The 2014/15 El Niño – Part 9 – Kevin Trenberth is Looking Forward to Another “Big Jump”

Trenberth Interview ScreencapIn a recent interview, Kevin Trenberth, Distinguished Senior Scientist, from NCAR said the upcoming 2014/15 El Niño might shift global surface temperatures upwards by 0.2 to 0.3 deg C to further the series of upward steps. Curiously, Trenberth is continuing to suggest that the warming we’ve experienced since the mid-1970s resulted from naturally occurring, sunlight-fueled El Niño events and that we might get to experience yet another of those El Niño-caused warming steps as a result of the 2014/15 El Niño. So let’s take a look at what he’s suggesting and what the future MAY POSSIBLY hold in store…if Trenberth’s dreams come true.

Peter Sinclair of ClimateCrocks recently produced two YouTube interviews with NCAR’s Kevin Trenberth about the upcoming 2014/15 El Niño. See Part 1 here. At about the 9-minute mark in Part 2 (here), Trenberth speculates, sounding gleeful, that the upcoming El Niño may lead to another in the series of upward steps in global surface temperature:

One of the real prospects to look out for is whether we go back into a different phase of this Pacific Decadal Oscillation. And one of the potential prospects we can watch out for is whether the next whole decade will be distinctly warmer…uh, uh…and so, in terms of the global mean temperature, instead of having a gradual trend going up, maybe the way to think of it is we have a series of steps, like a staircase. And, and, it’s possible, that we’re approaching one of those steps. And we will go up, you know, two- or three-tenths of a degree Celsius to a next level, and maybe we won’t come down again. I think that’s one of the things we could possibly look out for.

Some of you may believe that Kevin Trenberth is actually looking forward to another upward step…not just looking out for one. So let’s take another look at the upward steps in global surface temperatures he was happily discussing.

Kevin Trenberth introduced his “big jumps” in global surface temperatures in an article last year, without stating their cause. We discussed those big jumps and identified their causes in the post Open Letter to the Royal Meteorological Society Regarding Dr. Trenberth’s Article “Has Global Warming Stalled?”. Please refer to that post for the detailed discussion. Figure 1 is an update of Figure 10 from that post with data through 2013. NCDC global land+ocean surface temperature anomaly data were used for consistency with Trenberth’s original article (Data source here.)

Figure 1

Figure 1


Trenberth is now suggesting that global surface temperatures might shift upwards 0.2 to 0.3 deg C again in response to the 2014/15 El Niño. So for illustration purposes only, let’s take the data from the 16-year period of 1998 to 2013 and shift them up those 0.2 and 0.3 deg C and insert them in the time period of 2015 to 2030. See Figure 2. The period-average temperature anomaly of 0.57 deg C for the period of 1998-2013 would shift up to 0.77 deg C or 0.87 deg C for 2015-2030.

Figure 2

Figure 2


An upward shift in global surface temperatures would definitely help the models for a few years, but, because the global surface temperatures warmed in a step, the hiatus period that followed would again cause a continued divergence between the models and the real world. See Figure 3 for a model-“data” comparison starting in 1979 and running through 2030.

Figure 3

Figure 3

The graph includes the multi-model ensemble-member mean for the climate models stored in the CMIP5 archive, with two scenarios: RCP6.0 and RCP8.5. And the two sets of future “data” are created once again by taking the NCDC global surface temperature anomalies for the 16-year period of 1998 to 2013, shifting them up 0.2 to 0.3 deg C and inserting them in the time period of 2015 to 2030. Figure 4 includes the same model-data comparison but with the commonly used start year of 1998.

Figure 4

Figure 4


Kevin Trenberth appears to have conflicting causes for the global warming we’ve experienced since the mid-1970s. On one hand, for decades, Trenberth has been a true-blue proponent of the hypothesis of human-induced global warming, with the warming caused by the emissions of manmade greenhouse gases. On the other, for about a year, he has been promoting the “big jumps” in global surface temperatures, with the steps in the staircase of global surface temperatures being caused by El Niño events.

