Bastardi: no return of El Niño til 2012

No No to el Nino ( till 2012)

By Joe Bastardi (from his WeatherBell blog)

I was going to write something about the dreaded back door front and how while it may be 90 at the masters this weekend it may snow in the I-90 corridor in the northeast but then Joe D Aleo sent me this:

knowing it would wave a red flag in front of me and off I go.

The amazing thing is that the high priests of high temps keep claiming co2 is the cause, then admit its not because of the obvious relationship of the enso to global temps! Its simple to see that when the nino comes on, the earth warms, the nina comes on its cool. I don’t understand why they can not, through simple deduction, understand that the warm PDO ( 1978 to 2007) leads to a warming of the globe, especially when there is part of that time the amo is warm) and the cooling will follow when the PDO turns colder, as it is now? In addition we have to remember that a lot of these folks ( NOT Dr. Jeff Masters who is trying to nail the forecast here though he does see different from me on AGW) but some of the non meteorologists in the field, simply don’t understand that its tough to sustain a warm enso in a cold PDO. And that the cold Enso is much more likely. Actually they WILL NOT SEE IT because it means they were wrong about the eternal warmth, the feedback, everything. More preposterous is the supposition that a trace gas needed for life on the planet, a very minor weight in the atmosphere as it is, would influence the ocean, which is far more important in total energy contribution to the planet than the atmosphere, or anything we are putting into the atmosphere. Do the math good friend.. take the weight of the ocean and atmosphere together and the energy implications of the gas and

the liquid and then stack co2 against it.

The only rout bigger than that is a wrestling match between me and Cael Sanderson

not much of a chance either way.

But again, aren’t you admitting that the first leg of my triple crown of cooling ( oceanic cycles) is the main driver.

Lets just look at this folks. First the Multivariate enso index, which is

Wolters baby, shows the warmth from the late 70s till recently:

Warm PDO, ( then AMO) what do you think the result is. But look there is more! At 600 mb, which is a good measuring point for the troposphere we are near record cold, the most recent coldest in 2008 and way the heck under where we were. The blue line is last year, the red this year, the yellow 08 , the orange average the purple is the record low:

Now why would Hansen want the super nino, which he has been in a habit of forecasting since the 97-98 one? Well, let’s look at the ocean temps:

In this case, the red line is 08, the yellow last year, and you can see we are in the middle of the pack, biased low. But the amazing thing about the nino forecast is THE PROOF OF MY POINT THAT IT IS THE OCEANS, since we can see the warmth that developed as the nino roared on last year, and the cool that has responded this year to the cooling. What is interesting is how close we have been to 2008 at 600mb, when we are a bit less cool in the ocean. So here is what you have to believe.. Yes it is the oceans but their actions are being caused by a trace gas essential for life on the planet.

If you believe that, then when I go into wrestling practice later today, perhaps this is my day to end the 159-0 Gold medalists domination.

I don’t think so.

Now perhaps the NOAA model, which was forecasting a minor warming event a couple of weeks ago is still doing so. Two years ago, I had the nino called in Feb and predicted the non hurricane season. Last year again in Feb with the NINA, 18 STORMS, HOT SUMMER I dont see the hot summer this in the n plains and lakes, I see less storms, more US impact but most importantly to this post, I don’t see an el nino. neutral cool, yes like 08, but I don’t see the nino and I am not a model worshiper. The models are agreeing with me, because I said so before. There is no physical reason, in a cold PDO, to forecast a rapid return of enso warm conditions. Increased volcanic actions in the tropics could play a role, but that along with the sun are wild cards. And by the way, I have already been out publicly saying that the return of a weak to perhaps moderate warm event in 12-13 could lead to winters, because of solar and seismic considerations, that could rival the late 70s. So its not like I don’t see the chance of the warm enso, its just not coming now.

The CFS, the reactionary model, which I call it since it reacts after most should see what is going on, is colder with the bulk of the recent runs colder than the means ( recent runs in blue)

The JMA, and ECMWF, which when they agree with me, really pump me up

as I like their performance better


but they show this is backing off, but no nino.

