ENSO predictions based on solar activity

by Javier

By knowing or estimating where in the solar cycle we are we can get an estimate of the chances of a particular outcome even years ahead.

El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the main source of interannual tropical climate variability with an important effect on global temperature and precipitation. Paleoclimatic evidence supports a relationship between ENSO and solar forcing. Moy et al. (2002) attribute the long-term increasing trend in ENSO frequency to orbitally induced changes in insolation (figure 1). The ENSO proxy record described by Moy et al. (2002) displays a millennial-scale oscillation that in the middle Holocene shifts its variance from a 1000-1500-yr period to a 2000-2500-yr period (Moy et al. 2002, their figure 1c). Both frequencies correspond to known solar periodicities, the Eddy and Bray solar cycles. As it has been shown previously (see “Centennial to millennial solar cycles“) the 1000-yr Eddy solar cycle became weaker at the Mid-Holocene Transition regaining strength in the last 2000 years. This 14C-deduced solar behavior corresponds to the ENSO behavior described by Moy et al. (2002).

Figure 1. a) Inverted global average temperature anomaly reconstruction (black line, right scale) from the 73 proxies used by Marcott et al. 2013. The temperature scale has been rescaled to produce a difference of 1.2 °C between the Holocene Climatic Optimum (HCO) and the Little Ice Age, supported on a consilience of glaciological, biological and marine sedimentary evidence that supports a 1-1.5 °C difference. b) Inverted obliquity (purple line, left scale). c) ENSO frequency (black, left scale) measure as the number of strong El Niño events in a 100-yr sliding window, from Moy et al. 2002. ENSO activity was very low during the HCO and has been increasing as the planet cooled during the Neoglacial, following changes in insolation caused by orbital changes in precession and obliquity.

In 2000 Theodore Landscheidt published an article in the proceedings from a meeting presenting his hypothesis of a solar forcing of El Niño and La Niña. He was not the first to defend such hypothesis, as 10 years earlier Roger Anderson (1990) had published some evidence for a solar cycle modulation of ENSO as a possible source of climatic change. Landscheidt’s (2000) article contains two observations and two predictions. The first observation is that most extreme ENSO events correlate with the ascending or descending phase of the solar cycle. He predicted the following El Niño based on the sun’s orbital angular momentum for 2002.9 (± 0.4). It was a 2-year ahead accurate prediction, as the next El Niño started in 2002.67. The second observation was the alternating preponderance of El Niño and La Niña following the 22-year Hale magnetic solar cycle. The 1954-76 Hale cycle showed Niña preponderance, and was followed by the 1976-96 that presented Niño dominance. While this is based only on two complete Hale cycles for which there is instrumental ENSO data it is interesting to read Landscheidt other prediction:

“If the pattern holds a preponderance of La Niña is to be expected during the Hale cycle that began in 1996.”

The Hale cycle-ENSO association is unclear to me due to insufficient data but it is undeniable that both of Landscheidt predictions were correct. Anderson’s and Landscheidt’s articles were completely ignored by the scientific community and they are rarely cited even by authors studying the same subject.

In 2008 van Loon & Meehl showed that the Pacific Ocean displayed a response to peak solar activity years similar to La Niña event years in the Southern Oscillation, but with a different stratospheric response. Haam & Tung (2012), however, failed to find an association between solar peak and La Niña years and warned that two autocorrelated time series might present a spurious correlation by chance. As I will show the problem is in the assumption that ENSO must display a linear response to solar activity with ENSO extremes at maximal and minimal solar activity. This assumption turns out to be false and the analysis of Haam & Tung (2012) using peak-solar years is misleading.

ENSO is usually described as a 2-7-year oscillation, while the Schwabe solar cycle is an 11 ± 2-year oscillation, so no linear relationship is obvious. White & Liu (2008) defend that most El Niño and La Niña episodes from 1900–2005 are grouped into non-commuting pairs that repeat every ~ 11 years, aligned with rising and falling transition phases of the solar cycle as Landscheidt (2000) described (they don’t cite him). These alignments arise from non-linear phase locking between an 11-year solar forced first harmonic and the 3rd and 5th 3.6 and 2.2-year harmonics in ENSO. These solar-forced 3rd and 5th harmonics explain ~ 52% of inter-annual variance in the Nino-3 temperature index. White & Liu (2008) propose “a new paradigm for ENSO, with El Niño and La Niña driven by the solar-forced quasi-decadal oscillation via non-linear processes in the tropical Pacific delayed action/recharge oscillator.”

Despite the evidence for a solar forcing of ENSO the accepted paradigm from model studies is that ENSO is self-excited or driven by internal variability random noise.

More recently two solar physicists, Leamon & McIntosh (2017), reported on the coincidence of the termination of the solar magnetic activity bands at the solar equator every ~ 11 years since the 1960s with a shift from El Niño to La Niña conditions in the Pacific. Their report prompted me to examine the issue, observing a pattern repetition since 1956 (figure 2). The solar minimum is preceded by Niña conditions, followed by Niño conditions, and afterwards Niña conditions accompany the rapid increase in solar activity.

Figure 2. Top: Six-month smoothed monthly sunspot number from SILSO. Bottom: Oceanic El Niño Index from NOAA. Red and blue boxes mark the El Niño and La Niña periods in the repeating pattern. This figure was published in July 2018 in an article at WUWT. Since then the Niño prediction has been confirmed.

If we assign 50% probability for seasonal positive or negative ONI (Oceanic Niño Index) values, the probability that the solar minimum will be preceded by Niña conditions, and followed by Niño conditions for six consecutive solar minima by chance is of only 0.024% (1 in 4000). The probability of the entire pattern (Niña-Niño-Niña) repeating six times at a specific time is even lower, indicating that the association between solar activity and ENSO is not due to chance. Solar control of ENSO has led to the prediction of El Niño conditions in 2018-19 by me, and to La Niña conditions in 2020-21 by Leamon & McIntosh (2017). The 2018-19 Niño prediction has been correct.

To perform a no-assumptions analysis of solar activity-ENSO correlation it is necessary to correct for the irregularities in the solar cycle, that can last from less than 9 years to more than 13. Since the sunspot dataset is very noisy I have chosen the 13-month smoothed monthly total sunspot number from SILSO.

The smoothed monthly number results from an averaging of monthly mean values over 13 months, from 6 months before to 6 months after a base month. All months are weighted equal except for the extreme ones, which are weighted by 1/2. This smoothing has been used since the early 20th century to define the times of maximum and minimum for each cycle.

Since solar minima have different levels of activity and different length, the starting and ending months for each solar cycle are defined for the purpose of this study not from the solar minimum, but from the first month that presents >30 smoothed monthly sunspots. This point in the cycle, at the beginning of the rapid ascending phase is more unambiguously defined to a single month that the solar minimum allowing for more confidence in a proper alignment of the solar cycles.

Defined in this way the last six complete solar cycles (SC18-23) have durations between 121 and 159 months. To correct for this variable length each solar cycle is divided into 22 bins that for a regular 11-year solar cycle would contain 6 months, but depending on the cycle length they can have from 5 to 8 months. After the procedure the variable solar cycle length has been normalized into a solar cycle unit (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Thin lines, solar cycles 18-24 with their respective durations normalized in terms of a full cycle and divided in 22 bins. The average monthly smoothed sunspot number for each bin is represented as a point. Thick line, average solar activity for the normalized solar cycles. Grey area standard deviation.

The analysis is restricted to the period 1950-2018, when ONI data and the smoothed monthly sunspot number were available.

ONI values are also grouped into bins corresponding to the solar activity bins. For each 1/22 fraction of the solar cycle we have six 5-8 month sunspot bins from the six solar cycles considered, and the corresponding six 5-8 month ONI bins for the same dates. The values in each bin are averaged and the mean and standard deviation for the six bins corresponding to the same solar cycle fraction obtained. The ONI dataset has a near-normal distribution with a mean very close to zero (figure 4).

Figure 4. Distribution of the 816 twelve-month periods in the 1950-2018 ONI database according to their average ONI value. The distribution follows a near-normal distribution with a mean of 0.025.

The numerical treatment of ONI values is not expected to produce values significantly different from zero if solar activity has no significant effect on ENSO. Also ONI values are expected to deviate randomly from zero at each solar cycle fraction without presenting an 11-year pattern if solar activity has no effect on ENSO. By contrast what we find is clear departures from zero, whose statistical significance will be analyzed later, and an 11-year pattern. The 22 ONI averaged values organize in two periods of more probable El Niño and two periods of more probable La Niña (figure 5). This is likely a reflection of the non-commuting El Niño and La Niña pairs that repeat every ~ 11 years found by White & Liu (2008).

Figure 5. a) Average (black line) and standard deviation (grey area) solar activity in monthly smoothed sunspot number (left scale) for the solar cycles between 1950-2018 divided in 22 fractions of a solar cycle. b) Average (dark red and blue areas) and standard deviation (pink and light blue areas) ONI values (right scale) for the same periods. The plot has been divided in five phases (dashed vertical lines) labeled in roman numbers (see text).

Attending to ONI zero-line crossing and variability I have divided the solar cycle into five ENSO phases. Phase I starts when the peak in solar activity is reached (c. 2.5 years into the cycle as defined on average), and lasts around two and a half years during which El Niño conditions are more probable, following the peak in solar activity. Phase II, of another two and a half years length, coincides with declining solar activity. This is a highly variable period when strong La Niña conditions might take place, but during most cycles it has presented strong El Niño conditions. This might be related to the string of very active solar cycles that between 1935 and 2004 have constituted the Modern Solar Maximum, and might represent a delayed response to above average insolation. This phase corresponds to Landscheidt’s observation of strong events during the declining phase of the solar cycle that would correspond preferentially to Niña or Niño depending on the Hale cycle. Phase III, of around three years, coincides with the final decline in solar activity towards the solar minimum, and usually presents La Niña conditions. Particularly frequent is a La Niña right before the solar minimum (figure 2). Phases I to III correlate in general terms with solar activity and might represent a response to solar irradiance. The last two phases display anti-correlation to solar activity. Phase IV, a short period of about 1.5 years, starts around the time of minimal solar activity, but it results in El Niño conditions that can be considerably strong at times, like in 1998. Afterwards, phase V coincides with the period of rapidly rising solar activity, that very reproducibly presents La Niña conditions. Phase IV and V do not appear to follow changes in TSI, so the suggestion by Leamon & McIntosh (2017) that they could depend on other solar parameters or galactic cosmic rays appears reasonable. Certain solar wind properties change trend at the solar minimum, like its electric field strength, or the Alfvén Mach number that reflects plasma wave speed, that peaks at the minimum. Solar wind effects on the magnetosphere have been known for long, and solar-wind-induced changes in the global electric circuit affect weather parameters at the troposphere (Lam & Tinsley 2016).

