Tisdale on Foster and Rahmstorf – take 2

Bob has asked me to carry this post, and I’m happy to do so. For those who want to criticize without contributing anything but criticism, I offer this insight: The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing. ~John Powell

-Anthony

Revised Post – On Foster and Rahmstorf (2011)

Guest post by Bob Tisdale

ABOUT THE ERROR-LADEN FIRST VERSION OF THIS POST

I displayed my very limited understanding of statistics in my post On Foster and Rahmstorf 2011 – Global temperature evolution 1979–2010. This was pointed out to me a great number times by many different people in numerous comments received in the WattsUpWithThat cross post. My errors in that portion of the post were so many and so great that they detracted from the bulk of the post, which was about the El Niño-Southern Oscillation. For that reason, I have added a third update to my earlier post on Foster and Rahmstorf (2011), which asks readers to disregard that post and the cross post at WUWT. That update also includes a link that redirects readers here.

I learned a lot from my mistakes. Many of those who commented provided detailed explanations of the methods used by Foster and Rahmstorf (2011). Thanks go to them.

When an author of a blog post makes a major mistake, it needs to be acknowledged and/or corrected, and I have done this multiple times for that portion of my earlier post about Foster and Rahmstorf (2011). Now I’m reposting an expanded version of the discussion of ENSO. If you’d still like to discuss the errors I made in the earlier post, please comment on that thread, not this one.

OVERVIEW

This post discusses the assumption made in the paper Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) “Global Temperature Evolution 1979–2010”that the variations in the global temperature record due to El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) can be estimated from an ENSO index. This post excludes all discussions of the statistical methods used by Foster and Rahmstorf in their paper. Please limit the comments on this thread to ENSO and surface temperature responses to ENSO.

INTRODUCTION

Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) attempted to remove from 5 global temperature datasets the linear effects of 3 factors that are known to cause variations in global temperature. The paper covered the period of 1979 to 2010. The intent of their paper was to show that anthropogenic global warming continues unabated in all of those datasets. The independent variables listed in the abstract of Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) are El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), volcanic aerosols, and solar variations.

Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) used independent measures for these three factors. Total Solar Irradiance and aerosol optical depth data were used to estimate the effects of solar variability and volcanic aerosols on global surface temperatures. This post does not pertain to them. This post initially discusses the attempt by Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) to use an ENSO index as a measure of the effects of ENSO on global surface temperature. What will then be discussed and shown is that an ENSO index cannot account for the effects of ENSO on global surface temperatures.

Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) also makes two more assumptions that have little basis in reality. They assume the rise in surface temperatures since 1979 was linear and that it was due to anthropogenic factors. The sea surface temperature record of the global oceans since 1982 clearly disagrees with these assumptions.

ENSO IS NOT AN EXOGENOUS FACTOR

The following two papers discuss the problems with the assumption made by Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) about ENSO. One of the papers was cited by them in their paper.

Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) cited Trenberth et al (2002) Evolution of El Nino–Southern Oscillation and global atmospheric surface temperaturesas one of their ENSO references. But Trenberth et al (2002) include the following disclaimer in the second paragraph of their Conclusions, (their paragraph 52, my boldface):

The main tool used in this study is correlation and regression analysis that, through least squares fitting, tends to emphasize the larger events. This seems appropriate as it is in those events that the signal is clearly larger than the noise. Moreover, the method properly weights each event (unlike many composite analyses). Although it is possible to use regression to eliminate the linear portion of the global mean temperature signal associated with ENSO, the processes that contribute regionally to the global mean differ considerably, and the linear approach likely leaves an ENSO residual.

The ENSO “residuals” are a significant contributor to the rise in Global Sea Surface Temperatures during the satellite era, as will be shown later in this post. Did Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) consider these residuals in their analysis? No.

A more recent paper was overlooked by Foster and Rahmstorf (2011). Compo and Sardeshmukh (2010) “Removing ENSO-Related Variations from the Climate Record” seems to be a step in the right direction. They write (my boldface):

An important question in assessing twentieth-century climate is to what extent have ENSO-related variations contributed to the observed trends. Isolating such contributions is challenging for several reasons, including ambiguities arising from how ENSO is defined. In particular, defining ENSO in terms of a single index and ENSO-related variations in terms of regressions on that index, as done in many previous studies, can lead to wrong conclusions. This paper argues that ENSO is best viewed not as a number but as an evolving dynamical process for this purpose.

Note: While Compo and Sardeshmukh made a step in the right direction, they missed a very important aspect of ENSO. They overlooked the significance of the huge volume of warm water that is left over from certain El Niño events, and they failed to account for its contribution to the rise in global Sea Surface Temperature anomalies since about 1975/76.

ENSO IS A PROCESS NOT AN INDEX

I have discussed, illustrated, and animated the process of ENSO and its effects on global surface temperatures and lower troposphere temperatures for about three years. There are too many posts to list them all here. However, if the subject of ENSO is new to you, refer to the introduction post here. If you would prefer an introductory-level discussion about ENSO written by someone else, refer to the excellent answers to FAQ here by Bill Kessler of the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. For those who believe La Niña events are the opposite of El Niño events refer to the posts here, here and here. And for those who believe ENSO is represented by an index, refer to the post here. I will provide a relatively detailed overview of the process of ENSO in the following.

ENSO is a coupled ocean-atmosphere process that periodically discharges heat to the atmosphere during an El Niño. The phrase “coupled ocean-atmosphere process” refers to the fact that many ocean and atmospheric variables in the tropical Pacific interact with one another. For that reason, a number of tropical Pacific variables are impacted directly by ENSO, including sea surface temperature, sea level, ocean currents, ocean heat content, depth-averaged temperature, warm water volume, sea level pressure, cloud amount, precipitation, the strength and direction of the trade winds, etc. I have presented the effects of ENSO on each of those variables in past posts. And since cloud amount for the tropical Pacific impacts downward shortwave radiation (visible light) there, I’ve presented and discussed that relationship as well. In fact, the videos included in the post here presented ISCCP Total Cloud Amount data (with cautions about that dataset), CAMS-OPI precipitation data, NOAA’s Trade Wind Index (5S-5N, 135W-180) anomaly data, RSS MSU TLT anomaly data, CLS (AVISO) Sea Level anomaly data, NCEP/DOE Reanalysis-2 Surface Downward Shortwave Radiation Flux (dswrfsfc) anomaly data, and Reynolds OI.v2 SST anomaly data.

