August 2018 ENSO update: ‘game show edition’

From by Emily Becker

By nearly all measurements, the tropical Pacific is comfortably gliding along in ENSO-neutral conditions, and forecasters expect that will continue through the rest of the summer. The chance that our old buddy El Niño will be around during the fall is about 60%, rising to 70% by winter, and the El Niño Watch is continued this month.

The price is right

Let’s get started with four contestants from the audience. If you’re a Pacific Ocean ENSO indicator, come on down! The latest weekly Niño3.4 index was just 0.1°C above the long-term average. This is actually a little bit lower than the previous few weeks, but it doesn’t mean that El Niño is less likely. ENSO is a seasonal phenomenon, meaning it’s an average pattern that lasts several months in a row. Weekly fluctuations are expected, and we don’t base our assessments on short-term trends like weekly changes in sea surface temperatures.

July 2018 sea surface temperature departure from the 1981-2010 average. Graphic by; data from NOAA’s Environmental Visualization Lab.

The other temperature indexes we follow in the equatorial Pacific are also near normal. This includes weekly values of 0.4°C in the Niño4 region, 0.0°C in Niño3, and 0.1°C in Niño1+2. Niño4 gets to continue into the pricing round! Have fun, Niño4; we hope you win that washing machine.


No consistent differences from average surface winds across the Pacific during August. What are neutral atmospheric conditions, Alex? (OK, so this theme may be the outer limits of my being-funny capacity.) At any rate, the Walker circulation over the Pacific Ocean is generally reflecting the lack of signal from surface water temperatures. During the month of July, there was a bit less rising air and cloudiness than average over both the central Pacific and Indonesia.

Warmer-than-average water under the surface of the tropical Pacific. What is… wait, you’ll take Stop This for 800? Oh, fine, I’ll stop. Even though the temperature anomalies (difference from the long-term average) at the surface decreased slightly over the past couple of weeks, the subsurface heat content is still elevated. The temperature under the central-eastern Pacific (between the date line and 100°W longitude, and ~1000 feet deep up to the surface) was 0.81°C above the long-term average during July. What is the 7th warmest July subsurface temperature since 1979, Alex?

Area-averaged upper-ocean heat content anomaly (°C) in the equatorial Pacific (5°N-5°S, 180º-100ºW). The heat content anomaly is computed as the departure from the 1981-2010 base period pentad (5-day) means. figure from CPC data.

Wheel of fortune

The near-surface winds over the tropical Pacific are very important during the development phase of El Niño. Time for our first puzzle! ENS_ IS A C_UPLED _CEAN-ATM_SPHERE SYSTEM. Want to buy a vowel? This means conditions in the ocean affect the atmosphere, and vice-versa. The normal atmospheric circulation over the Pacific (the WALKER C_RCULAT_ON) is driven by warm air rising over warm water near Indonesia, west-to-east winds aloft, descending air in the eastern Pacific, and returning east-to-west winds near the surface. Those east-to-west winds help to keep warm water trapped in the far western Pacific, continuing the cycle.

Walker Circulation - ENSO Neutral

Generalized Walker Circulation (December-February) during ENSO-neutral conditions.  Convection associated with rising branches of the Walker Circulation is found over the Maritime continent, northern South America, and eastern Africa. NOAA drawing by Fiona Martin.

During a full-fledged El Niño event, the change in this relationship is clear, and consistent: the warmer-than-average water in the east-central Pacific causes more rising air over that region, changing the Walker circulation from its average pattern. The near-surface east-to-west winds weaken, and may even reverse so they’re blowing from west-to-east, allowing warmer waters to build in the central Pacific.

walker circulation, ENSO, El Niño, convection, circulation, walker cell, tropical circulation, Pacific Walker Circulation, Pacific Walker Cell

Generalized Walker Circulation (December-February) anomaly during El Niño events, overlaid on map of average sea surface temperature anomalies. Anomalous ocean warming in the central and eastern Pacific (orange) help to shift a rising branch of the Walker Circulation to east of 180°, while sinking branches shift to over the Maritime continent and northern South America. NOAA drawing by Fiona Martin.

