail Combs
    This is probably not the right track to discuss volcanoes as the topic is whether La Nina’s always follow EL Nino’s , but in a way they are realted as extra ash in the atmosphere can cool the Pacific and enhance the possibilty of a La Nina . I just wanted to comment about your obseravations about Katla. Although there is some activity there , my personal obseravations is that the area that perhaps we should be more concerned about is the Kamatcka Peninsula.
    The reasons why I primarily focus on Kamchatka Peninsula and Kurile Islands [especially Kurile Lake ]volcanoes in Russia and not the Katla volcano in Iceland is as follows;
    Second only to South America in number of volcanoes
    Leads the world in number of past eruptions and number of major eruptions [4 and higher VEI]
    Highest number of explosive volcanoes
    No level 5 eruptions for 54 years [last 1956]
    No level 6 eruptions for 1770 years [last 240 AD]
    No level 7 eruptions for 8450 years [last 6440 BC]
    The Kurile Lake eruption of 6440 BC was also preceded by a quiet period of about 1500 years
    There were 16 eruptions [level 4 and higher ] during the past 20th century there and the last one was only last year at Kurile Islands. During 2010 there 4 volcanoes erupting in this area.
    This area is overdue for a major eruption at any time . The last level 7 eruption at Kurile lake put 140-170 km/3 of material into the air and send ash thousands of miles to the mainland of Asia.

  74. Bob Tisdale says:
    May 2, 2010 at 2:15 pm
    An El Nino event releases more heat than normal from the tropical Pacific, …

    As I said in other posts, this was not a normal El Niño, because during SH summer, warm waters were only in 3-4 region, but also in southern CENTRAL pacific (lat 48°S) and nothing along 1-2 Niño areas, while the usual south-north cold Humboldt´s current were running normaly driven by the pacific counterclockwise anticyclone.
    Only afterwards waters in 1-2 region began showing a little positive anomaly.
    http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.html
    How strange is this?, Has it happened before?

  75. The weekly Nino region SSTs have been updated.
    For the week ending April 28th,
    Nino 1,2: 0.3C
    Nino 3: 0.5C
    Nino 3.4: 0.5C
    Nino 4: 0.8C
    Nino 3.4 should be around 0.7C for April, down from 1.14C in March and 1.82C in the December peak.
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/data/indices/wksst.for
    The SST map for May 3rd is showing some below-normal patches in the Nino 3.4 region and a continued decline overall.
    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2010/anomnight.5.3.2010.gif
    Out-going-Long-wave Radiation shows that the El Nino has probably finished dumping its heat into the atmosphere now.
    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

  76. There has got to be a lot of uncertainty in all of this. I would suggest reading Klaus Wolter on a regular basis:
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/people/klaus.wolter/SWcasts/index.html
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/people/klaus.wolter/MEI/index.html
    The IRI models chart, which Wolter links here
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/people/klaus.wolter/SWcasts/IRI.apr10.gif
    shows the broad range of uncertainty. His narrative:
    “At this point, ALL models show a more or less continuous decline over the next four seasons into ENSO-neutral territory, with five models (four of them dynamical) crossing below -0.5C. After the summer seaason (JAS), three statistical models maintain borderline weak El Niño conditions (near or below +0.5C), while the majority of models slowly drifts further down, leading to about half of them predicting at least weak La Niña conditions by the end of 2010, with the rest remaining near-neutral. While not as big a gap as last year, the difference between statistical and dynamical models is widening again, currently averaging 0.4C higher for the former models than the latter ones.”
    That last sentence bears noting. Bob’s analysis is basically statistical, and the statistical analyses show less cooling going into the latter part of this year. While I wouldn’t bet on La Nina this year, I wouldn’t bet against it, either. But I would bet on La Nina before we see another El Nino.

  77. Guest Post by Bob Tisdale
    History suggests: don’t bet on La Nina this year.
    If I were gambling man I would take odds on there being La Niña conditions by the end of the year.
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_update/wkxzteq.shtml
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ocean/index/heat_content_index.txt
    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/soi.txt
    An episode of La Niña is defined as a period of at least 5 months of La Niña conditions. If this definition is the same as what you call an event then all bets are off. :-}
    From my understanding of some AGW skeptics arguments, the climate shift that occurred in 76/77 is now shifting back to a cooler period, and the whole rise in temps that we saw since that time (and associated cycles of stronger El Ninos) is all a normal cyclical event and in no way connected to AGW. Is that correct my skeptical friends?
    There’s an elephant in the room. Looking at it from a global temperature perspective we need to see what conditions conspired to produce the 1997-1998 spike.
    Here is an overlay of ENSO and AMO.
    http://i599.photobucket.com/albums/tt74/MartinGAtkins/AMO-NINO.png
    If we are to place our trust in pretty patterns then a positive AMO may yet have more time to run.
    http://i599.photobucket.com/albums/tt74/MartinGAtkins/AMO.png
    Do you see anymore strong El Niño events on the horizon?
    .

