Yes Virginia (and everyone else) there is an El Niño coming

Guest essay by Joe Bastardi

I am a bit surprised at some of the waffling in the meteorological community on the ENSO event ( then again, maybe it is I who will be surprised).  Its evolving . I stated on our weatherbell.com site at the start of the month to get ready for the drop in the SOI  that would allow the warmer sub surface water to come up and its like clockwork, its coming. Look at the SOI this month, and notice how over the last 15 days, alot of double digit negatives have shown up  after a period that was basically a wash. I don’t know why there is all the hand wringing with this event.

The JAMSTEC el nino index has had this nailed from the get go. The  REASON IT IS CALLED EL NINO  is in many cases its effects mature late in the year, and the reason for that I think is that rising pressures over Asia  force the shift in the global wind oscillation so that the feedback needed, when all things are equal, to produce the linkage occurs. It has been a mainstay of our idea all year ( if you remember the trashing of the Super Nino I did when that was being pushed). But its been interesting watching update after update hemming and hawing, the range going from the Super Nino in mainly public circles to an idea I saw last night, that low solar means no el nino.  Actually the opposite is true, as every sunspot min since the 50s has had an el nino around it within 18 months.

Here is the sunspot cycles with el ninos in X’s next to the mins. It is not to say that el ninos do not occur because of the more standard ideas, there are other el ninos that have occurred, it is to say, that when the sunspot cycle is weak, el ninos tend to show up, so the idea of less solar radiation means cooler, so no el nino does not look good when confronted with the facts seen here.

 

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Which would make some sense since a reduction of incoming radiation in the tropics,  would have the effect of perhaps changing the pressure patterns and slowing the easterlies, allowing warm water to come to the top. In any case, check out the SOI fall  pattern the last couple of weeks in the dailies

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The latest daily

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The warmer water is there, and is coming to the top

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The JAMSTEC has had this all along,  back in April when we had to debunk super nino hysteria

At that time the CFSV2 had this going to plus  2, the Jamstec had plus 1.25

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The CFSV2  has this reaching a plus .8 or so now this winter, the Jamstec is consistent with its a shade over plus 1

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It is interesting to note  2 things  1)  it was too warm too quick, but maintained about the same value for the winter  2)  The cry of the Super Nino crew that has changed from Super nino to  2 year nino, citing the CFSV2 is not agreed with at all by a) The D Aleo method that says in the cold PDO decadolly,  these warm spikes last on average  9 months and b) by the JAMSTEC  which agrees with Joes  theory, and the physical realities of the overall pattern.  That monster warm look in the Pacific 2 years from now is likely to be almost opposite of what it is now. Look at the  current  SST ( left)  then  in Jan 1958 middle, then in Jan 1961

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Amazing, isnt it

Now a snide climate comment., what do you think is going to happen to the global temp, since here, the last 10 years,

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when this predictable cyclical flip occurs?

Let’s remember while September was  1st warmest ever by NOAA’s bullhorn, it was 8th in the NCEP satellite era, 7th in Dr Roy Spencers UAH  and  9th in the RSS. Of course if you look at everything, then you see everything, but if you refuse to look, then you blindly report only on what you see. ( especially if it fits your missive

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145 thoughts on “Yes Virginia (and everyone else) there is an El Niño coming

  1. Thanks Joe, your timing is perfect! I was just referring a number of people your way.
    Permission to report your report elsewhere?

    • By the way, many of consider the MEI the “gold standard” for the state of the enso
      http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/enso/mei/
      we have been in a warm event for 4 months now and you are seeing the results, which is why its puzzling as to why people dont think there is an enso event coming on, ( its actually, to many of us already going on) Look at how wet the summer got in the southwest, Look at the cool in the central US. Look at the se pacific hurricane season, you could not get closer to the 1976 season . We took that into account in our preseason forecast for rainfall in the southwest, part of the reason I went so hard after the perma droughters
      The pattern is already showing the resutls of an enso event.That some mythical line has to be crossed and you can pick the line, is not the way it is done. I can pull out the 90 day SOI and its in an el nino now, or the MEI.. effectively the weather pattern is reacting to a weak, event and we believe that this will continue to show itself and interact with other important variables to produce the kind of winter we have forecasted

      • The low valleys here in southeastern Washington State haven’t had frost yet, and we are still harvesting tomatoes from our gardens, which is somewhat unusual for the end of October.

  2. Hi, Joe. Thanks for that. The correlation between sunspot activity and el Nino at Chart ! could be misleading. Are all El Ninos in the period marked on the chart? Do La Ninas occur mainly at peak sun spot activity? It would be useful to the unlettered (like me) to see this information.

    • Hi Joe. Although I’m a big fan of yours, I’ll agree with Kevin Lohse. You’re missing a plethora of El Niños in your solar cycle chart. El Niños can and do occur at any part of the solar cycle. I’ll be happy to add the other El Niños to your chart, if you like.
      Up for a bet, Joe?
      By some strange coincidence, this morning I was thinking of writing a post to show why I didn’t think an El Niño would develop this season. One of the reasons was the lack of westerly wind bursts along the equator in recent months and weeks.
      https://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/pent_anom_xt_tauxave_0n_current.gif
      That suggests the strong negative SOI values are related to off-equatorial weather, and not necessarily due to a weather event taking place along the equator.
      Here’s the bet. It requires me traveling to your neck of the woods, which I would be happy to do. The bet is an inexpensive lunch. I love NY pizza, and there’s a pizza joint on 46th St, between 7th and 8th, north side, closer to 8th. I haven’t been there in about a decade, but I’ll assume it’s still there. If you’re not a pizza person, we can shoot for something else.
      You up for it? Payoff sometime around Christmas/New Years. You’ve got my email and phone number, but I’m sure the people here would like to know whether the bet is on.

      • I trust your meticulous analyses more than any other, Bob. Too bad — El Nino could have given a break to Californy & the southwest USA.