Let me again be clear. Dr Masters has a site that has done well because he is good at what he does, so its Michigan vs PSU, met on met, honest disagreement ( I have no PHD in meteo though, just a Bachelors). But though I disagree with Dr Masters on AGW, this is an honest forecast disagreement. I do think Dr. Hansen, an outstanding astronomer, is

forecasting this like a couple of the others without looking at the same thing Jeff and I are looking at.. Jeff’s ideas seem measured and taking into account things I see, but I have the other reasons listed.

Hiding behind all this though its the admission that the enso drives global temps, and the implication for AGW has to then be that co2 emissions are causing the large scale cyclical changes in the ocean, which I just do not believe can be true, given what I know about gasses, liquids, and the fact that temps are a measure of energy and the composition and density of the measured gas or liquid increases as the amount of water vapor increases, or in the case of the oceans, a saturated body! But there is no malice intended here.

Actually it gives me hope that I can walk into that wrestling room at PSU and go after Cael:

A round robin with him and that bear is just what a 55 year old wrestling

wanted to be needs.

ciao for now


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Sean Peake

Hi Joe. Missed you… in a man hug sort of way


There are two persons I really respect re: forecasts: that is Joe D’Aleo and David Archibald. So far they have been spot on. Of course, there are others, Corbyn Etc but I can’t remember all of them. LOL

James Sexton

But, I don’t want winters like we had in the 70s!!!!! Can’t we find something that actually warms the planet?

Hank Hancock

An interesting read. I can’t help but notice in the ENSO index chart that El Nino seems to dominate in a positive PDO phase whereas La Nina seems to dominate in a negative PDO phase. Am I seeing that right? If so, then this seems good evidence to how strong of an effect the PDO has on global temperatures.

Douglas DC

Agree with Joe’s forecast-that coupled the pronounced cooling , and,we are foolishly converting food acreage to fuel. The 70’s set of the global cooling scare.
Now the cool is the warm, we still are to blame…


PDO and ENSO are flat over the 20th century. But it warmed. Therefore there has been warming independent of ENSO and PDO.
The contribution from PDO is much speculation anyway. PDO index has actually trended downwards since 1980, so there’s a good argument there that PDO, if it has any significant effect on global temperature, has actually had a cooling effect since 1980.
ENSO is temporary noise over the record. During El Ninos that noise adds to the background warming. During La Ninas it takes away from it. A new record year will always occur during an El Nino. That’s why we look out for El Ninos. But the expectation that records will be broken is based on the background warming trend, not simply ENSO.
Over time with a background warming trend it should take less and less strong El Ninos to break a previous record. For example the 2010 El Nino was weaker than the 1998 one. Yet 1998 and 2010 are tied warmest years on record.
ENSO has trended negative since 2002. So has the solar cycle. There has not been enough of a temperature drop if those were the only factors in play (especially if you also think PDO has had a cooling effect too – I think that’s just double counting the ENSO trend personally). So there must be something still causing warming since 2002.


Bastardi argues that because CO2 is a trace gas that is required for life, it cannot also act as a green house gas with substantial effects on the climate. This agument just makes no sense. It should not take a Ph.D. in meteorology to understand how green house gases affect climate. I do agree that it’s not easy to predict shifts in el nino/la nina. It will be interesting to see if we get the sift this summer, or next year as Bastardi expects.


“The studies of historical data show that the recent El Niño variation is most likely linked to global warming.” straight out of Wiki. so must be true.


It seems this year may be the critical test for all these ideas.


The only way we would be able to influence the planet’s temperature/weather would be to construct a solid sphere around it and put up programmable lights to replace the sun. Those lights could be fed using space arrays. Of course if we use CFL we will all freeze to death!


PDO matches with global brightening/dimming/brightening, which matches with extra bright sunshine which matches with more W/sqm.

onion2 says:
“So there must be something still causing warming since 2002.”
White is black, evil is good, and there has been warming since 2002.


There is a new cold upwelling taking place off the Equatorial coast of S. America.
More like a long wall of cold water than a simple spot.
What do you make of it?

