Bombshell study: past El Niño’s ‘may have amplified global climate fluctuations for hundreds of years at a time’

From AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY

How El Niño impacts global temperatures

El Niño oscillations in the Pacific Ocean may have amplified global climate fluctuations for hundreds of years at a time

Scientists have found past El Niño oscillations in the Pacific Ocean may have amplified global climate fluctuations for hundreds of years at a time.

The team uncovered century-scale patterns in Pacific rainfall and temperature, and linked them with global climate changes in the past 2000 years.

For example, northern hemisphere warming and droughts between the years 950 and 1250 corresponded to an El Niño-like state in the Pacific, which switched to a La Niña-like pattern during a cold period between 1350 and 1900.

The new data will help scientists build more accurate models of future climate, said member of the research team, Alena Kimbrough, from The Australian National University.

“Our work is a significant piece in the grand puzzle. The tropics are a complicated, yet incredibly important region to global climate and it’s been great to untangle what’s happening,” said Ms Kimbrough, a PhD student at the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences.

“The current models struggle to reflect century-scale changes in the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

“We’ve shown ENSO is an important part of the climate system that has influenced global temperatures and rainfall over the past millennium.”

The team measured trace elements and stable isotopes in stalagmites from the Indonesian island of Flores to reconstruct ancient rainfall, and compared it with records from East Asia and the central-eastern equatorial Pacific.

The El Niño Southern Oscillation is an irregular variation in winds and sea surface temperatures over the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean. In one extreme it brings high temperatures and drought to eastern Australia and Indonesia, and the opposite extreme, known as La Niña, heavy rainfall and storms.

“In the past decade or so the rise in global temperature had a brief reprieve, the so-called warming hiatus, which can be partly attributed to a persistent La Niña pattern over that period,” Ms Kimbrough said.

The new work found periods of predominantly El Niño-like patterns for several hundred years that alternate with La Niña patterns, impacting on global climate over the last 2000 years.

“Until we can model this lower-frequency behaviour in the tropical Pacific, one can only speculate on how the warming will play out over the next few decades,” said lead author Dr Michael Griffiths from William Paterson University, in the United States.

The international team of scientists was led by Dr Michael Griffiths of William Patterson University in New Jersey, along with PhD candidate Alena Kimbrough and Dr Michael Gagan at the ANU, Professor Wahyoe Hantoro of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences and colleagues at the University of Melbourne and the University of Arizona.

The research is published in Nature Communications.

###

The paper: http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2016/160608/ncomms11719/full/ncomms11719.html

Western Pacific hydroclimate linked to global climate variability over the past two millennia

Abstract:

Interdecadal modes of tropical Pacific ocean-atmosphere circulation have a strong influence on global temperature, yet the extent to which these phenomena influence global climate on multicentury timescales is still poorly known. Here we present a 2,000-year, multiproxy reconstruction of western Pacific hydroclimate from two speleothem records for southeastern Indonesia. The composite record shows pronounced shifts in monsoon rainfall that are antiphased with precipitation records for East Asia and the central-eastern equatorial Pacific. These meridional and zonal patterns are best explained by a poleward expansion of the Australasian Intertropical Convergence Zone and weakening of the Pacific Walker circulation (PWC) between ~1000 and 1500 CE Conversely, an equatorward contraction of the Intertropical Convergence Zone and strengthened PWC occurred between ~1500 and 1900 CE. Our findings, together with climate model simulations, highlight the likelihood that century-scale variations in tropical Pacific climate modes can significantly modulate radiatively forced shifts in global temperature.

(a) Flores LLPC1 record. (b) Marine foraminifera δ18Osw (ref. 5) and (c) terrestrial δDleaf-wax (ref. 6) records recovered from marine sediment cores located in the Makassar Strait on the Sulawesi margin. (d) δ18O of lake sediment calcite in Laguna Pumacocha in the central Peruvian Andes (proxy for the strength of the South American summer monsoon)44. (e) Speleothem δ18O record from Cascayunga cave in northeast Peru46. (f) δDleaf-wax record from Washington Island in the central equatorial Pacific8. (g) Red-colour intensity from Laguna Pallcacocha, southern Ecuador47. (h) Percent sand in El Junco lake, Galápagos Islands10. For clarity, all records have been converted to standard (z) scores with blue indicating wetter conditions (a–f) or heavier precipitation events (g–h) and vice versa for red. Vertical bars indicate the approximate timing of the MCA (yellow), LIA (blue) and CWP (pink) in Flores.

Figure 4: Hydroclimate records for the tropical western and eastern Pacific. (a) Flores LLPC1 record. (b) Marine foraminifera δ18Osw (ref. 5) and (c) terrestrial δDleaf-wax (ref. 6) records recovered from marine sediment cores located in the Makassar Strait on the Sulawesi margin. (d) δ18O of lake sediment calcite in Laguna Pumacocha in the central Peruvian Andes (proxy for the strength of the South American summer monsoon)44. (e) Speleothem δ18O record from Cascayunga cave in northeast Peru46. (f) δDleaf-wax record from Washington Island in the central equatorial Pacific8. (g) Red-colour intensity from Laguna Pallcacocha, southern Ecuador47. (h) Percent sand in El Junco lake, Galápagos Islands10. For clarity, all records have been converted to standard (z) scores with blue indicating wetter conditions (a–f) or heavier precipitation events (g–h) and vice versa for red. Vertical bars indicate the approximate timing of the MCA (yellow), LIA (blue) and CWP (pink) in Flores.

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138 thoughts on “Bombshell study: past El Niño’s ‘may have amplified global climate fluctuations for hundreds of years at a time’

  1. “…global climate changes in the past 2000 years”

    So.. That means “climate change” isn’t a new thing, right?

    /sarc

    • Oh jeez! They said the world was gonna end! I gave away all my stuff! I’m standing on top of a hill waiting for the end! Ah jeez!!!

    • Not necessarily in the last 2000 years which is known as AD.
      It was in the CE which is the abbreviated for the Common Era.
      So when was or is the Common Era?
      I would think sometime before the last age, when all of the Anthropoids had lot in common with each other.

      • It is essentially a politically correct expression to remove the Christian link found in Western Societies. As per Wikipedia:

        Common Era or Current Era, abbreviated CE,[1] is a calendar era that is often used as an alternative naming of the Anno Domini system (“in the year of the Lord”),[2] abbreviated AD.[3][4] The system uses BCE as an abbreviation for “before the Common (or Current) Era” and CE as an abbreviation for “Common Era”. The CE/BCE designation uses the same numeric values as the traditional Anno Domini year-numbering system introduced by the 6th-century Christian monk Dionysius Exiguus, intending the beginning[a] of the life of Jesus to be the reference date.[5][6] Neither notation includes a year zero,[b] and the two notations (CE/BCE and AD/BC) are numerically equivalent; thus “2016 CE” corresponds to “AD 2016”, and “400 BCE” corresponds to “400 BC”. The Gregorian calendar and the year-numbering system associated with it is the calendar system with most widespread use in the world today. For decades, it has been the global standard, recognized by international institutions such as the United Nations and the Universal Postal Union.

