Roger Andrews: How the Sun Caused All The Recent Global Warming

Posted: March 16, 2012 by Rog Tallbloke in climate, Energy, Ocean dynamics, Solar physics, solar system dynamics

My thanks to Roger Andrews who has patiently waited to get this work published for the last fortnight while I have been swanning around in Spain and dealing with the backlog on my return. This paper explores more rigorously the ideas I voiced here and previously at WUWT over the last few years that the timing of ENSO and the solar cycle masks the true magnitude of the effect of the solar cycle on Earth’s energy flows.

How the Sun Caused All The Recent Global Warming

Before proceeding, credit where credit is due. The concept of a relationship between the sun and ENSO events isn’t new. It’s been discussed at least twice on this blog (here and here) and in detail by Theodor Landscheidt (here). The connection between ENSO events and warming isn’t new either. Three years ago Bob Tisdale (here) showed how ENSO events caused periodic upward shifts in the SST record that explained all of the recent global warming. Also not new, thanks to our host, is the theory that the oceans periodically release stored heat to the air (here). So a h/t to these gentlemen and to any others I may have omitted.

What follows is my attempt to condense these hypotheses into a narrative that uses observational data to illustrate how the solar cycle, ENSO events and the release of stored ocean heat, and not man-made greenhouse gases, combined to cause the recent global warming, which began, incidentally, in 1976.

ENSO Events and Solar Cycles

Figure 1 plots the Niño3.4 Index since 1960 (the Bivariate ENSO, Multivariate ENSO and Oceanic Niño Indices give essentially the same results). I’ve used the commonly-accepted +/-0.5C threshold to define individual Niño and Niña events and the zero crossover to define Niños and Niñas that transition directly into each other, and the duration of each event is shown by the red and blue vertical stripes.

Figure 1: ENSO Events Defined by Niño3.4 Index (Niños red, Niñas blue)

We’ll start by superimposing sunspot number on the ENSO stripes. There’s a broad periodicity in the ENSO events but no clear relationship with the sunspot cycle:

Figure 2: ENSO Events vs. Sunspot Number (Niños red, Niñas blue)

Next we’ll plot the El Niños against sunspot number. Now there’s even less of a relationship.

Figure 3: El Niños vs. Sunspot Number

Now we’ll plot the La Niñas, which I’ve numbered for reference:

Figure 4: La Niñas vs. Sunspot Number

We have a match. Niñas 1, 3, 4, 6 and 8 begin on the back side of the sunspot cycle and end almost exactly at sunspot minimum. Niñas 5 and 7 begin on the front side and end at or very close to sunspot maximum and ongoing Niña 9 is poised to follow suit. The only Niña that doesn’t fit the pattern is Niña 2, but when we include it another pattern emerges – two superimposed La Niña cycles (2, 4, 6, 8 and 3, 5, 7, 9) with 11-12 year periodicity that are shifted relative to each other by 3-4 years.

The nine Niños that transition directly into a La Niña automatically show the same sunspot cycle-linked periodicity, with Niños 5, 7 and 9 beginning at or just after sunspot minimum:

Figure 5: El Niños That Transition into La Niñas vs. Sunspot Number

 The six El Niños that didn’t transition into La Niñas also broadly match the sunspot cycle, beginning at or after sunspot minimum in cycles 20 and 21 and at or after sunspot maximum in cycles 23 and 24.

Figure 6: Non-Transitional Niño Events vs. Sunspot Number

It is of course possible that these correlations are purely coincidental, but the odds are strongly against it. I think we can reasonably conclude that the sun controls ENSO events, although the mechanism is obviously complex.

The Warming Impacts of ENSO Events

Figure 7 plots the HadSST2 global sea surface temperature record since 1960. It shows that the recent SST warming began with the abrupt temperature increase in 1976 (the surface air temperature record shows the same thing), so to explain the recent warming we need only concern ourselves with the period since 1976. It also shows that the SST record is quite heavily distorted by ENSO impacts, such as the 1972/73 and 1997/98 El Niños, and the trend line approximates the gradual warming gradient we would expect to see if the warming had been caused by greenhouse gases and if the ENSO distortions weren’t there:

Figure 7: HadSST2 Global Sea Surface Temperatures, Degrees C

But I don’t see straight-line warming. I see the warming occurring in a series of stair-step upward shifts beginning in 1976 (with an earlier downward shift in 1964/65) with +/-10 year intervals of no warming between the shifts, again mirroring sunspot cycle periodicity. Here’s an eyeballed approximation:

Figure 8: HadSST2 Global Sea Surface Temperatures, Upward Shift Approximation

But the record is too heavily distorted by ENSO impacts to be absolutely certain the shifts are there, so the next step is to remove the ENSO impacts.