      • Bob again the same as Kevin
        Here is what I said
        “It is not to say that el ninos do not occur because of the more standard ideas, there are other el ninos that have occurred, it is to say, that when the sunspot cycle is weak, el ninos tend to show up”
        I addressed it right at the start. I never said these were the only el ninos It is an idea, a light shining on something people may not have seen
        I have been steady at the evolution of this from the get go. While I can not quantify exactly the effect of the sun on the oceans and atmosphere, I do recognize that the sun does have some effect. D Aleo shows how more blocking occurs with low AP index, Bob, but there are times when there is blocking without it. I realize we are all partial to our own little kingdoms of the weather, but in the exchange of ideas, saying you agree with something that I ADDRESSED SPECIFICALLY and then implying it wasnt there, doesnt seem right to me.
        I will try to make this clearer. Big blocking highs are associated with snowstorms in the ne right? But not all snowstorms have big blocking highs. Some are open waves, some are over-running. The enso event is a reaction to all around it. It is not some kind of mysterious event that has a mind of its own. Therefore it is conceivable that the intensity of incoming radiation may be a factor, and all I did was point this out

      • Hi Joe. I’ve reread what you’d written. My apologies for misunderstanding, but note there are a number of others who misunderstood as well.
        Your comment was that El Ninos tend to occur (don’t always occur) when the solar cycle is toward minimum. I’ll agree to some extent: While there were El Ninos toward the maxes of solar cycles 20, 21, 22 and 23, there wasn’t one at the max of solar cycle 19 and there hasn’t been one so far at the peak of cycle 24.
        Regards

      • And for those wondering about my proposal for a bet, Joe and I have decided via email not to wager on it. It was a silly idea on my part this morning, especially when one of the indices is already in El Nino conditions. Joe let me off easy.

      • Bob Tisdale said:
        “While there were El Ninos toward the maxes of solar cycles 20, 21, 22 and 23, there wasn’t one at the max of solar cycle 19 and there hasn’t been one so far at the peak of cycle 24.”
        At the maxima, rather than “towards”, the maxima of cycles 22 and 23 had La Nina episodes/conditions as the solar wind speed was faster at those sunspot maxima. Cycles 19, 20 and 21 all had El Nino episodes/conditions at sunspot maximum, and all had a notable drop in the solar wind speed at maximum.
        Multi-year La Nina episodes occur more often on the declining phase of the sunspot cycle, i.e during the typical maximum period for the solar wind speed.

    • Kevin no offense, but I addressed that here
      “It is not to say that el ninos do not occur because of the more standard ideas, there are other el ninos that have occurred, it is to say, that when the sunspot cycle is weak, el ninos tend to show up”
      One can not argue the facts. But I never said all el ninos are caused by lack of an active sun. I am saying via observation, it is an observable fact. Given big volcanoes in the tropics have been known to have a reactive enso event due to ash restricting incoming radiation to the tropics, a possible idea to banter around by those with greater intellect than I is that perhaps reduced solar radiation to the tropics may be a contributing factor. But one can not ignore that while all el ninos do not occur BECAUSE this, when there is low solar, an el nino shows up
      But I specfically addressed this issue in the piece above.

      • With regards to the significance of the weak sunspot cycle to ENSO correlation, I would think it’s irrelevant whether el niño showed up during other sunspot cycles. The real question is whether there were any weak sunspot cycles when it didn’t show, indicating the correlation had other, unrelated, causal factors (e.g. Ulrich Lyons post below).
        rip

    • Don’t you think that water warms ,the sun is close,and IF you had a brain ===you wood not ask that!Our world is more intaingable than anyone can think!So for all the twit’s out there, one day ,our world will get cold =just because-& you can’t stop IT.Get over yourself.Why not look into who owns stock in CCX(al gore,g.soros.b.obama.)They want to put the American way,way down & that means you & everyone else,They just want more money.They thrive on STUPIDITY! the sky is falling.& Where’s chicken little?

    • Really, derek, nick was just asking a question.
      I would answer it like this: there was a big El Niño in the late 1990’s, which caused global T to rise fast. That fooled a lot of folks, me included. But then temperatures came back down, even while CO2 continued to rise. You can draw your own conclusions.
      You can also find lots more data and charts by clicking on the ENSO/SST Page and the ENSO Meter icons on the right sidebar.

    • I can tell you why it matters to me. I live in South Central Texas. We have had dearth of rain (drought) for over two years. El Nino conditions bring us rain. Same is true for California. Unfortunately, it also matters to folks in Australia because it brings them drought.

    • Or if you want a real mind bender read “Who Turned On The Heat”. Only $5 and very informative. No Bob doesn’t give me any kickbacks but I really think it is a great reference for ENSO things.

  3. The important point is that low solar shifts the net balance between El Nino and La Nina events over multiple decades and centuries.
    El Ninos still occur during the low solar of single cycles but are less powerful relative to La Ninas.
    We may well see an El Nino shortly as Joe suggests but it isn’t going to match the power of those seen in the late 20th century when the sun was more active.

    • The coldest part of the Dalton Minimum from 1807 to 1817 apparently had five El Nino episodes.
      The cold period of c.1350-1150 BC:
      According to Fig. 5, a series of intense El Nino events
      (high red color intensity) begins at about 1450 BC that will
      last for centuries. In that period normal (La Nina) condi-
      tions have but disappeared. For comparison, the very strong
      1998 El Nino event scores 89 in red color intensity. Dur-
      ing the time when the Minoans were fading, El Nino events
      reach values in red color intensity over 200.
      http://www.clim-past.net/6/525/2010/cp-6-525-2010.pdf

  4. Joe Bastardi wrote:
    “But its been interesting watching update after update hemming and hawing, the range going from the Super Nino in mainly public circles to an idea I saw last night, that low solar means no el nino. Actually the opposite is true, as every sunspot min since the 50s has had an el nino around it within 18 months.”
    Just after the sunspot minimum, at the regular low in the solar wind speed in each cycle, e.g 1997/98 and 2009/10. Many sunspot cycles have a low in the solar wind speed at sunspot maximum too, also giving El Nino episodes/conditions where they occur. Showing that the solar wind is the deciding factor and not TSI variability. El Nino being a negative feedback to declines in forcing is corroborated by the fact that colder centuries in the past saw an increase in El Nino frequency and intensity.

    • ” El Nino being a negative feedback to declines in forcing is corroborated by the fact that colder centuries in the past saw an increase in El Nino frequency and intensity.”
      On that basis would there have been more frequent and more intense El Ninos during the LIA than during the MWP and the late 20th century warming period ?