      • I have a few acquaintances from other cultures, and they tell me that while they don’t mind seeing AD, they find CE to be somewhat insulting.
        The fact is that there is nothing “common” about the Christian calendar. The Jews have their own calendar. The Chinese have their own calendar. The Arabs have their own calendar. The Indians have their own calendar. Every major cultural group has it’s own calendar that is based on important historical events from those cultures.

        Anything that results in the current year being 2016, whether it’s labeled AD or CE is still the Christian calendar. Be honest, label it as such.

      • “moonbattery”

        E.M.Smith ,

        I believe you just invented the energy storage system that will finally make those intermittent renewables work. We will no longer have to rely on hypothetical, magical solutions now that we have moonbatteries.

      • Moonbattery is charged by moonlight-ing it is the latest in renewable energy technology, although the efficiency is not as great as in solar, the available subsidies make it an attractive long-term investment.

      • “C.E.” is a usage that (barely) keeps one from getting a cracked skull in Israel when a Muslim or Ultraorthodox hears you talking dates. They both throw rocks at you. It means that same thing as A.D. in calendrical terms, just as B.C.E. means the same as B.C. It avoids the direct religious assumptions of A.D. and B.C., which also reject the Hebrew beginning date (over 5,000 years ago) and the Hegira system Muslims prefer. It also suppresses Agnostic and Atheist jokes that peeve the fundamentalists.

      • A.D. or CE? Who really cares if it’s the same thing? I understand why people think the metric system is better but if you’re just moving around the deck chairs it doesn’t make much sense to me.

        As far as the Chinese, Indians, Jews and etc., I seem to recall Gutenberg inventing a cheap press, latter there was radio, television and most recently the internet. All of them played a significant role in standardizing the Christian Calendar. Not much help coming now.

    • Well, maybe, however they still show once again clearly: The MWP (Medieval Warm Period) was global !!!

      BTW: Why is it, that main stream CAGW scientiest call the MWP now MCA ? Must the w-word only used for our Current Warm Period (CWP) in order to pretend that it could not have been as warm as today ???

      But with calling the MWP a Climate Anomaly they actually declare the lousy temps of the LIA to be “normal” and consequently somehow “good” – OMG how stupid…

    • I think it’s really more related to how to model really complex systems. I can make a great model that treats the acceleration of gravity as a constant, and land projectiles with accuracy. That model won’t get a rocket to the moon.

      Climate models take are still unvalidated, and we still don’t have a function in them for every salient factor. Maybe in a decade or two we will, but maybe not. We’ve been working on controlled fusion for over fifty years.

      I think it’s a worthwhile endeavor, but I don’t think we should change societal based on the present models.

    • All models are wrong. Some models are useful.

      Models are of great use in helping you figure out what it is that you don’t know yet.
      When it comes to climate models, they have no predictive value and won’t for several hundred years. At a minimum.

      • “Models are of great use in helping you figure out what it is that you don’t know yet.
        When it comes to climate models, they have no predictive value and won’t for several hundred years. At a minimum.”

        too funny a prediction about no predictions.

        1. Climate models make predictions.
        2. The value of a prediction depends upon the use case.
        3. Climate models have a pretty clear uses and people in fact use them.
        4. They are probably biased high, but thats ok and not huge problem,

  2. I think the El Nino’s and La Nina’s just fluctuate from year to year up and down. It is really just a natural short-term oscillation of +/- 2.5C. There can be two or three year events but not a decade and certainly not hundreds of years.

    The mechanisms which drive the ENSO operate on short time-frames of under two years. The drivers are what dictates what it does.

    Maybe they are just picking up the overall 400 year cycles of the climate like the Little Ice Age and MWP and Dark Ages and Roman Warm Period etc. The ENSO did not cause these swings. There is also some type of 60 year climate cycle as well and that is not ENSO-related either but it more likely to be caused by the AMO cycles.

    Maybe they are trying to raise the alarm that global warming will cause a permanent El Nino (or a 400 year long one). They have tried this before and people on their side of the debate fall for it every time.

    • There are periods when El Nino are more frequent than La Nina and vice versa e.g. 1976-2000. I see no reason this can’t happen on longer scales. Cause and effect is another matter.

      • The Nino 3.4 Index average from 1976 to 2000 is -0.02C; essentially Zero (especially when one thinks about how a value like this impacts the climate which would be to multiply it by 0.07 or an impact of -0.001C).

        But from 1972 to 1994, the AMO index averaged -0.18C which is long stretch of negative for the AMO. (Which also matches the 60 year cycle in global temperatures very closely going back as far as we can. So either the 60 year up and down cycle is caused by the AMO or it is very good proxy for whatever is driving that 60 year cycle).

        In 1995, something changed and the AMO has been cycling up ever since. It was 0.359C last month which is a high number for this index. 1995 is also the time when the Arctic sea ice seemed to switch to lower levels.

    • I agree Bill, in order to have continuous El Nino conditions something would have to be continuously creating the elevated surface temperatures in the equatorial pacific,and the only such realistic mechanisms that I can think of is increased solar insolation from a variable sun or long tem reduced cloud cover.

      • Its clearly a chicken and egg thing, ENSO is a reflection and not the cause of a deteriorating climate. Gergis did a lot of work on this and there is no doubt that La Nina was far more common during the LIA cool periods.

      • Gergis of the failed hockey stick ???, Given the obvious unquality of that paper, I wouldn’t place too much stock in her other work. . Mind you, I wouldn’t place too much stock in the clearly unscientific opinion of someone who knowingly spits out the phrase “ENSO is the reflection and not the cause of a deteriorating climate” So there you go.

      • ” I wouldn’t place too much stock in the clearly unscientific opinion of someone who knowingly spits out the phrase “ENSO is the reflection and not the cause of a deteriorating climate””

        Seems kinda harsh, considering all that we know about the driver of ENSO, no?

      • in order to have continuous El Nino conditions something would have to be continuously creating the elevated surface temperatures in

        Exactly what is the temperature (F or C) of the ocean surface water that is denoted as the “0” (zero) grid line on the eight (8) include graphics?

        What is that “magic” temperature number?

        Is it, per se, …… if the average surface temperature is 75F or less, it is a La Nina event, …… but if the average surface temperature is 76F or greater, it is an El Nino event?

        “DUH”, it is obvious to me that the “0” (zero) grid line DOES NOT represent a fixed temperature #.