There would be no conflict if Trenberth was able to show that manmade greenhouse gases somehow contributed to the warm water that fuels El Niño events. But Trenberth has always noted that it is sunlight that provides the warm water for El Niños. In a recent post (see here), we presented two examples of this from his peer-reviewed papers, and for those of you new to this discussion, they’re worth repeating. The first is Trenberth et al. (2002). They write (my boldface):

The negative feedback between SST and surface fluxes can be interpreted as showing the importance of the discharge of heat during El Niño events and of the recharge of heat during La Niña events. Relatively clear skies in the central and eastern tropical Pacific allow solar radiation to enter the ocean, apparently offsetting the below normal SSTs, but the heat is carried away by Ekman drift, ocean currents, and adjustments through ocean Rossby and Kelvin waves, and the heat is stored in the western Pacific tropics. This is not simply a rearrangement of the ocean heat, but also a restoration of heat in the ocean.

The second paper is Trenberth and Fasullo (2011). They write (my boldface):

Typically prior to an El Niño, in La Niña conditions, the cold sea waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific create high atmospheric pressure and clear skies, with plentiful sunshine heating the ocean waters. The ocean currents redistribute the ocean heat which builds up in the tropical western Pacific Warm Pool until an El Niño provides relief (Trenberth et al. 2002).

And we confirmed in the post Open Letter to the Royal Meteorological Society Regarding Dr. Trenberth’s Article “Has Global Warming Stalled?” that it is sunlight that provides the warm water that serves as fuel for El Niños.


Trenberth’s statement in the YouTube interview, “And we will go up two- or three-tenths of a degree Celsius to a next level, and maybe we won’t come down again,” is similar to one made in his August 2013 interview on NPR . There he is reported to have said:

…what happens at the end of these hiatus periods, is suddenly there’s a big jump [in temperature] up to a whole new level and you never go back to that previous level again

Those are curious statements. Trenberth has never taken the time to explain that we would NOT expect the surface temperatures to go back down again. So his “never go back to that previous level again” seems to be a clear case of misdirection.

An El Niño…

  1. releases a tremendous amount of heat from the tropical Pacific to the atmosphere, and…
  2. it redistributes a tremendous amount of warm water within the oceans from the tropical Pacific to adjacent ocean basins, and…
  3. according to Trenberth and Fasullo (2011), an El Niño causes changes in atmospheric circulation that reduces the evaporation from the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and allows more sunlight to penetrate and warm those ocean basins to depth, both of which contribute to the warming of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans in response to an El Niño without the direct exchange of heat from the tropical Pacific.

Regarding 3, Trenberth and Fasulo (2011) includes:

Meanwhile, maximum warming of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans occurs about 5 months after the El Niño owing to sunny skies and lighter winds (less evaporative cooling), while the convective action is in the Pacific.

The upward steps are precisely what we would expect of ENSO if it is viewed, not as noise in the surface temperature record, but as a chaotic, sunlight-fueled, recharge-discharge oscillator.

It appears that El Niño events, combined with the heat uptake in the tropical Pacific during La Niña events, are major contributors to any radiative imbalance that may (or may not) exist.


The climate science community hasn’t bothered to properly account for the contribution of ENSO. And there’s no reason that we would expect them to do so. Any attempt by the climate science community to account for ENSO’s contribution to the warming of surface temperatures and the oceans to depth would detract from the hypothetical influence of manmade greenhouse gases.


And for additional introductory discussions of El Niño processes see:


My ebook Who Turned on the Heat? goes into a tremendous amount of detail to explain El Niño and La Niña processes and the long-term aftereffects of strong El Niño events. Who Turned on the Heat? weighs in at a whopping 550+ pages, about 110,000+ words. It contains somewhere in the neighborhood of 380 color illustrations. In pdf form, it’s about 23MB. It includes links to more than a dozen animations, which allow the reader to view ENSO processes and the interactions between variables.

I’ve lowered the price of Who Turned on the Heat? from U.S.$8.00 to U.S.$5.00. A free preview in pdf format is here. The preview includes the Table of Contents, the Introduction, the first half of section 1 (which was provided complete in the post here), a discussion of the cover, and the Closing. Take a run through the Table of Contents. It is a very-detailed and well-illustrated book—using data from the real world, not models of a virtual world. Who Turned on the Heat? is only available in pdf format…and will only be available in that format. Click here to purchase a copy. Thanks. Book sales and tips will hopefully allow me to return to blogging full-time once again.