The accepted way of doing this is to take an ENSO Index – usually the Eastern Equatorial Pacific Cold Tongue Index – and use regression relationships to quantify the temperature impacts of variations in the Index and then subtract them from the SST record. However, this approach assumes that the global SST response is always directly proportional to the amplitude of ENSO events, which it isn’t, and also that ENSO events have only short-term impacts.

A more robust approach is simply to remove the El Niño and La Niña intervals from the global SST record altogether. I did this by deleting all the months where the Niño3.4 Index was greater than 0.5C or less than minus 0.5C, and I also deleted the periods of cooling after the 1963 Agung and 1991 Pinatubo eruptions – the 1982 El Chichón cooling, if any, gets removed anyway because it coincides with an ENSO event. (A few notes: First, the criteria admit data during some Niño-Niña transitions, so there will be points inside the pink and blue ENSO strips shown in the previous Figures. Second, the post-Agung cooling probably had nothing to do with the Agung eruption but I deleted it anyway because it cleans the plot up. Third, removing the ENSO data with a 6-month lag between Niño3.4 and global SST makes no significant difference to the results.)

Figure 9 shows what remained:

Figure 9: HadSST2 Sea Surface Temperatures, ENSO & Volcanic Cooling Events Removed

The shifts in the SST record are clearly visible, they occur during ENSO events and there’s no evidence for any upward shifts of comparable size in the intervals between the ENSO events. The trend lines in fact show net cooling rather than warming during these intervals.

Except for the 1964/65 shift, which isn’t obvious in the surface air record, the same shifts occur in the global air temperature records:

Figure 10: Surface Air (GISS Meteorological Station Only, Red) and Lower Troposphere

(UAH TLT, Green) Temperatures, ENSO & Volcanic Cooling Events Removed

There may be some residual questions as to the extent to which the sun controls ENSO events, but I don’t think these results leave much doubt that the post-1976 warming was caused by ENSO events and not by man-made greenhouse gases.

The Relationship Between Temperature Shifts and ENSO Events

Figue 11 shows that the three upward shifts in the SST record coincide with the 1972-76, 1986-1989 and 1997-2000 transitional Niño-Niña events, but the SST data are too scattered to tell us exactly when they occur, so in this section we will look into that more closely. We will also look into the question of why other transitional Niño-Niña events fall outside the shift windows.

Figure 11: HadSST2. ENSO Impacts Removed vs. Transitional Niño-Niña Events

Figure 12 shows how global SST changed during the 1981-1992 Niño-Niña-Niño-Niña transition.

Figure 12: Niño3.4 (left scale) vs. HadSST2 (right scale), 1982-1989 ENSO Events

SSTs rose during and after the 1982 Niño (swamping the cooling impacts, if any, of the El Chichón eruption), fell back to pre-1982 levels during the erratic but prolonged 1983-86 Niña, rose again during the 1987 Niño and then fell back once more to pre-1982 levels during the 1988 Niña. It was not until the recovery from the 1988 Niña that temperatures finally rose and stabilized at a higher level. (The sequence of events during the earlier 1969-1976 transition was the same.)

The same pattern is seen Figure 13, which shows how global SSTs, surface air temperatures and lower troposphere temperatures changes during the 1997-2000 Niño-Niña event. The upward shift in all three records occurred during the recovery from the La Niña:

Figure 13: HadSST2, 1997-2001 ENSO Events

Evidently the shifts don’t occur until SSTs stabilize, which doesn’t happen until after the final Niña regardless of the number of Niños and Niñas that precede it.