  78. phlogiston: I reread my realier reply and decided it was poorly written. I wrote, To have THC, the surface water has to be more dense than the water at depth. (That was terrible.) I should have written: To have THC, the surface water at high latitudes in the North Atlantic must sink and in order to do that it has to be more dense than the water at depth. (Much better.)

  79. Basil raises an important point about the hazards of the statistical approach. Plainly & flatly: The assumptions that underpin the approach do NOT hold. (That doesn’t mean insight cannot be gained by the exercise – quite the contrary.)
    The coherence between SOI & QBO is nothing to scoff at — 2nd panel here:
    http://www.sfu.ca/~plv/100204.PNG
    Until something better comes along, 2.37 years seems to be a useful crude rule of thumb (but definitely don’t assume symmetrical cycles and don’t assume the pattern will go on indefinitely).
    Bob, I’ve summarized more variables that show a “60 year” (as folks claim) pattern:
    http://www.sfu.ca/~plv/CumuSumCombo.png
    [ Definitions here http://www.sfu.ca/~plv/VolcanoStratosphereSLAM.htm or here http://www.sfu.ca/~plv/60yearCycles.htm .]
    Something else that might interest you:
    The following plot features -SOI (-Southern Oscillation Index) for AUGUST:
    http://www.sfu.ca/~plv/-SOI_August.png
    Red represents interannual -SOI (so + indicates El Nino dominance).
    Black is the cumulative effect.
    When ice is thick, water under it is insulated from the atmosphere, so the Arctic Ocean is essentially continental (from an atmospheric perspective). The most damage can be done if the timing of blasts is right.
    Also, have you ever taken a look at IVI2? http://www.sfu.ca/~plv/IVI2_SOI.png [Note: The summary of SOI in the plot is flipped-over (+El Nino, -La Nina), detrended & decadal-timescale. Link to the IVI2 data can be found in the data section here.]

  80. Enneagram, in response to my comment, “An El Nino event releases more heat than normal from the tropical Pacific…” you replied, “As I said in other posts, this was not a normal El Niño, because during SH summer, warm waters were only in 3-4 region, but also in southern CENTRAL pacific (lat 48°S) and nothing along 1-2 Niño areas…”
    Agreed. As this post notes, the 2009/201o El Nino is an El Nino Modoki. And let me clarify what you quoted. An El Nino event (both types, El Nino Modoki and Traditional El Nino) releases more heat from the tropical Pacific than normal (ENSO neutral) conditions.
    Also, I discussed the hotspot in the South Pacific in the following posts. It is not unusual. Refer to:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/01/south-pacific-hot-spot.html
    And:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/01/south-pacific-sst-patterns.html
    Regards

  81. Roger Knights says:
    May 3, 2010 at 5:17 am
    “It’s possible to bet on the monthly GISStemp anomalies”
    Would it not be better if everyone knew what was coming, rather than me keeping schtum and making a few bob down the bookies? I might have the odd period of uncertainty, but my forecasts achieved 49/52 weeks correct last year. The warmer mid November 2 week period that neither I or Piers forecast, I have successfully diagnosed, and with this new detail, predicted the strong solar activity at the start of April. This years forecast is pretty much deterministic apart from one week in particular where I am still working on some uncertainties.

  82. John Finn says:
    May 2, 2010 at 12:38 am
    “You make the mistake of thinking that the AGW crowd denies solar variability. On the contrary they rely on solar variability to explain past climate fluctuations. Without them they would have to admit they don’t know. If the Lockwood paper (your link) is correct then the AGW case is strengthened”
    The problem with this argument is that the AGW crowd believes that solar forcing of atmospheric temperature must be nearly immediate and is entirely dependent on the slight variations of solar intensity. This view is extremely narrow minded and in contrast to the undeniable complexity of the climate system.
    Most of the solar radiation reaching the Earth (light) has very little direct impact on the atmospheric temperature. The energy passes through the atmosphere and impacts the Earth’s surface, which is primarily ocean. The additional energy in the world’s oceans is not released immediately into the atmosphere, but is regulated by multi-decadal ocean cycles. For example, a slight increase in the amount of solar energy reaching the ocean surface would may not manifest in a warmer atmosphere until the ocean enters a warm phase of its natural cycle. If the ocean is in its cool phase, global cooling of the atmosphere will result, even if the sun is more active.
    Overall, the sun was more active in the 20th century than anytime in the last 500 years, but global warming did not take place except when the Pacific Decadal Oscillation was in its warm phase. The additional solar energy stored in the Pacific from a more active sun was only detectable at these times. During the mid 20th Century, when the sun was at its peak intensity and CO2 forcing was increasing rapidly (which IS a direct forcing on the atmosphere) we had global cooling because the PDO was in its cool phase.
    In a nutshell, the solar impact on climate is cumulative and likely continues for many years (perhaps decades) after the trend in solar radiation changes, but its impact is embedded in the ocean cycles. That is why we continued to warm during the late 20th Century, even as the solar intensity began to wain. Now, as the sun continues to quiet down and the PDO appears to be shifting to its cool phase, global cooling is imminent. CO2 is simply a minor player in all of this.
    The AGW crowd may rely on solar forcing to keep their theory from appearing totally without merit, but they do not attempt to really understand how that forcing manifests in the atmosphere. If they did, their theory would be without merit. They are walking a knifes edge, and they are coming to the end of the blade.