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My last Trenberth rant from Judith Curry’s site. Worth repeating in my humble opinion.
“Trenberth’s presentation is utterly disgusting, with the intellectual dishonesty squirting out from all sides. One scarcely knows where to begin. The 17 year gap in rising temperatures is nowhere portrayed in his “gotcha” chart of Temp/CO2. Guess its hockey sticks, hockey sticks, all the way down for him. The Sandy reference is contemptible exploitation of human tragedy, without an iota of evidence that warming had anything whatsoever to contribute. No mention of stable to declining Global ACE since 1970, or mention of the 1938 and 1944 East Coast Hurricanes that dwarfed Sandy in intensity.
If you want to just stick to statistics, take a look at the NOAA adjustments to the raw temperature data. Adjustments to the raw data are reportedly needed to eliminate inhomogeneity, time of observation, missing data etc. (none for UHI, however). As of July 2012, the raw data record had been adjusted for 329 consecutive months. The adjustments in each of the 329 months has been toward higher temperature. Not even one single negative outlier. What are the odds?
“The cumulative effect of all adjustments is approximately a one-half degree Fahrenheit warming in the annual time series over a 50-year period from the 1940′s until the last decade of the century.”
In addition, temperature records compiled before 1940 have been systematically adjusted colder, intensifying the differential in the temperature time series.
How is it even remotely possible to trust the longitudinal climate record when it is ‘maintained’ and subjected to regular adjustment by people like Trenberth who readily substitute a steaming pile of agitprop in place of anything resembling scientific debate, The irony of Trenberth’s two quotes is indescribable: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” “You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.” Trenberth can only measure temperature in one direction and cannot even distinguish anecdote from data. The presentation distinguishes Trenberth, now and forever, as someone who cannot be considered a responsible scientific authority.
The Warmists are now cheerleading the next super El Nino, hoping that it will pull the AGW fat out of the fire. Except that basing one’s temperature predictions on an ocean cycle discredits the fundamental premise that a minute percentage of CO2 has transformed the entire atmosphere.”

Stephen Richards

Kev is hoping that all his “buried heat” will rise to the surface all at once and raise global temps by 20°c. Not worry Kev. Neither the super-niño nor the magic heat will save you and next years winbter will be even more difficult to explain than last. There will be some really imaginative reasons/excuses coming at the end of this year.

Stephen Richards

Bob, good work as usual. It’s almost boring how good your work is 🙂 (that takes some thinking about). In your figure 1, after the ninos we see the plateaux. Am i being silly in expecting some decay of the emerging heat during those plateau periods ? Ie a very small decrease in global temps of the period of the plateau.


Were there no El Ninos prior to 1976?


You need a Nobel Prize or something. You continually debunk the so called experts.

I have a problem with the hypothesis that the missing heat has all been absorbed by the oceans during the 17 year hiatus which is now due to surface as a super El Niño. In the meantime all that heat would have expanded the oceans leading to an acceleration in sea levels which has not been observed.
Curiouser and curiouser !

Alec aka Daffy Duck

NYT with bits from Trenberth:
How El Niño Might Alter the Political Climate”
May 20, 2014
My title for the NYT story:
“New York Times holds major pep-rally for potential El Niño…Come cheer and root for more global warming!!!!”

For the CAGW hypesters, this incipient El Niño will temporarily change some of the anomaly data in their favor — JUST IN TIME. They will make use of every fact in their political favor and bury every mitigating fact.
Remember the “500 Days” to save the world comment by Kerry and Fabius. 500 days brings us to Sept 26, 2015, a time period scheduled for establishing post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be adopted by a Rio+20(+n) climate conference at the end of 2015.
The UN SDG proponents will latch onto any El Niño, and like Trenberth, claim it is a permanent uptick in warming, if not the end of the pause and return of the hockey stick. Even if the next decade is a repeat of 1998-2008 and a continuation of the pause, the SDG conference will be taking place just after the peak of the El Niño spike (they hope!) and before the expected trough of the system response.
See also
UN to hold development summit in 2015

Adam from Kansas

We keep hearing how El Nino events cause upward steps in temperature, but what’s often been missing from this site is an explanation of what causes them to take a step down.
So we know about upward steps and what causes them, but what about the downward ones?


“if Kevin’s dream comes true…
The undisguised yearning for some heat-pocalypse in order to spare themselves
personal embarrassment, is beyond shameful.