      • Paul , sorry but how else to respond to quasi religious liberal buzz phrases like “deteriorating climate”. ?

      • Samuel, so we are agreed that Mwp probably isn’t a local event caused by amplified El Ninos ?

      • Samuel C Cogar asks: “Exactly what is the temperature (F or C) of the ocean surface water that is denoted as the “0” (zero) grid line on the eight (8) include graphics? ”

        Temperature “anomaly” charts are Z (or Zed) scores. If you look for that in a stats book (or maybe Wikipedia) you’ll find the explanation. The short answer is you calculate the mean (average) value for some data set like temperature and you use that as your reference. You usually publish the data set you used to calculate the mean but that isn’t very common in global temperature charts, they seem to assume you know what the set was, even though different people and organizations use different sets.

        Regardless, once you’ve calculated the mean, instead of publishing absolute values you publish relative ones and label them “anomalies”, that is variation from the average. It’s done by subtracting the average from the absolute value of temperature you measured, which yields a positive value for temperatures above the mean and a negative value for those below it.

        Statistically it’s useful because it normalizes the data, which makes it possible to compare two different data sets meaningfully (sort of a statistical pun there). Many methods of statistical inference depend on the data coming from a normal distribution, a condition that isn’t satisfied by unadjusted absolute temperatures.

        So that doesn’t really answer the question “what is zero” since zero varies from one data set to another, but it does give you an idea of how the value is calculated and maybe enough information you can look it up for the set you’re interested in.

  3. Admitting to the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age is quite an accomplishment for climate scientists these days, given Michael Mann’s hockeystick revision of climate history which virtually wiped out those periods.

    • But they DID manage to “get rid of the MWP”. A really simple trick; it’s now called the MCA or Medieval Climate Anomaly. Calling it a warm period might cause the uninformed reader to suspect that present day warming is not unprecedented, and we can’t have that, can we? Not if we’re living on the eve of (self-induced) destruction.

      Calling the pre-1750 Arcadian Paradise the “Little Ice Age” might confuse the alert reader though. Why such a negative title for the time when everything was perfect, before the demon CO2 was unleashed? How about “Garden Of Eden”? GOE sounds better than LIA, doesn’t it now?

      CWP – for (presumably) “Current Warm Period” – now that’s a bit dodgy. Alert but uninformed reader might think “Current? Does that mean there’ve been other warm periods? Before fossil fuels? OMG!”. Yes, got to have a better name for it. Perhaps I’ve already said it – EOD – “Eve Of Destruction”.

      Yes, labels are important because they tell the story. MCA – GOE – EOD. Appropriate labels! There. Fixed that.

      Now, got to find a positive-sounding label for Dark Ages, and a negative one for Roman Warm Period. Suggestions welcome!

      For those whose memories don’t go back that far, Eve of Destruction was a popular song in 1965, recorded by Barry McGuire. Its lyrics fit the Climate Change concept very well, surprising that that they haven’t used it. Of course it was about threats that were real, and that’s why the song had so much power at the time.

      • The area of the timeline formerly known as “The Roman Warm Period” will, post hoc ergo proper hoc, be known as “The Caesarian Section”!

      • Negative for the Roman Warm Period? Easy. The Roman Hot Period. Maybe the Roman Hot Flash? Roman Night Sweats? Roman Scorching Event? The Roman Fever? Nah. Sounds like a dance craze…

  4. So…

    A single reconstruction of the last 2000 years based on a set of stalagmites from one single cave on one single island in the western Pacific is enough to call the actual trend of actual satellite measurements of the atmosphere over the last 20 or so years “so-called”?

    Modern lack of warming is not “so-called”. It’s a matter of fact that is not explained by their study, and especially not by current models or theories which supposedly support the theory that the larger observed global warming: 1) is caused primarily by human-caused CO2 emissions; 2) is harmful; 3) is the cause of all the “extreme” weather events as claimed by alarmists; 4) can in any measurable way be affected, much less reversed, by any act of mankind.

    That ENSO has a signature that can be measured across many years at a time I don’t doubt. That their findings in any way support AGW (going back as they do and apparently demonstrate natural variation mimicking modern observations during the 1800 years or so preceding the Industrial Revolution)— That I doubt.

  5. From the article: “The new work found periods of predominantly El Niño-like patterns for several hundred years that alternate with La Niña patterns, impacting on global climate over the last 2000 years.”

    I guess a several-hundred-year long La Nina might explain how California had a 200-year long drought, in the past.

    Today, these weather patterns come and go every few years. What has changed?

    • “Today, these weather patterns come and go every few years. What has changed?”

      Because we are measuring them with greater resolution now. Proxy data smooths our understanding, spatially and temporally.

      • Exactly, and the temporal smoothing isn’t at all apparent to most casual readers. I can’t count the times I’ve been faced with “it’s not the amount of warming, it’s the rate that’s unprecedented!” It happens all the time. I actually got banned from Ars Technica for publishing a link to the radiocarbon.org website describing the increased uncertainty in 14C dating as the samples aged.

        People just don’t seem to get the idea that, even if the proxy temperature data were accurate +/- 5C, there’s no way to see a high frequency change when your temporal resolution is +/- 500 years. Of course it’s “unprecedented”; you can’t see it at all with contemporary instruments.

    • At our end of things, we already have realised that Nino dominates warm and Nina, cooler periods. But are they not effects rather than causes?

      • Yup! They have a significant effect on global temps for a few months at a time. Also, they are one of the most obvious examples of the thermal interchange between oceanic and atmospheric enthalpy. Since oceanic enthalpy is a thermal flywheel thousands of times bigger than that of the atmosphere one would think that makes ENSO events among the very best points of investigation for climate. But, so far as I’ve seen there’s very little interest in checking out real phenomena. Too busy writing grant proposals about AGW and making more models that don’t work.

      • Yes, Brett in looking at the Nino we see effects rather than causes. All climatic aberrations are associated with change in surface pressure that drives the planetary winds. The dominant mode of climate change on Earth is called the Annular Modes Phenomenon that relates to an exchange in atmospheric mass between high latitudes and the rest of the globe in winter. That’s why we see the largest variations in surface temperature and wind in January and July due to changing polar cycle activity at 60-70° of latitude and particularly so on the margins of Antarctica. Climate science has no explanation for this phenomenon. If we want to understand the natural modes of climate change that is what needs to be explained.

  6. To logically reply, So….

    A single tree ring study from a few trees in a single area in the Urals is enough to convince mankind to bankrupt the world in the name of preventing a catastrophe with a very low probability of occurring at all…and is something that your refer to as truth.

