Tisdale asks: Hey, Where’d The El Niño Go?

Guest post by Bob Tisdale

This post will serve as the mid-September 2012 sea surface temperature anomaly update.

Sea surface temperature anomalies for the NINO3.4 region of the eastern equatorial Pacific are a commonly used index for the strength, frequency and duration of El Niño and La Niña events. In recent weeks, they have cooled to well below the threshold of El Niño conditions. For the evolution of an El Niño that starts from La Niña conditions, that dip is unusual during the satellite era (since November 1981). See Figure 1. Actually, it’s unusual for any El Niño event over the past 30 years.

Figure 1

This does not mean the El Niño this year has come to an end. A dip of similar magnitude did occur once before in the satellite era, and that was during the evolution of the 1991/1992 El Niño. See Figure 2. The dip in 1991, however, may have been in response to the June 15, 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo. There have been no explosive volcanic eruptions comparable to Mount Pinatubo this year.  The evolution of the 1991 event is highlighted in purple in Figure 2.

 

Figure 2

MID-MONTH UPDATE

Weekly NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies for the week centered on August 15, 2012 are approximately +0.365 deg C, having dropped from almost +1.0 deg C over the past few weeks.

Figure 3 – Weekly NINO3.4

Global sea surface temperature anomalies are continuing their wiggly upward march, rebounding from La Niña conditions and responding to the evolving El Niño. There is a time lag between the variations in the NINO3.4 data and the response of global sea surface temperature anomalies. It will be interesting to see if they reach 2009/10 levels.

Figure 4 – Weekly Global

INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE EL NIÑO AND LA NIÑA AND THEIR LONG-TERM EFFECTS ON GLOBAL SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES?

Why should you be interested? Satellite-era sea surface temperature records indicate El Niño and La Niña events are responsible for the warming of global sea surface temperature anomalies over the past 30 years, not manmade greenhouse gases. I have been publishing blog posts for the past 3 ½ years that illustrate that fact.

I’ve recently published my e-book (pdf) about the phenomena called El Niño and La Niña. It’s titled Who Turned on the Heat? with the subtitle The Unsuspected Global Warming Culprit, El Niño Southern Oscillation. It is intended for persons (with or without technical backgrounds) interested in learning about El Niño and La Niña events and in understanding the natural causes of the warming of our global oceans for the past 30 years. Because land surface air temperatures simply exaggerate the natural warming of the global oceans over annual and multidecadal time periods, the vast majority of the warming taking place on land is natural as well. The book is the product of years of research of the satellite-era sea surface temperature data that’s available to the public via the internet. It presents how the data accounts for its warming—and there are no indications the warming was caused by manmade greenhouse gases. None at all.

Who Turned on the Heat? was introduced in the blog post Everything You Every Wanted to Know about El Niño and La Niña… …Well Just about Everything. The Updated Free Previewincludes the Table of Contents; the Introduction; the beginning of Section 1, with the cartoon-like illustrations; the discussion About the Cover; and the Closing.

Please buy a copy. (Paypal or Credit/Debit Card). It’s only US$8.00.

SOURCES

The Sea Surface Temperature anomaly data used in this post is available through the NOAA NOMADS website:

http://nomad1.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh

or:

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

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Thanks, Anthony.

Green Sand

Thanks Bob, it is interesting watching the present ENSO developments. All the better for your input.
Should the following

Weekly NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies for the week centered on August 15, 2012 are approximately +0.365 deg C,

be “centered on September 19, 2012?

Jeremy

Ugh, I was actually hoping for an El Nino, so all this talk of horrific drought would cease.
Also, I like rain.

Frank

Thanks Bob, always looks forward to your updates. I made the following observation in late June 2012: “Thought that this may be of interest: It looks like El Nino is starting to kick in (not official yet), after a double-dip La Nina. The SST anomaly maps below show a tongue of warm water off the West coast of South America, expanding westward into the tropical Pacific. But there is still strong upwelling off the West coast of North America (from a negative PDO) and it will be interesting to see if the cooler water to the North will dampen the development of this El Nino.”
See http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/anomnight.current.gif
See http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.gif
Not sure if the -PDO is really influencing this El Nino’s weak start, was wondering what your thought were about that.
-Frank

RHS

Son of a gun. I was hoping for some semblance of El Nino. Us western states need to moisture which it (usually) brings. As long as it doesn’t go La Nina like it did this past winter/spring…

Ian L. McQueen

How does this affect the ENSO-meter on the WUWT home page?
IanM

old engineer

Bob-
Thanks for update. I saw the 3.4 temp drop the other day and wondered if the El Nino was over. You really didn’t venture an opinion, just stated the fact that the only other time there was a dip, it was probably caused by volcanic eruption. Would you care to guess? Is the El Nino over?
By the way, I am reading your book. I can’t praise it highly enough. Well written and illustrated. Being an old guy, I am still amazed by the technology that allows you to click on a reference and there it is. A real argument for an on-line book.

