El Ninos and La Ninas and Global Warming

by Donald Rapp

Why after 400 years of La Niña precedence, did periods of El Niños dominance start in the 20th century? And why did the two periods of strong El Niño dominance in the 20th century occur during a period when the CO2 concentration was rising? Is there a link between rising CO2 and the El Niño – La Niña balance? But if there is such a link, why did El Niños become less prevalent than La Niñas from 1941 to 1976 and be in balance after 1998?

Introduction

Bob Tisdale is noted for his extensive reviews, discussions and analyses of El Niño and La Niña occurrences and their implications for climate change. He emphasized that the Pacific Ocean covers 1/3 of the earth and its condition impacts the climate of the whole earth. The Pacific periodically goes through transitions from El Niño to neutral to La Niña, and vice versa. In an El Niño, warm waters cover a sizable portion of the Pacific, which heats the atmosphere. Tisdale has shown that at least in the 20th century, one can correlate durations of increase in global temperature with periods of El Niño dominance. Actually, the global warming of the 20th century correlates better with Niño indices than it does with CO2 concentration. He has therefore argued that a substantial part (if not all) of the global warming of the past ~120 years can be attributed periods of imbalance in favor of El Niños, rather than the effect of rising CO2 concentration.

Tisdale pointed out that the establishment view is that rising greenhouse gas concentrations over time cause a steadily increasing forcing that tends to drive earth temperatures upward. According to this viewpoint, the sequence of periodic changes in the El Niño – La Niña balance is superimposed on this continuing trend. During periods of El Niño dominance the warming due to El Niños adds to the warming effect due to rising greenhouse gases, and during periods of La Niña dominance the cooling due to La Niñas reduces the warming effect due to rising greenhouse gases.

A common belief in the climate establishment is that El Niño – La Niña sequences will eventually balance out over long periods of time, and warming due to greenhouse gases will be the dominant trend over longer periods of time. However, when one actually examines the data, one finds that the El Niños and La Niñas were not in balance during the 20th century. Starting in year 1900, and continuing to about 1941, El Niños were more prevalent and stronger than La Niñas. Also during this period, the earth warmed significantly. From about 1941 to about 1976, El Niños and La Niñas were fairly balanced, although there was a slight excess of La Niñas. The earth cooled slightly during this period but the prevalence of La Niñas was weak. From 1976 to 1998, El Niños strongly dominated over La Niñas. This 23-year period included the very strong El Niño of 1982-3 and culminated in the very strong El Niño of 1997-8. The earth warmed rapidly during this period from 1976 to 1998. In fact, about half the warming of the 20th century occurred during those 23 years. With the termination of the great El Niño of 1997-8, we entered a period of balance between El Niños and La Niñas and the earth’s temperature remained essentially unchanged from 1998 to 2014.

From the results reported above, one could infer that the climate of the earth has been controlled by the El Niño – La Niña balance during the past 120 years. When El Niños dominate, the earth warms; and when La Niñas dominate, the earth cools. When they are balanced, the earth tends to remain at a constant average temperature. One could possibly go further (as Tisdale has done) and argue that CO2 had little to do with the earth’s climate these past 120 years; only the state of the Pacific Ocean determined the climate. Unfortunately it is difficult to prove this proposition.

Proxies have been used to estimate the El Niño – La Niña balance over the past ~500 years. Proxies are not as reliable as direct temperature measurements, and tree rings in particular have shown some poor correlation with measured temperatures. In general, comparisons of proxies with measured temperatures during the calibration periods tend to show only moderate correlation. Nevertheless, proxies are the only source we have for estimating the El Niño – La Niña balance over the past longer periods of time. The proxies indicate that for 400 years prior to year 1900, the Pacific remained mainly in a La Niña – dominant mode and earth temperatures were lower than in the 20th century.

Thus one could argue that for 400 years, the earth was cool, in some way due to a prevalence of La Niñas, and this reversed in the 20th century during which there were two major periods of El Niño dominance in which all the global warming of the 20th century took place.

But then the question arises: Why after 400 years of La Niña precedence, did periods of El Niños dominance start in the 20th century? And why did the two periods of strong El Niño dominance in the 20th century occur during a period when the CO2 concentration was rising? Is there a link between rising CO2 and the El Niño – La Niña balance? But if there is such a link, why did El Niños become less prevalent than La Niñas from 1941 to 1976 and be in balance after 1998? These periods were periods of rising CO2. What other variables were changing during these periods? These might include solar intensity, cloud cover, wind patterns, etc. The data are sketchy and do not seem to lead to any clear answers.

Is nature teasing us? Coincidental with the period when CO2 started rising rapidly, did nature decide to have two periods of strong El Niños that increased the earth’s average temperature? Or did the occurrence of strong El Niños require some sort of CO2 trigger?

Meanwhile some alarmists are pinning their hopes of a new period of rising earth temperatures on emergence of a new El Niño later this year. But in doing so, are they implicitly admitting that the earth does not warm unless there is an excess of El Niños?

In an NPR interview, Kevin Trenberth was quoted as follows:

“The oceans can at times soak up a lot of heat. Some goes into the deep oceans where it can stay for centuries. But heat absorbed closer to the surface can easily flow back into the air. That happened in 1998, which made it one of the hottest years on record.”

Trenberth says since then, the ocean has mostly been back in one of its soaking-up modes.

“They probably can’t go on much for much longer than maybe 20 years, and what happens at the end of these hiatus periods, is suddenly there’s a big jump [in temperature] up to a whole new level and you never go back to that previous level again,” he says.

You can think of it like a staircase. Temperature is flat when a natural cool spell cancels out the gradual temperature increase caused by human activity. But when there’s a natural warm spell on top of the long-term warming trend, the story is dramatically different.

“When the natural variability or when the weather is going in the same direction as global warming, suddenly we’re breaking records, we’re going outside of the bounds of previous experience, and that is when the real damage occurs,” Trenberth says.

Trenberth’s view is that the earth is out of balance (acquiring more heat from the Sun than it can reject to space) and this excess heat finds its way into the oceans. When enough heat is stored in the surface waters, it eventually comes out as in the form of an El Niño. But, we have had El Niños on and off for hundreds of years without rising greenhouse gases, and there was very significant El Niño activity between 1900 and 1942 when CO2 concentrations were much lower. The regime shift at year 1900 was just as dramatic as the regime shift of 1977, and the persistence of El Niños from 1900 to 1942 was just as pervasive as that from 1977 to 1998. Any proposed explanation would have to deal with this widely ignored early phase of high El Niño activity.

And once the heat is released from the ocean to the atmosphere via an El Niño, why can “you never go back to that previous level again”? In fact, during the long hiatus in El Niño dominance from 1942 to 1976, the earth did cool somewhat. Would a really good dose of La Niñas, such as prevailed prior to 1900, bring earth temperatures down significantly? Or is Trenberth’s “staircase” analogy correct – that we can only go up from here?

Now, Trenberth seems to be pinning his hopes for further warming on the emergence of a new era of El Niño dominance to release all the heat he believes is stored in the surface waters of the Pacific. He might have a good point here but since we are dealing here with the crucial process by which the earth warms as a result of some sort of supposed interaction between rising greenhouse gases and their presumed impact on the El Niño – La Niña balance in the pacific, surely this topic requires a great deal more explanation, explication and filling out of details than these brief sound bites by Trenberth?

Indeed, all the climate scientists in the world ought to halt their myriad little ventures and come to grips with this all consuming aspect of climate change. Is the mechanism for global warming that rising greenhouse gas concentrations produce a heat imbalance that warms surface waters of the Pacific, leading to periodic episodes of El Niño dominance that acts as THE mechanism for warming the earth? If so, why do we have these extended periods (1942-1976 and 1998-2014) where the Pacific is supposedly biding its time while storing up energy?

Wang and Picaut (2004) wrote an excellent review of proposed mechanisms for ENSO phenomena. They pointed out “The issue of ENSO as a self-sustained oscillation mode or a stable mode triggered by random forcing is not settled… Since 1988, four concepts have been proposed for the oscillatory and self-sustained nature of ENSO. They also represent the negative feedbacks of a growing ENSO stable mode triggered by stochastic forcing, and are unified in a single concept. More data and model diagnoses are needed to test these concepts or to discover others.” They also went on to say:

“The relationship between ENSO and global warming is largely unknown. We are not even sure if greenhouse warming will result in an El Niño-like or La Niña-like pattern in the tropical Pacific. To understand the relationship between anthropogenic and natural climate variability, global coupled ocean-atmosphere models must be greatly improved and simulate both ENSO and the response to greenhouse warming.”

They closed with a statement: describing ENSO as a “fascinating puzzle of nature”.

Clearly, Trenberth’s sound bites don’t answer the mail on this puzzle.

Eight years later, Wang et al. (2012) concluded

“The issue of ENSO as a self-sustained oscillation mode or a stable mode triggered by random forcing is not settled. It is possible that ENSO is a self-sustained mode during some periods, a stable mode during others, or a mode that is intermediate or mixed between the former and the latter.”

In regard to the effect of global warming on ENSO, Wang et al. (2012) concluded:

“ENSO changes under global warming are uncertain. The tropical Pacific response to global warming has been suggested to be neither El Niño-like nor La Niña-like since the mechanisms for these changes are different from that of ENSO events – the Bjerknes feedback. Increasing greenhouse gases changes the background mean states in the tropical Pacific Ocean and atmosphere which in turn induce ENSO changes. However, the response of the mean states to increasing greenhouse gases is uncertain. For example, the tropical Pacific zonal SST contrast under global warming is reported to be either strengthened or weakened. The uncertainty in the eastern Pacific warming may be also caused by the Atlantic warming. Due to the fact that the change in tropical mean condition under global warming is quite uncertain even during the past few decades, it is hard to say whether ENSO is going to intensify or weaken, but it is very likely that ENSO will not disappear in the future.”

Cobb et al. (2013) used corals to estimate ENSO variance throughout the Holocene. They concluded:

“Twentieth-century ENSO variance is significantly higher than average fossil coral ENSO variance but is not unprecedented. Our results suggest that forced changes in ENSO, whether natural or anthropogenic, may be difficult to detect against a background of large internal variability.”

1. Nino Indices and Running Sums 1870 – Present

1.1 Cane (2004)

Cane (2004) provided Nino3 data as shown in Figure 1. The data in this figure is “commonly used index of El Niño, the sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly in the NINO3 region of the eastern equatorial Pacific (90°W-150°W, 5°S-5°N)”.

Fig.1

Figure 1. The Nino3 index according to Cane (2004).

This data is presented in slightly different form in Figure 2.

Fig.2

Figure 2. The Nino3 index according to Cane (2004), with color added.

Figure 3 suggests that over the time period 1866 to the present, there have been five eras of El Niño activity:

  1. From 1866 to 1900, La Niñas were more prevalent and stronger than El Niños. Also during this period, the earth was cooler than it is today..
  2. Starting in year 1900, and continuing to about 1941, El Niños were more prevalent and stronger than La Niñas. Also during this period, the earth warmed significantly.
  3. From about 1941 to about 1976, El Niños and La Niñas were fairly balanced, although there was a slight excess of La Niñas. The earth cooled slightly during this period.
  4. From 1976 to 1998, El Niños strongly dominated over La Niñas. This 23-year period included the very strong El Niño of 1982-3 and culminated in the very strong El Niño of 1997-8. The earth warmed rapidly during this period from 1976 to 1998. In fact, about half the warming of the 20th century occurred during those 23 years.
  5. With the termination of the great El Nino of 1997-8, we entered a period of balance between El Ninos and La Ninas and the earth’s temperature remained essentially unchanged from 1998 to 2014.

Fig.3

Figure 3. The Nino3 index according to Cane (2004) showing five eras.

To clarify the various periods of time with differing El Nino and La Nina ratios, we plot a running sum of the data from Figure 2 in Figure 4. (Bob Tisdale presents many such running sums in his various postings).

Fig.4

Figure 4. Running sum of Nino3 index according to Cane (2004) showing five eras.

A comparison of the running sum of the Nino3 index and the global average temperature is given in Figure 5.

Fig.5

Figure 5. Comparison of the running sum of the Nino3 index and the global average temperature.

1.6 Douglass (2010)

Douglass (2010) refined the Nino3.4 index. His results are shown in Figure 6. Douglass’ results are very similar to those of Cane (2004).

Fig.6

Figure 6. Nino3.4 index and running sum according to Douglass (2010).

1.3 Wolter and Timlin (2011)

Wolter and Timlin (2011) developed a Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) that combines inputs from six atmosphere–ocean variable fields in the tropical Pacific basin. It is claimed that it provides a more complete and flexible description of the ENSO phenomenon than single variable ENSO indices such as the Niño indices. Their result is shown in Figure 7. The results of Wolter and Timlin (2011) indicate that the entire period from 1872 to 1918 was primarily dominated by La Niñas with a few exceptions (1877-8, 1897-1907). The periods from 1918 to 1942 and from 1977 to 1998 were dominated by El Ninos. While their running sum differs quantitatively from that of Cane (2004) it still suggests cold prior to 1920, roughly neutral from 1942 to 1977, and warm from 1977 to 1998.

1.4 Yu and Kim (2013)

Yu and Kim (2013) distinguished between El Niño events of the Central-Pacific (CP) type, the Eastern-Pacific (EP) type, or the Mixed type. But totaling up all types of events, their results are shown in Figure 8. Their results differ in detail from those of Cain (2004) and Wolter and Timlin (2011). In particular they show the period prior to 1942 to be dominated by La Niñas.

Fig.7

Figure 7. The Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) of Wolter and Timlin (2011).

Fig.8

Figure 8. El Niño events according to Yu and Kim (2013).

1.5 Giese and Ray (2011)

Giese and Ray performed a new ocean reanalysis that assimilated all available hydrographic and sea surface temperature data into a model of the global ocean forced with surface boundary conditions from an atmospheric reanalysis, covering the period from 1871 to 2008. Their result is shown in Figure 9.

Fig.9

Figure 9. El Niño – La Niña balance according to Giese and Ray (2011).

1.6 Minobe et al. (2004)

Minobe et al. presented Figure 10 that gives their estimate of the standard deviation from average of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. This clearly shows the era of El Niño events dominating between 1900 and 1941, except for 1916-1920, La Niña events dominating between 1940 and 1976, and El Niño events again dominating from 1976 to 1998. These results are plotted in Figure 11.

Fig.10

Figure 10. Standard deviation from average of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation according to Minobe et al. (2004).

Fig.11

Figure 11. Standard deviation from average of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation according to Minobe et al. (2004).

2. Regime Shifts in the 20th Century

It has been widely acknowledged in the literature that the Pacific Ocean underwent a rather sudden change in the period around 1976-1977, in which all relevant indices (PDO, SOI, ENSO) turned sharply toward prevalence of El Niño events compared to La Niña events. For example, Minobe et al. (2004) said:

“One of the interesting features of the decadal variability over the Pacific Ocean is the so-called climatic “regime shift”, the 1976/77 regime shift being a prime and well studied example.”

Trenberth and Hoar (1997) concluded that “the tendency for more El Niño and fewer La Niñas events since the late 1970s is highly unusual and very unlikely to be accounted for solely by natural variability.” However they admitted “at present, it is not possible to make such an attribution” [whether this ENSO behavior is linked to or a consequence of global warming due to increased greenhouse gas concentrations].

Frauenfeld et al. (2005) mentioned a “Pacific Climate Shift with negative anomalies prior to 1976/77 and almost exclusively positive anomalies since…”

Guilderson and Schrag (1998) said:

“Several studies have noted that the pattern of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) variability changed in 1976, with warm (El Niño) events becoming more frequent and more intense. This ‘1976 Pacific climate shift’ has been characterized as a warming in SSTs through much of the eastern tropical Pacific.”

DiLorenzo et al. (2007) said:

“Particularly dramatic physical and biological excursions occurred during the 1976–77 change in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.”

Hare and Mantua (2000) said:

“It is now widely accepted that a climatic regime shift transpired in the North Pacific Ocean in the winter of 1976–77. This regime shift has had far reaching consequences for the large marine ecosystems of the North Pacific. Despite the strength and scope of the changes initiated by the shift, it was 10 to 15 years before it was fully recognized. Subsequent research has suggested that this event was not unique in the historical record but merely the latest in a succession of climatic regime shifts.”

Wu, Lee, and Liu (2005) said:

“The 1970s North Pacific climate regime shift is marked by a notable transition from the persistent warming (cooling) condition over the central (eastern) North Pacific since the late 1960s toward the opposite condition around the mid 1970s…This large-scale decadal climatic regime shift has produced far-reaching impacts on both the physical and biological environment over the North Pacific and downstream over North America.”

Kim and Miller (2007) studied “the 1976/1977 climate regime shift.” They concluded that the thermocline warmed but did not deepen.

Power and Smith (2007) emphasized that “the lowest 30-year average value of the June–December SOI just occurred in 1977–2006” along with “the highest tropical sea-surface temperatures on record [in] what appears to be a concurrent period of unprecedented El Niño dominance.”

Indeed, a casual glance at Figures 1 to 11 would confirm that such a change did indeed take place during the 1976-1977 period.

Other regime shifts have been mentioned in the literature. Minobe et al. (2004) mentioned regime shifts in the 1920s, the 1940s and the late 1990s.

Gedalof and Smith (2001) said: “the step-like climate shift that occurred in 1976-1977 is not a unique event, with similar events having occurred frequently during the past 400 years”. They also concurred that regime shifts occurred in the 1920s (a trend favoring El Niños) and the 1940s (a trend favoring La Niñas). While there are some significant differences in details in the various studies presented in Figures 1-10, all the figures suggest (in one form or another) a trend favoring El Niños starting in the 1920s and a trend favoring La Niñas starting in the 1940s. The ending of the warming trend after the El Niño of 1998 has been a source of extensive discussion on the Blogs, although the IPCC side-stepped it.

Figures 4 and 6 suggest a strong regime shift around year 1900, of about the same magnitude as the regime shift at 1977. This occurred when the CO2 concentration was lower than 300 ppm.

3. The balance Between El Niños and La Niñas Since 1500

D’Arrigo et al. (2005) provided an estimate of the Nino3 index over the past six centuries based on tree ring data but the comparison of their model with data during the calibration period (1860 to 1980) is unimpressive. Nevertheless they found La Niñas dominant in the late 1800s and from about 1940 to 1980, while El Niños were dominant from about 1900 to 1940. From 1400 to about 1800, El Niños and La Niñas were roughly equally balanced.

Li, et al. (2013) produced a seven-century-long ENSO reconstruction based on 2,222 tree-ring chronologies from both the tropics and mid-latitudes in both hemispheres. They claimed that inclusion of tropical records enabled them to achieve unprecedented accuracy in this estimate. Their result is shown in Figure 12. However, one disturbing aspect of this figure is that during the period 1900-1940, the Pacific was predominantly in the El Niño mode, whereas their figure suggests this period to be predominantly in the La Niña mode. Nevertheless, the main point of their result is that it indicates that from 1300 to about the middle of the 20th century, the state of the Pacific meandering between neutral and predominantly La Niña, with El Niños generally less frequent than La Niñas.

Fig.12

Figure 12. Reconstructed sea surface temperatures in the Nino3.4 region. (Li, et al. (2013)).

Gergis and Fowler (2008) used proxies to estimate the number of strength of La Niñas and El Niños from the 1520s to recent times. They categorized these events as extreme, very strong, strong, moderate or weak. They tabulated the number of events for each intensity, per ten-year period, starting in the 1520s. Their results indicate that La Niñas predominated from 1520 to 1900 (with a short period of strong El Niños from 1700 to 1725). After 1900 there was a slight preference for El Niños. Their results for the 20th century do not agree with results of other studies, so their entire set of results is of uncertain veracity.

Gedalof and Smith (2001) found a number of regime shifts during the period 1600-2000. They found:

Preference for El Niños: 1680-1696; 1712-1734; 1758-1796; 1816-1840; 1923-1940; 1977-1998

Preference for La Niñas: 1696-1712; 1798-1816; 1946-1977

Link to  References

 JC note:  This post was submitted to me via email.  This is a guest post, please be civil.  This is also a technical thread; keep your comments strictly on topic

 

876 responses to “El Ninos and La Ninas and Global Warming

  1. The El Padre is thought to have dominated during the Eocene, the last time CO2 levels were about as high as today, when the Arctic and Antarctic were about 20C degrees warmer.

    An Ooblek-level proof of AGW would be an El Padre: El Nino without end, accompanied by unexpected extremes not normally ascribed to El Nino in terms of intensity, frequency, duration or direction.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      The shoaling of the isthmus of Panama changes the ENSO dynamic fundamentally – as well as plunging the planet into repeated glacial/interglacial interludes. A more dominant negative Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation – cooling or warming of the north-east Pacific combined with changes in the frequency and intensity of ENSO events – seems much more likely. More frequent and intense La Nina (El Niño) associated with cool (warm) PDO. These seem likely driven by polar fronts pushing more or less cold polar water into the Peruvian and Californian Currents. These in turn seem associated with solar UV variability and interactions with stratospheric ozone.

      The Holocene spanning ENSO proxy by Moy et al (2002) shows a shift from almost total La Nina dominance to more of a balance some 5,000 years ago – corresponding to the drying of the Sahel. As well as quasi 1000 year periodicity in the frequency and intensity of ENSO events, mega droughts and mega floods, periods where La Niña or El Niño all but disappear for hundreds of years.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/ENSO11000.gif.html?sort=3&o=217

      ‘… a series of intense El Niño events (high red color intensity) begins at about 1450 BC that will last for centuries. In that period normal (La Niña) conditions
      have but disappeared. For comparison, the very strong
      1998 El Nino event scores 89 in red color intensity. During
      the time when the Minoans were fading, El Niño events
      reach values in red color intensity over 200.’ http://www.clim-past.net/6/525/2010/cp-6-525-2010.pdf

      The high resolution Law Dome ice core salt content proxy by Vance et al 2012 shows – along with the familiar decadal variability – centennial variability with the past hundred years rising to a millennial peak of El Niño frequency.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Vance2012-AntarticaLawDomeicecoresaltcontent.jpg.html?sort=3&o=158

      ENSO warming or cooling is not susceptible to simple narrative. That should be a familiar refrain by now.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      ‘During positive ENSO phase (El Niño), outgoing LW radiation increases, and decreases during the negative ENSO phase (La Niña). The coldest year during the last decade occurred in 2008, during which strong La Nina conditions persisted throughout most of the year. Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) observations show that the lower temperatures extended throughout much of the troposphere for several months, resulting in a reduction in outgoing LW radiation and an increase in net incoming radiation. At the global scale, outgoing LW flux anomalies are partially compensated for by decreases in midlatitude cloud fraction and cloud height, as observed by Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer and Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer, respectively. CERES data show that clouds have a net radiative warming influence during La Niña conditions and a net cooling influence during El Niño, but the magnitude of the
      anomalies varies greatly from one ENSO event to another.’

      ENSO changes the locations where cloud occurs – but doesn’t seem to change total cloudiness or total rainfall all that noticeably. Total cloudiness seems more clearly associated the north eastern Pacific aspects of the system.

      e.g. http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Clementetal2009.png.html?sort=3&o=148

      ‘In a study that was widely interpreted as a demonstration of a positive global warming cloud feedback, Amy Clement and colleagues (2009) presented observational evidence of decadal change in cloud cover in surface observation of clouds from the Comprehensive Ocean Atmosphere Data Set (COADS). ‘Both COADS and adjusted ISCCP data sets show a shift toward more total cloud cover in the late 1990s, and the shift is dominated by low- level cloud cover in the adjusted ISCCP data. The longer COADS total cloud time series indicates that a similar magnitude shift toward reduced cloud cover occurred in the mid-1970s, and this earlier shift was also dominated by marine stratiform clouds. . . Our observational analysis indicates that increased SST and weaker subtropical highs will act to reduce NE Pacific cloud cover.’ As was clearly stated in the paper, the evidence was for a decadal cloud feedback negatively correlated with SST. The feedbacks correspond exactly to changes in the Pacific multi-decadal pattern.’ http://www.drroyspencer.com/Clement-et-al-cloud-feedback-Science-2009.pdf

      Put it all together and this suggests a cloud amplification for solar variability – and a inkling that declining solar UV will result in La Niña dominance for hundreds of years to come.

    • In your case, Bart, it is El Mierda del Toro. That pretty much sums up the state of climate science.

    • Oops! That would be La Mierda del Toro.

    • Pierre-Normand

      David Springer wrote: “I am still waiting for experimental confirmation that increasing 10 micrometer illumination of a water body surface where the water is free to evaporate decreases the cooling rate of the water body.”

      If the atmosphere over the water already is saturated with water vapor, as often is the case in the tropics, then an increase in the back radiation to the surface will not increase the rate of evaporative cooling since the air can’t hold any more moisture. Now, suppose the increase in back radiation from the atmosphere doesn’t reduce the rate of cooling of the water body. Where would the energy go? First it has to warm the skin until the upwelling radiation from the skin balances the increase in back radiation. This temperature increase of the skin may cause an increase in the rate of convection above the surface. It will thus take some of the heat away. But it will *also* reduce the temperature gradient of the surface layer and hence reduce heat conduction below the skin. Hence, there will be a net gain of heat in the water body, because its ability to get rid of the energy gained by the Sun will be reduced.

      • David Springer

        Pierre-Normand just makes things up out of thin air. Such as:

        “If the atmosphere over the water already is saturated with water vapor, as often is the case in the tropics”

        This is almost never the case in the tropics. It’s called fog when that happens, dummy.

        I suggest this troll Pierre-Normand be ignored.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “The biggest underlying mistake in global warming pseudoscience is that the ocean is treated as a black body. It’s a selective body that responds differently to different wavelengths of light.”

      The ocean surface is close enough to a black body in the IR spectrum. Its emissivity is 0.96 in the 1 to 100 micron range and 0.98 to 0.99 in the 8 to 14 micron range.

      • David Springer

        No dopey it is not. A black body is a perfect absorber and perfect radiator across all frequencies. The ocean is close to transparent for shortwave from the sun and close to opaque to longwave back-radiated from greenhouse gases and clouds.

        Write that down and please stop making me correct your natural science illiterate ass.

    • All forms of net heat transfer react strongly to changes in temperature differentials at a fixed small (millimeters or less) depth in the water and at a fixed small (meters) altitude in the atmosphere. Changes in the IR balance are compensated so effectively by changes in sensible and latent heat balances that the temperature profile changes very little. The influence of added CO2 does not come from there, it comes from the upper troposphere. When the upper troposphere cannot lose as much heat by IR emission. less heat can be transferred up from the low troposphere. That makes the low troposphere warmer and the surface warmer.

      Added CO2 operates always through changes in the radiative balance at the tropopause. What happens at lower altitudes must be derived from that. (What happens in the stratosphere has it’s main effect also through the radiative balance at tropopause.) The effect of CO2 in the troposphere does not influence much the internal net energy fluxes of the troposphere, but CO2 of every altitude has some influence on the flux at tropopause.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Pekka wrote: “Changes in the IR balance are compensated so effectively by changes in sensible and latent heat balances that the temperature profile changes very little. The influence of added CO2 does not come from there, it comes from the upper troposphere.”

      I fully agree though this may sound strange to some and may even be a little misleading. That’s because when a persistent imbalance occurs at the tropopause (or equivalently at the TOA) then is must quickly translate as an equal imbalance at the surface since the heat capacity of the troposphere is so low and energy must be conserved. However, if the temperature profiles of the surface layer, and a few meters above it, don’t change at all then the surface fluxes won’t change either. So, this “very little” change that must occur in the temperature profiles close to the surface must be just large enough to create the very same imbalance that occurs at the tropopause, and hence translate this flux imbalance into heat storage into the oceans (and cryosphere). It is the effects of this “very little” change that I attempted to describe though I may not have gotten it exactly right. I’d have to review some relevant articles.

    • Pierre-Normand,

      Right. The imbalance at TOA leads to imbalance at the surface, and that leads to a change in the temperature profile. The change is, however, too small to be observable taking into account the great local and temporal variability in the profiles. My main point was that the changes in IR balance lead also to so small changes in the profile that they are unobservable as well.

      What happens at the surface and within the troposphere is regulated by thermodynamics and fluid dynamics. The IR from the atmosphere to the surface is essential as driver of all circulation, but it’s always large enough to leave the regulation to other processes. Solar radiation alone could not maintain the present surface temperatures without the (larger) contribution from downwelling IR.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Pekka, yes, I agree with everything.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Generalssimo Skippy: During
      the time when the Minoans were fading, El Niño events
      reach values in red color intensity over 200.’ http://www.clim-past.net/6/525/2010/cp-6-525-2010.pdf

      ENSO warming or cooling is not susceptible to simple narrative. That should be a familiar refrain by now.

      Thank you for the link, and the summary statement.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Pierre-Normand: If the atmosphere over the water already is saturated with water vapor, as often is the case in the tropics, then an increase in the back radiation to the surface will not increase the rate of evaporative cooling since the air can’t hold any more moisture.

      I doubt that the atmosphere over ocean is ever near saturation on sunny, windy mornings, but if you have a reference I shall certainly download it and read it. It is very common in the tropics to have daily rainfall in the afternoon, but that is merely the return of cool water that evaporated in the am and warmed the troposphere before returning. I think that the possibility that increased downwellng LWIR will increase the am evaporation rates should not be casually dismissed. But if you have a reference, I shall pay attention to it.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Pekka Pirilä

      All forms of net heat transfer react strongly to changes in temperature differentials at a fixed small (millimeters or less) depth in the water and at a fixed small (meters) altitude in the atmosphere. Changes in the IR balance are compensated so effectively by changes in sensible and latent heat balances that the temperature profile changes very little.

      Not saying your are wrong, but I’d like a reference. This phrase “very little” gets thrown around a lot without definition. The predicted increase in temperature from a doubling of CO2 is “only” 1% or less on the absolute scale, so other changes that are “very little” need to be considered relevant. “Very little” increase in morning cloud cover in the tropics and temperate zones would cancel the warming effects of CO2 increase completely.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Pierre-Normand: I fully agree though this may sound strange to some and may even be a little misleading. That’s because when a persistent imbalance occurs at the tropopause (or equivalently at the TOA) then is must quickly translate as an equal imbalance at the surface since the heat capacity of the troposphere is so low and energy must be conserved. However, if the temperature profiles of the surface layer, and a few meters above it, don’t change at all then the surface fluxes won’t change either. So, this “very little” change that must occur in the temperature profiles close to the surface must be just large enough to create the very same imbalance that occurs at the tropopause, and hence translate this flux imbalance into heat storage into the oceans (and cryosphere). It is the effects of this “very little” change that I attempted to describe though I may not have gotten it exactly right. I’d have to review some relevant articles.

      Good reply, but what do you mean by “quickly”? Generally in these climate discussions rates of change of various quantities and gradients have not actually been measured. The transfer of latent heat from surface to upper troposphere can take hours, and be observed as the buildup of “thunder clouds” in the American Midwest and regions in the Pacific. A large temperature gradient without saturation at the surface can be maintained for a long time.

    • The effective thermal diffusion of water is quite high — that’s why they call it effective eddy diffusion. So much for your theory.

      • David Springer

        Since the surface layer is colder than the ocean below it any mixing only serves to cool the ocean bulk not warm it. Nice own goal, McFly. LOL

    • Matthew,
      What I mean by small here is something like millikelvins. The overall temperature profile of the atmosphere has maximum changes of the order of 1K. When that happens over a range of many kilometers the changes in the first few meters plus the surface is not many millikelvins, when mechanisms as strong as evaporation and convection are involved.

    • Pekka, a physicist states

      “Changes in the IR balance are compensated so effectively by changes in sensible and latent heat balances that the temperature profile changes very little. ”
      Now note that is is completely wrong and Pekka knows it is wrong. Only twice per day is there ever ‘balance’ the system. Treating a complex, open, dynamic system as a closed equilibrium is intellectually deceitful.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “I doubt that the atmosphere over ocean is ever near saturation on sunny, windy mornings, but if you have a reference I shall certainly download it and read it.”

      The saturation point is reached whenever the dew point is reached (by definition) and that is a very common occurrence, even at higher latitudes. For sure, it occur more often in the afternoon and evenings than it does in the morning when the temperature rises. The point is to describe mechanisms for an increase in IR back radiation flux to translate in ocean heat storage below the skin. It’s not my point to deny that such an increase doesn’t usually, or never, produce increases in surface latent or sensible heat fluxes. But even when they do, this is also accompanied some warming of the skin layer, and hence by a reduction of the gradient below the skin and thus by a reduction of the cooling rate of the surface layer.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Good reply, but what do you mean by “quickly”?”

      I mean “quickly” relative to the characteristic time for the external forcing change to be applied — after a major volcano, a changing phase of the 11-year solar cycle, or a 10ppm increase in CO2 concentration, say. Whenever such a change in external forcing produces an imbalance at the top of the atmosphere (and hence a net energy flux), there must occur an equivalent energy flux at the surface for else this excess energy would be trapped in the troposphere and cause its temperature to rise very much. But since the temperature profile the the troposphere is tightly constrained by surface temperature and surface/air boundary flux conditions, then the net TOA flux very quickly translates to an equivalent net surface flux.

    • Pierre-Normand

      That is, of course, until the surface and troposphere warm enough to restore the TOA balance.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “This is almost never the case in the tropics. It’s called fog when that happens, dummy.”

      It’s true that near surface convection will help reduce the humidity below the dew point. But the dew point is eventually reached higher up and then it rains. When it rains, the surface and low tropospheric layers are cooled (by the rain and downdrafts) and this interrupts near surface convection. It’s easy then for the dew point to be reached above the surface and all the way up to the top of the clouds.

      • David Springer

        “When the dewpoint is reached higher up, it rains.”

        No schit, Sherlock. And the energy is thus transported insensibly as latent heat of vaporization from the ocean to a kilometer or more above the surface. At altitude there are fewer non-condensing greenhouse gases above the cloud to restrict radiation to space and there are non-condensing greenhouse gases below the cloud restricting back radiation from reaching the surface.

        Thanks for playing, stupid.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “No schit, Sherlock. And the energy is thus transported insensibly as latent heat of vaporization from the ocean to a kilometer or more above the surface. At altitude there are fewer non-condensing greenhouse gases above the cloud to restrict radiation to space ”

      The topic wasn’t whether the increase in downwelling radiation can lead to some negative feedback — an increase in tropospheric water vapor content would actually produce a net positive feedback to the warming — but how energy from the back radiation can be transferred to the ocean below the skin layer. You denied that the dew point ever is reached close to the surface. Now you seen unwilling to acknowledge what you had denied; but you would rather change the subject.

      When the water vapor content of the mid troposphere increases, this does not lead to a lessening of the greenhouse effect. On the contrary, it increases it since the emission bands of water vapor now emit from a higher and hence colder altitude. It is rather the reduction in the temperature gradient from the moist adiabatic lapse rate that lead to a negative feedback. But this effect is smaller than the positive effect from the heightening of the effective radiation level. Or else the water vepor feedback would be negative. As Roy Spencer, Richard Lindzen or Judith Curry would tell you, it is positive.

      • David Springer

        Water cycle cools the planet, dopey. The climate type with the highest mean annual temperature is the tropical desert not the tropical ocean nor the tropical rain forest.

        http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/clouds/question.jsp

        Currently, all of the Earth’s clouds together exert a net cooling effect on our planet.

        More water vapor actually lowers the mean temperature due to high albedo and low radiative restriction presented by low clouds which are an unavoidable consequence of evaporation.

        And no I’m not walking back anything about your dumbass assertion that the air over the tropical ocean is often saturated.

    • So we have two time intervals according to the deniers.

      The first time interval is the period in which it took the climate to generate a +33C temperature anomaly. As the CO2 build-up occurred, thus raising the global average temperature, the relative humidity increased, which resulted in an increased water vapor GHG thermal forcing. That is a positive (though limited and non-runaway) positive feedback.

      Now turn to the second time interval, which spans from now to the indefinite future. The skeptics would have you conveniently believe that the relative humidity increase will take a huge U-turn and turn from a positive feedback to a negative feedback.

      And the magick elixir in all this is “clouds”

      You see, the clouds apparently had no overriding negative feedback effect in the past, but just because the deniers say so, the clouds will now stopper up any future warming.

      The mind reels at how unwilling they are to reason.

      • David Springer

        WebHubTelescope is a IPCC denier now. Who knew?

        https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch8s8-6-3-2.html

        In the current climate, clouds exert a cooling effect on climate (the global mean CRF is negative).

        Read harder, Webby. The key part you missed is “in the current climate”. Low level clouds cover a large fraction of the tropics in the current climate. If the earth were 33C cooler the tropics probably wouldn’t be largely covered by low level clouds. That’s why they say “in the current climate”. Pay more attention to detail. Or be more honest. Or both. In any case stop being stupid.

    • The first period didn’t exist, as there never was a time when there was zero greenhouse gases and the surface temperature was 33 degrees less.

    • ..and from people who Dr. Curry for some reason doesn’t include in her Blogroll: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/05/08/3435638/el-nino-global-warming/

      That’d be the mainstream view. Y’know, the one requiring fewer assumptions, less exceptions, and having more universal application to all available observations, therefore accurate or very nearly true.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Pierre-Normand: The saturation point is reached whenever the dew point is reached (by definition) and that is a very common occurrence, even at higher latitudes.

      Reaching saturation a few times per day in some locations (e.g. upper troposphere when rainfall starts) is what I call “almost never”. What is it quantitatively: a few minutes up to maybe an hour at most in 1% of the atmosphere? Surface level fogs on fewer than 10% of the days of the year over less than 10% of the ocean?

    • Matthew R Marler

      WebHubTelescope: You see, the clouds apparently had no overriding negative feedback effect in the past, but just because the deniers say so, the clouds will now stopper up any future warming.

      Whether future cloud cover increases will block future warming has been much debated in the peer-reviewed literature. Here are a bunch of articles published in the journal Science: http://www.sciencemag.org/search?site_area=sci&y=8&fulltext=cloud%20cover%20and%20global%20warming&x=26&submit=yes

      I think the consensus is that the future of cloud cover and its effects is not known.

    • You really should ask me what it is like to hold the keys to the kingdom when it comes to modeling ENSO

      Latest

      Read more here:

      http://contextearth.com/2014/05/02/the-soim-substantiating-the-chandler-wobble-and-tidal-connection-to-enso/

      And it will only get better, having discovered the keys.

      La di da

    • You deniers are incredibly desperate about your clouds.

      The overall feedback is positive with respect to temperature because of water vapor increasing with temperature. The clouds could have a compensating negative or positive feedback on top of this positive feedback, but it will never completely compensate the GHG effect and make it into a net negative feedback. Same goes for lapse rate. Same goes for the diminishing returns of log CO2 sensitivity.

      These properties don’t do a U-TURN like your pickup can in the dirt parking lot.

      Anybody that believes in a negative feedback is basing it on hope more than on science.

      • David Springer

        WebHubTelescope (@WHUT) | May 9, 2014 at 4:31 pm |

        “You deniers are incredibly desperate about your clouds.”

        Not half as desperate as you warmunists are to shrug off the pause that is killing your cause.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Matthew R Marler: “Whether future cloud cover increases will block future warming has been much debated in the peer-reviewed literature. Here are a bunch of articles published in the journal Science:”

      The issue wasn’t whether the cloud feedback might be negative. The issue was whether it might be *overriding* the positive water vapor feedback. *This* is what WHT said was unlikely. If it’s strong enough to override the water vapor feedback then climate sensitivity (ECS) is about 1.2°C/CO2 doubling or lower. That’s certainly not a consensus view that we don’t know whether sensitivity is higher or lower than that. It’s quite a minority view.

      But the whole issue arose from Springer’s suggestion that the water vapor feedback itself is negative, because, as he says, water vapor higher up in the atmosphere radiates more effectively through the thinner GHG atmosphere above it. But I explained why this explanation doesn’t work.

      • David Springer

        Stupid Pierre creates a straw man:

        “Springer’s suggestion that the water vapor feedback itself is negative”

        I said the water cycle has a net cooling effect and gave as evidence the fact that tropical deserts have the highest mean annual temperature of all climate types. Higher than tropical oceans, higher than tropical rain forests, higher than everything else.

        What part of that don’t you understand? Even a stupid person should be able to grasp this simple fact.

      • David Springer

        Maybe a picture will help get the concept through the exceedingly thick skull of Pierre. Can you see where the highest mean annual temperatures are, dopey? Over land, not over water. In deserts not rain forests. Where there is abundant water available for evaporation the mean annual temperature is lower. Write that down.

    • Springer relies on observations of how hot deserts can get to “prove” his theory.

      How can anyone compete with that comprehensive an analysis?

      • David Springer

        I rely on the mean annual temperature of tropical deserts being higher than tropical oceans or tropical rain forests as evidence that abundant surface water and high humidity results in a cooler climate. You’re right to ask how to argue with that. Be creative Webby. You’ve never been prone to let facts get in the way of your beliefs. :-)

    • Matthew R Marler

      WebHubTelescope: The overall feedback is positive with respect to temperature because of water vapor increasing with temperature. The clouds could have a compensating negative or positive feedback on top of this positive feedback, but it will never completely compensate the GHG effect and make it into a net negative feedback. Same goes for lapse rate. Same goes for the diminishing returns of log CO2 sensitivity.

      Do you have references to support your certainty?

    • Matthew R Marler

      Pierre-Normand: The issue wasn’t whether the cloud feedback might be negative. The issue was whether it might be *overriding* the positive water vapor feedback. *This* is what WHT said was unlikely.

      So supply some pertinent scientific references.

      One of the things that I discovered when I started reading up on CO2 effects is the constant repetition of assertions with no scientific basis. In the peer-reviewed literature it is clear that the net effects of clouds are much debated, and a slight increase in daytime cloud cover could block the hypothesized warming effect of downwelling LWIR. That could be a short-term effect of the LWIR increase on the non-dry surface of the Earth, or a longer term effect of warming. When you examine what is known about the flows and rates of flows withing the system, it is very difficult to show any particular result from increasing CO2 in the atmosphere. Conclusions depend on “equuilibrium” and other simplifications that ignore the actual dynamics.

      The assumption that H2O has a positive feedback effect at all depends on ignoring the rate at which vaporized H2O transfers sensible and latent heat from the surface to the upper atmosphere; that is in addition to ignoring the potential negative feedbacks of clouds.

    • You can estimate sensitivity from the data since 1950, and you get 2 C per doubling, adding in all feedbacks and collateral effects like aerosols and other GHGs. This alone is twice the no-feedback response, so it implies a general positive feedback, and this is only the transient response, which underestimates the full response.

    • WHT: “The overall feedback is positive with respect to temperature because of water vapor increasing with temperature. ”

      Hmm…
      Dry lapse rate: 10C/km
      Moist lapse rate: 6.5C/km
      Would seem to indicate that water is a negative feedback on (near) surface temps, not positive.


    • This alone is twice the no-feedback response, so it implies a general positive feedback, and this is only the transient response, which underestimates the full response.

      Yeah JD, the full response is exemplified by observing the land-warming alone. The ECS from this curve is about 3C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration, with water vapor provided by the warming creating a positive GHG feedback above the CO2 base response,

      http://contextearth.com/2014/01/25/what-missing-heat/

    • Whut,

      Three guesses (one if you cheat and use google) as to what knuckle headed, science denying skeptic said the following:

      By reflecting solar radiation back to space (the albedo effect of clouds) and by trapping infrared radiation emitted by the surface and the lower troposphere (the greenhouse effect of clouds), clouds exert two competing effects on the Earth’s radiation budget. These two effects are usually referred to as the SW and LW components of the cloud radiative forcing (CRF). The balance between these two components depends on many factors, including macrophysical and microphysical cloud properties. In the current climate, clouds exert a cooling effect on climate (the global mean CRF is negative). In response to global warming, the cooling effect of clouds on climate might be enhanced or weakened, thereby producing a radiative feedback to climate warming.

    • Pierre-Normand

      David Springer, I was responding to this claim of yours: “At altitude there are fewer non-condensing greenhouse gases above the cloud to restrict radiation to space and there are non-condensing greenhouse gases below the cloud restricting back radiation from reaching the surface.”

      I now realize you were talking about the radiative effect of the cloud on longwave radiation, not the effect of water vapor. But your argument is wrong for the same reason I gave. Furthermore, the clouds increase the back-radiation. They shield the surface from space in the 8 to 14 micron IR atmospheric window.

      • David Springer

        Boundary layer clouds impede far more incoming shortwave energy than outgoing longwave energy. Why don’t you learn a little about different cloud types instead of continually demonstrating your ignorance?

    • Pierre-Normand

      Matthew R Marler wrote: “The assumption that H2O has a positive feedback effect at all depends on ignoring the rate at which vaporized H2O transfers sensible and latent heat from the surface to the upper atmosphere; that is in addition to ignoring the potential negative feedbacks of clouds.”

      I don’t think many people ignore the albedo feedback from clouds. It’s certainly not part of “the consensus” to ignore it. The issue of the magnitude and sign of the total cloud feedback is debated. Very low climate sensitivities make it difficult to account for the ice ages since the Milankovitch forcing isn’t strong enough to explain the large temperature swings between glacial and inter-glacial periods. The snow/ice albedo feedback isn’t strong enough.

      Also, the rate of sensible and latent heat fluxes in the troposphere contribute little to the radiative balance at the tropopause. Latent and sensible fluxes can’t carry any energy beyond the tropopause. There only is a small negative feedback associated with the lower gradient of moist adiabatic lapse rate. This is more than compensated by the rise of the effective radiation level.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Dry lapse rate: 10C/km
      Moist lapse rate: 6.5C/km
      Would seem to indicate that water is a negative feedback on (near) surface temps, not positive.”

      It indicates nothing at all. The gradient of a function of height doesn’t fix its value at the ground level. It is global energy balance considerations that determine the equilibrium average surface temperature, and this varies according to location because of mechanisms of horizontal transport, effects from clouds, etc.

    • There is a negative lapse rate feedback that slightly reduces the water vapor feedback. This is what the tropical “hot spot” refers to. Unfortunately for skeptics the hot spot negative feedback is being slow to materialize.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Reaching saturation a few times per day in some locations (e.g. upper troposphere when rainfall starts) is what I call “almost never”. What is it quantitatively: a few minutes up to maybe an hour at most in 1% of the atmosphere? Surface level fogs on fewer than 10% of the days of the year over less than 10% of the ocean?”

      You may be right, I don’t know enough about meteorology. But this only is very tangential to the main point. Springer can’t countenance how an increase in the rate of back radiation can lead to an increase in the rate of accumulation of heat in the oceans. That’s because IR radiation doesn’t penetrate beyond the skin and he proposes that and increase in back radiation will be integrally lost to an equal increase of the latent evaporative flux. The mere possibility of saturation above the surface makes trouble for this idea. But I also covered the cases where there *is* an increase in latent and/or sensible flux. This can only occur as a result of an increase of the temperature of the skin. So, if the extra energy from the increased back radiation maintains the skin temperature to a higher level, it also results in a lower temperature gradient below the skin and hence to a lower rate of cooling of the ocean. Something like that has to occur anyway or else the TOA imbalance would not match the surface net heat flux and there would be a very large accumulation of heat in the troposphere.

      • David Springer

        More straw men from stupid Pierre. Increased DWLIR very likely does slow ocean cooling to some extent. I mean fog does happen just not a lot in the tropical ocean. There’s not much evaporation over freezing cold water. Breaking waves ruin the cool skin layer which takes 10 seconds to reform. Yada yada yada. Is it really too much to ask that this be quantified with experimental science instead of stupid Pierre and those like him waving their hands about making up just-so stories?

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Boundary layer clouds impede far more incoming shortwave energy than outgoing longwave energy.”

      I was addressing your claim regarding the effect of the cloud on surface back radiation. Back radiation is shortwave. Incoming shortwave radiation isn’t back radiation. It wouldn’t kill you to acknowledge a mistake once in a while rather throw bunches of insults and pretend you were talking about something else.

      • David Springer

        “I was addressing your claim regarding the effect of the cloud on surface back radiation. Back radiation is shortwave.”

        Back radiation is longwave. You just can’t help demonstrating how little you know about even the simplest physics, can you?

    • Pierre-Normand, I don’t understand your response to Kneel’s lapse rate statement. You say:
      “It is global energy balance considerations that determine the equilibrium average surface temperature …”
      Assume this is true: the TOA is in energy balance and the surface is at equilibrum temperature. If the ERL is at, say, 5 Km, the difference in surface temperature between a lapse rate of 6.5C/km and 10C/km is 17.5C. This is not an insubstantial number. You need a better justification than your 11:57pm comment for why “It indicates nothing at all.”

    • willb, the lapse doesn’t matter to the extent that it doesn’t change. The effective radiative level is changing with CO2. The lapse rate is mostly fixed by temperature and the properties of convection, and it does reduce slightly as it gets warmer, which is a negative feedback much smaller than the positive water vapor feedback. These ideas are discussed by Held and others in some good papers on separating feedbacks.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Pierre-Normand: Also, the rate of sensible and latent heat fluxes in the troposphere contribute little to the radiative balance at the tropopause.

      Again with the unquantified “little”. This whole debate is over a “little” temp increase of perhaps 0.5% to 1% over 50 to 150 years, from a (“little”) less than 1% increase in downwelling LWIR from a doubling of CO2.

      (the Princeton computational fluid dynamics group estimated a 1.3C increase due to a doubling over 70 years, to pick one example.)

      I can’t right now find the citation, but a paper published in Nature showed (by statistical modeling with the generalized extreme value distribution) that extreme rainfall had increased by about 7% from about 1950-2000. How much of an increase in the frequency of dense clouds and the rate of evaporative transport of energy from surface to upper troposphere is represented by that 7% change in rainfall maxima? (assuming for now that the effect is real; other increases in rainfall extremes have also been reported in Nature.) Comparing percents is not straightforward, but that is a larger percentage increase than the hypothesized effects of a doubling of CO2 on the rate of downwelling LWIR and temperature change.

    • Matthew Marler, there is just that much more water vapor around in a warmer climate. So you don’t have to invoke evaporation to explain more rainfall. It just rains and evaporates more in a warmer climate.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Pierre-Normand: You may be right, I don’t know enough about meteorology. But this only is very tangential to the main point.

      It is not tangential to the points that you and I made.

      You wrote this: If the atmosphere over the water already is saturated with water vapor, as often is the case in the tropics, then an increase in the back radiation to the surface will not increase the rate of evaporative cooling since the air can’t hold any more moisture.

      And I disputed your claim that the atmosphere over the water in the tropics is often saturated with water vapor, though again the non-quantitative “often” is nowhere near accurate enough to resolve the disagreement. For “often” I put in “almost never”, and supplied a few clarifying possibilities (less than 1% of the atmosphere; less than 10% of ocean surface.)

      I “may be right” is the point of my posting. If the assertions I make are true, or reasonably accurate, the case for CO2-induced global warming is full of holes. Accurate or not, everything I write has been published in the peer-reviewed literature, except for my exact wording. Almost everything I have written about the inadequacies of the case for future CO2 effects on climate “may be right”.

    • “Matthew Marler, there is just that much more water vapor around in a warmer climate. So you don’t have to invoke evaporation to explain more rainfall. It just rains and evaporates more in a warmer climate.”
      ______
      Precisely. A generally enhanced hydrological cycle is part of response of more net energy in the climate system. This enhanced cycle leads to more rock weathering which, given enough time, will remove CO2 from the atmosphere. The problem is, this natural negative feedback to increased CO2 takes tens of thousands of years. The HCV overwhelms this natural negative feedback. It will up to humans to turn off the HCV and/or sequester the carbon themselves and not rely on the rock-carbon cycle.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Jim D: Matthew Marler, there is just that much more water vapor around in a warmer climate. So you don’t have to invoke evaporation to explain more rainfall. It just rains and evaporates more in a warmer climate.

      Yes. That’s a start. Now tell us, if downwelling LWIR increases by about 3.8 W/m^2, how much of that energy flow gets converted to temperature increase (the sensible heat), and how much to increased vaporization (the latent heat), clouds and rainfall? The answers are necessary to estimating (predicting, etc) the “climate sensitivity”.

      “It just rains” is hopelessly inadequate. The hydrological cycle is a heat and mass transport system.

      • David Springer

        Precisely Matthew. If the water cycle accelerates in response to increased back-radiation from CO2 then wherever there is an abundant supply of surface water to evaporate the surface that becomes warmer is 1-2 kilometers overhead in the form of more boundary layer clouds. We have very little detailed empirical knowledge of amount, average height, and kind of clouds that form on either global average or regional basis, and how they may or may not be changing in subtle ways in response to anthropogenic CO2, land use changes, and so forth. Things related to the water cycle have always been and continue to be the weakness of climate modeling. Radiative physics in a dry atmosphere over dry land are easily modeled. But we live on a world where that’s an exception to the rule especially in the lower latitudes without freezing winters where most of the solar energy enters the system in the first place.

