How Much Global Cooling Will We See On Transition To La Niña?

The potential for the massive El Niño to transition into La Niña later in the year is one of the hottest topics in commodities markets right now. The short question-and-answer session would look like this: Are we headed for La Niña toward the end of 2016? Looks that way. Will it be a big one? Not sure.

A La Niña environment has already begun to develop. Cooler waters are building beneath the surface in the Pacific Ocean and El Niño-supporting trade winds have lessened. But sea surface temperatures, or SSTs, in the defining region of the Pacific remain very warm, so we are still amid a strong El Niño event.

It is helpful to look for historical instances in which El Niño turned into La Niña through the course of a year. This has occurred only a handful of times since 1982, but there are enough similarities among these analogs that we can use them to inform this year’s likely outcome.


Selected analog years suggest that huge dropoffs of SST anomalies into negative, La Niña-defining territory are likely to take place between April and July. These analogs also suggest that when the SST anomalies cross into negative territory later than June, a weaker La Niña event is likely to follow.

Full story here

106 thoughts on “How Much Global Cooling Will We See On Transition To La Niña?

  1. I just learned something. I did not realize that El Nino/La Nina was season independent. The name El Nino was from the “Christ Child” as in, arrival at Christmas. A term that predates modern weather forecasting. So I was under the impression that the warm water system that exists in advance of the winter was an El Nino. I believed that if the water was cooler, yielding cooler weather in the winter then that would be a La Nina. The terminology seems to be more sophisticated since the warm water appears in the winter (2016) and has implication about what will happen in the summer.

    So would it be true that El Nino or La Nina describe the state of pacific surface temp regardless of season?

  2. The Pacific is definitely rapidly transitioning to a La Nina state.

    All this blue colder than normal water in the undercurrent is going to surface soon and become the La Nina.

    This Upper Ocean Temperature Anomaly chart shows that the average ocean temperature down to 300M from 180W to 100W has already transitioned into below average territory.

    Traditionally, this value leads the Nino 3.4 index by about 1 month on a very consistent basis.

    • Yes, no doubt global warming is a political diktat regardless of the cause. “Man-made global warming” thus has multiple meanings.

    • Such is climate science today.

      Adjusting/manipulating/homogenising/torturing data to meet the requirements of the Klimate Establishment is one of the great tragedies of our world today.

      • And one of the great boons.

        All this means is that the scientists in question leave a lot of open ground for the rest of us. As in the realm of LST adjustment (which is where Anthony’s team comes in).

    • I wouldn’t be surprised to hear everyone harping on about “warmest year ever” while glaciers are covering Wisconsin.

  3. We had lesser ice extent in Antarctica this year (closer to ‘normal’). However, note in the graphic that the surges in Antarctic ice extent have a 5 year “bouncing” pattern. We are at the beginning of the next bounce, so watch for another several years of expanding Antarctic ice to begin with the new season.

  4. Any global cooling will be blamed on “global warming/climate change”. Like day follows night.

      • Toneb You seem to have left out the massive natural H2O radiative forcing in your list of forcing agents which is water vapor is the largest contributor to the Earth’s greenhouse effect. On average, it probably accounts for about 60% of the warming effect..
        Very poor form of you to not include it.

      • CO2 correlates much better with stock market indices according to Morningstar. I was just looking at their charts this morning, and my investment guru said he would use the CO2 / Markets link from now on.


      • “Toneb You seem to have left out the massive natural H2O radiative forcing in your list of forcing agents which is water vapor is the largest contributor to the Earth’s greenhouse effect. On average, it probably accounts for about 60% of the warming effect..
        Very poor form of you to not include it.”

        You are correct in intimating H2O has the most important natural atmospheric back-radiative effect – however H2O is not a driver – it’s forcing is a constant (within small bounds at a constant global temperature).
        The above are drivers (not in inherent balance in the climate system) and are increasing the temp (or not in the case of aerosol and recent TSI especially).

        The radiative forcing of H20 is a feed-back.
        It does not act alone in driving a deltaT- because the hydrological cycle ensures it cannot.

        Those listed can drive temperature because their only constraint is Man.