Kasuha

I don’t see any striking divergence from previous La Nina-initiated El Ninos with exception of the 1998 one, all of the differences are below noise level and the fact that some arbitrary line was crossed in “wrong” direction does not change anything on that. If the line was just 0.2 degree higher, the 2010-11 would have done the same.
My prediction has not changed: I believe we’re going to have a weak El Nino.

Kasuha

Er… “I meant 2009-10 would have done the same”

Stephen Wilde

More global cloudiness from more meridional jets is reducing the amount of energy entering the oceans to weaken the recharge process.

Reblogged this on Is it 2012 in Nevada County Yet? and commented:
This maybe bad news for those hoping for El Niño rains to give our dry California forest a big drink and fill our lakes and reservoirs. Stay Tuned, as Mother Nature is in charge of the results.

Steve Keohane

Thanks for the update Bob. I too was hoping for an El Nino for a bit more water in the west.

Joseph Bastardi

All the ninos in a cold PDO are short lived reactionary, mainly central pacific based. Jamstec on target again.. weak winter nino.. La Nina returns next years. Hasta la vista to las Warmingistas! Let me remind the super nino spikers, you admit the ocean, not co2 , controls the shooting match every time you scream global warming from the el nino. The cold PDO eats ninos and is why the average length of la nina in cold PDO is 21 months, nino 9 months, hence the global downturn in temps
http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frsgc/research/d1/iod/e/seasonal/outlook.html
scroll down to enso 2 year outlook. Pretty good looking to me.

Richard deSousa

If the threshold for El Nino dips without a Mt Pinatubo eruption event doesn’t this cause concern for a stronger La Nina for the future? Which may cause a stronger La Nina for the future and a continued drought for the southern states and a stronger dry year for California? Not good news for the Golden State.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

http://blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/2012/07/10/after-two-years-of-la-nina-el-nino-may-be-on-the-way/

July 10, 2012 | 11:51 AM | By Climate Central
After Two Years of La Niña, El Niño May Be on the Way

El Niño events can also help boost global average surface temperatures. A strong El Niño event led to the record warm year of 1998, and some climate scientists, including NASA’s James Hansen, have pointed out that a new El Niño event would likely lead to another record warm year given the combination of El Niño and manmade global warming.

One of the key indicators that El Niño conditions are developing is a growing area of warmer-than-average equatorial Pacific sea surface temperatures, and an increase in the oceanic heat content as well. “The observations . . . reflect a likely progression towards El Niño,” the Climate Prediction Center said.
Forecasters use computer models to help anticipate El Niño and La Niña events. Right now, most of the simulations of air and sea conditions show a developing El Niño.

The answer is obvious. The models showed El Niño. Hansen and cronies wanted a good strong El Niño for a “record breaking year of dangerous deadly Anthropogenic Climate Change!”
So reality and Nature itself have canceled the El Niño, to spite both the modelers and Hansen with his “known associates”.
They should have remembered the old Chiffon commercials, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.” If they say it’s global warming, but it’s not…

Green Sand: Thanks for picking up the typo. I only had one cup of coffee when I did my cutting and pasting this morning–at least that’s my excuse for now. I’ll go correct the cross post at my blog.
Thanks again.

I’m currently doing some research into the ENSO index. It is my thinking that the ENSO index tends to have a negative drift during the spring and autumn equinox. And that the tendency during mid winter and summer solstice is for a positive drift.
Is that so?
As we all know El Niño got is name because it starting to affect Peruvian fishermen mostly during Christmas time.

For those of us that understand how low solar and a negative PDO affect the ENSO cycle the current situation is “as expected”. The information has been FREELY available for months at:
http://tinyurl.com/2dg9u22/?q=node/270

old engineer says: “Would you care to guess? Is the El Nino over?”
Personally, I don’t believe it’s over. But I don’t expect it to be very strong.

