The Power Stroke

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I got to thinking about the well-known correlation of El Ninos and global temperature. I knew that the Pacific temperatures lead the global temperatures, and the tropics lead the Pacific, but I’d never looked at the actual physical distribution of the correlation. So I went to the CERES dataset, and Figure 1 shows the result.

internal correlation two month lagFigure 1. Correlation of detrended gridcell temperatures with the global temperature two months later. Blue square shows the extent of the 3D section shown in Figure 2. Gray lines show the zero value.

The joy of science to me is wondering what the final map will look like. This map made me laugh when it came up on the silver screen. I laughed because it’s a very good map of the path of the warm water pumped from the equator to the poles by the magnificent El Nino pump. I didn’t expect that at all.

To understand why a map showing each gridcell’s correlation with the planetary temperature two months later should also be a great map of the path of the water pumped by the El Nino pump, let’s consider the action of the pump in detail. Figure 2 shows a 3D section of the Pacific showing the ocean before and after the power stroke of the El Nino pump.

nino nina tao triton temp and dynamic height

Figure 2. 3D section of the Pacific Ocean looking westward along the equator. The area covered is the blue box at the equator in Figure 1. Click on image for larger size. ORIGINAL CAPTION: This is a view of the current El Nino / La Nina evolving in the tropical Pacific Ocean. You are looking westward, across the equator in the Pacific Ocean, from a vantage point somewhere in the Andes Mountains in South America. The colored surfaces show TAO/TRITON ocean temperatures. The top surface is the sea-surface, from 8°N to 8°S and from 137°E to 95°W. The shape of the sea surface is determined by TAO/TRITON Dynamic Height data. The wide vertical surface is at 8°S and extends to 500 meters depth. The narrower vertical surface is at 95°W. SOURCE: click on “Animation”.

Now, every intermittent pump has a “power stroke” when it does the actual pumping. For example, the power stroke of your heart is marked by the “beat” of your heartbeat. (The heart has two pumping chambers, so there are two power strokes, with their timing signified by the “lub-dub” of your heartbeat.) The power stroke is the time when the work is done—it is the portion of the cycle where the water is moved by the pump. Figure 2 shows the situation before and after the power stroke of the El Nino pump.

On the left of Figure 2, we have the condition prior to the power stroke of the El Nino pump. In this condition, there is a build-up of warm water on the surface. As you might imagine, this also warms the atmosphere above it, and a few months later the warmth spreads to the planet as well.

However, when the amount of this warm water reaches a critical point, the El Nino phenomenon emerges. The wind that powers the El Nino pump arises, and it begins to blow. This wind blows the warm surface water strongly westwards. Essentially, the wind skims off the warm surface layer and pushes it all along the equator until it meets up with continental arc. This movement of untold cubic kilometres of water is the result of the power stroke of the El Nino pump.

On the right of Figure 2, we have the condition after the power stroke, when the wind has  already blown the warm surface water westwards. Note that the cooler subsurface layers have been exposed. These layers are up to as much as 10°C cooler than the surface was  before the power stroke. Naturally, the exposure of this huge area of cool water cools the atmosphere and thus the planet.

So with that as prologue, why does the correlation map of Figure 1 show the track taken by the warm water? It’s all a matter of timing.

Consider what happens when the El Nino pump skims off the warm surface of the equatorial Pacific waters. When the cool subsurface water is exposed all across that huge tropical area, first the Pacific atmosphere and then the whole planet starts to cool.

But actually, that’s not quite true. The whole planet doesn’t cool … because the warm surface water moved by the El Nino pump has to go somewhere. This means that the previously cooler areas to which the warm tropical water has been pumped are warming, while the rest of the planet is cooling … and as a result, we get the lovely blue and green areas of negative correlation shown in the western Pacific in Figure 1.

These areas demonstrate that when the warm Equatorial water hits the Asian continent and the shallow-water arc connecting Asia to Australia, the water pumped by the El Nino splits into two parts. One part of the warm water goes north, and one goes south.