Now we can see why Haam & Tung (2012) could not find a correlation between solar peak years and La Niña, as this condition takes place preferentially during the 1.5-2 years prior to the solar peak.

To analyze how statistically significant is the solar effect on ENSO I chose Phase V that presents the biggest ONI departure from zero and even its standard deviation range does not include the zero value. A specific procedure was followed for the statistical test. The smoothed monthly sunspot number was set to zero at the solar minimum and 100 at the solar maximum for each cycle. The months when the sunspot number increased from 35% to 80% of the maximum for each cycle were selected as they define the rapid ascent in solar activity that on average lasts one year. The 76 ONI values corresponding to those months from six solar cycles (SC19-24) have an average ONI value of -0.65. Consider this: six periods of ~ 1 year selected on a solar activity criterion display an average full fledged Niña condition. What are the chances of that? To find out I made a dataset with all the 12 consecutive months averages in the ONI database (816 instances, figure 4) and then randomly picked six of them and averaged them. I did that 100,000 times in a Monte Carlo analysis and only in 0.7% of the tests I obtained an equal or lower ONI average. The La Niña -0.65 ONI value at 35 to 80% solar activity has a 99.3% probability of not being due to chance. ENSO is under solar control.

Of course ENSO is not exclusively under solar control as it is a very complex phenomenon, and thus we shouldn’t expect that the patterns are always reproduced. However it is clear from paleoclimatic data (Moy et al., 2002), solar physics (Leamon & McIntosh 2017), Modeling and reanalysis (van Loon & Meehl 2008), frequency analysis (White & Liu 2008), and the present analysis, that solar activity has a clear strong effect on ENSO, probably being its main forcing. The reported 2-7-year ENSO periodicity appears to be an 11-year periodicity with several occurrences. The present (mid-2019) position in the solar cycle is at the transition between phases III-IV, close to the solar minimum. With some uncertainty due to the irregularity of the 11-yr solar cycle, a La Niña can be projected for phase V, by mid-2020 (Leamon & McIntosh 2017). The failed El Niño projection from February 2017 by ENSO models (figure 6) took place at the transition between phases II and III in figure 5, a time when the solar cycle favors La Niña conditions that finally developed a few months later. This is an instance when ENSO prediction from solar activity would have been superior to models.

Figure 6. ECMWF ENSO forecast for February 2017 indicating Niño conditions for late summer at a time solar activity favored Niña conditions due to the transition from phase II to III. Finally Niña conditions developed.

The solar effect on ENSO could be responsible for the detected global temperature variation of 0.1-0.2 °C between solar cycle maximum and minimum (Tung and Camp, 2008), attributed to tropical evaporative feedback (Zhou and Tung, 2013). ENSO is the leading mode of interannual variability in the tropical climate system, with a global impact on surface temperature and precipitation. Its frequency has been implicated in interdecadal shifts in the tropical Pacific climate (Kumar and Hu 2013). The latest shift in 2000 has been related to the subsequent reduced rate of warming observed during the pause, a period characterized by a higher frequency of La Niña, until the 2015 El Niño put an apparent end to it. Given the clear association between solar activity and ENSO, an interesting question is if long-term changes in solar activity could be responsible for long-term changes in ENSO frequency. To compare them, 10.7 cm solar flux data, and ONI data were smoothed with a Gaussian filter equivalent to an 11-year moving average (figure 7).

Figure 7. Gaussian smoothed 1950-2018 Oceanic Niño Index (black line delimiting red and blue areas, right scale), and Gaussian smoothed 1950-2018 10.7 cm solar flux, a proxy for solar activity (thick dashed line, left scale). A 4-year lagged 10.7 cm solar flux (thick continuous line) shows that periods of high solar activity tend to coincide with periods of predominant Niño conditions, and periods of low solar activity tend to coincide with periods of predominant Niña conditions.

Long-term changes in ENSO frequency are compatible with long-term changes in solar activity. Peaks and troughs in ENSO frequency follow with a ~ 4-year lag peaks and troughs in long-term solar activity. Since ENSO activity is clearly directed by solar activity (figure 2), it is likely that the long-term correlation between both has a physical basis. If the effect of long-term changes in solar activity has to account for this lagged long-term effect on ENSO, its effect on global temperature must be much higher that the effect detected over a single solar cycle. By altering ENSO frequencies, solar activity might alter the decadal rates of warming, leading to periods of increased warming and periods of reduced warming (pauses). The 2015 El Niño has put an apparent end to the La Niña-predominant period since 2000, and to the period of reduced warming. However, if the relation between solar activity and ENSO frequency is maintained, we can project that both should continue until long-term solar activity increases again in the future.

How can we use solar activity to improve our ENSO predictions?

Figure 5 shows a probabilistic plot of ENSO in terms of solar activity. By knowing or estimating where in the solar cycle we are we can get an estimate of the chances of a particular outcome even years ahead. This can then be compared to models output when they become available. If they disagree like it happened in February 2017 we should reduce our confidence on the model prediction, and increase it when there is agreement. Landscheidt method also deserves closer attention to examine how well it has performed since 2000. Leamon & McIntosh (2017) have predicted a Niña for 2020, and over a year ago I predicted the 2018-19 Niño based on solar activity at an article at WUWT.

It is clear that even in a crude form solar activity is useful for ENSO prediction and no doubt the method can be improved enormously as Landscheidt suggested: “these problems can only be solved by a joint interdisciplinary effort of open-minded scientists.”

Data sources and bibliography [ link]

174 responses to “ENSO predictions based on solar activity

  1. “these problems can only be solved by a joint interdisciplinary effort of open-minded scientists.”

    The problem is the single minded leftist opposition of Bureaucrats and Politicians. You can’t solve propaganda with sound science

  2. Ireneusz Palmowski

    After a strong geomagnetic storm, the jet stream becomes latitudinal.


    Parallel circulation causes of the Niño 3.4 index to fall.

    • This is interesting. Any where I could find more information?

      You might find this video about Birkeland Currents interesting:

  3. You always know that Javier is up to something when he disappears from the blogosphere for a while. (high probability of that happening… 😉)

  4. Javier
    A wealth of well researched data as always and nice figures, thanks!
    However, evidence of periodic forcing from outside does not overturn substantial research that has established that the El Niño-la Nina cycle also has an internally driven intrinsic oscillatory dynamic. The Bjerknes feedback for instance. Really there is too much published evidence for the internal feedback driven ENSO oscillation for you to take the position of Ulrich Lyons and others and assert that ENSO is completely passive, with every excursion requiring a discreet forcing from outside.

    We have discussed this often before. I don’t see what is wrong with the paradigm of the externally forced nonlinear oscillator. Excitable oscillatory systems such as the BZ (Belousov-Zhabotinsky) chemical oscillator provide robust analogs of forced (as well as internal-only) nonlinear oscillatiors.

    The Bjerknes feedback in which trade winds and Peruvian upwelling mutually reinforce each other make the east equatorial Pacific an excitable medium. This excitability makes it easier, not harder, for external forcing such as the sunspot cycle or the annual cycle to entrain ENSO timing.

    Thus I don’t see why you consider excitability and intrinsic oscillation to be mutually exclusive to solar forcing. They are not mutually exclusive.

    Your figure 2 where you show ENSO events relative to the recent sunspot cycles, is selective and misses out several major El Niño. Such as the huge 1972-3 one which caused the Peruvian anchovy collapse, the biggest fishery collapse in history. Also the 1982-83 one – also a big event. This selectivity weakens the argument for a strong forcing of ENSO by sunspot cycle.

    This solar forcing of ENSO does exist but it is weak, not strong. There is an important difference between weak and strong periodic forcing of a nonlinear oscillator. In weak forcing the emergent induced oscillation has a complex frequency and time pattern that is different from the forcing frequency, making attribution of the forcing difficult. Strong forcing on the other hand is where forced and forcing frequencies are the same – a parent pushing a child in a swing.

    https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/1520-0469%281997%29054%3C0061%3AMOSEI%3E2.0.CO%3B2

    https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/1520-0469(1995)052%3C0293:IALTTS%3E2.0.CO%3B2

    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2005GL024738

    • Phil Salmon: Thus I don’t see why you consider excitability and intrinsic oscillation to be mutually exclusive to solar forcing. They are not mutually exclusive.

      He does not write that they are mutually exclusive, imho.

      Javier: Of course ENSO is not exclusively under solar control as it is a very complex phenomenon, and thus we shouldn’t expect that the patterns are always reproduced

      He writes that solar forcing is underappreciated: Javier: Despite the evidence for a solar forcing of ENSO the accepted paradigm from model studies is that ENSO is self-excited or driven by internal variability random noise.

      • The work of Paul Pukite and others would tend to show a strong lunar driver for ENSO, and indeed most of the Oceanic Oscillators (AMO, PDO etc).

      • matthew
        He does not write that they are mutually exclusive, imho
        Not exactly, and elsewhere he acknowledges implicitly that it is an oscillation with its internal dynamic. So we’re not that far from eachother. However Javier makes statements against internal dynamic implying there is exclusivity between external and internal, there is no statement of externally forced-internally driven which – imho – there should be.

        wyzelli

        Yes it’s weak external periodic forcing from a number of sources – the annual cycle (see Kane, Zebiak, Tzipermann et al..), lunar, solar etc. Javier indeed says:

        Of course ENSO is not exclusively under solar control as it is a very complex phenomenon, and thus we shouldn’t expect that the patterns are always reproduced.

        in other words … a weakly externally periodically forced nonlinear oscillator.

    • Phil,

      Thus I don’t see why you consider excitability and intrinsic oscillation to be mutually exclusive to solar forcing.

