Seven years ago, we were told the opposite of what the new Matthew England paper says: slower (not faster) trade winds caused 'the pause'

While Matthew England claims in a new paper that fast trade winds caused cooling:

The strongest trade winds have driven more of the heat from global warming into the oceans; but when those winds slow, that heat will rapidly return to the atmosphere causing an abrupt rise in global average temperatures.

Heat stored in the western Pacific Ocean caused by an unprecedented strengthening of the equatorial trade winds appears to be largely responsible for the hiatus in surface warming observed over the past 13 years.

Another paper from 2006 says the exact opposite. This oldie but goodie, that preceded WUWT by a few months, escaped my attention until reader “Alec aka Daffy Duck” pointed me to a news article, and from that I found this original press release which says:

The vast loop of winds that drives climate and ocean behavior across the tropical Pacific has weakened by 3.5% since the mid-1800s, and it may weaken another 10% by 2100, according to a study led by University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) scientist Gabriel Vecchi. The study indicates that the only plausible explanation for the slowdown is human-induced climate change. The findings appear in the May 4 issue of Nature.

So, who to believe? Representatives of The University of the Ship of Fools New South Wales, who seems capable of saying anything to the press depending on the month or year or NCAR/UCAR? Do any of these folks really know with any certainty what is really going on when their excuses for ‘the pause’ don’t even agree?

From NCAR/UCAR:

Slowdown in Tropical Pacific Flow Pinned on Climate Change  

May 3, 2006

BOULDER, Colorado—The vast loop of winds that drives climate and ocean behavior across the tropical Pacific has weakened by 3.5% since the mid-1800s, and it may weaken another 10% by 2100, according to a study led by University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) scientist Gabriel Vecchi. The study indicates that the only plausible explanation for the slowdown is human-induced climate change. The findings appear in the May 4 issue of Nature.

The Walker circulation, which spans almost half the circumference of Earth, pushes the Pacific Ocean’s trade winds from east to west, generates massive rains near Indonesia, and nourishes marine life across the equatorial Pacific and off the South American coast. Changes in the circulation, which varies in tandem with El Niño and La Niña events, can have far–reaching effects.

“The Walker circulation is fundamental to climate across the globe,” says Vecchi.

In their paper, “Weakening of Tropical Pacific Atmospheric Circulation Due to Anthropogenic Forcing,” the authors used observations as well as state-of-the-art computer climate model simulations to verify the slowdown and determine whether the cause is human-induced climate change. The work was performed at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), where Vecchi is stationed through the UCAR Visiting Scientist Programs. His coauthors include Brian Soden (University of Miami) and the GFDL team of Andrew Wittenberg, Isaac Held, Ants Leetmaa, and Matthew Harrison.

Walker circulation

This diagram shows the Walker Circulation, a vast loop of air above the equatorial Pacific Ocean. See below for an alternate depiction. Click here or on the image to enlarge. (Illustration by Gabriel Vecchi, UCAR.)

The Walker circulation takes the shape of a loop with rising air in the western tropical Pacific, sinking air in the eastern tropical Pacific, west-to-east winds a few miles high, and east-to-west trade winds at the surface. The trade winds also steer ocean currents. Any drop in winds produces an even larger reduction in wind-forced ocean flow—roughly twice as much in percentage terms for both the observed and projected changes, says Vecchi.

“This could have important effects on ocean ecosystems,” Vecchi says. “The ocean currents driven by the trade winds supply vital nutrients to the near-surface ocean ecosystems across the equatorial Pacific, which is a major fishing region.”

Matching theory and observations

Several theoretical studies have shown that an increase in greenhouse gases should produce a weakening of the Walker circulation. As temperatures rise and more water evaporates from the ocean, water vapor in the lower atmosphere increases rapidly. But physical processes prevent precipitation from increasing as quickly as water vapor. Since the amount of water vapor brought to the upper atmosphere must remain in balance with precipitation, the rate at which moist air is brought from the lower to the upper atmosphere slows down to compensate. This leads to a slowing of the atmospheric circulation.

Based on observations since the mid-1800s, the paper reports a 3.5% slowdown in the Walker circulation, which corresponds closely to the number predicted by theory. To establish whether human-induced climate change is at work, Vecchi and colleagues analyzed 11 simulations using the latest version of the GFDL climate model spanning the period 1861 to 2000. Some of the simulations included the observed increase in greenhouse gases; others included just the natural climate-altering factors of volcanic eruptions and solar variations. Only the simulations that included an increase in greenhouse gases showed the Walker circulation slowing, and they did so at a rate consistent with the observations.