      • Ah but here is the “problem” eventually low solar all over, not just sunspot cycle mins, will have an effect on other areas of the globe, changing the result of the feedback. My take is that a sunspot cycle with predictable back and forth with high peaks has been warming the globe since the little ice age. What happens when we dont just deal with the mins, and the reaction to the overall higher activity, but its low all the time.. The el nino cycle will be forced to react to the change in then ENTIRE pattern of which the MOC and as Gray says, centuries of the system evolution may be involved.
        I will tell you this. I think research toward things like this is money much better spent, than trying to justify climate change or agw or whatever it is today

      • Hi Joe,
        You said:
        “My take is that a sunspot cycle with predictable back and forth with high peaks has been warming the globe since the little ice age. What happens when we dont just deal with the mins, and the reaction to the overall higher activity, but its low all the time.. The el nino cycle will be forced to react to the change in the ENTIRE pattern.”
        My hypothesis is that the sun changes the gradient of tropopause height between equator and poles such that when the sun is less active the tropopause at the poles is lower which forces the entire global air circulation equatorward.
        The result is more meridional jet stream flows ( the jets loop increasingly north and south) which creates greater global cloudiness, less solar energy enters the oceans, El Nino becomes weaker relative to La Nina and the atmosphere cools.
        That seems to fit your expectations.
        Do you agree ?

  5. Now that El Nino is on its way, can someone please let us laymen know what is likely to occur weather-wise over the next few months or years?
    In other words, what does the historical record suggest?
    Thanks.

    • Pedro,
      Might I suggest you subscribe to WeatherBell? 20 bucks per month is a good deal imvho. Readers digest version of their current winter forecast is another cold, snowy winter except far west.

  6. So what is happening El Nino will soon take place and is it in a global temp plateau stage or heralding further warming and even precursor to cooling. I have to say I read many articles here from all sorts of sceptical but I never seem to see a clear conclusion or prediction.
    So Joe ( if you’re reading and can be bothered replying) you seem to be saying yes to El Nino but then talk of the pacific ocean temps flipping and show some ocean charts that are impossible to read . Are you saying after the El Nino the world will resume warming again?

    • Thanks lawrence13, I thought I was the only one that didn’t understand what Joe was trying to say there.

      • Tom In Indy
        Don’t know about you but we see lots of discussion of ” the science”, but not a lot of direction or clarity . I’m still unclear as to what Joe is saying.
        Yes I get the “El Nino” on its way part. However I don’t get the rest of the article. Is the message simply that El Nino is going to happens and that’s it. Why all those almost un viewable sea temp charts.
        I have to say its not just Joes article. Even with the Willis thread today all this talk of Nasa, NOAA, Bom fiddling the temperatures but Willis seemed to non-committal whether they wear actually wrong and if so why -conscious or unconscious spin?

    • Lawrence13,
      It’s ironic that you can’t make sense of what Joe’s saying ‘cos your writing styles are similarly awkward.
      Punctuation and coherent sentences save the reader a lot of time, but patience can often mitigate goofy writing;
      ” That monster warm look in the Pacific 2 years from now is likely to be almost opposite of what it is now. Look at the current SST ( left) then in Jan 1958 middle, then in Jan 1961″
      Just juggle the adverbs in your mind and clarity emerges.

      • I saw it, and I am sorry. I got this out quick, ( I had a 2 year change too) and to be blunt about it, I was going to the PSU game with a lot of people but thought I would get these thoughts out
        In the past 15 years, I have written over 10 million words in blog form, mostly without an editor. When I took technical writing, we would get a week to produce a 1000 word paper, and I would be meticulous. My dad actually corrects what I do at home, my mother says its a form of recreation for him. But when trying to get something out quickly this happens
        I averaged 3k words a day in blog form, though most of you dont see those. Out of those words, some actually make sense
        I beg forgiveness.. I never was a finesse person

      • Okay Mebbe so your ‘e good with grammar but is there any chance of my questions being answered? Why did you bother being so smug when you had no answer yourself. What a petty waste of time some folk are.
        I would also note that to date I still haven’t received an answer.

      • Joe Bastardi,
        It wasn’t my intent to diss your grammatical chops.It is always a pleasure to read your stuff and I don’t begrudge at all the little effort required to get the hang of what you’re saying.
        I don’t know if you’re right, but you’re certainly interesting and I look forward to what transpires with you and Bob at the pizzeria.
        As for your detractor, Lawrence13, his charm eludes me and I really don’t care if he can’t figure anything out.

    • Lawrence13, on this site at the top you will find a link to Reference Pages, then Climatic Phenomena. There you will find two pages devoted to ENSO, which includes El Nino. They may be overly technical however. More practically, if you live in the US, El Nino is relevant because it is thought or hoped to bring rain to California and to create wind shear which breaks up hurricanes in the Atlantic. It may also elevate global temperatures somewhat by distributing warm water throughout the Pacific. Australians (and probably Indians) have an interest in El Ninos, but I forget the details. It’s a big phenomenon, so it has other effects as well.

      • James Strom
        Thanks for the patronising but I’m still none the wiser , are you?
        If so then tell me: do we expect the current temperature plateau to start moving upwards

    • Lawrence13, this is a response to your post below. There was no intent to patronize but merely to provide some information that you might have been asking for. As to this El Nino re-starting the warming I would be skeptical. There have been several El Ninos since the jumbo 1998 event, but they did not significantly interrupt the “plateau”. More knowledgeable commenters here have consistently predicted a mild El Nino, this year, if any, and that cautious prediction is in keeping with what government forecasters are now saying. Here, for instance is a recent NOAA report:
      http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_advisory/ensodisc.pdf
      So, while warming could always resume, it doesn’t look as though it will resume as a result of the impending El NIno.

  7. Great discussion Joe!
    I didn’t realize that there were El Niño’s shortly after the last 6 solar mins. This is intriguing.

  8. Joe’s Saturday summary over at Weatherbell is now part of my Saturday morning routine. Always enthusiastic for his subject with lots of good information and explanation for the layman, always good humoured and entertaining even when he’s knocking lumps out of the AGW crowd.