During an El Niño, warm water from the west Pacific Warm Pool can travel thousands of miles eastward across the equatorial Pacific. Keep in mind that the equatorial Pacific stretches almost halfway around the globe. So as the convection, cloud cover, and precipitation all accompany that warm water, their relocation causes changes in atmospheric circulation patterns worldwide. In turn, this causes temperatures outside of the eastern tropical Pacific to vary, some warming, some cooling, but in total, the areas that warm exceed those that cool and global surface temperatures rise in response to an El Niño. The spatial patterns of warming and cooling during a La Niña are similar to an El Niño, but of the opposite sign. And all that a paper such as Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) can only hope to account for are the changes in global temperature that respond linearly to the changes in the ENSO index used in the analysis. As confirmation, a paper cited by Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) acknowledged that there are ENSO-related factors that impact global temperatures that are overlooked by linear regression analysis. See Trenberth et al (2002) linked above.

Because global spatial patterns for El Niño and La Niña events are similar but opposite, many persons believe that all of the effects of El Niño and La Niña events oppose one another. This is far from reality. A La Niña event is basically an exaggeration of the “normal” (or ENSO-neutral) state of the tropical Pacific, while an El Niño event is an anomalous state.

An El Niño can carry huge volumes of warm water from the surface and below the surface of the west Pacific Warm Pool eastward to the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. That warm water is not consumed fully by the El Niño, so it returns to the west during the La Niña. One of the ways the La Niña accomplishes this return of warm water is through a phenomenon called a slow-moving Rossby wave, which forms in the northeast tropical Pacific at about 5N-10N. After the 1997/98 El Niño, the Rossby wave is plainly visible in ocean heat content anomaly animations, and better still in sea level residual animations from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

I’ve highlighted the Rossby wave in screen captures from the JPL video in Figure 1. The upper right-hand cell shows the formation of the Rossby wave and the lower left-hand cell captures the Rossby wave travelling from east to west at approximately 5N-10N, carrying leftover warm water back to the western Pacific during the transition from the 1997/98 El Niño to the multiyear La Niña that followed.

Figure 1

The Rossby wave can be seen in the first 10 to 15 seconds of Video 1. And as you will note, if you allow the video to play through, there are no comparably sized Rossby waves carrying cool waters back to the western tropical Pacific at 5N-10N after the La Niña.

Video 1

And to further confirm this basic difference between El Niño and La Niña events, there are also no comparably-sized Rossby waves carrying cool waters back to the western tropical Pacific at 5N-10N after any La Niña event seen in the full version of the JPL animation, Video 2, which runs from 1992 to 2002.

Video 2

There are no ENSO indices presently in use that can account for the return of the warm water to the West Pacific during a La Niña event that follows an El Niño.

As I’ve noted in numerous posts, ENSO is also a process that redistributes the warm water that was leftover from the El Niño itself and enhances the redistribution of the warm water that resulted from the El Niño in waters outside of the eastern tropical Pacific. The redistribution carries that warm water poleward and into adjoining ocean basins during the La Niña that follows an El Niño. The impacts of this redistribution depend on the strength of the El Niño and the amount of water that was “left over”. Lesser El Niño events that are not followed by La Niña events obviously would not have the same impacts. There are no ENSO indices that can account for this redistribution and these differences.

La Niña events also recharge part of the warm water that was released during the El Niño. They accomplish this through an increase in downward shortwave radiation (visible light), and that results from the reduction in tropical Pacific cloud amount caused by the stronger trade winds of a La Niña. Sometimes La Niña events “overcharge” the tropical Pacific, inasmuch as they recharge more ocean heat in the tropical Pacific than was discharged during the El Niño that came before it. That was the case during the 1973/74/75/76 La Niña. Refer to Figure 2. Tropical Pacific Ocean Heat Content rose significantly during the 1973/94/75/76 La Niña, and that provided the initial “fuel” for the 1982/83 Super El Niño and the multi-year 1986/87/88 El Niño. The La Niña events that followed those El Niño only recharged a portion of the heat discharged by them. Tropical Pacific Ocean Heat Content declined until 1995. Then the 1995/96 La Niña event “overcharged” the Tropical Pacific Ocean Heat Content again and that provided the fuel for the 1997/98 “El Niño of the Century”.

Figure 2

Refer also to the introductory level discussion in the post ENSO Indices Do Not Represent The Process Of ENSO Or Its Impact On Global Temperature.

THE TREND OF THE EAST PACIFIC SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES HAS BEEN RELATIVELY FLAT FOR 30 YEARS

The East Pacific Sea Surface Temperature anomalies from pole to pole, Figure 3, are dominated by the variations in tropical Pacific caused by ENSO, and as a result, the variations in the East Pacific Sea Surface Temperature anomalies mimic ENSO, represented by the scaled NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature anomalies. The trend of the East Pacific Sea Surface Temperature anomalies is relatively flat at 0.011 deg C/Decade.

Figure 3

The reason the trend is so flat: warm water from the surface and below the surface of the west Pacific Warm Pool is carried eastward during an El Niño and spread across the surface of the eastern tropical Pacific, raising sea surface temperatures there. And during the La Niña events that follow El Niño events, the leftover warm water is returned to the western tropical Pacific. Due to the increased strength of the trade winds during the La Nina, there is an increase in upwelling of cool subsurface waters in the eastern equatorial Pacific, so the Sea Surface Temperatures there drop. In other words, the East Pacific is simply a temporary staging area for the warm water of an El Niño event. Warm water sloshes into this dataset from the western tropical Pacific and releases heat, and then the warm water sloshes back out.

WHAT EFFECT DOES THE WARM WATER HAVE WHEN IT RETURNS TO THE WESTERN TROPICAL PACIFIC DURING THE SUBSEQUENT LA NIÑA EVENT?

