Update on El Niño: Gaia disappoints the climate activists

Guest essay by Larry Kummer, from the Fabius Maximus website

Summary: Climate alarmists have run wild with predictions about the “monster” “Godzilla” El Niño, a last throw of the dice before the COP-21 climate conference in Paris. Here is an example by Brad Plummer, with a little debunking. Gaia will have the last word about this El Niño. The latest forecasts of the major climate models suggest that it will disappoint activists.

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When did we “pathologize” weather? When did commonplace weather become abnormal? The debates over the past and future of anthropogenic climate change are of great importance (climate change is ubiquitous in history). But the news increasingly describes normal weather as a kind of plague, something to fear.

For example see “El Niño, explained: A guide to the biggest weather story of 2015” by Brad Plummer at Vox. Plummer’s perspective is clearly stated by his tagline: “On the apocalypse beat, more or less.” His article is a masterpiece of propaganda, creating fear to advance his public policy agenda. A few excerpts, matched with reality, tell the tale.

“Now it looks like we’re in for a monster. The El Niño currently brewing in the Pacific is shaping up to be one of the strongest ever recorded.”

Plummer links to a page by the World Meteorological Organization, which gives different message. Their forecast is “placing this El Niño event among the three strongest previous events since 1950 (1972-73, 1982-83, 1997-98).” Plummer says “strongest ever recorded”, which suggests a long-term record. Unlike saying one of the four strongest since 1950, which is not alarming.

“El Niño has already helped make 2015 the hottest year on record …”

Plummer links to a NOAA page which says that September was a record, “beating the previous record set last year by 0.07°C (0.13°F) — and that the first nine months of 2015 were a record “surpassing the previous records of 2010 and 2014 by 0.12°C (0.21°F).” Neither of these tiny increments are statistically significant, especially given the uncertainty of temperature records assembled by each nation (many weather agencies are grossly underfunded).

Alarmists ran this scam with the 2014 “record” high. NOAA said 2014 had a 48% probability of being the warmest of the past 135 years, meaning “more unlikely than likely” (NASA gave it a 38% probability).

Also, neither of the two NASA-funded global satellite datasets shows record high temperatures in the lower troposphere (by Remote Sensing Systems and U AL-Huntsville).

To put this in a larger context, the world has been warming over the entire 136 year-long temperature record — and “human activities caused more than half of the observed increase in global mean surface temperature from 1951 to 2010” (from AR5).  It remains a point of debate if the world is warmer than during other warm spells during the past 3 thousand years.

“The last truly massive El Niño appeared in 1997-’98 and ended up causing an estimated $35 billion in destruction and 23,000 deaths around the world. “

This is a tactic loved by activists of Left and Right, stating a large scary number without context. The world had an annual income (GDP) of $107 trillion in 2014. $35 billion is 0.03% of that — a tiny fraction of the destruction from an average winter. As for the deaths, influenza kills 250,000 to 500,000 every year.

Rather than continue wading through this article, let’s ask a more interesting question.

Why do activists write these things?

After a 26 year-long campaign, few nations have adopted significant public policy measures to fight anthropogenic climate change. Key emerging nations, such as China, remain firmly opposed (willing to make big promises about future action, while rapidly building coal-burning power plants). The US public consistently ranks climate change at or near the bottom of public policy concerns.

Now activists’ bold forecasts are coming due, such as warning of more and stronger hurricanes after Katrina (which proved false). In the past few years they’ve bombarded the US public with forecasts of certain doom based on misrepresenting the worst case scenario used in the IPCC’s AR5 as the “business as usual” scenario. And abandoned the IPCC as “too conservative” (e.g., about the methane apocalypse). Plus falsely blaming climate change for an absurdly wide range of events, from flooding of Pacific atolls, to terrorism. Now activists see the tide of world public opinion turning against them — as more imminent challenges appear, such as terrorism and the economy.

So activists like Plummer have gone all in on the next El Niño. Last year they sounded the alarm about the “super monster” El Nino, which never came. This year they’ve sounded the alarm about the “monster” “Godzilla” El Niño. It’s their last chance to build support before the COP-21 Conference in Paris. Now Gaia appears to be disappointing them.

Update on the El Niño

Every month the IRI/CPC (Columbia U and NOAA) publishes a plume of forecasts about the temperature anomaly in the Pacific’s Niño3.4 region. The November plume shows the anomaly as 2.5°C in October. The average of dynamic models predicts 2.6°C in the Nov-Jan quarter, then a rapid fall. Statistical models predict 2.5°C in Nov-Jan, then a rapid fall. Neither suggests a long or “Godzilla” El Niño. Time will tell if these forecasts are accurate, too high, or too low.

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What if the “Godzilla” El Niño is a dud, in the sense of failing to meet the expectations of disaster created for the public? Will another blown forecast by activists make a difference?

For More Information

For more details about this cycle see Bob Tisdale’s Is the Current El Niño Stronger Than the One in 1997/98? Also see El Niño, The Media Star: Separating Hype from Probability from the Browning World Climate Bulletin.

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164 thoughts on “Update on El Niño: Gaia disappoints the climate activists

  1. Great article. It would be nice if some mainstream science writers, like the AP’s Seth Borenstein, were half as objective. But most of them are totally invested in the alarmist’s position and they sop up NASA/NOAA’s hype as if it were honey.