    • Matthew Marler, from the climate energy balance standpoint, only a temperature increase can offset the radiative increase. It doesn’t matter what evaporation does.

      • David Springer

        Not quite, Jim. You are right that some surface must exhibit a Planck response to reach equilibrium with incoming energy. But it isn’t necessarily the surface of the earth it can be the surface of clouds instead. Evaporation and condensation is like an elevator that transports energy insensibly from the surface to the cloud deck which is seldom lower than one kilometer. If the elevator starts running faster then we get more clouds and rain and less surface heating. Write that down.

    • Jim D,
      According to Pierre-Normand, the lapse rate “doesn’t fix its value at the ground level. It is global energy balance considerations that determine the equilibrium average surface temperature …”.
      Do you agree with Pierre-Normand that the lapse rate isn’t fixed by the ground level temperature? If so, to what temperature are you then referring when you write:
      “The lapse rate is mostly fixed by temperature …”??

      You also write:
      “The lapse rate is mostly fixed by … the properties of convection …”
      Do you not consider the moist and dry adiabatic lapse rates to be “properties of convection”?

    • willb, the lapse rate depends on surface temperature. This has a weak feedback, smaller than the water vapor feedback. As the surface gets warmer that lapse rate decreases and the upper troposphere becomes warmer at a faster rate than the surface. This is the well known negative lapse-rate feedback effect associated with the tropical “hot spot”.

      • David Springer

        The saturated lapse rate is greatly effected by temperature. The dry lapse is not. Lapse rate is set by enthalpy of the atmosphere. The more water vapor the air can hold the more potential for enthalpy to increase (with no rise in temperature!) due to warmer air having more water vapor holding capacity than colder air.

        Given that lapse rate feedback itself is negative and not controversial except in magnitude then it follows that climate sensitivity is temperature dependent due to lapse rate being temperature dependent. So the question is one of how much it changes and how it parses out on regional basis. It is my contention that climate sensitivity is low in the tropics and rises with latitude as the air becomes increasingly colder and hence less able to hold water vapor with increasing latitude.

        So the question again boils down to magnitude of the response and where it happens. Milder winters in the higher latitudes along with little warming in the lower latitudes is desirable for most living things including humans. Ice and snow is not very conducive to fecundity as a general rule.

    • willb, I think you misunderstood the causality in Pierre-Normand’s statement. The lapse rate depends on the surface temperature. It doesn’t set the absolute value, only a gradient. The absolute value comes from the temperature of the ERL.

      • David Springer

        Dry adiabatic lapse rate doesn’t depend on surface temperature. It’s always 10C per kilometer. Saturated rate varies by temperature as that determines how much water the air can hold. The environmental rate is determined by specific humidity at a given time and place. For a standard atmosphere the saturated rate is 5C/km and the environmental rate is typically considered to be 6.5C/km absent more definitive data.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Yes, I have mentioned this negative lapse rate feedback several times in this thread. What Willb missed is that the effective radiation level rises when water vapor concentration increases in the troposphere. He assumed it fixed. This more than compensates the effect from the true temperature profile moving closer to the moist adiabatic lapse rate. The combined effect still is that the effective radiation level has a lowered temperature.

      • David Springer

        No. More non-condensing greenhouse gases causes the effective radiating level to rise to a colder level. Higher specific humidity causes the condensation level to rise but not to a colder level because the lapse rate changes with more water vapor. More relative humidity causes the effective radiating level to fall as condensation happens at a warmer temperature.

        We don’t have accurate data on global averages for relative and specific humidity so what is actually happening is not known.

    • Jim D, you write “willb, the lapse rate depends on surface temperature.”
      So can I safely conclude that Pierre-Normand’s response to Kneel’s post was gibberish? And can I also conclude your position is that the moist and dry adiabatic lapse rates have no connection to the measured environmental lapse rate?

    • willb, no I think I can conclude that you misunderstood Kneel’s and Pierre-Normand’s exchange. Kneel pointed out a difference in lapse rates. This difference is actually important for understanding the negative lapse rate feedback because moister atmospheres have a lower lapse rate.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Matthew R Marler, You are focusing on the antecedent of a conditional and ignoring the argument. Springer couldn’t understand that ocean heat storage could increase if back radiation increases. But a back radiation increase that is not accompanied by a surface/troposphere increase is a symptom of a TOA imbalance. If there is accumulation of energy in the system, where will it go? I suggested *two* exhaustive possibilities. The first possibility occur *if* there is no increase in latent heat flux. You only considered half of my post and ignored the “if”. In that case the skin temperature increases and the gradient and heat flux below the skin also decrease. The ocean surface layer cools less effectively. In the second case, if there is an enhancement of the convective or latent fluxes that results from the increased back radiation, this increase must be mediated by an increase of the skin temperature. Infrared energy can’t just peel of water molecules from the first molecule layer without warming the skin. And then we get the same effect on the temperature gradient below the skin. So, even if air never is saturated with water vapor above the skin, you have to explain two things. (1) How can the sensible or latent flux increase as a response to the enhanced back radiation without the skin temperature also increasing. And, secondly, if you manage to explain how this would occur, since you now have a mismatch between the TOA imbalance and the surface imbalance, where is the extra energy going?

      • David Springer

        If there is a persistent year-over-year TOA imbalance then it’s going into the ocean as that’s the only reservoir that source or sink it.

        The problem is that satellites can’t measure outgoing radiation well enough to get closer than plus or minus 4W/m2. Ocean heat content measurements indicate that the imbalance is currently about 0.5W/m2 but that is suspect because ARGO doesn’t dive deep enough to measure the lower half of the ocean, it doesn’t dive beneath ice, and the bouys tend to cluster from gyres and follow ocean currents instead of being evenly distributed. ARGO was active for several years and when it indicated a slight cooling of the ocean it was pencil whipped into a slight warming which also makes it suspect.

        But lets say 0.5W/m2 is both accurate and persistent. That’s enough energy to cause global ocean basin temperature to rise by 0.2C in 100 years if it’s evenly distributed. That’s not enough to cause concern so the just-so story is that diffusion of heat from the surface to the bottom is so slow that 100 years isn’t long enough so a smaller volume of water nearer the surface is heated to a larger degree and deep water to a lesser degree. We don’t have any reliable data to determine the actual diffusion rate.

        Confounding that even further is that ARGO is indicating that the water below 700 meters is accumulating energy faster than the water above 700 meters. There’s no good explanation for how the deep ocean can warm faster than the upper ocean due to changes in the atmosphere.

        This is where the hypotheses about cyclical changes in the hot fluid mantle add more or less heat from the floor of the ocean upwards which handily explains why the lower ocean is warming more than the upper ocean.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Pierre-Normand: (1) How can the sensible or latent flux increase as a response to the enhanced back radiation without the skin temperature also increasing. And, secondly, if you manage to explain how this would occur, since you now have a mismatch between the TOA imbalance and the surface imbalance, where is the extra energy going?

      1. I don’t know; I don’t think I have implied that the temperature would necessarily remain the same. I expect there is a combination of “warming in” the upper layer and “evaporation from” the upper layer; on other occasions I have asked if the balance of warming/evaporation was known. Rephrasing your question, Could you have increased temperature of the upper layer of the oceans without increased evaporation? Most times and most places the air above the surface is not saturated, so an increase in temperature should produce and increase in the rate of evaporation.

      2. Already the latent heat transferred to the upper troposphere warms it (above what the temperature would be in its absence), and the upper troposphere is a net radiator of energy to space (otherwise it would continue to warm as the radiant and latent energy flow in from below); probably an increase in the latent heat flow would lead to an increase in the rate of radiation into space. Why would you assume that the TOA fluxes remain unchanged?

    • Matthew R Marler

      Jim D: from the climate energy balance standpoint, only a temperature increase can offset the radiative increase. It doesn’t matter what evaporation does.

      Suppose that the ratio is 200:1, H2O molecules whose temp goes up 1C vs H2O molecules that fly off as vapor. The energy flow ratio for that is about 1:3, or about 0.9W/m^2 to warming and 2.9W/m^2 to evaporation. It is necessary to account for the amount vaporized compared to the amount warmed. Only under the counterfactual equilibrium assumptions can you ignore these rates and mechanisms; that is clearly stated in Raymond T. Pierrehumbert’s book “Principles of Planetary Climate”.

    • Matthew Marler, it is equilibrium levels that matter, because warming won’t stop until that is reached. Evaporation doesn’t affect the equilibrium because it doesn’t directly affect the radiated energy. You might argue that it produces latent heating in the air which affects the radiation, and yes, that is taken care of with the lapse rate holding as the surface warms. The convection warms the troposphere mostly because of latent heating.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Matthew R Marler wrote: “1. I don’t know; I don’t think I have implied that the temperature would necessarily remain the same.”

      This was implied by David Springer. It is implied, or overlooked, whenever people claim that an increase in the power of black radiation can’t cause ocean warming because infrared radiation doesn’t penetrate below the skin and, as they allege, it would *all* thereby be lost as a compensating increase in latent heat flux.

      “Rephrasing your question, Could you have increased temperature of the upper layer of the oceans without increased evaporation? Most times and most places the air above the surface is not saturated, so an increase in temperature should produce and increase in the rate of evaporation.”

      Yes, and my point is that this increase of the temperature of the skin layer explains why oceans cool at a reduced rate (because of the reduced gradient below the skin) and therefore account for the increasing rate of heat storage in the oceans.

      “2. Already the latent heat transferred to the upper troposphere warms it (above what the temperature would be in its absence), and the upper troposphere is a net radiator of energy to space (otherwise it would continue to warm as the radiant and latent energy flow in from below); probably an increase in the latent heat flow would lead to an increase in the rate of radiation into space. Why would you assume that the TOA fluxes remain unchanged?”

      This is the negative moist adiabatic lapse rate feedback. It arises when the water vapor concentration is increased. But the primary effect of this increase is to increase the opacity of the mid-troposphere and hence to raise the effective radiation level to a higher altitude. This is the positive water vapor feedback. The negative lapse rate feedback just offsets this positive feedback a little bit.

      • David Springer

        You are continually putting words in my mouth that I did not say. Nowhere did I say that DWLIR cannot slow down the rate of ocean cooling at all. I said it may not slow it down very much. I said not all forcing are equal and that an extra Watt of shortwave from the sun is more effective at changing ocean temperature than a Watt of longwave back-radiated from the atmosphere. This intellectual dishonesty is why I call you a stupid phuckwad and you are indeed a stupid phuckwad unable to present cogent arguments without strawmen. Go phuck yourself, asshat.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Jim D wrote: “Evaporation doesn’t affect the equilibrium because it doesn’t directly affect the radiated energy.”

      Indeed, that’s also the main point Pekka is making since there is no going around the top of atmosphere imbalance; whatever may happen to the fluxes at the surface.

    • Pekka Pirilä says, May 8, 2014 at 10:14 am:

      “The influence of added CO2 does not come from there, it comes from the upper troposphere. When the upper troposphere cannot lose as much heat by IR emission. less heat can be transferred up from the low troposphere. That makes the low troposphere warmer and the surface warmer.

      Added CO2 operates always through changes in the radiative balance at the tropopause. What happens at lower altitudes must be derived from that. (What happens in the stratosphere has it’s main effect also through the radiative balance at tropopause.) The effect of CO2 in the troposphere does not influence much the internal net energy fluxes of the troposphere, but CO2 of every altitude has some influence on the flux at tropopause.” (My emphasis.)

      Only it doesn’t, Pekka (referring to the bolded part above). That’s just something you and SoD keep saying. That’s how it SHOULD work in your hypothetical model of the world. That doesn’t mean it’s automatically real. There are no observational data from the real earth system pointing to your proposed radiative mechanism for surface warming to be a real mechanism. We simply don’t see it anywhere.

      This is what the data consistently shows: surface temps up (or down) > tropospheric temps up (or down) > OLR at ToA up (or down).

      This is how the heat from the sun actually flows through the earth system. Surface warms first, then the troposphere, then, as a consequence of this, the radiative output to space increases. There is NO observational evidence anywhere for the opposite process to occur: OLR at ToA down > tropospheric temps up > surface temps up.

      Still, you keep claiming some mysterious, hidden mechanism (never seen, but surely still there, behind somewhere!) where warming (from ToA radiative imbalance) somehow starts at the top and then propagates downwards along the lapse rate ladder.

      What you’re promoting is in reality the flawed analogy of the ‘closed glass box’. The ‘GHE’ seen in such experiments is really ‘confined space heating’. It is a result of putting a rigid lid transparent to incoming SW, but opaque to outgoing LW, on top of a heated glass box. The lid does not let the outgoing IR through, it rather absorbs it. As the lid thus get warmer, the temp difference (the gradient) down to the heated bottom of the glass box get smaller and the heat transfer through the air within the box, from bottom to top, is reduced. This will result in the forced ‘extra’ warming of the bottom plate.

      To make less heat flow from the surface to the tropopause, Pekka, you need to make the temp profile less steep. And since you claim that surface warming is the END RESULT, then the profile becoming gentler must start from a warming at the top. The top layer can’t let through all the heat it receives from below (as it could before), and as a result it warms. This warming is then propagated down through the underlying air layers until we reach the surface. Like in the ‘closed glass box’.

      Apart from being completely and utterly at odds with ALL previous knowledge we have on how the earth system (the circulation of heat) works, this ‘explanation’ of surface warming seemingly prides itself on not having ANY observational backing from the real world at all!

      You know what we call propositions like that, Pekka? PSEUDO-SCIENCE.

    • Jim D says, May 9, 2014 at 9:01 pm:

      “You can estimate sensitivity from the data since 1950, and you get 2 C per doubling, adding in all feedbacks and collateral effects like aerosols and other GHGs.”

      Only AFTER you’ve just gone on and assumed that all the warming (and more, seemingly) is caused by the rise in atmospheric CO2 + feedbacks, Jim D. That’s your pure circular reasoning displayed to the world once again.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Back radiation is longwave. You just can’t help demonstrating how little you know about even the simplest physics, can you?”

      That was obviously a typo. I’ve written the terms “longwave” and “shortwave” correctly about 200 times in our discussion over the last few days and now the best rejoinder you can come up with is to pick up on one single typo (and ignore my very next sentence in which I say “Incoming shortwave radiation isn’t back radiation.”

      That a nice way to duck having to acknowledge the incorrectness of you claim that clouds decrease back radiation though.

      • David Springer

        Again with the straw men. I didn’t say clouds decrease DWLIR. I said more CO2 between cloud and ground reduces the amount of back-radiation caused by the cloud. CO2 impedes the transmission of LIR. It will impede from the ground going up and it will impede it from a warm cloud going down. Write that down and stop putting words in my mouth you stupid phucking asshat.

    • Springer, “If the water cycle accelerates in response to increased back-radiation from CO2 then wherever there is an abundant supply of surface water to evaporate the surface that becomes warmer is 1-2 kilometers overhead in the form of more boundary layer clouds.”

      More water just raises the dew point temperature so clouds can form at a slight lower altitude or there can be some warming. Based on the radiosonde data the marine cloud base has lowered a few meters (less than 100) and there is little actual warming.

      • David Springer

        Thanks for quoting me, Dallas. I wish stupid Pierre would do the same but he can’t because he’s stupid and can only argue with straw men.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Not quite, Jim. You are right that some surface must exhibit a Planck response to reach equilibrium with incoming energy. But it isn’t necessarily the surface of the earth it can be the surface of clouds instead. Evaporation and condensation is like an elevator that transports energy insensibly from the surface to the cloud deck which is seldom lower than one kilometer. If the elevator starts running faster then we get more clouds and rain and less surface heating. Write that down.”

      Though clouds will have an restorative effect on the TOA imbalance through increasing the albedo, the effect that you describe here actually increases the TOA imbalance. Even when the clouds are just 1 km up, they are still colder than the surface below and they shield the surface from cold space in the 8 to 14 micron window.

    • Kristian, it is not circular to say that the data supports the theory. These are independent lines. Consilience.

    • Jim D says, May 11, 2014 at 12:19 pm:

      “Kristian, it is not circular to say that the data supports the theory.”

      Jim, the point is, you’re not just saying that the data supports the theory. You’re taking for granted that SINCE the data appears to support your theory, then your proposed theoretical mechanism automatically explains the data.

      YOUR explanation is presumably correct simply on the basis of the data being consistent with it.

      Problem is, Jim, ANYTHING causing warming from 1950 till today will be supported by the data. YOUR task, then, is to SHOW that it’s CO2 that did it. But you’re not doing that. You’re just starting out ASSUMING that it did. And use the data based on that very assumption to prescribe a climate sensitivity to CO2. As if it WERE already shown that CO2 did indeed cause the warming over the given period.

      If this is not circular reasoning, NOTHING is.

      • David Springer

        The so-called fingerprint of non-condensing greenhouse gas warming is temperature in the tropical troposphere warming more with increasing altitude. That’s because the effective radiating level is rising. This fingerprint cannot be found. The surface is warming the faster indicating that something other than non-condensing greenhouse gas is responsible.

    • Kristian, maybe you are thinking that I said that the data proves the theory. If you read what I said first, it was that you can estimate the sensitivity from the data. The data has been consistent with a 2 C sensitivity since 1950. It can’t prove the theory but it can support it, as with any data and theory in science. It is very hard to outright prove a theory with data, as most theories (outside mathematics) are approximations of the truth in the first place. On the other hand, the data is not at all consistent with a 1 C sensitivity, and 1.5 C is also somewhat lacking when compared with these observations, because the estimate comes up with 2 C, which is perhaps coincidentally what the theory comes up with.

    • I’m not thinking it, Jim. I’m observing it. Here are your exact words: “You can estimate sensitivity from the data since 1950, and you get 2 C per doubling, adding in all feedbacks and collateral effects like aerosols and other GHGs.”

      ‘… and you get 2 C per doubling …’ Gee, I wonder, a doubling of what? The number of unicorns in the world?

      Listen, FIRST you need to establish empirically, out there in the real earth system, Jim, that there IS a ‘climate sensitivity’ at all to rising atmospheric CO2 (you know, the causal relationship +CO2 >> +T) and that this sensitivity (including positive feedbacks) is responsible for the ENTIRE temperature rise (in fact, more) that we’ve observed globally between 1950 and today.

      You’re not establishing or showing anything, Jim. You’re just assuming (taking for granted) a priori that it is so, because that’s what your ‘theory’ claims.

      That is what ‘circular reasoning’ is all about. It the textbook definition of circular reasoning.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Pierre-Normand: Yes, and my point is that this increase of the temperature of the skin layer explains why oceans cool at a reduced rate (because of the reduced gradient below the skin) and therefore account for the increasing rate of heat storage in the oceans.

      How the surface can increase in temp without increasing in vaporization and without increasing the rate of heat transport to the air above are mysteries yet to be explicated. Perhaps you have references. If the disparity between surface temp and air temp increases, then the rate of heat transfer from surface to air will increase; if the temp of the surface increases without an increase in air pressure, then the rate of vaporization will increase. So what in the increase in downwelling LWIR warms the surface and air to reduce the rate of transfer, and what increases the air pressure to prevent a rise in the vaporization rate?

      This is the negative moist adiabatic lapse rate feedback. It arises when the water vapor concentration is increased. But the primary effect of this increase is to increase the opacity of the mid-troposphere and hence to raise the effective radiation level to a higher altitude. This is the positive water vapor feedback. The negative lapse rate feedback just offsets this positive feedback a little bit.

      So what is the negative moist adiabatic lapse rate feedback during the build-up of thunder clouds, the increase in cloud cover, and the subsequent rainfall? Those are processes observed all over the non-dry surfaces of the Earth in hot weather. You are again, it seems to me, trying to use equilibrium concepts for a dynamic system that is never in equilibrium.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Matthew R Marler : “1. I don’t know; I don’t think I have implied that the temperature would necessarily remain the same. I expect there is a combination of “warming in” the upper layer and “evaporation from” the upper layer; on other occasions I have asked if the balance of warming/evaporation was known. Rephrasing your question, Could you have increased temperature of the upper layer of the oceans without increased evaporation?”

      My only point was that if the warming of the skin is a result of an increase in downwelling radiation (consequent to a change in TOA balance) then there will be a reduction in the rate of cooling of the ocean. I am not denying that the increase in the temperature of the skin will increase the rate of latent heat flux. But this increase will be smaller than the increase in downwelling radiation that caused it. In any case, in however fashion the net surface flux is distributed between sensible, latent and (net) radiative, the total flux at the surface will have to match the total flux at the tropopause over a long enough period. David Springer now agrees with this.

      “Why would you assume that the TOA fluxes remain unchanged?”

      I am not assuming this. I was discussing what occurs *while* the downwelling flux has increased as a result of the TOA imbalance. If the TOA flux is reduced, then, of course, the net flux at the surface will also change.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Jim D: Matthew Marler, it is equilibrium levels that matter, because warming won’t stop until that is reached. Evaporation doesn’t affect the equilibrium because it doesn’t directly affect the radiated energy. You might argue that it produces latent heating in the air which affects the radiation, and yes, that is taken care of with the lapse rate holding as the surface warms. The convection warms the troposphere mostly because of latent heating.

      Why do you think there is an equilibrium when the dynamical systems theory shows that high dimensional non-linear dissipative systems do not have equilibria?

      If the upper troposphere heats because of the increase in the convection of latent heat from the surface then the calculations of increased surface warming as a consequence of increased atmospheric CO2 are too high.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Pierre-Normand: I was discussing what occurs *while* the downwelling flux has increased as a result of the TOA imbalance. If the TOA flux is reduced, then, of course, the net flux at the surface will also change.

      This brings us back to the unknown effects of the unpredictable clouds caused by the unpredictable increase in surface evaporation.

    • Pierre-Normand

      David Springer said: “No dopey it is not. A black body is a perfect absorber and perfect radiator across all frequencies.”

      I said: “close enough… in the IR spectrum”

    • Matthew Marler, are you arguing that there is not a top-of-atmosphere energy balance, or that we can’t be out of balance? Well, actually there is, and there is now a long-term imbalance, and the earth has to find a way to radiate more energy to restore it. This is why warming is predicted.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Matthew R Marler: “Why do you think there is an equilibrium when the dynamical systems theory shows that high dimensional non-linear dissipative systems do not have equilibria?”

      This is quite point missing. Jim D was obviously referring to a state of flux balance; not thermodynamic equilibrium. It is quite common to use the word “equilibrium” to refer to such steady states.

      “If the upper troposphere heats because of the increase in the convection of latent heat from the surface then the calculations of increased surface warming as a consequence of increased atmospheric CO2 are too high.”

      No. The calculations of the warming response to the forcing change have *both* the consequences that, after the flux balance will have been restored, then the surface will have warmed, and the upper troposphere also will have warmed back close to its initial temperature.

    • Pierre-Normand

      David Springer: “The so-called fingerprint of non-condensing greenhouse gas warming is temperature in the tropical troposphere warming more with increasing altitude. That’s because the effective radiating level is rising. This fingerprint cannot be found. The surface is warming the faster indicating that something other than non-condensing greenhouse gas is responsible.”

      This is the so called tropical hot spot that you are talking about. It is the manifestation of the negative lapse rate feedback, whatever the cause of the surface and troposphere warming might be. So, maybe the lapse rate feedback is less pronounced than we thought. (Though it might just be that observing it is tricky).

    • Pierre-Normand

      David Springer: “You are continually putting words in my mouth that I did not say. Nowhere did I say that DWLIR cannot slow down the rate of ocean cooling at all.”

      You had written an insistent challenge thus: “I am still waiting for experimental confirmation that increasing 10 micrometer illumination of a water body surface where the water is free to evaporate decreases the cooling rate of the water body.

      Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?”

      So I had, reasonably enough, inferred that it had seemed problematic to you, as it is constantly claimed by other skeptics as well, that an increase in back radiation can slow down the rate of cooling of the oceans.

    • Pierre-Normand

      David Spinger wrote: “I didn’t say clouds decrease DWLIR. I said more CO2 between cloud and ground reduces the amount of back-radiation caused by the cloud. CO2 impedes the transmission of LIR. It will impede from the ground going up and it will impede it from a warm cloud going down.”

      I don’t quite get this argument. The clouds have very high emissivity. CO2 will scatter some of the downwelling radiation from the cloud (just in the CO2 band). The clouds and greenhouse gases provide insulation from the cold outer space through scattering back some fraction of the upwelling radiation from the warmer ground. You can’t reduce the insulating effect (reduce back radiation) from a strong insulator (the cloud) through adding a weak insulator in between (the atmosphere below the cloud). Where would the energy go?

    • Pierre-Normand

      “No. More non-condensing greenhouse gases causes the effective radiating level to rise to a colder level. Higher specific humidity causes the condensation level to rise but not to a colder level because the lapse rate changes with more water vapor. More relative humidity causes the effective radiating level to fall as condensation happens at a warmer temperature.”

      OK, what I said may be a bit confusing because, unlike the case for CO2 forcing, it is harder to conceive of the “initial” imbalance from the specific humidity increase since the warming needed to compensate the imbalance is the very cause of the increase. But the two steps can still be conceptually distinguished. Hence you can conceive of the initial CO2 forcing and the water vapor feedback response together prior to considering any change surface and troposphere temperature profile that will restore the TOA balance. This is how you can conceive of the larger water vapor concentration increasing the optical depth of the atmosphere, and hence raising the effective radiation level to a colder altitude, *prior* to the surface temperature and vertical temperature changing to compensate. Hence the warming of the effective radiation level can be seen to occur as a causal result of the greenhouse effect from CO2 and water vapor combined. This just reflects the counterfactual that had this warming not occurred (no change in surface or troposphere temperature) then the imbalance from the CO2 + water vapor increase would have been larger than in the CO2 & no feedback case.

      As for the negative lapse rate feedback, it just reduces the water vapor feedback from a value of 1.8W/°Km^2 to about 1W/°Km^2 on a global scale. If my explanation is unclear, check Inamdar and Ramanathan:

      http://www-ramanathan.ucsd.edu/files/pr85.pdf

    • Pierre-Normand says, May 10, 2014 at 10:20 pm:

      “Yes, and my point is that this increase of the temperature of the skin layer explains why oceans cool at a reduced rate (because of the reduced gradient below the skin) and therefore account for the increasing rate of heat storage in the oceans.”

      Pierre-Normand, you keep postulating as ‘facts’ mechanisms and processes that find no basis or backing in any empirical observations from the real earth system. Just like all warmists do.

      Where are the comprehensive global studies showing us all that the temperature gradient through the world ocean’s skin layer has in fact become gradually gentler over the last 4-5 decades? This is your mechanism for rising OHC, isn’t it? The ocean presumably can’t let as much heat out because the temp difference between the skin itself and the bulk layer underneath it decreases with rising content of so-called ‘GHGs’ in the atmosphere, a consequence of the DWLWIR directly HEATING the skin layer somewhat.

      First of all, how is the DWLWIR from the COOLER atmosphere able to HEAT the WARMER skin layer at all?!

      Secondly, where is the evidence of all this actually happening, globally and progressively over the last decades?!

      Yours is JUST an assertion!

      This is utter PSEUDO-science!

      Pierre-Normand, compare the evolution in global SSTa and global OHC since 2001. No surface warming whatsoever. But apparently a huge increase in OHC.

      Now, how would you go about explaining the rise in OHC 2001-14 using your postulated mechanism? You state it in plain words: “(…) this increase of the temperature of the skin layer explains why oceans cool at a reduced rate (because of the reduced gradient below the skin) and therefore account for the increasing rate of heat storage in the oceans.”

      This cannot be misunderstood. So how do you explain the rise in OHC since 2001? When the skin hasn’t warmed at all. (Yes, satellites detect IR as well as microwave, thereby ‘reading’ the actual skin layer.)

    • Matthew R Marler

      Pierre-Normand: The calculations of the warming response to the forcing change have *both* the consequences that, after the flux balance will have been restored, then the surface will have warmed, and the upper troposphere also will have warmed back close to its initial temperature.

      After a doubling of the CO2 concentration, the upper troposphere will return to “close to its initial temperature”, after the flux balance is restored? How close? Within 0.1C, perhaps? Again with the undefined “close”: after a doubling of CO2 concentration the Earth mean temperature may rise 0.3% to 1%, according to the standard calculations — is that “close to” the initial temperature, by your definition of “close”?

    • Pierre-Normand

      “After a doubling of the CO2 concentration, the upper troposphere will return to “close to its initial temperature”, after the flux balance is restored? How close? Within 0.1C, perhaps? Again with the undefined “close”: after a doubling of CO2 concentration the Earth mean temperature may rise 0.3% to 1%, according to the standard calculations — is that “close to” the initial temperature, by your definition of “close”?”

      If you consider the temperature of the “effective radiating level” then “close” means “exactly equal”, for this is the condition for restoring the TOA outgoing flux in balance with the post-albedo solar input. (This neglects the albedo feedbacks). But the temperature of the effective radiation level isn’t the real air temperature at an actual level of the atmosphere. It is defined as the atmospheric level where the temperature is such that a blackbody radiating at that temperature would emit as much IR power as the Earth as a whole does. But this power includes the emissions from the surface through the atmospheric IR window, last emissions from different greenhouse gas bands from different altitudes, emissions in the rest of the spectrum from high emissivity clouds, etc.

      But my point just was that even though the troposphere has warmed back after the surface has warmed as an adjustment to the initial forcing (and as a further response to the feedbacks) this doesn’t mean that there never was, at least conceptually, an initial cooling of the effective radiating level. The forcing precisely is defined as the imbalance at the tropopause that would have been caused by this forcing when the stratosphere only is allowed to radiatively adjust but the temperature profile below is held constant.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Kristian wrote: Pierre-Normand says, May 10, 2014 at 10:20 pm:

      “Pierre-Normand, you keep postulating as ‘facts’ mechanisms and processes that find no basis or backing in any empirical observations from the real earth system. Just like all warmists do.

      Where are the comprehensive global studies showing us all that the temperature gradient through the world ocean’s skin layer has in fact become gradually gentler over the last 4-5 decades?”

      What I am postulating is the very same thing that people like Spencer, Curry, Lindzen or David Springer postulate, and this is that the laws of physics, including the law of conservation of energy, must be obeyed by atmospheric processes.

      “This is your mechanism for rising OHC, isn’t it? The ocean presumably can’t let as much heat out because the temp difference between the skin itself and the bulk layer underneath it decreases with rising content of so-called ‘GHGs’ in the atmosphere, a consequence of the DWLWIR directly HEATING the skin layer somewhat.

      First of all, how is the DWLWIR from the COOLER atmosphere able to HEAT the WARMER skin layer at all?!”

      It isn’t. It reduces the rate of *cooling* of the surface layer, including the skin. Likewise the cooler insulation in the walls of your house in winter doesn’t heat the warmer air inside your house. It merely reduces the temperature gradient within the walls and thereby reduces the heat flux, and it reduces the temperature of the surface of the walls outside (the “skin”). In this case the increased downwelling flux merely reduces the *radiative* cooling of the skin layer since this rate of cooling is the difference between the upwelling and downwelling radiative fluxes at the surface.

      (You could also shine IR lamps on the outside of your walls in winter and reduce the rate of cooling of your house even though the (reduced) net flux of heat still would be from inside out.)

      “Secondly, where is the evidence of all this actually happening, globally and progressively over the last decades?!

      Yours is JUST an assertion!”

      It is mere deduction from global energy balance considerations. The surface flux must tend to approach the TOA flux since the thermal capacity of the atmosphere isn’t very large.

      “Pierre-Normand, compare the evolution in global SSTa and global OHC since 2001. No surface warming whatsoever. But apparently a huge increase in OHC.”

      It is entirely to be expected that the least warming (temperature increase) of the surface occurs then the larger the increase in OHC should be. The warming of the surface is the primary way for the TOA balance (from the enhanced external forcing) to be restored. If the surface warming is delayed by ocean circulation and other heat exchanges internal to the climate system, then the imbalance keeps growing and so does the rate of increase of OHC.

      “[...] This cannot be misunderstood. So how do you explain the rise in OHC since 2001? When the skin hasn’t warmed at all. (Yes, satellites detect IR as well as microwave, thereby ‘reading’ the actual skin layer.)”

      I wasn’t talking about warming of the skin but merely of the consequences that follow from of the skin being warmer than it would have been in the absence of a (partly uncompensated) increase in external forcing. Compare the IR lamps shining on you house from outside in winter, as your house still is being heated internally at a constant rate. The lamps will not heat you house, in a sense, since they don’t produce any net heat flow from outside-in. But they reduce the rate of heat flow through the walls (through reducing the gradient) and hence allow your house to warm until the outside walls will also have warmed enough to cancel the added energy input from the lamps. This will also result in an increase of the heat content of hour house (warmer furniture, etc).

    • Pierre-Normand says, May 13, 2014 at 12:30 pm:

      “What I am postulating is the very same thing that people like Spencer, Curry, Lindzen or David Springer postulate, and this is that the laws of physics, including the law of conservation of energy, must be obeyed by atmospheric processes.”

      Nice attempt of redirection, Pierre-Normand.

      No, you’re postulating (I’ve quoted you doing so) that the ocean becomes warmer (OHC increases) when CO2 content in the atmosphere rises, because the alleged ‘increased DWLWIR’ warms the skin, making the temp gradient down to the bulk layer underneath it less steep. This is the postulate we’re discussing here, Pierre-Normand.

      So I don’t need for you to appeal to other people, no matter what their names, also postulating (other) things.

      I need for you to present to us all the comprehensive global studies showing that what you’re postulating has indeed taken place over the last decades, and that this is what has caused the rise in OHC?

      You’re just assuming and asserting, Pierre-Normand. That’s not science.

      “It isn’t. It reduces the rate of *cooling* of the surface layer, including the skin. Likewise the cooler insulation in the walls of your house in winter doesn’t heat the warmer air inside your house. It merely reduces the temperature gradient within the walls and thereby reduces the heat flux, and it reduces the temperature of the surface of the walls outside (the “skin”).”

      Yes, and more CO2 in the atmosphere does NOT reduce the temperature gradient up through the troposphere. So HOW precisely does it reduce the cooling of the ocean surface?

      “In this case the increased downwelling flux merely reduces the *radiative* cooling of the skin layer since this rate of cooling is the difference between the upwelling and downwelling radiative fluxes at the surface.”

      Does it indeed? You know about the radiative heat transfer equation, Pierre-Normand? P/A = e s (T_1^4 – T_2^4). What must object 2 (say, the atmosphere) here do for P/A (the outgoing radiative HEAT flux from object 1 (say, the surface) to become smaller? It’s temperature must rise. Hence, the atmosphere must WARM relatively to the surface and BEFORE the surface.

      Is this something we see a lot in the empirical observational data from the real earth system, Pierre-Normand? Is this how the world works? Warming starting in the troposphere and propagating down to the surface?

      Why do ALL data from the real earth system show THIS chain of events?

      Surface temps UP (or down) > tropospheric temps UP (or down) > OLR from ToA UP (or down).

      Why do we NEVER see THIS chain of events in actual real-world data?

      OLR from ToA DOWN > tropospheric temps UP > surface temps UP.

      “It is mere deduction from global energy balance considerations. The surface flux must tend to approach the TOA flux since the thermal capacity of the atmosphere isn’t very large.”

      OLR from ToA has INcreased over the last 30 years, Pierre-Normand, not DEcreased. It has simply increased with the temperature. So any imbalance between incoming and outgoing at the ToA can NOT have been caused by a decrease in OUTGOING. OLR has been trying its best to close the gap. If there IS in fact a gap, that is. That is also not a definitive truth, after all.

      So since OLR from ToA has increased over the last 30 years, then one would, according to your logic, expect OLR from the surface also to have increased during that same period. So no decrease. INcrease. Enhanced cooling. Not suppressed.

      “It is entirely to be expected that the least warming (temperature increase) of the surface occurs then the larger the increase in OHC should be. The warming of the surface is the primary way for the TOA balance (from the enhanced external forcing) to be restored. If the surface warming is delayed by ocean circulation and other heat exchanges internal to the climate system, then the imbalance keeps growing and so does the rate of increase of OHC.”

      Er, back-paddling, are we? It is of course NOT to be expected that the LEAST warming (you mean NO warming, surely) of the surface would result in the LARGER increase in OHC … when the mechanism postulated for increasing OHC is one of warming the surface. In terms of YOUR mechanism for bulk warming of the oceans, the MOST warming of the surface would cause the LARGEST increase in OHC, Pierre-Normand. You see that also. Everyone sees that.

      If solar input remains unchanged and ‘ocean circulation’ happens to keep the surface from warming, then there IS no detectable decrease in the gradient between surface and bulk going on to cause the rise in OHC, Pierre-Normand. Or do you have global measurements showing that the bulk waters underneath the skin have somehow COOLED since 2001, thereby STILL giving a decreasing gradient, so that the ocean could continue warming from your postulated mechanism?

      You have assertions and assumptions piling up now, all awaiting documentation by empirical data from the global earth system, Pierre-Normand.

      “I wasn’t talking about warming of the skin but merely of the consequences that follow from of the skin being warmer than it would have been in the absence of a (partly uncompensated) increase in external forcing.”

      Sigh. Again you’re just making assumptions of something as fact that we can’t observe. Circular reasoning is your modus operandi, it seems. This is nothing more than an assertion: ‘the skin being warmer than it would have been in the absence of a (partly uncompensated) increase in external forcing.’ Mumbo jumbo. How on earth are you planning to show us that the skin is in fact ‘warmer than it would have been’, Pierre-Normand?!

      *** PSEUDO-science. ***

      (Also, as I wrote above, if the skin isn’t warming, then the subsurface water needs to have COOLED since 2001 for the gradient still to have decreased. Where is the logic? Where is the empirical evidence? Where is the science?)

    • Pierre-Normand

      Kristian wrote:

      “Yes, and more CO2 in the atmosphere does NOT reduce the temperature gradient up through the troposphere. So HOW precisely does it reduce the cooling of the ocean surface?”

      More CO2 increases the emissivity of the atmosphere and hence the power of the back radiation. This decreases the net upwelling radiative flux from the surface since this net flux is the difference between the (gross) surface radiative emissions (only controlled by temperature) and the back radiation power (controlled by both air temperature *and* emissivity). The change in the temperature gradient below the skin just is a consequence of this.

      ““In this case the increased downwelling flux merely reduces the *radiative* cooling of the skin layer since this rate of cooling is the difference between the upwelling and downwelling radiative fluxes at the surface.”

      Does it indeed? You know about the radiative heat transfer equation, Pierre-Normand? P/A = e s (T_1^4 – T_2^4). What must object 2 (say, the atmosphere) here do for P/A (the outgoing radiative HEAT flux from object 1 (say, the surface) to become smaller? It’s temperature must rise. Hence, the atmosphere must WARM relatively to the surface and BEFORE the surface.”

      There is no warming (i.e. there is not downward heat flux) of the surface by the atmosphere. There only is a reduction of the rate of cooling and this reduction is enhanced by the increased emissivity of the lower troposphere as explained above.

      “So since OLR from ToA has increased over the last 30 years, then one would, according to your logic, expect OLR from the surface also to have increased during that same period. So no decrease. INcrease. Enhanced cooling. Not suppressed.”

      Yes, it should be expected that the total flux from the surface (latent+sensible+net radiative) would have increased unless there has been a compensating albedo change (clouds/snow/ice) of the ORL data isn’t correct.

      “Er, back-paddling, are we? It is of course NOT to be expected that the LEAST warming (you mean NO warming, surely) of the surface would result in the LARGER increase in OHC … when the mechanism postulated for increasing OHC is one of warming the surface. In terms of YOUR mechanism for bulk warming of the oceans, the MOST warming of the surface would cause the LARGEST increase in OHC, Pierre-Normand. You see that also. Everyone sees that.”

      You misunderstand. If the surface cooling is impeded by the increase in back radiation then this enhances the rate of ocean heat accumulation compared with a case where the back radiation doesn’t increase. But when the surface eventually warms as a result of this imbalance then the upwelling radiation increases and this (together with the consequent warming of the troposphere) eventually cancels the increase in back radiation. (Though there is a positive feedback as the troposphere warms and back radiates more, the increased radiation through the atmospheric window still allows the balance to be restored). So, if the ocean circulation brings the warm surface under depth and replaces it with cold water, the imbalance remains uncompensated and the ocean keeps gaining heat.

      You mistake was to run together the effect of warming the skin through increasing the back radiation or through reducing oceans mixing.

      “If solar input remains unchanged and ‘ocean circulation’ happens to keep the surface from warming, then there IS no detectable decrease in the gradient between surface and bulk going on to cause the rise in OHC”

      In that case the power of the back radiation increases and so does the imbalance. Whereas if the surface had been allowed to warm more (e.g. if there had occurred fewer La Ninas) then there would have been more surface emissions to compensate for the increase in back radiation and hence the rate of ocean cooling would have increased. And hence there wouldn’t have been so much gain in OHC.

      “Sigh. Again you’re just making assumptions of something as fact that we can’t observe. Circular reasoning is your modus operandi, it seems.”

      Clarifying my thoughts when you misunderstand them isn’t circular.

      “(Also, as I wrote above, if the skin isn’t warming, then the subsurface water needs to have COOLED since 2001 for the gradient still to have decreased. Where is the logic? Where is the empirical evidence? Where is the science?)”

      Same conflation as above. If the skin doesn’t warm because there doesn’t occur an increase in back radiation, then, yes, the oceans will cool more. If the skin temperature remains low because of an increase in ocean layer mixing, then the oceans will warm more. Search this page for the word “soup” for an analogy.

      Let us just take care of the logic. When the logic is straight then you are free to assess the science and data in the way you want.

    • Marler said:

      Why do you think there is an equilibrium when the dynamical systems theory shows that high dimensional non-linear dissipative systems do not have equilibria?

      The oscillations of ENSO are forced and modeled straightforwardly by the Mathieu wave equation:

      http://contextearth.com/2014/05/02/the-soim-substantiating-the-chandler-wobble-and-tidal-connection-to-enso/

      Bringing up theoretical musings and doing some fancy footwork around this topic is pointless.

      It’s like saying an electrical circuit is non-linear and dissipative, while in the meantime some engineer worked out the equations, devised a circuit, and then put it on the market.

      You really have to show us the goods or you look like a poseur..

    • Pierre-Normand says, May 13, 2014 at 6:30 pm:

      “More CO2 increases the emissivity of the atmosphere and hence the power of the back radiation. This decreases the net upwelling radiative flux from the surface since this net flux is the difference between the (gross) surface radiative emissions (only controlled by temperature) and the back radiation power (controlled by both air temperature *and* emissivity). The change in the temperature gradient below the skin just is a consequence of this.”

      No, Pierre-Normand. You seem to not get at all what I’m trying to tell you. Because you’re just carrying on relentlessly, piling ever more assertions and assumptions onto your old assertions and assumptions, never stopping to wonder “Is this something I’m just saying (regurgitating), or has it in fact been established as empirical truth?”

      Listen, what you’re proclaiming above is THE HYPOTHESIS. You have not shown it to be THE REALITY.

      I am asking you to VERIFY your hypothesis by presenting global empirical evidence from the real earth system that your postulated mechanism is in fact working and inducing warming. I am not interested in your theorised processes. Everyone and anyone can find some piece of physics and claim that as the basis of one’s claim of a grand effect. But that doesn’t make the claim true until the mechanism has first been detected and then shown to cause the postulated effect … OUT THERE IN THE REAL WORLD.

      You people simply don’t see this. And move on with your circular reasoning, just assuming you’re right based solely on the faith in your hypothesis. In your mind, you don’t NEED to show the proposed mechanism to work in nature. Because you already KNOW in your heart from the outset that it does. So you summarily ignore (or find ways to explain it away) data contradicting it and interpret data seemingly going in the same direction as the predictions of your hypothesis immediately and without proper and open assessment as ‘proof’ it’s correct. Circular reasoning. Confirmation bias.

      This is not science, Pierre-Normand. This is PSEUDO-science. You have a claim … and that’s it. You’re so deep into your faith that there simply is no talking to you. You will NEVER see this fundamental flaw in your logic.

      So, I’m not gonna spend more time replying to the rest of your nonsensical post. It’s just more of the same. I’ve explained very clearly to you what it is that I want from you. But the only way you seem to be able to back up your fanciful (and unsupported) claims is by piling on with even more of them.

      That’s clear evidence of someone not having ANYTHING of substance to offer, only smoke and mirrors, huffing and puffing.

      The data shows clearly how ENSO caused global warming since 1970. The data does NOT show at all how increased CO2 ‘forcing’ contributed. That’s all just in your heads. And that’s something you can’t get around, Pierre-Normand.

      Sorry, but data and observations always trump faith and ideology. In SCIENCE, that is …

    • Pierre-Normand

      Kristian: “Listen, what you’re proclaiming above is THE HYPOTHESIS. You have not shown it to be THE REALITY.”

      No. I made no hypothesis. I just told you what the standard explanation of the slowdown in the rate of ocean cooling is and why it differs from what you falsely thought this explanation to be. So, now you can stop trying to shoot down an argument that nobody is making.

    • Matthew R Marler

      WebHubTelescope: It’s like saying an electrical circuit is non-linear and dissipative, while in the meantime some engineer worked out the equations, devised a circuit, and then put it on the market.

      Surely you do not deny that the climate is a high-dimensional, non-linear dissipative system. High dimensional, surely; non-linear, surely; dissipative, surely. Furthermore, no one has worked out accurate equations; no one has devised it; and no one has put it on the market. And I never claimed any particular electrical circuit was a high-dimensional, non-linear dissipative system (though some neural circuits are.)

      If to you the climate system is “like” an electrical system devised by an engineer and put on the market, you have missed a lot of the climate science.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Pierre-Normand: The forcing precisely is defined as the imbalance at the tropopause that would have been caused by this forcing when the stratosphere only is allowed to radiatively adjust but the temperature profile below is held constant.

      If the temperature profile below were known to be held constant while CO2 was increasing we wouldn’t be having this debate. You have now defined the forcing “precisely” as an imbalance at the tropopause measured when something else can not be happening.

      I appreciate your long replies. I think if you follow the whole train of events, heat transfers and all, that result from the increase of CO2 concentration in the troposphere, then all of the quantitative consequences can not be calculated based on present knowledge, beginning with how much of the extra radiant energy converts to warmer surface water and how much converts to evaporated surface water. Every attempt depends on counterfactual assumptions of unknown accuracy, like that counterfactual assumption about the temperature profile below the tropopause remaining constant, or the counterfactual assumption that an equilibrium is ever reached.

      The Earth absorbs more energy at the Equator, and radiates more energy at the poles; each part of the surface absorbs more energy in day time than at night; each hemisphere absorbs more energy than it loses during part of the year and loses more energy than it gains during a complementary part of the year. Annually there is slight imbalance so that the mean temp increases or decreases; over long time spans there is a rough balance so that the mean temp oscillates within limits (at least it has done so for the last 10,000 years.) But the quantitative effects of increasing CO2 can not be calculated; and the possibility that increased cloud cover will halt warming can not be ruled out on present knowledge; As far as I can tell, you have not shown the contrary.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “If the temperature profile below were known to be held constant while CO2 was increasing we wouldn’t be having this debate. You have now defined the forcing “precisely” as an imbalance at the tropopause measured when something else can not be happening.”

      It certainly can happen when the forcing change is small and sudden. That’s because the temperature profile is dominated by convective processes and the surface temperature can’t adjust instantaneously due to thermal inertia. So, if there is a small forcing change, then there occurs a radiative imbalance before the whole surface+troposphere gets a chance to adjust to restore the balance. In any case, there is no hypothesis being made that the troposphere can’t respond at all just because of the way the theoretical concept of a forcing is *defined.*

      Even if we assumed that the system could always restore the balance instantaneously, and there would never by any merely transient response and sustained imbalance (as would happen when the variation of the forcing is very slow), the definition of the forcing would still be the same — based on a conditional counterfactual statement with (in this case) a false antecedent. The only presupposition embodied in the definition of the forcing is that some response (change in the surface+troposphere temperature profile) *must* eventually occur for the TOA flux balance to be restored. The definition itself doesn’t entail that the eventual adjustment of the whole system will be slow, or fast, or instantaneous, or will never occur.

    • Matthew R Marler | May 14, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
      Pierre-Normand: The forcing precisely is defined as the imbalance at the tropopause that would have been caused by this forcing when the stratosphere only is allowed to radiatively adjust but the temperature profile below is held constant.

      If the temperature profile below were known to be held constant while CO2 was increasing we wouldn’t be having this debate. You have now defined the forcing “precisely” as an imbalance at the tropopause measured when something else can not be happening.

      What Pierre-Normand is in effect doing is to deny the correctness and applicability of the general radiative heat transfer equation when it comes to radiatively active gases in the atmosphere vs. the surface. Then temperature apparently doesn’t matter. Then more radiative gases in the atmosphere simply sends down more ratiation to make the surface warmer (by cooling less).

      Refer to the exchange him and me had on how radiation from the atmosphere allegedly slows surface cooling.

      Pierre-Normand: “In this case the increased downwelling flux merely reduces the *radiative* cooling of the skin layer [i.e., the surface] since this rate of cooling is the difference between the upwelling and downwelling radiative fluxes at the surface.”

      My response: “Does it indeed? You know about the radiative heat transfer equation, Pierre-Normand? P/A = e s (T_1^4 – T_2^4). What must object 2 (say, the atmosphere) here do for P/A (the outgoing radiative HEAT flux from object 1 (say, the surface) to become smaller? It’s temperature must rise. Hence, the atmosphere must WARM relatively to the surface and BEFORE the surface.”

      Pierre-Normand’s reply to this: “There is no warming (i.e. there is not downward heat flux) of the surface by the atmosphere. There only is a reduction of the rate of cooling and this reduction is enhanced by the increased emissivity of the lower troposphere as explained above.”

      First of all, he’s apparently oblivious to what I’m pointing out to him. You can’t just claim ‘increased downwelling flux’ to reduce the NET outgoing (meaning, the upwelling flux has NOT yet increased), without first having atmospheric warming. Again, this is what the radiative heat transfer equation clearly states. It’s only a matter of TEMP DIFFERENCE between the two radiating systems.

      Pierre-Normand ignores this. No, it’s just the lower troposphere having its emissivity increased, according to him. Apparently circumventing the ‘atmosphere must warm before the surface’ problem.

      But what happens is rather the opposite. The atmosphere is supposed to increase its IR absorptivity with increasing concentration of radiatively active gases like CO2. And the enhanced absorption is supposed to warm the lower troposphere. Everyone knows that the CO2 molecules pretty much NEVER get to reemit their absorbed IR photon from the surface directly. They collide with other air molecules, mostly nitrogen and oxygen ones, ‘long’ before this can happen.

      It’s the atmosphere getting WARMER that’s supposed to cause the increased ‘back radiation’. And for this to reduce surface radiative cooling, it has to increase BEFORE anything changes at the surface, meaning tropospheric warming must precede surface warming.

      This is also the whole idea behind the ‘effective radiating level’ (ERL) in the troposphere. More radiatively active gases in the atmosphere is supposed to make it more opaque to outgoing terrestrial IR, letting out less of it to space than with less such gases present. The ERL has been moved to a higher and colder layer.

      So when just as much radiative heat comes up from the surface, but less is allowed to pass through to space per unit of time, then this will of course force an atmospheric warming – equal heat IN, less heat OUT >> warming system.

      Equilibrium is reached when the new and higher ERL has warmed up to the temperature it had when it was lower.

      The problem is, there exists no data from the real earth system that exhibits this postulated chain of events: OLR at ToA decreasing >> tropospheric temps increasing >> surface temps increasing. What the data instead consistently shows is this chain of events: surface temps up (or down) >> tropospheric temps up (or down) >> OLR at ToA increasing (or decreasing).

      This issue is NEVER addressed. One just takes for granted that the postulated mechanism for surface warming works EVEN WHEN never observed. There is a term for this kind of practice: PSEUDO-science.

    • Sorry, I got that last post wrong. It should start like this:

      Matthew R Marler says, May 14, 2014 at 2:00 pm:

      “Pierre-Normand: The forcing precisely is defined as the imbalance at the tropopause that would have been caused by this forcing when the stratosphere only is allowed to radiatively adjust but the temperature profile below is held constant.

      If the temperature profile below were known to be held constant while CO2 was increasing we wouldn’t be having this debate. You have now defined the forcing “precisely” as an imbalance at the tropopause measured when something else can not be happening.”