The fact that Figures 11 and 12 show lasting heating impacts from La Niñas but not from El Niños seems counterintuitive given that El Niños heat the sea surface while La Niñas cool it. But since 1960 there have been two strong El Niños that didn’t transition directly into or out of a Niña, and the impacts of these events on global SST ranged from minimal to zero:

Figure 14: Niño3.4 (left scale) vs. HadSST2 (right scale), 1991 and 2002 El Niños

The 1991 Niño generated a ~0.1C hump in the post-Pinatubo cooling trend but that was all. It can be argued that Pinatubo stifled this particular Niño, but the 2002 Niño had no impact whatever on global SST and there were no volcanic eruptions of any size in 2002.

To summarize:

  • El Niños by themselves have no permanent impact on global temperatures (and in the case of the 2002 El Niño not even a temporary impact). The upward shifts in global temperature since 1976 are associated with La Niñas and occur at or around the end of the La Niña events.
  • However, since 1960 there have been no La Niñas that weren’t preceded by an El Niño, so it’s reasonable to assume that the El Niños are what initiate the process. 

Source of the Heat Introduced by the ENSO Events

The upward shifts in the global temperature records were caused by the release of excess heat from deeper in the ocean to the sea surface. We can be certain of this because a) there’s nowhere else the heat could have come from and b) the heat must have been excess or the ocean wouldn’t have released it.

In all likelihood this excess heat got into the ocean during the rapid increase in TSI between 1910 and 1960, which warmed not only the sea surface (Figure 15) but which would also have warmed the ocean layers beneath it:

Figure 15: ICOADS SST (left scale, degrees C) vs. Shapiro TSI (right scale, smoothed, W/m2)

The abrupt divergence between the TSI and SST records that begins in 1976 coincides with the year in which the stored ocean heat began to surface. The trigger was the series of strong ENSO events that ended in that year at sunspot minimum between cycles 20 and 21, but reduced solar activity during cycle 20, which was much weaker than the cycles that preceded it, might also have contributed..

What Next?

Shortly we will pass cycle 24 maximum, and if history repeats itself the current La Niña will end and there will be another upward shift in global temperatures, just as there was after the cycle 22 and 23 maxima (note that the shifts in Figure 16 are plotted at the end of the last Niña in the Niño-Niña sequence and the downward 1965 shift is shown by a blue rather than a red line):

Figure 16, Global Temperature Shifts (up red, down blue) vs. Sunspot Number

And will history repeat itself? Probably, provided there is still some excess heat left in the ocean. One thing that could delay a temperature shift, however, is another phase shift in the sunspot cycle-ENSO linkage. The fact that the last two temperature shifts occurred at sunspot maximum and the preceding two at sunspot minimum suggests that a phase shift occurred at some time between 1976 and 1990 – most probably in 1986 when the sun’s north polar magnetic field reached minimum and when Niño-Niña events transitioned from the back to the front side of the sunspot cycle (Figure 2). And the sun’s north polar field is once more passing through a minimum, although a much weaker one. If this does cause another phase shift – and again if history repeats itself – the temperature shift will be delayed until the next solar minimum, which according to NASA predictions won’t occur until around 2020.

Comments
  1. Phil says:

    I completely agree that the Sun drives ENSO, in every manner…but I am not grasping you usage of the 11yr sunspot cycle and the seemingly random dispersion of ENSO events within it.

    Rather the AP-Index kind of gives it away, In my opinion…below is the correlation below is ENSO, AP Index, and the Global Temp.

    That said, the background warming itself, in my view, appears to be related to changes in various aspects of the geomagnetic field, atmospheric circulations/clouds, and the Sun’s modulation of all of them.

    http://img209.imageshack.us/img209/482/kooookiieeekkkss.png

    http://img812.imageshack.us/img812/8543/koooookeke.png

    http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/222/yookookya11.png

    So in my opinion, very significant cooling should begin in winter 2012-13, and/or whenever the solar polar fields flip.

  2. tallbloke says:

    Phil: OK, but the ‘spike’ in your lagged AP isn’t very impressive around the big ’98 el nino. Something non-linear happening?

  3. steveta_uk says:

    Except for the 1964/65 shift, which isn’t obvious in the surface air record, the same shifts occur in the global air temperature records

    Call me old fashioned if you like, but back when I did science this was known as “disproving a hypothesis”.