    • no.. its an observational post and also to remind people, in the fog of the future what was being said by who back in April about this enso. Those of you that read the super nino hype saw me get on it and take it apart as the cfsv2 went through the roof. I also wrote it a bit in response to the AGW vasectomy Vigilante Eric Holthause who after being part of the Super Nino Crew that busted, now is trying to use the CFSV2 with its enso event forecast. The JAMSTEC rules the world of enso forecast in my opinion, though its reaction with temps, etc may not be quite right. But the point is with all the hemming and hawing, Joe D and I have maintained the idea this is an enso 3.4 centered event, in line with the kind that produce cold snowy winters in the US
      And we said in April it would get wet in the southwest BUT WAIT TILL LATE FALL AND WINTER to help California, which I still believe is coming!
      Once this flips though its back to the dry pattern overall there

  9. I think I get the gist, after a lot of effort, but I’d recommend that Joe Bastard hire a writer to help him express his points.

  10. ENSO = master of puppets, hilariously jerking climate political activism on a yo-yo string
    Never mind 20-part long-winded epic yawn-fests.
    Katy Perry nailed ENSO in 4 minutes:
    “you PMS like a b*tch
    you don’t really wanna stay
    but you don’t really wanna go
    you’re hot then you’re cold
    you’re yes then you’re no
    you’re in then you’re out
    you’re up then you’re down
    . case of . bi-polar stuck on a roller coaster can’t get off this ride
    . wrong . right … black . white .
    You change your mind
    Like a girl changes clothes”

    — Katy Perry – “Hot N Cold”

    • Just gone 1:30 pm, Brisbane is 32C thanks to a great big slow moving high directing hot westerly winds off the desert.

  11. I’m looking out not for el Nino but for a big La Nina that could follow the small Christmas el Nino.
    Recent Antarctic cooling and ice growth will have strengthened flows of deep water from Antarctica which could build potential for upwelling in places like Peru and west Africa.

  12. It will be interesting to see how far south along the West Coast that rains will hit during the next 2 weeks with the upcoming stormy pattern. No question N.California drought relief is on the way. Probably rains into C.California.
    Still extremely early in the storm season out there but the Pacific looks primed to bomb the West Coast this Winter………maybe we can make a big dent in the drought in S.California.

    • Tell you what, The modeling is going toward one of our secondary analogs, the winter of 77-78 ( primaries have been listed in weatherbell.com winter post) Its so interesting watching all this, because you see the similarities in the family of enso events, and they try to figure out which one takes over

      • 77/78 would be my strong favorite here Joe.
        Lots of precip in California in 77/78.
        http://www.laalmanac.com/weather/we13.htm
        Last December I went with 76/77 for an analog for last Winter which turned out pretty good.
        This Winter we have the upcoming El Nino(if Bob is wrong) and 77/78 also having a weak El Nino. Also, the tendency for recent Winters to have a -AO/-NAO and also, over the last year, we’ve seen these northern stream lows/energy, frequently drop down thru Canada into the US(in the Midwest but more recently, along the East Coast) then get cutoff ala, the Polar Vortex last Winter and the Summer version of it in the Cornbelt this last July.
        77/78’s Winter got exciting during the 2nd half when the AO/NAO went off a cliff(driving in bone crushing cold, with the Polar Vortex dropping as far south as the Northern US on several occasions(back when greenhouse gas warming couldn’t be blamed) and phased with the El Nino driven jet. Some huge snowstorms.
        A version of this happened in the Winter of 2009/10.
        http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/monthly.ao.index.b50.current.ascii.table
        “IF” we track with 77/78 this Winter, we’ll need all the coal generated electricity we can get again during the 2nd half of it that would feature that Polar Vortex again, along with additional energy/from the El Nino possibly dumping tons of ice(in the south) and snow.

      • Some great snowstorms occurred during the winter of 1977-1978. I had to re-define my understanding of “Once-every-hundred-years”, because the media hyped a blizzard that hit Boston in early February as “a once-every-hundred-years srorm”, and then there was another blizzard, much worse, later the same month. (It was a very short hundred years between storms.)
        There was a significant thaw between the the two storms. The snowbanks by the roads sagged after the first storm, but refroze to rock-hard things that couldn’t be budged by the plows during the second storm, so the plowed snow went up the banks and then slid back down after the plow had passed. There was also a wicked wind that tended to fill the roads between the snowbanks with drifting snow. Boston was closed down for days, as just about every bit of earth-moving equipment in southern New Hampshire headed south and found work. Small, white, compact cars tended to be scooped up and moved right along with the snow, and some people didn’t locate their cars until the huge snowbanks melted down, in March.
        There was also a third great storm, before the two that buried Boston. That earlier storm gave Boston only rain, but gave Ohio a blizzard. I remember the first storm because the winds were so string water got pushed up into the southeast-facing bays of Maine. I was living on a shack on a dock back then, and my shack, which had been sitting on the dock since at least 1944 (and perhaps longer) got sunk.
        If this winter is anything like 1977-1978 then those people who like storms probably will get an overdose.

  13. Joe Bastardi
    Thank you for continuing to increase my understanding of Meteorology. Some observations and a question:
    This past early June, I was in Tahiti and there were very strong Easterlies. 10 days later, I was in Darwin and there were moderate to strong Easterlies. The Western Pacific Warming Pool was quite warm, yet the predictions of El Nino by Australian Meteorology kept declining from Very Big in January, to Big in May, to Moderate in June. Stating that the SOI did not “cooperate”. Hmmm. When back to USA, I wrote that the Christmas child may be a “no-show” and there were some speculations in the blogosphere that El Nino wouldn’t come to late January or even Spring.
    My question: as El Nino seems to vary in terms on onset, area covered, strength, does the present picture of El Nino have any resemblance to a Modoki event?
    BTW: I am unfamiliar with the terms 190-240E on your graphs.
    Thank you