        A feed-back comes into play (as in an increasing or decreasing effect) only in the presence of drivers.
        Which is what is happening with the above 1C rise the planet has seen since pre-industrial times.

      • Toneb~ ‘the above 1C rise the planet has seen since pre-industrial times.’

        YOu mean since the end of the Little Ice Age. Which just happened to correspond with the industrial age… remember, correlation is not causation.

      • Differential absorption by the oceans due to clouds (liquid water and ice), water vapor (absorbs strongly in the near IR portion of the solar spectrum), wind and wave profiles.

        The elephant in the room is geothermal. We easily dismiss it a lunch money now, but we really don’t have serious data on the midocean ridge system. We live in an ice age. We don’t even know what causes the shallow melt zones below the ridges that seem to be causing ocean spreading (hint, it ain’t mantle convection).

        SOMEthing caused the planet to slide into the current ice age, and it definitely wasn’t CO2 because it follows temperature like a poodle on a leash in both the ice and benthic cores over the entire period.

        In deep time there have been four other ice ages in wildly different continental configurations, so it seems very reasonable to suspect that both the descent into ice age and the fibrillations within them are related to radiative forcing.

        You gnash your teeth over a supposed but unmeasured couple four w/m2 from CO2 representing .4% of the solar radiative budget.

        An equal geothermal forcing change would be presently unmeasurable as well.

  5. Although Nino SST has peaked (Nov 2015), it is still high and adding water vapor so LT temperature might just now be peaking. If NOAA stops changing the numbers, they will be acknowledging the downtrend before November, 2016.

  6. It would be interesting to see (quantitatively rigorous) if & how the La Nina anomalies coincided/correlated with TSI variation-solar cycle history.
    For example, 87-88 transition to a strong LaNina coincided with end SC21 to start SC 22 TSI minima. And the 1999-2001 La Nina that followed the 97-98 EN coincided with SC 23 peaks. Anecdotal of course, without a rigorous analysis including uncertainty values. But could be a clue as to when global step changes (up and down) occurred or may occur in the near future.

    That LaNina tropical Pacific conditions are associated with suppressed convection, clear skies, and positve OLRs means the state of TSI (an integrated anomaly value above a minimum baseline during the LN months) will be more influential on the ocean heat storage than during neutral or EN years.

    • For easy ref between the above article plot and TSI since 1980.

      The problem in doing the analysis of course (as AW notes on the solar ref page) is the unresolved sensor differences between the various TSI data sets across 34 years.

      • I like that ERBS V-0508 and it seems to hug the 1366 number. That’s a long way from Trenberth’s 342 Wm^-2 and the satellite number is on 24 hours per day 365 and a bit days per year with orbital radius corrections.


  7. Sea surface is visually cooling this month:

    ‘Global’ sea surface temps peaked in January:

    2015/12 0.717
    2016/01 0.732
    2016/02 0.604

    Equatorial ocean heat content is back to pre 2015 ENSO levels:

    2014 12 0.50 0.48 0.54
    2015 1 0.28 0.22 0.15
    2015 2 0.54 0.65 0.83
    2015 3 0.85 1.17 1.52
    2015 4 1.05 1.42 1.74
    2015 5 1.03 1.42 1.53
    2015 6 0.87 1.27 1.51
    2015 7 0.92 1.36 1.69
    2015 8 0.99 1.43 1.97
    2015 9 1.04 1.48 1.80
    2015 10 1.04 1.51 1.91
    2015 11 0.92 1.41 1.78
    2015 12 0.58 1.04 1.20
    2016 1 0.44 0.88 1.25
    2016 2 -0.03 0.32 0.58

    • Strange how the Arctic sea ice extent is at a low maximum and NOAA shows the temperature anomaly surrounding the sea ice as negative.

    • This year’s arctic Ice max is shifted in the calendar a little, and is lower than ever measured, but the average extent is declining more than the ice is currently. The extent today is just a hair below the 2 std deviations area in the graph. We will see in the coming weeks how things look, then.

      • Aye, but how can you explain the negative temperature anomalies for areas that on average would currently be sea ice (-2 C)?

        Perhaps it’s the same explanation as to why NOAA’s Arctic SST map shows positive anomalies for large areas that are unequivocally ice at the moment.