Thanks Bob!
BTW, That is the best 1.4 cents per page (561) I have invested in for some time. I would encourage others to spend the 8 bucks on his very good /educational read.

Paul

Drought in Africa over the past few centuries. Written before the warmist bandwagon really kicked in:
http://ccb.colorado.edu/ijas/ijasno2/georgis.html

Frank says: “Not sure if the -PDO is really influencing this El Nino’s weak start, was wondering what your thought were about that.”
Here’s a link to the Unisys animation:
http://weather.unisys.com/archive/sst/sst_anom_loop.gif
Too bad that doesn’t run further back in time. The North Pacific gyre definite spun some coolers waters down to the tropics, which very likely have had an impact on suppressing the El Nino this year.
The recent cool anomaly at depth is also interesting:
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_update/wkxzteq.shtml

Chuck

Isn’t this exactly what we’d expect during a negative PDO? Fewer, shorter and weaker El Niños and more, longer and stronger La Niñas?
Here on the west coast La Niñas can be very wet or very dry as seen in the 2010/11 and 2011/12 winters unlike El Niños which tend to be wet only.

old engineer: Thanks for the kind words on my book. Glad you’re enjoying it.
Regards

Philip Finck says: “Maybe the ocean – atmosphere is decoupling and we will see massive swings in temperature … Venus to Day After Tomorrow types of events. What do you think? :)”
I don’t think it’s possible to decouple the ocean and atmosphere.

Per Strandberg (@LittleIceAge): Please define “negative drift”.

Paul: Thanks for the link to the African drought webpage.

In addition, the SOI is staying stubbonly positive. http://www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au/seasonalclimateoutlook/southernoscillationindex/30daysoivalues/
The 30 day value is definitely positive, and the 90 day value is very weakly negative, but getting closer to zero steadily.

prjindigo

So, just let me see if I’ve got this straight.
El Nino just died.
Ice is now increasing at BOTH poles.
The earth’s atmosphere has shrunk to the smallest diameter NASA has ever recorded.
And we’re still all going to die from heat exhaustion.

Edim

The scene is set. The real cooling will start after the sc24 ‘peak’ (~2013-15).

Robbie

Well if one takes a good look at Figure 2 and watch the grey line (1994/95 El Niño) you will notice that it is impossible to conclude anything about the strength of this coming El Niño.
Now also take a look what kind of effect that 1994/95 El Niño had on temperatures in those years:
http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_Aug_2012.png
Sure doesn’t look a weak El Niño to me.
It all depends on where the temperature ends in week 50 and beyond. Mr. Tisdale should know that by now, but he already draws conclusions “Personally, I don’t believe it’s over. But I don’t expect it to be very strong.” on September 24, 2012 at 9:01 am.
1982/83 ( http://www.atmos.washington.edu/gcg/RTN/rtnt.html#part3 ) was by far the strongest El Niño. One can see that in Figure 2. The 1982/83 line stays well beneath the 1997/98 line and only goes beyond it in week 52.

BM

The .05 threshold is an artificial number to use in determinining if this one is unusual. If you picked a number a little higher or lower then several of the other years you list go above then below those lines. This does look like the largest drop from a maximum, but we are talking about only five events.

Old Hoya

I think the appearance of cooling is a side effect of periodic sudden energy transfer into the Trenberth Hidden Heat Reserve (THHR) (calculated as Ocean heat Content – Climate Model Prediction heat content = THHR).
Given that everybody knows climate sensitivity greatly exceeds 2.0 deg C per CO2 doubling, and that therefore that excess heat has to be out there somewhere (even if it resists discovery by satellite, ARGO etc,) we are in big trouble. Because why else would the heat hide unless it meant to get us?

Steve Keohane

prjindigo says:September 24, 2012 at 9:45 am
The earth’s atmosphere has shrunk to the smallest diameter NASA has ever recorded.

I came across an article a few years ago mentioning this. Do You have more info? Thank you.

Ian L. McQueen says:
September 24, 2012 at 7:45 am
> How does this affect the ENSO-meter on the WUWT home page?
I update that automatically on Tuesdays from http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/nino_3.4.txt . Currently it’s still showing last Tuesday’s data:

20120827,20120902,0.92
20120903,20120909,0.75
20120910,20120916,0.57

The value is the average of the week in question.
I used to use http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/data/indices/wksst.for but that kept breaking until I pointed it out. Hmm, still broken since I gave up on them in http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/06/08/tisdale-noaa-issues-el-nino-watch-for-second-half-of-2012-joe-romm-issues-rapid-warming-alert-for-2013/#comment-1005371

Bob Tisdale!
What I mean with negative drift is that the derivation of the ENSO signal drops, i.e. if the ENSO index is increasing then there is an increased likelihood that the increase drops or goes negative.
So what I am talking about is a slight negative change in the direction of the ENSO index during spring and autumn and a slight likelihood for an increase during summer and winter solstice.