      I don’t. They are perfectly compatible. It is clear that ENSO is a very complex multi-factorial phenomenon taking place within the climate system. My view is that solar forcing acting from outside the climate system is important enough to frequently determine the outcome, resulting in periods of warming and periods of cooling. Most climate scientists would disagree with this view, but the supporting evidence is there.

      Your figure 2 where you show ENSO events relative to the recent sunspot cycles, is selective and misses out several major El Niño.

      My figure 2 highlights a hidden pattern in ENSO so it can be seen by eye. It is like one of these hidden picture activities for kids.

      No point in criticizing the selection, as it is the one that reveals this particular pattern.

      This solar forcing of ENSO does exist but it is weak, not strong.

      That’s a matter of definition. I take the really long view, so if the absence of Niño conditions during the Holocene Climatic Optimum, the multi-decadal predominance of Niña and Niña conditions, the 11-year pattern in ENSO, and the ENSO outcome at certain times in the solar cycle are all determined by solar forcing, then I consider that to be a strong forcing. But you are welcome to call it weak if you consider that name more fitting if the forcing exerted is weaker than the response obtained.

      Thank you for the references. It is well known that ENSO has a strong seasonal component that among other things is the basis for the spring predictability barrier highlighted by our host:
      https://judithcurry.com/2019/04/04/2019-enso-forecast/

      • Javier
        Your pattern figure omits the horn on the creature’s forehead.
        This is climate we are talking about :-)

      • That’s a good one XD

      • (yeah, phil, i can just see mosh coloring in that one now)…

      • Thanks for another interesting piece. I still go back read “the next glaciation” now and then.

        It does look like the solar cycle has correlated too and likely therefore been responsible for some proportion of the events, even if many others happened outside of its influence.

    • “the position of Ulrich Lyons and others and assert that ENSO is completely passive, with every excursion requiring a discreet forcing from outside.”

      I wouldn’t go quite that far. I suspect something internal caused the 2014-15 El Nino to continue into the 2015-2016 super El Nino. The solar wind was actually speeding again up through 2015.

  5. What does this post tell us, or what reasonable inferences can be drawn from it about the role of the sun versus the role of CO2 in affecting the average global temperature?

  6. Javier, interesting as always

    about the caption to figure 7: A 4-year lagged 10.7 cm solar flux (thick continuous line) shows that periods of high solar activity tend to coincide with periods of predominant Niño conditions, and periods of low solar activity tend to coincide with periods of predominant Niña conditions.

    Shouldn’t that read: “A 4-year lagged 10.7 cm solar flux (thick continuous line) shows that periods of high solar activity tend to be followed by periods of predominant Niño conditions, and periods of low solar activity tend to be followed by. periods of predominant Niña conditions”?

    • Yes, Matthew, that would be more correct, thank you.

      • Thanks for a remarkably informative article, Javier. I just began Michael E. Mann’s climate science class this weekend on EdX, and I have been following the Twitter thread on @theintercept’s post of a retrospective #GreenNewDeal animation from @TheLeap and @AOC. This thread has become a raging sounding board for climate histrionics. Denialists create huge reactions when they say “the GSM WILL cool the next 2 decades”. It is really appreciated when an article such as yours is willing to detachedly observe to see if other factors might have determinative effects over the next couple of decades.

  7. ENSO prediction is important for water resources planning in Southern Africa and NE Australia because of the marked different rainfall patterns of El Nino and La Nina. There are many studies on the cyclical patterns i.e. “Linkages between solar activity, climate predictability and water resource development” WJR Alexander et al.

  8. Modeling and reanalysis (van Loon & Meehl 2008), frequency analysis (White & Liu 2008), and the present analysis, that solar activity has a clear strong effect on ENSO, probably being its main forcing.

    Definitely maybe. White and Liu demonstrate yet again, as have many others, that with knowledge and effort you can devise models that reproduce selected features of selected time series.

    their model is:

    dh/dt = – T + e;
    dT/dt + gT = (h + bh^3) + Scos(t):

    How many models did they try before they got the cubic term? It’s not really credible.

    On previous occasions I have suggested that you might compile these essays into a monograph and submit it to Springer or one of the other academic publishers. I repeat the suggestion now: I am sure such a monograph would enjoy a wide readership among graduate students.

  9. Long-term changes in ENSO frequency are compatible with long-term changes in solar activity.

    It’s all good Javier – it’s the main focus of my own work that proves it all.

    Remember also who’s been telling you what solar analog year is applicable to 2019. I’ve since around late 2018 been foretelling this La-Nina-ish drop-off we see now in Nino 34 (although Nino 4 is still holding up) due to this year being an ENSO analog to 2007, and a solar cycle analog to 2008.

    Much of this is from the dependable annual cycle seasonal solar influence on the Nino 3 anomaly, that importantly coincides with the now finally winding down TSI from the last big sunspot of the solar cycle from several months ago, and it’s diminishing equatorial ocean warming effect, ie cooling effect:

    As someone with a sun-climate plan, I had met Bob Leamon and Scott McIntosh twice, at the 2018 LASP Sun-Climate Symposium, and at the 2018 AGU fall meeting – great people and very smart, and made a point to tell Bob as gently as I could that I found the same as he – independent confirmation – of his impending ENSO that coincides with my work on the solar cycle influence on the ocean.

    In other news, in the two weeks since posting here I’ve been very busy working long hours on science supporting the fact that the sun controls the equatorial ocean which drives overall ocean heat content, the overall climate, including CO2. Below is a sample of ~50 new plots.

    The very best correlations in climate science:

    ^ Nino1234 is derived from Nino12 and Nino34 data since 1870.

    The views articulated in this article are 100% compatible with my findings.

    • The middle graphic needed expansion for clarity. The Nino1234 index clearly correlates extremely well with the sunspot number 30-year average:

      If the effect of long-term changes in solar activity has to account for this lagged long-term effect on ENSO, its effect on global temperature must be much higher that the effect detected over a single solar cycle. By altering ENSO frequencies, solar activity might alter the decadal rates of warming, leading to periods of increased warming and periods of reduced warming (pauses).

      You are on the right path. The object is to produce high-confidence solar based predictions of ENSO and SST with associated risks based on higher/lower solar activity. The information above and the following relationship gets to your questions by confirming its true and deterministic:

    • If solar forcing of ENSO and climate is important then independent analyses from different approaches should yield comparable results, as it happens. This is reassuring.

      To my knowledge Leamon and McIntosh were the first to predict the coming 2020 Niña in late 2017 so the credit should go to them. And they did it studying the displacement of magnetic activity bands in the sun. This is really amazing stuff. It was their report that prompted me to look into the Solar-ENSO relationship more closely, although I had been collecting bibliography on it since mid-2017. I was following the track from the relationship between solar activity and the QBO and stratospheric sudden warmings, and the relationship between these stratospheric phenomena and ENSO.

      These relationships are well known to experts (even if ignored by everybody else), for example in this figure from a paper by Roy in 2014:

      Or this one from a paper by Hall et al. in 2015:

      I explored these relationships in my article:
      https://judithcurry.com/2018/01/21/nature-unbound-vii-climate-change-mechanisms/

      However an important point is that the recurrent Niña observed by Leamon and McIntosh takes place when solar activity and TSI increase rapidly from the solar minimum towards the solar maximum. That’s why it is difficult to think that it is driven by changes in TSI.

      • To my knowledge Leamon and McIntosh were the first to predict the coming 2020 Niña in late 2017 so the credit should go to them.

        The issue I referred to was for after their La Nina, ie the next El Nino, the one that follows the ‘solar cycle onset’ ENSO, that will arrive after monthly F10.7cm reaches 120sfu, that corresponds to the magnetic cycle development as they described. My discovery from 2014 of the 120sfu ENSO level predates their publication by three years, and is the reason I spent thousands of dollars and a lot of time going to these conferences, and why it is my responsibility to insure people get things right.

        However an important point is that the recurrent Niña observed by Leamon and McIntosh takes place when solar activity and TSI increase rapidly from the solar minimum towards the solar maximum. That’s why it is difficult to think that it is driven by changes in TSI.

        The solar cycle onset ENSO is explicitly prominent in my work, and is a natural response to the rapid increase in new cycle TSI under the clearer skies engendered during the lowest TSI. The annual data shown below doesn’t really show the driving 2009/10 monthlyTSI influence on that El Nino, but it does clearly show later SST growth is TSI driven, year-over-year:

        There’s nothing difficult about it. At the minimum with fewer clouds, lower TSI warms SST fast, whereas later in the cycle the higher TSI drives more clouds, limiting TSI effectiveness all the while the rising TSI steadily warms over many years until TSI drops, taking SST down with it.

  10. The cause of those findings is the change in jet stream meridionality with solar changes.
    Greater meridionality involves longer lines of air mass mixing, more clouds, less solar energy into the oceans and, eventually, a change in the balance between El Nino and La Nina events.
    During warming times El Ninos dominate and during cooler times La Ninas dominate:
    http://joannenova.com.au/2015/01/is-the-sun-driving-ozone-and-changing-the-climate/

    • Yes I suspect something similar Stephen. The relationship between solar activity and the atmospheric angular momentum (AAM) has been established in the literature by the effect of solar activity on the speed of rotation of the Earth measured as the length of the day. Quite simply the atmosphere expands and contracts reacting to changes in solar activity. This is well known from solar activity effect on satellite drag. What is less widely known is that the AAM is also affected and this causes changes in the meridional/zonal balance of atmospheric circulation, the polar vortex and the jet stream and subtropical jet, Hadley circulation, Madden-Julian oscillation and so on.

      While the effect of solar variability on the oceans is important, the effect on the atmosphere is even bigger probably leading to more important consequences.

      But we have to rephrase your last phrase. During cooling times Niños become more frequent, more heat is extracted from the subsurface Equatorial Pacific and moved outside the planet. This manifests as warming at the surface (where thermometers are) as the heat flux is increased.

      Cheng, L., et al. “Evolution of ocean heat content related to ENSO.” Journal of Climate 32.12 (2019): 3529-3556.
      https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0607.1

      • “What is less widely known is that the AAM is also affected and this causes changes in the meridional/zonal balance of atmospheric circulation, the polar vortex and the jet stream and subtropical jet, Hadley circulation, Madden-Julian oscillation and so on.”

        Interesting stuff.