    Seriously – when one of your five samples contradicts your hypotheses, you throw out the hypothesis.

    At CERN, they require 5 sigma as proof. 2 sigma is noise. And you dont reject at 20%?

  4. tallbloke says:

    Steve, in a system bedevilled with as many non-linear variables as the climate system, four out of five is good going. Did you do your science in a nicely controlled lab setting?

  5. tallbloke says:

    “two superimposed La Niña cycles (2, 4, 6, 8 and 3, 5, 7, 9) with 11-12 year periodicity that are shifted relative to each other by 3-4 years.”

    Or perhaps more accurately and appropriately by one ENSO period of 3.7 years?

  6. James says:

    When I look at figure 7 I see the LHS as the bottom of a sine wave and the RHS the top. I do not understand how a straight line can be superimposed on it. But I must say all these graphs take me back to my share dealing where everyone is looking for patterns in the charts to try and figure out where the market is going next but it is usually the trader who does the opposite to the crowd who wins.

  7. tallbloke says:

    James, much fun can be had (for entertainment purposes only as Roy Spencer always says) fitting polynomial curves to climate data. In this case though, I think you’re right, and temperature is going to fall. Probably a bit more steeply than the sine wave, from 2013.

  8. Phil says:

    TB:

    Actually the highest spike in the AP-Index record (1991-92) lagged 6.5yrs correlates to the 1997-98 El Nino.

    The correlation seems to break down when the lagged AP Index value is weak relative to current solar activity…this is also when global cooling takes place, so watch winter 2012-13. The actual mechanisms I propose are complicated and involve lots of symbols, so unfortunately for now I don’t have time to waste your time ;)

    I do have a mechanism for all of this in mind, involving magnetic interactions, but I do not want to sound like an alarmist blowhard regarding the Holocene.

  9. Tenuc says:

    Thanks for a great post, Roger, plenty to get my teeth into here! First thoughts regarding solar activity, could it be via differing strengths of solar wind? NASA seem to think that this is responsible for the contraction and expansion of the atmosphere. Just need to understand how that affects things.

  10. tallbloke says:

    Phil, I thought the data in the AP plot had already been lagged, and that had given the match at the 2010 el nino marked by a trapezoid in your diagrams. Maybe some legends would help.

    WordPress does support latex for symbols and equations, though it’s a bit cumbersome.

    Fancy writing a guest post to put your ideas forward?

  11. vukcevic says:

    The spectral composition isn’t conclusive:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/Specs2.htm

  12. tallbloke says:

    Title:
    Roger Andrews: How the Sun Caused All The Recent Global Warming

    So Roger, would it be fair to say that since you first came to the talkshop you’ve become more sceptical about the degree to which the late C20th warming was of human caused origin?
    :) :)

  13. Ninderthana says:

    I hate to put a spanner (wrench) in the works, but I hope to publish a paper later this year that (I believe) will shows that the dominant triggering mechanism for the El Nino/La/Nina phenomenon are long-term lunar atmospheric tides. Bob Tisdale has shown that it is the relative frequency of El Ninos to La Ninas that drive decadal warming and cooling of the planet. In this up coming paper I hope to show that is long-term atmospheric Lunar tides that mostly control this relative frequency of the El Nino/La Nina phenomenon.

    I do not dispute that the Sun provides the energy flow in the oceans and atmosphere that produces the ENSO phenomenon but I believe that the redistribution of this energy via the ENSO oscillation is
    primarily controlled by lunar tides.

    I realize that it is not fair to claim something without evidence. However, I will let you judge my claim when I (hopefully) get this paper published.

    P.S. I realize that there are many bloggers to this group who have different ideas to those presented here but before you shoot the messenger down in flames please realize that I cannot reveal any more than I have without breaking peer-review protocol.

  14. Roger Andrews says:

    Hi TB

    “So Roger, would it be fair to say that since you first came to the talkshop you’ve become more sceptical about the degree to which the late C20th warming was of human caused origin?”