Kaboom

Let’s think about something unusual going on elsewhere, maybe there’s a correlation or even causation. Oh, how about them sun spots?

Kelvin Vaughan

It is being used up to heat the Arctic.

Bill Illis

There are no indicators pointing to a resumption of an El Nino now. All of them are in neutral/La Nina mode.

Interesting.
If you look at this graph:
http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom_new.gif
There is a huge pool of cold pacific waters that have been slowly making their way south from the very large ice buildup in the Bering sea this past winter.
Wonder how that plays into the meme.
There is also a large pool of cooler water in the southeast pacific moving northwestward that seems to be cooling off this Nino…

Bill Illis

Equatorial Pacific Upper Ocean Temperature Anomaly as at last week. This measure is the most reliable short-term indicator and leads the Nino 3.4 Index by about 1 month on average. Big drop in the last few weeks.
http://s19.postimage.org/re9odeavn/EPUOTA_Sept242012.png

MarkW

Since we are entering the first PDO warm phase of the “satellite era”, I would expect to see unusual things happening.

Pressure in Darwin dropping rapidly last week too, indicating an early season build up as I forecast in July. Trades are also strong along the QLD coast, so with these factors taken into consideration one wonders why the BOM on their seasonal outlook 5 days ago made mention to EL Niño patterns when nothing of the sort is happening?

The wind anomalies are not showing an el nino event. Looks neutral to me. There won’t be an El Nino condition until wind anomalies go Eastward.

Is there any correlation to the recent arctic cyclone?

Richard M

I thought last years La Niña was not like what we had experienced previously. It was more of a neutral ENSO being pushed to the cool side by outside forces. I’ve noticed all along that the current El Niño didn’t act like the last few as well and I’ve been expecting something like this. I think the next few years will be very entertaining for those studying this phenomenon.

Green Sand

There is one ENSO indicator that is tracking 2009 very closely and 2009 ended with a transition into El Nino:-
http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/mjo/graphics/region.ts.dateline.gif
“Cloudiness along the equator, near the Date Line, is an important indicator of ENSO conditions, as it typically increases (negative OLR anomalies) near and to the east of the Date Line during an El Niño event and decreases (positive OLR anomalies) during a La Niña event.”
http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/
Next few months will be interesting.

Jan P Perlwitz

kadaka (KD Knoebel) wrote:

The answer is obvious. The models showed El Niño. Hansen and cronies wanted a good strong El Niño for a “record breaking year of dangerous deadly Anthropogenic Climate Change!”

It is obvious that you neither know what Hansen said, nor what the models show.

Cool PDO means weaker & less frequent El Ninos and stronger and more frequent La Ninas. Isnt this the new pattern that we are seeing from the weather?

Robbie says: “Now also take a look what kind of effect that 1994/95 El Niño had on temperatures in those years:
http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_Aug_2012.png
Sure doesn’t look a weak El Niño to me.”
Robbie, you’re looking at the rebound in the TLT data that occurred a couple of years after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo and mistaking it for the effect of the 1994/95 El Niño.
Robbie says: 1982/83 ( http://www.atmos.washington.edu/gcg/RTN/rtnt.html#part3 ) was by far the strongest El Niño. One can see that in Figure 2. The 1982/83 line stays well beneath the 1997/98 line and only goes beyond it in week 52.”
The discussion you linked was written before the 1997/98 El Niño. Back out one page to here:
http://www.atmos.washington.edu/gcg/RTN/
Now click on the link for the 1997/98 El Niño. It was written in July 1997, as the 1997/98 El Niño was evolving.
The 1997/98 El Niño was much stronger farther to the east (outside of the NINO3.4 region) than the 1982/83 El Niño. Also, the 1982/83 El Niño was counteracted by the eruption of El Chichon, so it became a non-factor.
Robbie, most people study a subject before they come to a blog and attempt to disrupt the discussion. You’re behaving like a troll.

REPLY:
Indeed, almost 100% of Robbie’s comments here are like that. Perhaps it is time to toss him in the troll bin. – Anthony