The warm waters released from below the surface of the West Pacific Warm Pool during a major El Niño are not done impacting Sea Surface Temperatures throughout the global oceans when that El Niño has ended, and they cannot be accounted for by an ENSO index. Keep in mind, during an El Niño like the 1997/98 event, a huge volume of water from below the surface of the west Pacific Warm Pool was spread across the surface of the eastern tropical Pacific. Consequently, warm water that had once been excluded from the surface temperature record, because it was below the surface, is now included in the surface temperature record. At the end of the El Niño, the trade winds push the warm water that’s now on the surface back to the western Pacific where it remains in the surface temperature record. The Sea Surface Temperature in the western Pacific rises as a result. Add to that the effects of the Rossby wave. As illustrated earlier, at approximately 5N-10N latitude, a slow-moving Rossby wave also carries leftover warm water from the eastern tropical Pacific back to the western Pacific during the La Niña. Ocean currents carry all of the leftover the warm water poleward to the Kuroshio-Oyashio Extension (KOE) east of Japan and to the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ) east of Australia, and the Indonesian Throughflow (an ocean current) carries the warm water into the tropical Indian Ocean. And as noted above, due to the increased strength of the trade winds during the La Nina, there is an increase in upwelling of cool subsurface waters in the eastern equatorial Pacific, so the Sea Surface Temperatures there drop. But that cooler-than-normal water is quickly warmed during the La Niña as it is carried west by the stronger-than-normal ocean currents that are caused by the stronger-than-normal trade winds. And the reason that water warms so quickly as it is carried west is because the stronger-than-normal trade winds reduce cloud cover, and this allows more downward shortwave radiation (visible sunlight) to warm the ocean to depths of 100 meters. This additional warm water helps to maintain the Sea Surface Temperatures in the West Pacific and East Indian Oceans at elevated levels during the La Niña and it also recharges the West Pacific Warm Pool for the next El Niño event. Refer again to Figure 2. (Keep in mind that the graph in Figure 2 is for the Ocean Heat Content for the entire tropical Pacific, not just the Pacific Warm Pool.)

And what happens when a major El Niño event is followed by a La Niña event? The Sea Surface Temperature anomalies for the Atlantic, Indian, and West Pacific Oceans (the Rest-Of-The-World outside of the East Pacific) first rise in response to the major El Niño; the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Niño events for example. Then the Rest-Of-The-World Sea Surface Temperatures are maintained at elevated levels by the La Niña; the 1988/89 and 1998/99/00/01 La Niña events to complete the example. The results are the apparent upward shifts in the Sea Surface Temperature anomalies of the Atlantic, Indian, and West Pacific Oceans from pole to pole (90S-90N, 80W-180), as illustrated in Figure 14. Some have described it as a ratcheting effect, where the redistribution of warm waters during the major El Niño and La Niña events drive the surface temperatures up a notch.

Figure 4

In Figure 4, the dip and rebound starting in 1991 is caused by the volcanic aerosols emitted by the explosive volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo. And the reason the Rest-Of-The-World Sea Surface Temperature anomalies respond so little to the 1982/83 Super El Niño is because that El Niño was counteracted by the eruption of El Chichon in 1982.

To assure readers that the upward shifts in Rest-Of-The-World Sea Surface Temperature anomalies coincide with the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Niño events, I’ve included an ENSO index, NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature anomalies, in Figure 5. The NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature anomalies have been scaled (multiplied by a factor of 0.12) to allow for a better visual comparison, and shifted back in time by 6 months to account for the time lag between the variations in NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature anomalies and the response of the Rest-Of-The-World data.

Figure 5

But the ENSO Index data is visually noisy and it detracts from the upward shifts, so I’ve removed it in Figure 6. But in it, I’ve isolated the data between the significant El Niño events. To accomplish this, I used the NOAA Oceanic Nino Index (ONI) to determine the official months of those El Niño events. There is a 6-month lag between NINO3.4 SST anomalies and the response of the Rest-Of-The-World SST anomalies during the evolution phase of the 1997/98 El Niño. So the ONI data was lagged by six months, and the Rest-Of-The-World SST data that corresponded to the 1982/83, 1986/87/88, 1998/98, and 2009/10 El Niño events was excluded and left as black dashed lines. All other months of data remain and are represented by the blue curves.

Figure 6

And to help further highlight the upward shifts, the average Sea Surface Temperature anomalies between the major El Niño events are added in Figure 7.

Figure 7

Based on past posts where I’ve presented the data the same way, some readers have suggested the period average temperatures are misleading and have requested that I illustrate the linear trends. Figure 8 shows how flat the trends are between the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Niño events and between the 1997/98 and 2009/10 El Niño events.

Figure 8

Back to the East Pacific data: If we adjust the East Pacific Sea Surface Temperature anomalies for the effects of volcanic aerosols, Figure 9, the linear trend is slightly negative. In other words, for approximately 33% of the surface area of the global oceans, Sea Surface Temperature anomalies have not risen in 30 years.

Figure 9

Note: The method used to adjust for the volcanic eruptions is described in the post Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies – East Pacific Versus The Rest Of The World, under the heading of ACCOUNTING FOR THE IMPACTS OF VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS.

And if we adjust the Rest-Of-The-World Sea Surface Temperature anomalies for volcanic aerosols, Figure 10, we reduce the effects of the dip and rebound caused by the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo. And the trend of the Rest-Of-The-World data between the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Niño drops slightly compared to the unadjusted data (Figure 8), making it even flatter and slightly negative.

Figure 10

Note: In the second part of a two part series (here), I further subdivided the Rest-of-the-World (90S-90N, 80W-180) sea surface temperature data to isolate the North Atlantic, due to its additional mode of natural variability. The sea surface temperatures for the remaining South Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific data decay between the major El Niño events. In other words, the sea surface temperatures there drop; the linear trends are negative, just as one would expect.

In summary, ENSO is a coupled ocean-atmosphere process and its effects on Global Surface Temperatures cannot be accounted for with linear regression of an ENSO index as attempted by Foster and Rahmstorf (2011)–and others before them. We can simply add Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) to the list of numerous papers that make the same error. Examples:

Lean and Rind (2009) How Will Earth’s Surface Temperature Change in Future Decades?

And:

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

And:

Santer et al (2001), Accounting for the effects of volcanoes and ENSO in comparisons of modeled and observed temperature trends

And:

Thompson et al (2008), Identifying signatures of natural climate variability in time series of global-mean surface temperature: Methodology and Insights

And:

Trenberth et al (2002) Evolution of El Nino–Southern Oscillation and global atmospheric surface temperatures

And:

Wigley, T. M. L. (2000), ENSO, volcanoes, and record-breaking temperatures

IS THERE A LINEAR “GLOBAL WARMING SIGNAL”?

Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) assumed that the global warming signal is linear and that it is caused by anthropogenic factors, but those assumptions are not supported by the satellite-era Sea Surface Temperature record as shown above. The El Niño events of 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 are shown to be the cause of the rise in sea surface temperatures since November 1981, not anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

CLOSING COMMENTS

This post illustrated and discussed the error in the assumption that regression analysis can be used to remove the impacts of ENSO on Global Surface Temperature. ENSO is a process that is not fully represented by ENSO Indices. In other words, the ENSO indices only represent a small portion of the impacts of ENSO on Global Surface Temperatures. Attempting to use an ENSO index as Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) have done is like trying to provide the play-by-play for a baseball game solely from an overhead view of home plate.

The assumption made by Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) that a linear trend provides an approximate “global warming” signal was shown to be wrong using Sea Surface Temperature data. When broken down into two logical subsets of the East Pacific and the Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific Oceans, satellite-era Sea Surface Temperature data shows no evidence of an anthropogenic global warming signal. It only shows upward shifts associated with strong ENSO events.

If Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) were to exclude ENSO from their analysis, it is likely their results would be significantly different.

A closing note: I have also been illustrating, discussing, and documenting the ENSO-related processes behind these upward shifts for three years, using the East Indian-West Pacific subset (60S-65N, 80E-180). I first posted about it on January 10, 2008 in a two-part series here and here. The WattsUpWithThat cross posts are here and here.

ABOUT: Bob Tisdale – Climate Observations

SOURCES

The NODC OHC data is available through the KNMI Climate Explorer, on their Monthly observationswebpage.

The Reynolds OI.v2 Sea Surface Temperature data used in the ENSO discussion is available through the NOAA NOMADS website here.

The Aerosol Optical Thickness data used in the volcano adjustments of the Sea Surface Temperature data in Figures 9 and 10 is available from the GISS Stratospheric Aerosol Optical Thickness webpage here.

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Latitude

Thanks Bob
“making it even flatter and slightly negative.”

Alan Statham

Well go on then. Try and get this published in the scientific literature.

markus

Seems a constant error in the expedition of climate science is the treatment of climatic variables as linear. Measurement of relationships in an atmosphere can only be a multivariate. They are all inter alia relationships.
The influence between climatic parameters cannot be measured and interpreted because those starting parameters suffer constant variations. Linear regression assumes the parameters retain their beginning characteristics. It’s like trying to understand a rock without flipping it over and having a look at it’s underside.
“”When a butterfly flaps its wings””

Latitude: Yeah, that sentence is awkward. I’ll strike the “even flatter and” at my website.
Thanks

LazyTeenager

Thanks for manning up when you make a mistake Bob.
I am hoping this is a general trend amongst all the dogmatism and the raging God Complexes.

JJ

Hats off to Bob for admitting and correcting a mistake. Unheard of behaviour in many circles of “climate science”, and not even universally practiced amongst guest posters here. Only one of the reasons why his contributions really add to the value of WUWT.
Of course ENSO isn’t an exogenous factor for sea surface temperature. ENSO is sea surface temperature. The heat that is tallied as an ENSO index event comes from somewhere, and ends up somewhere, and neither of those somewheres can be fully accounted for by playing numbers games with the ENSO index. Thanks Bob.

jorgekafkazar

I don’t understand what you mean, Alan. Please clarify.

Alan Wilkinson

Why so much attention to sea surface temperature rather than sea level as a direct proxy for total ocean heat content? SST invokes a distributional uncertainty that seems unnecessary.

Ninderthana

Alan Statham says:
January 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm
Well go on then. Try and get this published in the scientific literature.
I seem to remember someone saying that “it is easier to thread a camel through the eye of a needle….”
I think that it would only take a first grader to see that Bob Tisdale has a valid scientific point about the misuse of the ENSO index by Foster and Rahmstorf (2011). However, hell will probably freeze over before the so-called guardians of “consensus science” allow such a logical and water tight argument as that present by Bob through the hallowed gates of “I scratch your back, you scratch my back, your my buddy” peer-review.

Mac the Knife

Thank You, Bob!
Your integrity shines through!
A modest paraphrase seems appropriate: ‘It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid LazyTeennagers who know neither victory nor defeat.’
Thank You, for ‘being in the arena..’!!! We value your considerable contributions.

Ninderthana

Superb work Bob! I think that you have done more to advance our understanding of global climate science than virtually all of the other climate scientists combined. The trouble is that you are supported by the I haven’t got a brass-razoo foundation and they have an “unlimited” funding source called the naive and gullible tax-payer’s association.

Khwarizmi

Alan Statham says:
Welll go on then. Try and get this published in the scientific literature.
================
It is scientific literature that has been published.
Let me show you how I know this:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/scientific
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/literature
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/published
I think what you really meant to say was, “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!””

trx

Going through Rahmstorf’s climategate emails, I find several political statements to justify patroling the press and sceptic publications and writing responses.
He made a reply about speleothems, where he was not an expert and organized another reply about cosmic rays, where he was absolutely no expert. Then he is known for the Rahmstorf et al 2007 paper about sea levels, devastatingly discussed at climateaudit and elsewhere and perhaps a significant low in climate science.
Now he is a physicist and oceanographer and you would expect that at least this time he is an expert and should know about latest research about ocean currents. And then again he publishes this…

John F. Hultquist

One useful aspect of posting on the web is the timeliness. Because of technology and geography my link was not broadband before September of 2008. Since that time I have read more than a few (30 +/- ?) posts by Bob T. (at WUWT and on his own ( http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/ ) site. I’ve also followed many links at his suggestion – some are mentioned (again) in this post. If I were still relying for subscriptions or the local university library for my science-reading I might – just now – be reading my first Bob T. ‘peer’ reviewed article. Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration.
The main points of this posting seem to be that ENSO is a process not represented by the index used to identify it, and La Niña events are not the opposite of El Niño events. A third point, I guess, is that other researchers either do not understand, or do not wish to acknowledge these things.
Can anyone show these two concepts to be incorrect?
After 3.5 years of reading about this it seems to me, Bob T. just keeps making in cleaner and clearer.

trbixler

Alan Wilkinson
1) The “ocean” is not a fixed size bucket.
2) Atmospheric pressure varies the sea level and is dynamic.
3) The affect of the moon makes accurate sea level measurement difficult as well.

Dave

Good job Bob others have said what I can only echo, honesty and integrity shine though in your admission and willingness to delve deeper. This is real science at work.