Based on the theoretical considerations, and extrapolating from their 1861–2000 analysis as well as from other simulations for the 21st century, the authors conclude that by 2100 the Walker circulation could slow by an additional 10%. This means the steering of ocean flow by trade winds could decrease by close to 20%.

Simulation results depend on the assumptions and conditions within different models. However, the agreement of theory, observations, and models for the past 150 years lends support to this outlook, say the authors.

What about El Niño?

The study sends mixed signals on the future of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation—the system of ocean-atmosphere linkages that produces the worldwide weather of El Niño and its counterpart, La Niña.

“The circulation has been tending to a more El Niño-like state since the 1860s,” says Vecchi. “However, the dynamics involved here are distinct from those of El Niño.”

Walker circulation

This diagram and the one at top show two different views of the Walker Circulation, a vast loop of air above the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Click here or on the image to enlarge. (Illustration by Gabriel Vecchi, UCAR.)

Source: http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2006/walker.shtml

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Thanks, Alec aka Daffy Duck. Good memory.

M. Hastings

Great post!

Trade wind speeds cause global warming – except when they don’t! It fits the AGW meme.

Les Johnson
Les Johnson

A little later paper (2012) also suggests that warming has slowed the trade winds.
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v491/n7424/full/nature11576.html
So, which is it? The trade winds have slowed or sped up? The literature is conflicted…

Henry Clark

Text descriptions of percentage changes in the trade winds don’t do justice, so this is a case where a picture is worth a thousand words.
Such as the plot of trade wind history posted in the prior thread, http://s16.postimg.org/vtt28xi6t/Trade_Winds_1871_to_2014.png , implies it doesn’t have a pattern fitting the overall decade by decade temperature change over the past century (which would be a double peak appearance, for unadjusted temperature data).
What far more matches, what really explains history, from millennium-scale (e.g. the MWP, the Little Ice Age, the modern warm period) to the past century (warm 1930s-1950s, global cooling scare of the 1960s-1970s, global warming scare, and the recent “pause”) is this, far too inconvenient to the CAGW movement for them to properly depict: http://img213.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=62356_expanded_overview3_122_1094lo.jpg

M Courtney

According to NOAA, Nature Geoscience :

Under the influence of global warming, the mean climate of the Pacific region will probably undergo significant changes. The tropical easterly trade winds are expected to weaken;:

That was back in 2010.

Matt G

“unprecedented strengthening of the equatorial trade winds appears to be largely responsible for the hiatus in surface warming observed over the past 13 years.”
This happened during the 1940s and 1970s when there was a negative PDO. So recently continue blaming a negative PDO on the non warming period, yet ignore when energy build up near the surface due to solar warming when the trade winds become weaker. Sorry chaps but blaming AGW on the PDO variation is at best desperate and worst ignorant. Scientists have been telling you for years that the PDO influences warming in the tropics by coinciding with change in trade winds.
A positive PDO occurs with weak trade winds and negative PDO with strong trade winds. What is happening now is exactly how it should with a natural variation of the PDO. Some scientists forecast this years ago, but your ignorant lot do anything you can to avoid natural variation. Only shows the alarmists types are not interested in science, but only the agenda.

Tim

What i don’t get is they say that mixing of the top layer of the Ocean is trapping the heat. Yet we all know that if you want to cool hot soup faster you stir it so that heat is released more quickly. As far as i can tell there is no evidence to suggest any significant warming of the sub 100m ocean so i don’t understand this physical process.

Alec aka Daffy Duck

To me it seems that mr. English pick his start date to ‘hide’ when trade winds were stronger in the past!
La Nina’s dominated the latter 1800s:
Extended Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI.ext)
http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/enso/mei.ext/

mpcraig

The NCAR report claims that in a warming world, trade winds will weaken. England’s study says that recent warming has not happened because of increased trade winds. That’s consistent.
Maybe I’m missing something here.

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley

Great, isn’t it? I mean, it’s just great to sit on the sidelines and watch some warmists make just complete prats of themselves. Then of course, you have that other one, Grant Foster (Tamino), saying that there ISN’T a hiatus. I think it’s great to sit and watch the parade go by – with ever-more silly ideas on what might be causing the hiatus. Wonder how long it will be before one warmist/scientist says, ‘Hold up, we may of got the sensitivity wrong’. It won’t be Grant Foster, that’s for sure – he won’t ever be able to admit it, even when the temp anomaly is on the slide! Of course, you could say the slide has started. But then that would be cherry-picking a date to suit. Now that’s something Mr Foster knows all about. Back to the parade.