      Matthew,

      What Pierre-Normand is in effect doing is to deny the correctness and applicability of the general radiative heat transfer equation when it comes to radiatively active gases in the atmosphere vs. the surface. Then temperature apparently doesn’t matter. Then more radiative gases in the atmosphere simply sends down more ratiation to make the surface warmer (by cooling less).

      Refer to the exchange him and me had on how radiation from the atmosphere allegedly slows surface cooling.

      Pierre-Normand: “In this case the increased downwelling flux merely reduces the *radiative* cooling of the skin layer [i.e., the surface] since this rate of cooling is the difference between the upwelling and downwelling radiative fluxes at the surface.”

      My response: “Does it indeed? You know about the radiative heat transfer equation, Pierre-Normand? P/A = e s (T_1^4 – T_2^4). What must object 2 (say, the atmosphere) here do for P/A (the outgoing radiative HEAT flux from object 1 (say, the surface) to become smaller? It’s temperature must rise. Hence, the atmosphere must WARM relatively to the surface and BEFORE the surface.”

      Pierre-Normand’s reply to this: “There is no warming (i.e. there is not downward heat flux) of the surface by the atmosphere. There only is a reduction of the rate of cooling and this reduction is enhanced by the increased emissivity of the lower troposphere as explained above.”

      First of all, he’s apparently oblivious to what I’m pointing out to him. You can’t just claim ‘increased downwelling flux’ to reduce the NET outgoing (meaning, the upwelling flux has NOT yet increased), without first having atmospheric warming. Again, this is what the radiative heat transfer equation clearly states. It’s only a matter of TEMP DIFFERENCE between the two radiating systems.

      Pierre-Normand ignores this. No, it’s just the lower troposphere having its emissivity increased, according to him. Apparently circumventing the ‘atmosphere must warm before the surface’ problem.

      But what happens is rather the opposite. The atmosphere is supposed to increase its IR absorptivity with increasing concentration of radiatively active gases like CO2. And the enhanced absorption is supposed to warm the lower troposphere. Everyone knows that the CO2 molecules pretty much NEVER get to reemit their absorbed IR photon from the surface directly. They collide with other air molecules, mostly nitrogen and oxygen ones, ‘long’ before this can happen.

      It’s the atmosphere getting WARMER that’s supposed to cause the increased ‘back radiation’. And for this to reduce surface radiative cooling, it has to increase BEFORE anything changes at the surface, meaning tropospheric warming must precede surface warming.

      This is also the whole idea behind the ‘effective radiating level’ (ERL) in the troposphere. More radiatively active gases in the atmosphere is supposed to make it more opaque to outgoing terrestrial IR, letting out less of it to space than with less such gases present. The ERL has been moved to a higher and colder layer.

      So when just as much radiative heat comes up from the surface, but less is allowed to pass through to space per unit of time, then this will of course force an atmospheric warming – equal heat IN, less heat OUT >> warming system.

      Equilibrium is reached when the new and higher ERL has warmed up to the temperature it had when it was lower.

      The problem is, there exists no data from the real earth system that exhibits this postulated chain of events: OLR at ToA decreasing >> tropospheric temps increasing >> surface temps increasing. What the data instead consistently shows is this chain of events: surface temps up (or down) >> tropospheric temps up (or down) >> OLR at ToA increasing (or decreasing).

      This issue is NEVER addressed. One just takes for granted that the postulated mechanism for surface warming works EVEN WHEN never observed. There is a term for this kind of practice: PSEUDO-science.

    • Two things must be added to this.

      Firstly, the emissivity of the atmosphere in ‘GHE theory’ is already assumed to be 1. It cannot increase. This is the whole basis for the ERL idea. The earth’s mean ERL is supposed to be at the temp of 255K, because this is earth’s black body temperature to space. A 255K black body (with e = 1) radiates 240 W/m^2.

      If the emissivity of the atmosphere were to be for instance 0.6, then there would be no traditional ‘GHE’ left (from lifting the ERL off the ground), because you would need a temp of 290K to radiate 240 W/m^2 (which is what is needed to balance the incoming and is also what is measured from space) and this temp is found at the surface.

      Secondly, notice how the radiative heat transfer equation only operates with ONE emissivity value. This is the emissivity of the object/system (1) ACTUALLY emitting radiative heat to the other object/system (2).

    • Kristian, ya got nothing. Those are just words you are stringing together. Unless you translate those words into a formal presentation it is useless verbiage.

      Or do you not understand the language of science?

    • Pierre-Normand

      Kristian wrote:

      “Firstly, the emissivity of the atmosphere in ‘GHE theory’ is already assumed to be 1. It cannot increase. This is the whole basis for the ERL idea. The earth’s mean ERL is supposed to be at the temp of 255K, because this is earth’s black body temperature to space. A 255K black body (with e = 1) radiates 240 W/m^2.”

      The emissivity of the atmosphere averages to about 0.86. Greenhouse gases such as CO2 and water vapor don’t have black body spectra. There is an infrared radiation “window” (multiple windows actually) within which the Earth surface radiates directly to space. An increase in greenhouse gas concentration raise the effective radiation level because it increases the opacity in the vicinity of the absorption lines (raises the level of last emission) but it also narrows the “window” somewhat because of increased saturation in the vicinity of the spectral line, which are widened because of pressure broadening. Thus, the increase in greenhouse gas concentration increases both the emissivity of individual atmospheric layers and also of the atmosphere as a whole. It raises the effective radiation level to a colder one, and it also lowers the “effective back radiation level” to a warmer one. Since the solar input is unaffected and we assume the surface temperature to be constant — and hence the IR emission from the surface also to be constant — this complementary effect (reduced outgoing radiation and increased back radiation) ensures conservation of energy.

      “Secondly, notice how the radiative heat transfer equation only operates with ONE emissivity value. This is the emissivity of the object/system (1) ACTUALLY emitting radiative heat to the other object/system (2).”

      When two grey bodies are at issue then the two emissivity values figure in the equation. It’s only when one surface is assumed to be a black body that its emissivity is set equal to 1. (What was the source for your equation? I guess it was assumed that one surface is a black body.) In any cases, the net energy exchange is the difference between the two powers received by one surface from the other one. This assumes, though, that both surfaces are opaque and don’t let any of the energy incident to them get through and escape from the other side. So, the equation doesn’t apply to the Earth surface/atmosphere system since some of the upwelling radiation from the ground gets directly through space through the IR atmospheric window. Just knowing the emissivity values doesn’t tell you that. There are four bodied involved — surface, atmosphere, Sun and outer space — not just two.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Pierre-Normand: It certainly can happen when the forcing change is small and sudden. That’s because the temperature profile is dominated by convective processes and the surface temperature can’t adjust instantaneously due to thermal inertia. So, if there is a small forcing change, then there occurs a radiative imbalance before the whole surface+troposphere gets a chance to adjust to restore the balance. In any case, there is no hypothesis being made that the troposphere can’t respond at all just because of the way the theoretical concept of a forcing is *defined.*

      I think the debates will end when the rates of the many diverse energy transfer processes are known with sufficient accuracy. The use of unquantitative concepts such as something having a “small and sudden” change when something else does not respond “instantaneously” is as useful as sandcastles on the beach. And I think that we’ll need more accurate information than spatio-temporal averages over large regions and large time spans.

      With respect to the rate at which the atmospheric processes can change, the CO2 is increasing “slowly”. With respect to the rate at which the subsurface ocean can get to the hypothetical new “equilibrium” or new “steady state”, or new “range of highs and lows”, perhaps CO2 is increasing “rapidly”.

      Meanwhile, if downwelling LWIR increases by 3.7W/m^2 over any length of time, what fraction of that increase goes to increased vaporization of the surface waters, and what goes to the warming of the surface waters? Bearing in mind that winds and vaporization already happen at varying rates in different times of day and regions of the Earth. Along with that, what are the changes in the rate of convection of latent and sensible heat to the upper atmosphere, and what are the changes in the cloud cover? As far as I can tell, the published literature says that those are unknown.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Meanwhile, if downwelling LWIR increases by 3.7W/m^2 over any length of time, what fraction of that increase goes to increased vaporization of the surface waters, and what goes to the warming of the surface waters?”

      For sure some of it goes into enhancing the hydrological cycle. This doesn’t mean that the surface will have to warm any less for the balance to be restored. The enhancement of the hydrological cycle doesn’t contribute to restore the TOA balance since it results in a heat flow that’s internal to the ocean+atmosphere system. The increased specific humidity does contributes to the negative lapse rate feedback but this feedback is smaller (it is about 0.8W/m^2) than the water vapor feedback (1.8W/m^8).

      So, in short, the increased latent heat flux reduces the rate of heat gain by the surface but doesn’t reduce the amount of surface and troposphere warming (i.e. temperature increase) needed to restore the TOA balance.

    • Pierre-Normand, May 15, 2014 at 5:26 pm:

      “The emissivity of the atmosphere averages to about 0.86.”

      Really? That’s news to me. How convenient. Based on what comprehensive field studies? Can you give me some references? Where oh where are those measurements showing that air (the mean of dry air, wet air, still air, moving air, clear air, cloudy air, rainy air, snowy air) has an emissivity of 0.86? Meaning, such ‘mean air’ at 255K would radiate exactly 206 W/m^2 to its surroundings.

      Is that CERES measuring 240 W/m^2 coming up from the earth as a whole, but can simply tell that one part of it comes from the surface (at 289K) and the rest comes from the ERL (at 255K). That’s how you picture this, isn’t it? A gray body with e = 0.86 and 255K emits a radiative flux of 206 W/m^2. That leaves 34 W/m^2. This flux comes directly from the surface and passes through the atmospheric window.

      So NO radiation at all between the surface and the ERL (~5 kilometres up in the troposphere) escapes directly to space, like from say the atmospheric layer at 280K or the one at 270K or 260K. And ALL the radiation from the ERL at 255K goes unhindered out to space. NONE of it is reabsorbed and thermally emitted from higher up (from say the 240K level, or the 220K level, or from the tropopause at 210K).

      No, the ENTIRE ‘atmospheric flux’ to space is emitted from a gray body layer at 255K and e = 0.86. Do the calculation yourself. That’s 206 W/m^2. Stefan-Boltzmann equation. The rest comes from the surface. There’s no way around it.

      When it comes down to it, It’s ALL about the specific temperature and emissivity of ONE specific atmospheric layer. That’s where the ‘GH effect’ is coming from. Not your ‘back radiation’. Where is the ERL? How high above the ground? That’s the only question. The rest is the result of the downward work of the lapse rate.

      This is the argument.

      If the 255K ERL is ~5 km up, then the lapse-rate caused difference down to the surface is the ‘GH effect’: (288-255=) 33K.

      So, why 255K?

      The 255K figure is earth’s BLACK BODY temperature to space. It is based on (calculated from) the 240 W/m^2 flux measured from space and with an assumed emissivity of 1. Meaning, IF earth had a solid BB surface in direct contact with space at 255K, then its emitted flux would be 240 W/m^2, equal to the one we measure. That’s how we derive the 255K value.

      In no other way.

      But we know that earth hasn’t got a solid BB surface in direct contact with space at 255K. And still the flux measured from space is 240 W/m^2. Hmm. How to solve that one?

      We don’t.

      We just still claim that the mean air layer at 255K is, sort of, the earth’s BB surface to space, corresponding to the measured outgoing flux of 240 W/m^2, even it if isn’t really. This layer, at an average of 5+ kilometres up, in the middle of the convective troposphere, by the lapse rate ladder down, is 33K warmer than the ‘real’ solid surface of the earth, so therefore we can say that that’s the ‘GH effect’. Clever, huh?

      But we KNOW that a fair share of the radiation to space comes DIRECTLY from the surface. So the entire 240 W/m^2 flux to space CAN’T come from this postulated atmospheric BB surface.

      No problem. We simply say that the emissivity of the ERL (of the air/cloud mixture up there) is a bit lower than unity. Which means it isn’t really the BB surface of the earth. But we still keep it at 255K, AS IF IT WERE.

      So, by how much do we reduce the emissivity? Hmm, we still need to keep the 255K (even though it no longer connects with the idea of a BLACK body), so that we can keep the 33K ‘GH effect’, which derives directly from the original BB calculation, after all. Hmm. How big is the surface flux again? 30-40 W/m^2. OK, we simply tune the emissivity down until the flux from the 255K level + the surface flux comes out at 240 W/m^2. Simples! e = 0.86.

      Voilà!

      So, nothing of this would’ve worked if the emissivity of ‘mean air/cloud mixture’ at the ERL was 1, 0.9, 0.8, 0.7, 0.6, 0.5 or 0.05. It ONLY works if the emissivity is 0.86. Otherwise you need to move away from the 255K level. And we lose the original connection to how it’s derived in the first place, earth being an effective black body in space with a mean flux emitted of 240 W/m^2.

      But lo and behold! Wow, the emissivity IS 0.86! According to Pierre-Normand. We’re saved! We get to keep the 255K! The hypothesis stands! It cannot be falsified!

      Hurrah!

    • Pierre-Normand,

      Radiatively active gases in the atmosphere do not enable it to WARM. It would’ve warmed with or without them, simply by being directly convectively coupled with the solar-heated surface. This connection is never broken as long as there is air present, a gravity field and sunshine heating the surface.

      Radiatively active gases, however, DO enable the atmosphere to adequately COOL to space. Because this can only be done through radiation.

      So an atmosphere without radiatively active gases would still WARM from the surface up, but wouldn’t be able to adequately COOL to space.

      It’s not the so-called ‘GHGs’ that trap the surface heat, Pierre-Normand. It’s the 99.5% of the atmosphere NOT being significantly radiatively active at ‘earthly’ temperatures that would do that. Because this part can STILL be warmed conductively, convectively and latently, but it can’t to any real extent radiate it away again.

      Read this carefully:

      The atmosphere is able to warm. Because it has a mass, a heat capacity. Space hasn’t. So space isn’t able to warm. So the atmosphere sets up a finite (‘sub-max’) temperature gradient away from the solar-heated surface, which space won’t. It also exerts a pressure (by its weight, mass x gravity) above 0 on the surface, which space doesn’t. This pressure sets a limit to free evaporation and convection at a certain temperature.

      This is why and how the atmosphere forces the surface of the earth to be warmer than a pure radiative equilibrium would do.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Kristian, do you still stand or don’t you still stand by your claim that the emissivity of the Earth’s *atmosphere* is exactly 1 and that therefore (as you were arguing) its emissivity can’t possibly be increased by the addition of more greenhouse gases?

      How can the emissivity of the atmosphere be exactly 1 when it emits nothing (or at any rate very much less than a black body) in all those wavelength that comprise the IR window? Isn’t that the very definition of a grey body? The Earth as a whole emits like a black body. But that doesn’t help your argument. The Earth surface doesn’t back radiate onto itself. It’s the atmosphere that back radiates.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Pierre-Normand: For sure some of it goes into enhancing the hydrological cycle. This doesn’t mean that the surface will have to warm any less for the balance to be restored. The enhancement of the hydrological cycle doesn’t contribute to restore the TOA balance since it results in a heat flow that’s internal to the ocean+atmosphere system.

      that line about “internal to the ocean + atmosphere system” I think is likely wrong. It would be good to have evidence, but I think it likely that an increase in the hydrological cycle will increase the net rate of transfer of energy from surface to upper troposphere and then radiated to space. In other words, it raises the effective temperature of the Earth as perceived from space, as does the increased Earth surface temperature, but without raising the Earth surface temperature. This is one of the reasons that I think the standard calculations (as in Randall’s book) overestimate the effects of increasing CO2 (even if the cloud cover does not change.)

    • Emissivity is a red herring. Whether you put on a thick fur coat that is white (low emissivity), or one that is black (high emissivity), in either case you get warmer because you’re well insulated.

      It’s the same with CO2. Increasing it thickens the warm coat, thereby raising the surface temperature. What happens at higher altitudes is less relevant.

      Venus is a great example. It has a very thick warm coat of CO2, around a hundred kilometers thick. At the top of its atmosphere, TOA, it happens to be very reflective (albedo of around 0.9), but even then its surface temperature is 740K. Reducing its TOA albedo to say 0.5 would not change the surface temperature much because the main determinant thereof is lapse rate in conjunction with the very thick atmosphere, and lapse rate is pretty much independent of albedo.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Matthew R Marler wrote: “that line about “internal to the ocean + atmosphere system” I think is likely wrong. It would be good to have evidence, but I think it likely that an increase in the hydrological cycle will increase the net rate of transfer of energy from surface to upper troposphere and then radiated to space.In other words, it raises the effective temperature of the Earth as perceived from space, as does the increased Earth surface temperature, but without raising the Earth surface temperature.”

      The increased specific humidity of the atmosphere enhances the greenhouse effect. It also lowers the lapse rate through bringing it closer to the moist adiabat. That’s a negative feedback. But this negative feedback merely reduces the positive feedback from the enhanced specific humidity. The positive feedback results from the increased opacity of the atmosphere, which raises the effective radiation level. What you think is “likely wrong” — the radiative-convective models — already accounts for the effects of an enhanced hydrological cycle.

      This may seem counter-intuitive because the latent heat flux from the surface is increased and it seems that this will result in more heat being carried to a level where it can be radiated to space. But the effect just is to bring the (average) temperature profile closer to the moist adiabat (and also to raise the effective radiating level. The gradient can’t be lower than the moist adiabat since when this gradient is achieved the atmosphere becomes convectively stable. Convection stops until the surface warms more. Since the upper troposphere can’t warm anymore until the surface does, the enhanced latent heat flux simply is compensated by a reduced sensible flux (less convection). The extra heat is essentially trapped — which translates in a reduced rate of ocean cooling — until the surface eventually warms and the sensible/convective flux is thereby allowed to increase (and more heat also escapes through the IR window).

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Emissivity is a red herring. Whether you put on a thick fur coat that is white (low emissivity), or one that is black (high emissivity), in either case you get warmer because you’re well insulated.”

      Sure but we got wildly sidetracked into some sky dragon slayer types of arguments. What we were discussing earlier were situations when the forcing increased and the surface+troposphere didn’t *yet* warm to restore the balance. Some people argued that the ocean can’t take any heat from an enhanced back radiation since IR radiation doesn’t penetrate below the skin. Some people also argued that the atmosphere can’t produce anymore back radiation unless it warms first. I was replying to those specific claims.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      1. The definition of forcing involves an increase in greenhouse gases without a concurrent increase in tropospheric temperature. It is not physically realistic but provides a basis for comparison.

      2. IR doesn’t penetrate water beyond a few hundred micron.

      3. Photon absorption and emission in the IR frequencies and kinetic temperature are inseparable processes. A molecule absorbs and emits through quantum vibrational transitions in the infrared. You cant have changes in energy states in this mode without changes in heat.

      None of this is ‘skydragon’ but is just fairly basic physics. You are making points at great length and insistence that are simply wrong. The problem as I pointed out is approaching it all through language. That won’t work at all.

      Then when you get past baby physics – you can move on to deterministic chaos and nonequilibrium thermodynamics.

    • Pierre-Normand

      GS, you didn’t contradict any claim that I ever made.

    • Pierre-Normand says, May 16, 2014 at 2:57 am:

      “Kristian, do you still stand or don’t you still stand by your claim that the emissivity of the Earth’s *atmosphere* is exactly 1 and that therefore (as you were arguing) its emissivity can’t possibly be increased by the addition of more greenhouse gases?”

      Haha, so I see you’re neatly evading the main issue here by grabbing hold of some detail of what I said. If you read my entire post, you would see why the assumption of a emissivity 1 is based in the idea of a BB surface of the earth to space. And after that the contortions one goes through to KEEP the BB surface (the 255K level) but STILL maintain that the atmosphere IN REALITY has an emissivity BELOW 1.

      “How can the emissivity of the atmosphere be exactly 1 when it emits nothing (or at any rate very much less than a black body) in all those wavelength that comprise the IR window? Isn’t that the very definition of a grey body? The Earth as a whole emits like a black body.”

      Precisely! My point exactly. So now go back to what I actually wrote (on May 16, 2014 at 2:13 am) and realise how stupid the canonical description of the 33K ‘GHE’ really is.

      “But that doesn’t help your argument. The Earth surface doesn’t back radiate onto itself. It’s the atmosphere that back radiates.”

      There is some strange hole in your logic here. You claim raised atmospheric emissivity. And still the IR from the surface is somehow held back from space to a greater extent than before. Refer to my post above. The so-called ‘GHGs’ don’t enable the atmosphere to warm. It warms primarily because it’s convectively coupled with the solar-heated surface. They enable it to cool (to space). Without their presence, it couldn’t adequately do that. It would still WARM from the surface, though. Through OTHER heat transfer mechanisms than the radiative one.

      It follows from this that the more ‘GHGs’ in the atmosphere, the more able it is to cool to space.

      You see, Pierre-Normand. Radiation WITHIN the atmosphere doesn’t matter. It is inconsequential. Just like conduction. It is always absorbed by the immediately adjacent air and instantaneously buoyed up as a result. How do you picture yourself downward radiation for instance from a cloud a mile up in the air will EVER reach the surface? Does it have a free line of sight? No. Its energy is absorbed and floats up. Try hold a finger just a few inches to the side from a burning candle and you’ll see what I mean. Can’t feel the heat at all. Where did it go? Up. With the air. Hold your finger at the same distance from the flame, only directly above it. Ouch! The difference? Buoyancy vs. radiation. Convection absolutely RULES energy transport WITHIN the troposphere, NOT radiation. The energy of course comes from conduction, evaporation/condensation and radiation. But convection is what MOVES the energy through the dynamic fluid that is our troposphere. From surface to tropopause. From where it can be radiated freely to space.

      Radiative emission only matters where there is no more absorption and convection. From the tropopause and up. Above the troposphere.

      So greater atmospheric emissivity will lead to a greater flux from the ToA to space, not a smaller one. Enhanced radiative cooling. Not suppressed.

    • Pierre-Normand says, May 16, 2014 at 4:14 am:

      “Sure but we got wildly sidetracked into some sky dragon slayer types of arguments.”

      Hehehe, Pierre-Normand here is pretty desperate to brush off the arguments he can’t counter, I see, by resorting to simple ad hominem. It’s always very easy to throw out the accusation of ‘sky dragon slayer!’ as soon as there’s something you don’t want to discuss, and then hopefully be done with the matter.

      How is this ‘sky dragon slayer types of arguments’, Pierre-Normand? Read my comment from May 16, 2014 at 2:29 am above. Especially the boldface part. That’s not a ‘sky dragon slayer’ type of argument. That’s derived from general physical principles on gases in a gravity field on top of a solar-heated surface.

      The atmosphere doesn’t need the so-called ‘GHGs’ to warm. It needs them to adequately COOL.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Haha, so I see you’re neatly evading the main issue here by grabbing hold of some detail of what I said.”

      Well, this detail was the basis for your argument that increasing the greenhouse gas concentration can’t increase the power of the back radiation. Without this detain you argument crumbles. So, now, of course, you would rather talk about something else.

  2. It appears CO2 is related to shorter periods of El Nino’s. Which explains why the rate of warming is lower with more CO2 than with less CO2.

  3. Figure 4 appears identical to figure 5. Am I missing something?

  4. pokerguy (aka al neipris)

    “Now, Trenberth seems to be pinning his hopes for further warming on the emergence of a new era of El Niño dominance to release all the heat he believes is stored in the surface waters of the Pacific. He might have a good point here but since we are dealing here with the crucial process by which the earth warms as a result of some sort of supposed interaction between rising greenhouse gases and their presumed impact on the El Niño – La Niña balance in the pacific, surely this topic requires a great deal more explanation, explication and filling out of details than these brief sound bites by Trenberth…”

    Nah, debate settled, all important questions answered. As Victor Venema recently assured us, “Climatology is a mature field and new findings will more likely change the complete picture only little.”

    Uh, huh.

    http://judithcurry.com/2014/04/27/the-curry-factor-30-to-1/#more-15369

    • “Climatology is a mature field and new findings will more likely change the complete picture only little.”

      Yeah, that’s what the macroeconomists were saying back in 1967. The end of the business cycle and all that.

    • What is funny is that Trenberth here with his elevator sounds just like Bob Tisdale’s explanation of warming (minus the CO2 explanation) and also resembles the “fake skeptics escalator” found on the SS website.

    • NW equates economics to a hard science.

      I learned that it was a soft discipline in junior high.

      • PhilJourdan

        YOu should have finished your studies. It is both. And it is unique in that respect.

    • k scott denison

      Web, how much controlled experimentation is going on in this “hard science” versus economics… looks to be the same to me, i.e. none. Sure, people keep looking for new proxies for temperatures that we never measured long, long ago… oh wait, that sounds like economics too.

      Go figure.

    • michael hart

      Bill, it makes me think not so much of a Trenberth elevator as more of a paternoster, (because of the quasi-religious overtones).

    • Web, I used to be very skeptical of economics, but then looked at the math. They are doing control theory on dynamic, complex, interacting systems. The economists would do a much better job than the current crop of modelers.
      They also know what a degree of freedom is.


    • The economists would do a much better job than the current crop of modelers.
      They also know what a degree of freedom is.

      Yes, an example of a degree of freedom is the atmospheric concentration of CO2. As the level of CO2 concentration rises, this increases the thermal forcing.

      This is balanced by other degrees of freedom, such as the oscillations of ENSO that compensate the overall temperature rise.

      Economists only think they have laws as strong as the laws of thermodynamics.

      The Cause of the Pause is due to thermodynamic Laws. Check it out.

    • Webby

      Yep.

      Economics is a soft science.

      So is climatology.

      Max

    • Web, you have no understanding of mathematics, kinetics, thermodynamics and most especially, statistics. Other than that, you are doing great.

      Why not send you CSALT model into Judy as a ATL post or to a journal?

  5. Peter Lang

    What is the relevance of the down-in-the-weed’s climate science if we are not focused on answering the key questions relevant for policy analysis and for addressing the rationalists’ concerns.

    Policy relevant climate questions

    1. What is the value of ECS and TCR?

    2. Is ECS and TCR relevant given that climate changes suddenly, not as portrayed by IPCC’s smooth projections?

    3. What effect will increasing atmospheric CO2-e concentration have on the climate – will it make the next sudden change happen sooner or later?

    • Will it make the next sudden cooling happen sooner or later?

    • Or will it cause a sudden warming event?

    • What are the probability density functions for each?

    4. Will it make the next sudden climate change less or more severe? (e.g. delay the onset of the next cooling and/or reduce its severity OR make the next sudden warming happen sooner and make it more severe)? What is the probability density function?

    5. What would be the consequences of warming? What would be the consequences of cooling? What are the probability density functions?

    6. What is the probability that the advocated mitigation policies would succeed in delivering the claimed benefits (climate damages avoided), given real world issues with implementing and maintaining such policies (e.g. carbon pricing)?

    • To answer this question we need to understand the short- and medium-term economic impacts of the proposed policies for each nation state, and consider how each will respond so as to maximise its advantage (game theory) through the situations that could occur over the next century or so.

    7. What is the probability that alternative polices are more likely to succeed (such as removing the political and regulatory impediments that are preventing the world from having low cost nuclear energy and allowing lightly regulated markets to deliver the benefits at least cost)?

    • Peter, if you are calling the above post “down-in-the-weeds” climate science, then it may be highly relevant. Cf: “Our results suggest that forced changes in ENSO, whether natural or anthropogenic, may be difficult to detect against a background of large internal variability.” If warming and cooling are dominated by El Nino/La Nina fluctuations, and if the CO2 impact on them is little or nothing compared to natural variability, then the whole CO2 story becomes of academic interest only, not warranting a policy response other than to rewind policies based on doomist CO2-driven warming furphies. And we can all go back to sleep until the next “We’re doomed!” scenario is generated.

      Hopefully, when that happens, we will recall this one. But probably not.

      • Peter Lang

        Faustino,

        Thank you. I didn’t mean to be disrespectful to a guest author. I really appreciate all the guest authors’ posts on Climate Etc.

        However, I agree with the part of Pekka Pirilas’s comment that started our discussion on the previous thread. Pekka said:

        One possibility of constructive discussion is something where all these aspects are recognized and the full problem is approached in a top-down fashion where top means formulating central questions that need to be answered, and where the subproblems are analyzed having in mind their role in answering the final question.

        http://judithcurry.com/2014/05/03/lennart-bengtsson-speaks-out/#comment-540029

        I agree with Pekka on this. My questions are an attempt to ask the high level questions that I believe need to be answered before we should advocate for anything other than ‘No Regrets’ policies. I agree with all the points you made in the comments that followed from Pekka’s comment.

        This paper is just one more of many thousands of inputs to n improved understanding the climate. Many are highly relevant. But, IMO, they need to be focused on answering the questions that roll up through the hierarchy to answer the top level questions, whatever they are.

        I’ve suggested some questions that would, if they were answered, allow us to make informed and rational policy. If we had the answers to these questions we would be in a position to define the risk, to break them down into sub components, and to manage the risks differently for the sub components.

        So, my question to you and other readers is, how does this paper provide answers to my Questions 1, 2, 3 and 4.

    • Peter, I’m suggesting that the Rapp paper answers your question (1) in suggesting that CO2 is of very minor significance, and if so, some of the remaining questions are no longer of interest.

      I wasn’t suggesting any disrespect on your part, rather that the work presented suggests that some of the policy- important questions re CO2 would be redundant if this analysis is valid. Therefore, don’t knock the analysis, because it does in fact deal with some of your questions by seriously downgrading their importance.

    • Peter Lang

      Faustino,

      Thank you for your comment. I may be missing what you are seeing in the Rapp paper. But it doesn’t jump out at me that it addresses my Question 1. I think part of the problem may be that I didn’t make clear what I was really trying to ask for in Q1. I’ll add some explanation.

      1. What is the value of ECS and TCR?” I was intending this to ask about the value of ECS and TCR at a particular starting condition – e.g. the planet as it is on 1 January 2014 – if we could actually measure the values precisely. Over the period from the Little Ice Age to now, ECS and TCR may have changed by, say, 0.1C due to changes in vegetation cover, ice cover, cloud cover, water vapour concentration, average surface temperature and whatever else affects ECS and TCR. But IPCC gives the standard deviation as about 1.5 C from memory, i.e. a factor of 15 higher than my example of what might be the true range for the period 1600-2014 if we could measure the values precisely. The IPCC ranges reflect the uncertainty in our understanding of ECS and TCR; the ranges are not the uncertainty in the actual values of ECS and TCR if they could be measured precisely.

      Therefore, my Q1 is asking what is the value of ECS and TCR if we could measure it with high precision.

      Now moving on to your comment:

      Peter, I’m suggesting that the Rapp paper answers your question (1) in suggesting that CO2 is of very minor significance, and if so, some of the remaining questions are no longer of interest.

      […] the analysis, […] does in fact deal with some of your questions by seriously downgrading their importance.

      I don’t think the paper does deal with my questions. It does not give a new estimate of ECS and TCR. It does not give a PDF for TCR with a lower standard deviation than the IPCC AR5 report (Box 12.2, Figure 2, p1111 http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/report/WG1AR5_Chapter12_FINAL.pdf )

      To convince people and gain global support we need good evidence

      I am not trying to be pedantic. I think I am looking at the big picture. The reason I am pushing this is because, IMO, to get broad support on a viable and politically and internationally sustainable approach, whatever it may be, we need a persuasive case to support the proposed policies. We need sound evidence that most policy makers and people will accept that either there is a major risk with serious consequences and a significant probability of occurrence or there is limited risk and we can gain the benefits and mitigate the negatives.

      I have repeatedly pointed to the Canadian NWMO site as an example of how good evidence to support policy has been produced, assembled and published in a format where everyone can access it and drill down all the way to the test results and methods if they want to. It contains the information needed to support adversarial investigations such as Royal Commissions and other such adversarial proceedings.

      http://www.nwmo.ca/home

    • Peter, Donald Rapp responded to us as follows:

      Peter Lang: I don’t think these important questions you raised can be answered until we understand the role of El Niños in climate variability.

      Faustino: I was not really suggesting that CO2 is of very minor significance compared to El Niños but I did point out that one could interpret the data that way – ala Tisdale. Yes, we don’t know nuthin about clouds.

      Given how policy has been formed to date, I’m not sure that better estimates of ECS and TCR will necessarily be required to change policy. If they are, we might have a long wait. In the meantime, dealing with our fiscal situation etc might drive policy in a more sensible direction – Origin Energy’s CEO Grant King said yesterday that as high-priced gas exports increase, “the use of gas [domestically] will fall and it will be black coal that makes up the difference. (Quick, buy back all those sold coal shares!)

      King said that coal would make up 90% of the east coast’s thermal (gas and coal) power generation, up from 80% in 2012 (Aus Business p 19 today).

      I’ll check the NWMO site.

      • Peter Lang

        Faustino, Thank you for alerting me to Donald Rapp’s response. I’ve been busy saving the planet from bad policy on other sites and missed the reply.

        Donald Rapp, Thank you for your reply. All makes sense and believable for the non specialist.

        Faustino,

        Given how policy has been formed to date, I’m not sure that better estimates of ECS and TCR will necessarily be required to change policy. If they are, we might have a long wait.

        I agree. Hence my other questions; they all need answers. I agree we mustn’t wait around for ECS and TCR because our understanding of it is unlikely to change much in the next 20 or 50 years given that the central estimate and uncertainty have hardly changed in the past 30 years or so.

        In the meantime, dealing with our fiscal situation etc might drive policy in a more sensible direction – Origin Energy’s CEO Grant King said yesterday that as high-priced gas exports increase, “the use of gas [domestically] will fall and it will be black coal that makes up the difference. (Quick, buy back all those sold coal shares!)

        King said that coal would make up 90% of the east coast’s thermal (gas and coal) power generation, up from 80% in 2012 (Aus Business p 19 today).

        Grant King, Origin Energy CEO, is very wise and always worth taking notice of.

        Regarding coal proportion of electricity generation, I’ll paste below a comment that appeared this morning on The Conversation. It’s unusually sensible for The Conversation. [O/T but I hope acceptable given the context of relevance to climate policy]

        “Sean Douglas

        Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics – Australian Energy Projections to 2050 • December 2012
        http://www.bree.gov.au/publications/australian-energy-technology-assessments and http://www.bree.gov.au/sites/default/files/files//publications/aep/australian-energy-projections-to-2050.pdf

        This report presents the latest long-term projections of Australian energy consumption, production and trade over the period to 2049-50. The [very favourable assumptions] projections include existing government policies, including the Renewable Energy Target and carbon pricing [...both to be repealed?]. They also incorporate the latest estimates of electricity generation technology costs from the Australian Energy Technology Assessment (BREE 2012 d).

        The share of coal in total primary energy consumption is projected to fall sharply from 31 per cent in 2012-13 to just 6 per cent by 2049-50. Renewable energy use [hydro, biomass, biofuels, wind/solar/geo/wave] is projected to nearly quadruple in volume terms over the period to 2049-50 (at 3.6 per cent a year). The share of renewables is projected to increase from 5 per cent of total primary energy consumption in 2012-13 to 14 per cent in 2049-50. [ STILL VERY LOW % includes mainly Hydro plus new wind/solar]

        Coal use drops from 31% to 6% and Renewables goes 5% to 14% in 2050 – but what fills the 17% Gap in the drop of coal use? [Assumptions are] Gas fired electricity generation is projected to double over the projection period, to account for 36 per cent of total generation in 2049-50. [meaning Gas use goes from ~20% to 35% of total energy use as it [theoretically] replaces coal fired power stations, almost equivalent to the growth in Renewable energy use – with 80% of it’s growth coming from Wind and Solar from now to 2050; both are expected to offset Coal use in Australia.] Australian energy production (excluding uranium) is projected to grow by 69 per cent (an average annual rate of 1.4 per cent) over the projection period, to reach 27 803 petajoules in 2049-50. Coal and gas are projected to account for 96 per cent of Australia’s energy production in 2049-50. [most of which is to be exported]

        James Hansen says globally: “Fossil fuels provide more than 85% of the world’s energy (Fig. 1b). One misconception discussed below concerns the fallacy that renewable energy is rapidly supplanting conventional energy. Total non-hydro renewables today offset only about one year’s growth of energy use. Energy use and carbon emissions in developed countries approximately leveled off over the past 35 years (Fig. 2), where developed countries are defined as Europe, the U.S., the former Soviet Union, Japan, Canada, and Australia. The leveling of emissions from developed countries is in part a result of outsourcing of manufacturing to developing countries.

        George Monbiot, a respected British journalist, explored in detail the sources of Caldicott’s assertions. The resulting article that he wrote begins:

        Over the past fortnight I’ve made a deeply troubling discovery. The anti-nuclear movement to which I once belonged has misled the world about the impacts of radiation on human health. The claims we have made are ungrounded in science, unsupportable when challenged and wildly wrong. We have done other people, and ourselves, a terrible disservice.” Monbiot’s 2-page article, “Evidence Meltdown” http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2014/Monbiot.EvidenceMeltdown.Guardian.5April2011.pdf

        GenIV nuclear info Very High Temperature Reactors pg12 eg full scale China HTR-PM demonstration plant under construction operational in 2016-17 – Designed to be “walk away safe” power plants, cannot melt down; several GenIV nuclear plants able to produce Hydrogen from water for MV Fuel Cells see https://www.gen-4.org/gif/upload/docs/application/pdf/2014-03/gif_overview_presentation_v9_final3_web.pdf Safe GenIV nuclear appears to offer a very large Energy possibility for the future from the 2020s.

    • TCR is defined as the amount the temperature rises during a doubling of CO2 when increasing at 1% per year, that is, during 70 years. From 1960 to 1970 the Keeling curve went from 316.6 to 325.2, a rise of 0.27%. From 2000 to 2010 it went from 368.8 to 388.7, a rise of 0.52%.

      At this rate 1% could reasonably turn out to be the average rate of increase of CO2 for some 70-year period of the 21st century, making TCR a worthwhile number for that period. In particular if from 2010 to 2080 the CO2 went from 390 to 780 and the global land-sea temperature rose during that period by 1.87 degrees we would in principle have observed a TCR of 1.87 degrees per doubling. If furthermore the CO2 doubled again to 1560 over the next 70 years then the further temperature rise would provide a second data point for TCR. If that second rise were also 1.87 degrees it would support the notion that TCR is a physically meaningful number like the mass of the earth or the density of iron. I don’t know anyone who seriously believes TCR is anywhere near that meaningful.

      When the rate of increase is much lower than 1%, as was surely the case for every century of the last millennium, indeed for almost every century of the last four billion years, a doubling of CO2 will take much longer than 70 years and therefore the associated temperature rise can be expected to be closer to the rise resulting from waiting a great many centuries after a doubling of CO2, which is effectively the definition of ECS. Hence TCR as defined for a 1%/yr rate of increase of CO2 is not relevant to any period in the previous millennium, nor most likely to almost any period in the life of the Earth.

      As for ECS, since Earth is currently further from equilibrium than it has been for a long time it is hard to see its relevance to any practical concern today. If we had a reliable value for it we could use it as a (quite weak) upper bound on TCR. However we don’t, and moreover we don’t have any idea of how far below ECS TCR should be (though in a talk at the AGU Fall Meeting in December I gave a method for relating the gap between the two to the effective delay of onset of global warming attributable to the ocean’s heat sink effect).

      While TCR is potentially more useful than ECS in that it may well be the right concept for this century’s climate, the absence of any recorded rate of rise higher than 0.5%/yr means that so far we haven’t been in a position to measure TCR, unless the concept is generalized to TCR(r) as a function of rate r of increase. For estimates based on paleoclimate however it’s the other way round: the slow rates of change of CO2 back then imply that any geologically based estimates of climate sensitivity, such as Arrhenius’s 1896 estimates as a function of latitude, are estimating ECS rather than TCR(1%).

    • VP: a rise of 0.27%

      …should have read “a rate of rise of 0.27%/yr” and likewise for the next period.

  6. Donald Rapp

    Very interesting summary.

    There is a mountain of data in this post, and I have not yet absorbed all the trend lines, references or explanations by Trenberth, etc. but the discussion of Tisdale’s findings raised a basic question in my mind.

    Tisdale has shown that at least in the 20th century, one can correlate durations of increase in global temperature with periods of El Niño dominance. Actually, the global warming of the 20th century correlates better with Niño indices than it does with CO2 concentration. He has therefore argued that a substantial part (if not all) of the global warming of the past ~120 years can be attributed periods of imbalance in favor of El Niños, rather than the effect of rising CO2 concentration.

    Correlation does not provide empirical evidence for causation. But it appears that the correlation between ENSO and global climate over the 20thC has been more robust statistically than the correlation between atmospheric CO2 (which rose gradually at a smooth exponential rate) and global temperature (which rose rapidly and then cooled slightly in multi-decadal cycles of ~30 years each).

    One could possibly go further (as Tisdale has done) and argue that CO2 had little to do with the earth’s climate these past 120 years; only the state of the Pacific Ocean determined the climate. Unfortunately it is difficult to prove this proposition.

    “Proving” a proposition is impossible, no matter what. But providing empirical evidence to support or falsify a scientific hypothesis is possible and is done regularly as an integral part of scientific inquiry.

    In this particular case it appears that we have two choices.

    Let’s say (for sake of argument) that the ENSO hypothesis outlined by Tisdale is the “null hypothesis”. Then it is up to the proponents of the IPCC AGW hypothesis to provide empirical scientific evidence to falsify the Tisdale ENSO hypothesis.

    If, on the other hand, we accept the IPCC AGW hypothesis (that AGW has been the principal driver of 20thC climate change) as the “null hypothesis”, then it is up to the proponents of the Tisdale ENSO hypothesis to provide empirical scientific evidence to falsify the IPCC AGW hypothesis.

    Who gets to decide which is the “null hypothesis” and on what basis?

    Seems to me to be a key question here.

    Max

    • pokerguy (aka al neipris)

      “Who gets to decide which is the “null hypothesis?”

      Climate-gate scientists, Al Gore, Barak Obama

      “and on what basis?”

      Careerism, greed, political expediency.

    • “There is a mountain of data in this post.” An “ocean-depth of data” might be more appropriate.

    • “Who gets to decide which is the “null hypothesis” and on what basis?”

      Neither side in that debate gets the null.
      The null is “noise”.
      Can you predict better than noise and better than your rival theories?
      Yes?
      Great! Yours is the best so far, therefore most likely to be true at this time.

  7. Thank you very much for this review, excellent for a profane such as I am.

  8. No one decides when sardines will come and anchovies go, when whales will change their migration paths or when civilizations wane and fade away.

  9. “During periods of El Niño dominance the warming due to El Niños adds to the warming effect due to rising greenhouse gases, and during periods of La Niña dominance the cooling due to La Niñas reduces the warming effect due to rising greenhouse gases.”

    I have asked warmists, skeptics and lukewarmers what the mechanism is by which El Ninos add to global warming/global heat content. The folks at Real Climate and Dr. Curry said the heat released in an El Nino causes more clouds which then retain additional heat from solar radiation.

    The problem with this is the consensus scientists themselves admit they don’t know whether the net effect of clouds is net positive or negative. In fact, they don’t really know much about clouds at all. So this is just an assumption. How do they know the net effect of clouds during El Ninos but not otherwise?

    Bob Tisdale at WUWT pointed me to another article of his when I asked, but that article also assumed the effect on global heat content of an El Nino, without explaining the mechanism.

    Another problem with the cloud mechanism is that there is no doubt an increase in comparatively well measured surface air temperatures during an El Nino, with a corresponding (as far as time, if not amount) decrease in comparatively less well measured sea surface temperatures. But even if it was known that the effect of clouds was net positive during El Ninos, how would you attribute the rise in temperature/heat between the intra-climate event El Nino, with an increase in heat content of the global system from the increased clouds?

    I again suggest that in 100 years or more, when we actually know much more about the climate, many of the current hotly contested debates will be viewed with great amusement. Trends in global average temperature of tenths of a degree; rises in global sea surface levels in tenths and even hundredths of millimeters; the unwillingness of both sides of the debate to acknowledge their relative lack of knowledge on the subject as a whole; all based on poor measurement technology, sparse coverage, and statistical models whose outcomes seem to depend more on the expectations of the modeler than any laws of physics.

    It would all be a tempest in a tea pot, if there weren’t trillions of dollars and millions of lives at stake, either way.

    • “I have asked warmists, skeptics and lukewarmers what the mechanism is by which El Ninos add to global warming/global heat content. The folks at Real Climate and Dr. Curry said the heat released in an El Nino causes more clouds which then retain additional heat from solar radiation.”
      ______
      During large El Ninos, there is more than likely a net loss of energy from the system. We certainly saw this during the 97-98 El Niño, as the size, depth, and temperature of the IPWP was reduced as all that energy left the ocean to the atmosphere and much of it went into space. It is that large loss of energy that immediately tipped the system into a “recharge” mode, aka the rather long La Niña period that begin in the fall of 1998 as the IPWP being to once more accumulate energy lost during the El Niño.

    • R,Gates,

      That has always what I would have expected. An El Nino releases heat held in the ocean into the atmosphere where it can radiate out. Global average temperature (or global heat content), properly calculated, should be reduced. The opposite during a La Nina. Heat is accumulated in the ocean, rather than being radiated out of the system, which should if anything raise the global average temperature/heat content.

      Yet still the reported temperature averages, without the spurious increase of El Ninos, would never have showed the “alarming” from the 70s to the ’98 El Nino. And most of the consensus types I have read (probably because of this fact) adamantly maintain that El Ninos raise GAT/heat content. Even Tisdale and Dr. Curry have claimed so.

      Which is another reason I have always thought the GAT reports were useless for detecting anything as far as global warming.

      Consensus? Shoot, as far as I can see, there really isn’t even a consensus, among the consensus, on whether there has been a “pause,” or on whether El Ninos increase or decrease GAT.

    • ” And most of the consensus types I have read (probably because of this fact) adamantly maintain that El Ninos raise GAT/heat content. Even Tisdale and Dr. Curry have claimed so.”
      —–
      El Niño raises the GAT or sensible heat of the troposphere TEMPORARILY as that energy passes from the ocean through the troposphere on the way to space and to other parts of the climate system. Certainly 100% does not go out into space. But there is certainly no net gain to the climate system, and most likely a net loss.

    • “they don’t really know much about clouds at all” No advance on Judy Collins in over 40 years, then.

    • R.Gates,

      Don’t tell me, tell your consensus tribesmen.

    • GaryM says: “I have asked warmists, skeptics and lukewarmers what the mechanism is by which El Ninos add to global warming/global heat content. The folks at Real Climate and Dr. Curry said the heat released in an El Nino causes more clouds which then retain additional heat from solar radiation.”

      There are numerous mechanisms. See Trenberth et al. (2002):

      http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/papers/2000JD000298.pdf

      And Wang (2005):

      http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/docs/Wang_Hadley_Camera.pdf

      And Trenberth and Fasullo (2011):

      http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/staff/trenbert/trenberth.papers/ISSI_fulltext.pdf

      GaryM says: “Bob Tisdale at WUWT pointed me to another article of his when I asked, but that article also assumed the effect on global heat content of an El Nino, without explaining the mechanism.”

      Please rephrase your question and I’ll be happy to provide links to past posts that explain the mechanism(s).

    • R. Gates says: “El Niño raises the GAT or sensible heat of the troposphere TEMPORARILY as that energy passes from the ocean through the troposphere on the way to space and to other parts of the climate system. Certainly 100% does not go out into space. But there is certainly no net gain to the climate system, and most likely a net loss.”

      R. Gates conveniently overlooks the fact that much of the warming of surface temperatures and ocean heat content outside of the tropical Pacific during an El Niño occurs without an exchange of heat from the tropical Pacific. R. Gates conveniently overlooks that, after an El Niño, the leftover warm water from an El Niño is redistributed from the tropical Pacific. These were topics you repeatedly failed to recognize, even though they were blatantly obvious in the data, when you used to comment at WUWT.

      Adios!

    • Pierre-Normand

      “R. Gates conveniently overlooks that, after an El Niño, the leftover warm water from an El Niño is redistributed from the tropical Pacific.”

      I don’t see what it is that Gates is missing. So long as the leftover warm water causes the SST anomaly to remain above the multi-decadal trend, more heat is lost to space as it is radiated through the atmospheric IR window. This tends to reduce the top of atmosphere imbalance caused be the steadily increasing external forcing. It doesn’t reduce the forcing. So, El Nino episodes (and their aftermaths) merely helps surface temperatures to keep up with the increasing forcing, while La Nina episodes causes them to temporarily lag. This is why La Nina episodes tend not to fully cancel surface warming from previous El Ninos. It’s because the external forcing increased in the meantime.

    • The disappearance of the IPWP must be mainly redistribution of heat within the ocean as Bob Tisdale wrote. Warmer average surface temperature adds to the heat loss, but increase in surface temperature occurs at another area of the pacific. The heat loss related to that is delayed in comparison to the disappearance of the IPWP.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Pekka, Indeed, it is merely delayed but still lost.

    • RG is correct and Tisdale cries adios as he exits with his tail between his legs.

      Amazing the contortions that one man will go through to try to pull the rug over the WUWTers eyes. It helps that they are so gullible.

    • it is merely delayed but still lost.

      That formulation is questionable, because there’s no reason to expect that the extra heat loss would be quantitatively close to the heat content of IPWP.

    • Bob Tisdale,

      Thank you for your response and offer to answer a re-phrased question from me regarding El Ninos. Your response to R.Gates below suggests to me the problem to me is not one of phrasing though.

      My question was, and is,

      By what mechanism does an El Nino “contribute to global warming?”

      That was, I believe, the comment in one of your WUWT posts that I asked about. That El Ninos add to global warming. And in this context, I am using the definition of “global warming” that would be an increase in the total heat content of the global climate system, land, sea and atmosphere, at all levels.

      I did read the abstracts and introductions to the three articles you linked to in your response to me, but I don’t see an explanation of the mechanism I am talking about. I do see, as in your WUWT posts, explanations of the mechanism by which an El Nino occurs, and transfers heat from the sea to the atmosphere. But that is not my question.

      Put another way:

      How does an El Nino add heat to the Earth’s climate, rather than just redistribute it between sea and atmosphere, and between one portion of the sea and others?

      I believe, and I think R. Gates does also, that El Ninos are intra-climate transfers of heat, rather than inter-climate additions of heat to the system. In fact I agree with R.Gates that the net effect of an El Nino, absent some other mechanism, would be an ultimate increase in radiation of heat from the atmosphere that was once contained in the ocean, or global cooling.

      It seems to me that your comment to R.Gates above does not answer the question.

      “R. Gates conveniently overlooks the fact that much of the warming of surface temperatures and ocean heat content outside of the tropical Pacific during an El Niño occurs without an exchange of heat from the tropical Pacific. R. Gates conveniently overlooks that, after an El Niño, the leftover warm water from an El Niño is redistributed from the tropical Pacific.”

      “Much of the warming outside the tropical Pacific during El Nino years” refers, by definition, to heat outside the El Nino phenomenon. This does not, without substantially more, describe an addition of heat to the total global heat content by the El Nino.

      Similarly, I think it is non-controversial that “the leftover warm water from an El Niño is redistributed from the tropical Pacific.” But this too, without more, is not an addition of heat to the climate system. It is simply the retention of heat that was already there before the El Nino.

      The question again then is:

      By what mechanism does an El Nino contribute to global warming, ie. cause an increase in total global heat content, rather than a redistribution of heat within the system, and an ultimate release of (or net reduction in) heat from the system?

      The explanation of the warmists at RealClimate, and Dr. Curry, was clouds. The release of heat creates more clouds, which then retain more heat.(As far as I can see, it is just assumed that El Nino clouds are a net positive feedback, even though the consensus admits they don’t know whether clouds in general are net positive of negative as far as AGW.)

      What is yours?

    • GaryM, I think the point is that these are things we don’t yet know and really need to eventuallty create useful models.

      Dr. Spencer finds that albedo actually decreases during el Ninos. So there is actually warming happening during el Nino. La Nina charges the IPWP, but does not increase the amount of heat entering the system.

      http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/11/our-new-paper-el-nino-warming-reduces-climate-sensitivity-to-1-3-deg-c/

      “But the third case (CASE III) is the one we were really interested in, because it addresses the debate we have with Andy Dessler over the role of cloud variations associated with El Nino and La Nina. I maintain that the global atmospheric circulations associated with El Nino lead to a slight reduction in global albedo, and so a portion of El Nino warming is actually due to radiative warming of the system, not just a temporary reduction in upwelling of colder water. “

    • Aaron,

      I agree that these are things we don’t know. I think the list of things we don’t know is longer than anyone knows.

      My question was not what we “know” to a metaphysical certainty, but the opinions of those I of whom I asked the question. In this particular case, Bob Tisdale.