“the heat is stored”
I’m a physicist. I’m horrified every time I see this. How come they are allowed to use such misnomers? How come they can get away with such giberrish talking?
Heat is simply energy transport. With emphasis on transport. One cannot store transport. Heat is not a state function of a system. How come that physicists everywhere are not correcting this pseudo scientific language?
The ‘science’ is full of such misnomers. As other pseudo sciences.


Why are we so sure this El Nino is going to result in an upward step? The current forecast is for it to have a max 3.4 anomaly of 1.5C. 2010’s was higher at 2C, and it didn’t result in a step.


I got so disgusted with the IPCC’s phoney physics, I penned an engineer’s view of their pseudoscience. It uses the concept of Forcing’, net energy transfer to the surface by solar SW and atmospheric LW. This is not wrong but standard physics assesses it as the difference of ‘Irradiances’ from ‘Stefan-Boltzmann’ equations. The IPCC does it differently.
The Sun is 5,500 deg.K, the Earth’s surface much cooler. Net SW surface heating = Sigma(F1.T_sun^4 – F2.T_surface^4). Sigma is the S-B constant, F1 and F2 are parameters dependent on clouds etc., Ts are temperatures. It is +160 W/m^2 (mean). This goes to the atmosphere as 97 W/m^2 convection/evapo-transpiration plus 63 W/m^2 real net IR emission, of which 40 W/m^2 goes to Space.
Similarly, net LW surface heating is minus net LW flux to the atmosphere = Sigma(F3.T_atmosphere^4 – F4.T_surface^4). Numerically: -63W/m^2=333 W/m^2 – 396 W/m^2. Conservation of energy means: 160 W/m^2 (SW heating) -97 W/m^2 (convection) -63 W/m^2 (LW cooling) = 0 W/m^2. Near zero net surface IR in ‘self-absorbed’ GHG bands means no GHG-absorption of this energy, radiative physics 101.
However, our Climate Alchemists assume 396 W/m^2 net surface LW flux, the ‘black body’ Irradiance for 16 deg C, when that’s the potential energy flux to a sink at Absolute Zero: only 63 W/m^2 is real. They make up the difference by assuming 333 W/m^2 atmospheric Irradiance measured by ‘pyrgeometer’ (‘back radiation’) provides extra surface heat when standard physics shows for a normal temperature gradient, it cannot transfer any energy to the surface. The failure to understand what their main instrument outputs is a serious scientific mistake.
Adding 97 W/m^2 convection makes 493 W/m^2, 3x real heating rate, never proved experimentally. As it’s far too high they offset 238.5 W/m^2 by falsely applying ‘Kirchhoff’s Law of Radiation’ to the semi-transparent emitter at ToA. The residual c. 60% more heating than reality is, with 3x real GHE, used to purport imaginary ‘positive feedback’. They then use c. 25% extra low level cloud albedo in hindcasting to pretend the extra energy doesn’t heat the atmosphere above reality.
IPCC ‘science’ is nothing less than fraud, cynical manipulation of data to purport much more heating than reality. The GHG-absorbed component is exaggerated 5.1x. The Tyndall experiment does not prove it thermalises in the gas phase. This scam deceived all but real heat transfer experts.


The US regime does adjust for UHIs, but remarkably its adjustments make the islands even hotter, not cooler.
The real man-made global warming is from such shameless, unwarranted adjustments, not from CO2.


It is just as likely this will be a weak El-Nino which will trigger a stronger La-Nina and global temperatures will drop next year as well as the PDO index.