      • Two people have answered correctly with the one word answer “none”. For an explanation we have to go to the very definition the alarmists use for the mechanism of man made global warming: down-welling long wave radiation. At the wavelengths defined for CO2 re-emission, water is very insusceptible. That wavelength only penetrates less than the first millimeter of water where it will mostly add to evaporation and may even have a slight cooling effect because of that evaporation. The same thing goes for warmer air warming the water through conduction: contact is only with the skin layer and warmer air only leads to increased evaporation. The heat capacity of water is so much greater than air’s that the air just doesn’t stand a chance. The Oceans are warmed by direct sunlight in the optical and higher bands. Cloud cover plays a much larger role than CO2 or general air temperature.

      • My thanks to the three of you. I must confess that I knew the answer so the question was rhetorical. My point being that alarmists seem to be into heavy breathing in the hope that the threat of a really big El Nino would influence, in some way, COP21 which is supposedly aimed at reducing levels of atmospheric CO2. Just the usual much ado about persuading a gullible public that is incapable of critical thinking.
        Again, thanks to all of you. (And I AM a layman so the expanded explanation is much appreciated, Owen.)

  2. To be fair, if/when we get a temporary spike up in global temperatures because of this El Niño, then history tells us it is most likely to be in the first quarter of next year.

    • Does it matter when every month, quarter, year, etc. is the warmest ever regardless of the measured temperatures?

    • 12 deg C last night in northeastern IL; 9-10 inches of snow yesterday! Emergency personnel have been summoned! :-)

      • Parts of Metro-Detroit got 16 inches of snow out of this same storm system. Two more inches maybe today Nov.23.
        New records were set for this date in November.

  3. If there is no large el nino, doesn’t that mean there is no large relief from the drought on the west coast? That will be disappointing.

  4. “Plummer says “strongest ever recorded”, which suggests a long-term record.”
    Misquote. He clearly said “one of the strongest ever recorded”. Which is not “Unlike saying one of the four strongest since 1950”.

    But in terms of accuracy, your headline says
    “Gaia disappoints the climate activists”
    Read into the article, and it becomes
    “The latest forecasts of the major climate models suggest that it will disappoint activists.”
    The basis for this is, apparently,
    “The average of dynamic models predicts 2.6°C in the Nov-Jan quarter, then a rapid fall. “
    But, as Plummer notes, the weekly Nino3.4 readings have already exceeded the maximum reached in 1997/8. It was over 3.0°C, edge of the scale, in your plume.

    • When I was a kid playing and learning in the woods of western Pennsylvania there were a lot of Red Squirrels (now also in the UK, I’ve heard). We intruded in their space, I guess, and they could get very excited. Both sides of the catastrophic global warming issue seem to be doing this more than ever, and in my mind I see an image such as this:
      Chattering Red Squirrel

    • Nick,

      “Plummer says “strongest ever recorded”, which suggests a long-term record.”
      Misquote. He clearly said “one of the strongest ever recorded”. “

      Even for you, with your low record of accuracy, that is quite wrong. My quote was “one of the strongest every recorded”. You misquote me, and then accuse me of quoting Plummer incorrectly. How do your obvious lies help your cause?

      (2) “It was over 3.0°C, edge of the scale, in your plume.”

      Wrong, ignoring my text and misreading the graph (a two-fer error!). A few of the model forecasts are “over 3.0°C.” The November plume shows the anomaly as 2.5°C in October. The average of dynamic models predicts a peak of 2.6°C in the Nov-Jan quarter; the average of statistical models predict a peak of 2.5°C in Nov-Jan.

      (3) “Larry Kummer showed a plot of Nino3.4 in claiming that “Gaia disappoints”.”

      I use that because the Nino3.4 anomaly is the usual measure of El Nino magnitude (but not the only one). NOAA’s quasi-official metric is the Oceanic NINO Index (ONI), the 3-month running-average of NINO3.4 region sea surface temperature anomalies.

      (4) As for the rest of your comments, you (as usual) misread what I said. I didn’t say that this wouldn’t be the strongest. Merely that it would be roughly similar to the strongest of the past 4 decades — not an extraordinary “monster” or “Godzilla” event.

      • ” You misquote me, and then accuse me of quoting Plummer incorrectly.”
        I quoted you exactly. You said, and I quote again:
        “Plummer says “strongest ever recorded”, which suggests a long-term record. Unlike saying one of the four strongest since 1950, which is not alarming.”

        But it isn’t unlike that. He actually said (as you said earlier)
        “The El Niño currently brewing in the Pacific is shaping up to be one of the strongest ever recorded.”

        Yes, you before quoted that exactly, which is more of a puzzle, because you then emphasised your truncated quote to say that it was inconsistent with being one of the four strongest, which it clearly isn’t. As to lying, well, your readers can read.

        “Wrong, ignoring my text”
        No, you’re ignoring mine. Yes, the forecasts have a scatter. But your headline says “Gaia disappoints”, and this forecast seems to be your only basis for that. Yet the reality is that the top Nino3.4 of 1997/8 has already been exceeded. No use now invoking the forecasts.

      • Nick,

        Your comments are just weird,

        I gave the exact quote. When I reference it, I don’t need to repeat the full quote. Most people (ie, not Nick Stokes) can remember the words that appeared in the previous sentence. Saying that I misquoted him because I didn’t repeat the full quote is daft. I repeated the relevant part, which was for a comparison of the time (“strongest ever” vs. “since 1950”).

        “Yet the reality is that the top Nino3.4 of 1997/8 has already been exceeded. ”

        First, the peak one month average is a silly measure of an ENSO cycle’s magnitude, as if this was a sporting event with one simple number giving the winner. Weather cycles are complex. Even using the ONI (3 month average of NINO3.4) is a simplification, ignoring the strength of the full cycle — and temperature of the other key Pacific regions.