When El Niño is developing, though, short-term fluctuations in the near-surface winds can have substantial effects. A period of weaker trade winds can help build El Niño’s warmer surface waters, while a period of stronger trade winds can cool the surface and impede El Niño’s growth. It appears that the trade winds are currently weakening, and may continue to do so through the next week, likely helping push things in the El Niño direction.

Let’s Make a Deal!

What’s behind door number 1? The latest computer models continue to predict that the sea surface temperature in the Niño3.4 region will cross the El Niño threshold (0.5°C above the long-term average) sometime in the fall. Both the statistical and dynamical computer models generally agree, adding some confidence to the ENSO forecast.

Climate model forecasts for the Niño3.4 Index. Dynamical model data (purple line) from the North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME): darker purple envelope shows the range of 68% of all model forecasts; lighter purple shows the range of 95% of all model forecasts. Statistical model data (dashed line) from CPC’s Consolidated SST Forecasts. NOAA image from CPC data.

El Niño can affect the hurricane seasons in both the Atlantic and Pacific. NOAA’s hurricane forecastupdate comes out today, so be sure to check it out to see how the El Niño forecast factors in.

Thanks for playing!

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August 9, 2018 10:00 am

Let’s face facts: ENSO forecasts are essentially useless. You might as well toss a coin or read tea-leaves.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  tty
August 9, 2018 10:14 am

Don’t forget that the shaded area for error in the graph represents precision error (rounding error from millions/billions of calculations. The true accuracy error would take that shaded area error off the charts to make the whole chart one big shaded area error. Climate scientists don’t understand the difference between precision and accuracy. Dr.Pat Frank once famously said he never met one who did.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
August 9, 2018 11:20 am

Personally, I find it hard to believe that they can always manage to confuse the two things in a way that always supports their hypothesis. I don’t think understanding is the issue.

Reply to  John Harmsworth
August 9, 2018 11:35 am

I think it often is. There basically seems to be no thought whatsoever given to results that fit the hypothesis, and very little thought given to whether you should do the stuff they do to make the results fit. They are so convinced that the results should look that way that they are blind to what thy are doing.

It is the sort of behaviour that the scientific method, and all the checks and controls we used to have were designed to guard against.

Bill Treuren
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
August 9, 2018 12:14 pm

You would think the models would be a little tighter on a 6 month scale.
The likelihood that the errors are as tight in the models over an extended period of over 10 years or even 50 years is hard to believe.
I know its different, but actually its a very complex process climate and we know less than is claimed.

Reply to  tty
August 9, 2018 10:43 am

If your tea leaves agreed closely with your coin toss, then that would be good precision, right? If both tea leaves and coin toss were far from reality, then that would be bad accuracy, yes/no?

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
August 9, 2018 11:33 am

No. Precision is the ability to reproduce a measurement repeatedly. I measure the temperature to be 16.2 every time I measure it – that’s precision. Accuracy is how close to 16.2 the “real” temperature is.

Ken Irwin
Reply to  Phoenix44
August 10, 2018 1:27 am

Funny – whenever I run my model 2 + 2 keeps coming up 4 – precision and accuracy !
Wait a minute, I think I can see the problem……

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
August 9, 2018 1:52 pm

Or in other words, measuring time repeatedly with a broken clock will give very high precision but low accuracy while using a working clock will have lower precision but (probably) better accuracy.

Reply to  tty
August 10, 2018 11:19 am

let’s face (real) facts – you don’t know what you are talking about.

From the NCEP Climate Diagnostic Bulletin:

January 2018: A transition from La Niña to ENSO-neutral is most likely during the Northern Hemisphere spring (~55% chance of ENSO-neutral during the March-May season).

April 2018: ENSO-neutral is favored through September-November 2018, with the possibility of El Niño nearing 50% by Northern Hemisphere winter 2018-19.

Did they forecast a return to La Nina conditions? no.
Did La Nina condition return against their forecast of El Nino neutral? no.
Did they forecast an El Nino to form? no.
Did El Nino condition occur against their forecast of El Nino neutral? no.

Seems to me their forecast was ‘spot-on’…and I’m sure a whole lot more accurate than anything you could produce.