R. Gates

It will be interesting to see if indeed we get an El Nino in 2012 (I see it more likely in 2013, with ENSO neutral conditions existing between now and then). But be that as it may, to discuss shorter-term natural variations such as solar cycles and ENSO, and medium term variations such as the PDO, and then bring CO2 into the mix is like discussing apples and oranges…or more accurately, apples and the apple cart. For the long-term CO2 forcing is something seen over many decades, and solar cycles and ENSO events can clearly be seen in the temperature record over the past several decades. But both ENSO events, solar events, PDO, and the rest have no NET forcing (or cooling) over the long term (at least they’d better not, or we’d be in trouble). Increases in CO2 however, should have, by physics, a long term NET forcing action over the long-term, and, there are specific verifiable long-term results of such a forcing– and these will be most easily seen in the areas most sensitive to such a NET forcing– namely the reduction of sea ice (mass, volume, and extent), the melting of arctic permafrost, the loss of continental ice mass in Greenland and Antarctica, melting of glaciers, etc. All these are happening and have been happening for many decades, despite the ups and downs of solar cycles, PDO, ENSO, etc.
Now Joe has pretty much put it on the line in terms of what he thinks will happen with the Arctic Sea Ice over the next few years. He’s stated many times he thinks it going to start a long term recovery. It would have to (in his world view) because everything (in his world view) comes down to the multi-decadal cycles in the oceans, and so what goes down (or up) must then do the reverse, as, (in his world view) there has been no NET long-term warming of the planet, but only natural cycles, and the 40% increase in CO2 that humans have created over the past few hundred years has no (or very very little) effect. I would be curious as to what he attributes the warmest water entering the Arctic in at least 2,000 years to? What natural cycle is this part of and where did all this energy come from? See:
Certainly, those who think CO2 could be having a long-term NET forcing on the climate know where this heat might have come from, but regardless, the GCM’s say one trend will exist as one of the most visible signs of AGW (i.e. the long-term decline in Arctic Sea ice), and Joe says it ain’t gonna happen that way. We shall see…

Bill Illis

I’m going with an El Nino developing (and have been since November).
The Pacific equatorial upper ocean temperatures have moved strongly into positive territory and it is the best indicator of what is going to happen.
The current cross-section is strongly indicative of El Nino.
Lots of warm water is now surfacing at the Galapagos Islands where the ENSO ocean current starts its journey across the Pacific.


In related news:
El Nino cheerleaders will be disappointed” [Joseph D’Aleo]


I noticed a typo between the second and third graphs:
“Now why would Hansen want the super nino, which he has been in a habit of forecasting since the 97-98 one? Well looks( look at the ocean temps:” “looks” should be lets, I think.
[Fixed, thanx. ~dbs.]


Don’t normally comment but must say -Love this website. Major kudos. Awards are much deserved. Thanks for all the efforts.


PDO negative (and ENSO):
Solar negative:
Yet, temperature up:
Now I know that woodfortrees is still stuck on the UAH 5.3 dataset and so UAH data doesn’t include the last 4 months. But it isn’t going to make a lot of difference to that trend.
If you take into account the impact of the solar cycle (about 0.1C from max to min) and the post 2002 ENSO decline influence (about the same) you have a total cooling influence between them of about 0.2C.
Yet temperature is flat. Think about it.
X – 0.2C = 0C
What’s X?

Billy Liar

onion2 says:
April 5, 2011 at 4:22 pm
So, in your theory, nothing ever happens in weather with a periodicity greater than PDO/ENSO/11-year solar cycle?

Hank Hancock says: “I can’t help but notice in the ENSO index chart that El Nino seems to dominate in a positive PDO phase whereas La Nina seems to dominate in a negative PDO phase. Am I seeing that right?”
Nope. You’ve got it reversed. When La Nina events dominate, the PDO is negative, and when El Nino events dominate, the PDO is postitive. But the PDO is also impacted by North Pacific Sea Level Pressure.
You continued, “If so, then this seems good evidence to how strong of an effect the PDO has on global temperatures.”
The PDO is an abstract representation of the Sea Surface Temperature anomalies of the North Pacific. The sea surface temperature variations of the North Pacific north of 20N (the area used to calculate the PDO) are actually inversely related to the PDO on decadal bases.
For more on the PDO refer to:
And for illustrations of the inverse relationship between the PDO and the SST anomalies of the North Pacific, refer to:


R. Gates says:
April 5, 2011 at 5:10 pm
I will agree with you on one thing and one thing only:
If the Sun is a long-term forcing agent, then we are in much bigger trouble than all the AGW models have previously thought. Why? It’s external to Earth, and is not affected by anything that happens here.
But you missed a game changer: The physics of Earth’s atmosphere cannot be constant given a shrunken outer atmosphere during Deep Solar Minimum.