      • Javier,
        I have previously seen the suggestion that stronger El Ninos occur in a cooling world so I investigated it thoroughly and decided that it cannot be so.
        The late 20th century warming period along with the Mediaeval Warming Period were times of strong El Ninos warming the atmosphere which exhibited a more zonal flow pattern whereas the Little Ice Age was the opposite.
        In theory El Nino is a cooling process for the system as a whole but it warms the air and reduced global cloudiness from more zonal jets allows solar energy in to cancel the cooling effect so one does indeed see more El Ninos during a warming period.

      • Stephen,

        The late 20th century warming period along with the Mediaeval Warming Period were times of strong El Ninos warming the atmosphere which exhibited a more zonal flow pattern whereas the Little Ice Age was the opposite.

        Rather than saying that “stronger El Ninos occur in a cooling world,” it would be more accurate to say that stronger El Niños occur when the world needs to cool. El Niño occurs when other mechanisms for transporting heat outside of the tropical Pacific cannot cope with the amount of heat that needs to be transported to adjust the latitudinal temperature gradient to the latitudinal insolation gradient. So it is not the actual temperature but the gradient and its changes that determine when strong Niños occur. This is complicated and requires to think about it. Tsonis et al. 2003 described it perfectly well:
        “We have presented mathematical and physical evidence that support the hypothesis that the occurrence and variability of El Niño are sensitive to changes in global temperatures, but not to the actual value of the global temperature. More specifically, our theory suggests that El Niño is activated to reverse positive global temperature trends, and La Niña to reverse negative trends. This makes global temperature change (which can be a result of natural variability and/or of increased greenhouse gases) an important input into the variability of El Niño.”
        Tsonis, A.A., Hunt, A.G. and Elsner, J.B., 2003. On the relation between ENSO and global climate change. Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics, 84(3-4), pp.229-242.
        http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.596.9011&rep=rep1&type=pdf

        This explains the observation by Moy et al. 2002 that Bond events appear to decrease ENSO activity:
        “We observe that Bond events tend to occur during periods of low ENSO activity immediately following a period of high ENSO activity, which suggests that some link may exist between the two systems.”
        I have confirmed that observation that also coincides with what you say about the LIA, the last Bond event.

        The likely explanation to Moy et al. 2002 observation that agrees with Tsonis et al. 2013 observations is that at Bond events the planet is so cold respect the insolation gradient that no further Niños are produced as there is no excess heat in the tropical Pacific in need of exporting. However as the planet cools prior to the Bond event, the cooling is helped by the increase in Niños that precedes the Bond event.

        In the second half of the 20th century, as anthropogenic activities and higher than usual solar activity appear to have increased the planet temperature there is a greater need to export heat from the tropical Pacific, leading to an increase in Niño activity that is actually opposing the warming.

      • Javier,
        I agree with the idea that strong El Ninos occur when the world needs to cool.
        But why does it need to cool?
        It needs to cool because the solar induced reduction in cloudiness causes the system to contain more energy than is permitted by the relationship between atmospheric mass, the strength of the gravitational field and the level of top of atmosphere insolation.
        So, El Ninos are indeed the process of ‘blowing off’ excess energy but in that process the atmosphere is heated, the climate zones are pushed poleward and the jet stream tracks become more zonal which allows more surface energy to escape to space.
        So, we see stronger El Ninos when the atmosphere is in warming mode.
        When solar activity declines there is an increase in global cloudiness from more equatorward climate zones and more meridional jet stream tracks which causes a system energy deficit and the incidence of La Ninas increases in order to preserve system energy so as to restore the balance set by atmospheric mass, the strength of the gravitational field and the level of top of atmosphere insolation.
        At all times the emission of energy from the oceans to the atmosphere is seeking to neutralise system energy imbalances.
        So, El Ninos occur when the system needs to cool and the effect is a warming of the atmosphere.
        La Ninas occur when the system needs to warm and the effect is a cooling of the atmosphere.

      • It needs to cool because the solar induced reduction in cloudiness causes the system to contain more energy than is permitted by the relationship between atmospheric mass, the strength of the gravitational field and the level of top of atmosphere insolation.

        It’s a reasonable explanation. Clearly we need better data about cloudiness.

      • Javier:

        You are to be commended for your efforts in attempting to determine a method of estimating future climate events perhaps years ahead..

        However, the reality is that solar activity has no observable effect on Earth’s climate, nor does CO2 levels.

        What DOES drive Earth’s climate is simply varying amounts of dimming SO2 aerosols in the atmosphere, primarily from random VEI4, or larger, volcanic eruptions, but also, since the Industrial Revolution, from changing levels of Anthropogenic SO2 aerosol emissions.

        Every La Nina is caused by increased levels of SO2 in the atmosphere, and every El Nino is caused by decreased levels of SO2 aerosol emissions, and thus they are largely predictable events..

        As examples, the very strong 1997-98 El Nino was caused by a reported 7.7 Megaton reduction in Anthropogenic SO2 aerosol emissions, due to global Clean Air efforts, and the 2015-16 El Nino was due to an ~30 Megaton reduction in Chinese SO2 aerosol emissions.

        Sorry, but all of the above are verifiable facts.

      • Javier: In the second half of the 20th century, as anthropogenic activities and higher than usual solar activity appear to have increased the planet temperature there is a greater need to export heat from the tropical Pacific, leading to an increase in Niño activity that is actually opposing the warming.

        That is not a dissent from the 97% consensus, which emphasizes human activities (more than half, or some such) but does not deny.other factors (the unnamed, unlisted “less than half”).

      • That is not a dissent from the 97% consensus

        And that is the problem with the 97% (besides being a false made-up number). Many of us undeterred deniers of a climate emergency that believe natural factors explain a great deal of present global warming fall squarely within the “97%” that believe:
        a) The world is warming.
        b) Humans are having a significant contribution.
        Let’s not forget that significant in my neck of science means >2%, i.e. not insignificant.

      • Can someone pkease expand on this:

        “But we have to rephrase your last phrase. During cooling times Niños become more frequent, more heat is extracted from the subsurface Equatorial Pacific and moved outside the planet. This manifests as warming at the surface (where thermometers are) as the heat flux is increased.”

        I often wonder whether heatewaves are more about the release or passage of stired (heat) energy than about a buildup or warming trend.

      • I would think that heatwaves are a manifestation of the intrinsic chaotic nature of weather. We do know that there were intense heatwaves even during the Little Ice Age. The July 1757 heatwave in Europe is famous.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_1757_heatwave

      • Stephen
        “So, we see stronger El Ninos when the atmosphere is in warming mode”.
        Or should it be –
        We see a warmer atmosphere during stronger El Ninos.

        Also – temperature is not the only measure – there is work. The 2015 Nino created the 2nd strongest East Pacific ACE since 1982. Warming not measured in the 2 meter zone.
        The mass presentation of heat at sea surface in the form of convection was greater than the carrying capacity of the prevailing winds – tropical cyclones stepped in, that is why they exist.
        Zonal winds primarily respond to equatorial convection – Brewer Dobson cycle. In 2015 this work cooled the atmosphere above Antarctica for an extended period into December. Heat work causing cooling.

        Regards
        Martin

      • Javier: Rather than saying that “stronger El Ninos occur in a cooling world,” it would be more accurate to say that stronger El Niños occur when the world needs to cool. El Niño occurs when other mechanisms for transporting heat outside of the tropical Pacific cannot cope with the amount of heat that needs to be transported to adjust the latitudinal temperature gradient to the latitudinal insolation gradient.

        Thank you again for your many responses to comments.

        What exactly is meant by the word “needs” in the above sentences; or the word “cope”? You have described an oscillation between states in which cooling predominates over warming and states in which warming predominates over cooling with the result that Pacific mean temp stays within a range. Where do “needs” come into play? What are the “needs”?

      • What exactly is meant by the word “needs” in the above sentences; or the word “cope”?

        How does the planet determine the amount of heat that needs to be transported from the tropical regions to high latitudes? That amount is clearly not constant. Think about it: millions of years ago, when the planet was truly warm, the poles did not have permanent ice and Antarctica was covered in crepuscular forests that for a large part of the year did not have light.

        https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-12378934
        “What we did was grow seedlings of these trees in blacked-out greenhouses where we could simulate Antarctic light conditions”, he told the BBC.
        “We also raised temperature and CO2 concentration to match ancient growing conditions.”
        His experiments showed that trees could cope remarkably well with the strange environment. Although they used up food stores in the winter, they more than made up for this by their ability to photosynthesise 24 hours per day in the summer.

        So the poles were dark but without much ice for half of the year, with temperatures high enough to allow the survival of plants and animals. Without ice (an insulator) the heat loss to the dark sky must have been phenomenal so the amount of heat to be transported under those conditions must have been much higher to prevent the freezing of the dark pole.

        If we come to the last half of the Pleistocene we have the same situation. The amount of heat to be transported to the poles must greatly change between glacials and interglacials, but with differences. When the poles are permanently frozen nearly all the heat transported there in winter by the atmosphere is lost to space, while the heat transported by the ocean is protected by the sea-ice cover. So the more heat the atmosphere transports during the winter the more heat is lost and the more the planet cools.

        So winter poleward heat transport is an essential part of the global climate system. Probably more important than the amount of GHGs in the atmosphere as it is a feature that changes with the most drastic temperature changes of the planet.

        Now we go back to the initial question: How does the planet determine the amount of heat that needs to be transported from the tropical regions to high latitudes? It is obvious that the heat moves along the temperature gradient. The main determinant of the temperature gradient is the insolation gradient, that’s why the planet’s climate responds so strongly to the apparently small changes caused by Milankovitch’s orbital changes.

        It took me a long time to understand that at any given time the planet has a temperature target determined by the insolation gradient and by the climate system conditions (like albedo). This is the opposite view to that of most climate scientists that assume that in the absence of a forcing the temperature should remain stable. In truth the temperature deviates from its target during centuries only to overcompensate and deviate in the opposite direction. The Little Ice Age was a downward deviation caused by a strong decrease in solar activity causing an increased loss of heat at the poles. Once solar activity returned to normal the planet started to warm without apparent cause because the polar loss was reduced and the planet moved towards its temperature target determined by Milankovitch. Higher than normal solar activity in the 1935-2000 period and several human activities including GHG emissions have caused an upward deviation of the global temperature from its target. But as we move away from the target temperature the resistance to further warming will increase so a slowdown in global warming is likely until a peak is reached and then the trend will reverse for several centuries. Obviously after 500 years the target temperature has changed due to orbital changes.