      I know what I believe and why. I find it informative to find out what others think, and why, in their own words rather than guessing. I think there are large assumptions made by warmists, skeptics and lukewarmers alike in the climate debate. But the only way to determine that is to ask.

    • Bob Tisdale

      You’ve gotten a barrage of questions concerning the “mechanism” by which ENSO affects our climate.

      One answer appears to be by changing cloud cover.

      During the period of frequent large El Niños (1980s, 1990s) the Earthshine project (Pallé et al.) measured a decrease in the amount of cloud cover, resulting in a decrease of the albedo and reflection of less incoming SW energy, so more reached the surface and warmed our climate system.

      Starting in 2000 this trend reversed itself, as ENSO shifted to more La Niñas, and Earthshine measured an increase in cloud cover, resulting in an increase of the albedo and reflection of more incoming SW energy, so less reached the surface and warmed our climate system.

      Is this the “mechanism” by which ENSO increases or decreases the amount of energy entering our climate system?

      Max

    • Manacker,

      That is the exact opposite of the answer I got at Real Climate, to which none of the other regulars objected. The gentleman who answered me in fact linked to an article showing a strong correlation between El Ninos and increased cloud cover. Hence their belief that that was the mechanism that led to an increase in global heat content.

      Here is where the discussion appeared at Real Climate.

      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/03/unforced-variations-march-2013/comment-page-5/#comments

      My original question was at comment 192 on the previous page.

      Answers started at 201 from Kevin McKinney, which includes this:

      “Negative OLR are indicative of enhanced convection and hence more cloud coverage typical of El Niño episodes. More convective activity in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific implies higher, colder cloud tops, which emit much less infrared radiation into space.”

      Despite everybody thinking everyone else believes the same as they do, I don’t think there is even a consensus among the consensus on whether El Ninos increase global warming/global heat content, or reduce it.

    • dalyplanet

      Missed or forgotten is that the old and cold upwelling Pacific cold tongue water must be displacing some of the warm water back into the old and cold current where the energy is very nearly lost or at least made harmless,

      I do appreciate the question GaryM

    • “By what mechanism does an El Nino contribute to global warming, ie. cause an increase in total global heat content, rather than a redistribution of heat within the system, and an ultimate release of (or net reduction in) heat from the system?”

      Heating the ocean is why earth has average temperature of 15 C.
      Or in the past why Earth has had average temperature of 25 C,
      or part of reason that in glacial periods Earth average temperature has
      been 5 C.

      Mixing the warm surface water with colder deeper water will lower average temperatures. Spreading warmer tropical water to more parts of the world will increases average temperature.

      Mixing warm water with cooler water, causes temporary cooler conditions- decrease average temperature, but the mixing of warm water with cool water, over long time periods causes “global warming”- centuries long periods of warmth.

      So global warming is not mostly about the atmospheric, but is mostly about the ocean. As Ocean stores [traps] enormous amounts of heat [joules of heat]. El Nino is surge in this process, and is long term [thousands of years] process of warming Earth.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Pekka Pirilä wrote: “That formulation is questionable, because there’s no reason to expect that the extra heat loss would be quantitatively close to the heat content of IPWP.”

      Yes, that’s a good point. That means that El Nino could indeed account for a gain in ocean heat content. I had overlooked that possibility.

      But the (other) point remains that as the global average SST increases over the decades, then each new El Nino that occurs has a bigger hurdle to overcome, and that is the increasing Planck response that results from this increase. So, in order for some significant fraction of the temperature rise over several decades to be attributed to ENSO/PDO rather than to CO2 (or any other external forcing), one must hypothesize something like a positive cloud feedback that would enhance the effect of sucessive El Nino as the Planck response increases. But this also entails that the feedback amplification to the CO2 forcing ought also to be large (i.e. the TCS ought to be as large or larger than 2°C/CO2 doubling). And one ends up attributing a *larger* total surface warming than has been observed over the multi-decadal period under consideration.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “That is the exact opposite of the answer I got at Real Climate, to which none of the other regulars objected.”

      GaryM, keep in mind that a relative increase in the *proportion* of high clouds to low clouds has a warming effect since the latter’s effect on the albedo is proportionally larger than its contribution to the greenhouse effect as compared with high clouds, which contribute proportionally more to the greenhouse effect and less to the albedo.

    • Pierre,

      So, in order for some significant fraction of the temperature rise over several decades to be attributed to ENSO/PDO rather than to CO2 (or any other external forcing), one must hypothesize something like a positive cloud feedback that would enhance the effect of sucessive El Nino as the Planck response increases. But this also entails that the feedback amplification to the CO2 forcing ought also to be large (i.e. the TCS ought to be as large or larger than 2°C/CO2 doubling).

      I think you are looking too strongly through the CO2 lense here. You seem to assume all responses are due to temperature/radiative forcing. Responses to el Nino may be largely independent of global average temperature (ie, el Nino drive atmospheric temps up, but that is not what drives albedo down). The processes specific to el Nino and regional responses likely cause the forcing, not response to the change in global average temperature. You seem to be assuming that global average temperature sensitivity to forcing is constant and that radiative budget is in balance outside of anthropogenic forcing and feedbacks.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Aaron wrote: “You seem to assume all responses are due to temperature/radiative forcing. Responses to el Nino may be largely independent of global average temperature (ie, el Nino drive atmospheric temps up, but that is not what drives albedo down). The processes specific to el Nino and regional responses likely cause the forcing, not response to the change in global average temperature. You seem to be assuming that global average temperature sensitivity to forcing is constant and that radiative budget is in balance outside of anthropogenic forcing and feedbacks.”

      I am willing to consider that El Nino can warm the surface through causing a forcing that may be local (or global) and is mediated through lowering the cloud albedo independently of the global temperature. However, when the global temperature rises, so does the Plank response. So, the next El Nino has to produce a larger forcing in order to overcome the strengthened Planck response. So, we’d need to explain why El Nino events have this tendency to produce ever stronger effects on the cloud albedo whenever they recur. What is problematic is to make the increase in global surface temperature a contributor to this strengthening. That would indeed be difficult to reconcile with sensitivity to CO2 forcing being low (which is the point of attributing some of the warming to ENSO specific mechanisms). Are you suggesting that there is a locally controlled positive feedback that causes sucessive El Nino events to cause ever stronger cloud albedo forcings?

    • Also from Dr. Spencer’s post: For example, we find that 1 unit of MEI index (which is 1 standard deviation in the El Nino direction) causes a 0.6 W/m2 of radiative forcing of the climate system.

      Again, the model only reproduces the CERES satellite-observed behavior when the radiative budget changes precede the El Nino and La Nina activity, suggesting a cause-and-effect connection. And when that is included, the optimum climate sensitivity chosen by the model is considerably below what the IPCC claims is reasonable for expected warming in our future.

      The radiative balance actually changes before el Nino warms the atmosphere, not simply as a response to changes in global average temperature.

      Cloud cover increases over the northern hemisphere pacific mid-tropic latitudes, but seems to decrease in other regions. This might suggest a negative feedback in that region of the pacific (as a response to increased temp). But responses outside of that region are probably specific to ENSO processes, not just temperature. The change in wind and moisture distribution are unique to ENSO, and probably unique to each ENSO event. Response to forcings can vary considerably.

    • “RG is correct and Tisdale cries adios as he exits with his tail between his legs.

      Amazing the contortions that one man will go through to try to pull the rug over the WUWTers eyes. It helps that they are so gullible.”
      ——
      The faithful at WUWT tend to WANT to believe Tisdale is correct– the anything but CO2 crowd. Thus, they happily lap up his story without questioning. The problem is, he mixes a little truth with inaccuracies or pieces left out, and that makes it more unfortunate.

    • RG says of Tisdale:


      The problem is, he mixes a little truth with inaccuracies or pieces left out, and that makes it more unfortunate.

      Yes, he is the master of regurgitating data in the form of charts. The only problem is that data without any analysis behind it is …. just data.

      His “ratchet” analysis is especially pitiful. A sine wave plus a warming trend looks like a ratcheting up staircase. It is NOT the case that an El Nino warming pulse will ratchet up the temperature to the next stage. Tisadle’s “analysis” of this behavior is the stuff of fever dreams.

    • It is a unique kind of myopia that would look at the inevitable spike in tropospheric temperatures that comes from an El Niño, and try to relate this zero net gain in total system energy to an actual forcing on the system. A true positive external forcing, such as we get from GH gas increases, will act over the long-term to increase energy across all parts of the system– ocean, atmosphere, and reduction in global glacial ice.

    • The Tisdale theory of global warming indeed amounts to a rachet model. While the biosphere has evolved rachets (think of those nasty grass seeds that stick in your socks), examples of rachets are much harder to find in the lithosphere or ocean currents.

      The naive reasoning behind the idea that ENSO can ratchet up the temperature of the IPWP simply by distributing the heat over a larger volume is the same sort of reasoning that goes into the design of perpetual motion machines. A more specific description of the proposed rachet mechanism is needed than a mere redistribution of heat.

    • Right Vaughan.
      Ratchets such as Tisdale’s violate rules of statistical entropy. It must reassign volumes of heat into much lower probability configurations, which makes it highly unlikely — not only to get in to that state but to persist.

      It is much like having perfume that spreads out in a living room go back into the bottle.

    • I think they are now saying that this ratchet effect only works when CO2 is rising, so the real cause is slowly dawning on them. They are not fully there yet, but that is progress.

    • A Ratchet Effect:

      Any partly ordered pattern can move in two directions. Either to less ordered patterns, which would be breakdown, or to more ordered patterns, which would be breakthrough. A breakdown is very much more ordered (frequent) while breakthrough is very rare, but this climb to less probable structures is what constitutes climbing Mt. Improbable.

      In evolution, natural selection loads the dice against entropic degradation (breakdown) by making the degraded patterns less viable (survivable) by natural selection, and favoring the (much rarer) breakthrough by making it more viable. Natural selection works like a ratchet, against breakdown. Genetic mutations are usually harmful, rarely beneficial. Yet we climb Mount Improbable with their help, while preserving the law of entropy. Natural selection is cruel, but effective. – Hanna Newcombe

      http://peacemagazine.org/archive/v24n4p26.htm

      Comparing what she wrote to climate regime changes. “…making the degraded patterns less viable (survivable) by natural selection, and favoring the (much rarer) breakthrough by making it more viable.”
      Why does the climate break(through) if it does? It may break to the more viable option.

      Is evolution linear or does it exhibit breaks? It’s possible that where these evolving animals live, in the climate, also exhibit these evolutionary breaks on varying scales.

      I may just be seeing what I want to see. The 1998-2001 temperature step up to a new higher plateau for instance.

      Tisdale sometimes references step changes:

      I don’t think I am ready to rule out such interpretations.

    • Ragnaar are you a viking accountant or something?

      Please get back to that as climate is not biology and it doesn’t do natural selection.

    • WebHubTelescope (@WHUT) | May 11, 2014 at 1:13 am |
      Please get back to that as climate is not biology and it doesn’t do natural selection.

      Scale doesn’t matter – Professor Robert Sapolsky.
      Biblically speaking, What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

      Do something simple, Repeat.

      I think what we are looking for is patterns on all time and size scales.

    • GaryM says, May 7, 2014 at 9:12 pm:

      “I have asked warmists, skeptics and lukewarmers what the mechanism is by which El Ninos add to global warming/global heat content.”

      I’m not sure exactly where from you’ve gotten the idea that El Niños add to global heat content, Gary. They sure do cause global warming as it’s normally defined, that is: rising surface and tropospheric temperature anomalies. But global heat content is something entirely different.

      As a rule of thumb, El Niños cause global warming but drain global heat (actually, ‘energy’) content. El Niño: global surface/troposphere temps UP, global internal energy DOWN.

      Why the distinction? Because most of the stored-up (solar) energy of the earth system is to be found at depth in the oceans, that is, AWAY FROM the surface. What an El Niño does is it pulls a significant amount of this energy up from its hiding place in the deep and instead spreads it out across a huge area on the surface, raising its temperature in the process, laying the energy bare, so to say, to be lost from the ocean to the atmosphere (and ultimately to space) through evaporation (deep/moist convection) (and conduction and radiation, albeit to a much lesser degree).

      So, the depths of the ocean – well, basically of the IPWP (the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool) – is drained of energy during an El Niño, it ‘cools’, while the surface in the tropics of the Central and East Pacific (where the NINO3.4 region is located), warms up immensely, the SSTa here shoots up.

      Following this significant tropical Central and East Pacific surface warming, the troposphere above it warms from the vastly increased transfer and freeing of latent heat. The warming of the tropical Pacific also affects the atmospheric circulation over the rest of the tropics through so-called ‘atmospheric bridges’, indirectly inducing a lagged warming also in the Atlantic and Indian ocean basins.

      From the tropics/subtropics, part of the El Niño released ocean heat is then transported (mostly via the atmosphere) out to the extratropics, eventually ending up in the polar regions (well, in reality it mostly ends up in the Arctic, not in the Antarctic, the reason being a profound difference between northern and southern hemisphere extratropical circulation.)

      The massive amount of energy released onto the world during an El Niño event is neither generated by nor absorbed during the event itself. The energy of course originally came from the sun and it was stored up during the La Niña normally preceding the El Niño.

      It’s the La Niñas (and often also during neutral ENSO conditions, much more resembling the cool events than the warm events) that builds ‘global heat content’. They soak up the solar energy and stores it at depth. The El Niños subsequently release it again.

      - – -

      Since 1970 we have seen four ENSO sequences where a strong and solitary El Niño is surrounded by (preceded AND succeeded by) La Niña-events. In each sequence, the storing up of energy during the often extended/prolonged La Niña periods has far outdone the energy depletion during the strong, but mostly short El Niño-events.

      # During the period 1970-76 only one year saw an El Niño (1972/73). The rest of the years, 1970-72 and 1973-76, were mostly La Niña-dominated.

      # During the period 1983-89, two years back-to-back saw El Niño-conditions (1986-88). The years 1983-86 saw either cold neutral or La Niña-conditions and the year 1988/89 saw one of the strongest La Niñas of modern history.

      # During the period 1995-2001 only one year saw an El Niño (1997/98). The rest of the years, 1995-97 and 1998-2001, were mostly La Niña-dominated.

      # During the period 2007-12 only one year saw an El Niño (2009/10). The rest of the years, 2007-09 and 2010-12, were mostly La Niña-dominated.

      The periods in between these sequences of clustered distinct cool and warm ENSO events, 1976-83, 1989-95 and 2001-07, were all neutral to warmish, with much smaller variations from the mean state and prominently without any clear extended cold events, but also with all the warm events being smaller and/or non-solitary, thus more often than not lacking the strength to create a global signal. (The enormous 1982/83 event appears to have been an anomaly (an abnormality?), especially since there had been no real energy-storing La Niña event leading up to it.)

      - – -

      If you have a period with four to five years of La Niña-conditions and only one El Niño year, do you really think that the total OHC (Ocean Heat Content) at the end of such a period would NOT have gone up considerably? Is this a zero sum game?

      Of course not. The oceans are not some passive reservoir where the solar energy just comes and goes as it wants and always in complete balance. No, they are quite dynamic creatures. They have no problem deciding when the absorbed energy is to be held back and when it is to be released, through ITS OWN internal processes. If the climatic conditions (the coupled ocean/atmosphere system) in the Pacific basin are such that they promote net storage of solar energy over several decades, well, then that is what will happen. Quite naturally. That doesn’t mean that these conditions will prevail forever.

      We KNOW that large-scale and fairly abrupt climate shifts occur in the (pan-)Pacific basin at certain intervals. A major one took place in 1976-79, but there were also substantial shifts (although not phase shifts like the first one) in the general regime in 1988/89 and in 1998/99. Strangely (?) these shifts all coincide with global temperatures ratcheting up. And equally strange (?), there has been no additional global warming OUTSIDE of these sudden hikes, from 1970 till today. That means, the ENTIRE modern global warming seen since 1970 is contained within the steps up during the Great Pacific Climate Shift of the late 70s and the two following ones in 1988/89 and 1998/99.

    • Pierre-Normand says, May 8, 2014 at 5:34 am:

      “So long as the leftover warm water causes the SST anomaly to remain above the multi-decadal trend, more heat is lost to space as it is radiated through the atmospheric IR window. This tends to reduce the top of atmosphere imbalance caused be the steadily increasing external forcing. It doesn’t reduce the forcing. So, El Nino episodes (and their aftermaths) merely helps surface temperatures to keep up with the increasing forcing, while La Nina episodes causes them to temporarily lag. This is why La Nina episodes tend not to fully cancel surface warming from previous El Ninos. It’s because the external forcing increased in the meantime.”

      The problem here, Pierre, is that you’re just assuming causation without any observational evidence whatsoever from the real earth system to back up your assertions.

      If one actually does bother to take a look at what the data says, it very soon becomes evident that your assumption of some increased ‘forcing’ from a larger atmospheric content of CO2 creating some ‘background’ warming trend upon which the ENSO events are simply superimposed, is nothing more than some fanciful theoretical dream. There simply is no sign of it.

      Global temperatures do three (3) abrupt and permanent upward shifts relative to the SSTa in the NINO3.4 region (representing the eastern half of the ENSO process) since 1970: one in 1978/79, one in 1988 and one in 1998. And that’s it. Outside of these three distinct global steps, nothing. Global temperatures simply follow in the wake of NINO3.4. No gradual upward divergence.

      The ENTIRE modern global warming is found in these three sudden hikes alone, all occurring within the time-span of less than a year.

      And we know exactly what happened and where things happened in 1978/79, in 1988 and in 1998. Simply because the data shows us.

      It’s plainly there for all to see. If one only bothers …

    • Kristian,
      These supposed El Nino caused “step changes” to the tropospheric temperatures don’t hold up to the actual examination of the record or the physics involved in GH gas induced energy imbalance. More GH gases in the atmosphere allow the ocean to retain more energy (where the majority of the energy is stored). It is not a warmer atmosphere that warms the ocean directly, but allows the ocean to retain more energy over the long-term, hence, it is La Nina conditions that are favored as the oceans warm, not El Nino. If El Nino conditions dominate, the oceans would show longer term decline in heat content and thus, less net energy available to the climate system. It is the net increase in ocean heat content over many decades (and all the related weather and climate effects) that is the surest sign GH gas induced energy imbalance. The ocean is always the dog that wags the atmospheric tail.

    • R. Gates says, May 11, 2014 at 5:19 pm:

      “More GH gases in the atmosphere allow the ocean to retain more energy (where the majority of the energy is stored). It is not a warmer atmosphere that warms the ocean directly, but allows the ocean to retain more energy over the long-term, hence, it is La Nina conditions that are favored as the oceans warm, not El Nino. If El Nino conditions dominate, the oceans would show longer term decline in heat content and thus, less net energy available to the climate system. It is the net increase in ocean heat content over many decades (and all the related weather and climate effects) that is the surest sign GH gas induced energy imbalance. The ocean is always the dog that wags the atmospheric tail.”

      What in the world are you on about here? Take off your ‘radiative’ hat, Gates. It is clearly sitting way too tight.

      You also say: “These supposed El Nino caused “step changes” to the tropospheric temperatures don’t hold up to the actual examination of the record (…)”

      No, that’s exactly what it does. It is precisely through ‘actual examination of the record’ that you see that they are in fact ENSO caused. You just trying to shoo it off doesn’t make reality go away, Gates.

      You claim (elsewhere) that the IPWP has warmed steadily with the gradually increasing ‘forcing’ from more atmospheric CO2 over the last 60+ years. Why don’t we see this at all in the normal OHC data from the specific region? Another case of putting alternative (wanted) reality before real reality?

      That’s pretty much a decline all the way from 1955 down to 1998 and no general rise between 1955 and 2007. All ups and downs coincide neatly with ENSO events, especially since 1970. We see the great upward surge in OHC between 1970 and 1976 with the El Niño 72/73 downward spike not really managing to make up for much. Then we notice how there is no normal La Niña build-up of energy before the very strong El Niño of 82/83 and as a consequence, the general drop in OHC following it. You therefore see the general upsurge between 1983 and 1989, only split by the El Niño 86-88 drain, this period being the exact equivalent sequence of the preceding 1970-76 period, starting from a much lower level, because of ‘abnormal’ El Niño 82/83, and this is why there is no similar upward step here.

      Next is the period 1995-2001 where there is another upward surge, only held back by the prodigious drain of El Niño 97/98. And finally we see the same thing happening 2007-12, during yet another La Niña dominated period.

      The one thing that will be interesting to see is where the IPWP OHC will go next …

      One thing that IS for certain, though, reading that graph, is that there is no trace of any CO2 ‘forcing’ signal to be found. ENSO signal? Oh yeah!

  10. In the above discussion of El Nino/La Nina, the possibility that these phenomena may be forced by volcanic activity on the ocean floor has not been mentioned. The equatorial Pacific contains three regions of subaqueous volcanic activity near the Philippines, the Galapagos and Costa Rica. Like volcanoes on land the activity of these hydrothermal vent fields can be expected to vary randomly over time. Water is trapped on the equator by Kelvin waves which makes this part of the ocean a resonant cavity. That this resonant cavity could be excited by an external forcing due to volcanism is not beyond the realm of possibility. Subaqueous volcanism pumps at least 17 terawatts into the ocean floor globally which is an order of magnitude greater than wind stress and tidal friction combined. Isn’t it about time this was taken into account by oceanographers?
    For further discussion, see:

    http://quadrant.org.au/opinion/doomed-planet/2014/05/ocean-vents-faulty-models/

    • John Reid,

      That is the only logical way I can see an El Nino adding heat to the global climate system a a level commensurate with its effect on surface temperatures. But ten it would not be man caused, so the consensus will never go for it. Or even consider it.

    • The warmists will no doubt say of the ocean vents story, “They are Fawlty models.”

    • ceresco kid

      I wonder if the 97% even spent 10 seconds studying this possibility. It all sounds very interesting and in need of at least trying to falsify the hypothesis.

    • I, too, have wondered whether the arguments about the earth’s “energy budget” for the atmosphere start from any adequate precision about the amounts of energy released upwards from the lithosphere.

      Unless such energy releases are quantified within a sufficiently narrow range to exclude fluctuations due to, e.g., undersea vents and volcanoes, arguing about El Nino, La Nina, and all other surface to atmospheric phenomena may be ‘epi-phenomena’ compared to possible fluctuations in energy releases from the lithosphere.

      For instance, do we have any precise energy budget for the largest volcanic structure ever found on earth, estimated to be the size of New Mexico?

      http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/3841/20130905/underwater-volcano-big-new-mexico-largest-earth-scientits-confirm.htm

      That is under the Pacific Ocean, along with all the other volcanic vents which may or may not be adequately understood??

    • I certainly did not mean to imply above that ‘all’ undersea volcanic vents on earth are under the Pacific, only that there are many there and do we understand precisely the energy releases via ‘all’ of that Pacific sub-set of the earth’s undersea volcanic activity??

    • Heat from the ocean floor is indeed well worth pursuing. This idea is hinted at in my December 2012 AGU poster. In column 4 I wrote “We conjecture that [in effect the AMO] results from seismic events where the inviscid mantle becomes more viscous, due to decreasing temperature above and increasing pressure below. Rotation of the Earth’s core relative to the crust can be expected to generate such events above and/or below the
      mantle. Each such event would temporarily redistribute heat so that the
      bottom of the crust would experience a sudden temperature increase
      followed by a slow return to equilibrium.”

      At question time in my December 2013 AGU talk I (very briefly) developed this idea a little more precisely by describing how variations in the respective angular velocities of the Earth’s mantle and inner core, lubricated by the relatively inviscid outer core, might open up slip zones at the ocean crust at times of greatest acceleration, releasing heat into the ocean. If the inner core (which rotates faster than the mantle) accelerated and decelerated with either a 60-year or 120-year period, this could plausibly account for the AMO. Details yet to be fleshed out.

    • Steven Mosher

      “That this resonant cavity could be excited by an external forcing due to volcanism is not beyond the realm of possibility.”

      monkeys flying out of your butt are not beyond the realm of possibility.

      • David Springer

        Mosher speaks from experience. That’s how new little Moshers come into the world.

    • My point is that subaqueous volcanoes are likely to have a major effect on ocean circulation and hence climate. Such changes in ocean circulation will effect the transfer of heat, water vapour and CO2 between the ocean and atmosphere in a random way. Hence the variability is just as important as the mean. Skiphil, you are right, it does need to be quantified but at the moment the best we can do is observe the statistical distribution of energy for on-land eruptions and assume a similar distribution describes eruptions on the ocean floor. It may not. If anything the ocean floor may be more active; it is littered with thousands of volcanoes both active and extinct and the crust is thinner.

      However the most important point I make is that ocean circulation and climate are stochastic processes and cannot be adequately dealt with by deterministic models. Such models are no more than curve fitting exercises and, as such, will surely fail outside the domain in which the curve was fitted to the data. Furthermore the present observed increase in atmospheric CO2 is just as likely to be the outcome of a random excursion in ocean circulation as to human agency. Next time there is a big eruption in the North Pacific, CO2 may well start to decrease.

    • David Springer

      Loehle and Scafetta 2011 have much more elegant curve fitting than Pratt using just two simple sinusoids and two linear ramps. They do however reach a similar conclusion about the cyclical components matching regular motions of the sun and gas giants. That these subtle gravitational pushes and tugs might translate into the earth’s fluid interior are not too surprising. The global ocean is but a film compared to the body of the planet.

    • David, thanks for that L & S reference. They may well have a point; it is likely that there are many other possible forcings and resonances in addition to undersea volcanoes. My point is that there is good reason to take volcanoes into account and once we do take them into account we are dealing with a stochastic model. Nature is not a machine; there are random fluctuations on every time scale. Just because changes in temperature or CO2 concentration cannot be fully accounted for by a particular deterministic model does not imply that such changes are man-made. We should assume all such variations are natural variations until we can demonstrated otherwise. The idea that anything we cannot immediately explain must be due to human agency is similar to a belief in witchcraft.

    • Steven Mosher | May 10, 2014 at 11:34 pm |

      monkeys flying out of your butt are not beyond the realm of possibility.

      And far more likely to happen than CAGW.*

      *Seriously, it’s more likely that some evil genious has targeted you and something one might describe as a flying monkey will come out of your ass, like something from a Fringe episode, while you read this. Even considering that his more evil and smarter cousin is activily trying to amplify the greenhouse effect and positive feedbacks, with all the resources of Carlos Slim. Of course, maybe genious number two has figured out how to supress warming to lull us into false security.

    • @Kristian: If one actually does bother to take a look at what the data says, it very soon becomes evident that your assumption of some increased ‘forcing’ from a larger atmospheric content of CO2 creating some ‘background’ warming trend upon which the ENSO events are simply superimposed, is nothing more than some fanciful theoretical dream. There simply is no sign of it.

      It seems to me there is a very strong sign of CO2 induced global warming in HadCRUT4 since 1850. Slide 17 of my 2013 AGU Fall Meeting talk in December used Gaussian-based filters to analyze HadCRUT4 as a sum HIGH + MID + LOW of three broadband frequency components. Unlike Loehle and Scafetta (L&S) (see Springer’s reference below) there are no analytic models such as sine waves in this decomposition, which simply separates the temperature signal since 1850 into three spectral components.

      HIGH contains those fluctuations corresponding to the time scale of ENSO (3-7 years) and faster. MID can be seen to be remarkably well modeled by L&S’s 20-year sine wave, both in frequency and phase. LOW looks very much like L&S’s 60-year sine wave plus a temperature that has been rising exponentially since at least as far back as 1900, revisited in slide 27 onwards.

      Meanwhile slides 21-26 compute the expected contribution of rising CO2 to global temperature since 1820, assuming no delay in observed temperature response to an increase in CO2 (an assumption that slide 30 revisits), based on Arrhenius’s logarithmic dependence of temperature on CO2 at a nominal climate sensitivity of 1 °C/doubling of CO2. This analysis is based on CO2 levels obtained from Law Dome ice cores for 1820-1960 (slide 24) and from Mauna Loa for 1960-2013 (slide 23). Slide 28 performs a least-squares fit of expected CO2-induced temperature rise to observed multidecadal temperature (LOW), yielding a climate sensitivity of 1.92 °C/dbl. The residual from that fit is compared to the AMO index in slide 29.

      This analysis reveals a strikingly good match between expected CO2-induced global warming, based on our knowledge of rising CO2, and the exponentially rising component of HadCRUT4.

      Loehle and Scafetta arrive at much the same picture, with the main difference being that they use a piecewise linear model of the exponential rise, consisting of two pieces connected at 1940. The pieces can be described as linear regressions over respectively 1850-1940 and 1940-2010. They call the former a “natural” warming and attribute the latter to CO2 on the assumption that CO2 was constant prior to 1940 and in that year suddenly started rising at 1% per year and will continue to do so until 2100.

      Thus whereas my expectation of the CO2 contribution to global warming is based on the actual observed CO2 level since 1820, L&S’s is based on an assumption of no CO2 growth prior to 1940 followed by a steady 1%/year rise since 1940, which they subsequently extrapolate to 2100.

      A number of objections to the L&S model, e.g. that it hindcasts terribly (not the first time Loehle has been criticized on that ground), are collected in one place at

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/loehle-scafetta-60-year-cycle.htm

      The main objections I would raise are (i) L&S offer no physical basis for what they call “natural warming” and (ii) the Mauno Loa data since 1958 shows that the CAGR of CO2, far from being a constant 1%, is itself doubling every three decades or so — it was around 0.25% in 1960 and 0.5% in 2000. At the present rate the CAGR of CO2 will reach 1% around mid-century.

    • Vaughan Pratt says, May 13, 2014 at 6:08 pm:

      “It seems to me there is a very strong sign of CO2 induced global warming in HadCRUT4 since 1850. Slide 17 of my 2013 AGU Fall Meeting talk in December used Gaussian-based filters to analyze HadCRUT4 as a sum HIGH + MID + LOW of three broadband frequency components. Unlike Loehle and Scafetta (L&S) (see Springer’s reference below) there are no analytic models such as sine waves in this decomposition, which simply separates the temperature signal since 1850 into three spectral components.”

      Vaughan,

      William M. Briggs, ‘Statistician to the Stars!, once stated some very true words that definitely more people calling themselves ‘climate scientists’ should take to heart:

      “If we want to know if there has been a change from the start to the end dates, all we have to do is look! I’m tempted to add a dozen more exclamation points to that sentence, it is that important. We do not have to model what we can see. No statistical test is needed to say whether the data has changed. We can just look.

      I have to stop, lest I become exasperated. We statisticians have pointed out this fact until we have all, one by one, turned blue in the face and passed out, the next statistician in line taking the place of his fallen comrade.

      (…) Again, if you want to claim that the data has gone up, down, did a swirl, or any other damn thing, just look at it!”

      It appears that ‘climate scientists’ have a habit of don’t liking what the original (actual) data from the real earth system is telling them (or, rather, what it’s NOT telling them). So they consistently insist on applying all sorts of inventive statistical methods to the data with the seeming intention of ‘forcing it to confess’.

      But it simply shouldn’t be necessary. We have all the data we need. And it tells its story perfectly well by itself, thank you: No sign anywhere of any distinct ‘CO2 warming’ signal.

      - – -

      First of all, forget about 1850. Two reasons: 1) even the IPCC do not expect to find a ‘CO2 signal’ on the global temperature evolution prior to ~1950, and 2) there is no way in hell we are ever going to agree that the portrayed evolution in global temperatures between 1850 and 1950 is a correct representation of reality; for that the data basis is far to sparse, the averaging methods far too uncertain and the subsequent (and still ongoing!) adjustments are far too great.

      So the only REAL period of interest is the stretch between 1950 and today, well, basically, since there were no general global warming going on between 1950 and 1976, and also none between 2001 and today, the period of interest in effect becomes the one between 1975/76 and 2001/02 – ‘the modern global warming’.

      So let’s have a look.

      How did global warming progress from 1975/76 to 2001/02? Follow the data. No preconceived ideas about mechanisms.

      First of all, there is no question that there is a definite East Pacific signal plastered all over the global temperature series. Compare with NINO3.4:

      In fact, global temperatures tend to lag NINO3.4 SSTa by several months. And everyone knows that this particular correlation also speaks causation. Not just from the consistent and tight lead-lag relation, but from the throroughly explicated oceanic/atmospheric mechanisms by which we know the large-scale and integrated ENSO process creates global warming and cooling. I’m talking here about the major swings up and down that we see all along from 1970 till today.

      So here’s the question: What is it that caused global temperatures to rise between 1975/76 and 2001/02 and NOT NINO3.4? When the correlation (and hence causal link) between the two series is so tight and consistent when it comes to the major ups and downs.

      Don’t jump to conclusions, now. I know you want to shout out in reply: WELL, THE RISE IN ATMOSPHERIC CO2, OF COURSE! But not so fast.

      All we can say for now is that the GLOBAL warming must have occurred OUTSIDE the NINO3.4 region. Question is specifically WHERE? And specifically WHEN? And finally, specifically HOW?

      For this we simply need to consult the data. What does it say?

      First the WHEN. When did global temperatures rise above NINO3.4? Continuously and gradually from start to finish? Nope. Then at what times?

      In three distinct jumps alone. One in 1978/79. One in 1988. And one in 1998. Outside of these three abrupt upward GLOBAL shifts relative to NINO3.4 … NOTHING. Global temps simply follow the lead of NINO3.4.

      So these three sudden steps are what needs to be explained. There is no global warming above the NINO3.4 lead to be found since 1970 except within these three specific instances.

      This is a major find. Why? Because it could potentially lead us to a CAUSE of the global rise in temperatures between 1975/76 and 2001/02.

      What went on in 1978/79, in 1988 and in 1998? What was so special about these three short time segments? Why is the ENTIRE ‘modern global warming’ contained within them?

      To find out, we need to split up the global curve. We need to find out WHERE the warming outside the NINO3.4 region took place. We’ve established the WHEN. We now need to establish the WHERE.

      I won’t bore you with the elaborate, extended, meticulous search process around the world for the WHERE. It’s already been done. It’s right there in the data.

      The 1978/79 warming is different from the next two. The 1978/79 warming is clearly centred in the East Pacific AWAY FROM the tropics. The warming in both 1988 and 1998 is very much centred around two OTHER regions of the global ocean. It very clearly ORIGINATES in the ONE before it’s being strengthened and consolidated in the other. But that’s moving ahead too fast.

      The two regions in question here is: 1) The West Pacific, and 2) The North Atlantic.
      (Refer to the figure above.)

      This is a big subject, so I will stop here for now …

    • Vaughan Pratt

      This method of picking cycles in short lengths of data used both by yourself and by L&S and others is based on a misunderstanding of statistics and stochastic process. It is easy enough to find “cycles”; all we need do is examine the Fourier transform of the data and pick the big components. At issue is whether these cycles persist outside the data interval. If this were true these components should be evident in data from much longer time intervals, i.e. in proxy climate data from tree-rings, lake bed sediments, ice cores and so on. They are not.

      Also at issue is whether climate is a cyclic or a stochastic process. There are very few truly cyclic phenomena in nature, planetary motions and electromagnetic spectra are the exceptions. Cyclic behaviour is largely a property of man-made things – computers, radio transmitters, machines. Even a musical instrument such as a flute produces band limited noise.

      It is possible to test for cyclic behaviour using spectral analysis: stochastic systems have continuous spectra whereas cyclic or deterministic behaviour is manifested as spikes at discrete frequencies. Such spikes can be tested for significance using the usual methods of statistical inference (Null hypothesis, chi-square distributed ordinates).

      There is an excellent paper on all this: “Natural variability of atmospheric temperatures and geomagnetic intensity over a wide range of time scales”, Jon D. Pelletier, PNAS, Feb 2002. Once diurnal and annual effects are accounted for, temperature spectra can be seen to vary smoothly over a frequency range of eight orders of magnitude. Even the much vaunted Milankovitch cycles are barely discernible and only the obliquity cycle is marginally significant (e.g. Huybers and Wunsch, 2005). Pelletier’s paper shows different power laws hold in different frequency ranges as differing physical processes dominate.

      Once we accept that climate is a stochastic process, then the temperature fluctuations of the last 150 years must be assumed to be random noise unless we can demonstrate otherwise statistically. So far no-one has done this. Proxy data shows that global climate has been remarkably stable for the last 11,000 years. The 0.8 deg C temperature change during the 20th century is a random fluctuation. There is nothing unusual about present day climate. Climate modelling is the modern equivalent of examining chicken entrails.

    • @John Reid: At issue is whether these cycles persist outside the data interval. If this were true these components should be evident in data from much longer time intervals, i.e. in proxy climate data from tree-rings, lake bed sediments, ice cores and so on. They are not.

      To support “they are not” you must first show that your proxies bear at least some resemblance to the temperature data for 1850-2010. If they don’t, then it is to be expected that they don’t show these cycles prior to 1850 either.

      To make your argument stick, you need to demonstrate that your proxy for this very reliable 20-year period, which accurately tracks the Sun’s Hale cycle in both frequency and phase, suddenly ceases to do so prior to 1850.

      If you can do this you are guaranteed publication in a respectable journal! It would be astonishing that a reliable proxy for the Hale cycle over a period of 160 years ceases to be so earlier than that.

    • @Kristian: We have all the data we need. And it tells its story perfectly well by itself, thank you: No sign anywhere of any distinct ‘CO2 warming’ signal.

      Hey, I’m completely with you there, Kristian. I looked at the function y = x for x from 0 to 1. I had all the data I needed, and there was no sign anywhere of any increase in y over that range. No problem.

      1) even the IPCC do not expect to find a ‘CO2 signal’ on the global temperature evolution prior to ~1950

      How is knowing which parts of the IPCC report are true and which parts are false any different from knowing that sort of thing about the Holy Bible? Sounds to me like you’re cherry-picking the IPCC report based on secret information that only you are privy to.

      2) there is no way in hell we are ever going to agree that the portrayed evolution in global temperatures between 1850 and 1950 is a correct representation of reality; for that the data basis is far to sparse, the averaging methods far too uncertain and the subsequent (and still ongoing!) adjustments are far too great.

      Odd then that the 20-year period is just as visible before 1950 as after. Given that the data is so uncertain it must be just a huge coincidence.

      I do agree however with your intuition that the temperature since 1950 doesn’t tell us much about global warming. All you need to do to convince me of your position is strengthen your argument that there is no information in the temperature record prior to 1950. So far it has consisted of nothing but unsupported hand-waving.

    • Vaughan Pratt says, May 16, 2014 at 4:07 am:

      “1) even the IPCC do not expect to find a ‘CO2 signal’ on the global temperature evolution prior to ~1950

      How is knowing which parts of the IPCC report are true and which parts are false any different from knowing that sort of thing about the Holy Bible? Sounds to me like you’re cherry-picking the IPCC report based on secret information that only you are privy to.”

      Really not sure what you’re talking about here, Vaughan.

      “2) there is no way in hell we are ever going to agree that the portrayed evolution in global temperatures between 1850 and 1950 is a correct representation of reality; for that the data basis is far to sparse, the averaging methods far too uncertain and the subsequent (and still ongoing!) adjustments are far too great.

      Odd then that the 20-year period is just as visible before 1950 as after. Given that the data is so uncertain it must be just a huge coincidence.”

      I’m not really talking about ‘periods’ that you might find, Vaughan. I’m sorry if I weren’t clear on that. You will most likely still be able to find a frequency signal in the data. No, I rather primarily refer to the posited general global temperature rise from 1850 to 1950. The trend-estimation over a century. How would we know this with any certainty? The data from 1850 to 1940/50 are far from global in extent, the averaging and homogenisation methods are far from certain and the (still ongoing!) after-the-fact adjustments of old data are rife.

      Also, you know of course that the mean solar activity was hugely greater during the cycle 1942-2005 than during the cycle 1878-1941. So why SHOULDN’T the world be a warmer place in 2005 than in 1941? To be frank, I find it actually much stranger to hold the position that it should and could NOT …

      “I do agree however with your intuition that the temperature since 1950 doesn’t tell us much about global warming.”

      Er, it tells us EVERYTHING we need to know about global warming. It’s evidently natural and only natural. Sun + ocean.

    • Reid,
      The shorter cycles are just as important. Yet rarely do we get fine resolution on proxy records.

      So you set up Vaughan with a strawman that I just burned to the ground.

      Where do they find these people?

    • Vaughan, I am not “trying to make my argument stick”; I am suggesting what you need to do in order to make your argument stick; I am more concerned with the assumptions which underlie climate modelling.

      I am not opposed to the concept of there being a Hale cycle signal in climate data. In fact I think it is a really interesting idea but if you wish to establish this, then there are accepted statistical techniques for doing so which would be more convincing than the approach of your poster session.

      One method would be to compute a periodogram spectral estimate of the de-trended temperature time series and test to see if there is a significant peak at the precise frequency of the Hale cycle. Another is to perform a multiple regression of the the temperature sequence on the lagged Hale cycle sequence and test the correlation coefficient for significance. The latter method takes phase into account. Both methods require the prior assumption that the temperature sequence is the outcome of a random process as a null hypothesis.

      Finding significant cyclic behaviour in a data sequence only a couple of cycles in length is a tough call. Looking for the Hale cycle in less precise but much longer proxy temperature data might be simpler.

      BTW a long time ago I did a statistical analysis of the Hale cycle ( J. Geophys. Res. 84, 5289, 1979) and found the Hale cycle to be “more significant” than the 11 year cycle.

      WebHubTelescope, the one year resolution of tree rings and recent ice cores should be good enough. Length is more important than precision.

    • The deniers claim that proxy records do not have resolution and that the local temperature runs are steeper over shorter time intervals than can be discerned.

      So it looks like I caught you in an own goal situation Reid.

  11. As far as I can tell, although it is not stated explicitly, this article is trying to attribute all(?) of the warming to El Ninos(?). Or maybe they are saying that the warming is due to CO2, but only through some indirect and not understood effect it has on El Ninos. They haven’t made a suggestion of how much CO2 contributed. They haven’t even talked about how the energy balance fits in, which perhaps they deny is a factor at all. ENSO has no effect on the long-term energy balance. It has no source of energy of its own. Its effect is to delay or accelerate changes that occur in the mean state. Even during the pause, the warming has proceeded uninterrupted over land and especially over the Arctic. This is consistent with an energy balance driver, and not an ocean driver. Lots of holes here makes this look like hopefulness rather than a theory.

    • Jim D, they seem to be saying that the warming is predominantly attributable to El Nino’s, with any effect of CO2 being swamped by natural variability. Yes, they don’t address issues of energy balance, and I can’t comment on them or alternative mechanisms. But there seems to me to be enough to challenge the emphasis on anthro-CO2 as the pre-dominant warming influence.

    • They haven’t even talked about how the energy balance fits in, which perhaps they deny is a factor at all. ENSO has no effect on the long-term energy balance. It has no source of energy of its own.

      This is sheer nonsense, as anyone familiar with the field knows. (Even Trenberth has admitted it, indirectly.)

      The default assumption ought to be that the “energy balance” is not “a factor at all.” You can’t have an “energy balance” without a clearly defined system, and the only relevant clearly defined system is one bounded at the top of the atmosphere (TOA).

      Changes to albedo produce changes to the fraction of solar SW that makes it into the system (“energy in”). Local changes to albedo are well-documented results of ENSO variation, and any assumption that those local changes “balance out” on a global scale is unwarranted without substantial evidence-based proof.

      This means that the default assumption must be that albedo varies to some extent due to ENSO, which in turn means that ENSO probably (default assumption) has a great “effect on the long-term energy balance.” This in addition, of course, to the effects that ENSO-caused variation in cloudiness at different levels and locations has on outgoing IR.

      Which variation has also been well-documented, and also cannot be assumed to “balance out” at a global scale.

      Thus, ENSO does have a “source of energy of its own.” Solar SW which can vary due to changes in cloudy air conditions driven by ENSO itself (direct “feedback”), as well as other components of the general system that respond, among other things, to ENSO (indirect “feedback”).

    • Pierre-Normand

      AK wrote: “This means that the default assumption must be that albedo varies to some extent due to ENSO, which in turn means that ENSO probably (default assumption) has a great “effect on the long-term energy balance.””

      There is no denying that ENSO has an effect on the energy balance through its effect on cloud cover. But that’s the very epitome of short-term effects. When an El Nino is over, and it gave place to a La Nina, then the effect that the El Nino had had on the cloud cover is completely over. That is unless you imagine that a residual El Nino warming will have a cumulative reinforcing effect from one complete ENSO quasi-cycle (i.e. and El Nino/La Nina alternation) to the next. This would effectively constitute a strongly positive cloud feedback that would be expected to respond all the more strongly to the increasing CO2 forcing and hence would make ENSO a contributor to a very high climate sensitivity.

    • When an El Nino is over, and it gave place to a La Nina, then the effect that the El Nino had had on the cloud cover is completely over.

      You appear to be making the tacit assumption that there’s some sort of “equilibrium” or “standard” state for cloud cover. Not true (or at least, not demonstrated). The effect of an El Niño on cloud cover is reflected (heh!) in the albedo, and therefore the “energy balance”. While it’s going on, the effect is present. The longer it lasts, the longer the effect lasts. The more El Niños in a time period, the greater the fraction of that time period is in that altered state.

      The whole “energy balance” thing is a myth. “Energy in” never equals “energy out”. Trying to define some sort of “average” over time and space wherein they are equal just gets you lost in a semantic fog. Any assumption that they “have to balance” within any specific time period is unwarranted, as indeed the whole “deep ocean ate my global warming” meme demonstrates.

      Fact is, IMO, the whole “energy balance” thing is begging the question. Proponents start with the assumption that increased CO2 is going to create an “unbalance”, then go looking for increased heat (“Global Average Temp increases”, “>700meter Joules”, etc.) resulting from that “unbalance”.

      As has been widely suggested, the “missing heat” may well be on its way to Arcturus.

    • AK, very well put.

    • “Thus, ENSO does have a “source of energy of its own.” Solar SW which can vary due to changes in cloudy air conditions driven by ENSO itself (direct “feedback”), as well as other components of the general system that respond, among other things, to ENSO (indirect “feedback”).”
      ——
      I hope, really hope, that you can see the illogical thought process here. If ENSO was not a zero sum game, then the “feedback” processes would drive the system into some run-away warming or cooling. There is no source of energy.

    • ENSO as it moves heat around the system is a zero sum game. I don’t think this is the same as saying that what it does to the clouds in the ENSO region and in other regions is a zero sum game. I think that when we say it’s a zero sum game, we may be talking very long time periods. Some heat escapes downward from the Pacific warm pool. We aren’t sure when that heat is coming back.

    • In modern record, only one El Nina resulted in a net loss of energy: 1997-1998. OHC went down.

      Otherwise, SAT goes up; OHC goes up.

    • Whoops, El Nino.

    • I hope, really hope, that you can see the illogical thought process here. If ENSO was not a zero sum game, then the “feedback” processes would drive the system into some run-away warming or cooling. There is no source of energy.

      There’s no such thing as “a zero sum game” when it comes to energy in the weather/climate system. The vast majority of the energy is entering and leaving the system via radiation, and the processes we’re discussing just divert and play with a small part of that energy. Remember that the atmosphere is, relatively speaking, just a thin skin over the planet relative to the overall horizontal extent. Most of the net energy entering the system (via solar SW) just turns around and leaves (via LW radiation at TOA) in roughly the same geographic region.

      When you talk about moving “heat around the system” you’re creating a straw man: there’s much more heat moving into and out of the system at any location than is being moved “around the system”.

  12. pokerguy (aka al neipris)

    “As far as I can tell, although it is not stated explicitly, this article is trying to attribute all(?) of the warming to El Ninos(?). ”

    I don’t think we read the same piece.

  13. That experts continue to treat rough observation sets as mechanisms or control levers means that a science of climate is still a long way off. Maybe the game console has a lot to answer for, and budding scientists should be encouraged to go rock fishing or otherwise expose themselves to actual climate.

    There’s obviously something in ENSO, PDO, IOD etc. Walker and Mantua did not labour in vain. Where I live, you really can think about the possibility of more or less rain on your bamboo when certain indicators line up. But mechanisms? In my part of eastern Oz we had better rainfall in the super El Ninos of 1997-8 and even 1982-3 than in the that double Super La Nina of 1916 to 1918. Eastern Australia (and all Australia, for that matter) had its driest known decade, the 1930s, without any BoM defined El Ninos. The horror heat/fire/drought of 1938-39 occurred in a La Nina.

    Back to the old drawing board!

  14. Because of ACO2, modern periods of La Nina dominance warm the oceans rapidly. This means atmospheric temperatures are highly unlikely to go down; even during La Nina dominance. And when an El Nino happens, atmospheric warming is record setting. The energy in the step is not provided by El Nino; it’s provided by ACO2.

    Heads Trenberth win; tails Trenberth wins.

    • Bob, I am speaking about the long-term, 60+ year gain of heat in the IPWP, caused by both the expansion and warming of the pool. You seem to ignore this, perhaps because many studies point to it being related to the external forcing from GH gases and this does sit well with you.

  15. Gordon Cheyne

    Surely los niños y las niñas . . . . . .

    • Gordon, it’s a bit like saying “fora” instead of “forums”. You are correct, but…

      An expression can sometimes grow so anglicised that you keep the words but ditch the grammar of the originating language. Do you order two cappuccinos or two cappuccini?

      Anglicising enables us to refer to an idea rather than a literal boy or girl. Otherwise we’d have to say that were Cuatro Niños in the 1990s, or that 1950 was Una Niña. As for whether you should capitalise or be allowed to put an English article in front of the Spanish article…go figure!

      Nope. Let’s exploit our language’s handy ability to agglomerate and adapt.

    • The ability to agglomerate and adapt of course extends far beyond language, the recognition of which seems to separate optimists from doomists.

    • R. Gates: “This is not the worst of Tisdale’s errors. While I’m sure he is well aware of the long-term gain in energy the IPWP has been undergoing (during both El Niño and La Niña dominant periods) he seems to conveniently ignore this extremely important fact.”

      Thank you, once again, for misrepresenting my work, R. Gates. I began commenting on the heat gain in the tropical Pacific as soon as the NODC OHC data became available through the KNMI Climate Explorer at my request back in 2009. I have presented it and discussed it numerous times since then. Perform a Google image search of “tropical Pacific ocean heat content”, R. Gates. Whose graphs do you see there?

    • Bob, I am speaking about the long-term, 60+ year gain of heat in the IPWP, caused by both the expansion and warming of the pool. You seem to ignore this, perhaps because many studies point to it being related to the external forcing from GH gases and this does sit well with you

  16. Pierre-Normand

    “Actually, the global warming of the 20th century correlates better with Niño indices than it does with CO2 concentration. He has therefore argued that a substantial part (if not all) of the global warming of the past ~120 years can be attributed periods of imbalance in favor of El Niños, rather than the effect of rising CO2 concentration.”

    Actually Tisdale never showed this allegedly much higher correlation as far as I know. It is true, and expected, that any ENSO or PDO related index will correlate very well with the *detrended* temperature record of the last 130 years. It is a fallacy to infer that, since something accounts for the features of the detrended record, then it must also account for the trend. One could also note that, in mid-latitudes, the time of the day correlates strongly with local surface temperature. The correlation may be as good or better than the correlation of the day of the year with surface temperature. It would be quite wrong to infer that the Earth rotation therefore explains the seasonal temperature variations better than, or as well as, does the Earth orbital revolution around the Sun.

    Further, as the methodology in Kosala and Xie 2013 make clear, an index that is tied to surface temperature in some region of the tropical Pacific will reflect *both* the state of ENSO and the effect from global external forcing. It is an error that Tisdale routinely makes to attribute 100% of the surface temperature change that occurs following an El Nino event to the ENSO cycle as if external forcing could never contribute any fraction of the warming at all during those periods.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Where we have some 70% of the variability of temperature correlated to lagged SOI – it is fair to suggest that extended periods of dominance of one state or the other contribute to the trend. That the Pacific state contributes to decadal warming and cooling of the atmosphere is pretty much mainstream freakin’ climate science.

      e.g. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703

      Tisdale used a multiple linear regression using cumulative SOI. One of the problems with that technique is co-linearity. It is pretty much a proxy for the Pacific state.

      With ENSO the cooling doesn’t change – that relies on water that hasn’t seen the light of day for a 1000 years. With warming – presuming that most of the recent warming wasn’t from cool to warm in 1976/1977 and 1997/98 and that most of the rest wasn’t cloud radiative effects takes some freakin;’ doing. That the minor residual has an impact on ENSO distinguishable from natural variation borders on the insanely ludicrous.

