Claim: El Nino events get more extreme as globe warms

OSTM/Jason-2's predecessor TOPEX/Poseidon caug...

OSTM/Jason-2’s predecessor TOPEX/Poseidon caught the largest El Niño in a century seen in this image from Dec. 1, 1997. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the University of New South Wales  and the “chicken or the egg” department comes this claim that El Niño events will increase in intensity. Meanwhile the milquetoast La Nada of the present continues.

New method shows how historical ENSO activity is affected by external forcings

New research shows El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomena have been more active and intense during the 30-year period between 1979-2009 than at any time during the past 600 years.

At the same time, this result suggests that the intensity and activity of El Niño and La Ninas appears to increase as global average temperatures increase.

The results of this new research, published in Climate of the Past, is a significant step towards understanding where current ENSO activity sits in the context of the past according to researchers from UNSW’s Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, the University of Hawaii International Pacific Research Centre and the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.

“Our research suggests in a warming world we are likely to see more extreme El Niño and La Nina events, which over the past decade in Australia have been related to extreme flooding, persistent droughts and dangerous fire seasons,” said lead author Dr Shayne McGregor from UNSW

“Importantly, this study not only tells us how ENSO activity has behaved in the past in relation to global average temperature, it also opens the window for climate models to be able to estimate more accurately how this activity will change in the future.”

The researchers used a newly defined method they had developed and measurements from lake sediment and old coral cores along with tree rings across a wide variety of locations to determine how ENSO events had changed across the Pacific over hundreds of years. From these proxies, the researchers were able to determine the state of the climate over a wide area at the same time, revealing changes in ENSO activity.

As part of the research, the team brought together the different proxy reconstructions of past climate and, where the time periods of these proxies overlapped with current instrumental data, used these periods to determine how accurately they represented contemporary ENSO activity.

Once the effectiveness of the proxies was confirmed the researchers used this information to extrapolate the climate and activity of ENSO over the past 600 years.

They then further tested the robustness of this approach by comparing their real-world data with that produced by two multi-century-long climate model simulations.

“By applying these observations and finding which climate models reproduce past changes, we will have a better idea of which climate models are more likely to reproduce the ENSO response to climate change in the future,” said co-author Prof Matt England from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science.

While the research shows how external warming factors have impacted ENSO cycles, one important question remains.

“We still don’t know why. Understanding this relationship will be vital to help us get a clear idea of the future changes to global climate,” said Dr McGregor.

###

Paper: Inferred changes in El Niño–Southern Oscillation variance over the past six centuries

Abstract:

It is vital to understand how the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has responded to past changes in natural and anthropogenic forcings, in order to better understand and predict its response to future greenhouse warming. To date, however, the instrumental record is too brief to fully characterize natural ENSO variability, while large discrepancies exist amongst paleo-proxy reconstructions of ENSO. These paleo-proxy reconstructions have typically attempted to reconstruct ENSO’s temporal evolution, rather than the variance of these temporal changes. Here a new approach is developed that synthesizes the variance changes from various proxy data sets to provide a unified and updated estimate of past ENSO variance. The method is tested using surrogate data from two coupled general circulation model (CGCM) simulations. It is shown that in the presence of dating uncertainties, synthesizing variance information provides a more robust estimate of ENSO variance than synthesizing the raw data and then identifying its running variance. We also examine whether good temporal correspondence between proxy data and instrumental ENSO records implies a good representation of ENSO variance. In the climate modeling framework we show that a significant improvement in reconstructing ENSO variance changes is found when combining information from diverse ENSO-teleconnected source regions, rather than by relying on a single well-correlated location. This suggests that ENSO variance estimates derived from a single site should be viewed with caution. Finally, synthesizing existing ENSO reconstructions to arrive at a better estimate of past ENSO variance changes, we find robust evidence that the ENSO variance for any 30 yr period during the interval 1590–1880 was considerably lower than that observed during 1979–2009.

For more information or interviews with the researchers contact:

Alvin Stone. Media and Communications Manager.

Phone: 0418 617 366. Email: alvin.stone@unsw.edu.au

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter via @ClimateSystem

http://www.climatescience.org.au/content/397-el-nino-events-get-more-extreme-globe-warms

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ronald

To me it looks like the wrong data used to get this result. If you make up data to proof your right on global warming and then use this data to do other studies you will find wrong answers.

Lauren R.