R. Gates says: “For the long-term CO2 forcing is something seen over many decades, and solar cycles and ENSO events can clearly be seen in the temperature record over the past several decades.”
Unfortunately for your hypothesis, there’s no evidence that your “long-term CO2 forcing” has any impact on Sea Surface Temperature or Ocean Heat Content.


It’s flat smokey. Both UAH and HadCRUT are essentially flat since 2002 (and of course RSS
My point is not which side of the zero the trend insignificant falls.
My point is that given the ENSO decline since 2002, the solar decline since 2002 and the PDO decline since 2002, we should have quite a decline. Not flat. Unless something else is producing quite a warming effect and so is masking the decline.


Today I recognize again, how fair the discussion goes back and forth.
What a great place to be … and learn.


Onion2: There has been a consistent warming trend independent of cyclical behaviour for centuries now, long-term temperature records such as the CET show it clearly.
Unfortunately that also shows that CO2 is responsible for bugger all of the current warming. Unless you wish to reason that the previous trend stopped, and was replaced by a CO2 driven trend?
The PDO/AMO are a more important driver of climate than the underlying centuries-long warming trend because they have a far greater impact on the intensity of extreme events. Focusing on the global temperature anomaly (which has no physical basis) is foolish.

Bill Illis

Global warming theory depends on strong water vapour feedbacks.
Well, it turns out the ENSO controls global water vapour levels and the ENSO has no trend (up or down) over time so this most important part of theory is not working as predicted. [More decline in water vapour can be expected in the next month or two before stabilizing and then going up in the fall].
All the global warming studies which try to say water vapour levels are increasing (including the last IPCC report and those by Dessler) have taken advantage of the trends that the ENSO leaves in water vapour levels (start at La Nina dips and stop at El Nino peaks and viola, increasing water vapour).
If an El Nino develops into 2010, there will be less precipitation and warmer temperatures. What this means for crop production is that the summer will be pretty good although there will be drought going into the fall months. Production will be high overall (growing conditions will be okay and harvesting conditions will be very good. Prices will come down). Then the year after, drought conditions will take hold and production will be down.

Thanx for your parameter-free speculation. However, the natural warming of the planet since the LIA isn’t a problem. In fact, it is a net benefit. More is better.
You’re still stuck on the misguided belief that a warmer, more pleasant world is bad. It isn’t. It’s all good.

R. Gates

Bob Tisdale says:
April 5, 2011 at 5:34 pm
R. Gates says: “For the long-term CO2 forcing is something seen over many decades, and solar cycles and ENSO events can clearly be seen in the temperature record over the past several decades.”
Unfortunately for your hypothesis, there’s no evidence that your “long-term CO2 forcing” has any impact on Sea Surface Temperature or Ocean Heat Content.
Bob, you know as well as I do that that SST’s and OHC are very different metrics, with one having ENSO variability while OHC has indeed increased over the past three decades, (though not enough to account for poor Dr. Trenberth’s missing heat!), while the deeper ocean (from what little measurements we do have) also is showing signs of warming. See:
I highly respect your expertise, but I must disagree with you on this point.


so smokey as far as you are concerned the science is settled? that we know for 100% certainty that a 2C warmer world will be much better? No shadow of any doubt in your mind? Personally I dont think we have anything to compare 2C warmer with to know what will happen!