    • Caleb,
      A key to whether we get monster snowstorms(ice in the south) is whether the AO/NAO crashes, which supplies the cold air and provides the potential for the northern jet stream to phase/link with jet stream energy in the southern branch with origins from El Nino land.
      To elaborate more, the AO is the Arctic Oscillation, NAO North Atlantic Oscillation. Here’s a great link for an explanation for what they represent:
      http://www.nc-climate.ncsu.edu/climate/patterns/NAO.html
      When these 2 indices are negative(-AO/-NAO) in the WInter, it represents a pattern that often flushes cold from high latitudes farther south to the mid latitudes(meridional, north to south flow). This causes the Eastern half of the US to be colder than average.
      When these 2 indices are positive(+AO/+NAO) in Winter, there is a tendency for the exact opposite effect and temperatures are often milder than average in the Eastern half of the US.
      The NAO and AO usually move in the same direction and cause similar type of weather in the Eastern US.
      For somebody forecasting Winter weather from the Midwest to East Coast, knowing the phase of the NAO/AO is extremely useful, especially with regards to predicting temperatures.
      The NWS provides some good links on this:
      http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/ao.shtml
      You can go to the forecast of the AO for the next 2 weeks, in red here for instance:
      http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/ao.sprd2.gif
      Or go to the monthly graph going back to 1950 for the NAO for instance:
      http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/pna/month_nao_index.shtml
      Recent Winters(like 2009/10) featured some strongly negative AO/NAO values which was the result of a very cold pattern.
      Last Winter was a bit unusual in the fact that extreme cold dominated but the pattern was not a typical strongly negative AO/NAO. When these values are very low, we often have a strong upper level high around Greenland(Greenland block) with a deep upper level trough or low farther south. The graphic from the first link earlier illustrates how cold air is driven from north to south with the -AO pattern.
      In 2013/14, we had the deep upper level low/Polar Vortex pretty far south but the connection was not with a Greenland High to the north/northeast, instead the cold air connection was from Siberia and much farther west from a massive upper level high anchored in the East/Northeast Pacific that extended all the way up to Siberia, which is where alot of our air masses were coming from. Part of this blocking ridge was nicknamed the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge(RRR) and it also blocked weather systems from getting to California.
      Downstream from the RRR, we had the jet stream energy digging southward and carving out a deep vortex(Polar) that, at times was a cut off low way far south to the US/Canadian border.
      Having the Polar Vortex this far south was much more common in the 70’s, numerous times in much of the Winter of 76/77 and the 2nd half of the Winter of 77/78 for instance.
      In fact, it’s not that unusual during our coldest Winters.
      When we have a strongly -AO, the cold air connection is much farther east, so much so that Europe usually feels the effects of the cold dropping from high latitudes to the mid latitudes.
      I believe 2009/10 was such a Winter and that last Winter, 2013/14 was not as cold in Europe because the AO was not as extremely low.
      In the last 5 Winters(2011/12 was a huge exception) we’ve had some pretty stout -AO/-NAO’s. There’s a tendency for phases to stay more negative or more positive for numerous years.

  14. “the drop in the SOI that would allow the warmer sub surface water to come up”
    So the heat was hiding in the ocean and it is now very likely to surface causing the globe to warm another notch. Isn’t this the very idea we were denying? I am not a troll, I am just confused.
    Warm does sound good to me, I will be retiring in a couple of years time and I don’t like cold.

    • But I explained that in previous posts. Yes it comes up, but guess what, it will then start cooling from below. My point was all the hysteria early about the super nino was off base because the easterlies would not weaken enough, due to the water around Australia affecting the pressure pattern, so that water simply cooled as it came up. Its when the easterlies weaken, the warmer water can come up. So here it is, but its coming late in the year, not into a full blown monster super nino, which by the way has been forecasted with every nino since the 97-98 one.
      Robin the problem is that the weather is a movie, not a snapshot. If you read the posts I had in April then in mid summer, I continually explained what I thought was going on. The enso event is a product of all around it. Its like a storm that forms because of the pattern, then eventually feedsback into pattern until the imbalance is resolved. Its my take that the rising pressures over the Asian continent as we go into the cool season leads to a change in the Global wind oscillation, which then allows the warming to come toward the top, where it can then “link” with the overall pattern and produce the drop. So they work in tandem. But once the imbalance is corrected, then we will go back to the cooler look of the cool pdo. That is what the maps I put on showed, how close this is to Jan 1958 ( it will look very much like it in a few months) but within 3 years, the cold was back yet again.
      I am taking the time to answer here, because these are ideas. In the private sector, many times we have to battle test our ideas ON THE FIELD OF BATTLE, not in a lab, or in a paper, So I like trying to show what we are up to first. As in any event in the future only God knows..but guys like me try to reach beyond our grasp

      • I never expected a reply. My opinion is of no consequence whatsoever in the field of climate science. I am sure you are right. If those coincidental plateaus on the temperature graphs are real then I will simply accept that non-el Nino years are somehow masking our slow climb out of the little ice age.

      • “That is what the maps I put on showed, how close this is to Jan 1958 ( it will look very much like it in a few months) but within 3 years, the cold was back yet again.”
        Ah Joe so now you’ve explained that I can try and understand those maps a bit more but now you’ve elaborated on hat you was trying to show, I feel a bit better. I guess many of us have been embroiled in this issue for a long time especially since the internet years which really has notched the whole thing beyond what it once was and without that internet the AGW’s would have had game , set and match by now.
        So when I and I guess others who are not scientist of any description see articles like yours and other from other sceptics we want it to be clear , with direction and cast iron foundations. For me its been like watching a tennis match with the leading sceptical scientist saying this and then looking at what the global warming scientist say next. This whole thing could turn into an even bigger mishmash of a mess if warming starts to significantly continue after this last 18 years then the sceptics case will be totally weakened whether the cause is natural or not -no one will care by then and the AGW’s will have won the day with all opposition being shut up. However natural or not natural that is out of the hands of sceptics but what is still in their hands is to see if there really ha sbeen data tampering and lots are talking about it and some coming right out and saying it like Steve Goddard and Jennifer Marohasy but even that seems to be going nowhere.
        So IMHO if warming resumes we on the sceptics side are royally f*&£ked

      • Joe, this is by far the most interesting and informative thread I have seen in quite a while. My thanks to you, Bob (‘Mr. T.’) and most of those who replied.