Philip Bradley

The assumption made by Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) that a linear trend provides an approximate “global warming” signal was shown to be wrong using Sea Surface Temperature data.
Its not really an assumption, Its the theoretical prediction of the Forcings Theory of climate change.
CO2 rises exponentially. The GH effect of CO2 is logarithmic. Resulting in a linear increase in temperatures.
Your criticism of F&R is valid.
Although the stepped increase of SSTs is consistent (a rather weasily word much loved by climate scientists) with GH warming from CO2 intermediated by the ENSO process.
However, it is also consistent with warming from declining tropospheric aerosol levels* intermediated by ENSO.
* There is essentially no relationship between tropospheric and stratospheric aerosol levels, and F&R’s (claimed) accounting for stratospheric aerosols says nothing about changes in tropospheric aerosols.

Thanks Bob. This is fine work that accounts for a good portion of what is going one. I have a very hard time when ever anyone builds assumptions into the front end of an analysis. You have clearly demonstrated the foolishness of that. It is also less then good science too.

Rhoda Ramirez

Alan Stratham: It appears that Mr. T has recieved a more through ‘peer review’ here at the WUWT site than any of ‘The Team’ ever received as part of their pal review. BTW: Cool hiding behind a fictional character. Symtematic

HAS

As I said before Bob I think you are too hard on yourself. F&R proposed a linear regression model, fitted parameters with total abandon, reported confidence limits and made no effort to test (as far as we know) or report (we definitely know) that the assumptions underlying their model were accurate. The residues in their final model are autocorrelated according to durbin watson without even adjusting for all the degrees of freedom they ate estimating their lags. Without even starting to discuss the MEI index its rubbish statistically. One can only take the charitable view that it was probably produced with a political purpose in mind, and on that basis has probably achieved its ends.
Reading your discussion about the SOI what I would be interested in would be to see your hypothesis formulated as a simple approximate linear model (including dependence on previous states and lags i.e as an ARIMA model). It would be interesting to see how well that simplified physical model fitted to the data, and in particular if linear time added much in explaining the data after it was fitted.
I know I’ve be banging on about this a bit, but http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/people/brant.liebmann/papers/global_change/global.change-final.pdf is essential reading for anyone claiming significance for a time based trend in the global temp series. What it says is that if you do the stats properly the 30 year time series from 2009 (i.e 1979 – 2009) 3 standard deviations of the time coefficient in the regression is around 0.17 c/decade (figs 3b and 4c sd approx 0.057 – we’re reading of graphs here, and I hope I’m interpreting all this correctly), while F&R are telling us that adding in the extra variables 2 standard deviations of their time coef comes out at around 0.03 c/decade (fig 6 i.e. sd approx 0.015). On the face of it you’d have to think it was unlikely.
Perhaps they could report their results showing how they took account of the structure of the time series so we can all judge.

JPeden

LazyTeenager says:
January 14, 2012 at 7:01 pm
“Thanks for manning up when you make a mistake Bob.”
Presenting one’s work in a truly scientific format is done precisely because a real scientist wants the work to be as mistake free and replicable as possible, not because it has been preordained as the “given truth”. In other words, if everyone and their mother, mustering all of their sceptical abilities, can’t find a mistake, then things are looking good…so far. On the other hand no true scientist really wants to make a mistake. But admitting having made one is part of what being a real scientist committed to the principles and practices of real science is, that is, if the scientist wants to keep on learning about their own subject matter, practicing real science, and furthering understanding – instead of crass manipulation.
“I am hoping this is a general trend amongst all the dogmatism and the raging God Complexes.”
Yes, so let the CO2 = CAGW Climate Scientists themselves start practicing real science statim! Lord knows they’ve already made enough mistakes to in effect put the whole of Humanity into a net state of imminent negative Karma value, not merely themselves and the people they’ve immediately affected so far.

Alan Wilkinson

trbixler January 14, 2012 at 8:59 pm, I don’t think your comments are show stoppers. Satellites measure average sea levels with as much accuracy as average temperatures and much greater consistency AFAIK. Atmospheric pressure changes are local, not global and tides average over time as well. The “bucket” may deform slightly but I doubt it is very significant in the time scales of interest. In comparison the uncertainties of heat distribution between the ocean surface, location and depths seem vastly greater.

afiziquist

My general impression is that fewer and fewer are interested in climate change these days. The only people interested are those at these sites and alarmist sites (which are even less). The subject is very rarely mentioned in mass media anymore. maybe without noticing it it has virtually died.

Philip Bradley says: “Its not really an assumption, Its the theoretical prediction of the Forcings Theory of climate change.”
It’s still an assumption that global surface temperatures have risen linearly in response to those forcings.
You continued, “Although the stepped increase of SSTs is consistent (a rather weasily word much loved by climate scientists) with GH warming from CO2 intermediated by the ENSO process.”
That argument doesn’t ring true. That is, it could be argued that the Rest-of-the-World (Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific) SST anomalies would likely decrease after the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Nino events if it wasn’t for greenhouse gases—or—phrased another way, greenhouse gases prevent the Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific SST from declining after the El Nino events. The first problem is the East Pacific SST anomalies haven’t increased in 30 years, so the flat SST anomalies between the El Nino events in the Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific data are consistent with a world in which greenhouse gases have no impact on sea surface temperatures. The second problem is there is an additional factor called the AMO that’s included in the Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific data. Without the North Atlantic data, the South Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific SST anomalies have significant negative trends between the major El Nino events:
http://i55.tinypic.com/12524rb.jpg
It’s only the North Atlantic that shows a rise between those El Nino events and that is consistent with the additional mode of natural variability called the AMO:
http://i54.tinypic.com/35d3j1h.jpg
The second part was discussed in this post:
http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2011/08/07/supplement-to-enso-indices-do-not-represent-the-process-of-enso-or-its-impact-on-global-temperature/

oMan

Thanks very much. Clear and compelling to this lay reader. I was particularly struck by the animations of the Rossby waves and other transporters of heat through the system. As you say, it’s a process, not a number; the number (or even dozens of different indices) is just a partial arbitrary representation of the process. Given the inherent noise –the multiplicity of different interacting somewhat-cyclical factors on different time scales, and the wild cards of volcanic activity and solar behavior– it should not surprise that the real shape of the elephant is so hard to discern.