        Second, as I’ve said several times (in this and the previous post, to which you commented), the issue is not if this is stronger than a previous cycle by some tiny amount (probably statistically insignificant). The hype to the public predicted that this would be an extraordinary event — a “monster” or “Godzilla”. If it is roughly similar to the past 3 or 4 events, that’s a blown prediction by the activists — “pathologizing” normal weather.

        “No use now invoking the forecasts.”

        The predictions of an extraordinary event were based on belief that this would get to or beyond 3C. The forecasts are a basis for suggesting that this will not happen in this El Nino.

        “It was over 3.0°C, edge of the scale, in your plume.”

        Again — wrong. Yyou misread the graph. The line at 3C is a forecast, not a current or past reading, as the text explained. Also, it is the CPC/NOAA Plume, not mine.. Please try to get these important details correct.

    • “John F. Hultquist

      November 22, 2015 at 1:38 pm”

      Reds are native to the UK. It was the grey that was an import and is killing off the red.

      • John F. Hultquist
        Interesting update for nature coping with non-native species. Grey squirrels have been gradually been moving northwards in the UK. Once they reached Scotland they ran into a natural predator which had been eradicated further south. Greys spend more time on the ground and are less nibble than Reds which had evolved to escape Pine Martens and became easier and therefore preferred prey.

        Interesting article here
        http://theconversation.com/resurgent-pine-martens-could-be-good-news-for-red-squirrels-46051

      • Sandy In Limousin,

        Greys spend more time on the ground and are less nibble than Reds which had evolved to escape Pine Martens and became easier and therefore preferred prey.

        Sounds to me, if they are easier prey for Pine Martins, then they are more “nibble”. :)

    • Let’s hear your prediction. Will it be a monster nino as in more energy transferred to the atmosphere, more rain in California, less rain in China, higher GMSL than ever before, or not?

  5. Well the California Floods coming this January and February will be blamed on El Nino rather than mismanagement of the water distribution bureaucracy which will also fail to capture runoff at those reservoirs that can in order to preserve the “spawning” for smelt, trout, salmon (take your pick) under the auspices of the ESA. In that sense the “monster” El Nino will remain in the environmentalist world view the cause of the disaster and even though there is no known anthropomorphic causation it must somehow be because of industry trampling and polluting all over our beautiful planet. Just watch the National Geographic special on the Discovery channel, you simpleton!

  6. Why do activists write these things?

    The activists are “saving the world” while lining their pockets and achieving public acclaim that they never would have in absence of this “great mission to save the earth”. They have no use for truth or balanced arguments and writing outlandish prognostications are just part of their propaganda campaign.

    Ever since the USSR feel apart, the collectivists on the left have tried to impose cultural Marxism via the need to save the planet. Someone coined the term “watermelon” for them — green on the outside and red on the inside. Make no mistake, they are collectivist totalitarians.

  7. COP21 THIS:

    22 Nov: Daily Mail: AP: Winter storm Bella dumps 16 inches of snow on the Midwest in the heaviest recorded November snowstorm for a hundred years
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3328997/Winter-storm-Bella-dumps-16-inches-snow-Midwest.html

    22 Nov: Chicago Tribune: Marwa Eltagouri: Season’s first snow is Chicago’s largest November snowfall in 120 years
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-winter-weather-1122-20151121-story.html

  8. I think that if there is no C02 binding treaty in Paris, there never will be one, for the simple reason that people can see with their own eyes that there has been no regular extreme weather events, the polar ice caps are not shrinking. People are not stupid they know alarmism when they see it. I subscribe to Paul Homewood’s excellent NOTALOTOFPEOPLEKNOWTHAT website and I received this link in an e-mail from the website.
    http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/021015-738779-climate-change-scare-tool-to-destroy-capitalism.htm

    We have all known for years that AGW is not happening, but the protagonists are slipperier than a bunch of eels in a bucketful of snot (which coincidentally is how I of though of them for some time now!). They “adjust” historical temperatures, want our views banned, produce graphs made on baseless information. Why? Because Paris is their last chance, they know that we are entering a sunspot minimum phase, that WILL reduce global temperatures and they want to claim credit for that, by persuading the great unwashed that it is falls in CO2 that are working and the climate will eventually stabilise. If they don’t get an agreement to back up this claim, then in five years time they will be a laughing stock, as the global temperatures either go down or remain static for almost a quarter of a century.
    The world capitalist system is currently very vulnerable, due to the huge national debts that have been accrued over the last few decades, this is their one and only chance to bankrupt the system by reducing world GDP by dramatically increasing the costs and decreasing the reliability of energy.

    • I have read that to bring down capitalism and usher in communism would require some type of economic and or societal collapse. The real trick is to cause the collapse and not get blamed for it. I think that our US leader is trying as hard as he can to cause that collapse and his efforts not be recognized. His actions are intentional not just due to bad decisions. He comes from a family of communists.

      • Agreed and the same with the EU, at least you will be rid of Obama next year, we’re stuck with the EU unless Cameron stops prevaricating and gives us a long overdue referendum.

      • One way to do that is to label anything short of pure communism as some form of capitalism. Then when your socialist policies collapse the system, claim that it was capitalism that done it.