    • To Robin H.;
      You seem to be equating the “warmer sub surface water” with the heat hiding in the (deep) ocean. Some claim Earth’s atmosphere is not warming like it was some years ago because there is “missing heat” or warming that hasn’t been measured in the deep cold water of the world ocean. Many look at the surface temperature record and see a pause or plateau or hiatus. That, then, needs and explanation if the heat trapping CO2 hypothesis is to be maintained. The “heat hiding in the deep ocean” will not magically reappear (if it is there) any time soon or rapidly (over a short time span).
      The known warm water is found in the Pacific Warm Pool. Bob Tisdale has been writing about the PWP since – well, since he started in 2008. The water becomes warm because of the Sun’s short wave radiation (think seeing the color of fishes in shallow clear water). That energy warms the water and currents move it to the western Pacific. Bob’s site and WUWT carry his posts – now at #18 in a special series, but there are many more. Unlike the missing heat, this heat comes and goes on a relitively short (a few years) time span.

  15. The warm pool water is maintained in the western Pacific by relatively strong trade winds orchestrated several factors. Regards the sun, The strength of the Hadley Circulation should weaken as solar heating weakens and thus weaken the trade winds making it easier for a westerly burst to trigger an El Nino. Paleoclimate data shows that during the LIA that coincides with solar minimums, the warm pool was cooler and the oceans were in a more El Nino like state (i.e a smaller east -west temperature gradient). In contrast during the Medieval Warm period and higher solar activity the oceans were more often in a LA NIna like state and the warm pool was warmer than today.

  16. Nice post Joe, as always..
    If there is an ENSO+ event, it will be minimal. The subsurface waters just don’t support anything beyond a weak El Nino, if there is one at all…and the Aussie model, which is a heck of a lot better than the CFS v2, shows La Nada, for the 5th straight month.
    Like every other pattern in weather, there are things we simply haven’t seen before, and being in this phase of a solar cycle has likely not had El Ninos many times in the past…but we only have a limited database. The sun is weaker than at any time in modern history, and measured oceanic temperatures back in the 1700s and 1800s are sparse to none, so it’s also possible that we’ll have no Nino this year, or at best a weak one, and it’s likely that such a situation has happened many times in the past.
    My forecast analogs are based on a weak Nino, so I am certainly hoping for that at least, but even a La Nada pattern favors a cold winter in the east (like last year).
    SOI, MEI, etc. don’t mean much if the water isn’t warm enough for 3+ months to support an El Nino, and right now that water doesn’t exist. The Kelvin Waves have been weak and the current one is about to wash out with little impact on the Nino status. Looking west, things aren’t much better…so a weak event as most is my analysis and how I’m basing my client forecasts.
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ocean/anim/wkxzteq_anm.gif
    Rich 🙂

    • Has the necessity of a CO2 effect been tested for, or is the model merely robust against such interference?
      I’m sure the modellers could just as easily make a climate / ENSO model which depended on imps with pitchforks.
      BTW a chemical system more relevant to climate than Nissan’s lithium battery is the Belousov-Zhabotinsky oscillator, a good experimental analog for ENSO which is also a nonlinear oscillator.

    • No warming effect from CO2 is in evidence. Models are meaningless & worse than worthless except for showing how insignificant at best is CO2. Modelers can make whatever assumptions they want in backcasting. It is evidence of nothing but their shameless perfidy.

    • But does it include the mysterious and undetected amplifiers that are supposed to but don’t drive climate where CO2 alone cannot?

    • “…you must include the warming effects from co2…”
      Could have been “SOME warming effects”
      Could have been “WARMING effects”
      But it’s “THE warming effects”
      I had no idea that models had come so far.

    • “Of course to get the weather right
      you must include the warming effects from c02. which.. jamsec does”.
      Steven,
      You are a very funny guy (:

  17. Hi Joe, many thanks for your post. As a layman in the UK we don’t consider ENSO events to impact us much although we know they do but Gulf stream and Jet Stream are constant factors here. What do you think is in store for us this winter? I have heard predictions of a long cold one with the Jet Stream slipping south of us (when last winter it was to the north and brought constant cyclones and a lot of water), will an ENSO event make any impact in the UK no matter how small it is?
    Thanks
    Badgerbod

  18. Joe,
    Thanks.
    If I understand you, there is a strong correlation between sunspot number (therefore other periodic solar variables) and El Nino.
    Please CC Willis and Lief.

    • While I question Joe’s wisdom in using the words he used, I don’t think Joe said anything about a “strong correlation”. It seems to me that Joe was using anecdotal information. I would caution Joe, you and all climate-curious people not to use anecdotal observations to make hypothetical statements. They have in the past led entire herds of people to run pell-mell down the primrose path and over the cliff of wrong-headed thinking.

      • Funny you should mention Primrose. I just bought 416 plants to border a 100″ driveway. I do now have a primrose path so to speak. For real.
        Those Xs at the trailing edges of the sunspot maxima are very thought provoking.

  19. The thing to remember about any future El Nino is that once the warmth from the oceans moves in to the Atmosphere it is then lost to the world and with the weak sun could take a long time to be replaced.
    Such events with all the other patterns coinciding means it could get very cold in the northern hemisphere.

  20. Hey Joe,
    The Philippines Department of Agriculture have produced a list of rice varieties that they hope will best perform during the coming El Nino.

  21. http://buythetruth.wordpress.com/2009/10/31/climate-change-and-the-death-of-science/
    O/T and as an avid reader bu8t non-qualified layman interested only in the search for honesty, I have read the article linked above for the first time via a James Delingpole article on a non-climate posting of his – utterly astonishing that after following the “debate” for so many years to have found what appears to be an erudite and well sourced essay demolishing the whole AGW prognosis.
    I can only assume that in the several years I’ve been folllowing WUWT that I’ve missed posting showing this link so apologise for duplication

  22. Much appreciated post. Keep it up, showing the data and the thought process gives more insight to logical thinking people that CAWG is not science but is only political science.