Good to see someone who gives credit to ENSO. My book (What Warming?) gives you a full understanding of how ENSO works and it has nothing to do with the PDO. ENSO is a climate oscillation involving the trade winds, the equatorial currents, and the equatorial countercurrent. The trade winds push the equatorial currents across the ocean and the water gets warmed on the way. At the west end their flow is blocked by New Guinea and the Philippines and warm water piles up. This is the origin of the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool, the warmest water in the world. Some of it leaks out into the Indian Ocean through gaps between the islands but the bulk returns east along the equatorial countercurrent and splashes ashore in South America. Physically, this flow takes the form of an El Nino wave, visible on satellite views as a Kelvin wave. The Nino 3.4 region is located smack in the middle of this equatorial countercurrent and watches the El Nino waves go by. The lag time between Nino 3.4 and overt manifestations of El Nino is due to the fact that Nino 3.4 sees it before it has hit the coast. El Nino flow is intermittent because wave resonance is involved. If you blow across the end of a glass tube you elicit a resonant tone whose frequency depends upon the dimensions of the tube. Trade winds are the equivalent of blowing across the end of a tube and the ocean answers with its own resonant tone – one wave every four-five years. This has been going on since the Panamanian Seaway closed and will likely outlast the human race. When the El Nino wave hits the coast its water spreads out in both directions about 15 degrees or more. Exposure of this large area of warm water warms the air above it, warm air rises and stops the trade winds, not the other way around. Prevailing winds then carry it over the continent, it mixes with global circulation, and an El Nino has started. There is enough heat involved in this to raise global temperature by half a degree Celsius each time an El Nino wave arrives.But every wave that runs ashore must also pull back. When the El Nino wave retreats sea surface drops in its wake by half a meter or more, cold water from below wells up, and a La Nina has started. As much as the El Nino raised global temperature the La Nina that follows will lower it. This global heat exchange between the oceans and the atmosphere is very precise as can be seen from a sequence of ENSO oscillation displayed in the satellite record of the eighties and nineties. The global mean temperature stays the same and the ENSO contribution to warming is zero. It is that simple. But due to the long transit time things can happen that distort the basic pattern. The most obvious interruption of ENSO oscillations was in 1998 when a super El Nino that was not part of it appeared. Its origin was probably a storm surge that deposited a large amount of warm water at the start of the equatorial countercurrent near New Guinea. In its aftermath global temperature rose by a third of a degree Celsius and then stabilized for the next six years. This, and not some greenhouse effect is the origin of the very warm first decade of our century. This period ended with a La Nina in 2008 which re-introduced the oscillatory climate which the super El Nino had temporarily disrupted. It was followed by the El Nino of 2010 and we are now half way through the next La Nina that followed it. Expect these oscillations and not a temperature rise to be in our future. I notice also that Hansen whose 1988 climate predictions featured a monotonic rise of temperature out to 2019 has now started talking about temperature fluctuations without using the word El Nino in his latest temperature article in Reviews of Geophysics [RG 4004/2010 RG000345]. Must have secretly read my book but does not want to admit it.


James Sexton says:
April 5, 2011 at 4:06 pm
But, I don’t want winters like we had in the 70s!!!!! Can’t we find something that actually warms the planet?
Unfortunately, in that regard, it appears that we have found “The Little Molecule that Couldn’t”.
It’s been a good, albeit expensive stepping stone to finding a potential solution to humanity’s upcoming and inevitable life killer.


Gates, one of the predictions of the global warming science is that sea levels will increase because warming seas expand….
If, as you say, OHC has increased and you say there is evidence that the deep ocean is also warming…..
Why are sea levels falling?


Given the relative densities, masses, and specific heats of ocean and atmosphere, the oceans have about 1100 times the thermal mass of the atmosphere. Monitoring air temperatures and claiming they can show a net global warming effect is stupidity, lunacy, or malice.


But, how can we trust the “authorities”, they made the wrong call on Arctic ice in 2008. They predicted an ice free summer arctic in 2013. We know now that is sheer nonsense! But do they care?, they will move on to the next thing. Completely ridiculous to have predicted an ice free summer arctic in 2013.