        Hint* the data are questionable at best.

      • RW, think about 15% ice. It move easily in wind currents. In the Barents sea region wind anomalies have pushed the 15% ice further north.

      • Think about it this way. The sea ice is -2 degrees. In order for that NOAA SST data in that map to be correct, the surface areas where there is normally sea ice would need to -4 degrees C. If southern winds in the Barents Sea are pushing 15% sea ice north, than those areas south of the sea ice should show positive anomalies, not negative anomalies.

      • RW: That was not my point. While the max ice was low in Feb this year, it is not declining as rapidly as is usual. We are now within the +-2 std deviations again on ice extent. In fact, the last 3 days ice extent has been increasing.

        Responding to your question, ‘Can I explain…’, that goes to the methodology of the anomaly calculation, and its underlying.climatology. In addition to those just having been changed Feb 1 this year, it’s also worthy to note that 15% ice areas are not included in anomaly areas… They are masked out. Only if an area is now less than 15% will it be be compared with the average of the prior 10’years values for that same area for that same calendar day.

  8. As of last week NINO 3.4 is down to +1.44. Looks like we are going into the steepest part of the decline but won’t know how strong the La Nina will be until July-August.

    Looks like the trade winds are back to normal and may soon be increase to favor La Nina formation.

    The tropical Pacific has already decreased to having a negative temperature anomaly but that has just as much to do with the western Pacific negative anomaly increasing as it does with the eastern Pacific positive anomaly decreasing.

  9. The graph in the story didn’t look like the graph from the ENSO Meter.

    I overlaid the two graphs. What I saw was that this year’s graph lagged 1997/98 by a week or two. For the last month they have been running pretty much parallel. FWIW. Just because the two graphs are running together now doesn’t mean they will be doing so six months from now.

  10. ima go out on a limb here, and predict that this La Nina will be the start of a new Little Ice Age… ;-)

  11. “How Much Global Cooling Will We See On Transition To La Niña?”

    Global? Probably none, just like with “global” warming. Regionally, probably some.

  12. When it comes climate cooling in the NH.
    Then the Hudson Bay area tends to be the “the canary in the coalmine”. Because when there is climate cooling then that’s the area that tends to get hit hardest. Weather wise then the thing to watch out for large static weather patterns forming just south of the Arctic but which also push southwards in there extend. Does not matter if they are lows or highs, what matters is there size and extend and how long they last. Because when you gets these large static patterns then there will be a large mass of air flowing between the Arctic and the south. Which will aid with increasing the rate of any cooling going on in the system.

  13. I see you finally found a chart you don’t have to flip upside down to make your “argument” work. Is that click-bait, or moving on to commodities forecasting since your temp/pause forecasts are looking so hot. Ha ha. Such a funny topic with nothing much at stake anyway

  14. Sorry to nag but would everyone please note where graphs, plots, quotes and numbers come from? If led back to sources information can be evaluated by examiners more readily and more certainly.

  15. Have the oceans exhausted their store of heat? Don’t know because we haven’t been able to directly measure the balance of heat between the atmosphere, and that stored heat in the oceans. I use the term balance with the caveat that I don’t think the oceans and atmosphere are ever balanced in short, long, or millennial time scales.

    I think we are nearing the end of net evaporation of heat (known as an interstadial – see link) out of the oceans. For the global warmers who think CO2 is keeping us from sliding down the cold side, what little longwave re-radiated heat can add back into the oceans cannot stop the eventual loss of enough heat in the oceans such that they flip into net gain condition. That’s when we get cold (known as a stadial – see link). And indeed that jagged downward condition is normal for Earth in this present age, as is a warm upswing interstadial. It remains to be determined if humans can survive the next cold stadial. My guess is that we have a little ways to go but not much.

  16. Where does the extra energy come from to cause an El Nino and higher global temperatures? Without any increase of solar energy, the only explanation is that it’s an artefact caused by linearly averaging non-linear effects of energy on temperature. Air temperatures will go much higher than water with the same energy input. With water current changes moving more energy from sea to land, average global temperatures go up. If the energy moved to the Arctic, little temperature change occur since melting ice would attenuate any temperature changes. Just another example of the fallacy of an “average” global temperature.