These ‘arm-chair’ weather watchers coming on here & making fools of themselves…tsk, tsk

Reply to  JKrob
August 11, 2018 8:13 pm

In other words, they were “accurate” because they offered almost 0 precision. Along the same vein, if I am standing on Earth, and toss a ball into the air, there is at least a 50% chance it will come back down again. See there? Highly accurate, because I offered no precision at all.

John Harmsworth
August 9, 2018 10:44 am

Will the weather in my back yard be:
A) Catastrophically hot and dry?
B) Catastrophically cold and wet?
C) catastrophically normal?
D) All three and we’ll show how that’s possible later by modelling it

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  John Harmsworth
August 9, 2018 2:25 pm

E) Catastrophically catastrophic?

Reply to  John Harmsworth
August 11, 2018 8:16 pm

You’re just not as funny as you think you are. If my backyard is Antarctica, and winter is approaching, then “normal” would indeed be “catastrophic”! See there, you outsmarted yourself!

Smart Rock
August 9, 2018 10:52 am

I’m curious about the El Niño/La Niña phenomenon and wonder if anyone knows the answers to these questions, which I’m too busy lazy to look up for myself?

Is the quantity of heat released by an El Niño roughly equivalent to the quantity of heat absorbed by athe matching La Niña?

If, as I suspect (from a basis of no real knowledge) that the hot water of El Niños releases more heat than is absorbed into the cold La Niña water, where does this excess heat come from? Is it an accumulation of geothermal heat? Or is it the elusive global warming heat that hid itself in the deep ocean without anyone on the surface noticing (/sarc)?

Geothermal heat in the ocean basins is a bit of a mystery. In addition to heat flow down the geothermal gradient in oceanic crust, which is moderately well established, there is an unknown number of hydrothermal vents, which not only discharge hot water directly, but also distort the geothermal gradient in their vicinity, leading (perhaps? probably?) more heat flow by conduction than previously thought.

I’m wondering if we know less about the earth than we like to think.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Smart Rock
August 9, 2018 12:01 pm

There is no “systems requirement” that an La Nina precedes an El Nino. Both are man-made defined time&temperature thresholds to declare the topical Pacific is in a certain state. That is, a certain average temperature in a defined region of tropical water for a certain period of time. The tropical oceans are always receiving and storing sunlight energy, every day, through the atmosphere’s optical window for short wave radiation down to UV wavelengths.

We have currently have ENSO neutral conditions, which is the tropical Pacific in its long term average state or close to it. Even though this isn’t La Nina conditions, the tropical Pacific is still receiving and storing enormous amounts of solar energy that will be transported pole-ward by the existing currents and driving lots of convection, mostly in the Western Pacific where the normal Trade Winds piles up the warm water.

Every so often, the Southern Oscillation (SO) pressure pattern (the pressure pattern between Darwin and Tahiti) reverses and the Easterly trade winds (blowing east to west) diminish, and Westerly wind burst (blowing west to east) happen in the western Pacific. This gives the warm pool a push to head east. But this warm warm pool is higher salinity, thus it is denser than the fresher, but cooler water to the east. It can’t override the lower density water, so it slides underneath. This warm water anomaly moves under the surface Eastward to eventually set up the development of El Nino sea surface temps conditions off of Peru/Chile. The warmer water up-welling off the South American coast forces the cold water anchovy schools into colder water to the Southern Ocean and the near shore Peruvian anchovy fishing gets hit hard, usually around Christmas.

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The left y-axis is water depth in meters below the surface. The horizontal x-axis is degrees longitude across the Pacific equatorial band, west Pacific on the Left, South America on the right.

Understanding why the SO behaves as it does is the billion dollar question. Some believe is it affected by very slight Earth orbital-spin momentum exchanges, that can also alter the Earth’s Length of Day (LOD ) by microseconds. An analogous orbital-spin momentum exchange on Mars is currently the best hypothesis for explaining when and why Mars undergoes its Martian global dust storms every few years in a pseudo-periodic pattern similar to ENSO.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 9, 2018 12:10 pm

IMO the UV flux variation plays a role, through its effect on air pressure.