      I was in fact willing to be convinced pre 1998. Could we have moved to permanent El Nino since the 1976/77 climate? As ludicrous as that sounds now. The shift back to La Nina – the cooling planet for decades yet – the increased cloud cover – well and truly puts paid to that idea. Does a little warming make any difference to ENSO? Proxies would suggest otherwise. Do El Nino discharge energy in immense quantities? Most certainly.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Loeb2011-Fig1.png.html?sort=3&o=141

      And what you offer is vague hand waving about not being able to distinguish natural variability from anthropogenic – but it might be a factor? Do yourself a favour. Stop embarrassing yourself with such vague and simplistic narratives learned on warmist web sites and faithfully and painfully parroted with faux authority.

    • ” It is an error that Tisdale routinely makes to attribute 100% of the surface temperature change that occurs following an El Nino event to the ENSO cycle as if external forcing could never contribute any fraction of the warming at all during those periods.”
      _____
      This is not the worst of Tisdale’s errors. While I’m sure he is well aware of the long-term gain in energy the IPWP has been undergoing (during both El Niño and La Niña dominant periods) he seems to conveniently ignore this extremely important fact. Both the highest temperatures and the size of the IPWP have been slowly increasing. This fact, combined with other data indicating net energy increases in the climate system are more important that the trivial interesting fact that tropospheric temperatures spike temporarily during El Ninos. No net energy is added to the system, and in fact, a bit more energy is likely lost to space during these events.

    • “Do El Nino discharge energy in immense quantities? Most certainly.”
      ——-
      At least Skippy and Gates occasionally agree on a few basics.

    • Pierre-Normand says: “Actually Tisdale never showed this allegedly much higher correlation as far as I know.”

      If you don’t know, and obviously you don’t, then there is no reason for you to comment. I suggest you study my work before you make claims about what I have or have not presented and discussed.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “If you don’t know, and obviously you don’t, then there is no reason for you to comment. I suggest you study my work before you make claims about what I have or have not presented and discussed.”

      I didn’t read your book but read a couple dozens of your WUWT posts, read many of the comments and most of your responses, and asked a few questions myself. Maybe you somewhere addressed the points I here raised regarding the correlation of CO2 forcing with the underlying signal versus its correlation with the short term noise in the detrended temperature series; but I missed it. So, if you would provide a link that would be appreciated.

    • The issue not discussed by Tisdale is the longer-term, externally forced expansion and warming of the IPWP. Perhaps he’d like to address this.

    • Maybe or maybe not. Pretty unimportant in terms of telling us any thing about longer-term climate change.

    • R.Gates,
      ENSO is key to understanding the physics of long term climate change, since it ties in just about every facet of the climate system. ENSO is involved in radiative balance, the hydrological cycle, coupling between the Ocean and the Atmosphere, Ocean Heat Content, Albedo, Sea Level, Wind, Clouds, the monsoon, the cryosphere, Earth’s rotation, etc

      And you believe a single event is Nothing of importance? Perhaps you mean the impact of a single event is of no importance to a longer term trend? Hope so.
      :/

    • “Perhaps you mean the impact of a single event is of no importance to a longer term trend? Hope so.”
      ——
      Certainly. It is how the system responds after an El Niño that really interests me. How quickly does the energy begin filling back in in the IPWP and does the longer-term increase continue?

  17. And just to add, one must be very careful with running sums. The stationary series must be properly baselined to zero, since the trend of the cumulative sum is greatly influenced by the average of the entire series (due to arbitrary reference period).

    As demonstrated here:

    http://xanonymousblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/bob-tisdales-step-theory/

  18. This was an interesting post, but what seems lost just a bit is the discussion of the IPWP. The energy released during a typical El Niño comes from the IPWP, and the energy is stored there during La Niña and ENSO neutral periods. A bit more energy is stored in the IPWP during La Niña periods versus ENSO neutral. The IPWP is truly one of the weather making engines of the planet as one of the major climate energy storage regions.

    During an El Niño, and during longer periods of more frequent El Ninos, we see that the IPWP discharges more energy to the troposphere, but there is no net energy added to climate system– it is simply moved from one part of the system to another, with the higher latent and sensible heat flux during the El Niño temporarily warming the troposphere. In fact, after the energy has passed as sensible heat through the troposphere, it is very likely that the net energy of the climate system may be slightly less as more is able to leave to space.

    The point here is that any discussion of ENSO behavior without a concurrent discussion of the IPWP is meaningless. Moreover, as one of the primary climate energy reservoirs of the planet, the IPWP has been undergoing a long-term increase in energy for over 60+ years, with it rising a bit faster during La Niña dominated periods, and a bit slower during El Niño dominated periods. The steady long-term gain in energy in the IPWP is one of the three key signatures of the long-term gain of energy in Earth’s climate system with the increasing GH gas levels most likely playing a key role in that long-term gain.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “[...] with the higher latent and sensible heat flux during the El Niño temporarily warming the troposphere. In fact, after the energy has passed as sensible heat through the troposphere, it is very likely that the net energy of the climate system may be slightly less as more is able to leave to space.”

      Isn’t this effect from the negative moist adiabatic lapse rate feedback more than compensated by the enhanced water vapor feedback? The surface also warms though, and its emissivity is much higher than the emissivity of the troposphere. So, much release of heat will occur through the atmospheric IR window. This is, just like the negative feedback mentioned above, part of the Planck response to the surface/troposphere warming.

    • If we look at it from a net energy standpoint, the far greater energy storage of the IPWP more than makes up for what can be stored in the atmosphere in any form. Thus, during the large El Niño of 1997-98, the large amount of energy released by the IPWP fluxed as both sensible and latent heat into the atmosphere. Certainly some of this was converted to other forms of energy that remained in the system, but a greater amount than average was lost to space. The system immediately shifted to a La Niña state during the winter of 1998-99 as the IPWP begin “filling back up” after this massive loss. So if you were to measure the net energy of the system in the spring of 1997 and compare it to say the summer or fall of 1998, you find the system had lost energy during that time. But these short term releases from the IPWP that are known as El Ninos must be seen against the backdrop of a longer-term gain in energy of the IPWP, in which the lows never quite reach back to previous low marks in ocean heat content as the IPWP has been both slowly warming and slowly expanding for 60+ years.

    • “But these short term releases from the IPWP that are known as El Ninos must be seen against the backdrop of a longer-term gain in energy of the IPWP, in which the lows never quite reach back to previous low marks in ocean heat content as the IPWP has been both slowly warming and slowly expanding for 60+ years.”

      Now if this were true, and could be demonstrated, it would be much better evidence of global warming than any GCM.

      But what measurements of the IPWP go back 60+ years with the coverage and accuracy necessary to really determine that. The land surface air temperature records, with much greater coverage, over a long period, with better instrumentation (I assume), frankly, suck. So why should a skeptic, or anyone for that matter, accept that there are measurements sufficient to support that statement?

      If you say GCMs or proxies, I think becomes a much less interesting argument.

    • “Now if this were true, and could be demonstrated, it would be much better evidence of global warming than any GCM.”
      ——
      Many studies have documented the fact of the IPWP both warming and expanding. It makes interesting study, and a good place to start is here:

      http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-011-0121-x

      Or Here:

      http://www.nature.com/srep/2014/140401/srep04552/full/srep04552.html

      The slow warming, expansion, and all related activity of the IPWP deserves a lengthy post all by itself. And again, discussing ENSO without talking about the IPWP is quite short-sighted,

    • R.Gates,

      That article may make interesting study, but it doesn’t hold $39.95 worth of interest for me.

      From the abstract – “Using heat budget analysis of several Ocean data assimilation products…” sounds a lot like sparse data and climate models to me.

    • If you honestly want to understand you can Gary. The probability the IPWP had been showing a long-term expansion and increase in temperature over many decades is quite high as several solidly researched studies have come to the same basic conclusion even though different data sets and approaches were used. Thus merits a post here on CE.

    • R.Gates,

      That’s the same argument Michael Mann makes for his hokey stick. Not a winner with knuckle dragging skeptics like me.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      The ‘normal’ ENSO state involves upwelling at the eastern margin. This sets up feedbacks in wind, cloud and current across the central Pacific pushing warm surface water up Australia and Indonesia in the Western Pacific Warm Pool. At some stage the trade winds falter and the water flows eastward.

      This quite naturally varies over decades to centuries with changes to the ENSO state.

      e.g. https://marine.rutgers.edu/pubs/private/Langton08_KauBay.pdf

      The question still comes back to how much of the recent warming was quite natural – how the minor anthropogenic component can possibly be distinguished from large natural variation – and whether the oceans and the planet are – actually – still warming?

      A subsidiary problem is how they think that breathless narratives about the latest enthusiasm could be greeted with anything other than incredulity.

    • Gary, you might find that gloves with wheels on prove very useful: much less drag.

    • Pierre-Normand

      GaryM, for some interesting explanations about ENSO and the IPWP refer to the recent piece by Rob Painting: http://www.skepticalscience.com/Is-a-Powerful-El-Nino-Brewing-in-the-Pacific-Ocean.html

      He doesn’t refer to the IPWP by that name, but it really is just the “piling up of [warm] water mass in the western Pacific.”

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Cobb et al. (2013) used corals to estimate ENSO variance throughout the Holocene. They concluded:

      “Twentieth-century ENSO variance is significantly higher than average fossil coral ENSO variance but is not unprecedented. Our results suggest that forced changes in ENSO, whether natural or anthropogenic, may be difficult to detect against a background of large internal variability.”

      same ole same ole

    • R.Gates,

      You went from “Many studies have documented the fact of the IPWP both warming and expanding” to “The probability the IPWP had been showing a long-term expansion and increase in temperature over many decades is quite high…”

      From a “documented fact” to a “high probability” in 15 minutes. I see that as progress.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      A big El Nino would be out of character for a cool Pacific mode – a moderate El Nino is par for the course – thinking that they can predict beyond the Austral autumn predictability barrier is delusional thinking.

    • A more interesting thing I’ll be watching should an El Niño actually take place later this year is how low the heat content of the IPWP goes, and how quickly it recharges. This tells us more about the long- term energy accumulation of the system than the temporary spike in tropospheric sensible heat caused by the El Niño.

    • Pierre-Norman,

      I go slumming to Skeptical Science once in a while for a laugh. Not for real research. But I looked at it. I have seen better on Real Climate in the past, and Bob Tisdale’s at WUWT was an easier read.

      But tell me, do I see a divergence problem in their figure 5?

      They write “this shows that the current blob of warm water is comparable in magnitude, at this stage, to the El Niño event of 1997-1998.” And indeed it does, as to the volume (the blue line) of the “warm water blob” (which is so much more poetic than IPWP). But what does that graph say about the trend in temperature (the red line) of this blob?

    • Pierre-Normand

      “But tell me, do I see a divergence problem in their figure 5?”

      This divergence just is the result of a time lag. The volume of the warm pool increases and peaks *before* it is discharged. The Kelvin wave across the tropical Pacific isn’t instantaneous. Notice that the displayed sea surface temperature anomaly is for the Nino 3.4 region. This is East of the warm pool. Look at the earlier discharge episodes (El Nino events) in the graph. The warm pool volume always peaks before the discharge occurs, as it should.

    • Pierre-Normand

      By contrast, on this graph you can see the Eastward progress in the Kelvin wave — the “discharge” — in the Nino 3 region (East of the 155W longitude) in sync with the SST anomaly over the same region.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “…the Eastward progress [of] the Kelvin wave”

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Thus, during the large El Niño of 1997-98, the large amount of energy released by the IPWP fluxed as both sensible and latent heat into the atmosphere. Certainly some of this was converted to other forms of energy that remained in the system, but a greater amount than average was lost to space.”

      Yes, I agree. My point was a minor one but let me rephrase it. When the latent evaporative flux increases as a result of the sea surface warming, then this increases the water vapor content of the troposphere. This produces an enhancement of the greenhouse effect through raising the effective radiation level. A secondary effect is to reduce the moist adiabatic lapse rate and hence to increase the temperature of the effective radiation level. This effect is much smaller then the first one so the net effect still is a warming effect. Finally, this warming effect, though it enhances the (internal) El Nino surface warming that caused it, is smaller than the Plank response. That is the increase radiative flux from the surface through the atmospheric window (very large) together with the small effect from the moist adiabatic lapse rate feedback. It’s the first effect that has the most impact of the surface energy balance and accounts for most of the decrease of the TOA imbalance and hence the enhanced rate of net radiative cooling of the ocean. This third effect also is magnified by the water vapor positive feedback (which allows the surface temperature to increase more), so it partially offsets its effect on the surface energy balance.

    • Pierre-Normand

      I wrote: “Yes, I agree. My point was a minor one but let me rephrase it. When the latent evaporative flux increases as a result of the sea surface warming, then this increases the water vapor content of the troposphere.”

      Though this isn’t entirely accurate since the evaporative material flux (of water vapor molecules) is immediately cancelled by the enhanced precipitation rate. What rather causes the increased water vapor content of the troposphere rather simply is its warming. This of course follows the surface warming.

    • Pierre-Normand,

      I looked for that before posting the comment. And it makes my point. There have indeed been lags between the surge in water and rise in temperatures, but NOT before a large El Nino like 1998. At least no where near the approximate 2 year lag shown in the graph.

      I am not saying the divergence does not say anything about the validity of the graph (There are plenty of arguments about such measurements, but I am ignoring them for present purposes.) But I say it speaks volumes about the claim that that graph shows an impending “powerful El Nino.”

      In fact, I don;t see another divergence in that graph that is either of equal magnitude, or equal length. (What is it with CAGW advocacy and divergences?)

      I am not predicting anything either way. I admit I don’t understand the climate, including being unable to predict El Ninos. But their figure 5 graph does not support their claim.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Rob Painting’s claim is rather modest: “As stated earlier, we only have just over two decades worth of reasonably detailed observations, so it is by no means guaranteed that a powerful El Niño will develop. But, based on what we have observed and our current physical understanding of the phenomenon, the evolution of an intense El Niño event is possible.”

    • Pierre-Normand

      “There have indeed been lags between the surge in water and rise in temperatures, but NOT before a large El Nino like 1998.”

      That’s an interesting observation. Note that it could be argues either way: (1) that the anomalous delay in the release of heat from the charging oscillator will make the discharge all the more powerful or (2) that it will likely fizzle out. Whether (1) or (2) is more likely to occur depends on what other escape route there is for this accumulated heat and how the westerlies will behave. I don’t know enough about that so I am agnostic. Rob Painting’s conclusion also seems quite measured.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Oops: “and how the westerlies(sic) will behave.” the easterlies of course.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Another possibility that just occurred to me is that the displayed divergence isn’t real — or nearly as big as it seems — but mostly a statistical artifact caused by the 5-month running mean. Those smoothings often cause funny things to occur at the end of graphs since noise tends to me magnified there for lack of adjacent averaging data points.

    • R gates,

      what you are asserting seems to be just plain wrong.

      From KNMI climate explorer this is a graph I generated for OHC (NODA) for IPWP

      Sure there has been energy increase since the 1980′s but not “the IPWP has been undergoing a long-term increase in energy for over 60+ years,”

      This fits perfectly with the shift from La Nina-dominant to El Nino-dominant phases.

      Your two references aren’t really helpful. One is only concerned with the Indian Ocean side and the other starts it’s analysis in 1980.

      This is a little dated but shows that rather than some monotonic process that this region of the ocean is dominated by decadal-multidecadal variability which is supported by the KNMI data.

      http://www.crces.org/presentations/dmv_ipwp/.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      The question still comes back to how much of the recent warming was quite natural – how the minor anthropogenic component can possibly be distinguished from large natural variation – and whether the oceans and the planet are – actually – still warming?

      Seems to summarize it pretty well.

      It would appear to me that
      - a significant portion of the observed 20thC warming could well be “quite natural” (lead post)
      - the anthropogenic component cannot be empirically distinguished from large natural variation (only possibly by comparing the late 20thC and early 21stC periods with paleo reconstructions covering periods prior to human GHG emissions), and
      - it is still to early to tell whether or not the oceans are really still warming (HadSST2 shows sea surface cooling while ARGO shows slight warming but more data needed); the globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature (HadCRUT4) as well as the land only surface temperature (CRUTEM4) appear to be cooling slightly.

      What do you think?

      Max

    • Gates, we have no idea what is normal for OHC of the IPWP. What is the trend, what are the values, how does it vary? An increase in the warm pool could just be reversion to the mean. It could just be response to clear skies, it could mostly be error or your imagination….

    • This chart and the accompanying explanation is something that Bob Tisdale and others should discuss.

      http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ONI_change.shtml

      The long-term, 60+ year energy gain in the IPWP is something that is not caused by El Niño, but by an external forcing on the system, and the very likely candidate for that external forcing is increasing GH gases.

    • Some ocean cycles last a thousand years, Gates. This movement of water will move heat around the globe, just like mass movement of any kind. Therefore, there could well be a climate variation due to these longer cycle time causing the decadal variation. This is a plausible explanation that does not involve GHG.

      You guys never have solid proof, you just posit this or that and Viola! – global warming. It’s like the CO2 back radiation/increased surface temperature, lapse rate argument. You cite a few links of a complex, non-linear chain, then claim you have proved catastrophic global warming. But a higher radiative balance boundary in the spherical atmosphere also means that the blob of rising air will cover more area. Any clouds that form will likewise cover a larger area providing a negative feedback which will lower the ground temperature and lower the lapse rate. You warmists offer your speculation why more CO2 will cause catastrophic global warming, but in the final analysis, it’s still just speculation and nothing more.

    • “Some ocean cycles last a thousand years, Gates.”
      _____
      Please point to the solid scientific research related to this. Call me skeptical of this claim for now.

    • “You warmists offer your speculation why more CO2 will cause catastrophic global warming, but in the final analysis, it’s still just speculation and nothing more.”
      _____
      Agreed. Everything that has not happened yet is just speculation with various degrees of probability. It is only speculation that there will be an El Niño later this year. It is only speculation that it will snow somewhere in Vermont next December. It is only speculation that it will rain in Japan sometime during 2015. Each of these has a degree of probability attached to it somewhere less than 100%.

      Regarding AGW and CAGW, each of these have their own distinct probabilities. AGW is probably somewhere higher than 95%. CAGW would seem to be lower (based on current knowledge). The HCV (Human Carbon Volcano is a big and rapid forcing being imposed on the climate system and the only thing similar that we have seen in the geological record that represents such a sudden strong forcing would be a large volcanic eruption or an asteroid strike. We are indeed, as one commenter here has noting, “poking a stick” at a wild beast. Should that poke turn out to be catastrophic for human and other life represents a certain speculation with an unknown probability at present.

    • Rgates said

      ‘It is only speculation that it will rain in Japan sometime during 2015. Each of these has a degree of probability attached to it somewhere less than 100%. ‘

      Would you like to make an evens money bet on that one? You overstate your point.

      AGW remains highly speculative . CAGW even more so, and bearing in mind we are getting predictions of up to 10F warming , with many in the middle range expecting around half of that, CAGW is the only term for it.

      tonyb

    • “AGW remains highly speculative.”
      ______
      The majority of the world’s climate experts would disagree with this. The probability that human activity (i.e. the HCV) is forcing the system to add some net energy is quite high. What remains more speculative is how sensitive the system really is to a doubling or tripling of CO2 from preindustrial levels.

      Regarding C-AGW, it is here that the term “highly speculative” is more appropriate. There are certainly potential mechanisms whereby the current HCV could lead to truly catastrophic results for human and other life on Earth.

    • It’s good to know you are skeptical of at least ONE thing! :)

      From the article:

      It is not static, but a slowly southward flowing current. The route of the deep water flow is through the Atlantic Basin around South Africa and into the Indian Ocean and on past Australia into the Pacific Ocean Basin.

      If the water is sinking in the North Atlantic Ocean then it must rise somewhere else. This upwelling is relatively widespread. However, water samples taken around the world indicate that most of the upwelling takes place in the North Pacific Ocean.

      It is estimated that once the water sinks in the North Atlantic Ocean that it takes 1,000-1,200 years before that deep, salty bottom water rises to the upper levels of the ocean.

      http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jetstream/ocean/circulation.htm

  19. Mr. Donald Rapp

    El Nino and La Nina are in balance. They were for the first time recognized in the end of 19 century. ”Previous” records are ”fabricated” to fit the mythology of ”suggested” / to fit the warmer / colder years, from the ”Skeptic’s” phony past GLOBAL warming charts.

    2] 99% of the volcanoes &hot vents are submarine – tectonic plates are moving same as you: left foot, then right foot = first moves in east pacific and produces El Nino – then moves of west pacific. Indonesia and produces La Nina. Those movements are opening / activate the submarine volcanoes on different places and they warm the water, which warmth the currents spread

    It’s the wrong belief that: in El Nino are warmer years that brings the confusion. The truth: in El Nino years is less moisture in the atmosphere; with ”less” moisture the days are warmer, but the nights are colder = overall it cancel itself. the precursor of the whole evil is because: the fanatic/ shonky authorities are only interested in the hottest minute in 24h and ignore the other 1439 minutes

  20. The author is saying CO2 is not a greenhouse gas?

    • Maybe he thinks that (maybe not) but he certainly doesn’t say that.

      Your free to interpret this post anyway you want but don’t think what you say is the only way to spin this.

      If you want to fit this post into the wider climate debate then it’s probably more accurate to say this supports the idea that the climate sensitivity is at the lower end given that a portion of the century or so surface temperature trend is in part explained by internal processes.

  21. Nice post Donald Rapp. Introducing to some of us running sums. You mention Tisdale who’d I say is spending his time in one of the most important places. Thanks for covering what is probably a key area to the issue.

    The Pacific equatorial region is one of the most interesting. A long stretch of ocean with a high amount of sun power. It has an interesting feedback behavior. It includes part of South Pacific Gyre which meshes with the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and the North Pacific Gyre. And it seems to be on the same page as the global surface temperatures for the most part.

    If we were to ask where on Earth do we find the most sun power combined with the most capacity to store it on longer time scales we’d look here. This region I think has shown it can bring the heat in a short amount of time with an El Nino. As Tisdale has written, it first charges then discharges, with my understanding by using feedbacks. Perhaps it’s one of the largest circulations by area and effect and one of the most reliable. It keeps doing one thing or the other or grabs some middle state. Perhaps with the middle state having negative stability at times which tends to either El Nino or La Nina.

    From the posting: “Trenberth’s view is that the earth is out of balance (acquiring more heat from the Sun than it can reject to space) and this excess heat finds its way into the oceans. When enough heat is stored in the surface waters, it eventually comes out as in the form of an El Niño.”

    I think it is out of balance. It is acquiring heat. But I think it’s this imbalance that causes the El Nino. That the El Nino is the reaction to the imbalance as the Earth tries to throw off heat by first moving it to the atmosphere. From there it can reject it to space through the TOA. I don’t necessarily agree that this is excess heat in all time frames. Prior to the 1900s we relied on this same mechanism to make places like Minnesota temperature. El Nino and La Ninas were here long before we had anything to do with them.

    “They probably can’t go on much for much longer than maybe 20 years, and what happens at the end of these hiatus periods, suddenly there’s a big jump [in temperature] up to a whole new level and you never go back to that previous level again…” – Trenberth says.

    Perhaps it’s that warming happens quickly and cooling happens slowly as shown here:

    What Hansen’s graph shows me is that while we may think we are in a brief time of seemingly no going back, 400,000 years of climate history might tell us it’s not time to panic. Hansen’s temperature graph also looks to me like the Pacific equatorial region with its large spikes of heat followed by a slow return to the next El Nino.

    The Earth’s atmosphere may slowly emit excess heat through the TOA which seems like a good thing if you’re trying to avoid glacial periods. The kind of atmosphere we want is the kind that can take a lot of ocean heat and hold onto it. I’d also mention that the last cool or flat period was from about 1942 to 1977 or 35 years as I try to use the Tsonis syncing years. The average time between syncing is about 29 years. It’s going to be an interesting year, waiting for the magnitude of the possible El Nino.

    • “the simplest solution is that the proxies, like tree rings for temperature, aren’t proxies at all”

      Or they are simply too noisy as they are extended back to be of any real use

      This is the crux of “Hide the Decline” – except the tree rings became too noisy in the modern period for “training”

    • Faustino @ 2.02 am .
      YES.

    • Waiting for El Godot?

  22. Mike Jonas

    So : During the period that we have measured it, ENSO has varied quite noticeably, producing periods of more El Ninos, and periods of more La Ninas. In the 500 years before we started measuring it, the proxies indicate that it was as flat as the proverbial pancake. The point in time when the pattern suddenly changed was the exact point in time that we started measuring it. Colour me sceptical until there’s something more convincing – the simplest solution is that the proxies, like tree rings for temperature, aren’t proxies at all. [Or maybe quantum physics - The process of observing appears to influence what is being observed - applies in climate too. ie, as soon as we start to observe something it changes its behaviour. There's evidence to support that theory too : the ozone hole didn't exist until we started observing it].

    • Which is why tony b/climatereason’s efforts to understand climate variations over 500-600 years, and to direct attention to the longer period, are so important.

      Trees fell long before there were humans to hear them.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Trees fell long before there were humans to hear them.”

      True, but they fell silently.

    • I found myself wondering about that too. But proxy data cannot measure the details the same way a satellite or in-situ buoy can.
      This sentence was interesting:
      “Their results for the 20th century do not agree with results of other studies, so their entire set of results is of uncertain veracity.” (Gergis and Fowler (2008) ).

      I feel that this data should be used with caution, but not thrown out. It certainly should not be combined with current data in one long time series.

      Regarding the Ozone hole, it was measured from satellite first and can’t be seen from the ground. There is a history behind this discovery that says a lot about scientists’ expectations and emotions.

    • Pierre-Normand

      I doubt that the squirrels, wolves, foxes and other animals of the forest thought they “fell silently”.

      Max

    • Who knew Pierre-Normand was a speciesist?

  23. lemiere jacques

    to make it short, if you don’t understand how oceans works , studying climate is preposterous.

  24. @ Donald Rapp

    A very useful and timely post

  25. Fred Colbourne

    I liked the “running sum” approach, which gets around the problems of auto-correlation and the various problems with averages. This approximates integration of the variable and is exactly the opposite of taking first differences.

    For each of the variables displayed, is the running sum trending or stationary and if it’s stationary in first differences. In at least one of the panels, the running sum looks cyclical.

    Stationarity of a climate variable may depend on the time frame.

    The running sum method of transforming of the data might provide a tool for further research that would test for polynomial integration of ENSO variables with climate variables.

    The running sum approach might be interesting for revisiting the ENSO work of McLean, de Freitas and Carter.

    Citations: Beenstock, M., Reingewertz, Y., and Paldor, N.: Polynomial cointegration tests of anthropogenic impact on global warming, Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss., 3, 561-596, doi:10.5194/esdd-3-561-2012, 2012.

    J. D. McLean, C. R. de Freitas and R.. M. Carter. Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres (1984–2012) > Vol 114 Issue D14.

    Also: Correction to “Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature. Vol. 114, Issue D20,

  26. Faustino

    Thanks for your comment. Yes, I like observational evidence and there are two things that stand out loud and clear in the historic record.

    The first is that both the MWP and the LIA (the latter in particular) are badly named. Each period can be characterised as predominantly warm or predominantly cool, but there are numerous intriguing periods in each when the overall characteristic was confounded. For example there are many warm periods in the LIA and indeed summers in particular were often at least as warm as todays. So the notion of a 400 year long deep freeze seems to me incorrect, which would possibly fit in with the notion that one or other oceanic state predominates at one time, but that predominating is a different thing to being constant.

    The other thing is that it seems to me that there are a lot of things that make up climate. For one climate state or the other to predominate (warm, cool or neutral) probably requires a number of things to happen together. These include ocean currents/ocean temperatures, the jet stream, predominant wind directions, polar ice conditions, solar activity, cloudiness etc etc.

    It probably needs ALL factors to come together at the same time to cause notable long term climatic impacts-warm or cool or neutral. This latter state being much overlooked. . If one or other component is missing then the overall effects are likely to be more sporadic and the various warm or cool or neutral climate states will be less dominant.

    I don’t think we know ALLL the factors yet, let alone know how they interrelate. Whether co2 is one of these major factors I doubt, as the record shows we have had periods warmer than today and cooler than today suggesting natural variability remains the key component of the ever changing climate.

    So, I see Co2 as one of the many passengers in the climate coach but perhaps the drivers swap places at times?

    tonyb

    • My first thirty years co-incide with what people regard as a neg PDO. Certainly, it was different to the climate of my parents’ youth (maybe a little like the climate of my grandparents’ youth). The period from the 1950s to the 1970s made Eastern Oz a different place to what it had been for the previous half century. Yet it was also marked by Australia’s longest drought, the imaginatively named Long Drought. It was in 1960 we recorded the southern hemisphere’s record max temp, and 1967 was one of our great horror years for drought, heat and fire. (Meanwhile, Arctic temps decided to take their big dive for the century – but why do we have to talk about that hemisphere all the time?)

      So it is with the longer trends within our trendy, blippy holocene. I’m guessing that it is worth giving a general description of a period as warm or icy but not worth looking for conformity. A climatic period is a like a teenager’s room: you have some idea of the contents, but it’s never tidy.

    • Tony, your rounded and historical perspective seems much more sensible than fixating on one factor and a short time period. Let’s hope it prevails.

    • mosomoso

      So you think we should go for certainty in naming climatic conditions? Perhaps you are right.

      ‘The usually pretty warm Medieval period’ and ‘The periodic little ice age with some notably warm bits’ don’t have quite the same ring as the original definitions do they?

      tonyb

    • Tonyb, I remember how in the 1990s those clear winter days with no doubt high maxima gave way to ferocious night time cold and black frosts by morning. Even within a day, warming can bring cooling – or vice versa, depending on which is chicken and which is egg and which came first.

      I imagine many record high minima and record low maxima have had more to do with cloud cover than with any sort of regional or global warming/cooling. (Don’t tell the numbers men!) The NSW tableland showed some freakishly high winter minima during 1950, due to the freakish rain all through the winter-spring. (It’s common to have clear skies and freezing nights up in the northern NSW high country in winter. But 1950 threw away the rule book generally!)

      If a year or day can bring such contradictions, I’m guessing a century can bring lots. But I’m happy with MWP and LIA. Most people can cop a bit of mystery and inconsistency, even if they’re climate experts. The fewer initials the better. Look at the trouble we’re in just for appending a C to AGW so the subject is worth talking about.

    • davidindavis

      Tonyb:
      mosomoso’s comments about the southern hemisphere and the other one always talked about suggest the possibility of a northern/southern hemispheric oscillation (NSHO? SNHO?) to add to all the other climate oscillations. The current global sea ice disparity suggests this possibility as well. Is there any support for this in SST, land, ice core or paleo data?

    • tony b

      Nothing wrong in my mind with “MWP” or “LIA” as designations, any more than “modern warm period”, even if there are exceptional, atypical time “blips” or localized discrepancies within each of these periods.

      But your work is extremely important for us to get a better understanding of past periods of generally warmer or colder climate than today, which preceded any human GHG emissions, thus were naturally caused.

      The modern computer gurus do not like history, because it messes up their neat, oversimplified hypotheses on what makes our climate do what it does. IPCC, for example, wants us to believe that over 90% of the climate forcing since 1750 (an arbitrarily picked starting point) has come as a result of anthropogenic forcing.

      If one looks back at the history of our planet (even the relatively short “blip” since human history began), we see that such a computer-based assumption is ludicrous.

      So keep up the good work of shedding real light on the story – light brings truth.

      Max

  27. Spartacusisfree

    There is no significant CO2-AGW.

    The dominance of El Ninos in the 20th Century was because we had a 9,600 year solar grand maximum and this gave high SW heating of the oceans.

    Now we have a weakening Sun, Lan Ninas wll dominate as the ocean cools.

    • … in which case Kirk Douglas might need warmer clothing than in the 1960 film.

    • Spartacusisfree

      We all have our cross to bear……..

      Mine is dealing with the fake fizzicks used by the Climate Alchemists to create the imaginary ‘back radiation’, the imaginary ‘positive feedback’ and the imaginary 33 K GHE when it’s really a third this…..

    • Spartacusisfree | May 8, 2014 at 4:20 said: ”Mine is dealing with the fake fizzicks used by the Climate Alchemists to create the imaginary ‘back radiation”

      Spartacus, have look at this post: ’http://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/global-warming-or-climate-change/

  28. Which comes first, the La Nina or the cooling?
    The El Nino or the warming?
    The answer is that these patterns do not cause the temperature rises and drops, they are part of the rises and drops.
    Could everyone stop ascribing causation to weather patterns and try association instead?
    The earth is, sigh, heated by the sun. Like a roast on a spit. Round it goes and the skin crackles and pops. Occasionally as it comes round a residue bubble in the skin will pop. Some layers have bone underneath, others deeper fat, think land and water. The temperature will not be quite the same each time. Occasionally one area will overheat for a few rotations.
    Because of Coriolis forces and ensuing currents conditions are slightly different each time round.The earth over millenia varies slightly on the spit. The skin moves round, the heat source is turned up or down minutely a 0.1 of a degree.
    Patterns of heating repeat in cycles [PDO] and overall The La Nina’s and El Nino’s even out. Any attempt to predict past ENSO conditions on tree rings currently is unfortunately reading entrails, pure guesswork.

  29. Thanks, Judith and Donald Rapp, for bringing this discussion here to Climate, etc.

    An important topic overlooked in the post is the source of warm water for an El Niño. Trenberth, who is mentioned in the post, has commented on it a number of times. It was mentioned in Trenberth et al. (2002):

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/papers/2000JD000298.pdf

    There, they write:
    “The negative feedback between SST and surface fluxes can be interpreted as showing the importance of the discharge of heat during El Niño events and of the recharge of heat during La Niña events. Relatively clear skies in the central and eastern tropical Pacific allow solar radiation to enter the ocean, apparently offsetting the below normal SSTs, but the heat is carried away by Ekman drift, ocean currents, and adjustments through ocean Rossby and Kelvin waves, and the heat is stored in the western Pacific tropics. This is not simply a rearrangement of the ocean heat, but also a restoration of heat in the ocean.”

    And there’s Trenberth and Fasullo (2011):

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/staff/trenbert/trenberth.papers/ISSI_fulltext.pdf

    They write:
    “Typically prior to an El Niño, in La Niña conditions, the cold sea waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific create high atmospheric pressure and clear skies, with plentiful sunshine heating the ocean waters. The ocean currents redistribute the ocean heat which builds up in the tropical western Pacific Warm Pool until an El Niño provides relief (Trenberth et al. 2002).”

    Thus my repeated characterization of ENSO as a chaotic, sunlight-fueled, coupled ocean-atmosphere, recharge-discharge oscillator, with El Niño acting as the discharge mode and La Niña acting as the recharge and redistribution modes.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      No particular problem – but the decadal and longer changes in frequency and intensity need an external agent.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Bob Tisdale wrote: “An important topic overlooked in the post is the source of warm water for an El Niño. Trenberth, who is mentioned in the post, has commented on it a number of times.”

      Thanks for those links. I quite agree with your characterization of ENSO. This provides more material for study.

    • Pierre-Normand, there are a few more related papers link to the post here:

      http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/untruths-falsehoods-fabrications-misrepresentations/

      Regards

    • Pierre-Normand

      Thanks, much appreciated.

    • “An important topic overlooked in the post is the source of warm water for an El Niño”
      Pierre it’s the sun, see my post above and Stephen Wilde below

    • Pierre-Normand

      Angech, solar activity didn’t increase since about 1960. It rather declined somewhat, while CO2 forcing increased a whole lot.

      • David Springer

        No it didn’t increase it remained elevated at the highest level of activity in centuries and came to be called “The Modern Maximum”. Write that down, stupid.

    • Pierre, we don’t know what the lag time is for solar. And it is only recently that the UV component of TSI was found to fluctuate considerably more than they thought it did.

      “In years of low UV activity unusually cold air forms over the tropics in the stratosphere, about 50km up. This is balanced by more easterly flow of air over the mid latitudes – a pattern which then ‘burrows’ its way down to the surface, bringing easterly winds and cold winters to northern Europe.

      When solar UV output is higher than usual, the opposite occurs and there are strong westerlies which bring warm air and hence milder winters to Europe.”

      http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/newssummary/news_10-10-2011-10-51-13?newsid=102866

    • Pierre, not to say that anyone can claim to have measured solar input with any
      great reliability. It has solar flares, sunspots and must vary up and down more than it is given credit for. It may be that it is the only real game in town.

    • Pierre-Normand

      The second half of the 20thC saw a more active sun than the first half, based on Peak Wolf Number for each solar cycle. The high level of 20thC solar activity has been referred to as a “Grand Solar Maximum” (highest level of activity for thousands of years)

      SC – WN – From – To
      14 – 64 – 1902 – 1914
      15 – 105 – 1914 – 1925
      16 – 80 – 1925 – 1935
      17 – 115 – 1935 – 1945
      18 – 152 – 1945 – 1955
      ——————————-
      19 – 190 – 1955 – 1965
      20 – 108 – 1965 – 1975
      21 – 158 – 1975 – 1986
      22 – 160 – 1986 – 1996
      23 – 120 – 1996 – 2008
      ——————————-

      As can be seen from the above figures, the trend over the entire 20thC was one of increased solar activity. This has now slowed down, beginning with SC 23, but really with SC 24, which is expected to peak at around 60.

      Just to set the record straight.

      Max

  30. Changes in the balance between La Ninas and El Ninos appear to be a result of solar induced changes in global cloudiness which affects the amount of solar energy able to enter the oceans.

    http://www.newclimatemodel.com/new-climate-model/

    “The New Climate Model (NCM)

    1) Solar activity increases, reducing ozone amounts above the tropopause especially above the poles.

    2) The stratosphere cools. The number of chemical reactions in the upper atmosphere increases due to the increased solar effects with faster destruction of ozone.

    3) The tropopause rises, especially above the poles altering the equator to pole height gradient.

    4) The polar high pressure cells shrink and weaken accompanied by increasingly positive Arctic and Antarctic Oscillations.

    5) The air circulation systems in both hemispheres move poleward and the ITCZ moves further north of the equator as the speed of the hydrological cycle increases due to the cooler stratosphere increasing the temperature differential between stratosphere and surface.

    6) The main cloud bands move more poleward to regions where solar insolation is less intense and total global albedo declines via a reduction in global cloud cover due to shorter lines of air mass mixing.

    7) More solar energy reaches the surface and in particular the oceans as the subtropical high pressure cells expand.

    8) Less rain falls on ocean surfaces allowing them to warm more.

    9) Solar energy input to the oceans increases but not all is returned to the air. A portion enters the thermohaline circulation to embark on a journey of 1000 to 1500 years. A pulse of slightly warmer water has entered the ocean circulation.

    10) The strength of warming El Nino events increases relative to cooling La Nina events and the atmosphere warms.

    11) Solar activity passes its peak and starts to decline.

    12) Ozone levels start to recover. The stratosphere warms.

    13) The tropopause falls, especially above the poles altering the equator to pole height gradient.

    14) The polar high pressure cells expand and intensify producing increasingly negative Arctic and Antarctic Oscillations.

    15) The air circulation systems in both hemispheres move back equatorward and the ITCZ moves nearer the equator as the speed of the hydrological cycle decreases due to the warming stratosphere reducing the temperature differential between stratosphere and surface.

    16) The main cloud bands move more equatorward to regions where insolation is more intense and total global albedo increases once more due to longer lines of air mass mixing.

    17) Less solar energy reaches the surface and in particular the oceans as the subtropical high pressure cells contract.

    18) More rain falls on ocean surfaces further cooling them.

    19) Solar energy input to the oceans decreases

    20) The strength of warming El Nino events decreases relative to cooling La Nina events and the atmosphere cools.

    21) It should be borne in mind that internal ocean oscillations substantially modulate the solar induced effects by inducing a similar atmospheric response but from the bottom up (and primarily from the equator) sometimes offsetting and sometimes compounding the top down (and primarily from the poles) solar effects but over multi-decadal periods of time the solar influence becomes clear enough in the historical records. The entire history of climate change is simply a record of the constant interplay between the top down solar and bottom up oceanic influences with any contribution from our emissions being indistinguishable from zero.

    We saw the climate zones shift latitudinally as much as 1000 miles in certain regions between the Mediaeval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. It would surprise me if our emissions have shifted them by as much as a mile.”

    • Stephen Wilde

      The model you presented appears to be validated by observed empirical data at least over the period 1980 to today (Pallé et al.).

      During the period of large El Niños (1980s/1990s), cloud cover decreased, allowing more SW radiation to enter our climate system – and global average temperature increased

      Since around 2000 this trend reversed itself (partially), with more La Niñas, and cloud cover increased, blocking more SW radiation from entering our climate system – and global average temperature decreased slightly.

      Could this be the mechanism by which ENSO increases or decreases incoming energy to our system, thereby adding or subtracting from the overall energy budget?

      Max

  31. Bernd Palmer

    Thumbs up for Bob Tisdale who has brought a lot of light into this occulted chapter of climate science over the past couple of years.

    • I concur with Beth and Bernd. This is a good discussion on El Nino. And it shows that there are more questions than answers at this point. But it is heartening that at least some in climate science are looking at the phenomenon. While the reason for the rise and falls of El Ninos and La Ninas is not yet known, their effect on over all climate is starting to be studied and documented. And their relationship with the rollercoaster of temperature shows a much stronger correlation than CO2 levels. While correlation does not mean causation, it is a good place to at least investigate for causation.

    • Bob Tisdale… ENSO a ‘sunlight fueled
      re-charge -discharge oscillation.’
      And what is it Kim says about clouds?
      ‘I think I’ve never heard so loud
      the quiet message in a cloud?’
      … Kinda’ like opening and closing
      the venetian blinds.

  32. Looking at fig 5, both Nino3 index & Global Temps have sharp peaks with rapid descents until the latest ‘hiatus’. Are they both behaving differently due to an underlying 3rd cause?

  33. Richard Hill

    A couple of commenters have mentioned possible linkage to tectonic/volcanic activity in the Indonesian island arc which would affect warm water flow from Indian Ocean to Pacific affecting the El Nino. Also it would be good to know if variation in the Humboldt current can influence the westerly outfow of cold water from S. America. The Humboldt current starts near the Drake Passage. Active volcanos in the Drake passage might affect the flow of the Humboldt. Are there measurement series for flow of an ocean currents such as the drift through Indonesia and/or the Humboldt?

  34. Nice own goal by the deniers.
    ENSO is an oscillation and has a property of reversion to the mean, therefore it has a zero-sum property with respect to global warming.

    Look at SOI if you want to see the clear oscillation dipole.

    • Web404, if ENSO is a zero sum game (not proven of course) over what time frame is ENSO a zero sum game?

      1,000 years? 130,000 years? 100 years.

    • Bernd Palmer

      The mechanisms and forcings for cooling and warming are different. No zero-sum game. Go read Bob Tisdale again!

    • The power of denial is strong, even for something as straightforward as a quasiperiodic oscillation with a reversion to a mean value of zero.

      Look at the running sum plots that Rapp displayed. Three of the five sum to very close to zero. And the ones that don’t may not have been properly detrended for the global warming signal that always exists for temperature.

      That is why one uses the SOI, as that removes the AGW trend. And of course that has a mean of zero as well.

      Hilarious that the deniers can not admit to scoring own goals — they essentially explain the pause and don’t even realize it.

    • Web404, the trend is lower after 1945. Which means the “AGW Trend” is negative.

    • sunshinehours1

      Webby will answer your question as soon as he asks his handy dandy magic 8-ball “CSALT” model.

      (My guess is that that question will blow the fuse on Webby’s 8-ball.)

      Max

    • CO2 shows a log sensitivity. Therefore historically early increases in CO2 have a significant impact of warming.

    • Webby

      CO2 shows a log sensitivity. Therefore historically early increases in CO2 have a significant impact of warming.

      No doubt, Webby.

      But the early 20thC warming cycle and statistically indistinguishable late 20thC warming cycle had significantly different CO2 forcing, while the mid-century cooling cycle was closer to the late 20thC cycle in CO2 impact.

      CO2 ppmv
      1910: 299
      1944: 311
      1975: 330
      2001: 370
      2013: 395

      2xCO2 forcing = 3.71 Wm-2

      Forcing over multi-decadal cycles:

      1910-1944 (warming) = 3.71 * ln (311 / 299) / ln (2) =0.21 Wm-2
      1944-1975 (cooling) = 3.71 * ln (330 / 311) / ln (2) = 0.32 Wm-2 (~50% higher than previous period, yet it cooled instead of warming)
      1975-2001 (warming) = 3.71 * ln (370 / 330) / ln (2) = 0.61 Wm-2 (~3X as high as early warming period, yet warming was indistinguishable)
      2001-2013 (cooling) = 3.71 * ln (395 / 370) / ln (2) = 0.35 Wm-2 (~same as early 20thC cooling period)

      So it looks like your hypothesis sucks, when the actual forcing is calculated. There is no robust observed statistical correlation between temperature and CO2, Webby. That’s the problem here.

      And, as you know, where there is no robust statistical correlation, the case for causation is very weak (if not non-existent).

      Max

    • Typo

      while the mid-century cooling cycle was closer to the late 20thC cycle early 21stC pause in CO2 impact.

    • I wouldn’t say it sucks.

      http://woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1950/mean:12/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1950/mean:12/plot/esrl-co2/from:1950/scale:0.01/offset:-3.3

      I’d say it works pretty good for the last 60 years taken as a whole.

    • Jim D

      It only works if you “iron out” the multi-decadal cycles.

      Because of these repetitive cycles, the correlation is statistically a random walk, rather than a robust statistical correlation between CO2 and temperature.

      There are undoubtedly many superimposed factors (ENSO, PDO, etc., plus GHGs, incl. CO2, plus solar activity, not only solar irradiance, etc.), all of which have played a role in past warming and cooling cycles of both multi-decadal and multi-centennial amplitude.

      Unfortunately, we do not fully understand all of these or the mechanisms that could be involved in causing them.

      That’s why I find this post so interesting: it opens the door to another (complementary rather than competitive) view of what makes our climate behave as it does.

      Max

    • manacker, it is not really complementary. They say El Nino only works as a warmer when CO2 is rising. The Occam’s Razor principle would shortcut the El Nino stuff and go straight to CO2.

    • JD, I would say it sucks in the way that deniers don’t know how to deal with it.
      The temperature rise in the following chart is due to CO2 and the fit is equally good pre-1950 as post-1950, essentially due to the atmospheric physics obeying the log sensitivity of CO2:

    • Jim D

      They say El Nino only works as a warmer when CO2 is rising.

      “They?”

      Whodat?

      Do “they” have any records of El Nino warming before CO2 was rising?

      Or do “they” claim there was never any El Nino warming before CO2 started rising?

      Please be specific in your response.

      Thanks.

      Max

    • Webby

      Your handy dandy CSALT magic 8-ball model seems to work well in hindcasting (just like my magic crystal-ball election hindcaster has picked every US presidential election correctly since 1802).

      But how good is it at forecasting?

      Draw me the temperature curve it “predicts” for the next 3 decades, Webby, so we can give it a real test.

      Max

    • manacker, yes, this is in the main article. “Coincidental with the period when CO2 started rising rapidly, did nature decide to have two periods of strong El Niños that increased the earth’s average temperature? Or did the occurrence of strong El Niños require some sort of CO2 trigger?”
      As with everything else they only phrase it as a question, but it is the only idea they put forwards to explain this, and they go over this again in other parts of their article too. I think they are seeing the light here, don’t you?

    • Maxine,
      The forecast is 3C ECS (for land) and 2C TCR (for global transient). Chew on that.

  35. Ulric Lyons

    El Nino gives a short term effect (TCR) of raising the surface temperature. but has a longer term effect (ECR) of lowering potential surface temperature as it depletes the upper ocean content.
    La Nina has precisely the opposite effect, it causes short term surface cooling, and increases upper OHC, giving the potential for higher surface temperatures during the following neutral or Nino ENSO phases.
    I don’t though see much point in translating ENSO phase frequency directly to global mean temperature warming and cooling periods without consideration of AMO phase changes.

    ENSO seems to be acting as negative feedback (with a large overshoot) to the shorter term solar signal. Such that El Nino episodes occur at times of declining solar plasma velocity, and La Nina episodes occur at times of higher solar plasma velocity:

    I am having trouble in believing that:
    “From 1866 to 1900, La Niñas were more prevalent and stronger than El Niños.”
    Given the generally lower solar cycles 12-14, there was a higher incidence of negative AO/NAO states, which is associated with slower trade winds and hence more El Nino episodes:

    https://sites.google.com/site/medievalwarmperiod/Home/historic-el-nino-events

    “From 1976 to 1998, El Niños strongly dominated over La Niñas.”

    That’s from Nino to Nino, going two years later from 1976 to 2000, there is barely any difference in total number of months:

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ensoyears.shtml

    Intensity of the events matters too, not just the duration, and I’m sure all the neutral periods where it is close to a Nino/Nina will all add up too.

  36. I find this kind of post here very puzzling. It presents a coherent alternate picture to the standard AGW framework. I’ve seen similar presentations by Bob Tisdale often. But where are the cross-comments? Not one of the commenters that I would expect to be attacking this has said a word. Steve Mosher, David Appell, Pekka, even Judith Curry. [I'm not expecting Trenberth to show up here, but that would be neat.] (Could be the post hasn’t been up for long enough.) How is a beginner supposed to tell if this is a coherent reformulation of the whole picture, or just a mistake with nice graphs? What is the standard AGW response to this presentation?

    • nottawa rafter

      I noticed an unusual level of civility myself. It was as if the usual suspects were trying to wrap their arms around all the factors at play. For some who won’t show up, it may be that they think making any supportive statement being a sign of holes in the ship.

    • I guess I should explain, that I think I already recall that Steve Mosher, for instance, is very dismissive of Tisdale’s claims. I’m just not expert enough to understand the issues. This would be a good time for people to clarify. This stuff sounds awesome, but so what? Wrong can still sound awesome.

    • Ah – the gang’s all here now. Good!

    • David Springer

      Mosher is dismissive of anything that his lord and master Richard Muller has not told him to accept.

    • Steven Mosher

      “Not one of the commenters that I would expect to be attacking this has said a word. Steve Mosher,”

      read harder.

      The standard response would be the one given many times.
      Internal variation ( or unforced variability) cancels out over
      long time scales. You cant create excess energy ex nihilo.

      There are two basic responses to this.
      A) Curry has argued that changes in cloud cover might create imbalances.
      its unclear how large and how persistent these imbalances would
      be. unicorns defense.
      B) “balancing” hasnt been demonstrated.

      My addition to the standard response is that the attempt to explain the warming by pointing at El Nino is circular. There is no counter argument
      to this, because, well, its true. In other words explaining the warming by pointing to a pattern of warming explains nothing. It confuses how and why.

    • Steven Mosher

      “Mosher is dismissive of anything that his lord and master Richard Muller has not told him to accept.”

      I can see you have never been to our weekly science meeting.
      Then again, since you don’t know what you are talking about you
      can see why we wouldn’t invite you.

      here is the team.

      http://berkeleyearth.org/team

      you can see why you would not add anything

      In terms of opinions on the climate. here is the person I would say I agree with the most

      http://berkeleyearth.org/team/jonathan-wurtele

      here is the person who I have worked with most closely

      http://berkeleyearth.org/team/arthur-rosenfeld

      I asked these guys if they knew about your work.
      none played video games so the answer was no.

      • David Springer

        I was in laptop R&D at Dell, Mosher. We didn’t write video games. I was a BIOS programmer specifically. If you or any of the academic imbeciles you worship ever used a Dell laptop then you’ve had my work in front of you. LOL

      • David Springer

        I see you’re listed as a scientist, Mosher, but your education ends with a four year degree in English and Philosophy. Curious. How much are you paid for your work as a “scientist” with BEST? I think the answer to that will illuminate the value of your work in that capacity.

    • steven mosher

      Your logic is good: pointing to a warming factor to explain warming does not provide an argument for its root cause or mechanism.

      Occasionally we have to admit that we just do not know everything there is to know about what makes our climate behave the way it does.

      This is not invoking “unicorns”, Mosh – it is simply admitting “we do not know”.

      To claim we know all there is to know is not only ignorant, it would be arrogant.

      We think we know how CO2 theoretically impacts our climate, but Tisdale’s explanation makes about as much sense to me as the IPCC explanation implicating human GHGs as the principal drivers of climate.

      There is probably a bit of both going on in the real world, but the two impacts are impossible to separate today based on actual physical observations.

      Tisdale simply points out that ENSO gives a more robust correlation with the global temperature record than CO2 (a point that is apparent from the physical observations).

      Max

    • Matthew R Marler

      Mosher: Internal variation ( or unforced variability) cancels out over
      long time scales.

