El Niño and [its] contribution to 21st Century Warming – interview with Dr. Roy Spencer.

Politicians, politicized scientists and activists will have you believe that 100% of 21st century warming is anthropogenic. Dr. Roy Spencer joins Anthony Watts in a podcast interview to explain why they’re wrong.

When ranking politicized issues in the 21st century, global warming is surely near the top. Radical environmentalists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez want to drastically reshape America under the guise of fighting global warming. Dr. Roy Spencer, Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, joins Heartland Senior Fellow Anthony Watts to discuss why radical change is unwarranted. The two talk about the effects of El Nino, the surface temperature record, and satellite measurements of the Earth’s temperature.

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77 thoughts on “El Niño and [its] contribution to 21st Century Warming – interview with Dr. Roy Spencer.

    • I second the request for a transcript. Reading is much faster and more effective than listening.

      • I would like a transcript because the whole subject was discussed in plain English. This is they type of discussion the public needs to hear.

        Considerably less than 10% of the global population are scientists. That means 90% of the planet’s voters don’t understand science.

        The alarmists deliver their messages in political soundbites and everyone has a political opinion.

        The sceptical community responds with science which only 10% of the world understands.

        Is it any wonder, therefore, so many voters believe climate change is a problem?

        Roy Spencer described it in perfectly understandable terms for the layman when he explained planetary temperature fluctuations measured in 100/th’s of a degree that actually can’t be measured with that precision anyway; and Anthony responded perfectly with his comparison of anomalous temperature presentations, and real world temperatures.

        This is the science:

        https://realclimatescience.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/2018-07-26024516_shadow-1024×904.png

        This is the reality

        https://suyts.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/image266.png

        But sceptics keep battling to present the first graph whilst the public need to see the second graph.

        FFS folks, get with the program. 90% of the worlds population see and feel the second graph, so keep reinforcing it. Publish it, investigate it, present it, publicise it…whatever sceptics do, give the public what they understand, not what scientists understand.

        I’m a layman, I know what I’m talking about!

        • You really do not need “to understand science” to be sceptical of climate alarmism. All you need is intelligence which will make you understand that statements from scientists vary enormously and carry hugely different conclusions. Then pick the bunch of scientific claims which makes most sense to you. Science is never, either/or. Science is always, here is one theory/here is another

      • “Reading is much faster and more effective than listening.”

        However, on YouTube, one can click on the gear wheel an adjust the speed to 1.25 or 1.50 of normal, to get through spoken words faster. I’m doing so when I listen to reruns of old “What’s My Line” shows. There’s no distortion or “chipmunk effect.”

    • I third the request for transcript. Also much too deaf to make sense of the audio track, and like many others I can read much faster than a narrator can talk.

  1. Excuse me AOC is not an Environmentalist. She is a loud mouthed misinformed bartender with no demonstrated knowledge or experience in anything but serving alcohol.

    • Only in America can a loudmouthed, misinformed, bartender, named Alexandria Occasionally Coherent, get a salary of $174,000 a year, with huge retirement benefits if she manages to stay on her job for five years.

      AOC should serve some alcohol to Nasty Nancy Pelosi to calm her down.

      • She has a college degree. Intenational relations and economics. But yeah, she did have to do work long shifts in a bar to pay for it.

        • How the hell could you possibly know what hours she worked? You got a copy of her schedule? Or are you just being a blind advocate?

          Never mind – I already know the answer.

          • No Snidey, I just read her wiki entry. Did you do any research before commenting?

            Never mind – I already know the answer.

            Her father was born in the Bronx to a Puerto Rican family and became an architect.
            In 2008, while Ocasio-Cortez was a sophomore at Boston University, he died of lung cancer.

            After college, she moved back to the Bronx and took a job working 18-hour shifts as a bartender and waitress to help her mother—a house cleaner and school-bus driver—fight foreclosure of their home.

            So easy to hate her.

          • Oh – I didn’t know you read WIKI. STILL don’t see her work schedule.
            Could you get your nose any further up her ass?

            What a twerp.

          • Oh and by the way – if you hadn’t noticed almost her entire message has been one of assigning appropriate targets for hate – an agenda based almost entirely on fraud – beyond imbecilic policy suggestions – besides being a media construct.

            She’s getting the well-deserved equal and opposite reaction.