Alan Wilkinson says: “Why so much attention to sea surface temperature rather than sea level as a direct proxy for total ocean heat content? SST invokes a distributional uncertainty that seems unnecessary.”
First, sea surface temperatures are not being used as a proxy for ocean heat content. They’re entirely different datasets. In additional to the greater depth of the ocean heat content data, it also includes the impacts of variations in salinity.
Second, in addition to the thermal component of sea level, there is also a mass contribution from the melting of glaciers, pumping out ground water, etc., so sea level data that has not been adjusted for the mass contribution does not provide a good proxy for ocean heat content.
Third, satellite era sea level data has only been available since 1993, but you get another decade of satellite-based data using sea surface temperature.
And fourth, with respect to my post, Foster and Rahmstorf used the land+sea surface temperatures from 3 sources (GISS, Hadley Centre, and NCDC) in their paper. Sea surface temperature is a major component of those datasets because the oceans cover 70% of the surface area of the globe. Foster and Rahmstorf didn’t discuss sea level.
Regards

afiziquist says: “My general impression is that fewer and fewer are interested in climate change these days. The only people interested are those at these sites and alarmist sites (which are even less). The subject is very rarely mentioned in mass media anymore. maybe without noticing it it has virtually died.”
Every time there’s a change in the weather or major flooding event, some newscaster or reporter attributes it to global warming/climate change caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gases. It’s also so ingrained in people now due to the constant bombardment from the news for all those years that when they hear of the drought in Texas or flooding somewhere else in the world they think of manmade global warming.

markus

“Bob Tisdale says:
January 15, 2012 at 2:26 am
It’s also so ingrained in people now due to the constant bombardment from the news for all those years that when they hear of the drought in Texas or flooding somewhere else in the world they think of manmade global warming.”
It is far worse then we thought. The ingrained rhetoric has entered our learning institutions, Their is no question of the theory’s legitimacy, effects or the realistic observations that hold up against the theory. What will become children’s relationship with authority when they discover there was no warming as hypothesized?

Exp

“It’s also so ingrained in people now due to the constant bombardment from the news for all those years that when they hear of the drought in Texas or flooding somewhere else in the world they think of manmade global warming.”
If you put enough extra energy into a system to heat up the whole by an average of around 1C, wouldn’t you expect that those (severe and catastrophic) events that rely on energy, thermodynamic processes and entropy for their existence to be enhanced and effected? To deny this is to deny science and logic. Attribution is very hard to quantify certainly But trying to imply and insinuate that this means there is no effect and also trying to misrepresents scientists by claiming they are citing AGW as sole or even primary cause is outright dishonest.

oMan says: “Thanks very much. Clear and compelling to this lay reader.”
As a lay reader, I’ve got a couple of questions for you, if I may. Regarding my discussion of ENSO and the upward shifts, what could I have made clearer? I understand a bunch of illustrations for the basic processes would help, along with more maps showing the locations of the Pacific Warm Pool, the Kuroshio-Oyashion Extension, the South Pacific Convergence Zone, the Indonesian Throughflow, etc. What about the descriptions themselves? I can use simpler language, while still trying to avoid pronouns since they can add confusion. What else?
I was thinking of writing a post that’s simply about this topic; that is, how I can change my discussion to make it easier for the lay person to read and understand.

El Nino loading of a La Nina via rosby waves is but one method that forms La Nina. The principal falls apart during neg PDO periods when we experience double La Nina. The basic method tells us we need warm water above New Guinea to begin the La Nina process which can also come from the PDO warm pool during the neg phase as we see today.
Why does Bob not discuss this important variation of ENSO?
The PDO is not hard to recognize but so far is not mentioned this thread.

RichieP

“afiziquist says:
January 15, 2012 at 1:44 am
My general impression is that fewer and fewer are interested in climate change these days. The only people interested are those at these sites and alarmist sites (which are even less). The subject is very rarely mentioned in mass media anymore. maybe without noticing it it has virtually died.”
Try telling that to the ordinary people in EU Europe whose income is being drained to provide subsidies for vast and insane ‘renewable’ projects, channelling the profit to the already rich, both corporate and individual – oh, and that’s without all the taxes that go under the name of environmental concern but are just another way of bleeding the populace dry.

lgl

Bob
Then the 1995/96 La Niña event “overcharged” the Tropical Pacific Ocean Heat Content again and that provided the fuel for the 1997/98 “El Niño of the Century”.
This doesn’t make sense. The 1995/96 La Niña was very weak (if at all qualifying), same with the 82 (not a Nina) and 85 events. If ‘fueled’ it all came from the huge OHC increase in 1977.
http://virakkraft.com/ENSO-OHC-0-24N.png
And that shift was not caused by the 74-76 Nina, then the 55 Nina should also have caused a shift.

Geoff Sharp says: “El Nino loading of a La Nina via rosby waves is but one method that forms La Nina. The principal falls apart during neg PDO periods when we experience double La Nina. The basic method tells us we need warm water above New Guinea to begin the La Nina process which can also come from the PDO warm pool during the neg phase as we see today.”
You and I have discussed the PDO before, and your continued insistence on the PDO’s importance and your discussion of it in your comment clearly indicate you still do not understand what it is. The PDO is an aftereffect of ENSO. The PDO only relates to the leading principal component of the detrended sea surface temperature anomalies for the NORTH PACIFIC north of 20N. The last time I checked, Geoff, New Guinea was south of the equator. Has it moved? If not, it does not enter into a conversation of the PDO.
Here’s a link to an introductory post about the PDO. I’ve provided a link to it for you in the past, but here it is again. Maybe this time you’ll read it:
http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2010/09/03/an-introduction-to-enso-amo-and-pdo-part-3/
With respect to your want to redirect this thread to double-dip La Nina events: This post was about specific El Nino events and the La Nina events that followed them, and about the observed upward shifts in the sea surface temperature anomalies of the Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific SST dataset caused by those El Nino events. Specifically, this post was about the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Nino events and the 1989/90 and 1998/99/00/01 La Nina events. It was not about the double-dip La Nina events we have seen since 2007, so your claim the “principal falls apart” is nonsense. In fact, the more I read your comment, the more I’m convinced you’re simply acting as a troll, a troll who misundertands the topic of this post and the topic you want to discuss.
You continued, “Why does Bob not discuss this important variation of ENSO?”
Which “this”? Your use of a pronoun is confusing to readers. If your question relates to double-dip La Nina events, they are not relevant to this discussion. I’m not sure why you can’t see that, Geoff.
You continued, “The PDO is not hard to recognize but so far is not mentioned this thread.”
Since the PDO is an aftereffect of ENSO, there is no need to discuss it on this thread.
Geoff, the last time we had a similar discussion (about six months ago) I presented the following to you with hope you’d recognize one of your misunderstandings. The standardization of the PDO data greatly exaggerates its importance. I know I’ve illustrated this for you, Geoff, because I have a file of graphs with your name on it that includes this one:
http://i44.tinypic.com/24x0tj9.jpg
As you’ll note, if we don’t standardize the 1st principal component data, the PDO (represented by the blue North Pacific data) is dwarfed by the ENSO (represented by the purple NINO3.4 data). ENSO is clearly the dominant mode of natural variability in the Pacific, Geoff.