The researchers admit: “the instrumental record is too brief to fully characterize natural ENSO variability” but still they attempt to predict future ENSO events. Since they don’t have enough data, they cook it up in those famously accurate Global Climate Models. Anyone see a problem with trying to predict the future when you don’t have enough data to understand the past?

geran

Bob Tisdale will be laughing about this one, as will we all.
From the abstract:
It is vital to understand how the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has responded to past changes in natural and anthropogenic forcings, in order to better understand and predict its response to future greenhouse warming. To date, however, the instrumental record is too brief to fully characterize natural ENSO variability, while large discrepancies exist amongst paleo-proxy reconstructions of ENSO.
LMAO

http://www.abc.net.au/science/slab/elnino/story.htm
Another example was from Governor Macquarie who in an El Niño related drought in 1814 had to import food to avoid what he called:
“…the heavy calamity of very great scarcity, both of animal feed and of grain, if not in an actual famine.”
The thought of famine in Australia seems quaint, from a 20th century perspective. Famine is what occurs in other countries during droughts, not here. And severe famines have certainly occurred in various parts of the world, during El Niño events. Perhaps the most notorious was the El Niño of 1877. This event resulted in the deaths of over nine million people in China and eight million in India. But this disaster led to the first scientific attempts to understand and predict drought and famine. Henry Blanford, then the head of the India Meteorological Department noticed that atmospheric pressures were higher than usual over India during the drought. He advised meteorologists in other parts of the British Empire of this fact and asked them about atmospheric pressures in their colonies……”
1877 seems pretty extreme to me. What was the CO2 levels then?

Chris B

And here I thought that empirical data sufficient to calculate global average temperature is a recent phenomenon, ie. since the satellite era. Apparently actual accurate, and thorough, measurements have been gathered for about 600 years. No wonder they’re comfortable making predictions/projections/forecasts/guesses.
/sarc.

Sand castles built on tenuous assumptions.

catweazle666

“…two multi-century-long climate model simulations.”
“…Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science…”
These people are funny!

Glen Michel

In a nutshell:we don’t know enough to really know.It seems Australian universities are full of academics like England that peer eternally over their models and “their newly defined method”- whatever it is.

http://www.co2science.org/subject/e/summaries/ensogw.php
This is an interesting blurb on CO2 Science. Research indicates that during warm periods ENSO events are less intense and during cool periods more intense.

Will Nitschke says: “Sand castles built on tenuous assumptions.”
“And so castles made of sand slips into the sea, eventually.”

Olaf Koenders

“To date, however, the instrumental record is too brief to fully characterize natural ENSO variability, while large discrepancies exist amongst paleo-proxy reconstructions of ENSO.”

Then they use models to “reconstruct” something where there’s not enough data to start with and;

“..we find robust evidence that the ENSO variance for any 30 yr period during the interval 1590–1880 was considerably lower than that observed during 1979–2009.”

It’s the Sun, stupid. It’s called Maunder Minimum for a reason.

TimTheToolMan

On the one hand the warming enthusiasts “know” El Nino warms the planet and even endorse papers that attempt to remove the warming caused to produce an ENSO-free trend (eg Rahmstorf and Foster) and on the other hand they want El Nino intensity to be a feedback to warming.
When you’re on shaky ground about something your logic has to twist and turn to support it.

Latitude

Our research suggests in a warming world….
great! so if it warms, we’ll know what to expect

Christopher Hanley

To borrow Walter Cronkite’s quip about Australia ‘there are too many reporters, not enough news’, Australia has too many ‘climate researchers’ and not enough (reliable) data.
I guess that applies to climate research in general.

geran says: “Bob Tisdale will be laughing about this one, as will we all.”
Actually, I’m shaking my head in disbelief at the levels of absurdity reached in climate science.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

Following the link I can only get the abstract. Not familiar with the clim-past.net site but I don’t see a way to get the full paper. Anyway, the key issue to me is exactly how they “confirmed the effectiveness of the proxies”. Anyone able to comment?

Berényi Péter

Makes sense to validate observations against computational climate models, known not to capture ENSO adequately, does it?

Roy Spencer

…in related news, summer warmth is found to cause the sun to shine more intensely.

Reduced global cloudiness induced by high solar activity allows more energy into the oceans to skew ENSO in favour of El Ninos relative to La Ninas.

MattN

I sure wish I could find Gavin’s comment on RC where he stated that not only would El Nino’s become more severe, there would be more of them AND the PDO would likely NEVER switch back negative again. It was early on in the life of RC, probably 2004 or 05 at the latest.

RomanM

Allan Watt @October 30, 2013 at 3:21 pm
Click on the bottom link in the head post:
http://www.clim-past.net/9/2269/2013/cp-9-2269-2013.html
and then click on the pdf button on the right hand side.