Chris4692 says: “Were there no El Ninos prior to 1976?”
An attempt to reconstruct ENSO variations during the MWP & LIA from some proxy data, published 2013:
El Niño-Southern Oscillation variability during the Little Ice Age and medieval climate anomaly reconstructed from fossil coral geochemistry and pseudoproxy analysis
Author: Hereid, Kelly Ann
Abstract: The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) dominates global interannual climate variability. However, the imprint of anthropogenic climate change hinders understanding of natural ENSO variability. Model predictions of the response of future ENSO variability to anthropogenic forcing are highly uncertain. A better understanding of how ENSO operates during different mean climate states may improve predictions of its future behavior. This study develops a technique to quantify the response of tropical Pacific sea surface temperature and salinity to ENSO variations. This analysis defines expected regional relationships between ENSO forcing and the tropical Pacific climate response. For example, the western tropical Pacific records El Niño events with greater skill than La Niña events; whereas the oceans near the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ) preferentially record La Niña events. This baseline understanding of regional skill calibrates interpretations of both modern and pre-instrumental coral geochemical climate proxy records. A suite of monthly resolved 18O variations in a fossil corals (Porites spp.) from the tropical western Pacific (Papua New Guinea) and the SPCZ (Vanuatu) are used to develop case studies of ENSO variability under external forcing conditions that differ from the modern climate. A record from Misima, Papua New Guinea (1411-1644 CE) spans a period of reduced solar forcing that coincides with the initiation of the Little Ice Age. This record indicates that the surface ocean in this region experienced a small change in hydrologic balance with no change in temperature, extended periods of quiescence in El Niño activity, reduced mean El Niño event amplitudes, and fewer large amplitude El Niño events relative to signals captured in regional modern records. Several multidecadal (~30-50 year) coral records from Tasmaloum, Vanuatu during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (~900-1300 CE), a period of increased solar forcing, depict ENSO variability that is generally lower than modern times. However, these records often cannot be distinguished from 20th century ENSO variability due to ENSO variability uncertainty associated with record lengths. Neither record can be tied to concurrent changes in solar or volcanic forcing, calling into question the paradigm of ENSO variability being predominantly mediated by external forcing changes on multidecadal time scales.


Update on ENSO: for the second month I have seen a “double take” on the published equatorial anomaly transect down to 450 meters:
This morning I looked at it and it showed that the Kelvin wave was almost gone – the inclined warm tongue had declined dramatically. But now, a few hours later – it’s back again to how it was before, with the warm tongue with unchanged intensity. Exactly the same thing happened last month – for a few minutes, a 450 m transect showed a sharply reduced Kelvin wave warm tongue, then it was replaced with a “business as usual” Kelvin wave. Has anyone else noticed this?
Is some activist manager at NOAA doctoring the 450m transects to hide a horrifyingly disappointing fizzle of the great 2014 el Nino? Or is there an innocent technical explanation? I smell a rat.
TAO / Triton 5 is showing a fairly wimpish Kelvin wave. (That’s the buoy array if I remember correctly which is being allowed to decay.)
More generally on ENSO, the trade winds show no sign of weakening. Maybe they are being sustained by the small but persistent patches of cold SST north and south of the east Pacific equator. Nor any obvious sign of westerly wind bursts, that would signify evolution toward el Nino.
But I guess these will happen any day, right?
Still waiting for el Ninot… (nothing to be done)


Somebody says:
May 20, 2014 at 1:46 pm
“the heat is stored”
I’m a physicist. I’m horrified every time I see this. How come they are allowed to use such misnomers? How come they can get away with such giberrish talking?
Heat is simply energy transport. With emphasis on transport. One cannot store transport. Heat is not a state function of a system. How come that physicists everywhere are not correcting this pseudo scientific language?
The ‘science’ is full of such misnomers. As other pseudo sciences.

Okay …
I put hot coffee in my Thermos and heat does not flow rapidly away from it and I am able to consume it later and find it to be delightfully ‘hot’.
It feels to me as if I have ‘stored’ some heat. If that’s not really what happened then what terminology would you use to describe the fact that the temperature of my coffee has been maintained at an elevated level?

Andy DC

There is a lot of grant money at stake out there. Even if there is no jump, there is a vested interest in inventing one.


El Nino’s are cooling events where heat trapped in the ocean is released into the atmosphere which cause’s the atmospheric temperature to rise for a short period. In my view there will be 2 types of El Nino, the one in a warming world whereby the heat lost from the ocean is quickly restored and then starts to increase again resulting in increasing world temperature. Then theres the one in the cooling world where the heat released isn’t replaced resulting in a short term increase in atmospheric temperature followed by a long term cooling. If like some people have suggested on here that a cooling phase has begun I would expect the pacific to start cooling in this way.

James at 48

I would love such an outcome but the PDO, AMO and weak solar flux (relative to where we are in the cycle) say it’s just a pipe dream. I would be happy for any sort of “normal” El Nino so I can keep my plant life alive.