    Modern warming is occurring at a substantially slower rate as models forecast and are a combination of man made contributions along with natural variability as the Earth has emerged from the little ice age of the 1700s. To adjust your statements, they should read global warming 1) is caused by a combination of factors, some of which may be human caused 2) remains to be seen if harmful 3) is not a driver of extreme weather and a variety of data proves this i.e., hurricane numbers, tornadoes numbers 4) can not really be affected in any case as countries such as China and India continue to fail to curb emissions while the U.S. and EU make some effort, CO2 will continue to rise at current rates. 5) warming can have unanticipated positive affects http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate3004.html

  7. What is this LIA they speak of…..and why does it end around 1950 on their very own charts?

    …………………./snark

    First they convince you the LIA ended around 1850….then all the recovery after that is man made global warming

  8. Wait, so this significant weather phenomenon, which we didn’t even understand back when the ‘science was settled’ is important?

  9. For example, northern hemisphere warming and droughts between the years 950 and 1250 corresponded to an El Niño-like state in the Pacific, which switched to a La Niña-like pattern during a cold period between 1350 and 1900.
    The El Nino makes the southwest US wet, not the La Nina. It was drought that drove out the native population in the 1300s. They are calling for drought with warm, but the 1300s were cold, LIA onset, and dry.

  10. They have a new isotope ratio proxy from speleothems from Indonesia. The data dovetails very well with the current understanding of the last 2000 years.
    I note a few things:
    They use the term MCA for Medieval Climate Anomaly, instead of MWP. MCA was invented by a group who wanted to create the notion that the MWP was minor, and restricted to Europe. This was in turn to support the “straight shaft” of the “Hockey Stick”, which found the MWP to be inconvenient.
    This new proxy data shows just the opposite, that the MWP was a major event, and worldwide.
    Now I really do not have a good eye for proxy data, least of all isotopes. But to my eye, that data looks to be about as good as it gets.

    • I agree that the new speleothem data look impressive.

      The century scale mechanisms that are proposed appear to borrow heavily from ideas long discussed here at WUWT on ENSO by Bob Tisdale and the ITCZ by Steven Wilde.

  11. The Abstract refers to climate model simulations which presumably contain a factor for CO2 causing warming. However the El Nino events clearly demonstrate graphically that not only does CO2 not cause warming but the rate of change of CO2 concentration correlates with the 12 month running average for the satellite lower tropospheric temperature for the Tropics-Land component (UAH satellite data). That is, the temperature across the Tropics-Land controls the rate of change of atmospheric CO2 concentration.
    Cross correlation of the annual increment in the CO2 concentration at Mauna Loa (source Scripps Institute) with the annual increment in the satellite lower tropospheric temperature for the Tropics-Land determined that the change in CO2 increment lagged the change in temperature increment by 5 months – cross correlation 0.45 with a near-zero probability that the correlation was zero (applying first order autoregression model to take account of the autocorrelation). Thus it is impossible for the CO2 change to have caused the temperature change 5 months earlier.
    Furthermore, generalised linear regression applied to the transformed variables from an AR(1) model for the second derivative of the CO2 concentration compared to the first time derivative, annual increment, of the Tropics Land temperature gave a correlation coefficient of 0.165 with a probability of 0.0006 that the correlation is zero. Note that the usual interpretation of R^2 for Ordinary Linear Regression does not apply to Generalised Linear Regression as it is dealing with transformed variables. Mathematically this is simply expressed by the differential equation:
    d2(CO2)/dt2 = A * d(Temperature)/dt
    which on integration with respect to time, gives:
    d(CO2)/dt = A * Temperature + B
    where A and B are constants.
    This is supported by the correlation coefficient between the annual average satellite Tropics-Land temperature and the annual increment for the CO2 concentration being 0.5 with a near-zero probability of it being zero.
    As a geophysicist who has not studied biology, my guess is that the CO2 is generated in the Equatorial zone from biological sources as the zone contains the greatest profusion of life forms across the globe as a result of the higher ambient temperature and humidity.
    In conclusion, all climate models that assume CO2 causes global warming are wrong. Any doubters please go to the data freely available on the Internet for nearly 400 CO2 recording stations across the globe.

    • Very neat demo.

      But water holds CO2 according to its temperature and the cooler it is the more it can dissolve. If water temperature rises before the CO2 level rises it suggests that surface conditions are unfavourable to the dissolving process.

      • Erl Happ, the cross correlation between the annual increments in each of CO2 concentration and satellite lower tropospheric temperature gave a maximum for the Tropics-Land component of 0.453 for CO2 lagging temperature by 5 months. For Tropics-Ocean the maximum correlation was 0.436 for CO2 lagging temperature by 7 months. Both gave negligible probability of being zero.
        For the correlation between the annual increment in CO2 concentration and the 12 month average temperature the value was 0.500 for the Tropics-Land component and 0.483 for the Tropics-Ocean component both with negligible probability of being zero. That is, no reason to suggest that the source of the CO2 is due to the change in ocean temperature in preference to the land.
        Regardless of what the dominant source may be, the important point is that the temperature level sets the rate of increase in CO2 not the reverse as promoted by the IPCC – CO2 does not cause global warming.

    • So sayeth: Bevan Dockery – June 9, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      That is, the temperature across the Tropics-Land controls the rate of change of atmospheric CO2 concentration.
      [snip]

      As a geophysicist who has not studied biology, my guess is that the CO2 is generated in the Equatorial zone from biological sources as the zone contains the greatest profusion of life forms across the globe as a result of the higher ambient temperature and humidity.

      Sorry bout that but the biology of the natural world NEGATES your above guessing.

      So, keep in mind [and Henry’s Law] that the ocean is the greatest of all CO2 sinks …. and is also the primary provider/generator of atmospheric oxygen (O2).

      • Samuel C Cogar, data from locations right across the globe all display a prominent seasonal cycle attributed to photosynthesis as seasonal plants thrive in Spring thereby decreasing the CO2 concentration and decay in Autumn thus increasing the CO2 concentration. This is the reverse of the change to be expected by outgassing of oceanic CO2 as temperature rises. The amplitude is of the order of a few ppm, a multiple of the annual rate of change of CO2 concentration showing that it is the dominant factor. The amplitude is greatest at Barrow, Alaska, being the latitude where the ratio of land to ocean is greatest. It is about 20 ppm, almost 10 times the annual increment in CO2 concentration. Thus it is reasonable to propose that all of the other life forms on Earth could be the source of the annual rise in CO2 concentration. The land surface is covered in a multitude of microbes, many yet to be identified, all consuming carbonaceous matter at a rate dependent of the supply of water and energy. Carbon plus water plus energy produces life which, in turn, produces CO2.

    • CO2 is a very unusual gas, in that solubility in water decreases with increase in water temperature.

      Therefore, as nocean temperature increases, outgassing occurs, and CO2 nlevels increase.