    • The oceans can store solar energy just like a battery. The condition of the surface (choppy or calm) and the teleconnected atmosphere (clear or cloudy), determines when oceans cough up stored heat or keep it mixed in. The following link explains this. It likely drinks the coolaid of AGW further into the site but I just ignore that part.

      • Pamela
        lf you take a look at the Stormsurf +180hr global jet stream forecast. Over the NE Pacific a blocking high has formed. Forcing a powerful jet stream to drive north and then south around it. l believe this was a common weather pattern during the ice age. This set up would surly be removing a fair amount of heat from the mid Pacific over the long term. With any large increase in cloud cover and wind speeds due to a more powerful jet stream world wide. Then the climate system maybe hard pushed to replace this loss.

      • Which is exactly my point, a redistribution of energy shown as a temperature change. The total energy in the system remains the same, but the temperature changes. CAGW is based on trapping excess energy as shown by increasing temperature. Yet temperatures can increase just by moving existing energy around. Using temperature as a proxy for energy in a linear fashion when there are extremely non-linear relationships between energy and temperature, especially when a lot of water in it’s three forms is present, is not science.
        Mixing warm water with cold water will give you warmer water. Mixing warm water with mixed ice and water will melt some of the ice, but won’t change the temperature even though there is a change in energy.

      • Okay, now I follow you. Yes. If we assume incoming energy is static, we don’t yet know how much energy is immediately used versus how much is being stored on any given day in order to then develop a yearly average, etc, to make any kind of statement about future global warming. All we really have are ice cores and other reconstructions now back to 800,000 years. In those reconstructions, it is clear that the energy balance is decidedly not balanced, instead being a see-saw pattern of sudden rise followed by a jagged fall. The fall seems to have a floor whereas the ceiling is less defined, either by measurement artifact or by natural factors.

        The following link (please take note of the “personal use” directive) takes you to a graph of that reconstruction. Whenever looking at these types of ice core reconstructions, be aware that it takes a while for snow to compress into ice. Researchers do not yet know exactly how ice cores reflect actual atmospheric CO2 levels. Which is why ice core data are not yet available much beyond the 18th century at most locations and it irritates me no end that many will tack on current atmospheric levels onto ice core levels as if the two are made of the same cloth.

  17. For me, the important issue of the root link is the fact that the climate risk of a La Nina has been highlighted in the mainstream financial media.
    Up to now the financial markets have generally seemed to be blind to global climate risk.
    Sure, some specific markets like energy make use of regional weather forecasts, but there has not been much focus on global climate.
    The warmist hysteria has generally been ignored by the financial markets, except for the lucrative by-product market opportunities in subsidized renewable energy.

  18. Can’t wait for Bill Nye to dawn a fur bow tie and tell the brain dead media TV correspondences that
    global cooling is the new big scary . Their reasoned response would go something like ….ah, OK Bill that makes sense are we getting a scoop here ?
    Remember now …it isn’t global warming or climate change you need to repeat it is global cooling . Got it ?
    How about Global Ice Armageddon Bill ? Well OK, that is rather catchy , but that won’t happen for at least 3 years until AL Gore’s prediction of an ice free Arctic comes true . Oh don’t be silly Bill we have that all figured out . Ladies and gentlemen there you have it, Bill Nye ,mechanical engineer , has updated
    us on what is new in science . Would someone please turn up the heat in here .

  19. For NH cooling the things l will watching out for are,
    (a) a increase in high pressure forming in the NE Pacific.
    (b) long lens shaped highs forming over Greenland/northern europe during the summer. Forces the jet stream to flow zonal over the Atlantic. Plus more blocking during the winter months.
    (c) More large areas of low pressure forming over northern Russia. As this can lead to wide spread cooling over NE europe/NW Russia both during the summer and the winter.

    Because if this sort of weather pattern set up lasts long enough. Then the western world can be hit hard by climate cooling. The Gulf Stream will be of little help.