Alan Millar

I love how CO2 seems to be able to impart a temporal effect to the Earth’s climate processes.
It seems that the big increase in temperatures in 1998 reached back in time to create the very intense El Nino that preceded the increase in temperatures. Cause and effect in action you see!
Everything is so simple and logical when you are a true believer (and when there is money involved!)
Alan

James at 48

It would be great if this were true. We really need the water here in CA.

“””Our research suggests in a warming world we are likely to see more extreme El Niño and La Nina events, which over the past decade in Australia have been related to extreme flooding, persistent droughts and dangerous fire seasons,” said lead author Dr Shayne McGregor from UNSW””
Now that’s a mouthful.
Let’s see “extreme flooding ‘ That is an alarmist statement. Extemes of water level define “flood”.
Then there’s: “persistent drought” Persistence in dryness defines drought. More alarmism.
And: “dangerous fire seasons”. I’m sure wildfires are never safe.
All this from “extreme” El Nino,La Nina events. All caused by global warming, of course.
Alarmism in the rhetoric renders this tripe, tripe.

GlynnMhor

It seems that the cause-and-effect may have been put into reverse gear here.
More and stronger ‘ninos’ cause warming to appear, but now we need to determine what causes the balance between ‘ninos’ and ‘ninas’ to switch every thirty years or so.

JohnWho

Roy Spencer says:
October 30, 2013 at 3:28 pm
…in related news, summer warmth is found to cause the sun to shine more intensely.

Just add CO2 in there somewhere and I see the makings of a very lucrative grant.
🙂

MarkW

Did the warming cause the more intense El Ninos, or did the more intense El Ninos cause the warming.
Enquiring minds want to know.

TomRude

Tail wags dog… but which tail and which dog unknown.

Keith Minto

Looking at figure 7, if your ignore the thick black MRV line and just look at the error bars between 1400 and 2000, there is not a lot to get excited about. They admit that data earlier than 1590 is sus,” As a result of the larger error bars in
the estimates for the period prior to 1590 CE, however, we
cannot rule out that the levels of ENSO variance that oc-
curred between 1400 and 1590 may be comparable to that
of 1979–2009.”
Finishing at the 2000 point, of course includes the 1998 El Nino.
(MRV, “median running variance, i.e.,
calculating the running variance for each individual proxy,
and then finding the inter-proxy median”)

MarkW says: “Did the warming cause the more intense El Ninos, or did the more intense El Ninos cause the warming. Enquiring minds want to know.”
Thanks. You gave me an excuse to link this:
http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/the-manmade-global-warming-challenge.pdf
That data show the El Ninos and La Ninas cause the warming, not vice versa.

dccowboy

Seriously? This stuff is getting old. ‘May’, ‘could’, ‘should’, ‘might’ have NO business in Scientific research.

Jimbo

New research shows El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomena have been more active and intense during the 30-year period between 1979-2009 than at any time during the past 600 years.
At the same time, this result suggests that the intensity and activity of El Niño and La Ninas appears to increase as global average temperatures increase.

Hey, it tastes like chicken, and egg at the same time. Does co2 rise follow temperature rise in the paleo record? I am feeling dizzy, just like we are going round in circles. Circular reasoning? Heeeelp!

Our research suggests in a warming world we are likely to see more extreme El Niño and La Nina events,……

No, your funding suggests this.

Jimbo

This is a joke, right?

Once the effectiveness of the proxies was confirmed the researchers used this information to extrapolate the climate and activity of ENSO over the past 600 years.
They then further tested the robustness of this approach by comparing their real-world data with that produced by two multi-century-long climate model simulations.
“By applying these observations and finding which climate models reproduce past changes, we will have a better idea of which climate models are more likely to reproduce the ENSO response to climate change in the future,” said co-author Prof Matt England from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science.

Funny how the best minds at the IPCC did not figure this out. Is this settled science or not???? What a load of shit.

James Schrumpf

Is this for real? From the very first time I ever heard of El Ninos or La Ninas, it was always in the context of, “We’re seeing an El Nino/La Nina forming in the Pacific, therefore we can expect the following conditions in these areas over the next winter and spring.” Never EVER was it, “Rising/falling temperatures in the equatorial Pacific are giving rise to an El Nino/La Nina, which will produce the following conditions etc…”.
Do they even read what they write in these papers? Next up, “Severe ground tremors cause tectonic plates to shift their positions!”