      Exactly the same relationship was discovered with the Vostok ice cores. Al Gore claimed that the very obvious relationship between CO2 and temperature showed that increased CO2 concentration was the cause of the temperature increases. However, a closer inspection showed that temperature rise preceded CO2 increase by about 800 years. That is, an outgassing effect.

      Perfectly natural.

      • Seems like I recall a discussion here several months ago on this topic. If I’m remembering correctly, the solubility of CO2 in the oceans is over shadowed by the increase in atmospheric partial pressure of CO2. Thus, whereas you could theoretically calculate that the oceans were outgassing at a specific rate corresponding to the minute temperature increase, the higher concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, and the associated partial pressure calculations showed that the oceans would absorb CO2 at a much higher rate than they released it. Not a chemist type, so I don’t actually remember all the specifics…

        rip

  12. I have wondered here if there is a physically definable long term heat exchange mechanism intrinsic to the vast ocean that is related to how much heat can be absorbed over time before it can’t hold anymore and begins to discharge that heat. When that happens discharged water vapor and the potential heat it carries prevents the Sun from replacing what is being discharged. But once the stored heat is depleted, the skies clear and once more the oceans are in net-recharge mode. Because the oceans are teleconnected to the atmosphere this mechanism would be noisy, and its long discharging climb would be different than the re-charging slide back down since heat absorption and heat release would have their own signature shape, and be decidedly not symmetrical.

    One thing I have learned about Earth is that simple mechanisms can cause both short and long term patterns. Maybe this is at work here.

    • @ Pamela – Yes, I have been think a similar mechanism: rather like one of those balances that have a trickle of water into a cup such that once a certain volume provides sufficient weight it trips the mechanism. Once the optimum weight approaches a minor influence can be a trigger (puff of wind or in case of ENSO a solar pulse). Once the water (heat) disperses the mechanism tips back again to begin the refill cycle again. This makes some sense.

    • So asketh: Pamela Gray – June 9, 2016 at 7:33 pm

      I have wondered here if there is a physically definable long term heat exchange mechanism intrinsic to the vast ocean that is related to how much heat can be absorbed over time before it can’t hold anymore and begins to discharge that heat.

      Yes, there is such a mechanism.

      The “short” term physically definable heat exchange mechanism is called “weather” …… and the “long” term physically definable heat exchange mechanism is called “climate”. And both of said “exchange mechanisms” obey the Laws of Physics.

  13. Gosh,

    I recall a similar pattern relating sunspot activity to south American river volumes. I read it here at WUWT.

    I don’t recall the researcher.

  14. The pattern of observed climate change according to hemisphere, latitude and season indicates that natural modes associated with the variation in the ozone content of the air in winter drives the system on all time scales. No other mode is required. What needs to be explained is the so-called coupling of the troposphere with the stratosphere in winter. Change begins in the stratosphere associated with variations in its defining characteristic, the presence of ozone. This is not a complex problem to solve unless you happen to believe in radiative theory in which case you will probably languish in the darkness of intellectual confusion forever.


  15. Bill Illis:

    I think the El Nino’s and La Nina’s just fluctuate from year to year up and down. It is really just a natural short-term oscillation of +/- 2.5C. There can be two or three year events but not a decade and certainly not hundreds of years.

    With respect, I don’t agree. Yes the ENSO events themselves are of just a year or two duration. But researchers into ENSO talk about a “ground state” of the Pacific Ocean. This ground state can adopt alternate configurations for periods of many decades – or even longer.

    I’ll come back with references if I have time.

    The ocean is big. The literature is full of studies that show that climate shifts over century and millennial scales can be driven by THC dynamics and processes such as the bipolar seesaw and inter hemispheric heat piracy.

    • mods – I posted a reply with some references to back up the above statement. Looks like its stuck in moderation all day. It’s only article pdfs, no bad stuff!

    • Several climate model simulations (which have never been able to simulate the ENSO) and others which do not get to the point.

      It is just an up and down oscillation with no long-term trend and no medium-term excursions. Monthly back to 1871 here.

      • It is just an up and down oscillation with no long-term trend

        Some authors do not agree and find long term changes in the frequency of El Niño events:

        Moy, C.M., et al. 2002. Variability of El Niño/Southern Oscillation activity at millennial timescales during the Holocene epoch. Nature 420, 162-165.

        El Niño Southern Oscillation during an El Niño phase represents a tremendous amount of energy that leaves the Pacific Ocean and warms the atmosphere during its way out of the planet. This energy takes a shortcut from the usual poleward atmospheric/oceanic transport alleviating the latitudinal thermal gradient. It is very likely that a strong latitudinal thermal gradient, which is increased in a cooling planet, favors the El Niño conditions. Thus global warming would reduce the strength and/or frequency of El Niño events, while periods of high solar activity would favor them. Bond events like the Little Ice Age, when low solar activity is coupled with severe cooling would suppress El Niño events, that may require high solar activity to warm the ocean waters and a latitudinal thermal gradient that cannot transport that heat fast enough to prevent the build up that generates the El Niño phenomenon.

      • Javier, Bill

        Thanks Javier for your input. It is partly a matter of definition, Bill is justified in describing ENSO as subdecadal oscillation between el nino and la nina states since that is what is normally meant by ENSO. However ocean driven climate cycles of much longer duration also exist as shown incontrovertibly in this study. This study shows an oscillation of about 1000 years wavelength. What links this to ENSO is fractality which us a signature of nonlinear dynamic systems. Fractality means that similar patterns, e.g. Warm/cold wet/dry oscillations occur on timescales from subdecadal to millenial. What wr are seeing here is just a textbook example of fractal oscillation patterns in a nonlinear dynamic system. The oscillation is a Lorenz type butterfly wing oscillator / attractor (or possibly a Roessler attractor) which alternately hangs in one of two states, or wings – the el nino dominated and the la nina dominated.

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorenz_system

  16. That grad student’s comment… ” … the last decade or so of La Nina patterns. Wasn’t there a big El Nino in 2009, and haven’t we had a 2 1/2 to 3 year El Nino from late 2013 to present?

    How does that make a La Nina over the last decade?

    • Overall, the CPC Nino 3.4 index is negative for the previous decade through 2014. So, if this study period ended before 2015 then that statement would be true. However, the 2015-16 values have brought the index back up to neutral.

  17. If the premise is true then accurate modeling of the climate isn’t possible without detailed global climate data for the past several thousand years. Given the ‘warmists’ ability to adjust the historical records, they should be able to produce such a data set by lunch time.

  18. I really like the fact that a paper in Nature shows the MWP and the LIA in the tropics – after all those attempts to “kill” them or write them off as local to parts of the NH!