  9. Very interesting and actual article, thank you for it. Since I’m interested in this topic, I couldn’t read it without stopping at the idea of “strongest ever recorded”. And I would suggest those activists to take a look further back in the history (not stopping at 1950); why is El Niño winter 1939/40 not included, which served Florida, Texas and several other SE States with a record cold month January 1940? Already autumn 1939 was curioushttp://www.seaclimate.com/c/c4/images/buch/big/C4_2.png
    and the entire winter as well http://www.seaclimate.com/c/c1/images/buch/big/C1_6.png Canada and Siberia had more than 4° plus, while Europe was down to minus 10°, from average. Can that happen again?

    • One thing about past records, they are only what the present says they were.
      The internet has made that so much easier.
      Quite an advance.

    • Nobody mentions the 30s in D.C. most of their over century mark records occurred that decade.

      Climate Change religion asks – what you Cannot do for the planet, not what you can do for the planet.

      “What you can do for the planet answers” are already calculated into current product investment schemes and copyrighting, brought in by imports on oil tankers from across the globe. Its capitalization over national currency communes. All nations are just figuring a fair way to pay and play with international bankers.

  10. 22 Nov: Chicago Tribune: AP: After the snow comes the deep freeze
    A deep freeze set in across the Midwest on Sunday, with low temperatures forecast in the single digits and a few below zero, turning the season’s first major snow into ice that made some roads treacherous to travel…
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-chicago-weather-20151122-story.html

    21 Nov: CBS: Snow piles up beyond expected amounts in Wisconsin, Illinois
    The first significant snowstorm of the season created hazardous travel conditions and caused more than 500 flight cancellations…
    National Weather Service meteorologist Amy Seeley said 12.5 inches fell in Woodstock and 11.7 inches in Roscoe. It’s unusual for the area’s first snowfall of the season to dump more than six inches, Seeley said…
    Temperatures plunged behind the front. Sioux Falls, South Dakota, reached 11 degrees Saturday and the town of Estherville in northern Iowa was even colder at 6 degrees with a wind chill of minus 4, the weather service said…
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/snow-piles-up-beyond-expected-amounts-in-wisconsin-illinois/

  11. “The last truly massive El Niño appeared in 1997-’98 and ended up causing an estimated $35 billion in destruction and 23,000 deaths around the world …” (Plummer).
    ==================================
    And yet it barely registers on the GISS global surface temperature record:

    • It is not a surface phenomenon. The surface is louvered boxes about five feet off the ground on land (mostly at airports) and on iron ships (preferably at night) with varying deck heights, captain inebriation, etc. The signal is crystal clear from TLT to TLS.

    • I do love it when there is some hard archaeological evidence that one can see with ones own eyes that tell us what the past was really like, and how that puts the present in perspective.

      As all readers of this site know, until the temperature records were homogenised/adjusted, the late 1930s/40s were the warmest period on record, at least in the NH.

      We do not know much about the SH since very little of the SH is measured even today, let alone having records going back some 70 years. Look for the number of orange dots in the SH.

  12. “Now activists see the tide of world public opinion turning against them — as more imminent challenges appear, such as terrorism and the economy”

    Yes. So the King is dead, long live the King.

    You’re perfectly right in your determination of AGW as a manufactured scare. But you’re also right saying that if it doesn’t work, if it’s not effective, then plans B and C are in place and ready to go.

    There’s no help coming here. The truth is there is a very rich and powerful contingent bent on world domination and you as an individual don’t have a rats chance in hell of overpowering it. Things have become very bad, very fast. When national leaders try silencing descent on scientific subjects with threats of invoking National Security, the debate is largely over. I’m sorry if that’s too blunt for you, but this is a threat that was made by the US Secretary of State against its citizens. I, for one, believe in his ability to make that stick.

    You and I know this is manufactured. We know it’s nonsense. We know the data doesn’t support the politics. That’s done us no good at all since we don’t control the headlines and those who do have no interest in publicizing dissenting opinion. This is a battle for “hearts” not “minds” and those of us who find fault with the science have lost that battle largely because there are very few minds to win. The debate is certainly over, what isn’t mentioned is there never was a debate to begin with. There were pronouncements and projections but there was no debate, instead there was an edict.

    It would actually be easier to implement the global totalitarian socialist scheme under military rule and the door is wide open for that to happen. I read all of these comments about the Paris “attack” being related to the COP21 meeting, how there must be some conspiracy? I’d say “backup plan” is more to the point.

      • As we know, global temps fell between 1940 to 1970 such that by the early/mid 1970s there were concerns that we were heading towards an ice age.

        Then in the late 1970s through to the late 1990s the globe warmed, but not so much as to bring the temperatures back up to the temperatures that were seen in late 1930s/early 1940s and that is why notwithstanding the late 20th century warming, there was today still more ice than there was in 1942.

        Of course one only has to look at the dust bowl years 9which were of course accompanied by drought) to appreciate that the 1930s were warmer today in the US. But this was so for the NH. The Greenland Raw Data, shows the 1940s to be warmer than today. The Greenland Raw Data is one of the data sets often used when looking at the scandal behind recent adjustments made to the land thermometer temperature data sets.

  13. The reason for the size of the present El Nino is pretty simple:

    In NH record winters in USA and Canada was to some degree caused by a relocation of the Arctic vortex in the direction of North America, 2 winters 2013-15.

    This had the opposite effect on central Russia since cold vortex air was relocated away from central Russia.

    Thus, more heat than usual blew with normal westerly winds out over Northern pacific, and the clockwise rotation of waters in the Northern Pacific rotates the heat towards the equator.

    This heat meets heat from the present El Nino and make the present El Nino look larger than “it is” so to speak.

    This is why you cant explain rather much of the heat near surface of the El Nino with heat coming from the usual subsurface origins.