Mario Lento

Roy Spencer says:
October 30, 2013 at 3:28 pm
…in related news, summer warmth is found to cause the sun to shine more intensely.
+++++++++++
Yes Roy: That about sums it up nicely! I was going to post something about the tail wagging the dog… but you nailed it!

son of mulder

So a cooler world doesn’t have as much excess energy to lose compared to a warmer world. Knock me over with a feather.

p@ Dolan

@ Bob Tisdale says:
October 30, 2013 at 4:38 pm
MarkW says: “Did the warming cause the more intense El Ninos, or did the more intense El Ninos cause the warming. Enquiring minds want to know.”
Thanks. You gave me an excuse to link this:
http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/the-manmade-global-warming-challenge.pdf
That data show the El Ninos and La Ninas cause the warming, not vice versa.
I’m not a climate scientist (any kind of scientist, for that matter), my field is electronics. But current can’t flow without a difference of potential. Larger differences mean you can have greater current (for example, I can put a person into a circuit that has the capability of carrying 1000amps, but if the difference in potential is only 1.5 volts DC, and they have a body resistance of 1Meg Ohm, the flow of current will be undetectable. But if I have a circuit capable of delivering 500Milliamps at 30 volts DC and they’re soaked with sweat and they have a body resistance of 300 ohms, they’ll draw 100 milliamps, more than enough to kill someone, if it runs across the heart).
This same, higher-to-lower-concentration principle is at the heart of a great deal of dynamic systems. Entropy, right?
So: If the oceans warm to the point that they’re at the same temperature all over the globe, and that temperature is near the daytime surface temp for land, how will energy transfer from the sea to the atmosphere? Ok, tha’s one extreme.
But it seems to me that what I’ve read (especially your work, Bob), suggests that higher GMT would mean much less catastrophic weather because the only heat the air masses could pick up, from the oceans would be little… No? Everything being warmer means closer to some form of equilibrium, right?
As far as the article, above, they’re very sure, are they not?
“The researchers used a newly defined method they had developed and measurements from lake sediment and old coral cores along with tree rings across a wide variety of locations to determine how ENSO events had changed across the Pacific over hundreds of years.”
Not “estimate” or “approximate” or even, “believe they have determined” but they DO know how those events changed across the Pacific—even though they weren’t there, and there are no actual records.
“From these proxies, the researchers were able to determine the state of the climate over a wide area at the same time, revealing changes in ENSO activity.
As part of the research, the team brought together the different proxy reconstructions of past climate and, where the time periods of these proxies overlapped with current instrumental data, used these periods to determine how accurately they represented contemporary ENSO activity.”
They speak as have proven something. They have not. They used a virtual eyeblink of time and said, “This is how it is!” Seems to me that what they did is akin to me taking the temperature at 3am, or noon, and declaring that based on that, I can state without question what the GMT was for the preceeding decade.
Their data is, from this report, barely suggestive and seems mostly like wishful thinking. As for their choice of proxies: are they not aware that The Mann is trying to prove that dendrochronology is very inaccurate in fine-grained studies—wait, that’s been proven—and that trees skip making rings for cloudy days, or volcanoes, or passing flocks of birds?
And can someone please, please explain why all these people seem to think that comparing real world data to a computer model that cannot possibly include all the variables in nature into it’s computations (heck, I’m yet to hear of one that even attempts to model the CO2 released by undersea volcanoes… isn’t that discrimination? Aren’t all these guys supposed to be very PC?), and run it back two whole centuries (they can’t even agree that the Little Ice Age existed, but they can go back two hundred years across the entire Pacific basin, everywhere, at once, and reconstruct it, then run a model for that long? How gullible are we supposed to be?), and that proves something? What, may I ask, aside from the fact that these folks are consistently comparing apples to spatulas and shouting, “Eureka! Mankind is responsible for more than half the warming since 1802! We’re 99 and 44/100 % sure! No, wait, tha’s Ivory Snow. But, dammnit, we’re CERTAIN!”
They proved they can use a computer and cherry pick data to look like a graph they programmed, nothing more—not from what I can see.
But this ain’t my pidgeon—did I miss something?

Jimbo

“Our research suggests in a warming world we are likely to see more extreme El Niño and La Nina events, which over the past decade in Australia have been related to extreme flooding, persistent droughts and dangerous fire seasons,” said lead author Dr Shayne McGregor from UNSW…

Is climate a decade or not? Anyway, here is Peru during what can be call climate.

Abstract
Significant precipitation along the north-central coast of Peru (lat 5°-10°S) occurs exclusively during El Niño incursions of warm water into the Peruvian littoral. Flood deposits from this region therefore provide a proxy record of extreme El Niño events. I present a 3500 yr chronology of the extreme events based on radiocarbon dating of overbank flood sediments from the Rio Casma (lat 9.2°S). The flood-plain stratigraphy suggests that the El Niño phenomenon has occurred throughout the Holocene and that flood events much larger than that which occurred during 1982-1983 occur here at least once every 1000 yr.
http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/18/11/1134.short

Yet our guys suggest 10 years is the climate. What gives?