Bastardi is baaaaack.
Dammit, Joe, I cancelled my Accuweather Pro Subscription in protest…then I found out you and D’Aleo (I will call you Joe Squared….watch out) are forming your own long-range company.
Great to hear from you ranting about things ENSO PDO and AMO.
Keep speaking. When you do, I always listen.
Norfolk, VA, USA


Bob Tisdale says:
“Unfortunately for your hypothesis, there’s no evidence that your “long-term CO2 forcing” has any impact on Sea Surface Temperature or Ocean Heat Content.”
R. Gates says:
“I highly respect your expertise, but I must disagree with you on this point.”
Oh really?? Just HOW… R?
Besides the fact that comparing your opinion to Tisdale’s is like comparing apples….to planets [read…both are spheres….but the resemblance ends there]…
You go on with the arrogance to show disagreement with two lame lame LAME references from….ooh who would have guessed: Science Daily and NOAA.
And on top of that they don’t even really specifically support your magical, mystical, unknowable “CO2 forcing” hypothesis on the oceans, that you describe.
Norfolk, VA, USA


I am just basically a ‘lurker’ here as well as several other similar sites. There seems to be a major player with regards to ocean temps that has not been addressed here or anywhere else that I have seen and that is: the heat created from the movement of the tetonic plates. There is a tremendous amount of heat created and much under the Pacific Ocean. From a simple mind as mine, I have noted that when removing a screw from a board it will get pretty hot, friction anyone? Maybe someone could apply for grants to study using CO2 to grease the joints on the plates to stop global warming.

John F. Hultquist

onion2 says:
April 5, 2011 at 5:36 pm ~~~~~ “and the PDO decline . . . ”

What exactly does that mean? Are you trying to say that a negative PDO index represents colder North Pacific Ocean surface temperatures?


onion2 says:
April 5, 2011 at 6:30 pm
“So smokey as far as you are concerned the science is settled?”
What science is settled where….huh??….what???
Science is an evolving process…a product of what is found out.
The only person that has ever…EVER said…to my knowledge….that the “science is settled” [interject Tennessee accent]….is that good-for-nothing lamebrain, the former vice president [and extreme embarrassment to humanity]….Mr. Al Gore.
Norfolk, VA, USA

Hank Hancock

Bob Tisdale says:
April 5, 2011 at 5:29 pm
Nope. You’ve got it reversed. When La Nina events dominate, the PDO is negative, and when El Nino events dominate, the PDO is positive.

Thanks for straightening me out on that one. I must have been looking at the chart wrong. Also thanks for the links. They’re very helpful to this medical researcher who wants to understand the whole AWG can of worms.

Pamela Gray

I’m sorry, but I found this article torturous to read. Please request that Joe submit his written work to the correcting eye of a technical editor before it is published here. How embarrassing.

Zack G

Joe D’Aleo connects La Nina’s and El Nino’s to PDO’s. La Nina’s are favored in cold PDO’s and El Nino’s are favored in warm PDO’s.
I wish there were more data, especially from the 1860-1900 Warm AMO phase. No one ever seems to mention that 1887 and 1893 are both in the top ten for highest ACE’s ever recorded and that happened well before satellites.


So we’re back to CO2, except for being vital for plant life, does nothing?

Tilo Reber

Good work Joe. Just wanted to make 2 comments. Looking at the Multivariate ENSO Index, the period from 77 to 98 jumps out as being a warm PDO. But from 98 on the pattern is less clear. Yes, it looks like we may have switched in 2007, but it seems a little early to tell. In contrast to the 77 to 98 period, you can also see that from 1950 to 1977 a cold PDO dominated.
But I also think that the PDO cycles themselves are externally influenced. I find Svensmark’s cosmic ray theories compelling; and I think the correlation between long term temperature trends and the strength of solar cycles is too good to be accidental.
Good luck to you.

John F. Hultquist

The written material is the same as when he does a video report. These pieces may even be transcripts. I’ve read many university student essays and often the message can be found with a bit of effort. Same here.

Tilo Reber

Pamela: “I’m sorry, but I found this article torturous to read.”
Pamela, our brains have an area called the Wrenicke’s area and another called the Broca’s area. With regard to speech, the Broca’s area is responsible for structure and syntax. The Wrenicke’s area is responsible for meaning. As long as the Wrenicke’s area is functioning well, the Broca’s contribution is just the paint job. Don’t worry too much about the paint job.



I don’t understand why they can not, through simple deduction, understand that the warm PDO (1978 to 2007) leads to a warming of the globe, especially when there is part of that time the amo is warm) and the cooling will follow when the PDO turns colder, as it is now?

The above is description a fact in words.
The following is what the data says supporting the above description.
They deny the data, but they call us deniers.