“It feels to me as if I have ‘stored’ some heat.”
It’s not as you ‘feel’ it. It’s as it is. Open a physics book and learn what heat means.


I have a problem discussing someone’s ‘science” ….. based on some temperature graph that the past has been adjusted down over 1/2 a degree


I have a problem discussing someone’s ‘science” ….
Not you Bob!…..Trenberth

Tom O

I think the comment about heat not being stored is a misunderstanding of terms. I think what he probably should have been saying is energy is stored, not heat, and as far as the thermos is concerned, as soon as you take that top off, the “heat” moves out of the bottle – of course it already always is, just faster now. I wasn’t aware that “heat” was transport, but I understand that some terms in popular use are not the same in the use within a scientific discipline – assuming, of course, there is a discipline to start with, which “climate guessing” doesn’t seem to have.

Somebody says:
May 20, 2014 at 1:46 pm
“the heat is stored”
You physicists drive me nuts. This fixation with referring to heat as an energy transfer ignores hundreds of years of work. The energy transfer is “heating”, not “heat”. That type of energy, the change in which is measured by a change in temperature, has been called “heat” for a very long time. It is you physicists who have muddied the waters by deciding that heat should no longer refer to energy, as it had been for centuries and should now refer to energy transfer. If something is “hot”, it is hot because of the energy it has as a state property, not because it is transferring energy. There is a reason the symbol for enthalpy is H you know. Maxwell understood this. Plank understood this. Why is it that physicists today can’t accept this? Things like heat of formation, heat of vapourization, heat content, etc., refer to energy, not energy transfer.
Bejan, Adrian; Kraus, Allan D. Heat Transfer Handbook. John Wiley & Sons., 2003
for instance uses the term “heat” for energy, NOT energy transfer.

M Seward

The predicted El Nino induced jump in global temperatures has been found to be unnecessary due to an increase in upward adjustments of the temperature record by climate scientists investigating the lack of warming over most of the past two decades. This redundancy in available scientific explanations means that the anticipated El Nino induced jump will be deferred until further notice.
(Or is that the other way round? I can never remember.)

Joseph Bastardi

Wishful thinking. With AMO cooling what is likely to happen is that after a weak to moderate el nino and spike, global temps will continue jagged fall as cold PDO resumes. Period very much like the 57-58 warm enso. I have been posting on weatherbell showing major physical differences including the fact, which Dr Trenberth ignores, that the SOI is not nearly as low as the super Nino years due to warm water surrounded Australia influencing the pressure that and preventing coupling. In addition there is much more extensive cold water surrounding the warming areas. Joe D Aleo’s studies on the cold pdo enso events, where you do get the 9 month spike of the pdo and mei, look to spot on. Expect an enso event similar to 02 and 09 ( again the weatherbell post today showed how close the SST was running vs the warm pdo events that trenberth treaures, he should look at the MEI site because it is the secret sauce
The super ninos are preceded by prolonged warm mei’s There is direct linkage also with the droughts in the US and wet periods and the following winter. Have the snow shovels ready and since the EPA is going to force more coal plants off line, be prepared to find other ways to heat your homes if the power is out

Joseph Bastardi

BTW I wonder if this is purposeful distraction from what is a mind boggling forecast of the CFSV2 for a positive arctic ice anomaly. huge given the cooling north atlantic, and the forecast for major mud in your eye rains the next 9 months in the great plains perma drought area. Its amazing, and perhaps this is the one they can strut their stuff on about being right, but every single point they make now is running opposite. Wildfires are below normal through may 19th in spite of the push there… the tornado season has tanked again. I think the two biggest climate/weather stories are the icemelt not being near what is has been and the coming 9 months of wet weather. The cfsv2 is in line with what Joe D and I have been thinking. The JAMSTEC is no where any super nino and in fact is looking like a classic Modiki ( renamed calamari by Joe and I, cause we are gumba’s and we like calamari) of course perhaps we are wrong and will provolone in our upon, but cheese what can you do.. all of this makes me squiddish
Sometimes you gotta lighten up


Bob, my understanding may not be complete but El Nino’s clearly result in a net cooling of the Pacific which I would classify as a cooling event. This is shown by sea level drops coinciding with El Nino events despite the corresponding increases in global surface temperatures.