  23. Hi Joe, down here in the SW corner of the Big Pond it is very much an El Nino Spring. The extra strong prevailing westerlies that rise up around the S.H. spring equinox and are locally known as “the Equinoctuals,” are very common. It is when the gales continue further into the spring that we get the feeling, even without looking at the numbers, that it is an El Nino Spring.
    The highs tend to cross the top of New Zealand, while sub-Antarctic lows push up and put the squeeze on the isobars that cross most of the country giving us a procession of strong westerlies followed by cold southerlies coming up off the Antarctic. This prolongs the winter symptoms somewhat to the extent that the only Januaries where snow has fallen on the local mountains are the strong El Nino ones.
    So for New Zealand an El Nino is not a ‘hot’ event. El Ninos of the past 40 years are known to be the source of the glacial advances on two of the fastest reacting glaciers on the planet, Franz Josef & Fox on the west coast of our South Island. The prevalence of the moist westerlies dumping metres of rain on the neve’s of those glaciers resulted in rapid advances for the two glaciers from the mid 1980’s through to a maximum in 2008. Since then the lack of strong El Ninos has seen an equally rapid retreat. It is quite funny to watch local scientists claim that FJ & Fox are reacting to El Ninos while the bulk of the retreating glaciers on the eastern side of the Southern Alps are only being affected by man made global warming!
    The big question is how prolonged will the effects of this little El Nino be. On the west coast of the North Island we don’t like El Nino. The Boy Child equals cloud, cool temperatures and rain. If prolonged it leads to drought on the other side of our mountain divide so no one is happy. We love the girl! She brings our hottest, sunniest summers. Bring on La Nina!!

  24. “Yes, Virginia, there are El Ninos, but you will not see one until later this decade”. Sorry, Joe . I tend to agree with Bob Tisdale . I do not see an El Nino over this winter I know of no previous case where an El Nino first reached the threshold as late as November/ December / January. and was sustained through the winter. The latest start was the 1958/1959 El NINO which had start during OCT/NOV DEC and it may have been still part of the 1957/1958 El NINO with a 3 month pause. There is no evidence that one is about to start soon . The prevailing SE TRADES are blowing strong over cooler water to the south thus potentially blocking any reversals. Here is what the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said in their last Enso Update
    “The tropical Pacific Ocean has remained warmer than average for more than six months, while the Southern Oscillation Index has remained negative since early June. However neither has reached typical El Niño levels for any sustained period, and only weak atmosphere-ocean coupling appears to have taken place so far.
    International models surveyed by the Bureau suggest that warmer-than-average tropical Pacific waters are likely to persist. While there has been some easing in model outlooks over the past month, three of eight models reach El Niño thresholds by January and another two remain just shy of the thresholds for an event. ”
    So they have no idea either what will happen.

  25. We have seen lots of signs that the El Niño is emerging from wetter weather trends in Texas these last few months to the active monsoon season in the Southwest to the very quiet Atlantic and very active east Pacific hurricane seasons.
    The CFS definitely has a warm SST bias, especially when looking “through” the springtime predictability barrier.

  26. A really fine post. I think some of the confusion here can be cleared up by looking at the basics. Bob has some good diagrams that explain ENSO very succinctly, here: http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/an-illustrated-introduction-to-the-basic-processes-that-drive-el-nino-and-la-nina-events/
    Many Warmists have confused themselves into thinking that El Nino is global warming. Hence, the little dance they do during El Ninos. They’ve even convinced some of us. But it’s the La Nina that adds extra heat to the system; El Nino is a heat-shedding mechanism that gets rid of the extra heat by exposing it to the sky (T₀, approx. 4°K). Yes, atmospheric temps go up during El Nino, but that just increases Earth’s heat loss by raising T₁ in the Stefan-Boltzman Equation: Q = ε*A*σ*(T₁⁴ – T₀⁴). Note the T to the fourth power, a very powerful exponential.
    Tracking global temperature by averaging local air temperatures is like trying to estimate the population of a city by counting cars on its freeways. It’s the net heat flux that matters, and temperatures alone neglect humidity and phase changes and atmospheric pressure, all vital factors in heat flow.
    (Here are some tildes to apply above as needed: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~)

  27. JB wrote, “what do you think is going to happen to the global temp, …when this predictable cyclical flip occurs?”
    JB:
    I’m guessing you’re saying the Global 2-meter temp anomaly will go to -0.3 C (+/- 0.1) or so. Is that what you are saying?
    From other lines of evidence and empirical obs, I’ve come to expect that by 2017, the global temp anomaly will have fallen at least 0.2 C or so (in the satellite RSS/UAH datasets, since the GISS monkeys will keep fudging the surface data as long as they can).
    Joel

  28. Joe’s chart identifies 6 El Nino periods since the start of Cycle 19 which I’m guessing from memory is about 1950. NOAA/CPC identifies 19 El Nino periods in that same time span. It seems reasonable that another El Nino will happen before the start of Cycle 25 which I am guessing will begin towards the end of the current decade. If an El Nino were to begin in the next few months it would be coinciding with the tailend of the peak of Cycle 24. I suppose that is possible but I think I will rely on Bob’s research and agree with him that an El Nino in the next couple of months is getting increasingly unlikely though NOAA/CPC continues their high probability (65% chance) watch.

  29. Still looking like warmish “la nada” to me. After flagging for a week or so, looks like the trade winds are starting to pick up again. While the forecast models might be saying conditions are favorable for the development of El Nino, I’m not seeing it reflected in the trades (yet). Trades are roughly nominal across nearly the entire Pacific except for the farthest western Pacific and even then it has started to turn around the past couple of days. Also, we currently don’t have anywhere in the Pacific with a surface anomaly of >1 degree C.
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/intraseasonal/tlon_heat.gif

  30. I would not say jamstec is the state of the art, it has often chops and changes between el nino and not in the first half of the year, and also does not produce southern hemp sst anomalies at all well, away from the equator in certain large areas, I also have noted.. Though it is better than many others, it still has a long way to go, and I would not say the CO2 input helps the analysis either SM, it often seems to bais the temps towards warmer than they eventually show.

  31. Here in Australia we don’t need an El Nino. Repeat after me, “El Nino go away”, “El Nino go away”,”El Nino go away”,”El Nino go away”,”El Nino go away”, Ad infinitim.

  32. I think Bob is closer to the end zone than Joe (baby El Nino conditions only but not an episode if it shows up at all). And Oregon’s Pete Parsons is not quite El Nino committed either. So the question is will this be a full fledged sold out El Nino Episode or El Nino condition complete with a canceled concert? I think the previous Kelvin wave was the best chance and the powers that be did not take advantage of it. This current Kelvin wave will be too weak to kick start a sold out concert.
    http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/NaturalResources/Documents/Weather/dlongrange.pdf
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf

    • I would agree. And I still have this hunch that a small end-of-year uptick may be enough to “prime the pump” for a more substantial La Nina in early 2015.