      Where in the literature on high dimensional nonlinear dissipative systems do you find that supported? Over what time span does the internal variation of ENSO cancel out, and where do you find that supported?

    • By what new laws of physics would the change of energy from one from to another and movement from ocean to atmosphere create new energy? It does not, but remains a fake-skeptics pipe dream to think that it could.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      The mechanisms are very simple – energy flux from a warm ocean in warm IPO modes and less so from a cold ocean during cool IPO modes. As well as evident changes in cloud cover. Simple physics of the 2nd law type – combined with cloud correlation.

      e.g. http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Clementetal2009.png.html?sort=3&o=149

      This is actual science and not just pissing around with obsolete surface temperature data and imagining it’s significant.

    • By what new laws of physics would the change of energy from one from to another and movement from ocean to atmosphere create new energy? It does not, but remains a fake-skeptics pipe dream to think that it could.

      Typical straw-man argument. Nobody’s talking about “creat[ing] new energy”. Huge amounts of energy flow into and out of each part of the system every second. What’s being talked about is small changes to the amount of that flow.

    • Steven Mosher | May 9, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
      Internal variation ( or unforced variability) cancels out over long time scales.

      ENSO is a timing difference. Heat is stored in the Pacific warm pool for later use. ENSO seems to be one of the better understood timing differences and one of the most important. It has complexity and variability. If the metric most commonly used is the Global Surface Temperature, the Pacific warm pool messes up the timing of that. Under the cash method of accounting, we’d only count the heat of the Global Surface Temperature. Using the better more detailed and more expensive accrual method of accounting, we would count the future heat sitting in the Pacific warm pool. We would make a judgement about how likely we are to collect on that and more importantly when? We know that all timing differences eventually cancel themselves out, but some of them are in the deep oceans. Hard to find and harder to know when they’ll end up in the Global Surface Temperature. Such uncertainty gives us caution. We don’t like to count assets we don’t know when we would actually be able to get our hands on them. We don’t like to say we had heat income related to the Global Surface Temperature if we think we may not be able to see the heat pretty soon. The reason we don’t like doing such things is we are conservative. If we say there are assets and income, they better be there when we said they would be there. None of this is to say that ENSO doesn’t make significant changes to the Earth’s cloud cover or humidity levels. I am wondering if ENSO’s timing differences do effect cloud cover and humidity levels? Man uses timing differences. Many tax breaks accelerate or defer. Bonus depreciation and 401(k) plans are two examples. I wonder how we learned to do that?

    • R. Gates

      By what new laws of physics would the change of energy from one from to another and movement from ocean to atmosphere create new energy? It does not, but remains a fake-skeptics pipe dream to think that it could.

      Do this experiment, Gates.

      Go outside on a day with scattered clouds.

      Look up at the sun and feel its warmth on your face (be sure to wear your sunglasses).

      Wait until a cloud comes between you and the sun.

      Note the cooling off on your face.

      [Repeat as many times as necessary to get the picture.]

      Try to figure out why your face felt less warmth when the cloud covered the sun.

      Being a man of science, you will come to the conclusion that the clouds blocked incoming solar radiation from reaching the surface of our planet, by reflecting this incoming energy back out into space, where it is lost forever to our climate system.

      Now imagine cyclical ENSO activity, whereby the amount of cloud cover is increased in one phase and decreased in another for cyclical periods lasting several decades. In the case of PDO and other longer amplitude cycles it might even be centuries.

      You will conclude that the ENSO activity resulted in more (or less) energy entering the climate system, IOW it was a “forcing” of the climate. It did not “create energy” (only the sun can do that to our climate system), but it changed the amount of energy entering our climate system.

      Max

    • MaxieBaby,
      Remember how often clouds tend to come in during the evening and stay around all night — only to be broken up by the morning sun?

      Those clouds at night act as thermal blankets.

      Remember?

    • And yet it warms – and cools…

      Cloud albido during daylight
      blocks ol’ sol’s energy reaching earth.*
      Serfs have found this cloudiness ter have
      averse effects on ripening crops ‘n so forth.
      Whereas cloudiness at night, serfs find has
      reverse effects, no frost, clouds blanketing
      the earth, slowing energy out ter space,
      ‘slowing’ I said, but in the end … it goes.

      * And then there’s equatorial effects
      of clouds, cumulous mid-day towers
      of convection, if that’s what yer call it,
      serfs are foggy concerning the science,
      but serfs who live at the equator are aware
      that in the afternoon down will come
      the cooling rain.

    • Webby

      Sho’nuff.

      Those clouds that do stick around at nighttime do act as a “blanket”.

      BUT the amount of incoming solar energy that they reflect back out to space during the day (around one-fourth of incoming) is several times higher than the amount of outgoing LW energy that clouds absorb and re-radiate at night.

      And the energy, which they reflect out into space is gone forever – bye-bye.

      And this is important, because the only energy that enters our climate system comes from the sun (not from the “blanket”)

      That’s why more cloud cover results in less warming and a slightly cooler planet.

      Which was my point all along, Webby.

      Max

      PS Check Pallé et al. for how changes in cloud cover impact climate on a multi-decadal basis.

  37. Ian Wilson

    Donald Rapp only seems to be aware of the loudest voices on this topic. I found the link between El Nino/La Nina relative frequency and changes in world mean temperature independently of Bob Tisdale back in 2009 – though I acknowledge that Bob has done about 90 % of the work load that has been required to get this idea out to the wider public.

    I appreciate Donald’s summary and coverage of this important topic but he fails to recognize the following references:

    http://astroclimateconnection.blogspot.com.au/2010/03/why-do-long-term-periodicities-in-enso.html – March 2010

    http://astroclimateconnection.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/world-mean-temperature-warmscools.html – Dec 2011

    Wilson, I.R.G., 2013, Are Global Mean Temperatures
    Significantly Affected by Long-Term Lunar Atmospheric
    Tides? Energy & Environment, Vol 24,
    No. 3 & 4, pp. 497 – 508

    http://multi-science.metapress.com/content/03n7mtr482x0r288/?p=e4bc1fd3b6e14fd8ab83a6df24c8a72d&pi=11

  38. Reblogged this on Bob Tisdale – Climate Observations and commented:
    Many thanks to Donald Rapp for the honorable mention in this post and to Judith Curry for posting it at Climate, etc.

  39. RE “Wang and Picaut (2004) wrote an excellent review of proposed mechanisms for ENSO phenomena. They pointed out “The issue of ENSO as a self-sustained oscillation mode or a stable mode triggered by random forcing is not settled… Since 1988, four concepts have been proposed for the oscillatory and self-sustained nature of ENSO. They also represent the negative feedbacks of a growing ENSO stable mode triggered by stochastic forcing, and are unified in a single concept.”

    David Smith at Oxford has shown that at least some types of complex “chaotic” systems go back and forth between truly chaotic states and ones more deterministic. I’m too old a dog to re-learn the math necessary, but it could be fruitful is someone were to look at whether Smith’s work could be used to make ENSO more predictable.

  40. Ian Wilson

    You may also want to look at:

    Wilson, I.R.G., 2011, Are Changes in the Earth’s Rotation
    Rate Externally Driven and Do They Affect Climate?
    The General Science Journal, Dec 2011, 3811.

    http://gsjournal.net/Science-Journals/Essays/View/3811

    and

    http://astroclimateconnection.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/do-you-think-that-moon-might-have.html – Feb 2013

  41. Ian Wilson

    The above references are backed up by a talk that I gave in 2009 at Monash University in Melbourne:

    El Ninos and Extreme Proxigean Spring Tides
    A lecture by Ian Wilson at the Natural Climate Change
    Symposium in Melbourne on June 17th 2009.

    http://www.naturalclimatechange.info/?q=node/10

  42. When you factor out annual cycles, there are strong correlations between rates of change between ENSO SSTs, tropospheric temperatures, and atmospheric CO2 concentrations. However, the changes in CO2 lag the others by a matter of months. CO2 is a lagging indicator of climate change, not a “force” for changing it. The eastern tropical Pacific is the big source of atmospheric CO2 and the rate of change in SSTs as the water goes from East to West determines the rate of emissions. Changes in anthropogenic emissions are swamped by these natural rates of change.

  43. A thing that bugs me is the 36 years of purported Northern Hemisphere warming [0.34 degrees]. While the Southern Hemisphere has stayed flat [0.0 degrees].
    This fits in with Arctic v Antarctic ice but is totally against AGW. It seems difficult to believe that these El Nino’s and La Nina’s choose to only affect one half of the world.
    Why is it so?

    • Pierre-Normand

      “A thing that bugs me is the 36 years of purported Northern Hemisphere warming [0.34 degrees]. While the Southern Hemisphere has stayed flat [0.0 degrees].”

      The Southern Hemisphere also warmed:

      http://woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3sh/from:1978/mean:12/mean:48

      It warmed less because there is a higher ocean/land ratio and the land has been warming much faster. There also is a stronger ice/snow positive feedback in the Northern Hemisphere. But this all speak against ENSO/PDO being the primary cause of the warming.

    • There is also a lot of human activity in the northern hemisphere.

  44. Newport_Mac

    This article is very interesting as far as it goes.

    Has anyone included solar cycles, effects on prevailing wind systems, resulting jet stream changes, Kelvin waves, and salinity into a model of ENSO events?

    • Newport_Mac

      As I remarked upstream, there are lots of passengers on the climate change coach. How many there are, how big each are and whether the drivers periodically change places is as yet unknown.

      So whether this is a cause, or the effect, or something in between remains unclear.
      tonyb

    • Newport_Mac

      Thanks for the response tonyb.

      ENSO is a climate event which alters regional weather patterns resulting in climate changes like the drought in the southwest and Africa.

      Its very odd that more effort hasn’t been devoted to understanding the triggers for ENSO changes.

      If solar cycles are the trigger, as many comments suggest, it should be fairly simple to overlay these cycles on a chart of ENSO events?

    • Newport_Mac

      I think over the last 20 years that we have devoted a disproportionate amount of our time and resources in trying to prove that Co2 is the (only) culprit.

      If the resources to try and prove this had instead been more equally spread amongst the many component parts of climate science we might know more than we currently do about causes, effects and correlations.

      tonyb

    • Newport_Mac

      NCAR
      July 16, 2009

      SOLAR CYCLE LINKED TO GLOBAL CLIMATE, DRIVES EVENTS SIMILAR TO EL NIÑO, LA NIÑA
      (note their caps not mine)

      https://www2.ucar.edu/atmosnews/news/810/solar-cycle-linked-global-climate-drives-events-similar-el-ni-o-la-ni

      excerpts:
      As this climatic loop intensifies, the trade winds strengthen. That keeps the eastern Pacific even cooler and drier than usual, producing La Niña-like conditions.

      Although this Pacific pattern is produced by the solar maximum, the authors found that its switch to an El Niño-like state is likely triggered by the same kind of processes that normally lead from La Niña to El Niño. The transition starts when changes in the strength of the trade winds produce slow-moving off-equatorial pulses known as Rossby waves in the upper ocean, which take about a year to travel back west across the Pacific.

      The energy then reflects from the western boundary of the tropical Pacific and ricochets eastward along the equator, deepening the upper layer of water and warming the ocean surface. As a result, the Pacific experiences an El Niño-like event about two years after solar maximum. The event settles down after about a year, and the system returns to a neutral state.

      El Niño and La Niña seem to have their own separate mechanisms,” says Meehl, “but the solar maximum can come along and tilt the probabilities toward a weak La Niña. If the system were heading toward a La Niña anyway,” he adds, “it would presumably be a larger one.”

      I see what you mean tonyb.

    • [... T]here are lots of passengers on the climate change coach. How many there are, how big each are and whether the drivers periodically change places is as yet unknown.

      Every “passenger” is actually a driver. Every driver has a different control. Each control has a different effect. Changes in the relative magnitude of effects of different controls periodically take place, due to both internal and external variation. What’s unknown, and very poorly constrained, is the size and timing of these changes.

  45. Many thanks for the post.

  46. Donald Rapp: Thanks once again for this post. Two quick points:

    You wrote, “Tisdale pointed out that the establishment view is that rising greenhouse gas concentrations over time cause a steadily increasing forcing that tends to drive earth temperatures upward. According to this viewpoint, the sequence of periodic changes in the El Niño – La Niña balance is superimposed on this continuing trend. During periods of El Niño dominance the warming due to El Niños adds to the warming effect due to rising greenhouse gases, and during periods of La Niña dominance the cooling due to La Niñas reduces the warming effect due to rising greenhouse gases.”

    The problem: The “establishment” is now claiming that “during periods of La Niña dominance the cooling due to La Niñas reduces the warming effect due to rising greenhouse gases” but they have never, as far as I’m aware, stated that “During periods of El Niño dominance the warming due to El Niños adds to the warming effect due to rising greenhouse gases.” We understand that, but it for the most part has been avoided by the climate science community.

    Second: You’ve presented running totals of a number of ENSO-related indices. I’ve always presented that as a curiosity, because, for the sea surface temperature-based indices, the shape of the curve of the running total depends on the base years used for anomalies.

    Gotta get back to work. I’ll try to stop back this evening.

  47. Whether El Niños and La Ninas balance exactly in the long term is purely a matter of definition. Choosing the thresholds used to define El Niño and La Nina states determines the long term balance. From detrended data it’s possible to search for correlations between longer term variability in the temperatures and ENSO indicators, but it’s not possible to conclude that ENSO related effects would contribute to the overall warming from 1970s to the present.

    • I think the broader issue is net energy in the climate system. With both troposphere, oceans, and cryosphere all showing net energy increases over many decades– at least since the 1980′s. ENSO activity is interesting and a major player in the flux of energy from ocean to atmosphere, but the net increase in climate system energy is caused by an external forcing– and the most likely culprit is anthropogenic GH gas increases. ENSO represents internal variability, not an external forcing, and furthermore, ENSO activity might indeed be modulated by external forcings (yes, both solar and increased GH gases).

    • I wonder if I should be bothered that R. Gates is, as far as I can tell, the only other commenter here with whom I agree on the net effects of El Ninos? :-)

    • “Whether El Niños and La Ninas balance exactly in the long term is purely a matter of definition.”
      ____
      Given that there is no net gain of energy to the climate system from ENSO activity, does it really matter anyway? What really matters is what the external forcings are to the system that might alter ENSO behavior as one of the effects.

    • What makes you think there’s only one dimension to the matter?

  48. Not being a climate scientist, merely an avid follower of the debates surrounding climate and climate change, I will admit that my basic viewpoint about future temperature changes has been that when the next big El Nino comes, and brings with it a trend toward more El Ninos, then the world will resume warming. Part of this mindset is that CO2 and other warming emissions don’t have as much effect as the models suggest, and CO2 sensitivity is lower than the models suggest, but yet that CO2 certainly does have an effect.

    But things are probably more complicated. What is the relationship, if any, between rising temperatures and more El Nino regimes?

    Where does the stadium wave fit in?

    Is there some longer term periodic cause of temperature swings (shorter than Milankovich cycles) — meaning, what caused the Little Ice Age, and what caused the ascent to warmer climate from the Little Ice Age, for example.

    These are the longer term issues that have to be addressed, in the context of El Ninos and La Ninas. To what extent do longer period natural variations drive El Ninos, and to what extent is the reverse true?

  49. Donald Rapp

    I have briefly scanned the responses to my posting, and I here are a few short responses:
    (1) Gary M: The reason that El Niños heat the atmosphere is that additional water evaporates from the ocean depriving the ocean of heat, and deposits that heat when it condenses as droplets in clouds. Some of this heat is retained by the surrounding air. You are right that we probably won’t have answers for another 100 years, and many of the current discussion will seem inane in retrospect.

    (2) Peter Lang: I don’t think these important questions you raised can be answered until we understand the role of El Niños in climate variability.

    (3) Faustino: I was not really suggesting that CO2 is of very minor significance compared to El Niños but I did point out that one could interpret the data that way – ala Tisdale. Yes, we don’t know nuthin about clouds.

    (4) Manacker: You are quite right that correlation does not prove cause and effect, but it does suggest the possibility of a connection. Your comments on who has the right to assert a null hypothesis is right on target.

    (5) Jim D: My article raises questions but answers none. I do not attribute all warming to El Niños. I suggest that the data could be interpreted that way, but that is just a straw in the wind. See pokerguy’s comment.

    (6) AK and Pierre-Normand: Every correlation between cloud cover and surface temperature had data points that filled up the whole graph from side to side and top to bottom; ergo there was no correlation. There is so much chaotic variability in cloud cover that it is essentially impossible to correlate cloud cover with anything over decades or less.

    (7) Pierre-Normand: See Figure 5 for the correlation between Nino and global avg T. Tisdale has done this numerous times before me.

    (9) R.Gates: You raise good points about taking into account variability of the IPWP, but as a AK (9:08 am) pointed out, changes to albedo can change the IPWP in ways we don’t presently understand.

    (10) General: If the alarmists are desperately waiting for a new El Niño in 2014 for warming to resume, doesn’t that suggest that CO2 without an El Niño doesn’t do much warming?

    (11) stefanthedenier: I can’t figure out what language your posting is written in.

    (12) ianl8888, beththeserf and Mike Jonas: I note that the main people who have faith in proxies are the ones who earn their livings and obtain their prestige by using them.

    (13) Bob Tisdale: Thanks for making me aware of the importance of El Niños in climate, and for all the data you have provided this past decade. I like the fact that your work is permeated with graphs, not words.

    (14) Ian Wilson: I apologize. I was not aware of your work.

    • Donald Rapp,

      Thanks for the explanation. But I think I have fairly understood the El Nino phenomenon, as well as a layman can, for some time. As noted elsewhere in my question to Bob Tisdale, m,y question is not as to how El Ninos function as an intra-climate transfer of heat, but how they add heat to the global climate system, as everyone seems to assume.

      I will note that I believe everyone in the consensus believes that because, if El Ninos’ do not add heat to the system, then their effect on “Global Average Temperature,” as it has been reported for decades, is spurious. Without the impact of El Ninos on temps, the reported scary warming of the late 20th century in the reported temperature records goes poof.

      If El Nino has a net negative effect on global heat content, the CAGWers have some ‘splainin’ to do.

      • ENSO is a measured cyclical response to energy received from the sun. The several cycle wave lengths associated with the Hombolt, Panama, and Cromwell current, as well as El-Nino winds and the Kelvin wave are contributors to the ENSO response; and natural CO2 emissions are responding to ENSO. ENSO is not responding to changes in anthropogenic emissions of CO2.

    • If El Nino has a net negative effect on global heat content, the CAGWers have some ‘splainin’ to do.

      More or less everyone agrees that El Nino has a net negative effect on global heat content.

    • Pekaa Pirila,

      Is that why so many of your fellow warmists are salivating over the prospect of a strong El Nino this year that will send the reported “Global Average Temperature” significantly upward for the first time in 15+ years?

    • Pekaa Pirila,

      And if it were true that the consensus is that El Ninos are a global cooling effect, why have the increases they have caused in reported “global average temperature” been trumpeted for so long as evidence og global warming.

      An El Nino, properly understood, should cause no increase in GAT.

    • GaryM,

      Didn’t you know that AGW theory states that Warmer makes it Warmer unto CAGW?

      It’s true by declaration, therefore your questions are irrelevant by definition.

      Andrew

    • Gary,

      I dislike many of the arguments presented by the “warmist”. It’s quite common that I point out what I consider erroneous in arguments of people with all kind of general attitudes. Erroneous arguments should not be used independently of the correctness of the conclusion.

      In this case I don’t think that there’s anything illogical, but people are not always careful when they use the word warming. Sometimes they refer to OHC, sometimes to the temperature of the lower troposphere or the surface. As ENSO seems to have opposite influence on those two measures of the warming, confusing formulations are not surprising.

    • Pekka Pirilä | May 8, 2014 at 12:29 pm |

      More or less everyone agrees that El Nino has a net negative effect on global heat content.

      Agreed. Then why as we’ve seen with some of Tisdale’s graphs can we sometimes see a step pattern in global surface temperatures going up?

      A major part of the system is throwing off heat using an El Nino. A fast response, which is part of what makes it interesting. If the atmosphere responds to this slowly and retains most of the heat (making up a number, losing 10% of this heat per year) rather than emitting it to space, we do have a regime change of the surface temperatures.

      I am not saying there’s enough heat in the Pacific equatorial region to account for all the change. Maybe it’s the effect on global cloud conditions that is the bigger result.

    • Stepwise pattern is a combination of a trend and an oscillatory behavior. Seeing a stepwise patter tells by itself nothing on the role of the oscillatory phenomenon in the trend.

    • “If El Nino has a net negative effect on global heat content, the CAGWers have some ‘splainin’ to do.

      More or less everyone agrees that El Nino has a net negative effect on global heat content.”
      ______
      I am not sure “everyone” agrees on this point, but the physics and basic thermodynamics are such that it makes sense. If you’ve got certain large pool of warm water at depth in the Pacific, it is a lot harder for the energy to escape to space when it is at deeper levels then when you bring it to the surface where it fluxes to the atmosphere as latent and sensible heat. Simply put, there is no way that there can’t be a higher than average loss of energy to space during an El Nino. But remember, NOT ALL of the energy brought up from ocean depths to the surface and atmosphere during an El Nino is lost to space. Some of it goes into other parts of the climate system, Thus, even though there might be a higher than average amount of energy lost to space during an El Nino, there is also a higher than average amount of energy going form the ocean to other parts of the climate system. But to be sure, there is definitely no net gain to the full system, and likely a net loss for some short period of time.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Donald Rapp wrote: “(7) Pierre-Normand: See Figure 5 for the correlation between Nino and global avg T. Tisdale has done this numerous times before me.”

      The figure doesn’t show that the ENSO cycle correlates with anything but the deviations from the underlying warming trend. Maybe ENSO contributes causally to that trend but the figure doesn’t so much as suggest it.

    • Pierre-Normand says, May 10, 2014 at 10:40 pm:

      “The figure doesn’t show that the ENSO cycle correlates with anything but the deviations from the underlying warming trend. Maybe ENSO contributes causally to that trend but the figure doesn’t so much as suggest it.”

      What ‘underlying warming trend’?!

      A ‘trend’ as in ‘trendline’ is something you apply to a plotted dataset as a statistical tool. It’s not a physical phenomenon.

      There would be no upward-tilting trendline to apply if it weren’t for the three sudden upward shifts in global temps since 1970 (1978/79, 1988 and 1998).

      The ENTIRE global warming from 1970 till today is contained within those three steps, Philip-Normand. The rest of the time? NOTHING. Global temps simply follow the general lead of NINO3.4.

      This is what the DATA from the real world tells us.

      Observational data trumps your preconceived ideas of causation any day, Pierre-Normand. The ‘underlying warming trend’ exists only inside your head.

    • Pekka Pirilä says, May 8, 2014 at 2:39 pm:

      “Stepwise pattern is a combination of a trend and an oscillatory behavior. Seeing a stepwise patter tells by itself nothing on the role of the oscillatory phenomenon in the trend.”

      Again you get things all backwards, Pekka.

      The stepwise pattern is how global temperatures ACTUALLY move forward. That’s what we ACTUALLY see in the data. It’s there right in front of us. No interpretation needed. No ‘analysis’. It’s there. We see it. Directly. The steps are REAL.

      No, the ‘trend’ is simply what you mentally project onto the data before you. Something that isn’t really there in the data itself. That we ‘perceive’ rather than ‘see’ directly, and that we must therefore statistically ‘make manifest’ to ourselves. Man’s eternal need for order.

      Take it to heart, Pekka.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Kristian wrote: “There would be no upward-tilting trendline to apply if it weren’t for the three sudden upward shifts in global temps since 1970 (1978/79, 1988 and 1998).”

      That’s for sure. That’s a bit like saying that were it not for the periods of warming from sunrise until mid afternoon, the warmth of Spring wouldn’t have followed the coldness of Winter. That’s true also. But it doesn’t constitute an argument against the role of axial tilt and terrestrial revolution in seasonal cycles — imputing it all to the Earth rotation alone.

      Were it not for the enhanced greenhouse effect, and were the PDO/ENSO cycles, and other causes of natural variability to act alone, then those three warming trend possibly wouldn’t have been as steep, *and* the plateaus that separate them possibly would have been cooling trends. The overall result might have been little or no warming at all. You can’t argue that just because the warming is irregular then it means that whatever is responsible for the long term warming trend only is at work during the periods of fastest warming. It’s a fallacy. The uninterpreted temperature series doesn’t tell you what’s causally responsible for the long term rise or when it is acting.

    • Pierre-Normand | May 16, 2014 at 12:24 am |

      That’s a bit like saying that were it not for the periods of warming from sunrise until mid afternoon, the warmth of Spring wouldn’t have followed the coldness of Winter. That’s true also. But it doesn’t constitute an argument against the role of axial tilt and terrestrial revolution in seasonal cycles — imputing it all to the Earth rotation alone.

      Axial tilt and terrestrial revolution have a huge role. But the variations from the average on timescales from a day to a season keeping telling us it’s more than averaging things. Seeing shorter term variations has myself looking for the same thing on longer timescales. A typical Summer day shows a short period of intense heating followed by a cooldown that lasts until the next day where things may repeat. Kind of like the El Ninos causing step shifts.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Axial tilt and terrestrial revolution have a huge role. But the variations from the average on timescales from a day to a season keeping telling us it’s more than averaging things.”

      This point simply was to rebut the facile but flawed inference that since the short term positive slopes only occur during half the high frequency cycles, then whatever causes the high frequency cycle must be entirely responsible for the positive trend (the running sum) over many cycles. Many people seem to make this inference, including the OP, Bob Tisdale and Kristian.

  50. Ian Wilson

    Donald,

    No problem, your post is very informative – thanks

  51. I often hear the word “sloshing” used to describe ENSO. And the appearance of a standing wave pattern in pressure between the locations of Tahiti and Darwin in the Pacific leads to the suggestion that modeling the sloshing dynamics would be useful.

    This of course is on a large scale, but why not simply scale the well-known physical principles behind sloshing that are known to exist on a small scale?

    Frandsen, Jannette B. <a href="http://www.researchgate.net/publication/236155361_Sloshing_motions_in_excited_tanks/file/3deec5167c79c7e329.pdf

    “>”Sloshing motions in excited tanks.” Journal of Computational Physics 196.1 (2004): 53-87.

    A combination of vertical and horizontal excitation in forcing could certainly lead to the quasiperiodicity seen in the ENSO indices such as SOI. See more of my thoughts here:

    http://contextearth.com/2014/05/02/the-soim-substantiating-the-chandler-wobble-and-tidal-connection-to-enso/

    I suggest that the vertical excitation arises from tidal forces, and the the horizontal perhaps related to wind patterns such as the QBO.

    One thing that is for certain is that these oscillations revert to the mean over the long term, and can not be used to explain a natural secular warming trend, which is what the climate sceptics seem to be running on about recently.

    By the way, climate.gov is planning on starting up a blog devoted to ENSO predictions,Check out RC for more info.

    • Bernd Palmer

      “One thing that is for certain is that these oscillations revert to the mean over the long term, and can not be used to explain a natural secular warming trend, which is what the climate sceptics seem to be running on about recently.”
      The “oscillations” are just that, water of different temperature oscillating across the ocean. Neither El Nino nor La Nina add energy to the budget. But they provide the mechanism that discharges and recharges energy from/to the ocean by opening and closing the blinders above the ocean: the cloud cover.

    • Bernd Palmer

      Neither El Nino nor La Nina add energy to the budget.

      “Taint” necessarily so.

      If La Niñas cause more cloud cover, which reflects more incoming SW radiation back out to space and hence out of our climate system, they would subtract energy from the budget.

      Likewise, if El Niños cause a reduction in cloud cover, which then reflects less incoming SW radiation back out to space and hence allows more to enter our climate system, they would add energy to the budget.

      And, while the Earthshine results of Pallé et all point in that direction, the jury is still out on that hypothesis.

      Max


    • But they provide the mechanism that discharges and recharges energy from/to the ocean by opening and closing the blinders above the ocean: the cloud cover.

      Cloud cover is transient.

    • Webby

      Cloud cover is transient.

      So is life, Webby.

      And so are the observed multi-decadal climate swings which were a significant portion of the late 20thC IPCC “poster period” of warming.

      All fits together, Webby, like the man says.

      Max

  52. Ulric Lyons

    A simple relationship between the solar cycle and ENSO can be seen by means of the geomagnetic Ap index. The larger drops in the index occur close to the maxima, and around a year or two *after* the minima of each cycle. El Nino episodes are typical at both positions, though solar cycles 22&23 unusually had very little fall in the Ap index around maximum.

  53. ENSO explanations aside, it nevertheless is a key plank in the Democrat platform that American businesses are mainly responsible for global warming and that some of the people who run such businesses are personally responsible–e.g.,

    While the Koch brothers admit to not being experts on the matter, these billionaire oil tycoons are certainly experts at contributing to climate change,” Reid said. “That’s what they do very well. They are one of the main causes of this. Not a cause, one of the main causes.

    ~Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

    • Wagathon

      Proving that Reid is just about as ignorant about our planet’s climate as Kerry, who opines that it is the greatest terrorist threat that we face.

      Birds of a feather.

      Turkeys?

      Max

    • For the love of God, will Nevadians please rid us of this disease called Harry Reid? Joined the govt a pauper and now a zillionaire.

  54. Ulric Lyons

    A great example of the nature of ENSO is the period around, 1200 BC, which despite being of record warmth in the Greenland proxy, was undeniably a very cold period for the temperate zone, with the collapse of many cultures and civilisations.

    “According to Fig. 5, a series of intense El Nino events
    (high red color intensity) begins at about 1450 BC that will
    last for centuries. In that period normal (La Nina) condi-
    tions have but disappeared. For comparison, the very strong
    1998 El Nino event scores 89 in red color intensity. Dur-
    ing the time when the Minoans were fading, El Nino events
    reach values in red color intensity over 200.”
    (page 4, see the LIA period on figure 5 too)

    http://www.clim-past.net/6/525/2010/cp-6-525-2010.pdf

  55. Ian Wilson

    Here is the latest short post at my blog site on this important topic:

    http://astroclimateconnection.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/historical-el-nino-events-and-extreme.html

  56. David L. Hagen

    Contributing Effects?
    Suggest exploring a combination of factors that could trigger these variations. e.g.:
    Wyatt and Curry’s Stadium Wave
    M.G. Wyatt and J.A. Curry, “Role for Eurasian Arctic shelf sea ice in a secularly varying hemispheric climate signal during the 20th century,” (Climate Dynamics, 2013)

    David Stockwell’s Solar Accumulation
    Willis Eschenbach’s Power Stroke
    The ten fold variation of UV with solar cycles? e.g. d’Aleo solar cycle variations

    IRG Wilson’s Venus-Earth-Jupiter spin-orbit coupling
    The Venus–Earth–Jupiter spin–orbit coupling model, I. R. G. Wilson, Pattern Recogn. Phys., 1, 147–158, 2013 http://www.pattern-recogn-phys.net/1/147/2013/ doi:10.5194/prp-1-147-2013

    Abstract: A Venus–Earth–Jupiter spin–orbit coupling model is constructed from a combination of the Venus–Earth–Jupiter tidal-torquing model and the gear effect. The new model produces net tangential torques that act upon the outer convective layers of the Sun with periodicities that match many of the long-term cycles that are found in the 10 Be and 14C proxy records of solar activity.

    Solar storms/cosmic rays
    Henrik Svensmark, Martin B. Enghoff, Jens Olaf Pepke Pedersen, Response of cloud condensation nuclei (>50 nm) to changes in ion-nucleation, Physics Letters A, Volume 377, Issue 37, 8 November 2013, Pages 2343–2347

    Mekhaldi et al. Signatures of cosmic-ray increase attributed to exceptional solar storms inferred from multiple cosmogenic radionuclide records Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 16, EGU2014-15977-2, 2014
    EGU General Assembly 2014

  57. 1998 provides some support for the “staircase” theory. But then there’s 2010, and not so much.

    Of course their models actually produce continual heating, not staircase heating, and seem to have discounted the stair step while emphasizing the riser. . .

  58. How do we know that the “missing heat” Trenberth has been looking for wasn’t the heat that was released during the 1998 “super” El Nino, and other El Ninos?

    Maybe the excess heat retained as a result of ACO2 emissions accumulated in the oceans as the consensus claims. But rather than scurrying to the deep ocean, it remained in the sea surface, where the La Nina/EL NIno process ultimately released a major portion of it to the atmosphere. From whence most it radiated to space? Wouldn’t the super El Nino thus be a partial explanation for the “pause?”

    Maybe CAGW Elvis left the building in 1998.

    • pokerguy (aka al neipris)

      Good point, Gary. Maybe this, and maybe that, and maybe something else. You can’t tell me these guys aren’t aware of the profound uncertainties. Then again, the human capacity for self-deception is nearly limitless.

      “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
      -Upton Sinclair

    • GaryM | May 8, 2014 at 12:40 pm said: ”Maybe the excess heat retained as a result of ACO2 emissions accumulated in the oceans as the consensus claims. But rather than scurrying to the deep ocean, it remained in the sea surface”

      Gary, heat cannot be carried to the dept in the ocean:: Water temp at 4C (39F) is the heaviest – that’s how the learned people of the world invented ‘’kilogram’’ one litre of water /10sm2 of water at 4C is one kg heavy; warmer, or colder water than 4C expands, and is not as heavy per volume. Therefore: water at 4C goes to the bottom and every layer above is by one degree warmer as it goes to the surface water, which is always the warmest.
      2] water is ‘’FLUID’’ and that’s why instantly readjusts itself, by temperature; you cannot have ‘’warmer’’ water below the colder, for more than few seconds, because of readjustment per weights / temperature. Water is not as solid object, which means: you can put block of polystyrene on the bottom, then put brick on the top of it, then put a lump of lead on the top, and will stay that way, BUT with fluid water… NOP!

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Gary, heat cannot be carried to the dept in the ocean:: Water temp at 4C (39F) is the heaviest”

      Water density also is a function of salinity. When evaporation occurs at the surface of a warm body of oceans water, the the salinity increases. This is something that you ought to consider also. Wind convergence can also can induce surface water to sink. Although thermal stratification usually overrides salinity stratification, there are many factors to consider.

    • –Pierre-Normand | May 9, 2014 at 12:49 am |

      “Gary, heat cannot be carried to the dept in the ocean:: Water temp at 4C (39F) is the heaviest”–
      [stefanthedenier: That is fresh water, not sea water]

      –Water density also is a function of salinity. When evaporation occurs at the surface of a warm body of oceans water, the the salinity increases. This is something that you ought to consider also. Wind convergence can also can induce surface water to sink. Although thermal stratification usually overrides salinity stratification, there are many factors to consider.–

      Wind causes more evaporation, also. A constant wind with sunlight warming should increase salinity and in addition to wave action cause mixing of warmer with cooler water.

    • stefanthedenier,

      I don’t say the heat is transported to the deep ocean, the consensus scientist do. Sometimes my attempts at humor cause people to miss my point.

      I think there is nowhere near the consensus, or clarity, on the impact of El Ninos on “global warming” that people seem to believe.

      For the umpteenth time. None of my questions or comments have been about how an El Nino functions within the climate system. They have all been about what others see as the impact of El Ninos on globalclimatewarmingchange, aka AGW.

      The folks who answered my questions at Real Climate, as well as Dr. Curry when i asked it here, and Bob Tisdale (I think), seem to believe that El Ninos increase global heat content by increasing clouds which decrease radiation of heat from the atmosphere. I saw a NOAA web page to that effect, at least for some El Ninos.

      R. Gates, Pekaa Pirila argue that El Ninos reduce global heat content, at least temporarily

      Somewhere in this thread Mosher in his typically humble way assured everyone it has no effect whatsoever.

      My thoughts are more along the reduction in heat content line ala R.Gates. But I don’t think anyone knows. Yet.

      Which was my ultimate point.

    • JCH

      How was that purported rise in OHC measured prior to ARGO in 2003?

      Somebody stuck his finger in the Atlantic?

      Get serious. There are no meaningful OHC measurements prior to ARGO, and ARGo first showed slight cooling and, after “corrections” to the raw data, showed slight warming, all at the limit of the ability to even measure (thousandths of a degree C difference over decades).

      Max

    • The United States Navy did not stick its finger into the oceans.

    • There was never a cooling. Just wishful political thinking on your part.

    • JCH

      The ARGO “cooling” I was referring to (that was later “corrected”) was Josh Willis’ “speed bump”.

      Remember?

      Max

    • I remember you always try to misrepresent what happened.

  59. Matthew R Marler

    Minobe et al. presented Figure 10 that gives their estimate of the standard deviation from average of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

    that’s probably “standardized deviation” in figures 10 and 11.

    Interesting and worthwhile post. Thank you, Donald Rapp.

    favorite quote: Eight years later, Wang et al. (2012) concluded

    “The issue of ENSO as a self-sustained oscillation mode or a stable mode triggered by random forcing is not settled. It is possible that ENSO is a self-sustained mode during some periods, a stable mode during others, or a mode that is intermediate or mixed between the former and the latter.”

  60. Steven Mosher

    El Nino is not the cause of warming
    it is merely a pattern.
    it is HOW the warming expresses itself in the system.
    The cause of warming is one and only one thing: a change in forcing.

    write that down.

    Given static forcing the system will not just warm out of nowhere.

    To repeat. EL nino cannot cause warming because it is merely a spatial and temporal pattern. It is a pattern of warming, not the cause of warming.

    get your ontologies right

    • Matthew R Marler

      Steven Mosher: El Nino is not the cause of warming

      It can be a part of the mechanism of surface and tropospheric warming. It can be a part of a negative feedback mechanism if the increased ocean surface warming produces cloud cover that reduces incoming radiation.

      That post of yours did not come close to addressing the complexities of the ENSO system.

    • Steve McGee

      As I posted last November:

      http://judithcurry.com/2013/11/28/is-earth-in-energy-deficit/

      there is some evidence that the pattern change causes the forcing change of El Ninos.

      The highest Net Radiance surplus from the CFSR reanalysis occurred in 1997, before the peak ENSO:

      The net was from both decreased albedo and decreased OLR.
      (more absorbed and less emitted ).

      So, at least for the 1997 event, there was additional energy in the system.

    • David Springer

      Not all forcings are equal. A watt of sunlight is not the same as a watt of backradiation. Water almost transparent to sunlight and almost opaque to back radiation. This causes the response of the ocean to the different frequencies to differ. Sunlight is very effective at heating the ocean bulk while backradiation is very effective at peeling off water molecules from the first few microns of the surface through evaporation. This is why the top millimeter of the ocean averages 0.3C colder than the layer directly under it.

      Write that down

    • Right, its part of ENSO, which is an oscillation — right there in the name. And the thing with oscillations is that they go up and down, with no net change as a result.

      Even the longer term effects, such as Stadium Waves are oscillations and those too are zero-sum phenomena.

      Result is that they contribute nothing to the “DC” levels of the secular warming trend.

      • For those that are arguing zero sum for long term cycles, please observe that we are in the interglacial phase far from normal global average and about 1.4 degrees C less than the max for this phase that occurred about 11,000 years ago.

      • David Springer

        Glacial/interglacial is an oscillator too.

        With a cycle time of over 100,000 years.

        Just because something might be net zero doesn’t mean it sums to zero in timeframes of centuries or even millenia. What evidence do you have that ENSO sums to zero in timeframes measured in decades?

    • Web404: “And the thing with oscillations is that they go up and down, with no net change as a result.”

      Not quite

      “Oscillation is the repetitive variation, typically in time, of some measure about a central value or between two or more different states.”

      An interesting image. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Coupled_oscillators.gif

      Maybe La Nina = Green and El Nino = Red

      We have no idea how long the true cycle is before repetition occurs.

    • Steven Mosher

      “It can be a part”

      define IT

      when you define IT you will see that IT is a Spatio Temporal Pattern.
      IT is not a cause.

      The dimensionality of the explanation is all wrong

    • “El Nino is not the cause of warming
      it is merely a pattern.
      it is HOW the warming expresses itself in the system.
      The cause of warming is one and only one thing: a change in forcing.

      write that down.”
      _____
      Exactly. And keep writing it down until you understand- ENSO is NOT a forcing to the climate. ENSO is not a forcing to the climate. ENSO is not a forcing to the climate.

      The atmosphere, the ocean, the cryosphere have all displayed the fact that the net energy in the climate system is increasing and only an external forcing can do that.

    • “El Nino is not the cause of warming, it is merely a pattern.
      it is HOW the warming expresses itself in the system.
      The cause of warming is one and only one thing: a change in forcing.”
      I’m not following this. Most of the heat on the earth’s surface is in the ocean. Changes there are in the tenths or hundredths of degrees, and we can’t measure it very well. We tend to measure “warming” by measuring the rest of the surface, and the atmosphere.
      Isn’t the conclusion from these facts the opposite of what you said? Even if overall warming needs a forcing, “warming” as measured on the earth’s surface may just be a reflection of heat transfer to and from the ocean, and we would have no way of knowing the difference.

    • miker613,

      To give a full accounting of energy in the climate system we need to be precise in our terms, locations, forms of energy, etc. The net flow of energy on the planet is always strongly from ocean to atmosphere– that is the normal condition– call this the ENSO neutral condition– a strong flow of energy from ocean to atmosphere in the form of sensible and latent heat flux. At any given time at least 50% of the energy in the atmosphere came from these ocean to atmosphere heat fluxes.

      Now, during El Nino, a bit more than average amounts of energy flows out of the ocean to the atmosphere, and that’s why tropospheric sensible heat spikes sharply. Some of that energy goes into space and some goes back into other parts of the climate system. During La Nina, a bit less than average amounts of energy flows from ocean to atmosphere– it is still strongly form ocean to atmosphere– just lower than average.

      When looking at a full accounting of the climate system, ENSO does not add energy to the system, it merely moves some from one bucket into another. It is not a forcing.

      Keep writing it down– ENSO is not a forcing.

      • David Springer

        So CO2 is a forcing in your book. The mechanism by which it works is throttling how much far infrared escapes directly to space. But if ENSO were to cause more or less boundary level clouds to form, which in turn throttles how much sunlight reaches the surface to warm it, that’s not a forcing? You can’t have your cake and eat it too, Homer (a.k.a. Randy Gates Simpson). If CO2 is a forcing through throttling radiative transfer from surface to space then ENSO can also be a forcing by throttling how much radiative transfer from space to surface.

    • blueice2hotsea

      WHT – Result is that [oscillations] contribute nothing to the “DC” levels of the secular warming trend.

      A multi-century oscillation period changes the slope of a century scale secular warming trend.

    • Steve, are you saying that if sunlight was invariant, that there would be no natural variations such as El Nino? Or perhaps that even if 22 year solar cycles had perfectly steady variation, there would be no El Ninos?

      I guess what I am trying to get at is: what do you think the forcings are that cause El Ninos? Are they natural variations (e.g., needing no outside push)? Or would there be no El Ninos without variations in incoming radiation, or variations of some sort in internal natural cycles (whatever the cause of the variation)?

      Second question: it sure looks like when a big El Nino comes along, the atmosphere heats up, because of the extra heat unleashed by the El Nino. So why is it that this would not be a forcing (even if it were part of a natural variation in which this forcing led to a negative feedback and thus to La Nina, and an eventual steady state)? Why couldn’t such an El Nino be both a pattern, and a cause of atmospheric warming?

      Perhap in a system with no outside perturbations in incoming radiation, an increase in atmospheric warmth caused by an El Nino must be matched exactly with an opposite cooling elsewhere in the system?

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      ‘… but the large natural variability in the Earth’s radiation budget due to fluctuations in atmospheric and ocean dynamics complicates this picture.’ http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/reprints/Loeb_et_al_ISSI_Surv_Geophys_2012.pdf

      There is a fundamental fact that continues to be conveniently overlooked. Coherent changes in cloud cover associated with large scale changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation.

    • David L. Hagen

      WebHubTelescope
      Re: ” longer term effects, such as Stadium Waves are oscillations and those too are zero-sum phenomena.”
      How do you know they are zero-sum and are not superimposed on or include a long term warming trend or warming/cooling oscillation? How would you reliably differentiate between such causes? See:
      Syun-Ichi Akasofu, On the Present Halting of Global Warming
      Climate 2013, 1, 4-11; doi:10.3390/cli1010004

      The rise in global average temperature over the last century has halted since roughly the year 2000, despite the fact that the release of CO2 into the atmosphere is still increasing. It is suggested here that this interruption has been caused by the suspension of the near linear (+ 0.5 C/100 years or 0.05 C/10 years) temperature increase over the last two centuries, due to recovery from the Little Ice Age, by a superposed multi-decadal oscillation of a 0.2 C amplitude and a 5060 year period, which reached its positive peak in about the year 2000—a halting similar to those that occurred around 1880 and 1940. Because both the near linear change and the multi-decadal oscillation are likely to be natural changes (the recovery from the Little Ice Age (LIA) and an oscillation related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), respectively), they must be carefully subtracted from temperature data before estimating the effects of CO2.

    • blueice2hotsea

      WHT -

      Let me try again…

      Multi-century oscillations may be hiding inside what is presumed to be a century scale secular warming trend. Defluctuate THAT.

    • Ulric Lyons

      “El Nino is not the cause of warming
      it is merely a pattern.
      it is HOW the warming expresses itself in the system.
      The cause of warming is one and only one thing: a change in forcing.”

      El Nino is a response to a change in forcing, a decline in forcing, La Nina is a response to an increase in forcing.

    • presumably it’s ability to alter feedbacks such as clouds and albedo can lead to warming(cooling)?

    • Bernd Palmer

      R. Gates: “Now, during El Nino, a bit more than average amounts of energy flows out of the ocean to the atmosphere, and that’s why tropospheric sensible heat spikes sharply. Some of that energy goes into space and some goes back into other parts of the climate system.”
      A bit more ….? Why? How? Where does this energy come from; it’s already in the system, be in the atmosphere or in the ocean. If it “goes back” into other parts of the system (?), it’s still in the system and nothing in the energy balance changes.
      I recommend you read the excellent write-ups of Bob Tisdale to learn that any extra energy must come from the sun or be lost to space in order to change the energy balance of the earth
      Steven Mosher is right.

      • David Springer

        Energy may be moved from one reservoir to another to effect a change in the temperature where we live and breathe and raise crops without changing the total energy in the system. Given ocean reservoir has thousands of times the heat capacity of the atmosphere where we live and breathe and raise crops can change a lot with only small amounts moving into and out of the global ocean.

    • Don Monfort

      I am with Mosher, on this one. El Ninos are not the root cause of warming. But if a couple strong ones come along in a 15 year period, the higher surface temperatures associated with stronger than average El Ninos can be used by Chicken Littles to stampede folks into swallowing carbon taxes and paying silly subsidies for green crap. Of course when the predicted stronger and more frequent El Ninos fail to materialize for 15+ years, the Chicken Littles got a problem called the pause that is killing the cause.

    • Steven Mosher

      “I’m not following this. Most of the heat on the earth’s surface is in the ocean. Changes there are in the tenths or hundredths of degrees, and we can’t measure it very well. We tend to measure “warming” by measuring the rest of the surface, and the atmosphere.”

      It’s pretty easy.

      Suppose I have a pot of water.

      Suppose I turn up the heat.

      Suppose I then notice that the water doesnt warm uniformly.
      I see patterns in the warming and I see bubbles.

      I then conclude that these patterns and the bubbles are the CAUSE of the warming.

      well, these patterns are definately associated with the warming. They are how the warming happens, not WHY the warming happens.

      Another way to look at it is with an eye towards dimensional analysis.
      that is we have to get our units balanced in an explanation.
      we want to explain temperature (LHS) you dont sneak in temperature on the RHS.

      thats what I mean by getting the ontology correct FIRST.

    • k scott denison

      Mosher, I agree that El Nino is a pattern, no argument. However, given how we measure/estimate/approximate “global warming” – that is, through very sparsely sampled temperature measurements over land – couldn’t it be that El Nino is what causes the observed increase in our (very limited) metrics?

      Put another way, given that we don’t have enough data to measure the change in the actual temperature of the land surface (would require measuring the area under the continuous temperature curve at many, many geographic locations), isn’t just possible that El Nino causes changes in what we measure, but, as you say, it is not a cause of warming per se?

    • k scott denison

      Or maybe put yet another way, if you take the pot of water, and heat it from the bottom, but only on 1/4 of it’s surface (say the left upper quadrant) and then measure the change in temperature not in a uniform grid, but with just one thermocouple, how much “warming” one observes with time will be very much be dependent on where one places that thermocouple relative to the source of the heat.

    • Little Miss Sunshine,
      The SOI of ENSO is a close to.a standing wave dipole and exhibits the same frequency at both ends of the dipole, not like the mixed frequency pendulums you were showing with your toy gif.

    • blueice2hotsea

      k scott denison – couldn’t it be that El Nino is what causes the observed increase in our (very limited) metrics

      could also be the opposite. low frequency ENSO pattern could also cause an underestimate of warming and climate sensitivity. depends on the phase relationship.

    • Steven Mosher | May 8, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
      Suppose I have a pot of water.
      Suppose I turn up the heat.

      Emergent behavior. Transport of heat from the flame to the air using a water medium. Now can we infer anything from the 3 components? The flame, the type of boiling (simmer to rolling), and the room temperature. A simmering boil would hae us look at one description and a rolling boil would have us look at another. The water in either of a low or high flame cases, seems to be doing the correct thing. Admittedly there is a vast difference of time scales between a pot of boiling water and the ENSO region.

    • k scott denison

      blueice2hotsea, that goes without saying (and I forgot to!). thanks.

    • Don Monfort

      scott,

      There are well-measured large differences in sea surface and near sea surface temperatures between the eastern and western Pacific. This El Nino/La Nina stuff is well studied.

    • “A bit more ….? Why? How? Where does this energy come from; it’s already in the system, be in the atmosphere or in the ocean. If it “goes back” into other parts of the system (?), it’s still in the system and nothing in the energy balance changes.
      I recommend you read the excellent write-ups of Bob Tisdale to learn that any extra energy must come from the sun or be lost to space in order to change the energy balance of the earth.”
      ____
      Remember, normal net flow of energy on this planet is from ocean to atmosphere. During El Nino, the alteration of the thermocline in the Pacific, rising in the west and lowering in the east, allows warm water to flow toward the east where it also is brought to the surface through increased upwelling. This causes a higher than normal net latent and sensible heat flux from ocean to atmosphere and spikes tropospheric temperatures. The additional energy entering the atmosphere comes from the ocean, and specifically from the IPWP. Once in the troposphere, the additionally energy fluxes both to space (i.e. it is lost to the Earth climate system) or stays in the system in various forms. Thus, during big El Ninos, there is a higher than normal loss of energy from the Earth climate system to space. We are only conveniently measuring that big pulse of energy during the few months that is moving through the troposphere as sensible heat. I’ve read Bob Tisdale’s writings in detail, and while he gets many parts exactly right, he seems to miss the bigger picture of the long-term external forcing that is altering the energy in the IPWP. Discussing ENSO without looking at the longer-term rising energy of the IPWP is fairly pointless as El Nino energy is IPWP energy leaving the ocean.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Steven Mosher: when you define IT you will see that IT is a Spatio Temporal Pattern.

      Sure. And with no energy flows.

    • Don Monfort

      little barty says:”I’ve read Bob Tisdale’s writings in detail, and while he gets many parts exactly right, he seems to miss the bigger picture of the long-term external forcing that is altering the energy in the IPWP. Discussing ENSO without looking at the longer-term rising energy of the IPWP is fairly pointless as El Nino energy is IPWP energy leaving the ocean.”

      Bob Tisdale doesn’t see it exactly like you do, barty. He ain’t blinded by the weird science. Bob is waiting for those more frequent and stronger El Ninos that were supposed to follow the big one, of ’97-’98. The alleged rising energy in the IPWP is pointless, unless we get some bigger and stronger El Ninos, barty. We need it now, barty! The pause is steadily killing the cause.

    • Don Monfort | May 8, 2014 at 11:36 pm |

      I’ve been found out. Obviously, R. Gates and I are the same person!

      Oh. Wait. No, we aren’t.

      READ HARDER.

      If you’ve got nothing going for you but name-calling, the least you can do is make some effort to use the name of the right person.

      And Don Monfort, or whatever your name is, you’ve got nothing going for you but name calling.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Mosher: when you define IT you will see that IT is a Spatio Temporal Pattern.

      ENSO (what I referred to by “it”) is a large scale (much of the Pacific Ocean and atmosphere above) multidimensional oscillation in the energy and mass transport system of the Earth; it is poorly measured, especially before it was discovered/hypothesized, in some locations and some variables at some times. ENSO is more than the pattern in its measurements, in the same sense that a pendulum is more than a pattern in occasional measurements of the locations of its parts.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Mosher: thats what I mean by getting the ontology correct FIRST.