And of course, like the other emergent climate phenomena, the El Nino pump functions to keep the Pacific from overheating. When there is a buildup of warm water, the El Nino pump emerges, pumps the warm water to the poles along the path shown in Figure 1, and then disappears until it is needed once again.

I can only stand in awe. This is a most ingenious method for temperature regulation. When the warm Pacific tropical surface waters get overheated, an emergent pumping system arises, which pumps the warm water polewards and exposes the cooler water underneath, and the cooler ocean waters in turn bring down the temperature of the whole planet … brilliant.

My regards to everyone,

w.

AS ALWAYS: If you disagree with something I’ve said, please quote the exact words you disagree with. That way all of us can understand exactly what you object to.

PS—It does strike me that with both a positively correlated and a negatively correlated area regarding the global temperature two months later, we should at least be able to forecast a few key climate parameters for a couple of months ahead …

Advertisements

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Alan Robertson

He’s doing it again! Thanks, Willis.
I’ve learned a lot from this site and a lot of that knowledge has come from your work and the resultant discussions.

Oldseadog

Beautiful.
Isn’t it a pity that some folk can’t just admire it all and work out ways to live with it rather than trying to control or change it.

Brilliant piece Wiilis, thanks again. Note Fig 1 caption should read along i.s.o alone.

R2Dtoo

Great job Willis. Can we learn anything by doing the same thing for 1, 3, 4, 5, 6… months? What I’m really curious about is the timing of the warm water off Alaska this winter. It really seemed to have an effect on NA’s weather.

That ENSO heart beat is observable in the rate thunder clouds pump CO2 into the upper atmosphere where it is delivered to the polar sinks. As with the global atmospheric temperature, there is a delay in the stroke signal observed at the poles.

O. Olson

Is this right? Seems to me the left side of figure 2 “is” the power stoke of el nino and the right side is a La nina (the recharge stroke). Also, the power stroke of el nino occurs when the trade winds are “reduced” does it not?

O. Olson

The same thing I suppose… just looking at it another way perhaps.

eqibno

El Nino plays a significant role in US weather as well. Despite the odd discrepancy (Andrew in 1992 etc.) the hurricane season in the Atlantic is quashed by the shear generated during El Nino years. That is a form of the “prediction” of which you speak.

Theo Goodwin

Great post, Willis. Thanks.

JJM Gommers

Can I draw a conclusion that the frequency and/or intensity of the El Ninos should have increased with the rising global temperature over the last 100 years?

Gary

The Global Precipitation Mission just launched from Japan. Hopefully, in a year or so you will have rainfall data to add to this analysis.

And then the exposed cool water suppresses cloud formation, reducing albedo, and allowing sunlight to heat the cool water area, until it is sufficiently warmed to re-initiate the power stroke. Perhaps this is the intake stroke.

cnxtim

I think it is marvellous that scientists study the climate and do so on the taxpayers dollar within reasonable bounds.
However, there are far more pressing subjects that need to occupy science and engineering.
BUT, when scientists and politicians fly off at a tangent over what is nothing more than an interesting theory, force serious engineers into attacking a ‘problem’ that is 100% unproven, scare the living daylights out of people, raise the spectre of humankind destroying the planet – I think it very timely that those that can influence and control public perception and the political representatives we elect MUST stop this madness with its consequent massive damage of economies and our quality of life – NOW!
Best regards,
Tim
http://lannamoon.com Skype: chiangmaitimcomment image
On 28 February 2014 00:56, Watts Up With That? wrote:
> Willis Eschenbach posted: “Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach I got to > thinking about the well-known correlation of El Ninos and global > temperature. I knew that the Pacific temperatures lead the global > temperatures, and the tropics lead the Pacific, but I’d never looked at the > actu”

ponysboy

A good chance to repeat an unanswered question That I asked recently:
It appears from much data over several decades that the cooling of the planet from the La Nina is never quite enough to totally overcome the previous warming from the El Nino. Two issues I wonder about:
1. Does this seemingly unbalanced cycle always leave a (semi-) permanent increase in global temperatures at the end of the cycle…and therefore periodic step increases in global temperatures? And, if so, at what point will it stop….. or will it stop without some other forcing?
2. Or is this phenomenon of apparent step changes due to the underlying continuous increase in global temperature (due to AGW or some other natural cycle) so that the baseline is always trending upward?
Thanks for anyone’s thoughts on the above.