Reply to  Theo
August 9, 2018 12:41 pm

Does that occurr at any specific time of the year, or during the entire year.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 9, 2018 5:37 pm

Can you possibly give me a ref or two on the momentum hypothesis? (Not “Smart Rock,” but possibly just as busy lazy…)

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Writing Observer
August 9, 2018 8:36 pm

Here’ s NASA Press Release and see links therein to James Shirley’s 2015 Icarus peer-reviewed paper.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 11, 2018 8:26 pm

“During a full-fledged El Niño event, the change in this relationship is clear, and consistent: the warmer-than-average water in the east-central Pacific causes more rising air over that region, changing the Walker circulation from its average pattern. The near-surface east-to-west winds weaken, and may even reverse so they’re blowing from west-to-east, allowing warmer waters to build in the central Pacific.”

What does the transition look like? This statement makes it sound as if Walker Cell circulation just up and collapses, and then reforms in the El Niño positions. What if it is more of a wandering Walker Cell phenomena? Does anyone know anything about that?

Reply to  Smart Rock
August 9, 2018 6:03 pm

Smart Rock:

Both La Ninas and El Ninos are caused by changing quantities of dimming Sulfur Dioxide aerosols in the atmosphere.

La Ninas are primarily caused by volcanic eruptions that inject SO2 into the atmosphere, where it is quickly converted to Sulfuric Acid, the SO2 aerosol. It reflects the sun’s rays, causing cooling. They typically form about a year after the date of an eruption.

El Ninos are caused by reduced levels of SO2 aerosols in the atmosphere, which allows the sun’s rays to strike the Earth’s surface with greater intensity, causing warming.

Up until the Industrial Revolution, when man first began generating anthropogenic SO2 aerosols, due to the burning of fossil fuels, all El Ninos were volcanic-induced. Thereafter, reductions in anthropogenic SO2 aerosol emissions due to business recessions, or to Clean Air efforts has also led to some El Ninos.

I have repeatedly posted this explanation, but you apparently have missed my posts.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  quickly
August 9, 2018 8:42 pm

For you quickly,

August 9, 2018 10:57 am

Where is Tisdale on this?

C’mon Bob!

Alan Tomalty
August 9, 2018 11:01 am

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If you look at the Energy budget diagram on the NASA site which they tweak regularly, 4 things stand out. 1) they expect us to believe that the surface is emitting more than it is receiving from the sun 2) They do not separate out the albedo or emittance between the oceans and the land and that there is no upward LWIR emitted from the CO2 and water vapour. 3) They are expecting us to believe that average DWIR at 340W/m^2 is 1/4 the power of the sun on a hot summer day (1361W/m^2) without any albedo.
4) NASA correctly shows 86.4 W/m^2 of evapotranspiration but then shows only 29.9 W/m^2 of latent heat released upon condensation.

1) I have talked to several engineers and they have all said that it is impossible for a system that is in balance to have a flow within that system that is more than the flow rate of the original energy source input to that system.
If the ocean water albedo is 0.06 then its absorbance is 0.94 and its emittance will be .94. However a good chunk of that is energy translated into latent heat upon evaporation. The hotter the air temperature above the sea surface, the more the evaporation. If sea ice albedo ( amount of reflection ) is 0.5 then its emittance will be 0.5. However there is disagreement among emissivity authorities on the emissivity of snow (even pure white snow) Thermoworks gives snow emissivity of 0.8 without giving a graph of how it changes with temperature. According to the NASA energy budget graph the surface average albedo is (flux reflected by surface divided by ( solar input – flux reflected by clouds and atmosphere) 22.9W/m^2 divided by (240W/m^2-77W/m^2) = 0.087 and thus its eventual emissivity has to be 0.913. However when you add the back radiation to the amount absorbed by surface you get 340.3 + 163.3 = 503.6
Since they say that amount emitted by surface is a total IR =398.2 + convection =18.4 and evapotranspiration = 86.4 that totals 503 giving a net absorbed of 0.6. However if the true emittance of the surface is 0.913 then the surface can never emit more than 459.7 W/m^2. Of course they adjust the back radiation and the surface emission to make things balance. THE OTHER PROBLEM IS HOWEVER THAT CO2 AND H2O ARE ISOTROPIC MOLECULES. THIS MEANS THEY RADIATE IR IN ALL DIRECTIONS. NASA does not show the GHG’s radiating upwards but do show them radiating 340 W/m^ downwards.