        Going back to ENSO, during the HCO the planet was warmer and for thousands of years the insolation gradient changed little. The temperature gradient was flatter (warmer Arctic) and changed less over time, so the amount of heat to be transported was less. The Bjerkness compensation establishes that the heat to be transported can do so by the atmosphere or the oceans, but the oceans do most of their transport from the tropics to the subtropics while the atmosphere does most of its work between the subtropics and high latitudes.

        When the HCO ended, the insolation gradient started to change faster and a steeper temperature gradient forced more heat out of the tropics. When the ocean is unable to cope a burst of heat is transferred to the atmosphere in the tropical Pacific causing a Niño.
        During the LIA (as with any other Bond event) the planet is colder than its target temperature but it is not cooling further. The temperature gradient is no longer increasing and is trying to decrease to match the insolation gradient that determines it should be warmer, so Niños are suppressed.
        Coming out of the LIA the temperature gradient gets flatter so the process also favors low ENSO activity. With modern warming we are moving to the other side, with the planet’s temperature above the insolation gradient target. As Tsonis determined, ENSO is increasing to oppose warming, i.e. to move more heat to match the insolation gradient.

        So what I am saying is that in my opinion there is an optimal orbital temperature established by adjusting the balance of energy to the insolation gradient through the heat transported to the winter pole, and that ENSO is part of the many negative feedbacks that try to move the planet’s temperature towards that orbital optimum.

        Support for some important aspects of my view is found in:
        Davis, B.A. and Brewer, S., 2011. A unified approach to orbital, solar, and lunar forcing based on the Earth’s latitudinal insolation/temperature gradient. Quaternary Science Reviews, 30(15-16), pp.1861-1874.
        https://sabercathost.com/5kzh/Davis2011.pdf
        “The LTG [Latitudinal Temperature Gradient] is a key element of the Earth’s climate system, providing the potential energy that drives the atmospheric and (wind driven) ocean circulation and the location and strength of the atmospheric cells that determine many regional climates. The LTG also determines, and is determined by, the degree to which mean global temperature is amplified over the poles. The LTG therefore has the potential to exert a significant influence on the climate system. First order forcing of the LTG comes from extraterrestrial forcing through the LIG [Latitudinal Insolation Gradient], and we propose that long-term changes in the LIG could provide a plausible explanation for the propagation of extraterrestrial signals throughout the climatic record.”

      • Javier,

        There are only two relevant parameters for the system’s ‘need’ for energy
        i) To balance energy in from space with energy out to space
        ii) To provide enough additional remaining surface energy to balance the upward pressure gradient force with the downward force of gravity so as to keep the mass of the atmosphere off the ground in hydrostatic equilibrium.

        Any more or any less surface energy results in the loss of the atmosphere and it is conduction plus convection that creates that additional surface energy store as described here:

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/06/27/return-to-earth/

        ENSO is part of the mechanism whereby the system’s ‘need’ for energy is maintained in the face of all potential destabilising factors including GHGs

      • Stephen,

        i) To balance energy in from space with energy out to space

        I obviously agree with that. However heat transport within the climate system must not be assumed to just balance the deficit in insolation at higher latitudes. The evidence shows that the heat transported by the atmosphere to the winter pole does change over time, and since that heat is mostly lost to space, it means that heat transport regulates the energy out to space. It is a finger on the energy scale resulting in the planet warming or cooling.

      • Yes, changes do occur due to cloudiness / albedo variations which are primarily solar induced as per the mechanism I referred to previously.
        However, those variations are neutralised over time by adjustments in item ii) which covers all the phenomena mentioned in your earlier posts including ENSO.
        The point being that since the entire process is related to atmospheric mass and since hydrostatic equilibrium must be maintained there is no place for any net thermal effect from GHGs or aerosols in an atmosphere but there would be a minuscule adjustment in the atmospheric and oceanic circulations which we would likely be unable to measure relative to natural internal variability.

      • Javier: So what I am saying is that in my opinion there is an optimal orbital temperature established by adjusting the balance of energy to the insolation gradient through the heat transported to the winter pole, and that ENSO is part of the many negative feedbacks that try to move the planet’s temperature towards that orbital optimum.

        I am thankful, but I do not think it makes any sense to write of a planetary “need”, or that the planet “determines” a rate of cooling to meet its need. And it might not be “optimal” for anything.

      • Javier,

        You said:
        “So the poles were dark but without much ice for half of the year, with temperatures high enough to allow the survival of plants and animals. Without ice (an insulator) the heat loss to the dark sky must have been phenomenal so the amount of heat to be transported under those conditions must have been much higher to prevent the freezing of the dark pole.”

        Here is another explanation:

        Early Eocene and the equable climate problem
        One of the unique features of the Eocene’s climate as mentioned before was the equable and homogeneous climate that existed in the early parts of the Eocene. A multitude of proxies support the presence of a warmer equable climate being present during this period of time. A few of these proxies include the presence of fossils native to warm climates, such as crocodiles, located in the higher latitudes,[18][19] the presence in the high latitudes of frost-intolerant flora such as palm trees which cannot survive during sustained freezes,[19][20] and fossils of snakes found in the tropics that would require much higher average temperatures to sustain them.[19] Using isotope proxies to determine ocean temperatures indicates sea surface temperatures in the tropics as high as 35 °C (95 °F) and, relative to present-day values, bottom water temperatures that are 10 °C (18 °F) higher.[20] With these bottom water temperatures, temperatures in areas where deep-water forms near the poles are unable to be much cooler than the bottom water temperatures.

        An issue arises, however, when trying to model the Eocene and reproduce the results that are found with the proxy data.[21] Using all different ranges of greenhouse gasses that occurred during the early Eocene, models were unable to produce the warming that was found at the poles and the reduced seasonality that occurs with winters at the poles being substantially warmer. The models, while accurately predicting the tropics, tend to produce significantly cooler temperatures of up to 20 °C (36 °F) colder than the actual determined temperature at the poles.[20] This error has been classified as the “equable climate problem”. To solve this problem, the solution would involve finding a process to warm the poles without warming the tropics. Some hypotheses and tests which attempt to find the process are listed below.”

        Polar stratospheric clouds

        Another method considered for producing the warm polar temperatures were polar stratospheric clouds.[25] Polar stratospheric clouds are clouds that occur in the lower stratosphere at very low temperatures. Polar stratospheric clouds have a great impact on radiative forcing. Due to their minimal albedo properties and their optical thickness, polar stratospheric clouds act similar to a greenhouse gas and traps outgoing longwave radiation. Different types of polar stratospheric clouds occur in the atmosphere: polar stratospheric clouds that are created due to interactions with nitric or sulfuric acid and water (Type I) or polar stratospheric clouds that are created with only water ice (Type II).

        Methane is an important factor in the creation of the primary Type II polar stratospheric clouds that were created in the early Eocene.[12] Since water vapor is the only supporting substance used in Type II polar stratospheric clouds, the presence of water vapor in the lower stratosphere is necessary where in most situations the presence of water vapor in the lower stratosphere is rare. When methane is oxidized, a significant amount of water vapor is released. Another requirement for polar stratospheric clouds is cold temperatures to ensure condensation and cloud production. Polar stratospheric cloud production, since it requires the cold temperatures, is usually limited to nighttime and winter conditions. With this combination of wetter and colder conditions in the lower stratosphere, polar stratospheric clouds could have formed over wide areas in Polar Regions.

        To test the polar stratospheric clouds effects on the Eocene climate, models were run comparing the effects of polar stratospheric clouds at the poles to an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.[25] The polar stratospheric clouds had a warming effect on the poles, increasing temperatures by up to 20 °C in the winter months. A multitude of feedbacks also occurred in the models due to the polar stratospheric clouds’ presence. Any ice growth was slowed immensely and would lead to any present ice melting. Only the poles were affected with the change in temperature and the tropics were unaffected, which with an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide would also cause the tropics to increase in temperature. Due to the warming of the troposphere from the increased greenhouse effect of the polar stratospheric clouds, the stratosphere would cool and would potentially increase the amount of polar stratospheric clouds.

        While the polar stratospheric clouds could explain the reduction of the equator to pole temperature gradient and the increased temperatures at the poles during the early Eocene, there are a few drawbacks to maintaining polar stratospheric clouds for an extended period of time. Separate model runs were used to determine the sustainability of the polar stratospheric clouds.[26] Methane would need to be continually released and sustained to maintain the lower stratospheric water vapor. Increasing amounts of ice and condensation nuclei would need to be high for the polar stratospheric cloud to sustain itself and eventually expand.”

        Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eocene

  11. Reblogged this on Quaerere Propter Vērum.

  12. There is also a rational argument for a geological driven ENSO
    Pls see

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2019/07/03/elnino/

  13. Javier, can you explain why the HCO saw less Nino activity than in more recent times (in a nutshell)?

    • I don’t think anybody knows. The evidence for little ENSO activity during the HCO is quite good as it is supported by different proxies like corals or lake sediments. There is a discussion in:
      Conroy, J.L., et al., 2008. Holocene changes in eastern tropical Pacific climate inferred from a Galápagos lake sediment record. Quaternary Science Reviews, 27(11-12), pp.1166-1180.
      http://www.academia.edu/download/41873998/Holocene_changes_in_eastern_tropical_Pac20160201-30232-o9yhz3.pdf

      I would say the leading hypothesis is that it was due to orbital differences in insolation that directly affected the SST gradient and/or the position of the ITCZ.

      I think it is very important to understand ENSO to think about what was happening at the HCO. The planet was significantly warmer than now. The tropical oceans were significantly warmer than now. Rosenthal et al. 2013 left this very clear:
      Rosenthal, Y., et al., 2013. Pacific Ocean heat content during the past 10,000 years. Science, 342(6158), pp.617-621.
      https://academiccommons.columbia.edu/doi/10.7916/D8BP0CXP/download
      The Arctic was significantly warmer and with a lot less summer ice than now, as determined in numerous studies.
      Stein, R., et al., 2017. Holocene variability in sea ice cover, primary production, and Pacific‐Water inflow and climate change in the Chukchi and East Siberian Seas (Arctic Ocean). Journal of Quaternary Science, 32(3), pp.362-379.