In watching and saving the daily sst anomalies I had been wondering similar as to why some level of forecast could be possible, using the great visual real time tools available. For example the cool pool areas in the southern ocean that gradually were developing and then moving towards Australia. Three months ago, I found myself wondering if this would lead to cooler temps for Australia. The only part that I didn’t know was in the timing of the event ie, ‘how long does that water take to move the needed distance to have an effect’. There are three main cooler water pockets in the southern ocean. One was to the west and it had developed off of the Antarctic coast and then moved north, but not as easterly as I was thinking it would. It still sits to the west and is only slowly drifting eastward. The second pocket developed further east off of Antarctica and has moved straight north. This cooler water enveloped New Zealand early on, and then finally has touched the south eastern and eastern coast of Australia. Melbourne has been showing the effects of this in recent weeks. The third cooler water developed in the northern Indian Ocean and then moved eastward and southward to impact Australia from the north. Most of the northern coast of Australia now has that cooler water sitting off of it,s coastline. Only the northwest and southern coastline of Australia are still being impacted by warmer waters. The next step would be to understand the timing of the flow rate, which would be driven by wind and currents, to complete a picture of the total package. From there a partial forecast of temp conditions could be possible.

Old woman of the north

Just a small typo under Diagram 2 – ‘alone’ when you mean ‘along’, Willis.
Your explanation of the ‘pump’ action of El Nino is great. Is there a mirror one in the Atlantic to set off the Gulf Stream? Does the warm water going north and south have a name like the Gulf Stream?
[Thanks, OWOTN, fixed. -w.]

Willis Eschenbach

R2Dtoo says:
February 27, 2014 at 10:25 am

Great job Willis. Can we learn anything by doing the same thing for 1, 3, 4, 5, 6… months? What I’m really curious about is the timing of the warm water off Alaska this winter. It really seemed to have an effect on NA’s weather.

I picked two months because the effect is the strongest there. However, you can see the spread of the warm water until it actually hits the US during the fourth month, and then slowly the signal draws back and eventually disappears.

Click on it for the larger version. There’s always more to learn.
w.

Willis Eschenbach

JJM Gommers says:
February 27, 2014 at 10:49 am

Can I draw a conclusion that the frequency and/or intensity of the El Ninos should have increased with the rising global temperature over the last 100 years?

Good question, JJM. Hard to tell, because we don’t really have a good measure of the phenomenon. People are all focused on the temperature, but what we need is some measure of the amount of warm water pumped. That’s the critical factor, the actual work done, not the temperatures. I mean, the temperature could go up and down with or without the pump operating, so we need a measure of the work accomplished by the pump (cubic km of water at temperature X moved polewards or something like that).
Seems like the data from the Argo floats could measure that … so many projects, so little time.
w.

Willis, you point out in the beginning of the post that the Pacific leads the globe in temp changes. In early November of last year there was a spike in sunspots and activity from the Sun. Some weeks later the temps shifted dramatically here in No California. After 2 months of bitter cold the days warmed up and the night time temps gradually increased. The shift in temps was an increase of 20F for the night time temps. It seemed to me that the solar spike had led to the warming change. I had asked a question regarding a possible connection between the solar influence and the temp change in the coastal mountain area where I live, but received a negative response to the question. From the point of view that the Pacific leads the globe is it possible that the temp change was due to the circumstances which I am describing, solar heats eastern Pacific warmth moves inland off of the ocean?