          • Oh, and also – that ‘so easy to hate’ line is quite deliberate.

            She says outrageously moronic, racist, sexist, anti-American, anti-capitalist, things and then postures as a victim when she gets blowback from it.

            AND characterizes this blowback as sexist, racist, etc…

            And Loydo’s all on board – defending her at every turn.

            Which pretty much gives you the idea where HE’S coming from.

        • Either that or her rich Dad paid for it.
          In either case she wasted her(or her Dad’s) money.

          In any case, how does the fact that she has a worthless degree counter anything Richard said?

          • Well, the idea that someone worked through college apparently really impresses Loydo. I wonder if she got a callous.

        • Which aspects of economics did she study?

          When it comes to development policy, I have a pretty low opinion of economists because I work with them. For each economist there is an equal and opposite economist; for every Yea, a Nay.

          I congratulate Ms AOC for jumping through the hoops necessary to graduate from and American university. Unfortunately those hoops include imbibing some rather strange stuff about the environment.

        • Judging by how little she knows, I’m wondering if she slept her way through college.

    • Then why are la nina years so warm now?

      Not sure what you mean by “so warm” (a fraction of a degree?), but it’s warming because the earth is rising out from the depths of the LIA.

    • As I recall from the interview, I’m claiming that 21st Century temperature trends up to present are heavily influenced by the record 2015-16 El Nino. Yes, there has been warming without that El Nino (thus making La Nina years also warmer), but the warming rate over a period with no trend in ENSO activity (2000-mid 2015) is not very alarming. Numbers matter, not words. We could have “record warm” years every year for the next 100 (OMG!!), but if each year the record is only broken by 0.01 deg. C, that isn’t very alarming.

      • We have had NASA-GISS announce “record heat years’ with only a few hundredths of a degree difference, so why not 0.01 degrees C. ?

        Of course NASA-GISS also announces “record heat” in African surface grid cells where there are NO THERMOMETERS.

        This is “modern” climate science — every 0.01 degree matters, if there are no thermometers you make up a number, and no claim is falsifiable.

        Also, the future temperature is known with great certainty ( now 95%, soon to be 102% confidence), but past temperatures keep changing in the record books.

        Mr. Spencer, you are living in the world of old fashioned science, where theories can be falsified — this is NEW SCIENCE, BASED ON REALLY BIG COMPUTERS.

        • Richard Greene

          Roy is living in the world of science, where he should be, that’s his job and expertise along with the ~10% of the world who are also scientists.

          The problem is, 90% of the world DOES NOT DO SCIENCE!

          The AGW scam continues because sceptical scientists are lousy communicators. They think they can tell the world what science tells them, but 90% of the planet doesn’t understand their scientific explanation because, guess what, THEY ARE NOT SCIENTISTS.

          Start communicating folks. Was it Einstein who said, if you can’t explain it to a 5 year old you don’t understand it yourself? Or maybe Feynman, I don’t know, but these guys were trying to tell all you scientists something.

          Explain climate science to a kid, then you have something newsworthy.

          • Hot Scot
            I would say 99% of the general public, other than scientists and engineers, do not understand science, based on the acceptance of a coming climate change crisis fairy tale for the past 30 years, while the actual climate is wonderful.

            I was a liberal in the 1960s and early 1970s, when liberals did not trust the government.

            Now they LOVE the government.

            Governments, federal and state, buy whatever science they want, so you have half the country (Dumbocrats) who automatically believe everything they say.

            I think you will find a large majority of scientists who do work related to the climate, work for governments or get government grants for their studies at private universities.

            Some of the Repooplicans will also believe government science because of their faith in scientists ( I wouldn’t buy a used car from a scientist ).

            Politicians in power always want a more powerful government, and more control over the private sector.

            Politicians buy “scare-the-people science” that makes many people say: “I want my government to do something about the climate” … even when the current climate is wonderful.

            The same gullible people believed an attack on Iraq was justified by “weapons of mass destruction” … that did not exist.

            And long ago, the expansion of the Vietnam War was justified by the Gulf of Tonkin attack … that was either grossly exaggerated, or never happened.

            Scare the sheeple = get more political power.