  19. In the past decade or so the rise in global temperature had a brief reprieve, the so-called warming hiatus, which can be partly attributed to a persistent La Niña pattern over that period

    Must … keep … it alive ….

  20. Gee, so the warming period at about 1000 CE and 100 CE happened in the southern hemisphere too. Who wudda thunk it? It was not just those mean nasty white guys in Europe after all.

  21. “ “Until we can model this lower-frequency behaviour in the tropical Pacific, one can only speculate on how the warming will play out over the next few decades,” ”

    I absolutely refuse to entertain this, and for good reason. There is a very smart scientist who knows tons about warming and he knows what part is man caused and what part is natural. This I know because I have read the writings of Michael Mann, the Distinguished Professor of Meteorology Director, Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. Therefore the entire article is suspect.

  22. The warmest parts of the regional MWP were La Nina dominated. During glacial periods near permanent El Nino conditions exist. Here is an interesting study on centuries of very strong El Nino, around the very cold 1200 BC period for the mid latitudes that collapsed many civilisations, during one the strongest Arctic warming periods of the Holocene. Page 4:
    http://www.clim-past.net/6/525/2010/cp-6-525-2010.pdf

  23. This study is indeed of huge importance – confirming that natural oceanic oscillations can serve up significant climate change over century and millenial timescales. Its significance should not be lost in the scrum of everyone pushing their own little ENSO story.

  24. In other shocking-shocking news, the following La Niña may affect global climate fluctuations for hundreds of years at a time. No shit we’ll all freeze in a split second!

    Following these “cool” news, so I’m resuming my CPU overclocking hobby to “make a change”.

    /SARC

  25. In Southern California we view the El Niño as warm and wet vs. La Niña as cool and dry, so it’s a lot easier to read when flopped vertically, and the colors still work. Properly inverted (Sorry Australia ;)) the Flores Speleotherm results really pop. Particularly obvious correlation with Hubert Lamb’s classic MWP/LIA chart.

    I suspect we all immediately see that, but a picture’s worth a thousand words. Unfortunate that the results came from the Australian perspective rather than somewhere in the North.

  26. “In the past decade or so the rise in global temperature had a brief reprieve, the so-called warming hiatus, which can be partly attributed to a persistent La Niña pattern over that period,” Ms Kimbrough said.

    So, this is what, number 50-something on the list of explanations for the “hiatus”? The list of explanations for a halt in global warming…which, according to settled science, was itself supposed to be unaffected by anything other than CO2…am I missing something?

    rip

    • Not a new excuse. I believe Trenberth used the cool Pacific excuse at some point in time. What these folks always omit is the overall effect if you go back prior to the hiatus. While La Nina conditions were predominate since 1998, they still haven’t offset the predominate El Nino conditions that started in 1976 and ran during the warming.

  27. 1) What orientation of plate tectonics distinguishes Warm from Cold signals? Movement Modeling?
    2) How has potential magmatic activity been been distinguished form isotopic signatures associated with warmth?

  28. We are told that “The team uncovered century-scale patterns in Pacific rainfall and temperature, and linked them with global climate changes in the past 2000 years.” That is fine but it has nothing to do with El Nino which they thoroughly misunderstand. According to them, “The El Niño Southern Oscillation is an irregular variation in winds and sea surface temperatures over the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean……..The new work found periods of predominantly El Niño-like patterns for several hundred years that alternate with La Niña patterns, impacting on global climate over the last 2000 years.” All this is utter nonsense but it gets passed on from misinformed to misinformed individuals. First, ENSO is not an irregular variation of anything. It is a periodic oscillation of ocean water from side to side in the equatorial Pacific, powered by trade winds. Trade winds pile up warm equatorial water unto the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool, the warmest water in the oceans. When no more can be pushed up gravity flow in reverse begins. It takes the form of an El Nino wave that crosses the ocean from west to east and runs ashore in South America. There it splits and knows north and south along the coast. In the process it warms the air above it. That warm air then rises, joins the westerlies, and we notice that an El Nino has arrived. But any wave that runs ashore must also retreat. As the El Nino wave retreats, water level behind it is lowered.Cold water from below then wells up, to fill the vacuum and a La Nina has started. As much as the El Nino warmed the air that La Nina will cool it and the mean temperature will stay the same. That is why an El Nino has no effect on global mean temperature. Note also that they always come in pairs. It is an oxymoron to speak of an “El Nino-like” or a “La Nina-like” patterns. Hansen went the whole hog, declared the entire Miocene to be “El Nino-like,” and never looked back. You van do that when you are the boss but stupidity is stupidity, no matter who thinks they know otherwise. If you want a direct view of the ENSO oscillation all you need to do is to look at a NOAA or HadCRUT4 global temperature curve that has not been smoothed. It looks like it is covered by shark’s teeth. All the teeth you see are El Ninos and the valleys in between are La Ninas. Peak spacing is close to five years.

  29. Javier, Bill

    Ocean driven climate cycles of long duration are shown incontrovertibly in this study. This study shows an oscillation of about 1000 years wavelength. What links this to ENSO is fractality which is a signature of nonlinear dynamic systems. Fractality means that similar patterns, e.g. Warm/cold wet/dry oscillations occur on timescales from subdecadal to millenial. What we are seeing here is just a textbook example of fractal oscillation patterns in a nonlinear dynamic system. The oscillation is a Lorenz type butterfly wing oscillator / attractor which alternately hangs in one of two states, or wings – the el nino dominated and the la nina dominated.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorenz_system

    What is interesting is that these Lorenz millenial oscillations are in different phase in different places. Inter hemispheric bipolar seesawing is evident. The paleo records seem to fall into three categories:

    1 North hemisphere like

    Flores, Sulawesi. Warm/dry in MWP, cool/wet in LIA.

    2 Southern Hemisphere like: Galapagos; Cool/wet during MWP, warm/dry in LIA.

    3. Chaotically switching between NH and SH regimes: Peru, Ecuador

  30. “In the past decade or so the rise in global temperature had a brief reprieve, the so-called warming hiatus, which can be partly attributed to a persistent La Niña pattern over that period,” Ms Kimbrough said.

    Que!? We’ve just had the Mother of all el Nino’s and she thinks we’ve had a brief reprieve … because of a minor la Nina … our temps have been influenced by the warm oceans offshore which have caused more westerly and north-westerly winds from the hot interior. A big la Nina is now reportedly on its way, the “reprieve” will become a full-on RETREAT in the coming months!