“And of course, like the other emergent climate phenomena, the El Nino pump functions to keep the Pacific from overheating.”
teleology

Walt The Physicist

@cnxtim says:
February 27, 2014 at 10:55 am
Dear Tim,
Real science is boring. It is boring to general public and it is boring to most of the government officers that decide what to fund and distribute funding. It is boring to the officers and heads of the private funds that support science. So, scientists that seek funding have to propose something that is exciting, disruptive, futuristic, fantastic,.. not boring. Something that is femto-, nonlinear Schrodinger, atto-, peta-, relativistic, nano-bio-, Higgs, and gravizapa related. Or, it should be something that will save us from killer-asteroid strike, man-made global warming, or will stop hurricane with 5,900 wind turbines in its path (and also will generate a lot of energy that will be stored in gigantic underground thermal storage chambers). Or, something that will disturb gravitation and disrupt navigational path of unfriendly alien civilizations if they will decide to attack the Earth… Studying water properties and its structure that, in spite of common believe, is practically completely unknown and not studied?! I see you yawning, falling asleep, I see you getting bored… So, who do you think “must stop this madness with its consequent massive damage of economies and our quality of life” and how will they do this?

James Strom

ponysboy says:
February 27, 2014 at 10:58 am
A good chance to repeat an unanswered question That I asked recently:
It appears from much data over several decades that the cooling of the planet from the La Nina is never quite enough to totally overcome the previous warming from the El Nino. Two issues I wonder about: . . .
_____
I think this is a really good question, implying that El Nino may be gradually ratcheting up the global temperature. And if you look at a graph of temperature anomalies going up through the 90’s you get the impression that El Nino has been doing just that. However, there have been several El Ninos since the big one in 1998, and they have all occurred during a period of a rather flat trend in global temperatures.
Here is what Wikipedia has to say (today) about recent ENSO history:
>>A strong La Niña episode occurred during 1988–1989. La Niña also formed in 1995 and from 1998–2000, and a minor one from 2000–2001. In recent times, an occurrence of El Niño started in September 2006[42] and lasted until early 2007.[43] From June 2007 on, data indicated a moderate La Niña event, which strengthened in early 2008 and weakened before the start of 2009; the 2007–2008 La Niña event was the strongest since the 1988–1989 event. The strength of the La Niña made the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season one of the most active since 1944; 16 named storms had winds of at least 39 mph (63 km/h), eight of which became 74 mph (119 km/h) or greater hurricanes.[19]
>>According to NOAA, El Niño conditions were in place in the equatorial Pacific Ocean starting June 2009, peaking in January–February. Positive SST anomalies (El Niño) lasted until May 2010. SST anomalies then transitioned into the negative (La Niña) and have now transitioned back to ENSO-neutral during April 2012. In early July, NOAA stated that El Niño conditions have a 50+% chance of developing during the Northern Hemisphere summer. As the 2012 Northern Hemisphere summer started to draw to a close, NOAA stated that El Niño conditions are likely to develop in August or September. The September 30, 2013 NOAA report indicates high probability of no El Niño or La Niña (ENSO-neutral) through Spring 2014.[37]<<
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Ni%C3%B1o#Recent_occurrences

Willis Eschenbach

Old woman of the north says:
February 27, 2014 at 11:17 am

Your explanation of the ‘pump’ action of El Nino is great. Is there a mirror one in the Atlantic to set off the Gulf Stream? Does the warm water going north and south have a name like the Gulf Stream?

The north branch is called the Kuroshio Current, and the south branch is sometimes called the East Australia Current.
The Gulf Stream is a different kind of pump, one which works constantly. Like the El Nino, the pumping action is wind-driven. You can see the same anti-correlation lag going on in the North Atlantic.
Like other emergent phenomena, the effect of the Gulf Stream is to move energy poleward from the tropics. As such I ASSUME that it responds to increasing tropical Atlantic temperatures by increasing the amount of energy moved. I suspect that in the case of the Gulf Stream someone has already calculated the total energy moved northwards by the Gulf Stream. It would be an interesting inquiry to see how that correlates with heat buildup in the tropical Atlantic.
So many musicians … so little time …
w.

James at 48

And we can thank Plate Tectonics for the design of the current pump configuration. We have a long road ahead with this config. And that means, the ice will return.