Joseph Bastardi

WOW the UKMET is not impressed ( and by the way, most climate models have this more weak to moderate)

Joseph Bastardi says:
May 20, 2014 at 3:06 pm
OK. El Nino spiked in 1998. La Nada’s and very weak El Nino’s since then, right?
Consider this, then think about it please:
Texas and Oklahoma suffered severely with drought conditions during the La Nada that was more-or-less stable five of the past six years. California is now suffering under a singnificant drought as El Nino conditions trend higher the past four months, but Texas and OK are “sort of” getting more rain now.
Is there a long-term, more accurate co-relation between actual El Nino and La Nina conditions with respect to droughts in various places: specifically California, Texas, and the mid-state plains?


@Joe Bastardi,
Thanks, Joe. Greatly appreciate you bringing your superb forecasting skills (and Joe D’s) to the discussion. Not sure if all readers know who you are. For those who don’t, Joe’s widely recognized as one of the best long term forecasters out there.

Who needs an strong El Nino when we can create the step through another NEW IMPORVED algorithm version from GISStemp or HADcrut


“That type of energy, the change in which is measured by a change in temperature, has been called “heat” for a very long time” Are you talking about that long time while it was thought that heat is some kind of fluid? That now is pseudo science. You confuse thermal energy with heat, and that’s not good. Energy flow and energy is not the same thing.

Theo Goodwin

Mr, Tisdale, you are truly the master of all matters ENSO. Your critical ability has flourished. I suggest we name the dilemma that your revealed “Trenberth’s Dilemma.”


” heat of vapourization, heat content, etc., refer to energy, not energy transfer”.
I hope you do realize that ‘heat content’ is not ‘heat’, but ‘heat content’ (although such naming is to be avoided when it creates confusion). Also ‘latent heat’ is not ‘heat’, but ‘latent heat’. Indeed, that can turn out to be heat at a phase transform (but one does not necessarily need that, in the system might occur a chemical reaction that gives the necessary energy for the phase transform, for example). Whence the naming related to ‘heat’, but not identical. With different meaning. Can you ‘feel’ the difference?


Joseph Bastardi says: The super ninos are preceded by prolonged warm mei’s
The last three steps that Bob denotes in figure 1 all occurred at the trough of the solar (SNN) cycle. Just saying.

Bill Illis

RACookPE1978 says:
May 20, 2014 at 3:17 pm
Regressions for an El Nino versus temperature and precipitation around the world at the link below. Various 3 month time periods are shown (keeping in mind there is a 3 month lag after an El Nino peaks that the peak impact on temperature and precipitation will be felt).
Temperature-wise; Texas-Oklahoma-US southeast are oppositely correlated to the ENSO, ie cooler in an El Nino. California is not much affected temperature-wise.
Precipitation-wise; California-Texas-US south are very positively correlated with the ENSO; ie much more rain when there is an El Nino. Much less rain when there is a La Nina. Why has there been so much drought in California to Florida in the last several years? Given the domination of La Ninas since 2010, this is expected. California is going to get flooding rains lagged 3 months after this El Nino’s timeline develops (fall and later) and so will Texas.

Have I got this right? An El Nino raises global temperature by 0.2-0.3 deg, and the temperature doesn’t come down again. So, the El Ninos in 1976, 1987 and 1998 would have raised global temperature by 0.2 to 0.3 deg three times, and the temperature would stay up each time. The IPCC claims that the 20th- century global temperature rise was about 0.74 deg. Looks like it was all caused by El Ninos, not CO2.
John Eggart – I understand your frustration, but English is a very flexible language. “Heat” is both a noun and a verb ( and the modern tendency is for all nouns to be usable as verbs)

During the recent warming it is clear that the both max and min excursions were greater. Looks like you oscillator was pumping a bit harder.


“John Eggart – I understand your frustration, but English is a very flexible language. “Heat” is both a noun and a verb ( and the modern tendency is for all nouns to be usable as verbs)”
Physics is not English, though. It was allowable to use sloppy terminology until heat was defined rigorously.
One can use ‘trapping heat’ and ‘storing heat’ pseudo scientific terminology until he learns that mechanical work also exists. Oddly enough, it can act on a system… what would a pseudo scientist say? Is it ‘trapped work’ then? How does one differentiate between ‘trapped work’ and ‘trapped heat’?