  20. El Niño produced no global warming – that is to say, excess heat did not suddenly arrive to create the El Niño heating effect. The effect is a release of energy already here from the ocean to the atmosphere. That is net neutral. Once the energy was in the atmosphere it became a candidate to leave the earth system. That makes it net negative because energy is leaving the system at a greater rate. La Niña is not a cooling event – it is the transfer of energy from the atmosphere and direct solar energy to the oceans – again a net neutral exchange because it is a component of a cycle akin the life and death of a tree in the carbon cycle. Until somebody can show the La Niña/El Niño cycle is anything but a simple sine wave of energy coming and going for how long only God knows, we should stop worrying about its effect on climate. It waxes and wanes.

  21. I live in Malaysia, I can tell you, it’s already cooling down here and this is the hot season.

  22. My understanding is all previous recorded temperatures have been adjusted to be cooler, so the chances of seeing and record cooling is slim to none. It will only appear as another pause in a warming planet, and pauses are easy to explain away with record warm months.

  23. If the sun is indeed taking a nap, then most of the heat replacement might have to come from geological processes, it seems to me. How does the geological record of today, (presumed or measured?) compare to previous records? The IPCC et al, ignore the role of the Sun and geological processes in their mantra to demonize carbon dioxide – blaming it for everything from Hurricanes to Trump, it seems. I am so sick of the blatant media lies, wearing the sheepskin of opinion and censorship (to not cover a story is to censor it, IMO). They pick up comment from an unknown blogger or some twit on tweeter and run a headline – as if how some idiot on social networking has any inside knowledge that they didn’t find in a rolled up piece of paper in their mothers’ basements?

    • How many times must it be posted that the amount of W/m2 difference there is between a spotted sun at peak cycle, to a quiet sun at trough is not sufficient to rise above weather noise and long term intrinsic cycle noise, before you people stop posting such an uneducated statement about a napping sun???? Even if the sun stays spotless for decades. If you had even a basic understanding of the ways that TSI is affected by spots versus not spots, you would not make such a silly comment about heat replacement.

      I and others have posted and posted and posted about this it seems, to no avail. Belief trumps observable data, sometimes even by all the people for a short while. No wonder President Lincoln was depressed much of the time.

      • Pam, Apparently you feel so strongly that TSI should be the factor, that you reject any further consideration of sunspots. Like it or not, with appropriate scale/proxy factor the time-integral of sunspot number anomalies provides a 97% match to planet energy change since before 1900. Of course it is a proxy. Likely mechanism is solar magnetic field associated with sunspots modulates galactic cosmic rays which modulate low altitude clouds. Tiny changes to low altitude clouds have the observed effect on average global temperature. Sensitivity to low altitude clouds is indicated by the crude thermal analysis presented in Ref. 12 of

      • Who are the real ‘owners’ of the state of ‘belief’ wrt solar influence on temperatures?

        Quoting the usual small change in number in TSI at TOA as your main argument is a dead giveaway you’re lost in your own state of ‘belief’.

        Higher TSI since the solar minimum was responsible for the 2015 El Nino that started less than a month after the SC24 TSI peak in February 2015?

        Year 1au TSI
        2015 1361.4321
        2014 1361.3966
        2013 1361.3587
        2016 1361.3019
        2012 1361.2413
        2011 1361.0752
        2003 1361.0292
        2004 1360.9192
        2010 1360.8027
        2005 1360.7518
        2006 1360.6735
        2007 1360.5710
        2009 1360.5565
        2008 1360.5382

        The sun is quieting down fast, ahead of the SWPC March “low” F10.7cm prediction value of 97.4 sfu. Yesterday the observed F10.7cm flux was 89, and the March average is now 94.1, and 2016 is at 101.1 sfu, as of yesterday.

        The USAF forecast for the next 45 day average of F10.7cm solar radio flux is at 90 sfu. The SWPC ‘predicted’ values for 2016 didn’t even show a result for 90 sfu until December, so the sun is many months ahead of that SWPC prediction now., updated monthly.

        Name your alternative source for the increase in energy necessary to drive temps up since 2008.

        If you don’t have one, then your solar stance is a demonstration of an unswerving “belief” in an evidence, data, and logic-free position – but alas, you aren’t the only one so afflicted.

        The failed TOA-based reductionist methods used by warmist climate scientists, will continue to mislead people, such as those ideas used by the IPCC, like neglecting solar variations, or addressing climate “change” (a dynamic thing) with a static energy budget that assumes a constant solar input, when solar energy output actually varies dynamically.