James Strom

Steven Mosher says:
February 27, 2014 at 11:30 am
“And of course, like the other emergent climate phenomena, the El Nino pump functions to keep the Pacific from overheating.”
teleology
____
Nope–just casual idiomatic language, which you are smart enough to translate into formal scientific prose.

kuhnkat

“James Strom says:
February 27, 2014 at 11:48 am
Steven Mosher says:
February 27, 2014 at 11:30 am
“And of course, like the other emergent climate phenomena, the El Nino pump functions to keep the Pacific from overheating.”
teleology
____
Nope–just casual idiomatic language, which you are smart enough to translate into formal scientific prose”
Actually, if you look at the papers on UHI and Berkeley Temps that Steven Mosher has been involved in you know he believes in magic, so, assigning the statement to teleology would be hard science to him!! 8>)

DS

JJM Gommers says:
February 27, 2014 at 10:49 am
Can I draw a conclusion that the frequency and/or intensity of the El Ninos should have increased with the rising global temperature over the last 100 years?”
I don’t think so, and actually the opposite might be true.
“The study finds that the rise in ocean heat (and temperature) in recent decades is far faster than anything seen earlier in the Holocene, the period since the end of the last ice age. But the researchers say that this rise is from a relatively cool baseline. Between 10,000 and 8,000 years ago, at depths between 500 and 1,000 meters, the Pacific Ocean was some 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than today for many centuries.” Rosenthal et al (2013)
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/75831381/Rosenthal%20ocean%20temps%20Supplementary%20Materials.pdf
the deep Ocean temperatures (at least in the Pacific) are currently lower then they have been for much of the past 10,000 years, as shown above. That includes about 0.65 Degrees lower then the MWP
We also know the atmospheric temperatures were similarly higher then today during that WMP, circa ~1000AD. (countless non-tree-ring/Mann peer-reviewed papers from across the globe indicate between 1-3 degrees higher at any given location. Many can be found for quick reference here http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/mwpp.php )
Meanwhile, what the ENSO did in response to said warming during the MWP was supposedly this
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PDO1000yr.svg
That seems to be 300 years of basically straight skipping the El Nino/Positive PDO cycle
That period of extreme La Nina conditions, coupled with the Wolf and Sporer (Solar) Minimums that were about to come (roughly 1275-1350AD and 1450-1550AD, respectively), seems to have been what gave us thrust us into the Little Ice Age.
My untrained eye sees what looks like is a gigantic balancing attempting to take place. It seems as if the planet may be trying to steady itself(/temperatures?) at a certain level, using the PDO cycles like a gas and brake pedal on a car. The last 120 years we have seen 30/31 year perfect flips between Positive and Negative cycles (well, I have a theory the 1925 flip actually took place in 1915 – it is the only one slightly out of whack time), possibly indicating it feels it is approaching its balance. That is before whatever the new Solar Minimum will be called though. Last time it was attempting to cool itself when the series of minimums started to hit, and like I indicated above, it seems we know the results of that – the LIA. (of course, all of my thoughts could be nonsense too, and maybe people want to skip this paragraph. None the less, it is what I believe)

Willis, your timing confused me.
El Nino events are typically tied to the seasonal cycle, so El Nino events normally peak in December. Your Figure 1, with a 2-month lag, should represent February (give or take), should it not? And that’s a month before (give or take) the left-hand cell of your Figure 2, which states that it’s from March 2010. The right-hand cell of your Figure 2 states that it’s from October 2010, which would be a lag of 10 months.

DS says:
February 27, 2014 at 12:11 pm
——————————————-
Thanks for sharing the links and your explanation. That provides a great counter response to those who claim the oceans are warming unnaturally.