JimS

It’s more confusing that we thought.

Ian Holton

Yes, you are missing something there MPC!

Lew Skannen

Nice. These fools are caught out every single time. Once we finally shake off this menace it is going to make Piltdown look tiny.

Jimbo

I think I may have spotted that earlier today in a ‘Letter to Nature’ from Gabriel A. Vecchi et. al.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/10/the-reason-for-the-pause-in-global-warming-excuse-37-in-a-series-trade-winds/#comment-1563730

Letter To Nature – 2006
22 March 2006
Weakening of tropical Pacific atmospheric circulation due to anthropogenic forcing
……….Observed Indo-Pacific sea level pressure reveals a weakening of the Walker circulation. The size of this trend is consistent with theoretical predictions, is accurately reproduced by climate model simulations and, within the climate models, is largely due to anthropogenic forcing. The climate model indicates that the weakened surface winds have altered the thermal structure and circulation of the tropical Pacific Ocean. These results support model projections of further weakening of tropical atmospheric circulation during the twenty-first century4, 5, 7.
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v441/n7089/abs/nature04744.html

REPLY: with the firehose of information I deal with every day, sometimes its just a matter of who gets my attention first. Sorry, Anthony

Jim S

What you are missing mpcraig is that the AGW crowd says that the world IS warming (due to the continued increase in CO2 levels) and that the “pause” is not a pause.

Latitude

Slowdown on Climate Change Pinned on Tropical Pacific Flow……….

Goracle

An Inconvenient Prediction… LOL!!!

Les Johnson

Hard to believe, but England does not cite the 3 papers I have seen on a weakening trade wind with warming. There is no mention of Collins, Vecchi or Tokinaga.

Don B

William Kininmonth, chief of Australia‘s National Climate Centre at the Bureau of Meteorology from 1986 to 1998:
“……If, as claimed, natural variation has dominated the warming effect of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration over recent decades then surely natural variation has also been important in determining the 20th century temperature rise. The science of climate change and the role of carbon dioxide are far from settled.”
http://joannenova.com.au/2014/02/do-winds-control-the-climate-or-does-the-ocean-control-the-wind-kininmonth-on-england-2014/

Man Bearpig

Isn’t it wonderful.. Alarmists say one thing but forget what they said only a few years ago. As soon as they say ‘global warming causes one thing’ just search for ‘global warming causes exactly the opposite’ and they will get had almost every time.

Perhaps the most devastating rebuttal to advocate scientists who claim that natural variability is ‘just noise and is of no consequence’ to long term human induced climate change:
If short term cycles are meaningless, then WHY DO THEY EXIST?
(Oh, I don’t know! Earth just having a little fun?)
It’s possible they are meaningless in the context of long term climate, however, unless there is a scientific basis which determines why they are just noise and of no consequence, the only terminology I can think of which adequately describes the advocates position is “extreme arrogance”.
Good Luck (pseudo scientists).

Pamela Gray

This is why many papers put the opposite case in parenthesis when describing their results and consigning it to global warming. Thus, when it is warm (cold) the Walker Circulation decreases (increases) due to anthropogenic global climate war…wei…cata…cha…extre…THINGS…I SAID THINGS GODDAMIT!!!.

Jimbo

So they blamed the “Slowdown in Tropical Pacific Flow” “on Climate Change” and next they will blame the speed up on……………..DRUM ROLL…………………………..climate change. They are in a sticky situation. To blame the speed up on global warming would be to blame global warming on global temperature standstill. We can’t have that kind of bat droppings now can we.

Keith

Who to believe? Neither of them – at least, certainly not in full. Stronger Pacific trade winds are coincident with La Nina, with weaker or reversed trade winds coincident with El Nino. What both papers utterly fail to demonstrate is that human GG emissions play any role in driving this process.

Henry Clark

To add to and clarify my prior comment, while trade winds are not unrelated to temperature particularly at the short annual scale, key aspects include:
(1) contrasting decadal averages, like how treating them as the prime factor wouldn’t explain the rising NH/global temperatures in the 1920s-1930s
(2) and how still more important is the matter of root cause, as trade winds are not something isolated from Earth where the direction of causation can only go one way, as rather the next step is to get into what causes the trade winds.