Roger Knights

Exp says:
January 15, 2012 at 2:51 am
If you put enough extra energy into a system to heat up the whole by an average of around 1C, wouldn’t you expect that those (severe and catastrophic) events that rely on energy, thermodynamic processes and entropy for their existence to be enhanced and effected? To deny this is to deny science and logic. Attribution is very hard to quantify certainly But trying to imply and insinuate that this means there is no effect and also trying to misrepresents scientists by claiming they are citing AGW as sole or even primary cause is outright dishonest.

Not necessarily, if the earth has a natural thermostat, or several. for instance, if increased heat causes more tropical thunderstorms, which vent that heat by convection to the upper atmosphere, as willis has argued.

Exp says: “If you put enough extra energy into a system to heat up the whole by an average of around 1C…”
That’s as far as anyone needs to read your comment, Exp, but I did read the rest. Your initial phrase is an assumption on your part, and this post illustrated how big of an assumption it is. There is no evidence the additional increase in anthropogenic forcings from 1982 to present had any impact on sea surface temperatures. There is no evidence whatsoever.
Are you aware the trend of the forcings during the late warming period (1975-2000) is at least three times greater than the trend during the early warming period of the 20th century (1917-1944)? Are you aware that there is no difference in the rates at which global surface temperatures warmed during the early and late warming periods, using the IPCC’s dataset of choice, HadCRUT3? If anthropogenic forcings are what drives global surface temperatures, why are the observed rates of warming the same, when there’s been a three-fold increase in the rate at which they’re forced? The hypothesis you’re convinced of has tremendous holes in it, Exp.

Peter

Exp:

If you put enough extra energy into a system to heat up the whole by an average of around 1C…

That’s an average 1C over more than 100 years, and that’s all that extra energy did – caused a slight increase in the statistical average – big deal.
But you ignore the orders of magnitude greater energy fluxes which happen on a daily basis,causing diurnal temperature changes of several degrees on average, as well as seasonal changes.
These are the real energy fluxes, which are truly huge, and not some trifling couple of W/m2 increase over a century in some statistical average.

lgl: You quoted the post, “Then the 1995/96 La Niña event ‘overcharged’ the Tropical Pacific Ocean Heat Content again and that provided the fuel for the 1997/98 ‘El Niño of the Century’.”
Then you said, “This doesn’t make sense. The 1995/96 La Niña was very weak (if at all qualifying), same with the 82 (not a Nina) and 85 events. If ‘fueled’ it all came from the huge OHC increase in 1977.
http://virakkraft.com/ENSO-OHC-0-24N.png
And that shift was not caused by the 74-76 Nina, then the 55 Nina should also have caused a shift.”
lgl, the 1995/96 La Nina was weak but it did qualify:
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ensoyears.shtml
And sorry that I didn’t include the following link to McPhaden (1999)“Genesis and Evolution of the 1997-98 El Niño.
http://lightning.sbs.ohio-state.edu/geo622/paper_enso_McPhaden1999.pdf
McPhaden writes, “For at least a year before the onset of the 1997–98 El Niño, there was a buildup of heat content in the western equatorial Pacific due to stronger than normal trade winds associated with a weak La Niña in 1995–96.”
NINO3.4 SST anomalies and the MEI aren’t perfect proxies for the interplay between the many variables that are part of ENSO. Sometimes the ENSO indices simply tell us that an event took place at a specific time and we need to look further. (It took me a while to find that paper. I believe it’s the only one that discussed the source of warm water for the 1997/98 El Nino.) With respect to your comment about a 1955 La Nina, the multiyear 1954/55/56/57 La Nina sure does look at though it’s timed right for the rise in OHC in your graphs at that time, but it’s really tough to be sure since the data starts in 1955:
http://virakkraft.com/ENSO-OHC-0-24N.png
And we also have to keep in mind just how sparse the actual data was way back then.
Regards

Philip Bradley

Bob Tisdale says:
It’s still an assumption that global surface temperatures have risen linearly in response to those forcings.
My point was that they are trying to tease the theoretical prediction from the data. Use of the word assumption isn’t really that important. What’s important, is failure to find a linear trend is a serious problem for the CO2 GHG warming and Forcings theory.
As for stepped change of SSTs, I said it was consistent with CO2 GHG warming. Whether stepped changes in SSTs are occuring is a separate issue.
Although thinking about it. I’d expect plateauing of ex-tropical ocean SSTs as a consequence of ENSO. Successively higher plateaus is what is you would expect from increased GHGs, assuming they work as advertised.

R. Gates

Bob,
First of all, kudos to you for your admission of your limited understanding of the statistical methods used in FR2011, as displayed in your previous analysis. That admission alone tells me a great deal about your character, and this new analysis of yours is so much better. Even if I don’t agree with you on all points, I do admire you.
But to the points you make. I think in general you’ve done an excellent job, and in particular, your insights regarding the oceanicRossby waves carrying extra surface heat unspent during a formal El Nino back toward the western Pacific is very insightful, and the fact that this occurs outside of the formally measured El Nino period, means, as you’ve pointed ouit, that it would not be accounted for in filtering process used by Foster & Rahmstorf. This residual El Nino heat certainly shows up in the linear rise they’ve found and are attributing to the anthropogenic signal. In my estimation, they need to rexamine the assumptions in the FR2011 study, taking this Rossby wave “residual” El Nino sea surface heat into account. It could be that they’d still get very similar results, but I think the issue needs to be addressed by them. I understand their need to have some metric whereby the El Nino period begins and ends, and thus, on that basis their analysis is not wrong, but this “residual heat” issue should merit some response.
On a larger perspective, this residual heat issue, as you’ve identified so nicely in the Rossby waves, does raise the issue that I’ve brought up with you, and that’s that El Ninos have not been releasing as much heat as La Ninas have been storing over the past 30+ years. Now, even the fact that some of the residual heat from El Ninos continues to influence ocean SST’s after the formal El Nino period has ended, only highlights this point even more. All the heat stored during La Ninas is not getting released during El Ninos, nor even in the ensuing Rossby wave back toward the west, thus, at leat during the last 30+ years, one would expect overall ocean heat content to have gone up, and it has. Now it could be that this is all part of a natural, longer term cycle, and we are now getting to top of a cycle, and ocean heat content will begin to fall, as certainly over the longer time frames, short of external forcing such as from anthropogenic warming, ocean heat content must not go up nor down, but average out. Thus, the “step ups” you’ve identified must have a “step down” period, or something else is going on that your analysis is not accounting for.
Overall, very nice job, and it would be interesting to have Foster & Rahmstorf reply to your analysis.