      Your personal “ontology” of ENSO excludes most of it from existence, and excludes energy and mass flow entirely.

    • “I recommend you read the excellent write-ups of Bob Tisdale to learn that any extra energy must come from the sun or be lost to space in order to change the energy balance of the earth.”

      Oh, is Bob the one who discovered these Climate 101 facts? Yes, the net gain or loss of energy in the system is dictated by the balance of input and output. An external forcing to the system is something that alters that balance of input versus output one way or another. Increasing GH gases allow the system to retain more energy than it loses.


    • David Springer | May 9, 2014 at 4:08 pm |

      Glacial/interglacial is an oscillator too.

      With a cycle time of over 100,000 years.

      Just because something might be net zero doesn’t mean it sums to zero in timeframes of centuries or even millenia. What evidence do you have that ENSO sums to zero in timeframes measured in decades?

      Present a denier with a chance to score an own goal, and they will do it, every time.

      So how much atmospheric CO2 can industrial society build up in thousands of years? GOAL!!!!

    • Given static forcing the system will not just warm out of nowhere.

      An unwarranted assumption when discussion hyper-complex non-linear systems. Not to mention that, in any complex non-linear system the size/scale of any “forcing” is not necessarily proportional to its effect (butterfly effect). Therefore, “out of nowhere” isn’t at all the same as “due to some forcing too small to measure” (or even estimate). Not just (lots of) unicorns, but tiny little unicorns with very big horns.


    • An unwarranted assumption when discussion hyper-complex non-linear systems.

      Lots of people don’t know how to do the math. Big whoop. Just because you can’t do the math, doesn’t prove that others can’t.

      The oscillations of ENSO are easily understood and only slightly painful to compute:

      which leads to being able to model a portion of the natural variability in global temperature

      ENSO is definitely a part of the global temperature signal and so once this is made predictable, we can model the pause and much of the natural variation in temperature.

    • The oscillations of ENSO are easily understood and only slightly painful to compute:

      Plain geometry is “easily understood and only slightly painful to compute”, but that doesn’t mean it properly models the Earth’s surface. (Same for geometry on a spherical surface.) The math (calculus) involved in Newtonian Physics is “easily understood and only slightly painful to compute”, but that doesn’t mean it properly models space/time in this universe.

      Just because you can produce an exercise in curve-fitting that roughly matches the behavior of one output variable calculated from observations of a hyper-complex non-linear system doesn’t mean you’ve pinned down anything that means anything about how it works.


    • Just because you can produce an exercise in curve-fitting that roughly matches the behavior of one output variable calculated from observations of a hyper-complex non-linear system doesn’t mean you’ve pinned down anything that means anything about how it works.

      Sure I can. It’s painfully obvious if you understand the physics and the math.

      Maybe you want to read this harder, and then get back to me:

      http://contextearth.com/2014/05/02/the-soim-substantiating-the-chandler-wobble-and-tidal-connection-to-enso/

      Its sloshing on a dipole, driven by a periodically varying deep-sea disturbance.

  61. Interesting new paper on Greenland ice melt and the Western Tropical Pacific. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140507132657.htm

  62. Donald Rapp

    Evidently some people revert back to their pre-conceived belief that ENSO oscillations even out, and ignore the data that tell us since year 1900 that has not been true. I refer to Bernd Palmer, Steve Mosher, and WebHubTelescope

    • As I wrote above, that’s totally a matter of definition. The even out with some definition lead to warming with another and to cooling in the third alternative.

    • “Evidently some people revert back to their pre-conceived belief that ENSO oscillations even out…”
      ______
      What some fail to grasp is that ENSO itself is acted upon by external forcings over longer periods of time. During a period of time when both the troposphere and oceans are warming, the net energy cannot be coming from mere ENSO, but there would have to be an external forcing acting on the system.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      It is quite evident that ENSO – and therefore Pacific states – doesn’t even out over a 1000 years.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Vance2012-AntarticaLawDomeicecoresaltcontent.jpg.html?sort=3&o=158

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      And really the point is that ENSO – and coherent ocean and atmospheric variability generally – added to surface temps between 1976 and 1998 – and is constraining temps since. A big part of this seems to be cloud cover changes.

      e.g. http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/cloud_palleandlaken2013_zps3c92a9fc.png.html?sort=3&o=103

      Either way – it constrains recent anthropogenic tropospheric warming to a relatively minor influence.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Donald Rapp: Evidently some people revert back to their pre-conceived belief that ENSO oscillations even out, and ignore the data that tell us since year 1900 that has not been true.

      Despite repeated questioning, I have never been given an answer to the question “Over what period of time do the ENSO oscillations even out?” Also, “How is that known?”

      Apparently it’s definitional: if the chaotic oscillation does not even out, then it wasn’t an “oscillation”. And there is no useful information concerning the period over which the evening out occurs.

    • ENSO oscillations revert to the mean. Period. That’s an axiom of the definition of an oscillation.

      Note that it is painful for me to even write “ENSO oscillations”, as what comes out is “El Nino Southern Oscillation oscillations”. So right they named it twice.

      • David Springer

        Maybe you shouldn’t take ‘oscillation’ quite so literally. Oscillators are predictable. No one has any skill at predicting ENSO oscillations.

        This is ENSO:

        This is an oscillator output:

        ENSO is a highly perturbed oscillator at best. Stop being stupid.

    • Bernd Palmer

      @Marler: “if the chaotic oscillation does not even out, then it wasn’t an “oscillation”. And there is no useful information concerning the period over which the evening out occurs.”
      Oscillation = Variation or fluctuation between two states, limits, etc.
      There is no information concerning the period, because the period is variable and depends on external forcings we don’t know. Here’s a task for climate scientists!
      @Gates: “the net energy cannot be coming from mere ENSO, but there would have to be an external forcing acting on the system.”
      ENSO is an abstract concept to describe an effect, it’s not a climate actor. The external forcing that injects energy is the one and only sun! The prevailing winds open and close the blinders during different phases of ENSO.
      Go read Bob Tisdale,

    • Sarge barked some orders:


      ENSO is a highly perturbed oscillator at best. Stop being stupid.

      It’s an oscillator whatever the flavor. So call it ENSIHPO for El Nino Southern Index Highly Perturbed Oscillator.

      Run a regression of the second derivative against the values in the SOI time-series, and you will only get periodic factors as a result.

      http://contextearth.com/2014/05/02/the-soim-substantiating-the-chandler-wobble-and-tidal-connection-to-enso/

      If it looks like a duck, its probably a duck.

      Now, where is your analysis?

    • 115 years of El Nino data is too short to know if they “even out” Also, if, as Mosher says, it’s just a pattern that makes the underlying force imbalance wobbly, then one would not expect El Nino’s to “even out”. Also, it is certain that the forcing influence is not 1:1 and has a variable time delay. It is also certain that there are underlying long period ocean oscillations that cancel or amplify El Ninos.

      The bottom line is there are no easy answers or control knobs in climate. The entire freaking system is controlling and different systems have different influences at different times. It’s not some simple circuit or mechanical process.

    • Matthew R Marler

      WebHubTelescope: ENSO oscillations revert to the mean. Period. That’s an axiom of the definition of an oscillation.

      Again no mention of time frame, or space. A multidimensional oscillation does not revert to its mean in every region in every observation interval. For points like these I refer you again to the later chapters of the textbook “Modern Thermodynamics” by Kondepudi and Prigogine, which has examples from computations and from chemical oscillations.


    • Matthew R Marler | May 9, 2014 at 3:02 pm |

      WebHubTelescope: ENSO oscillations revert to the mean. Period. That’s an axiom of the definition of an oscillation.

      Again no mention of time frame, or space. A multidimensional oscillation does not revert to its mean in every region in every observation interval. For points like these I refer you again to the later chapters of the textbook “Modern Thermodynamics” by Kondepudi and Prigogine, which has examples from computations and from chemical oscillations.

      You are basing that more on hope than on science, Marler.

      To do science, you actually have to lift a finger and do some analysis on the origins of the ENSO quasiperiodic oscillations.

      http://contextearth.com/2014/05/02/the-soim-substantiating-the-chandler-wobble-and-tidal-connection-to-enso/

      See how that works? The oscillations are driven by a slightly varying periodic forcing related to the pole tide. If you do the math, this is what kind of agreement you can get:

      Amazing. I could care less about what the Prig says.

      Read this paper on sloshing dynamics:
      Frandsen, Jannette B. “Sloshing motions in excited tanks.” Journal of Computational Physics 196.1 (2004): 53-87.

    • Howie sez:


      The bottom line is there are no easy answers or control knobs in climate. The entire freaking system is controlling and different systems have different influences at different times. It’s not some simple circuit or mechanical process.

      I’ll tell you what you lack: perseverance.

      Or perhaps you give up before you even try, or try to be a Debbie Downer and demotivate everyone else. A mark of a denier.

      This is the way to do it:

      http://contextearth.com/2014/05/02/the-soim-substantiating-the-chandler-wobble-and-tidal-connection-to-enso/

      ENSO is a simple sloshing mechanism. One could have guessed this is what is happening, but even an innocuous-looking differential such as the Mathieu equation is a beast to handle. That is likely why it has escaped notice. And that is why persistence is both an ally and antagonist to doing science.

    • Matthew R Marler

      WebHubTelescope: To do science, you actually have to lift a finger and do some analysis on the origins of the ENSO quasiperiodic oscillations.

      http://contextearth.com/2014/05/02/the-soim-substantiating-the-chandler-wobble-and-tidal-connection-to-enso/

      See how that works? The oscillations are driven by a slightly varying periodic forcing related to the pole tide. If you do the math, this is what kind of agreement you can get:

      Amazing. I could care less about what the Prig says.

      So tell us again over what time spans ENSO will even out. Will it have evened out by Oct 2014, Oct 2015? And how do you know that? Or has it already evened out and begun unevening again?

    • Marler, Nice try at a fallacious argument. I see that you tried the one called “moving the goalposts” or “raising the bar” this time:

      http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html#goalposts

      Your rhetorical tricks are even more predictable than ENSO. How do you like them apples?

    • Matthew R Marler

      WebHubTelescope: I see that you tried the one called “moving the goalposts” or “raising the bar” this time:

      I have asked the same question repeatedly: Over what time span does the ENSO “even out”? I’m sure you’d tell us if you knew the answer.

    • The SOI part of ENSO stays very close to a mean of zero. It is close to a standing wave dipole.

  63. Newport_Mac

    I guess I’m having a left brain moment but isn’t the climate system reflected in physiology?

    Respiratory, Circulatory, Digestive, Neurological (pretty cosmic ; ), etc.

    One simply must address the organism Earth as a whole to understand it?

  64. NASA are planning to put up 6 satellites to get a grip on sea level once and for all.

    A better and more pressing use for 6 satellites would be to measure cloud coverage and their impact on temperatures, radiation etc etc. That might also add some useful information to the El Nino and La Nina question.

    I think I’d also like to see some work done to look at how much heat the ocean floor might be imparting to the water above, I assume the amount is trivial and irrelevant, but it’d be nice to know for sure.

  65. All right, I am jumping in with both feet where I probably don’t belong.

    1) And then the Easterly winds slow….And God created…What makes the Equatorial Easterlies to slow allowing the built up warm water in the Western Pacific to then move Eastward? It has been suggested that the sun, particularly UV output influences our Stratosphere via making and diminishing Ozone which warms the Stratosphere which…etc etc etc. Have I got that right? is there more?

    2) Now I reveal more of my ignorance: When the warm water in the Western Pacific starts to move Eastward, what governs the RATE of movement? To me, the rate of change would also govern whether there was a blast of warm water crashing up against South America, a Tsunami of sorts; or, there was a slow movement Eastward and there was time for mixing and spreading out of warm water both North and South. This has occurred to me while I was making pancakes and watched the batter splash or spread slowly depending upon how quickly I added batter to the griddle. The rate of spread was dependent not only upon the consistency of the batter (analogous to the mass and density of the warm water heading East) but also the rate of delivery.

    3) I wonder if El Nino rate of delivery of its water mass Eastward in part is governed by the phase of the PDO (Positive or Negative)? and the impact upon the warm water as it makes its way in its Northern distribution as it spreads to East Pacific or West Pacific. I believe that Bob Tisdale says that the PDO is a spacial distribution concept; East and West (phases of PDO) are temperature anomalies relative to one another. If there is slow distribution or there is a Western (Modiki) El Nino distribution, the atmospheric influence may be considerably different. Hence, the current warmists looking in the recent past and predicting a gigantic El Nino with all its sound and fury, a little later on may be, like me, an expression of their ignorance.

    • Now I reveal more of my ignorance: When the warm water in the Western Pacific starts to move Eastward, what governs the RATE of movement?

      IIRC, there’s an Equatorial Westerly that’s usually well above the surface in the Eastern (and usually central) Pacific. During the run-up to an El Niño these westerlies tend to descend to the surface, pushing the Equatorial Countercurrent eastwards to South America. I’m not sure how much of this picture was late 20th century speculation, and how much was actually supported by actual research results.

      In any event, the pile-up of warm water in the West Pacific/Indian Ocean is probably sufficient to drive the Equatorial Counter-Current farther east when the surface Tropical Easterlies (trade winds) weaken. They are responsible for driving the warm waters of the Tropical Pacific to the west, creating the pile-up. Thus, “the RATE of movement” would be (at least partly) determined by how much the easterlies weaken, and perhaps how much the Equatorial Westerlies actually blow along the surface, reinforcing the effect of the pile-up of warm water in the west.

      I have a speculation that part of the El Niño process involves a sort of “clamping” of the equatorial westerlies (at the surface) to the Andes Plateau. At the equator, the Andes are little more than a very large mountain range, however the extensive relief is sufficient to produce a very high Ekman spiral, allowing large amounts of low-altitude air to move southwards to the altiplano, where convection can carry it to the tropopause.

      This means that if very warm, humid air at (or near) the equatorial surface reaches the Andes, it can be quickly removed and convected to heights. This in turn will create a surface low-pressure area at the equator just off the coast of South America, which in turn will feed back into the Equatorial Westerlies, pulling them east.* They, in turn, will pull very warm surface waters (equatorial counter-current) with them, adding fuel to the reaction.

      *Note that at most latitudes, air doesn’t generally move from high to low pressure areas, but rather at right angles to the pressure gradient. This is caused by Coriolis “force”, and generally called the “geostrophic wind”. Near the surface (or other boundary layer) the Ekman spiral describes how friction causes air to blow at an angle to the the pressure gradient, allowing it to slip from high- to low-pressure. At the equator (and within around 5° of it), there is no Coriolis “force”, so a low-pressure cell at any altitude will propagate west or east.

    • AK
      “I have a speculation that part of the El Niño process involves a sort of “clamping” of the equatorial westerlies (at the surface) to the Andes Plateau.”

      When I think of a clamping experiment, I think of limiting to a specific position. Did I get that right? If so, clamping at the Andes resulting in movement South?

      Thank you for that speculation of the Ekman effect as the warm moist air reaches the Andes Mountains and heads South. The possible upward deflection of the Westerlies; something sounded correct. Perhaps a glider pilots updraft dream if I understood you correctly.

      Thank you for the link. I did have another epiphany: page 14, next paragraph first two sentences another discussion re: the change to El Nino conditions with the lower level Easterlies faltering and the upper level Westerlies taking over and pushing hot water East. The explanation for the onset of El Nino was put forth as a change in atmospheric and ocean circulation. That’s it; there’s this circulatory change and….then God said “let there be light… and shazam, there was light.

      I am not trivializing your efforts nor you knowledge about such things from which I continue to learn when I re-read your comments. It is the shazam part on which I stumble. What causes the Easterlies to faulter, initially?

      Once the Easterlies faulter, there seems to be a whole bunch of things that may influence the rate of propagation of hot water East. Understanding what influences the rate of change then may provide a more informed opinion as to when this treasure trove of hot water will make its escape from Australian and Indonesian entrapment, and, how fast. And as a side bar, how wet/dry and where in the USA will these conditions be in the following months.

      Again, thank you

    • @RiHo08…

      When I think of a clamping experiment, I think of limiting to a specific position. Did I get that right? If so, clamping at the Andes resulting in movement South?

      Not exactly. The Equatorial Westerlies are, AFAIK confined to latitudes within a few degrees of the equator because they depend on the absence of the geostrophic effect. But, IIRC, they blow at the surface in the west, lifting off somewhere along the way, continuing to blow at high altitudes all the way over the Andes. The point where they lift off the surface can move east/west depending on the condition of the Tropical Easterlies (Trade Winds).

      With an El Niño, IIRC, the longitude where they tend to lift off the surface migrates east, towards the Andes, where the very high relief encourages convection to the very upper tropopause. The “clamping effect” I’m talking about is when they get far enough east that the movement of very warm humid surface air can flow straight into the low-pressure cell generated by the Andes. At that point, increased flow of energy (in the form of latent heat) provides increasing amounts of “fuel” for the convection that, in turn, increases the power of the low-pressure cell, which in turn tends to pull the point where the Westerlies lift off the surface even farther east. A positive feedback cycle/effect that “clamps” the end of the Equatorial Westerlies to the Andes.

      The southwards movement of air is facilitated by the increased height of the Ekman spiral due to the high relief of the Andes, allowing it to penetrate far into latitudes where, normally, Coriolis effects would prevent it. The Andean Cordillera, where the air ends up, is similar to the Tibetan Plateau in being a location where high land altitudes, high relief in the bordering mountains, and solar heating at high altitudes allows convection to pull the air to the top of the tropopause.

      The possible upward deflection of the Westerlies; something sounded correct. Perhaps a glider pilots updraft dream if I understood you correctly.

      Actually, the deflection I’m talking about is more horizontal than vertical. Upwards movement is usually provided by convection, primarily thunderstorms. The deflection is of westerlies blowing along the equator into latitudes they normally couldn’t reach due to Coriolis “forces”.

      It is the shazam part on which I stumble. What causes the Easterlies to faulter, initially?

      Well, from Bob tisdale’s Illustrated Introduction to the Basic Processes that Drive El Niño and La Niña Events

      Then some weather event—and that’s precisely what it is, a weather event or group of weather events—causes the trade winds to relax. That means the coupled ocean-atmosphere processes taking place in the tropical Pacific are no longer in balance. Sometimes, the weakened trade winds aren’t strong enough to hold the warm water in place in the west Pacific Warm Pool against gravity, so gravity takes over and all of that lovely warm water that was piled in the west Pacific Warm Pool suddenly sloshes to the east. That’s how an El Niño starts.

      See also his blog post ENSO Basics: Westerly Wind Bursts Initiate an El Niño. From that post:

      El Niño events are initiated by the relaxation of the trade winds associated with a single or a series of Westerly Wind Bursts in the western tropical Pacific. The causes of Westerly Wind Bursts are tropical cyclones (individual, multiple, and cross equatorial), cold surges from the mid-latitudes, and convection associated with the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO), or a combination of them. To complicate things, there are indications that ENSO can create the background conditions that promote Westerly Wind Bursts.

  66. Bernd Palmer

    @RiHo08: “When the warm water in the Western Pacific starts to move Eastward, what governs the RATE of movement? ”
    Good question, no answer! Because climate science so far was more concerned about CO2 than about how climate works.

  67. What if humanity was so smart it was possible to determine an optimum ppm of atmospheric CO2 and hypothetically, the ideal amount was far larger than would ever come from human causes. What then?

    • Wagathon | May 8, 2014 at 5:55 pm |

      What if unicorns?

      Regardless of what the ‘best’ level of CO2 (Best for you? For your friends? Surely not ‘best’ for everyone; it would be an incredible coincidence if the optimum for each individual were identical. For people who paid to have the level changed and compensated everyone for that at a fair price? For thieves who stole the benefits for themselves without paying? Who cares what’s best for thieves?), the transition from current level to that ‘best’ level has to itself have a ‘best’ rate, least costly to each, or those who bear the most cost compensated by those who obtain the most benefit by this deliberate use of a scarce, rivalrous, excludable, administrable resource.

      Do you think the current rate — the fastest we can reasonably conclude has happened in the lifespan of civilization, if not of our species — is just by sheer coincidence that best rate?

      What if leprechauns?

    • Bart R

      How about plants?

      Max

      PS And all us animals that feed on them…

      • Anyone can easily understand as easily as Walter Starck that the Left’s “greenhouse with no roof is something only an academic would design. Anyone with practical experience would know immediately it could not work.”

        Don’t be afraid to see what you see. ~Ronald Reagan

    • If man-made CO2 were capable of warming the earth to hold off the end of the interglacial then we owe to our children to keep CO2 as high as possible.

    • manacker | May 8, 2014 at 7:27 pm |

      Give up on the BIG LIE, and try to grasp Liebig’s Law of the Minimum:

      Micronutrients, fixed Nitrogen, Phosphates, and Potassium are all more limiting than CO2, and would be down to 200 ppmv.

      Past 200 ppmv in nature, where artificial fertilizers aren’t available, CO2 is not a plant food, it’s a pollutant that modifies plant hormones, in the same way steroids make athletes’ muscles bigger at a cost to the health of their internal (and in the case of males, external) organs. The same relationship as affects plants affects soil microbes, actively reducing Nitrogen-fixing action of soil biota.

      Emitting excess CO2 is the plant equivalent of pushing steroids on every living plant on the planet. The fossil industry is the Walter White of plants.

    • sunshinehours1 | May 8, 2014 at 8:02 pm |

      Dude, the end of the interglacial isn’t likely for 15,000-30,000 years.

      Just what are you planning to do to keep your children alive that long, suspended animation?

    • Dood – repeat after me – pho-to-syn-the-sis

      More CO2 – more plant growth
      More CO2 – more crops yielded
      More CO2 – less water loss from open stomates

      Learn it. Live it. Love it.

    • maksimovich

      Give up on the BIG LIE, and try to grasp Liebig’s Law of the Minimum:

      Bart showing his ignorance again,the Liebig problem is well known as both weak in its biological applications ( in the hands of the ignorant) and a mathematical train wreck (hilberts problem) eg Huisman and Weissing

      One may criticize Liebig’s Law on both biological and mathematical
      grounds. From a biological point of view, it is known that several essential resources do not follow Liebig’s Law but show interactive effects. Such resources are called interactively essential resources (sensu Tilman 1982). Iron and nitrogen are good examples. Iron is a component of the enzymes nitrate reductase and nitrite reductase
      (Timmermans et al. 1994). As a consequence, the combination of iron and nitrate does not obey Liebig’s Law but iron and nitrate have interactive effects on phytoplankton growth (Price et al. 1991;
      Maldonado & Price 1996). In fact, many resource combinations might have interactive effects at the physiological level.

      From a mathematical point of view, the minimum operator commonly used to model Liebig’s Law implies that the growth rate of a species is not a continuously differentiable function of resource availability. One might argue that this mathematical feature introduces model artefacts
      and, thus, that results obtained with Liebig’s Law might not be robust.

    • Eunice | May 8, 2014 at 8:27 pm |

      More CO2 – more plant growth

      It depends what you mean by “more plant growth.” Depending on the species, some plants better able to exploit the hormone changes caused by CO2 overdose in their early development will become weedier – leggier, more aggressive, faster growing but ultimately many will be shorter-lived, after strangling out the competition. The growth that does take place will be nitrogen-deficient, therefore protein-deficient. Woody plants will be more brittle; leafy plants will wither sooner.

      More CO2 – more crops yielded

      When micronutrients, fixed nitrogen, phosphates and potassium are all available in excess — which requires intensive agriculture — then crop yields may be higher at higher CO2 levels, so long as three conditions are met:

      1.) extreme heat does not affect the plants above the soil,
      2.) extreme wetness does not affect the roots below the soil,
      3.) plant vigor is not drained from the fruiting bodies, seeds or other crop parts by diminished dwarfism due plant hormone changes.

      We know the first condition is becoming more likely due AGW.

      We know the second condition is becoming more likely due AGW, except in drought conditions (also becoming more likely) where the first condition dominates.

      We know the third condition varies by plants, but begins to be a significant factor above 550 ppmv, which can happen in densely-planted at night when leaves absorb oxygen and plants emit CO2, in particular in low-lying and moist conditions typical of, say, rice. Dwarf rice has 30% higher yield, which is why it was bred; losing 30% of rice yields is not a benefit.

      More CO2 – less water loss from open stomates

      We generally say ‘stomata’. There are a number of reasons plants evolved stomata. Generally, the second most important reason is to allow cooling by evapotranspiration; when hormone changes cause stomata to fail to reduce plant temperature due high CO2 levels, plants succumb to heat sooner. See condition #1, above.

      You’ve missed that CO2 drains the soil of fixed nitrogen at an accelerated pace. After micronutrients, fixed nitrogen is the most limited of plant nutrients; the more CO2 in the wild, the worse off wild plants get.

      Try to study plant biology from someone other than the Idsos.

      maksimovich | May 8, 2014 at 8:42 pm |

      Weak though it is, as determined by universality of application and parsimony of exceptions, Liebig’s is perfectly suited to CO2 in this case.

      If you have problems with dumping iron into the oceans, by all means start a thread that talks about iron in the oceans, and I promise not to try to inappropriately apply Liebig’s there.

      • The entire science of global warming alarmism is built upon chimera. Let us assume an increase in the concentration of atmospheric CO2 as an avoidable consequence of modernity. Let’s work with 300 going to 400 ppm because of industrialization. A 33% increase. Sounds like a big jump, right? But, in going from 0.03 to 0.04%, does that extra 0.01% of CO2 in the air make any difference?

        If you don’t know it is only because this is the sort of question for which AGW True Believers really don’t want an answer. Climatist authoritarians want you to keep the faith. Government scientists do not ever want to put this question to a test. The AGW witchdoctors only want you to listen to superstitious analogies like polar bears are dying and CO2 is a deadly poison so any increase no matter how small poses life-threatening consequences. But your exhaled breath is 40,000 ppm not 300-400. Compared to the atmosphere there is a ten-fold increase in the air of modern submarines. CO2 is added to greenhouses because plants love it. To plants CO2 is fertilizer (and plants exhale the oxygen we need to live). Greenhouses are warm inside like being in an automoble with the windows up because convection is halted not because there’s more CO2 inside. Comparing atmospheric CO2 levels over the geophysical record Dr. William Happer testified under oath before congress that currently the Earth is CO2-starved.

    • Don Monfort

      I gotta agree with barty, on this one. Plants hate CO2. Always have. CO2 is particularly poison when the leaves of plants that were planted at night absorb oxygen and the plants emit CO2, in particular in low-lying and moist conditions typical of, say, rice and Hershey bars. Did I get that right, barty? It is little oblique.

    • Wagathon | May 8, 2014 at 11:15 pm |

      If you don’t know, you either don’t want to know, or you’ve been spending too much time reading propaganda and obfuscation full of name-calling, misdirection, irrelevancy and assertions without foundation.

      The tip of a splinter is less than 0.01% of your body weight. Does it make a difference? It does when it touches a nerve.

      Hormones are less than 0.01% of your body weight. Do they make a difference? What an absurd foundation for a question, to minimize the number one permanent greenhouse gas and the number one plant hormone modifying drug on the planet, in an argument appealing to the fallacy of personal incredulity.

      “AGW True Believers”, “Climatist authoritarians”, “Government scientists”, “alarmism”, “chimera”, “witchdoctors”? Is there an epithet you have not yet used to accuse people who hold different views than yours of being inferior to you, out to get you, or otherwise inimical? This Tourette’s-like pattern of propaganda may let you avoid dealing with facts, but at the end of the day, you’re left with none of the credibility you vainly seek to steal from those who have the facts on their side.

      AGW is real, it is significant, it is costly, and it is risky. It isn’t alarmism to say so; it’s alarmism to suggest economic ruin will befall anyone who accepts the inescapable conclusions of Science. AGW is imposed on most of us by few of you, who take much of value from most of us, without our consent, and without compensating most of us, because you have no compunction about taking what is not yours and hurting anyone if you don’t have to face the direct consequences.

      A submarine is not the whole world, and red herrings about the air quality of enclosed spaces when the topic is radiative transfer physics in the open atmosphere and biochemistry of plants and microbes is simply misdirection. No one should still be such a naif at this late date as to fall for such ploys.

      CO2 is _not_ a plant fertilizer in any sense, not a plant food above 200ppmv unless the plants are supplied with a surfeit of less plentiful nutrients in the artificial conditions of greenhouses or farmers’ fields, and CO2 has serious negative effects on plants and soil as its concentration increases above 280 ppmv. Pretending it isn’t so, covering your ears and shutting your eyes and yelling “La-la-la-la-CO2-IS-MANNA!” like Happer or the Idsos only makes the source out to be an unbalanced evangelical zealot, impossible to reason with, and unprofitable to deal with.

      The topic is not convection and the GHE is not about closing windows in a car; even small children grasp the difference, so we must conclude you are intentionally trying to sew confusion with bafflegab and absurdity.

      Climate Etc. has already seen all these falsehoods of yours trotted out, and like the Skydragon Slayers put to rest for the fictional spin they are. Beating your team of dead horses any more is just a waste of our time.

      • That CO2 is not poison is the most solid thing we know. Greenhouse gases have become EPA “regulated pollutants” under the Clean Air Act for one reason only—i.e., an absence of reason. There is nothing unique or particularly complicated about climate change. It cannot be regulated because humans cannot regulate the Sun. However, a referendum on the real-world consequences of Leftist ideology is the record of misery, poverty and death that has been caused by it—everything else is dogma.

    • Wagathon | May 9, 2014 at 10:25 am |

      I’m no Leftist; I subscribe to minimal government to maintain vigorous Capitalist Market conditions. Barack Obama is one of the three most conservative US Presidents in the last century. Do you call Warren Buffet a Leftist? The accusation that Science is serving the interests of the Left is absurd, and there are many extremely conservative voices saying so, from Jon Huntsman to Bob Inglis to .. well, okay, they’re all a bit whacky, and but that’s not the end of it.

      http://energyandenterprise.com/writing-competition-2013/ features three thoughtful winning essays, with plausible political messages perfectly reasonable for a right thinking American. http://www.carbontax.org/who-supports/conservatives/ lists plenty of people who could not be described as Leftist. I’m all for protecting the economy from the sort of communism, subsidy, tyranny and corruption endemic in Big Government and politburo decision by secret panels of ‘experts’.. which isn’t that how the fossil fuel industry gets to be so profitable long past the time it should be shutting down and handing over the industry to more economically efficient goods?

      As for who is a Leftist, I’d like to point out that Bjorn Lomborg’s graduate degrees are Ph.D. from Institute of Political Science, University
      of Copenhagen, dissertation “Simulating Social Science”, and M.A. from University of Århus, thesis “An evolution of Cooperation.” He’s as far Left as you can get. Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick are from Socialist Canada, for crying out loud. Royalists Nigel Lawson and Christopher Monckton are.. well, who knows what they are with their monarchy and aristocracy foreignlandisms. So if you want to sling that Leftist crap around, you’re bound to lose on facts.

      Or you can keep this civilized and avoid the ad hom name-calling and
      bearing false witness, and stick with Scientific facts about the physical world.

      There is no doubt CO2 benefits plants. In the wild, from 150 ppmv up to 280 ppmv, CO2 is a great overall benefit, past which lack of less plentiful nutrients and hormone and soil microbe changes have widely variable effects depending on conditions, sometimes benefiting less desirable plants over more desirable ones, and always tending to reduce wild plant diversity.

      When combined with plentiful levels of micronutrients, fixed nitrogen, phosphates and potash such as in hothouses and intensive farming, CO2 continues to benefit plants in the main up to about 550 ppmv in a sigmoid curve that begins to tail off soon after, and at which point hormone amplification of auxins, gibberellins and ethylene overtakes protein formation and leads to brittle, early browning, malformed parts and underdeveloped roots.

      So, yes, it is right to call CO2 a pollutant in some circumstances. Soot is useful in printers’ ink and some 862 other industrial applications according to the last list I saw. Between CO2 and soot, soot has more actual benefits to the economy (albeit, CO2 is necessary at the 150 ppmv – 280 ppmv level for organic life); are you saying soot isn’t a pollutant? Sulfates form countless valuable industrial chemicals; are you saying sulfates aren’t a pollutant? Your claims are at least consistent in their utter absurdity.

      I think it’s a shame the EPA is involved in regulation of CO2; clearly, if CO2E emissions were properly priced on the Market, and the owners of the scarce, rivalrous, excludable, administrable resource paid just compensation by the Law of Supply and Demand (which, by the way, is just as ‘weak’ technically as Liebig’s Law of the Minimum; go ahead, say something else bad about the Law of Supply and Demand in America), then the EPA would have no role in the regulation of a CO2 level that wouldn’t have risen since 1950.

      • The Left and global warming alarmists are the same folks: they’re good at exporting jobs to places like China, India and Brazil –i.e., nations that are far less environmentally sensitive.

      • Anyone calling Obama a conservative is a liar. he is a card carrying socialist (that is not an insult, merely a statement of fact). Warren Buffet may be a purple dinosaur, but it has nothing to do with why he is backing Obama. Think BNSF. As long as KXL is not built, he reaps a ton of money.

        it is not personal, it is business.

    • @ Bart R | May 9, 2014 at 1:35 pm |

      Barack Obama is one of the three most conservative US Presidents in the last century.

      *****
      That’s got to be biggest lie from you yet, Bart. Obama socialized medicine. Regulations have grown by leaps and bounds under his regime. The government is more intrusive in the lives of individuals and businesses. Witness the Bundy event. Obama and his Dimowit cronies want to limit personal freedoms at every turn. If they had their way, no one but them and the police would have guns. They have armed a long list of agencies that shouldn’t have guns at all, essentially militarizing the civilian branch of government. The list of offenses to freedom and the Constitution is long here. I guess the fact you consider Obama to be conservative just highlights how far to the extreme left you lie.

      • Of course… B.O. was awarded a Nobel because the Eurocommies believed he was one of the most conservative US Presidents in the last century. That makes perfect sense.

    • Wagathon | May 9, 2014 at 1:41 pm |

      “Jobs” get “exported” when competition suffers. The USA has such high corporate and personal income taxes and fees to subsidize the fossil industry that it can’t compete against the knock-off zones. The fix is simple: end subsidies, replace corporate and personal income taxes with carbon taxes. People will pay only for what they use, will economize from luxuries that do not stimulate economic growth toward the necessities that fuel an advancing economy, and newer, better jobs will spring up in the fertile Marketplace of labor and capital.

      So Obama’s one of the three most conservative US presidents in a century; it doesn’t mean he’s abandoned the thinking that got us into this mess, endemic to every president for the past hundred years.

      jim2 | May 9, 2014 at 1:43 pm |

      And yet, the world’s leading authority on the Left, the Left itself, say about Obama: http://www.obamatheconservative.com/ .. and with actual documentation backing up their claims, no less. While you have assertions and waffle. Obama does all the things the Left hates. By odd coincidence, many of them are the same things you claim to hate, too.

      The Obama health plan is just the Dole health plan, except implemented online with less competence. It’s by far a more conservative health plan than the Romney health plan at the state level, when he was governor. The Left are arguing it’s a stooge plan stood up to prevent what the Left really wanted from moving forward. Of course, the Left is full of conspiracy theorists who will believe anything that’s well-documented and thoroughly researched, so we have to discount their conclusions somewhat, compared to the opinions of people who prove their conspiracy theories with quotes from the Bible.

      As for personal freedoms: Obama’s presidency has seen more private gun sales than the next four presidents’ administrations combined. Name a single personal freedom you’ve lost under Barack Obama; I’ll name four you’ve gained for every one you can list.

      And then there’s the Right: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/is-barack-obama-a-republican-realist/

      Your claims fall short on all counts, and from all sides.

    • To say an evil alliance between governmental leaders and big business/the rich is not a mark of conservatisim. Hit Ler was a socialist but had the cooperation of big business there. The article you linked is just so much bunkum.

    • I imagine Bart must believe that Obama’s good friend, Bill Ayers, is also a staunch consrvative – LOL.
      From the article:

      Actually, Barack Obama did not simply “embrace” a concept that others developed; instead, the very roots of Common Core are in the early ideas generated by him and his fellow radical community organizer, Bill Ayers.
      Just prior to the presidential election of 2008, Dr. Stanley Kurtz, Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, wrote an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal in which he observed that then-Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s “most important executive experience” was heading up the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), an education foundation that was the invention of Bill Ayers, founder of the Weather Underground in the 1960s.
      Obama led the CAC from 1995 to 1999 and remained on the board until 2001. The foundation funneled more than $100 million into community organizations and radical education activists.

      Kurtz continued that the CAC’s agenda channeled Ayers’ educational philosophy “which called for infusing students and their parents with a radical political commitment, and which downplayed achievement tests in favor of activism.” Ayers wrote that teachers should act as community organizers whose focus is provoking resistance to American racism and oppression.
      “I’m a radical, Leftist, small ‘c’ communist,” Ayers said in an interview in Ron Chepesiuk’s Sixties Radicals.
      Implementing Ayers’ radical philosophy in schools required them to associate with “external partners” that received the actual funding, such as ACORN, the South Shore African Village Collaborative, and the Dual Language Exchange. In addition, funding was extended to promote “leadership” among parents who would ultimately adopt Obama’s political agenda.

      http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/12/04/Roots-of-Common-Core-Lie-In-Association-Between-Barack-Obama-And-Bill-Ayers

    • Wagathon | May 9, 2014 at 2:42 pm |

      All this talk of fear, and none of fact. MSG holds no terrors, and few risks..

      http://jn.nutrition.org/content/130/4/1049S.short

      http://jn.nutrition.org/content/130/4/1058S.short

      And, oh, is a choice you make whether you consume it or not.

      CO2 emitted by someone else has been taken out of your control. If you want the CO2, fine, put on a mask and turn the knob up to eleven. If you want it for your plants, great, either seal them indoors, or sequester an equivalent amount. If you want the carbon cycle to process your CO2 waste, pay for the service you use.

      • I’m not that concerned with a 0.01% increase in soot or splinter size either. No sensible person would be.

        If we were planning a mission outside the solar system we’d want lots of CO2 to grow healthy plants for our journey to the stars–e.g., growers keep CO2 levels at 1,000 to 2,000 ppm in Earthly greenhouses, which is about the level you’d find in a lecture hall full of students and pretty much what has been normal over most of Earth’s 550 million year history. Plants begin to die below 150 ppm. The Sahara wasn’t always a desert.

        CO2 was given a bad rap, like coffee, alcohol, chocolate. People know better — remember when the food Nazis said eggs were bad for you? Global warming is the new cholesterol! The time has come for the people to embrace pragmatism and admit humanity needs less government-funded AGW research and a lot more energy.

        A reconsideration of what equitable energy access means for human development and the environment is needed. As this paper demonstrates, a massive expansion of energy systems, primarily carried out in the rapidly urbanizing global South, in combination with the rapid acceleration of clean energy innovation, is a more pragmatic, just, and morally acceptable framework for thinking about energy access. The time has come to embrace a high-energy planet. (See, Our High Energy Planet — A Climate Pragmatism Project)

    • jim2 | May 9, 2014 at 3:24 pm |

      Oh, look. Good old fashioned Guilt By Association.

      And they said such arguments would never come back, because no one would be so unconcerned with their own credibility as to raise them.

      Careful. One day, very soon, someone will prove your affiliation with me through these exchanges, and you’ll have to defend yourself from charges of being a Forcist.

      • Public money should no longer be used to fund the creation of fantasy GCMs when — as we learned early on with the example of Michael Mann’s ‘hockey stick’ — they are more religious than scientific. The Left is so desperate to find a theology that will provide future meaning, they dreamed up the illusion that their feeding off of the productive like government-funded gadflies provides a worthwhile service to society. But, endless filing cabinets full of official global warming research have proven to be nothing more than lockers crammed with cash-for-clunkers junk-science. “It does not matter who you are, or how smart you are, or what title you have, or how many of you there are, and certainly not how many papers your side has published, if your prediction is wrong then your hypothesis is wrong. Period.” ~Richard Feynman

    • Wagathon | May 9, 2014 at 5:31 pm |

      Repeating the same old debunked argument once is just a sign of slowness to realize when one’s been discredited.

      Repeating it twice is a sign one can’t accept the world as it is.

      Repeating it Wagathon times is just beating a dead horse.

      • I’m not that concerned with a 0.01% increase in soot or splinter size either. No sensible person would be.

        If we were planning a mission outside the solar system we’d want lots of CO2 to grow healthy plants for our journey to the stars–e.g., growers keep CO2 levels at 1,000 to 2,000 ppm in Earthly greenhouses, which is about the level you’d find in a lecture hall full of students and pretty much what has been normal over most of Earth’s 550 million year history. Plants begin to die below 150 ppm. The Sahara wasn’t always a desert.

        CO2 was given a bad rap, like coffee, alcohol, chocolate. People know better — remember when the food police said eggs were bad for you? Global warming is the new cholesterol! The time has come for the people to embrace pragmatism and admit humanity needs less government-funded AGW research and a lot more energy.

        A reconsideration of what equitable energy access means for human development and the environment is needed. As this paper demonstrates, a massive expansion of energy systems, primarily carried out in the rapidly urbanizing global South, in combination with the rapid acceleration of clean energy innovation, is a more pragmatic, just, and morally acceptable framework for thinking about energy access. The time has come to embrace a high-energy planet. (See, Our High Energy Planet — A Climate Pragmatism Project)

    • Wagathon | May 9, 2014 at 6:42 pm |

      Do you know how many deaths are attributed to soot-related causes every year?

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2944076/

      That’s some 440 deaths in your 0.01%, and that doesn’t count the effects on survivors. Are you that dementedly indifferent to death, or just bad at math, or both?

      You’re planning a trip outside the solar system, with your scant grasp of Math and Science? Uh.. yeah. That’s credible.

      CO2 isn’t “Evil”; it isn’t “Good”. It’s a chemical involved in biology, and you are philosophically indifferent to the rate of changing that chemistry.

      You’re incapable of accepting that some rates of change are undesirable.

      You don’t understand that the odds of the accidental rate of change of CO2 due to your favorite pastime — burning anything you want, any time you want, as much as you want — happening to be a strictly beneficial rate are infinitessimally small.

      You don’t realize that the notion that you are the tyrant the rest of the world accepts as the one entitled to decide that rate for the rest of us is absurd.

      We don’t want you making this decision for us. If we did, we’d have put it in writing.

      • Soot, smoot… the hubris and hypocrisy of global warming alarmists is palpable and that is what Richard Muller, et al., is shining a spotlight on. “Environmentalists who oppose the development of shale gas and fracking,” Muller said of the greenhouse gas fearmongers, “are making a tragic mistake… [and] concerns are either largely false or can be addressed by appropriate regulation… [S]hale gas is a wonderful gift that has arrived just in time. It can not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also reduce a deadly pollution known as PM2.5 that is currently killing over three million people each year, primarily in the developing world.”

    • Wagathon | May 9, 2014 at 7:58 pm |

      You grasp Muller’s argument on PM2.5, and yet reject the identical argument on CO2?

      http://static.berkeleyearth.org/pdf/berkeley-earth-response-to-economist.pdf

      Breathtaking double standard.

      • Has it ever occurred to you how astonishing the culture of Western society really is? Industrialized nations provide their citizens with unprecedented safety, health, and comfort. Average life spans increased fifty percent in the last century. Yet modern people live in abject fear. They are afraid of strangers, disease, of crime, of the environment. They are afraid of the homes they live in, the food they eat, the technology that surrounds them. They are in a particular panic over things they can’t even see–germs, chemicals, additives, pollutants. They are timid, nervous, fretful, and depressed. And even more amazingly, they are convinced that the environment of the entire planet is being destroyed around them. Remarkable! Like the belief in witchcraft, it’s an extraordinary delusion–a global fantasy worthy of the Middle Ages. Everything is going to hell, and we must all live in fear. Amazing. ~Crichton

    • Wagathon | May 9, 2014 at 10:44 pm |

      Repeating Crichton Wagathon times is still beating a dead horse, albeit with better diction and somewhat more elaborate grammar.

      We live — or rather lived — in the least fearful time in the history of history; an era of unparalleled optimism, between the end of the Red Scare and the Nuke Scare of Dr. Strangelove to the start of the Economic Scare, where high priests of panic repeated propaganda of ruined economies over and over until they became a palpable religion.

      No one’s going to ruin the Economy with Science. Science is how you know where the Economy starts and ends.

      • When you’ve invested so much in a project – as climatists have using someone else’s money – you’re driven to throw good money after bad. The only positive thing we can accomplish at this point is getting science out of the middle of the global warming debate. “We should let politics decide,” says Mike Hulme, “without being ambushed by a chimera of political prescriptiveness dressed up as scientific unanimity.”

    • Wagathon | May 10, 2014 at 10:53 am |

      So.. you’re saying Mike Hulme, UAE climatologist, arguing a point about disentangling politics and science from each other, means unicorns are real?

      Or is this just another one of your random drop-in irrelevancies?

    • Wagathon | May 10, 2014 at 11:38 am |

      You really need to learn what ad hom actually means.

      This isn’t that.

      This is holding you accountable for what you’ve said.

      You’re a propagandist, and you openly use fallacious statements and insinuation. When directly questioned, you never directly answer, but merely squirm and deflect.

      Answer the questions posed you about your claims.

      Do you believe in unicorns, or is it leprechauns?

      Why do you grasp Muller’s 2.5PM explanation, but not his identical CO2 one?

      And on, and on. If your claims lack the courage of your convictions, no one will fail to see it, and your claims will have no credibility. That’s about your claims, not about you as a person.

      • Those who continue to believe in hockey stick science deserve the seriousness we’d give to those who believe global warming is caused by aliens. And, all who hold public positions of trust and responsibility or who use public money to continue pushing hockey stick science on the people should be held accountable.

  68. “…these oscillators are in reality not causally independent but they are ALL just emergent local manifestations of (the) GLOBAL dynamics of the system.” – Milanovic

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/01/04/scenarios-2010-2040-part-iii-climate-shifts/

    Maybe this is what the ENSO region is.

  69. [Reposted]

    El Niño y su hermanita, La Niña

    The sunny boy that kept us warm
    Has vanished like a summer storm

    His little sister took his place
    And showed us all her teary face

    Gone are the days that seemed so hot
    For clouds and rain are all we’ve got

    The sister giggles, “Now I’m blamed.
    Big brother, though, was never named.”

    Wise model gurus ponder, “Why?”
    And gaze up hopeless to the sky

    One pundit mutters, “Woe is me!
    I can’t explain this tra-ves-tee!”

    While others tell us, “Can’tcha see?
    It’s climate var-ya-bi-li-tee!”

    And yet another expert bawls
    “It’s all them Chinese ae-ro-sols!”

    They thought it all was C-O-2
    And now they just don’t have a clue

    The Chief, who’s studied this for years
    Has now confirmed our darkest fears

    “It could last a decade or three,
    We’ll all just have to wait and see.”

    So buy long-handled B-V-D’s
    And fur-lined boots up to your knees

    Break out your woollies, brace for snow
    For how long even kim don’t know.

    Max

    • Mike Flynn

      manacker,

      I’m trying to stay away, but your pome tickles my fancy.

      Good one.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Peter Lang

      Excellent! So your not just a chemical engineer then?

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Reposted – unfortunately it doesn’t rhyme but it was pre stadium wave.

      Song of a Climate Zombie

      Am I some poor merchant of doubt selling shopworn and
      threadbare wares on the ebays of the ideas marketplace?
      Let me take stock then in a dismal reiteration of my poor
      argument that is my faint hope to delude and dismay you.

      Unless we can count on some mad and unprovable theory,
      then the unholy carbon ghost must grasp the photon closely
      in warming arms for a period of no less than 80 years or so.
      Or until judgement day – whichever comes before the cart.

      My stock in trade must then be: the power of ENSO twins,
      abrupt shifts in the PDO, the fickleness of the PNA, the
      slow pendulum of the AMO and the SAM with its storms
      freewheeling off the Southern Ocean to smash on the shore.

      These standard bearers of doubt engage in a global dance.
      Occasionally, they pirouette towards a grand crescendo and,
      then fly wildly to the ends of Earth in a new choreography,
      Tremendous energies cascading though powerful systems.

      Unless I miss my mark then this is the mark of chaos and
      a danger in its own right as climate system components
      jostle unpredictably and things settle into whatever pattern
      emerges – mayhaps a cold, cold, cold day on planet Earth.

      So, you are 90% sure we caused warming over 50 years?
      But the only global warming was between 1977 and 1998.
      By more than chance, it was the last period when the boy
      child, El Niño, reigned over climate in the Pacific Ocean.

      His influence can be seen in the record of Earth radiance.
      A slow decline in reflected short wave as cloud dissipated
      over the warm ocean and let in more of the Sun’s energy.
      Ten times more powerful than a gaseous embrace of photons.

      Before that time and since his sister, the girl child La Niña,
      ruled the waves with winds and cold, cold water rising in the
      eastern Pacific – with cool cloud spreading over cold seas –
      she will rule for some decades yet before ceding power again.

    • Chemical engineer, serf and so much more!

    • And Chief Hydrologist also, poet as well
      as natural philospher. oh, and dancer. )
      All in the market place of Judith’s salon.

  70.  

    The Earth, after receiving and storing over the twentieth century an anomalously large amount of heat energy, from the 1990′s began to return it gradually. The upper layers of the world ocean, completely unexpectedly to climatologists, began to cool in 2003. The heat accumulated by them unfortunately now is running out.

    (H. Abdussamatov, The Sun Defines the Climate)

  71. We worry about about climate, well some more than others, but here is the real worry!
    From the article:

    The people of planet Earth would be wise to raise their cosmic consciousness prior to contact with an extraterrestrial civilization, a new study shows.

    “The scientific community now accepts to some degree that this contact may occur in the next 50 to 100 years,” writes Gabriel De la Torre, a clinical neuropsychologist and human factors specialist at the University of Cádiz in Spain.

    http://news.discovery.com/space/alien-life-exoplanets/earthlings-not-ready-for-alien-encounters-yet-140508.htm

    • Well, Jim, if the aliens are interested in communicating with intelligent life, I suggest that they stay away from Cadiz. Given our complete lack of knowledge of any extra-terrestrial intelligent life, what basis could one possible have for expecting their arrival in the next 50-100 years?

      Oh, silly me! Of course, it’s due to global warming/climate change, like everything else!

    • But Faustino! Gabriel De la Torre is a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cádiz. Since he is a professor at a university, he must be correct that the scientific community believes we could be looking at ET eye to eye in 50 years. I wonder if 97% of scientists believe this? It must be so! We need to take the money we pour into climate stuff and divert it to preparation to meet these aliens. Obviously, this is a much bigger deal! Maybe they can tell us how to make our plant enjoy more CO2! Just think of the possibilities!!!

  72. Pingback: About the warnings of a monster super El Nino coming to you this year | Fabius Maximus

  73. Ian Wilson

    Steve Mosher said:

    El Nino is not the cause of warming
    it is merely a pattern.
    it is HOW the warming expresses itself in the system.
    The cause of warming is one and only one thing: a change in forcing.

    I agree with you 100 % Steve. The Sun and how its radiant energy is absorbed by the Earth’s oceans (via cloud albedo) is the source of the build up of energy in the climate system and the ENSO phenomenon is the primary a mechanism by which the energy build- up is re-distributed.

    However, I claim that an important factor that sets off El Nino events are the extreme Perigean Spring-Tides and here is my proof:

    http://astroclimateconnection.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/historical-el-nino-events-and-extreme.html

    • Ian Wilson

      Whether such tides set off El Nino events or not, they are certainly potentially capable of redistributing heat as part of a tidal surge and PERHAPS also in generating storms which have the same net effect.

      This from Clive Best

      “This definitely seems like an atmospheric tidal effect. These northern and southern “annular nodes” look to be related to the jet streams which determine weather patterns. The 18.6 year precession moves the tidal bulge further north (and south) which changes tidal patterns. Can the moon cause storms to form by tweaking the polar air front ?

      January 2014 was a particularly strange month which won’t occur again until 2018. There were 2 perigean spring tides – 1st January and 30th January. These are tides where the sun moon and earth line up in the same plane and both the earth and moon are at perigean (shortest distance) in their respective orbits. For a week or so either side of the new moon then we get strong high tides. Do strong tides also play a role in generating storms for example the recent ones over UK? When there is a severe storm then there are then two additional effects:

      1. The low pressure actually rises up the sea level – like in a vacuum pump. This recent low pressure was centered over cornwall.
      2. Strong on-shore winds whip up large waves which are driven over the tidal defenses.”