  31. On millennial time scales, something big causes surface warmth to build or surface warmth to decrease. The Sun doesn’t vary that much so it can’t be the Sun. It has to be something much more variable and that absorbs and releases heat. Because it has to be huge in size, logically, that thing must be the oceans, which are able to store heat or release heat. My logic says that it can also do this over millennial time scales in order to have this grand seesaw behavior demonstrated in many proxies over the past 800,000 years. Here is why people dismiss it: We can’t actually “see” the long term pattern. The only thing generations “see” is what appears to be a flat noisy thing. But proxies all over the world show that it is not flat. The proxies in the ocean demonstrate wide swings, as do proxies on land. Since land cannot over long periods of time absorb and then release heat but water does, it is water wut dun it. That the oceans can be this mechanism is physically plausible due to both the properties of ocean water and its volume, interacting with other intrinsic factors such as Earth’s tilt towards the Sun, atmospheric patterns of large cell systems, land forms, overturning deep circulation, and the Coriolis effect on surface circulation.

    • The Sun doesn’t vary that much so it can’t be the Sun.

      Oh yes it can be the Sun. The response of the Earth’s climate system to the Sun’s variability doesn’t have to be linear as you presuppose. Changes in UV radiation and ozone can be up to 10 times higher than changes in the total solar irradiation, and it is plausible that those changes at the thermosphere and stratosphere can translate to the troposphere causing changes in cloud cover that can affect the amount of solar energy that the oceans receive. Nothing of this is impossible or implausible as we simply do not know. So do not rush to scratch the Sun from your list. It can be the Sun.

      • Javier
        O no it cant.
        Pamela is right – its the ocean.
        Looking to the sun for every tiniest wiggle of the climate wavetrain is no more intelligent than doing the same with CO2. Or to magnetic fields or planetary alignments.
        Please write 100 times:
        “THE OCEAN DRIVEN CLIMATE SYSTEM IS NOT PASSIVE, IT CHANGES BY ITSELF”

      • ptolemy2,

        O no it cant.

        Just because you say so.

        Please write 100 times:

        You can go do it to yourself.

      • Gerard Bond noticed the strong correspondence between the millennial climate cycle and the millennial solar cycle in his landmark 2001 paper. Ignore it at your own peril.

      • Javier, both C14 and 10Be have climate affects in their signals. Therefore, if you use these indices as a solar measure to compare to climate proxies, you could state a case for auto-correlation. Great care must be taken to remove the climate signal from these solar indices before comparing them to the climate. Back in 2001, that care was not taken because it was not considered to be a big deal back then. The 2001 paper you refer to is therefore suspect.

      • Javier, Vuk
        I perhaps overstated my case, I don’t doubt that solar and other astrophysical forcings influence climate, from Milankovich to shorter timescales. However it also is well established that oceanic circulation which strongly influences climate, posesses its own internal dynamic. It is a chaotic-nonlinear oscillatory system with its own emergent structure and pattern.

        Thus I get frustrated by attempts to explain all climate fluctuations on all scales as arising from an external forcing. CAGW advocates are very bad at this, they make no allowance at all for internal dynamics.

        There is a paradigm that can reconcile external forcing of the oceans and climate with internal oceanic dynamics. So one does not have to choose between one and the other. It is the periodically forced nonlinear oscillator. Such systems can be strongly or weakly forced. With strong forcing the system follows in lockstep with the forcing frequency. However in a weakly forced nonlinear oscillator the behaviour of the system can have a weak and complex relationship with the forcing wavetrain such that it can even be hard to see any relation between the two. Looking at the glacial-interglacial wavetrain in relation to Milankovich forcing, it looks like a mix of strong and weak periodic forcing. In particular the MPR where the frequency changed from obliquity paced to eccentricity paced, looks like a transition between strong and weak periodic forcing. Bearing in mind the fractality of nonlinear pattern formation, such forced dynamics are likely also present at timescales much shorter than Milankovich.

      • Pamela,

        both C14 and 10Be have climate affects in their signals. … Back in 2001, that care was not taken because it was not considered to be a big deal back then. The 2001 paper you refer to is therefore suspect.

        14C is affected by the carbon cycle and this has been known for over 5 decades, as proper carbon dating relies on a good knowledge of 14C changes with time. The changes in 14C due to changes in the carbon cycle are therefore minor prior to 1875 and do not affect significantly the millennial scale changes in 14C incorporation into tree rings. The correspondence between major peaks in ice rafted debris in the North Atlantic sediments and major peaks in cosmogenic production of 14C is as strong today as it was in 2001.

        The correspondence is particularly strong for the 5-12 kyr BP period when many authors agree that changes in solar activity where a major factor driving climatic changes. The millennial cycle in both climate and solar activity is thus solidly established and supported by the scientific literature. It cannot be waved out by vague unsupported claims that the 14C record is suspect.

        It is mildly funny that whenever an argument is being made about solar and climate relationship based on 14C, 10Be will appear in the response. It says a lot about the need to attack the argument through the guilt by association fallacy.

      • Javier, it can be dismissed by one stadial or interstadial episode that does not line up with your 14C theory. You depend on a single article that has since been called into question.

      • You depend on a single article that has since been called into question.

        You are incorrect Pamela. The link between cold Holocene events and low solar activity is a lot stronger now that it was in 2001. It does not rest on not finding it in the Irish oaks.
        ————
        Solomina, Olga N., et al. “Holocene glacier fluctuations.” Quaternary Science Reviews 111 (2015): 9-34.
        http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/download/fedora_content/download/ac:192534/CONTENT/Solomina_et_al.__2015.pdf

        Glacier advances clustering at 4.4e4.2 ka, 3.8e3.4 ka, 3.3e2.8 ka, 2.6 ka, 2.3e2.1 ka, 1.5e1.4 ka, 1.2e1.0 ka and 0.7e0.5 ka correspond to general coolings in the North Atlantic. It has been noted that these cooler periods correspond to multidecadal periods of low solar activity at 4.3 ka, 3.8 ka, 3.2 ka, 2.6 ka, 2.3 ka, 1.3 ka, 0.9 ka, 0.7 ka and 0.4 ka>/i>
        ————
        Jiang, Hui, et al. “Solar forcing of Holocene summer sea-surface temperatures in the northern North Atlantic.” Geology 43.3 (2015): 203-206.
        https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jon_Eiriksson/publication/272433842_Solar_forcing_of_Holocene_summer_sea-surface_temperatures_in_the_northern_North_Atlantic/links/54e60bc60cf2cd2e028b8d6a.pdf

        Mounting evidence from proxy records suggests that variations in solar activity have played a significant role in triggering past climate changes. … Here we present a high-resolution summer sea-surface temperature (SST) record covering the past 9300 yr … Our results indicate a close link between solar activity and SSTs in the northern North Atlantic during the past 4000 yr
        ————
        Versteegh, Gerard JM. “Solar forcing of climate. 2: Evidence from the past.” Space Science Reviews 120.3-4 (2005): 243-286.
        https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Gerard_Versteegh/publication/233400834_Solar_forcing_of_climate_2._Evidence_from_the_past/links/0c96051bebd4077325000000.pdf