The earth’s atmosphere is average 2% H2O vapour, and all of that vapour has latent heat which came from the surface water. The oceans have 1000 times the heat capacity of the atmosphere and a lot more than the land. There is on average 50 times as much H2O vapour as there is CO2 in the atmosphere. If there is truly that much LWIR being transported to the atmosphere from the surface then NASA would have us believe that the 2 main GHG’S which compose 2.04% on average of the atmosphere, are being asked to absorb 340.3 W/m^2 of the total heat flux (IR) from the surface which in turn is 163.3 W/m^2(net solar absorbed by surface) + 77.1(direct solar absorbed by atmosphere) =240.4 W/m^. So NASA would have us believe that 100% of the original solar radiance of 340W/m^2 is being absorbed by CO2 and H2O (clouds and water vapour) which make up 2.04% on average of the total volume of the atmosphere. N2 and O2 have 4000 times the heat capacity of CO2 and 25 times the heat capacity of the H2O vapour in the atmosphere. Since N2 and O2 are not good absorbers of IR, it is inconceivable that CO2 and H2O would be asked to absorb 100% of the total solar radiance that hits the earth.

3) If the average DWIR back radiation at 340W/m^2 is 1/4 the power of the sun on a hot summer day (1361W/m^2) without any albedo, then how come I have never felt it. Imagine how it feels when you expose the back of your neck to the sun on a bright hot summer day when the UV index is high. Your skin cells literally feel as if they are frying (which they literally are). Now imagine the same feeling but still 1/4 as powerful. At night time NASA are saying that the downward back radiation (DWIR) is still hurtling towards earth. In their diagram they say that the average DWIR is equal to 1/4 of that feeling strength( same strength as original solar insolation average) that I talked about 2 sentences ago. I havent felt it when standing out of the sun’s rays and open to the sky in the daytime and I sure haven’t felt it at night, even if it was a cloudy night.

4) Where did the other 56.5 W/m^ go of latent heat released by clouds during condensation(rainfall/snowfall)? If it all went to outer space then NASA figures dont balance. If it all went back to the earth, then the oceans would have boiled over by now because evapotranspiration is an ongoing process and is the primary way that oceans get rid of their heat.

The global warming hypothesis as NASA is arguing; asks us to suspend our belief in the laws of physics.

Smart Rock
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
August 9, 2018 11:09 am

But is good enough to try and transform the economies of the developed nations by embracing “green” energy. Never mind the laws of physics, that’s just quibbling over irrelevant details.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
August 9, 2018 11:37 am

Yeah the heat budget works of fiction fails physics 101. You didn’t even touch on the ridiculously low 18.4 W/m^2 convection estimate. Convection is basically the reason why the surface isn’t about 100 C hotter during the day, but sure it’s only removing 18.4 W/m^2 from the surface and the Browns will win the Superbowl this year.

Reply to  Robert W Turner
August 9, 2018 2:06 pm

Actually the 86 Wm^-2 of latent heat is also part of convection, so the total net convective upward heat transport is really 105 Wm^-2 as against 58 Wm^-2 for LWIR, though anybody looking at that figure without knowing the physics in advance will probably never realize it.

Notice that huge “back radiation” arrow while the descending air and rain from convection is presumably at 0 K since there is no downward heat transport there.

Robert W. Turner
Reply to  tty
August 9, 2018 6:31 pm

I know that latent heat transfer is part of convection but what I’m saying is that the other 98% of the gas that is convected transports more heat to the upper troposphere than they estimate.

And yes once the air reaches its peak and water vapor condenses they must assume them to be 0K and then disappear into the ether. The fact that they include nothing at all for the potential energy converted back into kinetic energy of air and rain shows how far off they are on the back radiation.