      ——- ———

      This paper by Charles Keeling looks at the tidal cycle as a possible cause of climate change

      http://www.pnas.org/content/97/8/3814.full

      As someone who lives next to the coast I am very well aware of the impact of high tides and of Perigean spring tides in particular. I understand there were -unusually – two Perigean tides this year so if an El Nino follows is that coincidence or has it been triggered? Does the data exist to link the two?

      I think the subject is interesting but not that well known and could perhaps benefit by being featured as an article on Climate Etc.

      tonyb

    • The likely root cause of ENSO is a fluctuating pressure in the deep ocean as first described by R. Gross at JPL.

      This fluctuation is strong enough to lead to the effect known as the Chandler Wobble as claimed by Gross.

      http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/releases/2000/chandlerwobble.html

      The key is that the Chandler Wobble beat frequency is very accurately measured and all that one has to do is feed this oscillating perturbation into a sloshing model of the ocean. What pops out is the ENSO behavior, as measured directly by the SOI timeseries.

      Take a look at this agreement:

      wow

  74. GaryM commented said: ” Bob Tisdale (I think), seem to believe that El Ninos increase global heat content by increasing clouds which decrease radiation of heat from the atmosphere”

    Gary, El Nino does on different places different things – but, overall global temp stays the same. Believing that water vapor / clouds increase the overall temp is wrong, best example: http://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/water-vapor-h2o/

    • 1982, 1987, and 1997 appear to contradict this:

    • Eunice | May 9, 2014 at 5:47 pm said: ”1982, 1987, and 1997 appear to contradict this”

      Eunice,
      those chart are cherry picking temp on few places and referring to it as ”overall global temp” :
      6 000 thermometers cannot say what is overall global temp, where are billions of variations in temp.
      Atmosphere is not as human body – when is under the armpit one degree higher = the whole body is higher by that much. it doesn’t work like that for the atmosphere. Those charts are intended for brainwashing and confusing

  75. Generalissimo Skippy

    Performing a correlation analysis between SST and ISCCP/MODIS total cloud amount we find that overall there is a negative correspondence between cloud at middle latitudes and a positive correspondence at low latitudes. In particular, a strong positive correlation between SST and total cloud is identified over the Equatorial Pacific region (6ºN–6ºS) of r = 0.74 and 0.60 for ISCCP and MODIS, respectively, which is found to be highly statistically significant (p =4.5×10-6 and 0.03). Other regions over the globe present localized significant positive and negative correlations [8], but this is the more extended region with consistent positive correlations. A time-series of these data is presented in Figure 4. A strong correspondence between SST and total cloud cover is expected over the Equatorial Pacific region as ocean temperatures provide a strong influence the day-to-day formation of convective clouds, but with small impact on the radiation balance. We also expect that at midlatitudes, the clouds in turn influence ocean temperatures as they provide a negative radiative forcing via their shortwave reflection. http://www.benlaken.com/documents/AIP_PL_13.pdf

    http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Palle_Laken2013_Fig4_zps68128d41.png.html

    Pacific SST varies over years to millennia – as a function mostly of the strength of cold upwelling in the eastern Pacific.

  76. All this can be predicted by a linear trend + oscillations and proposed by Swanson&Tsonis and Akasofu. The latter attributes the linear trend to a natural return from the little ice age. The former say it could be manmade or natural. Nothing yet indicates alarm. Aarm in fact, is only obtained from inadequate models with assumptions now deeply disproven.

    Trenberth has that annoying zealots tendency of presenting his outlier opinions as if they were irrefutable facts. For him everything begins and ends with mankind and nature just responds. That prediction of 20 years in the future when disaster strikes was made 20 years ago after which nothing happened and will be made again 20 years from now after another 20 years of nothing.

    I expect a cooling dip similar to the 1945 to 1975 period based on the as yet solid null hypothesis that nature is still in control plus the observation that climate scientists, en masse, are so far always wrong with all of their various unphysical, contradictory, ever-pessimistic predictions. If we don’t get a cooling dip that then I’ll just have to admit that maybe mankind is mildly warming the planet after all.

  77. StrangerHere

    I’m an atheist,
    but sometimes,
    when I look at the WUWT ENSO Meter,
    I whisper a little prayer.

    funny thing,
    I do not feel alone.

  78. global surface temperature
    Definition: The earth’s average above-ground and sea-surface temperature. The value is derived from:

    (1) the average water temperature of the first few meters below the ocean’s surface and

    (2) the temperature found between the earth’s land surface and 1.5 meters above.

    2009 – 2010 El Nino, record surface air temperature in 2010. Negative PDO present, 2010 hottest year in the record

    2010-2011 La Nina, 2nd strongest in the modern record, negative PDO present

    2014 ENSO neutral (ONI -0.5 {La Nina lite}), surface temperature anomaly 70C, negative PDO has vanished, El Nino is the forecast

    PDO positive since 2011-2012 climate shift

  79. Does the secular, socialist state envisaged by the Left believe it is possible to ban weather or do they believe they can forbid a change in the weather? Or, do they merely wish to ban anything that interferes with the illusion that government can control everything?

  80. Mark Schooley

    Bart, give your real name, if you are interested in establishing factual truth.

    You challenged “What is Optimal CO2?” with a good argument of why optimal CO2 levels may differ. But then you said 200 ppm was the limit, then above 200 ppm it’s like a steroid” with implication re: athletes.

    You didn’t cite any studies. CO2 levels above 200 ppm could promote plant growth differently for different phyla, classes, orders, families and genera.

    Cite multifamily above 200 ppm doesn’t promote growth studies. Cite studies that do so, and that conclude CO2 above 200 ppm is plant growth-promoting “steroids”, as you attest.

    Do you realize you’ve totally contradicted yourself? As in above-200 ppm
    CO2 doesn’t promote growth, vs. above 200 ppm is like a PED growth-promoter.

    I don’t belong on this website. If Judith wants to ban me, she won’t be the first in line. I have three kids who were B-F students in school math who, with home schooling got 800s in SAT-M Level II. Got As when put into crucibles of U Chicago and Harvard U summer school math programs for top-tier high school students.

    I have a kid who’s teaching AP Physics C to his best students. They’re attending Cambridge, Stanford, Duke, Stanford, mostly in engineering. I never had the chance to be taught by teachers (except for 4th grade) who could promote me to the best UG schools.

    What are your children or their students doing? Cite where they are going, and their majors. If they aren’t majoring in mathematics, physics, chemistry, engineering, you fold.

    • David Springer

      Mark Schooley | May 9, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Reply

      “Bart, give your real name, if you are interested in establishing factual truth.”

      Bart is an anonymous cowardly climate troll. He’s interested in getting paid for having a low carbon footprint by those who have a high carbon footprint. The truth is an impediment to his goal.

    • Mark Schooley | May 9, 2014 at 2:48 pm |

      Bart is my ‘real’ name; what’s Wagathon’s? What’s Don Montford’s?

      More to the point, who cares?

      I sure don’t. The names of parties to discourse are not the facts of the matter.

      As for you not belonging in the comments section of this blog, I don’t see why not, or know of any intention by our host to ban you.. soooo perhaps rather than trek down that Twilight Zone digression, let’s look at the 200 ppmv vs. multifamily question.

      Below 200 ppmv, some plants exhibit CO2 starvation, and by 150 ppmv all do to some degree. In the sub-230 ppmv, the plant hormone effects of CO2 are so uniformly low across families and the interdependencies so complex, it’s an unanswerable question as to whether we can call CO2 anything but a plant nutrient at that level.

      Passing 280 ppmv, we’re definitely seeing differential but marked indications of elevation and suppression of auxins, ethylene and gibberellins, mainly corresponding with C1-C4 metabolic paths in plants; in microbes, the situation is even more complex in competitive field conditions. The cumulative multigenerational impact of CO2 on plants uncompensated by micronutrient supplements and NPK macronutrient fertilization as an interdependency with soil changes is notable within five growing seasons for typical grasslands, seeing an 80% decrease in nitrogen availability in soil.

      In intensively tended, highly fertilized, perfectly protected hothouse conditions, 90% of the hormone stimulus effects of additional plant mass are expressed in most plant families between 550-800 ppmv, certainly in all by 1200ppmv. After 2000 ppmv, there is no additional gain. In the wild, these figures are much, much lower, differential, and uncertain. The impact on nutritional value of plants grown at higher CO2, on their shelf life, and their overall quality, universally and increasingly negative after 200 ppmv.

      It would be extraordinary if, by sheer coincidence, the one emission of fossil fuels most difficult to scrub happened to be some panacea beneficial always to everyone and everything everywhere, as the Idsos and Happer claim. My claims contrary to theirs are quite simple and modest: CO2E emission is an anthropogenic Forcing on a Scarce, Capitalizable, Rivalrous, Excludable, Administrable Market. Therefore, people who emit CO2E from burning fossil fuels ought pay the owners by the law of Supply and Demand. By that simple Capitalist mechanism, all questions are removed, because all owners are paid fair compensation.

      It is extraordinary for the trespasser to demand of the trespassed-against citations proving the harm of the trespass. It’s a trespass; proof of harm is for civil tort; are you suggesting you would endorse a legal claim against CO2 polluters to recover all damages? Well, SCotUS has decreed that can’t happen, because the EPA has that responsibility, not the civil courts.

    • David Springer | May 9, 2014 at 3:54 pm |

      Huh. I’m also interested in you getting paid for having a low carbon footprint by those with a higher carbon footprint than yours.

      And yet, your real name is no help to my goal whatsoever.

      In fact, when I mention your name, there’s generally nothing but sniggers or blank stares.

      • David Springer

        I already get paid for it, Bart. Energy costs money. By using less I pay less. A penny saved is a penny earned. You however aren’t satisfied with that. That’s because you’re a greedy anonymous coward.

    • David Springer | May 9, 2014 at 4:46 pm |

      Not all energy is carbon equal.

      And in particular, carbon-intensive energy has benefited and continues to benefit so from subsidy and tax holiday and the accelerated depletion scam and the absurd stockpiling of ‘reserve oil’ in salt mines — what the heck is up with that? — and especially from not having to pay for waste dumping of CO2E emissions into the carbon cycle.

      Claiming to have paid when you haven’t, that’s called what? Shoplifting?

      • David Springer

        Bart the case for future damages due to CO2 emission is a pretty frickin’ flimsy at best. It’s certainly not sound enough to set a price on it. It may turn out anthropogenic CO2 is stopping another Little Ice Age from happening which would be exceedingly destructive for NH agriculture.

    • Bart, Good point on the existence of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. If crude oi was actually a free trade commodity as opposed to a national treasure that belongs to us all, this would not have to exist.

      Capitalism as it now works means socializing the risks while privatizing the profits.

      Not paying for the proper disposal of waste CO2 is a huge case of socializing the risk. I understood this the first time you mentioned it many moons ago.

      Another example is a Carrington-like event and nuclear power plants. Another example of socializing the risk


      Physicist Michio Kaku and other members of the American Physical Society asked Congress to appropriate $100 million to harden the country’s electrical grid against solar flares, although they refused.

      http://www.coastreportonline.com/views/article_3f8b8ef0-ca7e-11e3-874e-0019bb2963f4.html

      Who knows if that story is true, but it is predictable in the outcome.

    • Bart R:

      I do agree. A market price for CO2 would be best. I think it would be difficult to do and I doubt there’s a political will to. In my opinion this idea is consistent with hard core libertarian beliefs. That makes it even less likely to happen. But if we could pull it off, it would be the right answer. Because the money knows. Which is to say the people with money know, or the market knows or the people know.

    • David Springer | May 10, 2014 at 12:10 am |

      The case for future damage of a trespass is a tort; the fact of the scarce, rivalrous, excludable, administrable, marketable nature of the carbon cycle for carbon burners, as demonstrated by every successful carbon pricing mechanism on the planet, isn’t about the future damage, it’s evidence that compensation for the trespass can be available to every citizen per capita, that there is a Market good currently being given away for free in an unfair way, so some benefit unevenly from the Market.

      The damage of carbon communism isn’t flimsy at all; it’s the case for capitalism. Why do you hate capitalism? Is it because you’re soft on crime?

      • David Springer

        You are mistaken about torts. Compensatory damages must be tangible and quantifiable. You are conflating damages in amounts established by fiat with amounts that are tangible and quantifiable. A different fiat gov’t could declare that a carbon tax reduces productivity growth, raises umemployment, and therefore causes harm greater than the good it may or may not produce. Fiat declarations of damage are worth no more than the paper upon which they are printed.

  81. Mark Schooley

    Millions of tons of Wyoming coal are being rail-shipped down the Columbia, to China. It’s happening. We can’t burn coal here, because of global warming. We can ship it to China, where C)2 won’t affect the climate. We could have millions of industrial production jobs here in the USA, but we need to send these “crappy jobs” to China. As in jobless welfare payments to our unemployed workers are better.

    I started out with doing rich people’s yardwork. Then moved on to backbreaking strawberry picking, first day, $2. Then got better. Eventually, moved up to loading lettuce trucks, $6 an hour. (It was $30/hr in today’s dollars.) Totally backbreaking.

    I got a post-freshman-year summer job, cleaning and sterilizing plant crocks, in a USDA facility. Got my 8-hour-scheduled job done in 4 hours. Got to attend lunches with USDA PhD scientists, who gave me reading assignments and tested me. Then, because I finished my assigned 8-hour duties before lunch, they sent me to the electron microscope lab, and had me prep, slice and look at samples, under the EM.

    Taking a civil-service-exam job test, I was posted at Naval Postgrad School as a math assistant. But the teacher rejected me. Back to loading lettuce trucks.Oh well.

    HJere’s the thing about global warming. I can move to a lot of places. Water is my primary concern. Olympic Peninsula, South Island NZ, have it. You have to figure out what you want.

    • Mark, you have to look after your national atmosphere. Here in Oz we tax coal like crazy domestically, but export it to Asia in huge quantities, not taxed. We fool them into doing all the manufacturing and employing, while with our masses of aluminium and coal we don’t even bother to run a smelter. Hey, imagine how nice our atmosphere will be, while those Korean and Taiwanese atmospheres will be rank with CO2.

      The Asians then use our Aussie coal to make whirlygigs and solar panels to export to us. The whirlygigs whirl, I don’t know why, and make a sound like “subsidy, subsidy”; the solar panels collect grime (and subsidies in complicated ways). I’m not sure what they’re for either. Maybe caravans.

      But we’re looking after our national atmosphere. We’re not stupid! There’ll be green jobs and eco-tourism in it for sure, even if we have to get the high-gloss promo brochures made up in China.

  82. Would we even have a country today if environmentalists’ demands for a smaller carbon footprint carried the day during WWII?

  83. Mark Schooley, MD

    One time, I paid for a trip to Fiji. I didn’t have enough money to dive in the Coral Sea. Well, anyway, these guys dumped me. I scored a giant clam (don’t ask me how I raise it to the surface) and a lobster. Then they dumped me on a tiny atoll. The natives scrumpted on my catch. Then they put me into the “royal palapa”. They put me into the “Kava”” ceremony. They made me drink this women-root-chewing and expectorating thing. They made me stay up all night.

    I could tell you about this deadly-poison krait that was trying to kill me. Until I stepped aside, and it just swam by me. When you’re dealing with snakes, figure out what to do. My dad used to capture rattlesnakes.

    Bart, your father didn’t.

    When I was a young doctor, I had to deal with a rattlesnake-catching guy, who got bitten. You never got to do this stuffl.
    of course it was great.

    Then I got to hometutor my boys. It was off the charts fantastic. 800. 800. 800 math level 2, including a B math student, a C math student, and an F math student, in conventional schools.

    Bart, you say, “You can’t do that with homeschooling.” Yes I can.

    Did you swim with great white sharks and tiger sharks?

    “No. but I know everything.”

    Did you homeschool? Did your kids score 800 in SAT II math?

    “No but I know everything.”

    Goodbye, Blowhard..

    • Schooley, You and Willis ought to get together and remake Life of Pi

    • Mark Schooley, MD | May 9, 2014 at 4:38 pm |

      All these stream of consciousness ad hom assumptions signifying nothing, unrelated to the topic, mere chest-thumping you do.

      I don’t present personal credentials; I present observations anyone can independently verify and inferences anyone can independently validate. I don’t attack, or worship, individual people; I celebrate Science. If you need credentials to back up mainstream views of Science, Google Scholar is your friend. If you believe everything you see from someone just because of a list of letters after their name, you’re misusing Google Scholar and are no one’s real friend.

      Where I have swum, how deep or how far, or climbed, or soared, delved or explored, whom I have been schooled by or schooled and what they have achieved, the accomplishments of my family members, none of that matters a whit to this topic, and your stories are just stories, no more useful to us than Mother Goose.

      Keep huffing and puffing. Houses of paper and parchment and sheepskin will blow down, but solid fact and solid reason withstand the toothless yowling of any hound.

      I don’t need to know everything, and never claimed anything like that, though I thank you for offering us the insight that you believe I might. I proceed with confidence in the accuracy of the inference from observations deemed very nearly true by their parsimony of exception, simplicity of assumption and universality of application until such time as new observation requires amendment and recharting with renewed confidence the path a determined person may guided by Science take.

      You, it seems, are really good at turning out cookie-cutter clones who know how to write exams. Exciting stuff, that. I wish you well of it, and them well free of it.

    • bob droege

      “Then I got to tutor my boys”

      So, how did they do on the English part of the SATs?

  84. This is where Obama, Dimowits, and Pubics have gotten us in the USA.
    From the article:

    In the USA 86 million private sector workers support 148 million benefit takers.

    There are also 16 million government workers (not counted in the 86 million tally) — some of whom are most definitely serving the public. On the other hand, some of the private sector workers are doing contracts for the government, and are effectively government paid workers. I wouldn’t want to quibble about the exact numbers. What matters is that we are at the point where half the voters are surely (and quite rationally) focused on voting for benefits. How does a democracy thrive?

    I posted these quotes in mid-2011 in The Slow Death of Democracy, time to quote them again:

    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”

    Possibly, Alexander Tytler (circa late 1700′s)

    ….

    “Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage.”

    Henning Webb Prentis, Jr., President of the Armstrong Cork Company 1943

    http://joannenova.com.au/2014/05/where-to-for-western-democracy-when-voters-vote-themselves-the-treasury/

    • Based on this I would encourage all working people in the US to apply for every drop of government money they can get!

    • “The tip of a splinter is less than 0.01% of your body weight. Does it make a difference? It does when it touches a nerve.” ~Bart R

      Thinking like this is creating a ‘doer’ shortage in this country. Should increasing the size of a splinter by just 0.01% double or triple fear factor of splinters and paralyze us all into inaction? Should it change the perceptions and make us begin viewing a splinter as a deadly poison? Anyone who really thought this way could never leave the house without having a panic attack. That is what viewing an increase in atmospheric CO2 as a poisoning of the globe is all about: it’s a phobia!

    • Wagathon | May 9, 2014 at 6:20 pm |

      I don’t care if you voluntarily pierce yourself with a porcupine’s worth of splinters; if you’re some sort of masochist, go to, just don’t make me part of your personal splinter life.

      I don’t want more splinters; you forcing them on me is simply assault. The fact that you’re forcing splinters on every person on the planet makes it aggravated assault, regardless of how much you like having splinters, or how big you want the splinters under your fingernails to be.

      Don’t do unto others as you would have done unto you, as tastes vary.

      And your tastes appear to vary very much.

    • It is the rankest form of hypocrisy the way global warming alarmists pretend they care not one wit for the trappings of modernity. Trees love C02; and, the most devout global warming alarmist apparently loves trees 20 times more than you do. For example, if you are an average household, the electricity you use in a year would run Al Gore’s home for a couple of weeks (i.e., 22,619 kWh/mo., as reported by the Nashville Electric Service). How did Al Gore arrive to pick up an Academy Award for his crockumentary, An Inconvenient Truth, by magic carpet or one of John Travolta’s private jets?

    • Wagathon | May 9, 2014 at 6:48 pm |

      Again with irrelevancies. Why do I care what Al Gore does, so long as he pays his own way without being some mooch stealing from me?

      Are you the Lorax? Do you speak for the trees? Did they elect you? Or did they tell you some other way? Do trees talk to you? Or do they send you messages by Morse Code?

      Dwarf trees despise CO2. They’re bred to spend their vigor on fruit, not limb growth. CO2 forces them to waste energy getting woodier, and bearing less fruit.

    • jim, this is the main issue in The Weekend Australian’s Inquirer section today, with the two main articles and an editorial. The issue is recognised, but not obviously solvable. Tuesday’s Budget might start to address it, but if so, at the risk of the Coalition being a one-term government followed by the return of the spendists. Fingers crossed.

    • jim, also in today’s Weekend Aus, I had the lead letter with:

      Ian Levy good (Letters, 8/5), debt levy bad. The problem is not that higher income earners are not paying enough tax, they are already the major source of government income. Further taxing them can only reduce incentives to create wealth and increase those to minimise tax. The problem is excessive transfers by government to non-wealth-creating activity, which must be curtailed following Labor’s reckless spending and commitments.

      Some advocate a slow pace of fiscal correction. Experience suggests that slow tends to never, while debt repayments mount and transfer payments become more entrenched. The UK has been the fastest-correcting European government, and has the fastest-growing European economy. Grasp the nettle Tony, acknowledge that all bets and promises are off, and do what has to be done.

      [They didn't like the snappy intro, with a hint of Animal Farm, and padded it out. Ian Levy's letter was about smaller government, of course I cited it for the snappy intro with the government's proposed "it's-not-a-tax" debt levy to reduce the deficit.]

    • Unless someone is truly disabled, any assistance given to the others should be a low enough level to inflict some discomfort. As in, perhaps, little enough suppport that those on welfare would have to band together to afford shelter, for example.

      Other than that, simplify the tax system with some sort of negative income tax, drop the corporate tax to less than 5%, consolidate and downsize Federal agencies, return power to the states, and … well, that’s a start.

    • “Dwarf trees despise CO2… CO2 forces them to waste energy getting woodier.”

      See how Bart R feels their pain. And, he instructs us all on what it takes to think like a global warming alarmist. Al Gore really should add update his global warming documentary — this is good stuff… much better that all of that polar bear b.s.

    • More news on the out-of-control, power mad government in the US. Libertarianism looks better and better every day! Small government is needed quickly!
      From the article:
      WASHINGTON – Motel owner Russell Caswell wasn’t expecting to find himself at the center of a national controversy when FBI agents came knocking on his door.

      They said they wanted his Tewksbury, Mass., business – and the land it was on – because they suspected it was a hotbed for drug-dealing and prostitution. The agents, who were working with state and local authorities, told a disbelieving Caswell they had the right to take the property, valued at as much as $1.5 million, through a legal process known as civil forfeiture.

      Caswell, 70, fought back, and the case turned into one of the nation’s most contentious civil forfeiture fights ever – and one that legal experts say sheds light on a little-known practice that, when abused, is tantamount to policing for profit.

      In 1985, the U.S. Department of Justice created its Asset Forfeiture Fund. One year later, the fund — which holds the proceeds from seized property and is available to be divvied out to law enforcement agencies — brought in $93.7 million. In 2008, the amount had ballooned to $1.6 billion. In 2013, it reached $6.3 billion.

      Across the country, many states are stepping up efforts to curb civil forfeiture abuse.

      In Tennessee, local law enforcement agencies get to keep 100 percent of all property seized through civil forfeiture – an incentive some say can tempt police to go after property for the wrong reasons. Rep. Barrett Rich, a former state trooper, introduced legislation last year that would eliminate the practice in the Volunteer State.

      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/05/09/policing-for-profit-lawmakers-advocates-raise-alarm-at-growing-govt-power-to/

    • Faustino,

      Read yr letter in The Australian’ newspaper today, I hope
      the guvuhmint takes note. Also enjoyed your true story in
      the travel section, ‘Pony Express in the Himalaya’s’ about
      a near death experience. Sure focused yr mind didn’t it?
      Glad you survived for other things like commenting on
      Climate Etc etc.

      bts.

    • Oh, and for fact checking..

      For all his many faults, when Al Gore moves into a place, he pays to retrofit it to carbon neutral or carbon negative.

      http://jacksonville.com/reason/fact-check/2013-06-02/story/fact-check-al-gores-mansion-lot-less-green-george-bushs-ranch

      Which sort of makes the real story the opposite of what your post insinuates.. like always.

      • LOL! See how good Algore is? he ONLY uses 12 TIMES the average power. He must be green because someone said he used 20 times!

        Yea, that sure erases his hypocrisy. Let’s all plan to use 5 times (we are good greenies) the power and then only use the average! That will make us 12 times more green than algore! LOL

    • Bart R

      If you were trying to demonstrate that Al Gore is a “energy hypocrite”, whose mansion uses more resources (energy and water) than the Bush ranch or home, you did an excellent job with that article.

      Max

    • manacker | May 10, 2014 at 5:22 pm |

      A green might care whether or not Gore were an ‘energy hypocrite’; me, I’m dispelling the fabrication that Gore is a carbon hypocrite. See, only people who can’t tell the difference between carbon and energy have that blind spot. If Gore pays for what he uses, I’m not so nosy that I care what he uses; only a socialist would.

      • “Paying” for what you use does not appear to be the issue since the US pays for the power it uses. But apparently it uses too much to the alarmists. algore is part of the problem. Paying himself for the power he uses is not solving the issue. It is revealing his hypocrisy.

    • philjourdan | May 13, 2014 at 1:12 pm |

      Wow.. Is it possible you really don’t grasp that it’s paying for the carbon emissions that is lacking?

      A thief can pay for his burglary tools, and still be a thief.

      • @bart – apparently you do not understand the concept of paying. The US pays for their energy. Now are they buying “stolen” goods? That was not brought into the discussion (you may do so, but make sure you have citations). The US is not paying for the tools, they are paying for the energy. Period. The “tools” are part of the cost (ever see an oil derrick fall from the heavens and start pumping oil?)

        Last I checked, we had no slaves any longer. You may. I understand it is still practiced in some parts of the world, but the US does not.

    • philjourdan | May 14, 2014 at 4:28 pm |

      Paying for coal doesn’t pay for CO2 disposal provided by the carbon cycle, any more than paying for crystal meth pays for root canals provided by prison dentists, even if a abusing crystal meth inevitably causes tooth decay the way burning coal causes CO2 forcing.

      • @bart – paying for coal does pay for the CO2 since the latter is a product of the former. You appear to be ignorant of economics. What you are trying to say (in a very poor way) is that the price of coal is not high enough for your liking. And you are welcome to your opinion.

        The cost of the CO2 dispersal is a function of pollution controls that those burning coal have to implement in order to burn coal. As there is no empirical evidence of cause and effect on CO2 and other costs, any additional cost that you campaign for are punitive and arbitrary.

        That is called economics.

        The US pays for its energy. But it does not pay for unicorns.

    • philjourdan | May 15, 2014 at 12:49 pm |

      Again, you’ve got it wrong.

      Paper and ink are the raw materials of books, but if a publisher prints and sells books having paid only for the paper and ink without paying the author’s royalties, their laborer’s salaries, their retailers share and sales commissions and advertising then they are a bankrupt.

      Coal is a material, sold as a material. CO2E is a waste product, disposed of as a waste product.

      That waste disposal service is expensive, merely the government does not enforce collection of the fee for that service from those who steal it to those who own it.

      You’re describing opportunism, or theft, when you call your way of doing things ‘economics’.

      When the US pays for solar, hydro, wind, geothermal or tidal, it pays for energy. When US citizens and corporations pay for fossil carbon they pay only for the fossil carbon, not for the waste disposal of the process of turning it into energy.

      • @bart – no you just fail to understand what constitute “costs”. When you buy coal, you pay for the labor it takes to remove it from the ground. The actual mineral is virtually free. It is the extraction that constitutes the cost, along with the transportation etc.

        When a power company buys coal, it pays for the wages of the miners, the truck drivers, the train operators, etc.

        So the cost is paid for. No one is stealing anything. That again is simple economics. You are trying to bring in red herrings when the issue is “cost”. The lump of coal sitting on the ground in Appalachia has no cost. But there is very little of that around.

        The US has paid for its energy. Ergo it owes nothing. It is not a work of fiction that someone created. It is not intellectual property. It is a rock.

  85. WHAT was the issue with El Nino from 1900. This is not a subject area I am familiar with bt 1900 is a significant date for another event that does have an effect on Pacific SSTs: marked reduction in easterly wave activity westward across the Equatorial Atlantic towards central America.

    • JCH

      El Nino episodes are tending to set record temperatures

      Umm… Up to 1998, that is.

      Max

    • You really do like to lie to yourself.

    • 1998 J-D: 62

      2005 – 66
      2007 – 63
      2010 – 66

      1998 D-N: 62

      2002 – 62
      2005 – 64
      2007 – 65
      2010 – 67

      2013 – no El Nino, 60C, 2 less than 1998, LMAO.

      All you bases are belong to us.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      ENSO and annual temps make such little sense.

      But then nor does JCH.

  86. Here we show that a pronounced strengthening in Pacific trade winds over the past two decades—unprecedented in observations/reanalysis data and not captured by climate models—is sufficient to account for the cooling of the tropical Pacific and a substantial slowdown in surface warming through increased subsurface ocean heat uptake.

    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n3/full/nclimate2106.html

    Assuming increased temperatures, increased Walker circulation seems reasonable causing more upwelling of cold water in the Eastern Pacific. If that’s the case, how long can that supply of cold water last?

    • After two decades of it, La Nina episodes are tending to be the warmest ever; ENSO neutral episodes are tending to be the warmest ever. El Nin0 episodes are tending to set record temperatures. J N-G thinks ENSO neutral episodes could also result in record warm years.

      You tell me.

    • Assuming the Western part of the Pacific equatorial region is warmer on average and the Eastern part is static with its reserves of cold water I am guessing at a flattening effect countering increased temperatures from any increased Walker circulation.

      I think the cold water can last for centuries.

      I agree, what you mentioned is happening. Since around 2001 there has been a lot of energy in the system. I hoping to see some sort of negative feedbacks. Maybe in the ENSO region.

    • “The simulation suggests that interdecadal variations in Pacific winds contributed to part of the cooling during the first two decades of the hiatus (1945-1965), but not to the latter part, during 1965-1975…”

      A ‘hiatus’ is seen everywhere now… which is a lot better than in the past when not even the existence of the LIA was permitted.

    • @JCH

      “After two decades of it, La Nina episodes are tending to be the warmest ever; ENSO neutral episodes are tending to be the warmest ever”

      The warmest ever – in 11,000 years or so ?

      You don’t seem to get it, do you ? We are discussing spatio-temporal events. That requires time and place … warmest/coldest/wettest/driest *ever* is non-sequitur

    • When we talk about ENSO, we’re generally talking about the modern record.

    • But note the 100 year negative slope. What happened to “the ocean cycles zero out?”

    • The upward slope from your chart appears to be due to the manner in which you (cherry) picked the mean samples. Here is the same chart without the mean.

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/jisao-pdo/from:1900/trend/plot/jisao-pdo/from:1900

    • mcmenemieconor

      An important point – the El Niño and increase in wind speed are relevant. Was there a similar Drop in wind speed circa 1900?

    • Any upward or downward slope one can generate in the 100-plus year record is essentially zero. LMAO.

    • And, accepting for now HADCRUTs rendition of global mean, this .49 C rise per century is nothing to worry about.

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/trend/plot/hadcrut4gl

    • You’re not very smart, so I do not put any stock in what you think we should worry about. In 1940 the downturn in the PDO sent the SAT plummeting. In 1983 the downturn in the PDO did nothing. Natural variation is a wimp. Napping sun, yadda yadda, all pansies and fairies when compared to the great CO2 control knob. In 1940 it landed a punch; in 1983 it got its clock cleaned.

    • JCH argues with the data. Loving it.

    • I think JCH is cleaning your clocks.

      Whether the Stadium Wave exists or not (Mann thinks not, but I am OK with it), it is still wimpy and will get even more wimpy with time.

    • WHT – opinions are like A****, everybody has one.

    • ceresco kid

      Tub, maker of the model that even Revell Plastics would reject, weighs in.

    • jim2 | May 10, 2014 at 9:51 am |

      PDO peaked in 1935; peaked higher in 1987, but has been dropping since then.

      Comparing the 52 year pseudoperiod established on the feeble evidence of one and a half pseudocycles, we see:

      #Data from University of Washington JISAO
      #http://jisao.washington.edu/pdo/
      #—————————————————-
      #
      #File: PDO.latest
      #
      #Time series (pdo) from 1900 to 2014.33
      #Selected last 624 samples
      #Least squares trend line; slope = 0.00538967 per year
      1962.33 -0.159747
      2014.33 0.120516
      #Data ends
      #Number of samples: 2
      #Mean: -0.0196152

      We’ve just passed the putative pseudobottom of the ill-founded pseudocycle, and can expect the PDO to contribute only increasingly to warming for the pseudonext pseudoquarter pseudocentury.. at appropriate pseudoconfidence levels to the data.

      Further, the incipient decline dominating the PDO apparently ended at least a half century ago, as the filtered trend line appears to be slightly positive, compared to the overall slightly negative long term.

      As AGW continues to wipe out the cooling due longer term influences, we see increasing CO2 levels corresponding to increased PDO warming, plus are expecting two decades of accelerating natural variability from the PDO on top of everything else, which as a stacked effect may push us past tipping points into a chain of positive feedbacks spiraling the complex interconnected Earth system into chaos. Or not. The point is, the Risk is there, and the Risk is caused by specific people doing specific things, burning fossil fuels, without compensating the rest of us for the Risk.

      http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n5/full/nclimate2174.html is an interesting paper in this regard, suggesting the influence of the southern hemisphere may have been underestimated in GCMs. If so, then the reversal of the PDO trend will result in real temperature rises as much higher than most of the ensemble models in the next two decades as they have been lower than the same models in the past two.

      Won’t that be interesting, if so. And by interesting, I mean really expensive.

  87. Ian Wilson

    As per usual @WHUT May 9, 2014 at 6:03 pm has got the horse before the cart:

    @WHUT said:
    The likely root cause of ENSO is a fluctuating pressure in the deep ocean as first described by R. Gross at JPL.

    This fluctuation is strong enough to lead to the effect known as the Chandler Wobble as claimed by Gross.

    http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/releases/2000/chandlerwobble.html

    MY RESPONSE: But what cause the pressure variations at the base of the oceans? Try looking at the second figure in this recent blog posts:

    http://astroclimateconnection.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/do-you-think-that-moon-might-have.html

    It’s the Moon!

    @WHUT said:

    The key is that the Chandler Wobble beat frequency is very accurately measured and all that one has to do is feed this oscillating perturbation into a sloshing model of the ocean. What pops out is the ENSO behavior, as measured directly by the SOI timeseries.

    Take a look at this agreement: http://imageshack.com/a/img842/2517/r2f8.gif

    MY RESPONSE:

    http://astroclimateconnection.blogspot.com.au/2010/03/why-do-long-term-periodicities-in-enso.html

    The reason why you get such a good response is because Sidorenkov has determined that the frequency spectra of the ENSO indices has significant components that are close to the sub-harmonics of the free nutation period of the Earth’s poles (i.e. the Chandler Wobble) and the super-harmonics of the Earth’s forced nutation motion (i.e. the 18.6 year lunar nodical wobble). Sidorenkov argues that external forcing by the lunar/solar tides, acting at the super-harmonics of the Earth’s forced nutation motion, produce non-linear enhancements of the oscillations in the Earth-Atmosphere-Ocean system that closely match those that are seen in the ENSO climate variations. He also asserts that the resultant ENSO climate variations excite the Chandler Wobble through a resonant coupling with the sub-harmonics of the free nutation period of the Earth’s pole.


    • As per usual @WHUT May 9, 2014 at 6:03 pm has got the horse before the cart:

      Notice what he said. He didn’t suggest that my analysis was wrong, only that somehow I got the cart before the horse. Translated, this means that I scooped him with a detailed mathematical treatment along with a fitted model. The worst he can say is that the attribution of what Gross is claiming causes the wobble and the deep ocean perturbation is still up in the air.

      BTW, I actually linked the wrong graphic there. This is the model agreement to ENSO

    • Two things that both sceptic and AGW blogers appear to be currently obsessed are the next ENSO and the Arctic ice projections for the near future. Knowing what moves one or both of above could be very important.
      According to their periodic spec

      http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MEA.htm

      it appears to be the Earth magnetic field secular ripple of the main core field, and that is unpredictable, unless someone can point to let’s say planetary, luni-solar tidal or similar factor…..

  88. Generalissimo Skippy

    It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

    The trajectory of surface temperature more clearly correlates with ENSO than CO2 – including with the trend increase in El Nino frequency last century.

    Webby’s curve fitting – starting with a sinusoidal function and tortuously modulating that to fit a data series – nebulously linked to standing wave equations on drumheads and the Earth’s wobble – mean very little. Even supposing that the Pacific can be modeled as a bath tub and that ENSO is the primary cause of changing pressure at depth. It can’t and it isn’t. It is unscientific in that it has zilch predictive capability. It exists solely in the mind of the purveyor and in a dark corner of the blogosphere.

    What seems more likely is that the decadal pattern of ENSO+PDO will persist and – associated with increased cloud since 1998 – the world will not warm for decades hence. Not getting this seems a bit crazy.


    • Webby’s curve fitting – starting with a sinusoidal function and tortuously modulating that to fit a data series – nebulously linked to standing wave equations on drumheads and the Earth’s wobble – mean very little. Even supposing that the Pacific can be modeled as a bath tub and that ENSO is the primary cause of changing pressure at depth. It can’t and it isn’t. It is unscientific in that it has zilch predictive capability. It exists solely in the mind of the purveyor and in a dark corner of the blogosphere.

      Watch how he operates. I did not start with a sinusoidal function — that’s a lie — I started with a Mathieu function, which is used to model nonlinearities and sloshing dynamics in water. The references to drumheads are because I cited research Goldstein did in a 1929 paper called “Rotating Elliptic Basins of Constant Depth” , so he is basically sour grapes on that one. I have since described a better model that links the behavior to a forcing perturbation.

      The Chandler wobble connection is based on work by Gross at JPL who claimed that inertial changes in the Earth’s rotation are caused by periodically varying pressure fluctuations in the depths of the ocean. The connection to ENSO follows from this.

      The rest of the fit is remarkable and a testament to the powers of blogospheric science.

      He should see what his fellow Aussie Ian Wilson is saying in this thread. Wilson also realizes I am on to something and is marginalizing the significance in a different way.

      The Aussie lost this one and he knows it.

    • JCH cherry picks. More warmist La Mierda del Torro.

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/jisao-pdo/trend/plot/jisao-pdo

    • LMAO

      It’s not a cherry pick. The longer the record, the closer to zero trend it will be. As the current phase goes up and down, the longterm trend will drift slightly positive and negative.

    • LMAO – as you can see, the 114 year trend is down. That’s greater than the much-debated 60 year cycle.

      http://judithcurry.com/2014/05/07/el-ninos-and-la-ninas-and-global-warming/#comment-548065

    • Suspect the longer-term PDO trend may be downward:

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/jisao-pdo/from:1980/trend/plot/jisao-pdo/from:1980

      In keeping with the what appears to have been the potential for prevailing La Niña conditions the last time CO2 was around 400ppm:

      http://www.sciencemag.org/content/307/5717/1948.short

      And of course all of this corresponds well with the generally increase heat content of the IPWP.

    • BTW, thank you jim2 for confirming the longer term downward trend of the PDO, which corresponds well with the prevailing La Niña conditions the last time CO2 was around 400 ppm. The myopic focus on the troposphere allows fake-skeptics to score lots of “own goals”.

    • R Gates – you would have said the same thing in 1953.

      Me, I think I would go ask the fisheries.

    • JCH,

      There is this nonsensical belief that El Niño cause global warming or the prevalence of El Niño over La Niña is part of a warm period. The opposite is in fact more likely, and for a very good set of reasons. As CO2 increases, it seems likely that La Niña will dominate, as the IPWP expands and warms, and the whole host of other climate effects begin to be enhanced. The only way to understand any of this is to throw out the absurd idea that El Niños are the forcing agent of global warming.

    • R. Gates – I read that paper a couple of months ago and have been wondering when the more astute here would pick up on it.

      Praying for La Nina dominance is like playing Russian Roulette with a sixshooter that’s fully loaded.

      Pray for an El Nino that drains the energy swamp.

    • R. Gates and JCH:

      ENSO as a reaction and not a driver. I am just throwing this idea out there. If it’s too warm, cool water. If it’s too cold, heat water. It seems to me that that’s what the ENSO region does. It attempts to stablize ocean water temperatures. Building the Pacificic warm pool in cooler times and depleting it in warmer times.

    • R Gates

      I am attending this conference next week at Exeter University.

      http://www.exeter.ac.uk/climate2014/public/

      They are looking for questions;

      “Questions in advance

      “We expect there will be a lot of interesting questions on the evening. Please note that we are aiming to talk about the challenges and science of climate change rather than the process of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change itself and would appreciate questions to this effect.”

      In the spirit of advancing scientific knowledge , from your perspective are there any questions you would like me to put forward on your behalf? I can’t promise it will come up of course

      tonyb

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Watch how he operates. I did not start with a sinusoidal function — that’s a lie — I started with a Mathieu function, which is used to model nonlinearities and sloshing dynamics in water.

      The Mathieu functions are harmonic solutions for standing waves on an elliptical surface.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Mathieuplots_zps3ec1411a.png.html

      http://users.df.uba.ar/sgil/physics_paper_doc/papers_phys/modern/matheiu0.pdf

      Webby ostensibly modulates the standing waves by the Chandler Wobble to fit the SOI time series. Gross determined that the wobble was due to atmospheric and ocean processes – in which of course ENSO plays some part. Here’s the paper – http://trs-new.jpl.nasa.gov/dspace/bitstream/2014/18398/1/99-1877.pdf

      In reality it seems – I don’t waste much of my time trying to sort through mad blogospheric excursions – he arbitrarily throws in a number of other fits to the data series.

      We are still no closer to predicting the shifts in atmospheric and ocean circulations – so it all seems another faked up red herring of fitting a curve to data for no sensible reason at all.

      The correlation of the IPO with surface temp is still apparent – and associated with changes in cloud cover. It is essentially a matter of more or less upwelling driven by the north and south Pacific gyres. With SST negatively correlated with cloud cover.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/PDO_zps89a7b4c1.jpg.html?sort=3&o=121

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Clementetal2009.png.html?sort=3&o=150

    • “Building the Pacificic warm pool in cooler times and depleting it in warmer times.”
      ——–
      This is exactly opposite to what happens. The IPWP expands and warms during warmer climate periods, with the example being the Pliocene, the Roman Warm, the MWP, and of course our modern warm period.

    • R. Gates | May 10, 2014 at 3:58 pm |

      This is exactly opposite to what happens. The IPWP expands and warms during warmer climate periods, with the example being the Pliocene, the Roman Warm, the MWP, and of course our modern warm period.

      If the IPWP retained heat during those times, it just delayed putting it into the atmosphere. The would be the ocean trying to hoard heat when there wasn’t a need to (admittedly assuming we had warmer ocean temperatures during those times). I’m just proposing that the oceans vary their heat retention in a seemingly logical way. Attempting to stabilize their temperatures. The atmosphere sees the results of what they do.

      When a large El Nino occurs, we might say the Pacific ocean is throwing off heat. As it tries to cool itself, we see warm atmospheric temperatures for awhile.

      The Chief has posted much data on past El Nino / La Nina ratios. I read some of those graphs as, what was the Pacific ocean trying to do? Gain heat or lose heat?

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      During positive ENSO phase (El Nin˜o), outgoing LW radiation increases, and decreases during the negative ENSO phase (La Nin˜a). The coldest year during the last decade occurred in 2008, during which strong La Nina conditions persisted throughout most of the year. Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) observations show that the lower temperatures extended throughout much of the troposphere for several months, resulting in a reduction in outgoing LW radiation and an increase in net incoming radiation. At the global scale, outgoing LW flux anomalies are partially compensated for by decreases in midlatitude cloud fraction and cloud height, as observed by Moderate Resolution Imaging spectrometer and Multi-angle Imaging spectroRadiometer, respectively. CERES data show that clouds have a net radiative warming influence during La Nina conditions and a net cooling influence during El Nino, but the magnitude of the anomalies varies greatly from one ENSO event to another. http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Loeb2011-Fig1.png.html?sort=3&o=143

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Loeb2011-Fig1.png.html?sort=3&o=143

      It seems clear that there are relatively large IR losses (gains) in El Nino (La Nina) – offset by changes in cloud cover and SW. But for overall warming and cooling the focus needs to shift to decadal and longer variability.

      e.g. http://isccp.giss.nasa.gov/zFD/an9090_TOTnet_toa.gif

      This shows volcanoes, ENSO and a decadal trend overwhelmingly in SW. Note the change at the turn of the century climate shift.

    • Generalissimo Skippy | May 10, 2014 at 5:44 pm |
      “CERES data show that clouds have a net radiative warming influence during La Nina conditions and a net cooling influence during El Nino, but the magnitude of the anomalies varies greatly from one ENSO event to another.” – Looks like Loeb 2011

      It seems that La Ninas show an attempt to gain heat for both the atmosphere and the oceans. El Ninos the opposite. Could an indicator from the ENSO region explain so much? The ENSO region has a lot going for it as Tisdale has explained. Size. I’d add, it’s the middle of Pacific. Connected to the Antarctic Circumpolar current by the South Pacific Gyre.

    • Tony,

      Very generous offer. I’d love to be there myself. Let me think for a day about this and get back to you. I find extended dialogs are better when scientists are willing to take the time as they do so often by email. Single questions often raise more questions then they answer– at least for me.

  89. Mark Schooley

    Wagathon, good point. Here is the green’s agenda: nuclear power was bad in the 1970s. Then fossil fuel became bad. The greens suggested solar and wind generation. But the then greens claimed these renewable energy generators killed animals, which is true, so these energy generators were excoriated as bad too.

    What the greens want is a sustainable earth, that has circa 100 million humans. or fewer, living in pre-industrial conditions. The greens think this is sustainable. The Greens’ dream requires killing off 99% of human beings.

    I remember hiking the John Muir Trail. I mostly didn’t see people. I borrowed a .22 Ruger pistol, to kill rattlers. Didn’t have to use it. Rattlers get out of the way, if you give them a chance.

    Bart R is a chicken. He may have a law degree.

    • I happened to live in a city served by one of the last nuclear power facilities to be built: Comanche Peak in Glen Rose, Texas. When it went online we got two power bills. One for electricity generated by fossil fuels. At the time it was very low. The other was for power generated by the new nuke. It was sky high.

      Texas do not give a crap about greens. We would have ignored those idiots and built nukes forever. When we saw the price of the electricity, that was the death of the future of nuclear power construction in Texas.

    • Bart believes he is turning conservative principles against conservatives. But actually he just comes off looking silly, irrational, and incompetent.

    • jim2 | May 10, 2014 at 8:45 am |

      If a conservative principle ever bites you on the buttocks, and you recognize it for either a principle or conservative, perhaps you could go to Mark Schooley | May 10, 2014 at 7:21 am | to get the venom drawn out.

      But be sure to get to him fast, because it seems he likes to tell the long winding stories about his vacations — possibly with a slide show — before getting down to business.. if he ever gets down to business.

      The most anti-nuke people in the 1950′s and 1960′s were nuclear physicists, before ‘green’ hipsters made it cool. Fossil fuel was ‘bad’ since the 1370′s, depending on where and when you were objecting to coal, be it as a labor trade unionist or church elder or subject of death fog. And if you believe the people claiming solar and wind today could be plausibly called ‘greens’, then your ability to delude yourself is without measure, far short of your ability to delude the rest of us.

      If you’re in rattler country, you may find a good pair of boots and some thick gloves a better bet than a pistol you have no clue how to use. You might shoot off a toe, and worse, it might not be your own. If you really need to compensate for your shortcomings when faced with a snake, carry a stick.

    • Bart – the nuclear physicists were dealing with a guilt complex over Japan. And no matter, the appeal to authority carries no weight today.

      I’ll take the pistol, thanks, unless I’m in bear country, then it’ll be a 30-06. You can use the stick.

    • jim2 | May 10, 2014 at 11:31 am |

      Pfft. You’re a pistol-packin’ psychologist now?

      You use a ouija board to diagnose the physicists you’re such an expert on?

      And like you could hit a snake snapped onto your sandal-clad size sevens without shooting yourself in the foot?

      Or could last an hour alone in bear country?

    • Steven Mosher

      Killing a snake with a 22.
      reminds me of a funny story.. in the desert mountains outside palm springs..
      my stupid friend, an MD by the way, goes out walking as the sun came down.
      I gave him fair warning about the rattlers. he brandished his 22.
      he got 20 yards down the path and then.. bang, bang, I watched as he unloaded at the ground. I walked over as he tried to re load and killed the damn snake with a shovel.

      outside a hospital never trust an MD with your life, unless youre a snake

    • Greens would not approve, but “Rattlesnake Kate” knew how to take care of rattlers, with both gun and shovel… apparently the incident is real and well documented, she may have disturbed rattlers just as they were coming out of nests en masse in the spring weather:

      http://www.greeleyhistory.org/pages/rattlesnake_kate.html

    • “The Greens’ dream requires killing off 99% of human beings.”
      _____
      That would be more generous than nature itself, as surely 100% of the people alive today will eventually be “killed off”.

    • Bart, take this to heart:
      It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

      Mark Twain

      From the article:

      After the announcement to the Manhattan Project scientists that the atomic bomb they had developed had been dropped by the Americans on Hiroshima there was a surge of excitement, expressions of pleasure, congratulation and urge for celebration. However, as the day wore on, Oppenheimer and his fellow scientists experienced feelings about the loss of life, ranging from, in some, depression, in others, guilt, and still others, outright horror, and in one, physical illness. Oppenheimer’s scientist brother, Frank, felt, first, relief that the bomb did not fail to explode, and only after, depression at the loss of life. Concern was expressed by them about their “moral position” and also the fear that the weapon would be used again. Three days later, the plutonium bomb was dropped on Nagasaki and the scientists, those who felt there was no justification for using this bomb, were overwhelmed with feelings of sickness or nausea. Oppenheimer, himself, wondered aloud if “the living at Hiroshima and Nagasaki might envy the dead.” (Robert Jay Lifton, & Greg Mitchell, Hiroshima in America , N.Y., 1995,31-2).

      http://www.nuclearfiles.org/menu/key-issues/ethics/issues/scientific/simons_only-question-time.htm

    • jim2 | May 10, 2014 at 12:22 pm |

      Evidence of nothing. Most people who kill other people get a little queasy during or right after. It generally passes. Some even get to like it.

      Connecting physical sensations from the mid 1940′s to technical conclusions drawn — including by many people not involved in the Project — is the worst sort of psychological mumbo jumbo, and part of why the hard sciences laugh at the soft sciences.

      The math of cumulative risk of nuclear waste, absent a mechanism to reduce the radiactive hazard, is inevitable. It’s a big pile of mess that only gets bigger and messier with time, in a world known to not be stable enough politically to keep big piles of mess secure. That’s the main long term issue with nuclear, and aside from the cost being too high compared to other options, the only real thing holding rational people back from preferring nuclear.

      If the choice were only nuclear vs. coal, then obviously nuclear is the right call, even for all that; coal is just that bad economically and in terms of hazard. But the choice isn’t only nuclear vs. coal.

      If the choice is a little nuclear of the most defanged sort vs. biomass and fluid forms of carbon, then that’s obviously a good call too, as a stopgap. But that isn’t the choice, either.

      Geothermal, pumped hydro, higher efficiency, solar, wind, tidal, hydrogen-intensified fuels, and for the very tiny wedge where nothing else will do, some specialized nuclear: that mix is the one that wins hands down on economics and hazard. Choking up the economic discussion with nuclear promotion as if fission will solve all our problems is just more of the thinking that got us into this mess in the first place.

    • Bart says “Evidence of nothing.” That pretty much sums up most of his posts here.

  90. Ian Wilson

    WHUB said:

    The Aussie lost this one and he knows it.

    @WHUB – I gave you a complement and you turned it into a barb. I said that
    you got the horse before the cart, not the other way around.

    However, the Aussie hasn’t lost anything, as the work that I am quoting is from 2008, 2009 and even earlier. It is based upon research done by Prof. Nickolay Sidorenkov that was done in the 1990′s and that has been been published. You obviously, haven’t read his book.

    News for @WHUB – Science is a collaborate endeavor and not a game of one-upmanship. Congratulation on finding the already established relationship between the Chandler wobble and the ENSO, you still haven’t linked it to the Draconic cycle – but I suppose that will come with time.

    Oh! By the way you your still in the dark about the next step.