    So, to some extend, the present El Nino does not represent “new” heat brought to the surface, but rather just relocation of heat that was already at the surface.

    Thus, this El Nino should not have the heating effect of the planet one might expect from the Pacific equator temperatures.

    K.R. Frank Lansner

    • “Thus, this El Nino should not have the heating effect of the planet one might expect from the Pacific equator temperatures.”
      So if global temperatures go up next year, it will not be because of the El Nino?

      • Thus, this El Nino should not have the heating effect of the planet one might expect from the Pacific equator temperatures.

        It seems to me that this indicates that since the EN will not have as much heating effect as you would expect, then if there is heating, it will not be as a result of the EN. If I have misunderstood, please can you clarify for me?

      • Even on the second try you manage to embarrass yourself.
        Having less than expected is not the same as having none.
        Even a first grader should be able to figure that out.

      • seaice says:

        So if global temperatures go up next year, it will not be because of the El Nino?

        No one has yet determined why global T fluctuates from year to year. The trend is what’s important, not random annual fluctuations. And the longer the trend, the better.

        Global warming stopped almost twenty years ago. That’s what the current trend shows. Prior to that relatively short term trend, the longer trend line shows global warming occurring since the LIA. and before that, from the last great Ice Age.

        But there is no trend supporting the belief that human emissions are the cause of global warming. The rise in CO2 may contribute a minuscule amount to global warming. But that is only a conjecture, because to date there are no verifiable measurements quantifying AGW. Without such measurements, all discussion about annual fluctuations will remain mere conjectures; opinions, and nothing more.

  14. Am I misunderstanding the science or are the alarmists looking at fool’s gold with El Ninos? Isn’t it true that El Nino’s increase outgoing radiation and ultimately reduce earth’s temperature? I look at them as a sort of “heat burp”. Given that alarmists are invested in wanting a positive long term temperature trend to advance their agenda I would have thought strong El Ninos would be unwelcome to their eyes not something to crow about?

    • completely agree.

      Your burp analogy is apt. the cool down after the 97-98 EN was spectacular. Trenberth’s step-up was poszibly due to strong solar cycle 23 max that coincided to prevent global sst relaxation to a cooler state.
      This EN will almost certainly lead to a LN, which will coincide with SC 24 close out approaching min. The result will test this step function conjecture

    • Quote: “I would have thought strong El Ninos would be unwelcome to their eyes not something to crow about?”

      In a sense, you are correct. We are already rolling our eyes in anticipation of the “no warming since …” (cherry pick your date). Sigh.

  15. Apart from linking readers to alarmist and ‘fellow-travelling’ websites, I don’t see the point of this piece.

    • to provok critical thinking.

      I think the question about why do writers like Plummer write what he does. The answer to me is obvious. Because if he didn’t, a pink slip would arrive with his next Vox paycheck, and they would hire areplacement willing to lie. Vox gets what it pays for.

      Its just like a NASA and NOAA political appointees ensuring outputs from their scientist civil servants is politically convenient.

    • Chris,

      That’s a great question.

      (1) To show the workings of the professional-quality disinformation flooding the news media. This is a debunking, of the kind that has become so popular among Left-leaning journalists (e.g., Politifact).

      (2) Bob Tisdale provides updates about the El Nino. This provides updates of forecasts about the El Nino.

      (3) To encourage discussion about activists’ publicity. Why have they made these choices? What’s the risk-reward ratio of these tactics? Specifically, what is the consequence of their repeated failures — for their movement (i.e., pubic policy changes to fight climate change) and for the institutions of climate science?

      • How Vox makes us stupider.
        Vox website maybe good for a laugh but the National Enquirer is probably funnier.
        For example David Roberts tells his readers “The right way to think about climate change and national security” is to think of climate change as like metaphorically ‘cranking up gravity 1%’:
        “… if gravity rose by 1 percent and then the global number of tripping-and-falling incidents rose, it would be peculiar not to conclude that the change in gravity was responsible in some way …”.
        The Earth’s gravity on the surface varies ~0.7% anyway according to Wikipedia, for instance 9.766 m/s2 in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to 9.825 in Oslo and Helsinki.
        If there were more tripping and falling incidents in Oslo and Helsinki than Kuala Lumpur and Singapore it’s more likely due to the relative consumption of booze.
        He then proposes a long supposed domino effect chain of non sequiturs.

      • You can add that Vox has failed to demonstrate that the incidence of tripping and falling has actually increased.

      • I have noticed an increase of tripping when I am groggy upon waking from a deep sleep and whenever I leave the local pub.

  16. When did we “pathologize” weather? When did commonplace weather become abnormal?

    It became “abnormal” when “weather” provided an excuse to for control and profit. The original CAGW predictions (projection) have fallen apart. To maintain the excuse that a bout of rain has become “relentless rain”, it needs to be personalized. Something we need to control. Since Man is (somehow) the cause of the video we just saw of a house built on a flood plain being flooded, we must control Man.
    (When this excuse finally collapses, another will arise….but it won’t be sea levels.8-)

  17. If the northern hemisphere of the Sun continues to show the greater number of sunspots, then the El Nino is over and the ENSO regions will turn negative shortly. The only question is how long does it take for the ENSO to react to the change on the Sun’s surface. If you are wondering about my claim, then take a look at Silso’s depiction of the hemispheric changes since 1950. Note that the northern hemisphere was more active from at least 1950 up to the last 1970s. Then the southern hemisphere turned more active. This is the control knob for the ENSO regions of the Pacific Ocean. Currently the northern hemisphere has been more active for much of this month. This should be reflected on Silso at their next update. Then if this trend bears out, we will see the northern hemisphere of the Sun bear the most sunspots into the mid 2030s. This is what changes the climate of our planet.