Mario Lento

@Bob Tisdale: You’re so right on with your logical summaries! Thank you again and again. I often have arguments with people who say voltage doesn’t kill it’s current. I say, well, there needs to be enough voltage (potential) for the current to flow given the resistance of flesh. I then proceed to tell them to explain to me why a 500 cold cranking amp 12 volt car battery will not electrocute someone if they touch both terminals. They often twist their head and pause… and then repeat, no it’s current that kills not voltage.
I specified and helped develop a hotwire TIG application where we controled both AC volts and amps to heat a wire at a given weld wirespeed deposition rate. By my figuring, if you control the power at a given rate of deposition, it should not matter what the volts or amps are as long as the power is proportional to the rate of deposition. It worked extremely well in a nuclear welding application.

milodonharlani

Jimbo says:
October 30, 2013 at 5:21 pm
IMO, even a thirty year average of weather barely qualifies as climate. Centuries are better, millennia better still, but IMO the best time frames are on the orders of tens of thousands to millions of years, as in “the climate of the MIS 11 Interglacial” or “the climate of the Pleistocene Epoch”. But you can also usefully & meaningfully speak of the climate of whole geological periods, as in “the climate of the Cretaceous” or even eras, as in “the climate of the Mesozoic”.

Jimbo

So it’s settled then.

University of New South Wales
“At the same time, this result suggests“…..”La Ninas appears to increase“…”“Our research suggests in a warming world we are likely to see more extreme El Niño and La Nina events,””…..”the researchers used this information to extrapolate the climate and activity of ENSO”…”a better idea of which climate models are more likely to reproduce the ENSO response”…”“We still don’t know why. Understanding this relationship will be vital to help us get a clear idea of the future changes to global climate,” said Dr McGregor.”

BW2013

I hate to break it to everyone but it really is the increased CO2 levels…. You get a group of warmistas in a closed room hyperventilating over their models and the level can jump up over 3,000PPM. At that level you can start hallucinating…:)~

Jimbo

milodonharlani says:
October 30, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Don’t get me wrong. I am simply going along with the 30 year climate definition as used by the IPCC and WMO.Even this is too short, but that’s the playing field. I think 60 years better captures natural climate variations. Longer periods are even better so. Maybe this is why so many geologists laugh at this insane debate. 😉

R. de Haan

As the globe warms….? Next report.

Bill Illis

Here is the history of the Nino 3.4 Index in all the major ocean SST indices. Beyond that, anyone can pretend the numbers were anything they want in whatever time-frame they want to pretend on.
http://s18.postimg.org/r0a6j7mi1/History_of_the_ENSO.png
The trend is -0.00025C per year. Probably the flattest number one can get in any climate index (it just happens that this is one of the most important ones on the planet).
I, personally, think that the ENSO has existed in this form of +/- 3.0C since the Pacific became a large deep ocean at the equator, about 400 million years ago. Why? Because all one need is a large deep ocean at the equator combined with an Earth with an atmosphere. It might have oscillated around a higher or lower value depending on the overall average climate, but it has always done this since 400 million years ago.

The authors are maybe right, because the solar activity in the 20th century was likelyhighest in last 11 thousand years. But there will be no “extreme” El-Nino next two decades – because strong El nino is clearly triggered by solar cycle ascending phase and an “extreme” El-Nino absolutely needs ocean heat content accumulation during previous strong solar cycle(s) – which is definitely not what we have now – without it an “extreme” El-Nino is absolutely impossible, because there simply isn’t energy needed for it to happen.
So what? Will the authors of the paper be even still alive or at least somebody will still remember their paper when next “extreme” El-Nino comes? I seriously doubt it.

milodonharlani

Jimbo says:
October 30, 2013 at 5:45 pm
I know you get it.
Not only geologists but real paleoclimatologists also know how absurd CACA is, but so many fields in academe & government have learned to play along to get along, ie receive funding, that it will take a whole new regime in DC & at the UN to expunge this corruption.

RoHa

O.K. So when is the globe going to warm?

Keith Minto

Bill Illis says:
October 30, 2013 at 5:49 pm
Because all one need is a large deep ocean at the equator combined with an Earth with an atmosphere

I would add a temperature differential provided by the Humboldt current created by the closure of the Drake Passage around 40Ma. Otherwise equatorial water just sloshes.

Keith Minto

Opening of the Drake Passage.