Walt The Physicist says:
February 27, 2014 at 11:37 am “Dear Tim,
Real science is boring. It is boring to general public and it is boring to most of the government officers that decide what to fund and distribute funding. It is boring to the officers and heads of the private funds that support science. So, scientists that seek funding have to propose something that is exciting, disruptive, futuristic, fantastic,.. not boring. Something that is femto-, nonlinear Schrodinger, atto-, peta-, relativistic, nano-bio-, Higgs, and gravizapa related. Or, it should be something that will save us from killer-asteroid strike, man-made global warming, or will stop hurricane with 5,900 wind turbines in its path (and also will generate a lot of energy that will be stored in gigantic underground thermal storage chambers). Or, something that will disturb gravitation and disrupt navigational path of unfriendly alien civilizations if they will decide to attack the Earth… Studying water properties and its structure that, in spite of common believe, is practically completely unknown and not studied?! I see you yawning, falling asleep, I see you getting bored… So, who do you think “must stop this madness with its consequent massive damage of economies and our quality of life” and how will they do this?”
You are right.
Look at this water bottle in -20 weather. It freezes after an abrupt hit.

u.k.(us)

She runs Her own game, some win / some lose.
The rules change on Her whim.

Resourceguy

I suppose it’s just correlation and not causation that the peak to peak increases for 1950-1998 of the SST anomaly correspond to the Pacific as a heat capacitor for the solar cycles over that period and that the run down of the peak to peak SST since 1998 corresponds to the sequential decline of the solar cycles in recent cycle numbers. An investigation of that relationship is more complex than just annual lags in a model since it involves solar cycles of different periodicity than SST. Go for it to get to causation from heat capacitor as driver.

Arno Arrak

You are another one who did not bother to read my book in which the El Nino phenomenon is explained. First, both El Nino and La Nina are part of ENSO, an oscillation. So what is oscillating? It is the oceanic water mass, sloshing back and forth from east to west within the ocean basin. A full ENSO cycle may take four or five years during which the El Nino and the La Nina are alternately active. Its power source is the Walker circulation that drives the trade winds which pile warm water in the west. New Guinea and the Philippines form a barrier and water piles up there to form the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool and the West Pacific Warm Pool. When water level is high enough reverse flow starts by gravity. An El Nino wave forms and crosses the ocean along the equatorial counter-current, runs ashore in South America, spreads out north and south, and warms the air above it. Warm air rises, interferes with trade winds, joins the westerlies, and we notice the arrival of an El Nino. But any wave that runs ashore must also retreat. As the El Nino wave retreats water level behind it drops, cold water from below fills the vacuum, and a la Nina has started. Your right hand slice shows the water level drop behind a La Nina. As much as the El Nino warmed the air the La Nina will now cool it. The cyclical temperature change from an El Nino peak to a La Nina valley may be 0.4 to 0.5 degrees Celsius.There is no long term warming or cooling involved. The article mentions lag but does not specify from where to where. There is a well known lag between warming observed at Nino3.4 and continental warming by El Nino. That is because the NINO3.4 is located right smack in the middle of the equatorial counter-current and it sees the El Nino wave crossing the ocean before it has reached South America. All this applies of course to the normal or regular ENSO oscillation. But a lot of things are going on in the ocean besides the El Ninos and La Ninas. It can happen that the equatorial counter-current for some reason gets blocked. That will stop an El Nino on the way from reaching its destination. As a result,its warm water spreads out in the middle of the ocean and creates an El Nino on the spot instead of on the coast. It is called an El Nino Modoki or Central Pacific El Nino. The La Nina phase is also changed but I have not figured out exactly how. It is these irregular El Ninos that could possibly be involved in unpredictable climate change but I do not know. They are not very powerful but the 1997/98 El Nino is the most powerful on record for more than a hundred years. Problem with it is explaining its power source which is way above what the preceding ENSO oscillation could have delivered. For now, it is one of the mysteries of climate science that the so-called “climate” scientists of IPCC have never even heard of, never mind trying to solve it.