  18. Just coincidentally, I heard a meteorologist just today claim that a series of winter storms in Siberia could be setting the stage for the formation of a polar vortex similar to the one much of North America experienced two years ago. If he’s right, his means a colder- than- normal winter for both Canada and the US, and so much for the El Nino effect

  19. Plummer’s perspective is clearly stated by his tagline: “On the apocalypse beat, more or less.”

    The tagline would more correctly read: On the apocalyptically off-beat, more or less.

  20. Doesn’t make any difference to CAGW. One failed prediction is as good as any other. It’s the shock value that counts. That’s right, tell me how hot I am when it’s 50 f when it should be 100. Be sure to hand out ice cream as well.

  21. Well, we know its not the science. What keeps this NWO control game in play is ignorance about HUMAN physiology and CO2. People confuse CO2 with poop. (and with CO–they’re not chemists, not even at the H.S. level).
    Poop is dangerous because of bacteria (and other microbes). Urine is almost sterile. There are not the same risks, and it can even help one survive a bit longer in desert conditions, but ultimately, we do need to excrete most of that. Carbon dioxide is a byproduct of metabolism, but NOT a waste product in the same sense as some other metabolites.
    CO2 is more like heat–you MUST have enough and not too much. It makes the blood’s main pH buffer and probably has 1000 other uses in metabolism as it has been around as long as cells. We are evolutionarily adapted to it. It helps us get more oxygen, because we can breathe better if CO2 levels are higher.
    We’ve all heard of photosynthesis and many people understand that CO2 is plant food. But I would sacrifice plants for human health.
    It has to be good for endangered species by providing more food. But humans above birds and bugs, I say.

    The evidence is very weak, but it suggests that people will live LONGER and healthier with more CO2 in the air. And getting THAT across is most likely to save the economy from climate alarmism. And maybe prevent World War 3. Such horrors tend to happen after an economic collapse of the magnitude the alamists have wrought.

  22. El Niños are a release of heat from the oceans. Of course it spikes the atmospheric temperature as the heat escapes to space. Look at the UAH temp data. The temps go right back to where they were once the El Niño is over.

  23. Do they actually realize what they’re doing and saying?
    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/think-this-is-hot-warming-climate-points-to-heatwaves-worsening-in-nsw-20151120-gl3nwt.html

    First up the usual warning-
    “NSW will experience more frequent and longer heatwaves in the future as the climate warms with the worsening extremes dependent on whether carbon emissions continue to climb, according to research from the government and the University of NSW.”

    Then wait for it folks-
    “In general, coastal regions will fare better than inland ones because of the proximity to sea breezes. While the phenomenon is evident even on Friday – with the CBD recently at 30 degrees while Penrith to the west was more than 40 degrees – the research indicates some interesting microclimates may develop around Sydney.
    As the city sprawls to the north-west and south-west to accommodate 1.5 million more people in the two decades to 2031, western Sydney and the Hawkesbury will experience five-10 more hot days by 2030, a related OEH report said.
    The replacement of vegetation such as forest and grasslands with concrete can raise morning summer surface temperatures by an average of 12.8 degrees – underscoring the importance for city planners to retain or introduce more green spaces in their designs.
    “The more green cover you have in urban environments, the cooler the conditions,” Mr Riley said, noting that funds are available to aid councils to reduce the so-called urban heat island.”

    But trust them they know how to pick a long term hockey stick out of that lot and only around a 100 years of Stevenson Screens that never change their surroundings. And I’m supposed to be the one in denial about the science of all this?

  24. Oh, I wish there was global warming. 7-8″ snow storm a week before Thanksgiving here in the Chicago area. Snow and cold are not uncommon here in this area but seems like a week early this year. This is the kind of weather that makes skeptics and why nobody take climate change seriously, except our political paid puppets.

    • Yeah Ryan check out Sydney temps for the week as Oz comes into summer and check out those maxm variations for different suburbs top right-
      http://www.bom.gov.au/nsw/forecasts/sydney.shtml?ref=hdr
      The catastrophists don’t get it but I get a real kick out of asking them to explain the current sea level rise of a very old geologically stable continent like Oz (vis a vis NZ still bubbling out of the sea) and that Hallett Cove geological record. Watch them squirm when you ask- You’re not denying the science are you?
      It’s a me generation and it started when we flung open the doors of our Sandstones to every weak mind and then technology came along to put exceptional computing power and statistical packages in the hands of these scientific illiterates.

    • Agreed, I am 50 miles west of Chicago, and I had first 12 inches of snow, with a drop in temps after the snow to 8 degrees.

      Kind of early for this…I hope this does not portend a rough winter !

  25. Whitefellas rolled up in Sydney Cove in 1788 and they might have had a Farenheit mercury thermometer with them by then. What they didn’t know then before they started taking temp readings and marking tides was this in my neck of the woods (first settled in 1836)-
    http://www.sa.gsa.org.au/Brochures/HallettCoveBrochure.pdf
    In particular from the geological record at point 6 and plastered on Gummint signs for the benefit of visitors to a world renowned geological history site we have-

    ‘During the Recent ice age about 20 000 years ago,
    sea level was about 130 metres lower than today
    and South Australia’s coastline was about 150
    kilometres south of where Victor Harbor now is.
    The ice cap started to melt about 15 000 years ago.
    Sea level began to rise and reached its present level
    about 6000–7000 years ago’

    That’s an average rise of 16.25mm a year for 8000 years compared to 1.6mm a year average over the 20th century here-
    http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_hist_few_hundred.html
    and why I guess geologists like Ian Plimer are climate realists and a wee bit skeptical that the 8000 years rise was down to aboriginal cooking fires and burnoffs to flush out game. Also why I’ll probably join him in stocking up on the woollies should sea levels start to drop 16mm a year for a decade or two.