  83. Ulric Lyons says:
    May 3, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Roger Knights says:
    May 3, 2010 at 5:17 am
    “It’s possible to bet on the monthly GISStemp anomalies”

    Would it not be better if everyone knew what was coming, rather than me keeping schtum and making a few bob down the bookies?

    Why not both?

    I might have the odd period of uncertainty, but my forecasts achieved 49/52 weeks correct last year. The warmer mid November 2 week period that neither I or Piers forecast, I have successfully diagnosed, and with this new detail, predicted the strong solar activity at the start of April. This years forecast is pretty much deterministic apart from one week in particular where I am still working on some uncertainties.

    The way to get publicity for your predictive skill is via strong-arming the odds on Intrade in your direction (or at least in making successful bets there) and arguing with other Intrade bettors on the Intrade Forum, and documenting the bets you’re making.
    (Of course, this will reduce the number of suckers betting against you. Or it would, except for the fact that Intrade bettors are a headstrong lot who rarely listen to anyone.)
    The media pays attention to the odds offered on Intrade regarding future events, because the forecasts implied by its odds have been uncannily accurate — or at least better than the typical pundits’ consensus on most matters. If the media can see, from your Forum forecasts and your correct Intrade betting that you have been accurately calling the shots, you’ll get the recognition you deserve.

  84. Bob Tisdale says:
    May 3, 2010 at 9:05 am
    phlogiston: I reread my realier reply and decided it was poorly written. I wrote, To have THC, the surface water has to be more dense than the water at depth. (That was terrible.) I should have written: To have THC, the surface water at high latitudes in the North Atlantic must sink and in order to do that it has to be more dense than the water at depth. (Much better.)
    Thanks – I vaguely remember from my undergraduate oceanography lectures some decades ago the emphasis on the Norwegian Sea as a major or even most important site of downwelling to drive the deepwater circulation. I have long since moved to biological sciences but it is nice to revive my interest in oceanography with the help of WUWT and your excellent postings on the ENSO.

  85. Jim Clarke says:
    May 3, 2010 at 6:20 pm
    “In a nutshell, the solar impact on climate is cumulative and likely continues for many years (perhaps decades) after the trend in solar radiation changes, but its impact is embedded in the ocean cycles.”
    I do not agree with that at all, if it were true, then we should not have had a couple of cold winters, and cool summers (and La Nina). The solar wind velocity can be related to temperature changes on a weekly or less basis on land. There may be some cumulative effect in the Oceans, but only small, otherwise we would not see an ENSO signal.

  86. Re: Bob Tisdale May 6 2:08am
    Excellent question Bob. The shapes are the same, but there is a clear nonlinearity (which has been noted in the literature – e.g. W. Hsieh who does work on nonlinear principle components analysis [NLPCA]).
    3 suspects come to mind initially:
    1) The nonlinear divergences correspond with the 90 year pattern evident in optical extinction, Southeast Pacific SST, & Southern Ocean SST. (This observation raises way more questions than it answers – and none of them are simple.)
    2) Global indices were more tightly coupled with NAM for a decade:
    http://www.sfu.ca/~plv/GLAAM_LOD_AO_NAO.png
    (This also raises more questions than it answers, but it is consistent with your observations about El Nino steps.)
    3) Seasonality. Note that I have not broken PDO down by month. [Also note that I’ve plotted 2 versions of PDO data.]
    If/when I can spare time, I’ll look into #3 first. Recent notes posted by Ulric Lyons have convinced me that if/when I have time, I should repeat just about every analysis I’ve done in the past 2 years with varying combinations of months toggled on/off in analyses. [The problem is that I’m switching careers again (something I do every few years) and my time for climate stuff is down to 20% of what it was – & it is going to get knocked down to probably less than 5%.]

  87. One more note Bob (another curiosity that raises more questions):
    Just about every climate index synchronized during what Barkin calls Earth’s ’98 “gallop”:
    http://www.sfu.ca/~plv/ChristmasTreeIndex.PNG
    However, SAM is an exception:
    http://www.sfu.ca/~plv/fSAM_fAAO..png
    There appears to have been interference that damped amplitudes around that time. Maybe the big El Nino / La Nina pair hit the Antarctic Circumpolar Wave (ACW) in perfect anti-phase or something like that. It would be very interesting to investigate this further. I sure hope this is on someone’s radar (& that they have the time).

  88. phlogiston says:
    May 8, 2010 at 2:01 am
    “what’s happened to tallbloke?”
    Rog, where are you??

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