Steven Mosher has a one word comment in this thread:
“teleology”.
Here is Buckminster Fuller’s definition:
Teleologic: The subjective-to-objective, intermittent, only-spontaneous, borderline-conscious, and within-self communicating system that distills equitable principles – characterizing relative behavior patterns – from our pluralities of matching experiences, and reintegrates selections from those net generalized principles into unique experimental control patterns – physically detached from self – as instruments, tools or other devices admitting to increased technical advantage of man over environment circumstance, and consciously designed to permit his modification of forward experiences in preferred ways.
See? That’s what Mosher meant. You knew that, didn’t you?
Me, too. ☺
Carry on…

Willis: Here’s an animation you’ll enjoy. Talk about a power stroke. Catch the transition from the 1997/98 El Nino to the 1998-01 La Nina. (It’s a 6MB gif animation so it may take a moment to load.) I should still have the original maps, so I could divide it into smaller animations if you like.
http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/sealevelglobal.gif
Regards

dp

For this heat pump to actually have a cooling function for the global system it has to result in a great deal of energy leaving the Earth for the emptiness of space. How does that happen? The results are claimed (cooling occurs) but no mechanism for removing that energy from the system is identified. Just diluting it is not at all the same thing as removing it.

Stephen Richards

1. Does this seemingly unbalanced cycle always leave a (semi-) permanent increase in global temperatures at the end of the cycle…and therefore periodic step increases in global temperatures? And, if so, at what point will it stop….. or will it stop without some other forcing?
Until the PDO reverses to the cold phase. Bob Tisdale has written some brilliant books and blogs on the subject? Enjoy.

Manfred

“However, when the amount of this warm water reaches a critical point, the El Nino phenomenon emerges. The wind that powers the El Nino pump arises, and it begins to blow. This wind blows the warm surface water strongly westwards. Essentially, the wind skims off the warm surface layer and pushes it all along the equator until it meets up with continental arc. ”
———————-
Very telling correlation, interesting also the obvious tranfer of heta into the Atlantic.
But above appears to be wrong way. Warm water is generated in the western pacific warm pool. When El Nino starts, trade winds relaxe and warm water is sloshing eastwards.

Will Nelson

dbstealey says:
February 27, 2014 at 12:58 pm
*****************************************
Sometimes I catch myself anthropomorphizing my dog.
That is wrong.
I should instead be Teleogizing.

Tom In Indy

dp says:
February 27, 2014 at 1:41 pm
For this heat pump to actually have a cooling function for the global system it has to result in a great deal of energy leaving the Earth for the emptiness of space. How does that happen? The results are claimed (cooling occurs) but no mechanism for removing that energy from the system is identified. Just diluting it is not at all the same thing as removing it.

Maybe the transfer of warm water from the equator to the Arctic melts sea ice, in turn allowing more energy to escape from the oceans to space above the Arctic?

Willis says…
> PS—It does strike me that with both a
> positively correlated and a negatively
> correlated area regarding the global
> temperature two months later, we should
> at least be able to forecast a few key
> climate parameters for a couple of months
> ahead …
The ELI (ENSO Leading Indicator)… you know you want it. But seriously, that could be an interesting article I’d love to read.

Manfred

dp says:
February 27, 2014 at 1:41 pm
For this heat pump to actually have a cooling function for the global system it has to result in a great deal of energy leaving the Earth for the emptiness of space. How does that happen? The results are claimed (cooling occurs) but no mechanism for removing that energy from the system is identified. Just diluting it is not at all the same thing as removing it.
—————————————————-
Spreading heat over a greater surface IS a cooling mechanism. That mechanism is applied in millions of man ade devices, from caps on electronic devices to all sorts of radiators.

dp

Manfred is quite right to observe the wrong way problem. The warm water in the east *is* el niño, and the power stroke, a well meaning but regrettable introduction of terms, starts at the beginning of la niña precisely when el niño ends. Naturally I expect full agreement will follow 🙂
There is a better explanation here: http://www.geology.wisc.edu/courses/g115/el_nino/2b.html.

Manfred

@dp,
you will also find that mechanism implemented in about every living thing on this planet. Why do elephants have big ears ?

dp

Spreading heat over a greater surface IS a cooling mechanism. That mechanism is applied in millions of man ade devices, from caps on electronic devices to all sorts of radiators.