    As for you CO2 catastrophists you can please yourselves but for Sydneysiders a bit worried about UHI I can only say relax because you now know ‘that funds are available to aid councils to reduce the so-called urban heat island.”

    • excellent, thanks,
      I remember doing the Hallet Cove tour as a schoolkid.
      and yes:-) have been stocking up on woolies here too..
      and insulating the house walls as well as ceiling space.
      wont hurt either way.
      but I dont see councils rushing to plant trees
      cos?
      a branch might fall in the distant future and hurt someone
      or gumnuts and leaves make a mess..
      idiots!

  26. Well there are certainly questions about the size of this El Niño, how big the numbers really are.

    The only reason there are questions like this now is because Tom Karl’s group at the NCDC has started screwing around with the ENSO numbers For the first time. They had left them alone before because of the long history of actual measurements in the region and the importance of this sector’s SST swings, but that is over now.

    This is, however, a very big El Niño. It would be classed as a Super El Niño event going by the latest SST anomaly reports although the latest (again) mucking around with the numbers means we can’t be sure.

    There is also a 3 month lag before the ENSO impacts North America and maybe only 2 months before Indonesia sees the impacts. Indonesia has been one big forest fire for the last month because of the reduced rainfall hitting the area lately based on the ENSO conditions of 2 months ago. It will continue to impact Indonesia and then Australia and get even more extreme in the months ahead yet.

    North America from Alaska to Minnesota and perhaps northern Canada will see a much warmer winter in the months ahead. The US southeast will be colder than normal and the US mid-west and California will get increased rainfall. That is what an El Niño traditionally does. Very high correlations here.

    This is a big event. The full impact will only be felt in the months ahead.

    I think the El Nino is peaking about right now (and the peak impacts will be 3 months in the future) but it will be a LONG event because there is still a huge amount of excess heat in the under-current which has not surfaced yet and will take at least 2 months to get there. It will go on until February at least and there will be another 3 months after that of impact on the global climate.

    Long Super El Niño is my call (and I have been watching this thing for about 32 years now).

    • That is interesting, as you know I am a relative newbie to all of this. Let me ask though, did you notice my thoughts on the interaction between changes in the sunspot count between the two hemispheres of the Sun and how they firmly appear to be the trigger for changes in the ENSO regions?

    • Bill,

      You post an almost identical comment on each of these threads. I’ll post the same reply.

      (1) Who doubts that this is a strong event? This post makes that point repeatedly.

      (2) “It would be classed as a Super El Niño event ”

      “Classed” by whom? You appear to have made up the “class” of “super El Nino events”.

      • There is no definition for a Super ENSO event.

        I consider anything that gets to +/- 2.8C in Nino 3.4 to be a Super event.

        There has not been a Super La Niña event yet and only 5 Super El Ninos, 1862, 1877, 1891, 1982 and 1997.

        The 1877-78 El Niño was the largest one in history and global temperatures rose about +0.7C above the background temperature of the time by April 1878.

      • Bill,

        Also, what is the paper you are using as a source? It sounds interesting.

        What does it use to estimate the temperature anomaly of El Nino events before 1950? I assume some proxy, such as the Southern Oscillation Index (shown from 1876 at the Aussie BOM).

        I have never seen error bars for the modern regional Pacific average monthly (or weekly) sea surface temperatures, but I suspect they are are over 0.1C. The error bars for whatever temperature proxy is used for 1862 data are probably much larger.

        I suggest skepticism when reading about such historical comparisons with modern temperature records.

      • Bill,

        You must be kidding, saying that sailing ships and coal-powered steamships sailing commercial routes in the 1860s or 1870s measured the average surface temperature the Nino3.4 region of the Pacific to an accuracy of tenths of a degree C in a given month or quarter.

        Too bizarre for comment.

      • @ Bill Illis…thanks for the info on Super El Ninos. By my way of looking at what I am calling climate shifts the first date you show in 1862 would be 6 years into the warm trend from 185556 to 1885/86. The year 1877 is 8 years before the end of the same warm trend. The year 1891 is 6 years into the cool trend of 1885/86 to 1915/16. The year 1982 is 6 years after the start of the warm trend of 1976/77 to 2005/06, and 1997 is 8 years before the end of the last warm trend. I consider 2005/06 as the beginning of a cool trend.

  27. Engineering science demonstrates CO2, in spite of being a ghg, has no effect on climate. Identification of the two factors that do cause reported average global temperature change (sunspot number is the only independent variable) are at http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com (97% match since before 1900). Everything not explicitly included (such as aerosols, volcanos, non-condensing ghg, ice changes, uncertainty in measurements etc.) must find room in the unexplained 3%.

  28. ” His article is a masterpiece of propaganda, creating fear to advance his public policy agenda.”

    Of course, there’s a name for people who use fear – and terror – to get what they want.
    Chris

  29. The real test of an El Nino lies in something more than a simple examination and comparison of the various indexes.

    The test of the current 2015/6 Strong El Nino will be whether it results in a similar significant long term step change in temperatures as was coincident with the Super El Nino of 1997/8, or whether it simply results in a temporary blip that reveals 2015 and perhaps the first half of 2016 to be extremely warm (in relevant terms akin to the 2010 blips) but in the long term, following the next La Nina, temperatures drop back down to say around the 2001 to 2003 anomaly level such that by say 2018/19 the ‘pause’ will be over 20 years long.