    I’ve spent almost 15 years analyzing climate data in attempts to make AGW disappear, but I never was able to make it go away altogether, and up until recently I still couldn’t, as some of my earlier posts on this blog attest. But with these results I’ve convinced at least myself that the recent warming – which is what AGW is all about – was caused by the sun. So yes, it would be fair to say that my views have changed since I showed up on this here blog, but the epiphany actually occurred about a month ago. :-)

    And it was prompted by the N&Z paper. More about this later

  15. Phil says:

    TB

    Thanks! Absolutely…I’d love the opportunity to write out a guest post, I’m off work Wed thru Fri so maybe then?

  16. tallbloke says:

    It seems N&Z opened quite a few minds to new ways of looking at climate systems. :)

  17. tallbloke says:

    Hi Ninderthana and welcome back.
    Sun and Moon both involved? – Great!
    I look forward to seeing the paper and finding out the timescale of your ‘longterm’ lunar tides.
    There are resonances from both these major tide producing bodies. The average ENSO period of around 3.7 years is about 1/3 of the solar cycle length.
    There have been bigger than usual el nino’s somewhere near solar minimum for the last five cycles.
    Each group of three solar cycles alternately contain two south and one north polarity cycle and one south and two north polarity cycles. I think this is a possible link with the ~60 year cycle of warmer and cooler PDO and relative el nino la nina frequencies too.
    How the lunar timings interplay with these observations and possibilities will be interesting to see.
    Let’s hope they don’t keep you waiting!

  18. Roger Andrews says:

    TB

    On to how N&Z got me started

    I had two problems with the N&Z paper. First was N&Z’s claim that temperatures were modulated by “quasi-periodic fluctuations in planetary cloud albedo”. To support this claim they presented Figure 7, which plotted TLT against cloud cover, but basically all the Figure showed was a bunch of poorly-correlated wiggly lines. It certainly didn’t support their claim.

    Second was the lack of any mention of ocean-air heat transfer. I bewailed this lack in the following comment:

    ”The oceans contain approximately a thousand times as much stored heat as the atmosphere, and
    because the ocean surface is generally warmer than the air above it net heat transfer is from the
    ocean to the atmosphere.

    Ocean-air heat transfer also has a major impact on air temperatures. All one has to do is look at
    El Niño events to demonstrate that.

    Yet I’m unable to find any mention of ocean-air heat transfer in the N&Z paper …..”

    And that prompted me to look into ocean-air heat transfer in more detail, hence this post.

    Which I think demonstrates that global temperatures over the last 50 years at least were controlled by ocean heat releases and not by cloud albedo. (Cloud albedo data go back only to 1983, but they don’t show any features that would explain the two abrupt upward temperature shifts that have occurred since then.)

  19. tallbloke says:

    Roger I’m in agreement with you. That’s why my last post is looking at the effect of surface pressure on the ocean rather than N&Z’s ‘Atmospheric Thermal Enhancement’. A fundamental shift of emphasis is required in order to understand energy throughput in Earth’s constituent mass elements.

  20. tchannon says:

    Grabbed ENSO SST, apply the same filter as in previous post.

    Fail to arise one morning, aka overlay.

  21. tchannon says:

    This is the solar data passed through the same filter.

    However this is ghastly and whether I have the incantation right is unclear (yeah okay you don’t know what your own software does) has to go from daily data, interpolate over missing data, bandpass and decimate to monthly.

    Nope but echos of.
    A problem is I haven’t a clue on how to best extract the solar, a problem with new stuff.

  22. Roger Andrews says:

    Tim:

    Is there a hidden message in your graph? :-)

  23. Phil says:

    Mr. Andrews,

    How can you not be sure it isn’t cloud/wind variation that drives ENSO, which precedes surface temp? Changes in the trade winds precede always precede ENSO, and what causes wind is a change in heat distribution…which on a global scale would be related to the AO and coinciding cloud anomaly reconfiguration. So perhaps in the kinetic energy bodget?

    When looking at the PDO, NAO, and AP index, the same general pattern can be found except during wartime periods which cloud be a result of bad bad data.

    AP Index, PDO, NAO:

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_nOY5jaKJXHM/TQQhEMXlJ-I/AAAAAAAABdQ/kdeDDunmVGE/s1600/Fullscreen%2Bcapture%2B12112010%2B33357%2BPM.jpg

    http://www.coolingnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/PDO-index.gif

    http://www.bios.edu/rpi/public/pubs/pre2000/euwindsum/Image28.gif

  24. tchannon says:

    RA,

    Not intentionally other than solar data might offer some clues and since I have the stuff to hand it’s better to get it out than lost. if this poses problems, can move it, no sweat.