  33. Yes, conditions and nothing more. Not enough “heat” left in the tropical W Pacific – Mr. Tisdale should have kept his bet active.

    • There is something odd going on with these UNISYS maps. Other maps don’t show as much cold water south of Alaska. A glitch? If these maps are correct, the cold anomaly has increased hugely since August.

  34. Looks like neutral to maybe at besy a quite weak El Nino to me from
    the surface and sub-surface data.
    That UNISYS SST anomoly chart is so much different that others obviously because
    a different base period!(I had better not be lazy but look it up myself actually!)

  35. So … Joe .. am I correct in interpreting this as saying ….
    1) we will have an El Nino, which will release stored heat in the ocean?
    2) with low solar input, the heat will not recharge as sufficiently as it did during the latter 20th cent?
    3) this will result in a rebound cooling, and we can expect to see a colder climate in the years that follow

  36. Joe bastardi wrote:
    The REASON IT IS CALLED EL NINO is in many cases its effects mature late in the year

    YES. However, the Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) should have already started to show positive values by now, and it hasn’t. Check here:
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ensoyears.shtml
    The ONI value for the trimester July-August-September (the last one available) remains at ZERO point ZERO. Now, go look at all the historical record for the ONI index, and find any one year where an ONI of 0.0 for July-August-September ended up becoming an El Niño by the end of the year. It has NEVER happened, since the fifties when the records begun. The closest thing that one can find is in the 52-53 season, where a 0.0 ONI in JAS led to El Niño, but this one started only in the following year, and it was a very mild El Niño (max ONI value of 0.8).
    My bets are for a very mild El Niño like the one that was seen in 1953, and starting not earlier than January.

  37. Paul Westhaver October 26, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Joe,
    Thanks.
    If I understand you, there is a strong correlation between sunspot number (therefore other periodic solar variables) and El Nino.
    Please CC Willis and Lief.

    Paul, you seem to be very easily convinced. The problem is that Joe has offered absolutely no data to support his claim, other than the following:

    regarding which he says:

    Here is the sunspot cycles with el ninos in X’s next to the mins. It is not to say that el ninos do not occur because of the more standard ideas, there are other el ninos that have occurred …

    Well, yeah, that looks convincing, until you realize that in fact there were a whole bunch of other El Ninos that occurred over that timespan that he’s conveniently left out. If you just include El Ninos that occur at the ends of sunspots cycles, of course it looks convincing. That graphic is a joke.
    In any case, Joe says:

    By the way, many of [us] consider the MEI the “gold standard” for the state of the enso
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/enso/mei/
    we have been in a warm event for 4 months now and you are seeing the results, which is why its puzzling as to why people dont think there is an enso event coming on, ( its actually, to many of us already going on)

    A “warm event”? Here is the MEI (the multivariate ENSO index) for the last few years:

    I’m sorry, but that doesn’t say “El Nino on the way” to me. Look at the number of previous “warm events” as large as the current one that DIDN’T end up as an El Nino … and the current warm event is busy cooling off.
    More to the point of your comment, Paul, I fear that the correlation between the MEI and the sunspots is … well … noneexistent. Here’s a scatterplot …

    A periodogram of the MEI reveals no 11-year or 22-year cycle. A cross-correlation analysis says the same. In short, I do not find a scrap of actual evidence to support his claim that there is a sunspot-related signal visible in the MEI.
    So until Joe (for whom I have the greatest respect) comes up with some actual evidence, I fear his claim is as unsupported as … well, as unsupported as all the rest of such claims that I’ve investigated. There may be a signal there, but if there is such a signal it is so far down in the weeds as to be invisible.
    w.
    PS—I’ve said since early this year that there would be no El Nino this year. Why? Because El Nino is how the climate system rids itself of excess heat in the Pacific, by pumping warm tropical surface water to the poles … and I’ve not seen the signs of the excess heat.

    • I would be appreciative if Bob Tisdale or Willis or anyone (Joe?) would post a plot of all the El Ninos for, say, the past 40 years or so against the sunspot cycle. I would like to see and judge for myself the degree of correlation, which might not be perfect, but yet might be interesting.
      Thanking you in advance.

    • There is one exception in solar cycle 19, the following cycles all have an El Nino episode at the usual local minimum in the solar wind speed around one year after each sunspot minimum.

      • Willis,
        I think Joe’s intent, when he posted only those specific 6 El Nino’s on the graph, was to refute, “an idea I saw last night, that low solar means no el nino.”
        If so, his intent was to refute an idea; not to promote an idea.
        Verification of his ideas about the EL Nino will be seen (or not be seen) in the next six months.
        Verification of ideas concerning “The Quiet Sun” require us staying well and living to age 88. (Even then a cold period might be coincidence.) In any case, I hope you stay well.

  38. just out of curiosity, how do the ocean water temp anomalies affect things?
    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/10/26/cold-water-around-the-poles/
    and yes, i grok that El Nino is caused by a warm upwelling along the equator. what i’m seeing here in SoCal looks a lot like last year, which was dry, even by our standards. i’ve also seen people compare this coming winter to 76-77, which was the height of the drought back then: it didn’t break until 77-78.
    a wet winter would be nice, but i’m not ready to get my hopes up just yet.

  39. Some always expects the same results from changes in various items that control the climate when the opposite is the case.
    By the way where was your governor of the climate prior to 10000 years ago? Did it simply come out of the blue for the last 10000 years?

  40. You guys confuse me. This discussion is too complicated for my simple brain. So, is there likely to be an El Nino this year, or not? Live in San Diego; seems like it hasn’t rained in two years here.

    • “So, is there likely to be an El Nino this year, or not?”
      No; the odds according to the Australia ENSO study center is slightly less than 1:1, so “likely” it is not. A few months ago the probability was given as 0.8 but just as in previous years El Nino failed to form, and neutral conditions continued.

  41. … and yet none of the world’s experts noticed this “El Nino” event. How do you explain that? Are the world’s scientists just incompetent, or did your cult master lie to you?
    El Nino conditions as a function of ININO = >0.5
    Previous four months ININO = +0.32
    Previous five months ININO = +0.35
    Year-to-date ININO = +0.08
    You were lied to. Does that make you feel upset? If not, you should ask yourself why not.

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