    In short will the ‘pause’ have been busted by the time AR6 is being prepared. If this current El Nino does not do that job, ie., if there is no long lasting step change in temperatures coincident with it, then whatever the various indexes say when compared to the 1997/98 Super El Nino, it will simply be Squidzilla, and not particularly memorable.

    So what I am saying is that we can only judge this current Strong El Nino in say 2018. Then we will have a much better idea as to how it shapes up in comparison with the Super El Nino of 1997/98

  30. A quote –
    “To put this in a larger context, the world has been warming over the entire 136 year-long temperature record — and “human activities caused more than half of the observed increase in global mean surface temperature from 1951 to 2010” (from AR5).”

    And how does the author justify that statement? That’s his statement, not the statement of the article he is discussing. WHERE did the perfect knowledge that human activities caused more than half of the observed change in surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 come from? I really would like to know.

  31. Paris: Another opportunity for leftist parasites to feel smug and get all-expense paid trips to the city of lights.

    They pump up the expectations by releasing “throw away” statements about the future that have enough wiggle-room to drive an 18-wheeler through.

    In the distant past these people were called “witch doctors” and shook rattles and chanted strange unintelligible things over their stupid but hopeful patients.

    Later, they were called “Snake oil salesmen” that peddled alcohol and opium laced remedies from town to town, keeping on the move so that they were gone by the time people wised up.

    Now they are “Climate Scientists” that want us to believe they will save the world, just send money. Lots, and lots of money.

    We are no longer fooled.

  32. The alarmists are 0 for 2 097 583 049 348 765 023 975 in their predictions.
    Getting one right would be news though…

  33. This upcoming “Nel Nino” looks very stretched out, being so long and skinny. Too bad it can’t last until the next spell of global cooling set to arrive with the next brutally attenuated (brutal, but then by Nature, and not by ISIS) sunspot cycle.

    • James,

      Thanks for the reminder! I hadn’t checked that. Here is the December 2015 – January 2016 forecast from NOAA’s Weekly ENSO update. Above average for California, but not a lot more. Bad news for us.

      Also, not a lot of extreme weather forecast for the US by the temperature and precipitation forecast graphs in this report. No “monster” or “Godzilla” effects in these 2 kinds of weather.

      http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf

    • Temperature correlations to an El Nino event (with a good lag built-in). The top chart is the temperature change from normal in C. (The bottom one is the degree of correlation). Alaska to Minnesota and northern Canada warmer than normal the most, the rest of the planet is mostly slightly warmer and the US south-east and northern asia is colder than normal.

      Precipitation change in an El Nino event. Indonesia, Australia, the Amazon, and South Africa is much dryer. The US south-east and California are much wetter. Note the small square in the middle of the Pacific. It rains every day in the central equatorial Pacific during an El Nino. The tropical convection storms/clouds in the central equatorial Pacific hold more heat in from the warmer than normal sea surface (rather than letting it just go out to space) and this is really how the ENSO makes the planet warmer in an El Nino. The fact that this cloud development takes time to build-up and then spread around the world through the typical atmospheric circulation patterns is why there is a lag before the impact occurs. The opposite happens in a La Nina.

  34. El Niño events are natural. They have nothin to do with the non-meteorological parameter – Carbon Dioxide. And that’s all there is to say about it.

    Furthermore, of the total amount of heat in the atmospheres approximately 5% is attributed to greenhouse trace gases, of which CO2 is the main one and is responsible for about 3.6% of the total amount of heat in the atmosphere, 95% of of the heat being attributed to water in the atmosphere.

    The human contribution to atmospheric heat from CO2 emissions amounts to a ridiculously insignificant percentage … about 0.12%. It makes one wonder why the United Nations and its army of global warming alarmists are treating this as the greatest threat to the world! They’re insane!

    • Maybe you could consider insane yourself focusing on the greatest threat that could be global warming.. The threat is everything humans make.. Global warming only one of the possible consequences. Ocean acidification, insane also? deforestation, insane? lifestock disappearing, insane? you are insane.

  35. In a previous thread that was devoted to the climatological ideas of the Fabius Maximus organization it was proved to Fabius Maximus that the climate models do not make predictions aka forecasts. Thus, it is disappointing to find them muddying the waters by claiming that the climate models do make predictions aka forecasts.

    • This merely an off-topic reply because I seem to have lost contact with the expected emails that alert me to WUWT replies. I just hope to hear something in reply to this. Then I’ll know that it has been a temporary problem.
      Robin

  36. Spent Thanksgiving week in Phoenix with son and his wife. They are expecting a baby girl in May, their first child and our first grandchild.

    One of our fun activities is visiting used book and thrift stores. On a previous trip I found a couple of interesting books on weather and climate. This trip among others I found “El Nino – Unlocking he Secrets of the Master Weather Maker” by J. Madeline Nash. Wow, fascinating reading. How the science behind el Nino developed, the scientist and organizations. Bjerknes, Leetma, CPC, PDO, AMO, Kelvin and Rossby waves, Rio Nido, etc. Published in 2002, 13 years after I first encountered AGW in 1989.

    It’s El Nino, La Nina, PDO, AMO, wind and water vapor that drive the weather and climate, GHGs contribute nada, bee fart in a hurricane. But then many of you already knew that.

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