Oldseadog

When I am wet in a warm damp environment, If there is no wind I stay wet and warm for a long time, but if the wind blows I dry quite quickly and become cooler at the same time.
Any relevance?
Or is that too simplistic?

Jimbo

REPLY: with the firehose of information I deal with every day, sometimes its just a matter of who gets my attention first. Sorry, Anthony

Hey no problemo. What’s important is that it gets a fresh post all by itself. Keep up the good work.
The first thing I do when I hear a new claim is to got directly to Google Scholar. You almost always find an opposite claim because that is the nature of Climastrology.

March

England’s paper does not even reference the previous work of Vecchi, Oh my! Peer review askew once more.

Jer0me

All I can say is that the last two wet seasons here in the Eastern Tropical Pacific have not been up to much. Both very late, and not giving enough rain. I am not sure if that represents a slowing of the jet stream or not.
My son has just been accepted to the University of NSW. I have encouraged him not to get involved in any discussions with these bozos and their faithful followers should he ever come across them. Life is far to short, and there are far to many better things to do at uni!

clipe
SIG INT Ex

“Do any of these folks really know with any certainty what is really going on when their excuses for ‘the pause’ don’t even agree?”
I would vote that Trenberth’s cat is to blame.
Oh Oh! This just in from NCAR: “Trenberth’s cat has been captured by Trenberth’s can-of-tomato-soup and holding the poor dear as hostage. SWAT Teams consisting of both mechanized infantry with heavy canons and airborne assault units consisting of C-130 gunships and Apache Helicopters from Denver and Boulder are converging on NCAR as we speak. The Governor has declared a state of emergency and Boulder a war zone. The Obama Administration is responding by dispatching two Predator Drones armed with “Big-Sucker” Hellfire missiles and issued a Secret Executive Order for the extra-judiciary killing of Trenberth’s can-of-tomato-soup. Obama was quoted at the White House responding to reporter’s questions, “To never fear, is fear it self.” Film at 11.”
Ha ha. ;-D

Curious George

Why are you shooting the messenger? Professor England is merely a messenger; if his scientific prediction is wrong, it is clearly the science’s fault.

holts7

“The strongest trade winds have driven more of the heat from global warming into the oceans; but when those winds slow, that heat will rapidly return to the atmosphere causing an abrupt rise in global average temperatures.
Heat stored in the western Pacific Ocean caused by an unprecedented strengthening of the equatorial trade winds appears to be largely responsible for the hiatus in surface warming observed over the past 13 years.” (Matthew England)
Funny, that is about the same time that the solar slowdown-low sunspot peak phase has been going…it appears that it will be a long time till that finishes, and goes upwards once more…so it may be a long, long wait Matthew!

True Conservative

“Do any of these folks really know with any certainty what is really going on when their excuses for ‘the pause’ don’t even agree?”
Don’t agree? They are exactly OPPOSITE!
But that’s fitting with the whole rest of the fetid mess of climate “research” where cooling is also caused by warming! Is there a 3rd grader anywhere dumb enough to buy that story? I don’t think so!

Jimbo

Weakening for 60 years caused by global warming then suddenly he is strong before weakening again.

Abstract – Volume 25, Issue 5 (March 2012)
Regional patterns of tropical Indo-Pacific climate change are investigated over the last six decades based on a synthesis of in situ observations and ocean model simulations, with a focus on physical consistency among sea surface temperature (SST), cloud, sea level pressure (SLP), surface wind, and subsurface ocean temperature. A newly developed bias-corrected surface wind dataset displays westerly trends over the western tropical Pacific and easterly trends over the tropical Indian Ocean, indicative of a slowdown of the Walker circulation. This pattern of wind change is consistent with that of observed SLP change showing positive trends over the Maritime Continent and negative trends over the central equatorial Pacific. Suppressed moisture convergence over the Maritime Continent is largely due to surface wind changes, contributing to observed decreases in marine cloudiness and land precipitation there.
Furthermore, observed ocean mixed layer temperatures indicate a reduction in zonal contrast in the tropical Indo-Pacific characterized by larger warming in the tropical eastern Pacific and western Indian Ocean than in the tropical western Pacific and eastern Indian Ocean. Similar changes are successfully simulated by an ocean general circulation model forced with the bias-corrected wind stress. Whereas results from major SST reconstructions show no significant change in zonal gradient in the tropical Indo-Pacific, both bucket-sampled SSTs and nighttime marine air temperatures (NMAT) show a weakening of the zonal gradient consistent with the subsurface temperature changes. All these findings from independent observations provide robust evidence for ocean–atmosphere coupling associated with the reduction in the Walker circulation over the last six decades.
http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00263.1