      So with a warmer ocean, a warmer world and a warmer Arctic with less sea ice there were no Niños. Why?

      My opinion is that Niños occur when so much heat has to be moved out of the tropical Pacific that ocean transport is insufficient and El Niño acts as an arc discharge with the heat bypassing ocean transport and going directly through the atmosphere. Therefore in the HCO world the latitudinal temperature gradient was flatter, the planet did not need to cool, the amount of heat needed to be moved through the gradient was less and thus no strong Niños were produced.

      • Is there any speculation as to what the relative strength of walker cell trade winds were during the HCO to your knowledge?

      • Not to my knowledge. It must be very difficult to infer wind strength from paleo proxies that are recording other things. I know of one paper where they inferred the position of the Southern Annular Mode during the Holocene from tree-growth at different areas.

      • So with a warmer ocean, a warmer world and a warmer Arctic with less sea ice there were no Niños. Why?

        The very fact that this question is being asked points to the highly tenuous, nature of solar-activity explanations of ENSO. And the resort to certain harmonic features of nonlinear oscillators seems, at best, a tortured rationale, in light of the very broadband spectral character of all ENSO indices, totally devoid of any sharp spectral peaks. After all, it’s the rather arbitrary threshold of waht we call El Ninos that determines whatever truth there may be in their claimed absence during the Holocene Optimum.

        Meanwhile, the continual circulation of the Pacific must have been undergoing a transient change into its present interglacial configuration, with greater meridional temperature gradients emerging slowly with time.

      • the highly tenuous nature of solar-activity explanations of ENSO.

        Even if solar activity paces ENSO at certain times as the data indicates, that doesn’t mean that solar activity explains ENSO and much less that it causes ENSO.

        After all, it’s the rather arbitrary threshold of waht we call El Ninos that determines whatever truth there may be in their claimed absence during the Holocene Optimum.

        This is not correct. We might have chosen an arbitrary threshold to define what we call a Niño, but what the proxies register is not arbitrary. The Laguna Pallcacocha record of Moy et al. 2002 shows the strong Niños so clearly that they can be counted easily by anybody.

      • “Paces” is an ill-defined notion if it’s wholly unrelated to causal explanation and/or rigorous prediction. And my point about arbitrary Nino thresholds applies no less to proxy indications than to direct temperature measurements. Arbitrarily cherry-picking discrete events in continuous records is an exercise that offers enormous opportunities for analytic self-deception. That’s what makes the jury-rigged index of El Ninos per century of little scientific value.

      • You are welcome to be skeptic. My count of ENSO events per 100 years on the Laguna Palcacocha proxy from Moy et al., 2002 was done independently from the authors since I had access to the proxy data but not to their count data. The graph of my calculation came out nearly identical to theirs:

        So while you are to be commended for being skeptical that has to be followed by the examination of the data. In my case since I got the same result I am pretty confident that their analysis of the proxy data is correct.

      • i’ve oft heard that the temperature at the equator doesn’t change much, even with the difference between glacials and interglacials. (that’s the given reason for dividing the temperature change in ice cores at the south pole by 2 to get global temps, fwiw) If that’s the case, and the HCO SSTs along the equator were not much warmer than in later years, the relatively warmer upwelling waters in the east would bring slower walker trades. Perhaps that’s the reason for lesser Nino activity during the Holocene. Quite an assumption, i know, but just maybe…

      • Yes, it is correct that surface tropical temperature has changed a lot less over time, and it is reasonable to assume that a warmer planet had a less active atmosphere and probably slower trade winds. And warmer upwelling waters could also contribute to that, so it sounds like a reasonable hypothesis. I suppose somebody could start playing with models and get a paper published on it.

      • WOW(!) (and to think that the humble fonz was just taking a stab in the dark) i’ve also wondered if that isn’t the same mechanism that gets us (relatively) quickly out of a glacial as compared with the much longer return to a glacial from an interglacial. Surface temps diverging with ocean temps on the way out of a glacial. That as opposed to surface temps converging with ocean temps on the way back in. Nother wild guess, but maybe it is that simple.

        As a footnote, i used to live on the island of maui, climate change (or enso) central if you will. It really brings all the talk on enso to life having actually lived there. (as a layman, i think enso peaks my interest more so than your average joe)…

      • So while you are to be commended for being skeptical that has to be followed by the examination of the data. In my case since I got the same result I am pretty confident that their analysis of the proxy data is correct.

        Getting the same result in a contrived discrete metric with an arbitrary threshold says nothing about the physical utility of that metric.

        My essential point is that the relationship between ENSO and sunspot signals in Figure 2 is not adequately characterized by your observation that there is “a pattern repetition since 1956…[wherein] the solar minimum is preceded by Niña conditions, followed by Niño conditions, and afterwards Niña conditions accompany the rapid increase in solar activity.” The patent inconsistencies of the precise relative phasing of these discrete events point to a distinct lack of strong cross-spectral coherence between the two signals. The purported pattern thus remains analytically unsupported, being largely in the eye of the beholder.

      • Getting the same result in a contrived discrete metric with an arbitrary threshold says the result arises from the data not from the researcher.

        The pattern in figure 2 is previously unreported. Without those inconsistencies it would have been detected years if not decades ago. Given the complexity of ENSO, that is probably affected by multiple factors, the irregularities in the pattern are not unexpected. That the pattern is not precise does not detract from it not being due to chance. The pattern is statistically supported. It corresponds to late phase III to phase V in figure 5 when the data from six solar cycles is analyzed together. The changes in ENSO near the solar minimum are the most clear evidence that ENSO responds to solar activity.

      • Getting the same result in a contrived discrete metric with an arbitrary threshold says the result arises from the data not from the researcher.

        Different researchers reaching the same arithmetic result should not obscure the fact that this result patently varies with the threshold. It specifically arises from the threshold.

        That the pattern is not precise does not detract from it not being due to chance. The pattern is statistically supported.

        One has to be totally blind to proven, rigorous measures of signal relationship to make such a frivolous claim. I challenge you to demonstrate statistically significant cross-spectral coherence between sunspots and ENSO indices in any power-rich frequency band.

      • I am not a climate scientist and I don’t take challenges. As I have shown the occurrence of Niña conditions when solar activity is in the 35-80% upside of solar activity during the 11-year cycle is not due to chance. This shows that solar activity has a significant effect on ENSO and lends credibility to the more complex pattern observed. A significant solar activity effect on ENSO does not require a statistically significant cross-spectral coherence between sunspots and ENSO indices. It is a fallacious test. The effect can be real even if the coherence is non-significant.

      • A significant solar activity effect on ENSO does not require a statistically significant cross-spectral coherence between sunspots and ENSO indices. It is a fallacious test. The effect can be real even if the coherence is non-significant.

        No matter the nonlinear complexity, there can be no rigorous inference of physical effect without, at the very least, significant coherence in the cross-bispectral sense The analytic fallacy is entirely yours.

  14. “Over the last 1010 yr, the LD summer sea salt (LDSSS) record has exhibited two below-average (El Niño–like) epochs, 1000–1260 ad and 1920–2009 ad, and a longer above-average (La Niña–like) epoch from 1260 to 1860 ad. Spectral analysis shows the below-average epochs are associated with enhanced ENSO-like variability around 2–5 yr, while the above-average epoch is associated more with variability around 6–7 yr.” https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00003.1

    There may indeed be a link between solar activity and the Pacific state. The PDO in the northern hemisphere – and ENSO in southern and equatorial regions. Longer term correspondences are there. A La Niña epoch until the beginning of the 20th century and the mid Holocene ENSO transition from La Niña dominant to El Niño dominant conditions. Much more germane than short term eyeballing of a Frankengraph. But there is no statistical power either way. I did suggest to Javier that the mid Holocene transition may have been triggered by solar activity – to scornful disdain. Crossing a threshold that triggers emergent behavior in the complex dynamical system rather than forcing.

    Note the change in spectral frequency some 5000 years ago – from distinct bands to a broader bandwidth – followed by changes in the average state of the Pacific and enhanced variability. There is variability across many scales of course – that are far more revealing than a nonexistent regularity.

    A mechanism may be of interest. The latest Pacific Ocean climate shift in 1998/2001 is linked to increased flow in the north (Di Lorenzo et al, 2008) and the south (Roemmich et al, 2007, Qiu, Bo et al 2006)Pacific Ocean gyres. Roemmich et al (2007) suggest that mid-latitude gyres in all of the oceans are influenced by decadal variability in the Southern and Northern Annular Modes (SAM and NAM respectively) as wind driven currents in baroclinic oceans (Sverdrup, 1947).

    Flow in the Peruvian and Californian currents is one of the conditions that modulate upwelling in the eastern Pacific. Upwelling sets the beat of the Pacific state in a resonant system. Changes in beat – and the link between northern and southern Pacific states – implies external stochastic forcing – and the shifts in state reveal the chaotic mechanism of internal variability.

    I suggested to Javier that 20 to 30 year Pacific climate shifts may be triggered by something as subtle as the solar magnetic reversal of the aperiodic Hale cycle – to vociferous disparagement.

    It is simple to predict the sign of the next ENSO event – from sea levels across the equatorial Pacific, from subsurface heat and from wind and currents. El Niño follows La Niña. It is a trivial exercise. The next La Niña is emerging in the eastern and central Pacific. Much more difficult is predicting future changes in frequency and intensity of Pacific states.

    El Niño – btw – warm the planet and La Niña cool. Through modulation of the persistence of closed Rayleigh-Bénard convection cells over ocean upwelling regions. One of the reasons for ocean and atmospheric warming in the 20th century.

    e.g. – https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/1.4973593https://www.mdpi.com/2225-1154/6/3/62

    • – to scornful disdain
      – to vociferous disparagement.

      I reject those accusations as false. You are the scornful one at this blog.

      • You don’t remember? You tell me it is wrong, I get it backwards, it is all alarmist nonsense.

        What I find with you is dogmatic assertions proceeding from too little evidence to skeptic conclusions.

      • I care little about your opinions, that much is true.