        At low latitudes, equatorward movement of the ITCZ (upward component of the Hadley cell) occurs upon a decrease in solar activity, explaining humidity changes for (1) Mesoamerica and adjacent North and South American regions and (2) East Africa and the Indian and Chinese Monsoon systems. At middle latitudes equatorward movement of the zonal circulation during solar minima probably (co-)induces wet and cool episodes in Western Europe, and Terra del Fuego as well as humidity changes in Southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Mediterranean. The polar regions seem to expand during solar minima which, at least for the northern hemisphere is evident in southward extension of the Atlantic ice cover.
        ————
        Renssen, H., Goosse, H., and Muscheler, R.: Coupled climate model simulation of Holocene cooling events: oceanic feedback amplifies solar forcing, Clim. Past, 2, 79-90, doi:10.5194/cp-2-79-2006, 2006.
        http://www.clim-past.net/2/79/2006/

        The coupled global atmosphere-ocean-vegetation model ECBilt-CLIO-VECODE is used to perform transient simulations of the last 9000 years, forced by variations in orbital parameters, atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations and total solar irradiance (TSI). The objective is to study the impact of decadal-to-centennial scale TSI variations on Holocene climate variability. The simulations show that negative TSI anomalies increase the probability of temporary relocations of the site with deepwater formation in the Nordic Seas, causing an expansion of sea ice that produces additional cooling. The consequence is a characteristic climatic anomaly pattern with cooling over most of the North Atlantic region that is consistent with proxy evidence for Holocene cold phases. Our results thus suggest that the ocean is able to play an important role in amplifying centennial-scale climate variability.
        ————
        You are free to ignore as much solar-climate research as you want, but you shouldn’t go around saying that it cannot be the Sun, because it underscores your ignorance of the issue.

      • Javier, your first linked reference does not present compelling evidence of solar variation driving glacial episodes.

        Your second link uses a questionable C14 reconstruction for solar variation: “Solar activity estimates are based on the reconstructed 14C production rate from the tree-ring based atmospheric 14C calibration record (Musche-ler et al., 2005; Reimer et al., 2009) and the 10Be record from the Green-land Ice Core Project ice core (Vonmoos et al., 2006).”

        Your third link is a literature review. Always fraught with biased research selections to prove a point, reviews are not research.

        Your final like is a model output using old Solar data.

        Try again but this time do your own damn homework.

      • Pamela,
        Why bother?
        Nothing I will bring will look compelling to you anyway, yet a series of Irish oaks reflecting local conditions in Northern Ireland is very compelling to you of the opposite. You are strongly biased against the possibility that solar variations can drive significant climate changes. That is a very unscientific posture. Now you are demanding impossible scientific standards from the opposite opinion, while accepting low standards from your own opinion. A clear case of argumentative fallacy.
        There are over a hundred papers published every year on the connections between solar variability and climate. That means that there over a thousand scientists that believe that a significant influence of solar variability on climate change is a distinct possibility. Although it is possible that they are all wrong, I do not think you can dismiss the solar variability influence on climate change by waving your arms and demanding impossible proof. There is ample evidence, just not good enough for you, so I don’t see the point in continuing this discussion.

    • Willis has some interesting ideas about thunderstorms being tremendous convective heat pumps derived from his direct observation of tropical thunderstorms as they happen on a clockwork daily schedule. Add more heat, and the thunderstorm happens a few minutes earlier in the day, lasts a few minutes later into the evening, and in the process pumps more heat higher into the atmosphere with the net result that the average surface temperature remains the same. The storms have a once-a-day frequency, alternating between mostly calm sunny skies followed by the vigorously heat-pumping thunderstorm. Adding more energy to the system subtly changes the length of time the system remains in each state – sunny skies, or thunderstorms – and makes each state a little more vigorous, but the daily frequency remains the same, along with the average temperature.

      So turn the Willis thunderstorm model on its side and squint your eyes a little, and we have ENSO. Heat driven convective atmospheric cycles combined with Coriolis forces results in easterlies near the equator that push warm surface waters westward to the Indian ocean. Eventually the winds slacken a little due to a passing cyclone or a butterfly flapping its wings in Texas, and the water comes sloshing back from west to east. We have a giant charge/discharge oscillator that behaves like a spring. I suspect the length of the ENSO cycle is a characteristic of the size of the spring (ocean basin). In any case, if you add more heat to the system, the amount of heat transferred during each cycle will increase, but the 4 to 5 year length of the cycle will still be constrained by the size of the oscillating spring.

      Is this what the authors are trying to say? … that over many ENSO cycles the proportion of time spent in the El Nino mode is sometimes greater than the La Nina mode, even though each mode must follow the other on a clockwork time frame? … or that the amount of heat present in the El Nino mode varies over time leading to more prevalent El Nino influenced weather patterns as opposed to El Nina induced weather patterns?

      • “Willis has some interesting ideas about thunderstorms being tremendous convective heat pumps”
        Consider the amount of heat taken in by H2O to make the water in the oceans into water vapor (heat of vaporization X mass) from the Suns energy and then the reverse when that water vapor releases the heat of condensation as required to make vapor back into liquid water. Same is applied to snow when it falls. And there are “rivers” of this water pumping thousands of times the water in the Amazon river moving that heat around the atmosphere.
        How is this modeled in the AGW Models?

  32. Does anyone know why the June MEI update hasn’t been released yet ? The May update stated it should be released about June 4.

  33. This article is close to the truth .. but then just misses the point. The El Nino’s don’t amplify natural climate fluctuations … they are the primary cause of the natural climate fluctuations.

    The El Nino’s are the sea surface temperature reflection of sub-sea oceanic plate magmatism. The earth has 70,000 km of mid ocean ridges that are the crustal expression of very large and strong magmatism. If this happens in pulses, it has the ability to change the climate of the earth … to end an ice age. What else can cause a 10 degree earth warming in 1 to 2 thousand years ? What we see today is the remanant magmatism of the great pulse that ended the last ice age. And it is visible today as an El Nino. Once those El Nino’s die away, we are going south .. fast.

  34. In the National Geographic’s a few years back (Aug 2010) they had an article on the Blue Holes ( http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/08/bahamas-caves/todhunter-text) which described the fact that there were repeated increases and decreases in the ocean water level as indicated by the growth patterns of the stalactites and stalagmites. Thus why are they still questioning this?
    Stranger yet is that the entire magazine describes how unprecedented global warming was occurring, yet careful reading of the article and the descriptions of the graphics implies that it had happened many times before.
    Is the AGW cult brain dead?

  35. So there are other factors which drive temperature changes other than anthropogenic CO2 ? How can this be? There must be some mistake. Surely man and evil capitalism must be behind this El Nino !

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