        I do credit you Pamela for understanding that the ocean charges and discharges solar heat.

      • Dan leaves us the impression that his theory rises above weather noise and other intrinsic factors that produce cloud variations. Don’t buy into it. His mechanism is tiny compared to oceanic/atmospheric teleconnections driven by the Earth’s Coriolis effect. What seeding may occur with cosmic particles is not even a needle in a haystack. It’s more like a wisp of wind that wiggles a leaf of a single tree compared to the jet stream and its ability to move a jet along its path at greater speed than is otherwise usual.

        Dan, I would estimate that CO2 has a much greater effect on global temperatures than cosmic particles. And I am not an AGWist.

      • Getting a compliment from Bob Weber that I understand something is no more dispositive of his acumen on this topic than Chicken Little’s cry of alarm when something fell on his head. Bob has been repeatedly shorn of his uneducated, mathless, unmechanized theories yet continues to spout the same solar wrigglemania nonsense.

      • “Bob has been repeatedly shorn…” Who did that and when? Be very specific too. You are still wishfully thinking as is Leif Svalgaard that either of you has even come close to successfully refuting what I’ve been saying.

        You’re now practically resorting to ad homs, and you didn’t address the issues I brought forth, or provide any counter argument, leading me to think I was right to say this about you:

        Your solar stance is a demonstration of an unswerving “belief” in an evidence, data, and logic-free position – but alas, you aren’t the only one so afflicted.

      • “uneducated, mathless, unmechanized theories yet continues to spout the same solar wrigglemania nonsense”


        I learned of TSI, total solar irradiance, that it comprises all the radiant energy of the sun, and is time-variant.


        I computed the annual average TSI and sorted by rank. If you know your numbers Pamela, you can see clearly that the TSI last year was the highest since 2002, 2014 second, and so on, down to the years of the solar minimum 2008/9.

        Every year since 2008 had higher and higher TSI, which means the sun produced more energy as time went on until it peaked. That solar variation drove temperatures higher, temperatures that have just peaked, 11 months after the solar TSI peak. [11 is computed by counting the number of months since the TSI peak last February to the HadSST3 Global SST peak in January 2016. – do the math]


        The extra solar energy since and above 2008 TSI levels warmed the ocean water at depth and the surface.


        Seeing my wiggles match will change you.


        The only nonsense is yours. Show me you have more than an attitude.

        From where is your alternative energy influence on temperatures that had a chance to overpower and make insignificant the real increase in solar energy output since 2008?

        I’m still waiting for your’s and Dr. Svalgaard’s scientific answer(s).

      • Bob Weber’s proposal is that El Nino’s are driven by solar activity. Bob says it is up to someone else to poke a hole in his argument. That is not the case. It is up to Bob to poke a hole in his own argument. So Bob: Here is a pretty good reconstruction of El Nino events. See what you can find as a correlation with the new stripped-of-mismatched-counting-systems solar record.

        Possible El Nino events reconstruction:

        Current reconstructed solar activity:

  24. There is a annoying advert on here which is difficult to find and turn of the sound. It keeps on repeating. There has been issues on here before where pesky ads are partly obscuring graphs.

  25. Pam, If you had looked you might have noticed that the match since before 1900 is 97% with no effect from CO2. Any effect from CO2, volcanoes, aerosols, measurement uncertainty, etc. must find room in the unexplained 3%. The sunspot/low altitude cloud observation is Svensmark’s. The calculation at that a change of average cloud altitude of 186 meters would account for the 0.74 K temperature change is mine.

  26. One thing people have to remember is that El Nino events are actually cooling events, if one is looking at the whole climate system. We are getting this constant message from alarmists that the Pause isn’t real if you look at the whole climate system, because ocean warming at depth. But this major El Nino event is actually a huge cooling event, wherein ocean heat is being transferred to the atmosphere on its way to being radiated out into space. It temporarily heats up the atmosphere, but cools the system as a whole. But suddenly there’s no talk of the whole climate system, only the atmosphere, because that’s convenient to the narrative.

Comments are closed.