This is why I hate the use of “cooling/warming/temperature” when describing the balance of energy between the Earth and the sun. Regions of the planet can warm and cool and without affecting the balance of energy and that is what you are saying, but to say the Earth is cooling requires more energy to be sent to space than is arriving. That as I understand it is the claim in this article. Discussions of climate change that only involve moving existing energy around the planet do not address the fundamental energy balance. The entire debate about CO2 is all about CO2 retaining energy that would otherwise be lost to space, not shuffling energy here and there, hiding it in the ocean, etc.

dp says:
February 27, 2014 at 1:41 pm
> For this heat pump to actually have a cooling
> function for the global system it has to result
> in a great deal of energy leaving the Earth for
> the emptiness of space. How does that happen?
> The results are claimed (cooling occurs) but no
> mechanism for removing that energy from the
> system is identified. Just diluting it is not at all
> the same thing as removing it.
The Stefan-Boltzmann Law http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stefan%E2%80%93Boltzmann_law states that a “black body” (theoretical model of matter) will radiate away energy at a rate proportional to the 4th (yes, fourth) power of its temperature, in degrees K. At 100 K (-173 C) it’s 5.67 watts per square metre. Note 1 watt = 1 joule per second.
Let’s take an example of sea surface water that is 27 C at La Nina, and 29 C at El Nino (i.e. the index goes from -1.0 to +1.0). How much difference does that make, you ask? Running the numbers through the equation shows that at 27 C (300 K), a black body radiates away 459.3 watts/m^2 and at 29 C (302 K) 471.6 watts/m^2. That’s an extra 12.3 watts per square metre at El Nino versus La Nina.
Now let’s scale up to planetary dimensions. 1 square kilometre is 1,000 metres x 1,000 metres, i.e. 1 million square metres. So one square kilometre would radiate away an extra 12.3 megawatts. A million square kilometres, and you’re looking at an extra 12.3 terawatts, i.e. 12.3 terajoules/second radiating away 24×7. This extra energy radiating away into space at higher temperatures is what prevents a “runaway greenhouse effect”.

Manfred says:
February 27, 2014 at 3:00 pm
@dp,
you will also find that mechanism implemented in about every living thing on this planet. Why do elephants have big ears ?
—————————————————-
That’s an easy one. They keep the mice from sneaking up on them, thus catching them by surprise. Nothing worse than a surprised elephant.

Matthew R Marler

Thanks again for another good read.
This is a most ingenious method for temperature regulation.
Been reading the Reverend Paley lately? You nearly have “the argument from design”. 😎

Willis Eschenbach

Steven Mosher says:
February 27, 2014 at 11:30 am

“And of course, like the other emergent climate phenomena, the El Nino pump functions to keep the Pacific from overheating.”

teleology

tel·e·ol·o·gy
ˌtelēˈäləjē,ˌtēlē-/Submit
nounPHILOSOPHY
1.
the explanation of phenomena by the purpose they serve rather than by postulated causes.

Not quite. I got more precise in the comments, where I said:

Like other emergent phenomena, the effect of the Gulf Stream is to move energy poleward from the tropics.

So let me alter my previous statement to say:

“And of course, like the other emergent climate phenomena, the effect of the El Nino pump is to keep the Pacific from overheating.”

However, I have no problem with understanding things based on how they function or what they accomplish. It’s like with the dust devils. To understand their place in the climate zoo, it’s necessary to look at just what work they are performing. Once you see that their job is cooling the surface, you can class them with other surface-cooling emergent phenomena.
However, this is not teleology because I’m not ascribing causality.
One reason for the lack of understanding of El Nino, in my opinion, is this bias against teleology in favor of looking for causality. All of these folks are going around trying to find out what the CAUSES of El Nino are …
I come at it from the other end. Me, I understand that heat engines do work, and to understand a natural heat engine, it’s necessary to take a hard look at what said heat engine actually accomplishes. So rather than look for causes, I look at the effects.
Note that I’m not doing it as a teleological explanation of the occurrence.
Instead, I am doing it simply to understand the occurrence … and then once I understand it, I can start thinking about what might or might not cause it …
Dang, Mosh, you got a lot of mileage out of one word … and I even understood what you meant.
w.

Gene L

Great, the Hawaiin gods control the world!.