          • ha….I work with “scientists” every day..and have for 50 years

            99% of scientists don’t know squat….here’s the definition

            Scientist…someone that has no clue…and is trying to get one

          • So true, Lat; from one who did applied science for years and studied science for years before working in the applied science field. I, too often, had to tell folk “I don’t know”, some appreciated the honesty, others didn’t. I, too often had to tell them stories of guesses, and to remember that these stories may apply to you; and if/when they did, the story would not necessarily be the same as the story told by someone else.

      • I’m sorry if this is answered in the video, but why concentrate on just the 21st century? It’s only 20 years and will be heavily influenced by ENSO events. Why not look at the last 40 years of data as a whole rather than assuming that the 21st century is different to the late 20th?

        Also, why do you only consider the effects of recent El Niños? Wouldn’t the El Niños at the start of the 2st century, and the later La Niñas also have had an effect on the 2st century trend?

      • There is a clear correlation between solar magnetic activity as expressed in the 11 year average sunspot count number and global temperature anomaly all the way up to mid 1980s, but that correlation has failed since.
        As the sunspot count fell, while solar magnetic activity which was not strong enough to burst into darkened sunspots is continuing.
        According to SILSO during last 6-7 days the SSN count = 0, but that is only one side of the coin, but magnetic activity covers significant percentage of the solar disc, as the magnetogram available from the WUWT’s solar pages shows
        https://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/assets/img/latest/latest_2048_HMIB.jpg
        Sun is active but the TSI is not recording it, despite it, it might be concluded that in the era of a low solar activity the sun could be still contributing to the global warming through a mechanism not fully understood.
        The available and most reliable current global temperature data shows that since early 1990s, the major falls in the UAH coincide with the solar maxima, while rise in the UAH follows fall in the sunspot count.
        http://www.vukcevic.co.uk/UAH-SSN.htm
        I would suggest that sometime between late 1980s and early 1990s the SSN count-global temperature correlation has flipped from positive to negative, due to the fact that the underlining magnetic activity became the predominant factor in warming during current declining sunspot count epoch. If we are on a threshold of a new Maunder type minimum it might take a decade or two for the magnetic activity to decay to the point where its contribution to the warming becomes negligible.

      • If “words don’t matter” why kick off with a straw man?
        “Politicians, politicized scientists and activists will have you believe that 100% of 21st century warming is anthropogenic.”

        Show us one scientist making that claim.

        • Loydo
          Show us one scientist on a government payroll, federal or state,
          or getting a government grant, NOT making that claim directly,
          ( or indirectly by failing to look for, or mention, any natural causes of climate change ) !

          The climate alarmists would have us believe 4.5 billion years of natural climate change suddenly stopped in 1940.

          Never an explanation of how, or why.

          Then ‘air pollution’ controlled the climate from 1940 to 1975.

          In 1975, all the ‘air pollution’ magically fell out of the sky, then CO2 controlled the climate until the early 2000s.

          The global average temperature in 2018 was similar to the early 2000s, so we don’t know who has been controlling the climate since the early 2000s !

          Maybe the Russians ?

          And if you believe the climate alarmist fairy tales, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you ( below cost, I’m NOT trying to make a profit).

          • “Show us one scientist”

            IPCC
            It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.

            Roy agrees “I’m willing to admit over half of it could well be due to increasing CO2.”

            “Never an explanation of how, or why.”
            Ask Roy.

    • we see a pattern of warming.
      we call it el nino
      later people forget and think that patterns is cause.
      el nino caused el nino.

      I forget what are the physical units of el nino

      • Steve has a point, El Nino doesn’t warm the planet. When you move heat around from point A to point B, there is no creation of energy.

        • Isn’t it strange how there is no creation of energy but for the last 4.5billion years the planet has been continuously experiencing natural climate change – until the climate cult started and suddenly there was no natural variation only Human caused variation.

          Until people get it into their thick heads that natural variation exists even within an isolated planet, there isn’t a hope in hell of understanding the climate (although I don’t think many want to understand it).

        • Energy is only ever created by nuclear reactions. Everything else is really just moving around.

        • It moves heat from where it isn’t being measured (the oceans) to where it is being measured (sort of) (the atmosphere).

        • We don’t measure energy. We measure temperature. Redistrubuting heat will change th average temperature, but not the global energy budget.

          • Actually, we don’t measure temperature. Temperature is a proxy for the internal kinetic energy of a sample of matter and *only* its internal energy.