The Ceres data shows the effects from the Hadley cells ffs. The potential energy feedback on the descending leg of the Hadley cells happens to cause heating at the surface but is also creates an atmospheric water vapor window. That’s why the Sahara region loses more energy into space than it receives from the sun, despite all that control knob CO2 in the air. Increase heat at the surface, increase convection, increased thermal radiation escaping from the 23-30 degree latitude atmospheric water vapor windows.

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Gary Ashe
Reply to  Robert W Turner
August 9, 2018 2:45 pm

It was along time ago, but we were taught 83% of the solar energy absorbed by the earths mass travelled sensibly to the TOA and radiated away.

Ian W
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
August 9, 2018 1:46 pm

The diagram shows an Earth surface that is mainly land – it should of course show only around 30% as land. This is important as downwelling IR does not penetrate more than a few microns before being absorbed by the water molecules forming the surface layer. Those with close to the latent heat of evaporation will evaporate taking that heat with them. So downwelling IR will cool the ocean surface by increasing evaporative heat loss. So as DWIR cools 75% of the Earth’s surface, it makes the AGW hypothesis difficult to support.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Ian W
August 9, 2018 1:55 pm

Unless your a climastrologist, then you believe that DWIR transports directly to the deep ocean, Startrek style, beyond our detection, only to beam back up to the surface during El Nino.

Gary Ashe
Reply to  Ian W
August 9, 2018 2:48 pm

Succinct love it Ian.

Jim Giordano
Reply to  Ian W
August 15, 2018 1:36 am

How can energy hitting the ocean cool it? Don’t you mean that the evaporation offsets some of the downwelling radiation’s affect on sea temperatures?

Dr J
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
August 9, 2018 1:53 pm

All pertinent questions.

My pertinent question for the people who created this diagram is, “OK, you’ve added and subtracted HOW MANY different variables based on what approximate assumptions? What is the margin of error for all of these? Yet you arrive at a 0.6 W/m^2 “net absorbed?”

The margin of error for all of those additions and subtractions must be very much greater than 0.6 W/m^2, on the order of 10 W/m^2 or more.

Well, at least this explains why the models always predict more warming than is ultimately measured.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
August 9, 2018 2:08 pm

That is Trenberth’s figure. He works for NOAA NCAR. So that is NOAA junk science. Most of NASA’s contributions to the climate junk science comes from GISS, which forces the rest of NASA to buy their junk or remain silent if they know it’s junk.

I have no doubt there are NASA scientists who know that figure is BS, but have had to hold their tongues to keep their jobs. The OCO-2 data study team comes to mind.
I have noted that NASA OCO-2 estimates are running about 1-3 ppm below the NOAA/ESRL MLO records of Dec 2014-Dec 2016. Not sure how big a problem that discrepancy is for either team (NASA/JPL or NOAA/ESRL).
But publicly airing discrepancies like this leads to uncertainties, and we can’t allow any uncertainties to come out on consensus science, now can we?

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 10, 2018 10:05 am


Gary Ashe
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
August 9, 2018 2:40 pm

The science is settled Alan.

Have you ever seen a discussion between a RGE ”expert” and an earth sciences physicist doubter on the actual mechanism/s.

30 yrs you think there would be one wouldnt you……..there isn’t.
Atmospheric emitted LWIR photons, are redundant energy particles, in our system for nano seconds.

old construction worker
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
August 10, 2018 2:14 am

The diagram doesn’t make sense. Income is 340.4 then says 77.1 is absorbed by atmosphere. OK. 340.4-77.1= 263.3 OK. Then they subtract 77.0 reflected by clouds and atmosphere from 263.3 OK, they lost me. Should it diagram indicate 77.1 is absorbed by atmosphere and 77.0 gets reflected out to space? Instead of subtracting both 77.1 and 77.0 from 340.04 shouldn’t just the 77.0 and 29.9 be subtracted from 340,04? Leaving, 340.4-(29.9+77)=240.5 absorbed by surface?

old construction worker
Reply to  old construction worker
August 10, 2018 3:53 am

Other side of the ledger: outgoing; incoming 240.5.this matches with the 0.6 net absorbed. outgoing 398.2 OK incoming 240.5 398.2-240.5=157.7 more outgoing than incoming. OK 398.2 emitted by surface – 239.9 emitted to space = 158.3 OK So 398.2 includes latent heat and ? 398.2 – ( 86.4 Clouds + 18.4 convection)= 293.4 OK 293.4-239.2 emitted to space= 53.5 of what source? or 157.7 more outgoing than incoming – 104.8 (combine cloud and convection)=52.9 of what source? It looks like back radiation is only 53 from all GHG not 340.3 Or 398.2-340.3=57.9 but yet 239.9 is going out to space? I’m I missing something?