      • But then you repeat these two notions – a Hale cycle mechanism for multidecadal shifts and a solar modulated mid Holocene transition here? With so little understanding of the implications or limitations of such speculation.

        .

      • Some expert. Why do you expend such inordinate amount of time bombarding the comments section of this blog? I am sure the climate science community would benefit greatly from your vast knowledge and insight if you would care to take a more productive path.

      • The skeptic assumption is that there is a alternative science. There isn’t. What passes for it is simplistic and absurd. You would do better to focus on the points than attempt to enforce an echo chamber uniformity.

      • There is no skeptic assumption. Each skeptic is different with the only thing in common their skepticism of the climate CO2 dogma.

        And there is only one science, the one that adheres to the scientific method. The rest is not science.

      • Skeptics are all over the place – each insisting they have the one true science.

        “Remember, then, that scientific thought is the guide to action; that the truth at which it arrives is not that which we can ideally contemplate without error, but that which we can act upon without fear; and you cannot fail to see that scientific thought is not an accompaniment or condition of human progress, but
        human progress itself.” William Kingdon Clifford, The Common Sense of the Exact Sciences (1885)

        Quoted from – https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2016WR020078

        There are errors – e.g. nature.com/articles/s41612-018-0044-6 – but there is a bottom line and there are climate shifts – even in ENSO. Along with a great deal of uncertainly.

      • Skeptics are all over the place – each insisting they have the one true science.

        Perhaps you can cite a scientist that believes he is wrong. All of them believe they are on the right path.

        Skepticism should be the natural state of every scientist. Consensus building and group think enforcement are terrible signs that natural skepticism has been abandoned within climate science. The fact that skepticism is feared is strong evidence of their uncertainty on their own hypotheses.

      • There is a great diversity in climate science. It is the essence of self correction.

        Skepticism is about eyeballing graphs, half arsed math and incompetent physical reasoning. You would do better to be skeptical of skeptics.

      • Robert I Ellison: You don’t remember?

        Exact quotes would help.

      • Steven Mosher, thanks for the link. A little more:
        Hardcover
        Publisher: Springer Nature Switzerland AG; 1st ed. 2020 edition (November 15, 2019)
        Language: English
        ISBN-10: 3030189503
        ISBN-13: 978-3030189501
        Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.2 inches
        Shipping Weight: 789 g

        So he followed something like my recommendation long ago!

      • It all seems wild speculation based on over interpretation of too little, too partial and too uncertain data. Only in modern times is there data to convincingly refute the idea that climate doesn’t change unless acted on by a strong external forcing. How did albedo change over the Holocene? A question that has no answer until the advent of CERES.


        https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/JAS-D-12-0101.1

        The limitations (indeed absence) of statistical analysis seem all too evident. But even if there was a connection between the sun and ENSO – it is far from explicitly defined – and makes so little difference in the context of the grand challenges for humanity this century.

  15. El Nino follows the lows in the solar wind, but the lows in the solar wind don’t always follow the sunspot cycles. Look around 1969 and 1979-80 on plasma temperature (upper trace) and pressure (lower trace). Those major lows are at sunspot maximum, while since the 1990’s the major lows have been around 1 year past sunspot minimum. Which relate to the 1997-98 and 2009-10 El Nino episodes. I’ll be looking for a large El Nino episode 12 to possibly 18 months past the SC24-25 sunspot minimum.

  16. Scafetta and Wilson believe that an increase in the TSI (total solar irradiance) from 1980 to 2000 probably contributed to three decades of global warming.

  17. GCMs that focus only on the single variable CO2 and refuse to acknowledge the influence of solar activity on global climate change will at the least fail to predict ENSO, PDO, NAO, AMO and IOD events.

  18. Javier: Your analysis ignores one crucial factor about El Nino’s, their strong seasonality. El Nino invariably peaks around January. As best I can tell, El Nino is initiated sometime in the preceding spring when winds from blowing from west to east interrupt the usual trade winds. This apparently always happens in spring, because that is when the trade winds are at their seasonal weakest. As I understand, no one has a skillful method for predicting an impeding El Nino before spring, but prediction skill increases during the spring. Therefore, I conclude that – if the solar cycle has an impact on El Nino – its influence must have been exerted before it is obvious to observers that an El Nino is coming. Therefore I would suggest you focus on the state of the solar cycle each spring and analyze data discretely (each year), not continuously. For example, in spring of 1997, it appears as if solar activity hadn’t begun to rise, so rising solar activity couldn’t have triggered the 1997/8 El Nino. When that El Nino peaked in January 1998 solar activity was much higher, so rising solar activity could have triggered the extreme La Nina in 1999.

  19. The next La Niña has progressed to ocean upwelling. The intensity and duration of this event
    – and the resultant geopotential energy accumulation in the western Pacific that will feed the next El Niño – will depend on internal feedback.

    The sun may bias the system to one state or other – conceivably through modulation of the polar annular modes.

    Transitions are internally generated and abrupt.

    It’s a noisy signal – but I’d suggest a cumulative SAM index v. MEI.

    But where SAM goes – and the future intensity and frequency of ENSO events – is guesswork. This quite obviously emerges as internally generated regimes in a complex dynamical system.

    We are missing a lot of the pieces and this post doesn’t help at all.

  20. Sunspot cycle minima in 1964.9, 1976.5, and 1986.8, were during developing El Nino episodes. The 1997-98 and 2009-10 El Nino episodes peaked a year or more past sunspot minimum. Following the latter pattern, if solar cycle minimum is reached later this year, the El Nino episode associated with cycle minimum would then peak in 2020-21.

  21. Global Tropical Cyclones
    Anyone interested in looking at the global Hurricane activity on one page, here is a great site.
    https://www.cyclocane.com/

  22. Who remembers the Drought Vortex?
    “Is a mysterious new weather system causing the drought in southern Australia?
    Climatologists are desperately trying to explain the mystery of where southern Australia’s winter rainfall is going.
    They’ve known the rain is being pulled south by an unexplained force.
    Now they’ve devised a revolutionary new theory to explain why.”

    https://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/drought-vortex/11007620

  23. Ireneusz Palmowski

    Solar radio flux – Plot of Monthly Averages

  24. Pingback: ENSO predictions based on solar activity | Watts Up With That?

  25. It has been clear for a couple of years that the next ENSO event will be cold. Following exhaustion of geopotential energy stored in the western warm pool with water moving east in the last warm event, dissipation north and south as it met the eastern margin and shoaling of the thermocline. Cold PDO events see enhanced frequency and intensity of cold ENSO events and vice versa in the interdecadal pacific oscillation (IPO). Cold events start with upwelling in the eastern Pacific

    https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/pdoenso.jpg .

    Although bounded by physical constraints to gyres in the south (anticlockwise) and north (clockwise) – patterns of ocean circulation shift on decadal to millennial scales.

    The latest Pacific Ocean climate shift in 1998/2001 is linked to increased flow in the north (Di Lorenzo et al, 2008) and the south (Roemmich et al, 2007, Qiu, Bo et al 2006)Pacific Ocean gyres. Roemmich et al (2007) suggest that mid-latitude gyres in all of the oceans are influenced by decadal variability in the Southern and Northern Annular Modes (SAM and NAM respectively) as wind driven currents in baroclinic oceans (Sverdrup, 1947).

    And if you are looking for cloud changes – the upwelling region of the eastern Pacific is the place to look.

    Increased intensity and frequency of warm events – with reduced cloud cover – in the 20th century is one reason both oceans and atmosphere warmed.

  26. Which country has warmed the most since 1880 ?
    ======================================

    The competition to see which country has warmed the most since 1880, was a close one.

    Canada led the field by a BIG margin, for over 135 years.

    But Canada’s performance faded in the last 15 years, and Russia won by a nose.

    Russia ended up with 2.7 degrees Celsius of global warming since 1880.

    And Canada ended up in second place, with 2.6 degrees Celsius of global warming since 1880.

    How did your country or region perform in the race?

    There is only one way to find out. Click on this link:
    https://agree-to-disagree.com/global-warming-by-country-and-region

    Please note – the judges decision is final (unless GISTEMP adjusts the temperatures again).

  27. Ireneusz Palmowski

    Based on these latest indicators from the tropical ocean and atmosphere, NOAA forecasters have declared that El Niño has ended and neutral conditions have returned. Does a return to neutral mean that average weather conditions are expected to prevail around the globe? As Michelle pointed out a couple years ago, the answer is an emphatic NO. A return to neutral means that we will not get that predictable influence from El Niño or La Niña, but the atmosphere is certainly capable of wild swings without a push from either influence. Basically, ENSO-neutral means that the job of seasonal forecasters gets a bit tougher because we do not have that ENSO influence that we potentially can predict several months in advance (in a probabilistic form).
    https://www.climate.gov/news-features/blogs/enso/august-2019-el-ni%C3%B1o-update-stick-fork-it

    • To me the end of El Niño means that the rebound in global temperature that is likely to make 2019 second or third warmest year has ended and the probability of a continuation of the cooling started in February 2016 and returning to pause levels in two or three years is significant, as I have been saying the last couple of years.

      This particular pattern appears to be playing again:

  28. “Figure 2. Top: Six-month smoothed monthly sunspot number from SILSO. Bottom: Oceanic El Niño Index from NOAA. Red and blue boxes mark the El Niño and La Niña periods in the repeating pattern. This figure was published in July 2018 in an article at WUWT. Since then the Niño prediction has been confirmed.”

    I don’t see how. None of those marked El Nino episodes peaked before sunspot minimum, the last two peaked a year or more past sunspot minimum.

  29. Surface temperatures show leads and lags throughout the system – and an intriguing anti-phase relationship between the poles. A system so complex and dynamic can’t be explained away simply. And there is far too much of that here.

    Unlike many things in climate science – spatio-temporal chaos can be seen in the wild.

    https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/river-in-mountains.jpg?w=640&zoom=2

    Within the turbulent flow of the mountain river vortices form and are relatively stable both in time and space. Oder emerging out of disorder. The first rule of chaos theory. The second rule is that they operate at all scales – from micro eddies in the river to ocean and continent spanning turbulent flows in oceans and atmosphere. Perturb the flow and the pattern shifts.

    Changes in which change global patterns of rainfall, temperature and biology. And the ruling paradigm in such a system is not forcing and causality but thresholds and emergent behavior.