            The thermometer measures volume changes. Within whatever fluid is used to measure that, it is the internal kinetic energy being expressed via one or more mechanisms; it isn’t the actual kinetic energy. Remember, one gram mole of a substance is approximately 6.023 x 10^23 constituents. Also, at the quantum level, instrumenting a system can and does materially change it such that only conserved pairs of quantities get measured with any decent resolution and precision such that we can ascertain the accuracy; and even then there will be uncertainty in the measure.

            For thermocouples, we measure the voltage change; which is, again, expressed by the internal kinetic energy in one or more ways. For IR thermometers, we take a brightness or a flux measurement and invert it using a mathematical relation. For ill-posed systems, we can get stuff terribly wrong.

            For light, absorption or emission *at a single* line does not transfer energy. It is akin to a phase change, in my opinion, or comparable to the area under a curve. The area of a curve at a point is zero, if I am remembering correctly. No energy transfer, no power transfer, no work gets done.

            IR is light, not heat. Heat, again, is internal kinetic energy. Heat can be converted to light and light can be converted to heat; though to “heat” something requires raising its internal kinetic energy, so slowing cooling of an object is not the same thing as heating it; despite what the thermometer shows.

            Finally, there are other ways for energy to be used besides internal kinetic energy, and these also are reversible; though not often at the same time scale.

        • The El Nino brings ocean heat to the surface where it affects surface temperature measurements. The La Nina does the opposite.

          They redistribute heat.

          Although the long-term effect is expected to be no net surface warming or cooling, there’s no guarantee it will always be that way in the future.

          A short term trend line could be distorted by a large ENSO,
          … but then linear trend lines are notorious for distorting non linear temperature data, even for long-term trend lines.

      • We see a pattern of warming
        we call it el nino
        el nino has been going on at least since the late Miocene

    • Because they are presented anomalous form.

      This is what El Niño and La Niña look like in real time.

      https://suyts.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/image266.png

      This is what they look like to a naval gazing scientist with a budget and his salary and pension on his mind.

      https://realclimatescience.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/2018-07-26024516_shadow-1024×904.png

      What do climate sceptics do? Well, we keep banging on about the second graph instead of using our noggins and showing the public what is actually happening to their planet in the first graph……Absolutely nothing!!!

  2. El Ninos and La Ninas are expected to offset each other in the long run.

    However, so far, the strong 1998 and 2015/2016 El Ninos have not been offset by La Ninas, so they could affect some short term temperature trend lines.

    A bigger problem is using linear trend lines to “summarize” non linear temperature measurements — too easy to distort the data.

    For example, a ten year trend line ending this month would include the large El 2015 / 2016 El Nino heat release, that causes global warming, but has nothing to do with CO2 levels.

    A more accurate view of the non-linear global average temperature trend would be to state that after the 1998 El Nino heat peak, the temperature range seemed to take a step up to a higher level, than before that El Nino, and stayed in a generally flat trend until the 2015/2016 El Nino.

    So far, the the temperature range after the 2015/2016 El Nino heat peak also seems to have stepped up a higher range, than before that El Nino, although it may be too soon to reach that conclusion.

    Steps up to a higher range of global temperatures, after strong El Ninos, would seem unrelated to a warming pattern we would expect from CO2 levels changes.

    Far more important:
    (1)
    The climate of our planet is not accurately summarized with a single statistic, the global average temperature, and

    (2)
    The use of temperature anomaly charts, typically covering a range of only 1 to 1.5 degrees C., makes tiny, meaningless tenth of a degree changes to the average temperature seem like huge, scary mountains and valleys on the charts — but when using a temperature range typical of a standard red line thermometer, 0.1 degree C. variations would be meaningless noise.

    • Right on … right on Richard. I totally agree, you can’t represent climate with any single “global” number.