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
August 10, 2018 5:57 am

The atmospheric window is wrong- Trenberth agreed see here There is no need for back radiation with the correct balance. However, no one can work out a correct balance because no one understands clouds, the absorption of energy by ocean or the evaporation and precipitation in diferent parts of the globe.

Reply to  cementafriend
August 10, 2018 1:39 pm

“However, no one can work out a correct balance because no one understands clouds, the absorption of energy by ocean or the evaporation and precipitation in different parts of the globe.”

I don’t think even our friend Willis E fully understands clouds and their effects, even if he seems to have a better idea than much of the water-melon would-be-Alexanders.

PS – this means that the science is – in fact – n o t settled.
not at all.

Robert W Turner
August 9, 2018 11:16 am

Womp womp. Why are they so bad at forecasting ENSO? Reading this gives a clue. I think it might be from them being so hopeful that El Nino develops that they delude themselves.

They call a month long cooling in the 3.4 region anomaly a “weekly fluctuation” and downplay it while they say a slowing of the 7 day average surface winds in the central Pacific is appearance “that the trade winds are currently weakening” though it is clearly from tropical low systems passing to the north.,0.00,424

And they don’t even mention the upwelling along South America or temperature anomaly of the southern ocean.

I’m predicting neutral or La Nina conditions this fall and winter and I’m pretty sure I’ve made much more accurate predictions than NOAA for the past 5 years.

Reply to  Robert W Turner
August 9, 2018 11:36 am

my thinking also.
Obviously all conditions for 2019 are set for drought conditions similar to the dust bowl drought 1932-1939

Gleissberg cycle.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Robert W Turner
August 9, 2018 2:16 pm

Predicting a La Nina for this coming Fall-Winter is pretty ballsy considering all the observational indicators for this fall-winter points to either mild El Nino or neutral conditions.

Richard M
Reply to  Robert W Turner
August 9, 2018 2:25 pm

I agree. I think one factor that is poorly understood is the overall “slosh factor”. The Pacific is like a big tub and water sloshes back and forth due to the rotation of the planet, tides, etc. This can lead to more or less upwelling cold water.

Reply to  Robert W Turner
August 10, 2018 1:43 pm

Robert (if I may)
“I’m predicting neutral or La Nina conditions this fall and winter and I’m pretty sure I’ve made much more accurate predictions than NOAA for the past 5 years.”
I am sure you have.

My cats have done as well as NOAA for the last three years!
And counting . . .

Able to interpret cat-speak, and cat-actions, brilliantly – after the event!

Mods – I know you almost certainly cottoned on, but – yes – /SARC (for the cat predictions!).

August 9, 2018 11:34 am

Are we back? Waiting for El Ninot again?
Shut up and help me with this boot.
Yes we’re waiting for El Ninot.
He’ll be here for sure this time.
Right by that tree.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  philsalmon
August 9, 2018 11:50 am

El Ninot was here yesterday right by that tree, but he won’t be here today. If you are here tomorrow you are sure to see him, but not today.

August 9, 2018 12:59 pm

The non-existent but potential late 2018 ENSO could use a kick in the pants. Still tracking 2006.
Since Dropbox images aren’t showing, I’m trying postimage…

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August 9, 2018 1:19 pm

It is a guess and it does not matter in the big picture for the climate. What matters is overall sea surface temperatures which I expect to continue to fall.

August 9, 2018 1:21 pm

Without La Niña, El Niño will not be created. First, the hot water must be pushed west to create a return wave.