    • Ireneusz Palmowski

      Changes begin with changes in the Earth’s magnetic field. This can be seen after the last winters in North America.
      https://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/Swarm/Our_protective_shield

      • Ireneusz Palmowski

        “In June 2014, after just six months collecting data, Swarm confirmed the general trend of the field’s weakening, with the most dramatic declines over the Western Hemisphere. But in other areas, such as the southern Indian Ocean, the magnetic field had strengthened since January. The measurements also confirmed the movement of magnetic North towards Siberia. These changes are based on the magnetic signals stemming from Earth’s core.”

    • Robert I Ellison: And the ruling paradigm in such a system is not forcing and causality but thresholds and emergent behavior.

      A prevalent paradigm ought to include “forcing and causality” AND “thresholds and emergent behavior”. We shouldn’t attempt to “rule” out one or the other.

    • The system is either complex and dynamic or it is not. And there are many factors and feedbacks in climate change,

      • Robert I Ellison: The system is either complex and dynamic or it is not

        That’s good. Also, either there are forcings and causality, or there are not: solar variations, perhaps, or variations in atmospheric aerosol concentrations, maybe even CO2 variations.

      • It seems more sensible to focus on the dynamical response to small changes.

      • Robert I Ellison: It seems more sensible to focus on the dynamical response to small changes.

        Yes, that’s like I wrote: BOTH “external forcing and causality” (e.g aerosol, CO2, and solar variation) AND “thresholds and emergent behavior”. It isn’t sensible to exclude either.

      • It is overwhelmingly more likely that forcing is a control variable. The theory suggests that the system is pushed by greenhouse gas changes and warming – as well as solar intensity and Earth orbital eccentricities – past a threshold at which stage the components start to interact chaotically in multiple and changing negative and positive feedbacks – as tremendous energies cascade through powerful subsystems. Some of these changes have a regularity within broad limits and the planet responds with a broad regularity in changes of ice, cloud, Atlantic thermohaline circulation and ocean and atmospheric. circulation. I am talking fundamental modes of operation here – you a doltish triviality.

      • Robert I Ellison: It is overwhelmingly more likely that forcing is a control variable.

        More likely than what?

        I am talking fundamental modes of operation here – you a doltish triviality.

        As usual, you do not know what it is you have decided to talk about this time.

        And the ruling paradigm in such a system is not forcing and causality but thresholds and emergent behavior.

        and

        The system is either complex and dynamic or it is not. And there are many factors and feedbacks in climate change,

        and

        It seems more sensible to focus on the dynamical response to small changes.

        To be coherent, you need “forcing and causality” along with the thresholds and internal dynamics (with “emergent behavior”)..

      • The system is complex dynamical and not either a stable equilibrium or purely periodic. But that you don’t understand and rabbit on with your tediously ignorant quibbles is no surprise.

      • Robert I Ellison: The system is complex dynamical and not either a stable equilibrium or purely periodic.

        I have never written otherwise.

        What I wrote was:
        A prevalent paradigm ought to include “forcing and causality” AND “thresholds and emergent behavior”. We shouldn’t attempt to “rule” out one or the other.

        In response to your: And the ruling paradigm in such a system is not forcing and causality but thresholds and emergent behavior.

        Which you seem to have forgotten in your quoted hypothesis about the effect of a change in the CO2 forcing.

        One of the delights in conversing with you is that you always contradict what you have written. After contradicting yourself, you usually write that it is you interlocutors who are confused, when it is yourself who is, as I wrote once, “seriously confused”..

      • You make lo long winded assumptions about what I say without a glimmer of comprehension and with an extreme disinclination to saying it just once.

      • The third graph from Mi hael Ghil’s schematic shows a change in mean and variance with a presumptive doubling of CO2. A chaotic internal response rather than linear forcing. To spell it out again. But the obstinately obtuse among us will inherit the blogosphere.

      • Robert I Ellison: A chaotic internal response rather than linear forcing.

        Who says “forcing” has to be “linear”, or that the “response” to a change in “forcing” has to be “linear”? Not I. The figure shows BOTH a hypothetical chaotic internal response AND a hypothetical response to a change in forcing.

        The concept of AND is confusing you here.

      • For another example of a well-worked out hypothesis of a non-linear response to a small change in forcing:
        GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL.28, NO.10, PAGES 2053-2056, MAY 15, 2001

        Stochastic resonance in the thermohaline circulation
        P. Velez-Belch1, A. Alvarez2, P. Colet, J. Tintore
        Instituto Mediterraneo de Estudios Avanzados (CSIC-UIB), Palma de Mallorca, SPAIN
        R. L. Haney
        Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, USA

        Abstract. A wide variety of climate records have revealed the existence of sudden a recurrent climatic changes. An important part of this variability might be related to transitions between stable equilibrium states of the thermohaline circulation. Here, we employ a box model of the ocean thermohaline circulation to show that in the presence of environmental
        fluctuations, a subthreshold periodic perturbation in the fresh water fluxes can induce quasiperiodic transitions between the stable states of the thermohaline circulation. This enhanced response occurs for a wide range of frequencies, including the Milankovic orbital forcing, and amplitudes.
        The mechanism that allows such response of the system under small perturbations arise from a nonlinear cooperation between the periodic perturbations and the fluctuations. Through this nonlinear mechanism, called stochastic resonance, significant climatic variability may be originated due to small perturbations enhanced by environmental noise and dynamics.

        from the text:
        Highly idealized box models have shown to be of enormous utility on understanding aspects of the long time climate variability [review is given in Ghil and Childress, 1987]. In the specific case of the THC, the box model equations can be written for the nondimensional temperature and salinity differences [Cessi, 1994] as:

        x_ = −alpha(x − 1) − x[1 + mu^2(x − y)^2] (1a)
        y_ = p − y[1 + mu^2(x − y)^2] ; (1b)

        x_ and y_ are time derivatives of the two compartment intensity variables.

        Nonlinear responses AND perturbations in forcing. Examples are to be found everywhere you look.

        Also of note, imo: We would like to acknowledge very
        helpful reviews of an earlier draft of this paper by Stefan Rahmstorf.

      • “Through this nonlinear mechanism, called stochastic resonance, significant climatic variability may be originated due to small perturbations enhanced by environmental noise and dynamics.”

        Triggers and thresholds?

  30. Ireneusz Palmowski

    “Why are cosmic rays intensifying? The main reason is the sun. Solar storm clouds such as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) sweep aside cosmic rays when they pass by Earth. During Solar Maximum, CMEs are abundant and cosmic rays are held at bay. Now, however, the solar cycle is swinging toward Solar Minimum, allowing cosmic rays to return. Another reason could be the weakening of Earth’s magnetic field, which helps protect us from deep-space radiation.”
    http://www.spaceweather.com/

  31. Ireneusz Palmowski

    The increase in galactic radiation has a huge impact on pressure changes abover the polar circles. Ionization by GCR causes a local strong temperature rise in the stratosphere.

  32. Current release from BoM ENSO model:

    Looks like it is going to be another example of the difficulty of predicting ENSO with the current crop of models.

    • Ireneusz Palmowski

      We’ll see in November when the sea ice begins to melt in the south.

    • Ireneusz Palmowski

      Currently, the extent of sea ice in the south is growing.

      • IP
        There are cold developments linked to Antarctica in the deep ocean also. Measurements in the Scotia sea between the west Antarctic peninsula and South America / the Falklands show that deep cold and dense water from Antarctic that flows north under the Atlantic, that for decades had been declining, in 2014 stopped declining and has started to rebound and increase:

        https://m.phys.org/news/2019-09-dense-antarctic-atlantic.html

        This is in parallel with reversal of polar oceanic trends in the Arctic as well, such as the change from retreat to advance of Greenland’s biggest glacier Jacobshavn, and the same happening with Iceland’s biggest four glaciers.

        The funny thing is that the papers that describe these events all begin with opening phrases like “as the earth warms…”. As the earth warms, it gets colder.

  33. Ireneusz Palmowski

    The sun is extremely quiet.

  34. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #375 | Watts Up With That?

  35. At least we can all agree that there will probably be a back to back La Nina starting in late 2020.

    And many thanks Javier for this illuminating thread.

  36. Pingback: Weekly Local weather and Power Information Roundup #375 – IT INFORMATION

  37. Pingback: Weekly Abstract of Local weather and Power # 375 – Next Gadget

  38. Javier, as you note, the pattern did not take place in the 1954 minimum and it seems to be repeating (rhyming) in this minimum (~65 later) again.

    Early minimum -> (weak) El Nino
    Late minimum -> La Nina

    I know that you think that the solar minimum already happened early this year, but this is clearly not true. Almost all sunspot activity lately was at the low latitudes and close to the solar equator, belonging to the sc24 butterfly. The next cycle is still very inactive. The smoothed sunspot number is still decreasing. The minimum will take place at the earliest end of this year, and IMO even later.

    • Edim,
      You might be right on both accounts, but the evidence is unclear so far. If eventually the evidence supports your position I’ll adopt it, until then I favor my hypothesis.

      Please note that Jan Alvestad runs a Monthly solar cycle data at the end of his page including a solar activity projection:
      http://www.solen.info/solar/
      Right now his solar minimum candidate is March 2019. This is likely to change, but it is clear that before the end of the year there are a lot of possibilities for a solar minimum. The chance that the solar minimum has already happened is not insignificant.

  39. Javier, et al:

    The reality is that all El Ninos and La Ninas are simply the climatic response to changing levels of SO2 aerosols in the atmosphere, of either volcanic (primarily) or anthropogenic origin, and ,as such, are largely predictable.after the occurrence of a random Plinian VEI4 or larger volcanic eruption.

    Since volcanic eruptions are random occurrences, there are NO cycles associated with ENSO events..

  40. Hi Javier,

    Your analysis and data utilised was very informative. I am just a climate science hobbyist who loves to explore the nuances that are left unexplained.

    After reading the article I found another graph (link below) that charts the temperature increases by decade with and without the effects of ENSO, Volcanos, Solar . This could be completely fabricated. I would love to know your take on this, or from anyone knowledgeable for that matter.

    https://gifer.com/en/3VNy

  41. Ireneusz Palmowski

    Galactic radiation reaches maximum values in the 24 solar cycle.

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