      I’ve been playing around with a Stefan-Boltzmann calculator (that’s like giving a monkey a high pressure liquid chromatography machine … LOL) …. and looking at radiation at different temps. Using an average water temp in the tropics of 23C, a square meter emits some 435 W/m2. … 24 hrs per day. At the pole, with a water temp of 1C, we get 319 W/m2. At the North Pole in winter with a temp of -30C you’re still emitting 197 W/m2.. That heat is being moved there, cause there ain’t no sun light in the winter at the North Pole. If we just average it, the NP emits on average 258 W/m2 over a year. Now, average ~435 W/m2 and 258 W/m2, and you get approximately ……. 345 W/m2. ….. which looks eerily similar to a 342 W/m2 I’ve seen regarding the amount of solar input after all the absorption, albedo, etc. the only difference, all this energy originates from the sun, but the approach I used purely consisted of using estimated SST. But as can be seen, there is no 342 W/m2 hitting a meter of real estate at the North Pole ….. further, there is no way in hell that 342W/m2 could result in 25C water temps in the Niño regions ….. ain’t nuttiin’ global about it.

      I’m going to keep playing around with this …. who knows, I may reinvent the wheel. LOL.

  3. The ENSO meter wiggled up a bit more positive, indicating a continuing weak El Nino. Anomalus temps in the arctic indicate higher radiation flux into space. The natural ‘temperature governor’ is operating effectively, as it always has.

  4. “w.soundcloud.com’s server IP address could not be found”
    The video/audio doesn’t work on my Toshiba laptop…

    (I works for me, the problem must be at your end) SUNMOD

  5. 2C degrees warming – that’s an utterly absurd suggestion. The climate clearly has massive negative feedbacks present in the interglacial for warming and there’s not the slightest evidence or credibility for positive feedbacks, so the HIGHEST any sensible person could suggest is 1C for a doubling of CO2.

  6. No, the PDO and the ENSO phenomenon are both driven by the alignment of the 31/62/93/186-year Perigean New/Full Moon tidal cycle with the seasons. They are two separate responses of the Pacific ocean/atmosphere to the same driving force.

    E.g. the 4-to-5-year pattern seen in the ENSO comes from the temporal alignment between a 15-month lunar tidal cycle and the annual seasonal cycle.

    [Note: Alignments between the tropical month and Synodic month – govern then times when the New/Full moon crosses the Earth’s equator or reaches a lunar standstill.]

    One such alignment produces a 15-month cycle. Since:

    4 x (3.25 Tropical months) + 3.75 Tropical months = 457.6365 days ~ 15.04 months
    4 x (3.00 Synodic months) + 3.50 Synodic months = 457.7241 days ~ 15.03 months

    This is expressed an observed 15-month pattern wind in the Equatorial Pacific which aligns with the seasons, around December-January, once every ~ 5 years.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130527100628.htm

    Climate researchers discover new rhythm for El Niño
    May 27, 2013 – the University of Hawaii ‑ SOEST
    Summary:
    Why El Niño peaks around Christmas and ends quickly by February to April has been a long-standing mystery. The answer lies in an interaction between El Niño and the annual cycle that results in an unusual tropical Pacific wind pattern with a period of 15 months, according to scientists.

  7. Dr. , correlation in the data, in part or otherwise, does not necessarily mean causation or even an effect in a given condition.

    But still a good point though to consider, in the case of ENSO cycles in the prospect of climate, the deviation point.

    Still El Nino global warming, as per climate, happens to be only a figment of imagination…
    not real possibly.

    For all the time period in consideration, only the path of CO2 concentration has not changed yet…and still we are in a period of warming, regardless of EL Nino periods, even when somehow better correlation to consider according to the temp data, in the case
    of El Nino V CO2 concentration trend.

    cheers
    .

    • More to the point is that causation entails correlation. Correlation does not entail causation for any postulated cause. Once cause is found or shown, no need for correlation, any more. The catch is that there are going to be more than one cause and one effect in any complex system, and there are few simple systems in nature, that I am aware of.

  8. A primary driver of average global temperature is water vapor. According to the data, el Ninos drive more WV into the atmosphere globally so an el Nino event causes a global temperature rise and fall https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D2TdkhoVYAAd_g4.jpg . WV has been on an uptrend which got much steeper around 1960. When the WV increase is included in the mix, it accounts for about 70% of the average global temperature increase since 1909. http://diyclimateanalysis.blogspot.com

  9. Typo alert.

    Typo in headline

    53 thoughts on “El Niño and it’s contribution to 21st Century Warming

    Spurious apostrophe in its.

  10. WUWT Bob Tisdale convincingly showed that almost all of the warming since the 1980s is tied to step increases due to El Nino. I’m not sure if his graphs are still available.

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