August 9, 2018 1:28 pm

El Niño certainly not create in the coming months.
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Reply to  ren
August 9, 2018 2:01 pm

Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies
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Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  ren
August 9, 2018 2:41 pm

A trailing 100 day snap shot of a single region says nothing about the future 100 days for that region.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 9, 2018 3:19 pm
Charles Nelson
August 9, 2018 3:41 pm

Thanks for that. I particularly loved the bit where someone made a prediction.
Most enjoyable.

John in Oz
August 9, 2018 5:46 pm

Disclaimer: I am not a scientist of any discipline

Seeing pretty coloured pictures of ocean temperature anomalies compared to an average taken over a period with ever-changing values seems pointless.

This image shows ENSO values from 1950 to 2018:

Good luck getting a MEANINGFUL average value and of what use is there in making predictions, projections and wild ass guesses on it?

The same types of idiotic average is used and strongly denigrated with climate model WAGs of future temperature, the apparent theory being that the more model runs used the closer the average will get to reality. Cr@p

Reply to  John in Oz
August 9, 2018 10:18 pm

Notice on your chart that El Niño did not form after La Niña. Therefore, ENSO will remain neutral over a longer period of time.
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Reply to  John in Oz
August 10, 2018 10:11 am


Pop Piasa
August 9, 2018 6:54 pm

Is the Southern Oscillation Index as an indicator not worth mentioning in this little lesson on ENSO?

August 10, 2018 2:32 am

I noted it moved off 0.5 the other day and sth aus is getting rains good n proper now
if only the poor folks up nth a bit could have some too;-(

Alec aka Daffy Duck
August 10, 2018 3:01 am

Cooler upwelling on the South America side

And a bit of cooling of SSTs there over the last 7 days
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August 10, 2018 9:24 am

The world needs more Emily’s

Reply to  u.k.(us)
August 10, 2018 10:13 am

I did not see any comments from her here….

Reply to  HenryP
August 10, 2018 10:55 am

Unless I’m mistaken she wrote the post.

August 11, 2018 5:02 am

For everyone hoping for EL NINO to help prop AGW.

Compared to last month, the updated (June-July) MEI dropped rapidly to +0.07, ending up right in the middle of ENSO-neutral ranking. This means that not a single season has reached El Niño conditions in 2018. Looking at the nearest 12 rankings (+6/-6) in this season, and excluding all cases that departed by more than 0.6 standard deviations in the changes from the previous month as well as three months earlier (March-April), there are only four analogues to the situation this season: 1985, ’00, ’01, and ’08. All four of these cases either continued with ENSO-neutral conditions (2001) or dropped into at least intermittent La Niña conditions (especially in 2008, but also in 2000, and very briefly in 1985). Even among the other eight cases, El Niño was ‘not on the menu’ (2003 came closest). Compared to last month, the likelihood of El Niño conditions later this year has changed dramatically (from “inevitable” to “very unlikely”).

Reply to  Salvatore Del Prete
August 11, 2018 12:35 pm

I wonder who was the guy who voted down on your comment Salvatore.

Reply to  HenryP
August 11, 2018 1:07 pm

I do not know. lol

Reply to  Salvatore Del Prete
August 11, 2018 1:26 pm

maybe it was a girl.
Anyway I agree. I think US and Europe can get ready for a dry and cold winter,.
the climate IS changing.

Reply to  Salvatore Del Prete
August 11, 2018 12:38 pm

The surface temperature of the oceans in the southern hemisphere has dropped.
comment image

Reply to  ren
August 11, 2018 8:57 pm

Why do we see butterfly patterns?

August 11, 2018 8:09 pm

Enso Neutral Conditions Prevails July 2018 – ONI Index is Just +0.1 For MJJ 2018 – East Pacific Is Colder Than Normal

Details see ONI Index is Just +0.1C For MJJ 2018

Johann Wundersamer
August 15, 2018 11:17 am

The other temperature indexes we follow in the equatorial Pacific are also near normal. –>

The other temperature indices we follow in the equatorial Pacific are also nearly normal.

Johann Wundersamer
August 15, 2018 11:33 am

Never heard of “Walker Circulation”. Good, vivid graphics. Thanks!

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