jai mitchell

The first line of the post shows why you are confusing the subject.
the first line says,
The vast loop of winds that drives climate and ocean behavior across the tropical Pacific has weakened by 3.5% since the mid-1800s, and it may weaken another 10% by 2100
which means that, on average, and over the last 130 years, the tradewinds in the pacific have decreased by 3.5%.
The paper showing the short term increase in trade winds doesn’t address that this is caused by global warming, only that the short term variability (in the last 15 years) has increased the trade winds and caused more mixing of warm surface water. They also say that they expect this short term increase to go away in the near future (decade or so) and return to the long term trend

MattS

Man Bearpig says:
February 10, 2014 at 1:02 pm
Isn’t it wonderful.. Alarmists say one thing but forget what they said only a few years ago. As soon as they say ‘global warming causes one thing’ just search for ‘global warming causes exactly the opposite’ and they will get had almost every time.
=============================================================================
Haven’t you hear, Man made Global Warming causes Everything ™!
It causes the sun to rise and it causes the sun to set. Why it’s even responsible for the very origin of the universe! 😉

Latitude

But physical processes prevent precipitation from increasing as quickly as water vapor…
why yes it does….But the amount of time difference is so small it’s immeasurable

TimTheToolMan

Combine incomplete, imprecise data with post hoc ergo propter hoc and you got nuthin. Such is climate science.

Les Johnson

Jimbo: the last paper you referenced, seems awfully similar to this one:
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v491/n7424/full/nature11576.html
The lead author is the same for both, the title is similar, dates are close, but the authors are slightly different, as is the publisher.
Double dipping when publishing?

timetochooseagain

Ah, I remember that weakening of the Walker Circulation business. I believe that at the time, it rested on there being a negative trend in the Southern Oscillation Index-SOI being inversely correlated with ENSO sea surface temperatures.
As of the present, there really isn’t any trend, going all the way back to the 1870’s. Conditions have tended to be more persistently La Nina like in the time since many of these studies claiming weakening were published (around 2006-2007).
Interestingly, the implication of all this seems to be that blaming “the pause” on a stronger walker circulation is *exactly equivalent* to blaming “the pause” on ENSO. It’s all more than a little handwavy!
At any rate, it’s worth recognizing that if ENSO stopped warming from about 1998-present, logically it should have contributed to warming from 1976-1998. The latter is usually taken to be, essentially, entirely due to anthropogenic forcing. But evidently, climate can vary, on timescales of 10-20 years at least, on the same order of magnitude as anthropogenic forcing-since it can cancel such forcing out for such a length of time-and entirely of it’s own according, too. This casts serious doubt on the notion of “attribution” of warming mostly to man.

DavidG

Desperation causes carelessness, such a pity.:]

Txomin

If a climate scientist penned it, it does not matter if it is contradictory because it is peer-review and, consequently, infallible. To the point, more and more funding is going to modeling and hypothesizing and away from measuring.

Wally Wool

Cotton sheets are the cause of Globall warming! Alarmist Scientists just don’t get enough sleep.

David L

How do these folks have any credibility anymore? How can anyone listen to these fools?

On the plus side, whatever does happen climate scientists predicted it.

george e. smith

Are these people nuts ?
While we know that in a closed system with air/water vapor over a water supply, there will be some equilibrium partial pressure of water vapor depending on Temperature, that condition varies widely, with wind added.
Every chemist (I’m not one) knows that reversible reactions can be speeded up (in either direction, by simply removing the reaction products from the reaction site / interface.
The water / vapor reaction, is easily driven in the direction of more evaporation, by simply moving the water vapor away from the surface. That’s what winds do, and simple kitchen experiments with a fan will show the accelerated evaporation.
Evaporation transports huge amounts of latent heat (circa 590 cal / gm) from the liquid into the atmosphere. The cold tracks left behind by hurricanes are proof of that. I don’t see how winds heat the ocean depths; they certainly cool the surface.
And no I don’t think these people are crazy. Just ignorant (lacking in knowledge)
That’s ok; we are all born with ignorance.