P. Solar

Bob, while you make some reasonable criticisms of F&R 2011 you , as ever, see what you wish to see in the data. Your step change idea makes steps where you want to see them and ignores other equally large “steps” like 1993 that are present even in the “volcano adjusted” data.
“satellite-era Sea Surface Temperature data shows no evidence of an anthropogenic global warming signal. It only shows upward shifts associated with strong ENSO events.”
These oscillatory events are only about distribution of heat. You argue as if they were a source of energy by themselves. ENSO can not keep pumping up global temps indefinitely without a source for that energy.
Your “steps” are just the modulation of a longer term rise by an oscillation. That does not tell us anything about the source of the energy and that is what we need to determine.
Look for the source of that energy.
best regards.

Mardler

afiziquist says: “My general impression is that fewer and fewer are interested in climate change these days. The only people interested are those at these sites and alarmist sites (which are even less). The subject is very rarely mentioned in mass media anymore. maybe without noticing it it has virtually died.”
Bob’s response was fine but may I add that here in the UK our government is committed to spending £18bn/pa on CO2 generated “green” policies that will cripple our econamy forever, that the MSM publish articles every day preaching the AGW religion and that great bastion of AGW religiosity, the High Priests Of The Green AGW Left, the BBC, not only reports every day on their religion but inserts references to AGW in almost every program it broadcasts whether relevant to the apparent material or not (there is at least one TV program scheduled tonight that will mention the “problem” of man made climate change & a couple of weeks ago there were 4 programs broadcast contiguously on its Radio 4 channel that, whilst ostensibly nothing to do with climate, carried their religious mantra).
The MSM, governments and the vast majority of the public ALL believe in the new religion: anybody who cannot see this had better wake up and smell the coffee. Whilst the pseudo science has been revealed and discredited, none of this has changed the religion a jot: so, what we and the real scientists need is a huge PR attack on The Cause. In this context (PR) blogs are the equivalent of the ant climbing an elephant’s hind leg with the intention of rape: they are emphatically not the answer, so what is?

Rogelio Escobar

B Tisdale etc.Re dying mainstream interest in climate chnage etc….. I would have agreed perhaps a year ago, but I think generally MSM is not reporting wild weather events as due to “AGW climate change etc”, as much anymore, well in any case I have not seen CNN, FOX or even the BBC reporting them as due to “climate change”. My impression is they are also giving up/getting out etc.. because in fact the climate has not changed and they can see and feel it. Even die hards are giving up, such as Annan “Well see in next 4 years etc if temps go up”, having lost the 4 year bet already) Also they are (mainstream) beginning to view the AGW’erss (+ climategate event), as a “fringe group”. It has been barely mentioned by any of the GOP candidates as an issue.

Caleb

It is hard to drift far from the Truth when you simply observe the Truth. It is the fellows who play around too much with simulations and modles that get themselves in trouble.
What I notice is that mostly we are observing a series of “step-ups.” My guess is that the system is still responding, with a sort of “lag time,” to the injection of heat from the now-finished stronger solar cycles. What will be interesting is how the system responds to less heat being injected. Will there be some sort of “step down,” or just a gradual decline?
I suspect we still have much to observe. It may well be that everyone will be focused on ENSO, and the responce will appear somewhere else, perhaps as a shift to the south of an Arctic current.
In any case, thank you for bringing your keen and careful powers of observation to the subject, Bob.

Ninderthana says:
January 14, 2012 at 7:35 pm
Alan Statham says:
January 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm
Well go on then. Try and get this published in the scientific literature.
I seem to remember someone saying that “it is easier to thread a camel through the eye of a needle….”

In my Western Civ 1st yr. university class, the prof observed that a skipped diacritical mark in the original (Aramaic?) transforms the word “rope” into “camel”. Makes 10,000% more sense that way.

Rhoda Ramirez says:
January 14, 2012 at 9:31 pm
Alan Stratham Statham : It appears that Mr. T has recieved received a more through ‘peer review’ here at the WUWT site than any of ‘The Team’ ever received as part of their pal review. BTW: Cool hiding behind a fictional character. Symtematic Symptomatic.

😉 Maybe he’s the real fictional character!!
Those squiggly red lines FF puts under words mean something! To make them more meaningful, each time a proper noun or name or acronym (e.g., WUWT) comes up and is underlined, right-click and select “Add to dictionary”. That way they won’t distract you from real misspellings. But be real careful — you misspelled “Statham”, too, and saving “Stratham” would prevent warnings when you do it again!!

P.S. The right click display offers guesses about what the right word/spelling is, too. Click the one you want to instantly replace the typed original.

Bob Tisdale says:
January 15, 2012 at 1:49 am
Philip Bradley says: “Its not really an assumption, Its the theoretical prediction of the Forcings Theory of climate change.”
It’s still an assumption that global surface temperatures have risen linearly in response to those forcings.
You continued, “Although the stepped increase of SSTs is consistent (a rather weasily word much loved by climate scientists) with GH warming from CO2 intermediated by the ENSO process.”

The first problem is the East Pacific SST anomalies haven’t increased in 30 years, so the flat SST anomalies between the El Nino events in the Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific data are consistent with a world in which greenhouse gases have no impact on sea surface temperatures.

Bob (and others), perhaps, since the word isn’t going to go away, it should be properly treated, as a spectrum. Degrees of consistency, and conditions for consistency, could then be specifically discussed. One interpretation could then be presented as “more consistent”, an entirely coherent concept. And violations of the “conditions” cited to dispute the consistency.
That may rout the weasels.

Edit: meant to highlight “are consistent with” in both quotes.