  25. Roger Andrews says:

    TB:

    In your last post you said “most of the reason the surface of our planet is as warm as it is, is due to the effect of atmospheric mass limiting the rate at which the ocean can lose energy.” This may indeed be the way things work over the long term, but over my 50-year study period there were three heat releases from the ocean with no significant change in global atmospheric mass.

    ENSO events, however, do coincide with local changes in atmospheric mass, with SLP in the Equatorial Pacific falling by a millibar or two during El Niños and rising by a millibar or two during La Niñas. I doubt these changes would be large enough to trigger heat releases, but at least they’re in the right sense.

  26. David Appell says:

    I’m very dubious the increase in solar irradiance from 1910-1960 can account for all this heat gain, simply on energy grounds.

    That increase was 3 W/m2, from your graph. (The LASP data at http://lasp.colorado.edu/sorce/tsi_data/TSI_TIM_Reconstruction.txt has an increase of only 0.6 W/m2 over this time period). That difference (which is nearly linear) over 50 years is AT MOST

    (1/2)(0.6 W/m2)/4*(50 yrs)

    where the factor 4 is the usual factor due to the Earth’s curvature and rotation. But not all this extra sunlight makes it to the surface, so there’s another factor of about 198/340 to consider. Do the math and I get 110 TW of average extra heating over those 50 years, of only

    0.22 W/m2

    That’s not enough, considering that the top 2000 m of the oceans have heated about 23e22 J in the last 50 yrs (http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/), which is 150 TW or

    0.40 W/m2

    And we really don’t know what the oceans were doing before about 1960, so there may have been even more heat gain.

    The difference, of course, is the anthropogenic greenhouse effect. SOMETHING has to be the difference, because extra solar irradiance can’t completely account for the observed changes.

  27. Roger Andrews says:

    Mr. Phil:

    How can I be sure that it isn’t cloud/wind variations that drive ENSO? Well, I can’t be 100% sure of anything, but wind speed changes in the Equatorial Pacific tend to lag ENSO events by a few months, suggesting that the ENSO events caused the wind speed changes and not the other way round, and the only significant change in ISCCP cloud cover since records began in 1983 is an abrupt decrease in low clouds that lags the peak of the 1997-98 El Niño by several months.

  28. tallbloke says:

    David Appell says:
    March 17, 2012 at 3:51 am

    I’m very dubious the increase in solar irradiance from 1910-1960 can account for all this heat gain, simply on energy grounds.

    That’s because you are not considering several associated factors in addition to the raw TSI variation. There is strong evidence that there are several mechanisms in the climate system which amplify the thermal effect of solar variation.

    One line of investigation is that taken by Professor Nir Shaviv in his JGR paper on using the oceans as a calorimeter.
    http://sciencebits.com/calorimeter

    Another is investigation of strong effects in the upper atmosphere, which propagate downwards via ‘planetary waves’. An article I posted here last year has an abstract, though attempts to get the full paper haven’t been successful.
    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/n-f-arnold-solar-modulation-of-transport-processes-in-the-winter-middle-atmosphere/

    Allied to this is the consideration that not all Watts are the same. Solar UV varies a lot more than overall TSI, sometime in the opposite sign, and UV has effects on ozone levels, surface marine biota and maybe other stuff we haven’t investigated yet.

    So performing calculations such as yours is pretty meaningless in my opinion. Though of course they serve the purpose of organisations such as the IPCC which downplay the effect of solar variation so that they can pose the inane proposition:
    “It must be co2; what else could it be?”

  29. tallbloke says:

    tchannon says:
    March 17, 2012 at 2:18 am

    This is the solar data passed through the same filter.

    Which solar data? The SSN or your magnetic assymetry time series?

    If the former, it looks like there is support there for what I’ve been saying for the last four years about reductions in irradiance (and surface insolation due to cloud feedback) being part of the trigger mechanism for el nino events occurring some time later.

  30. Phil says:

    Really? I didn’t know that, I’ve always been under the impression that it was the global wind budget/GLAAM change that preceded ENSO, with the MEI lagging the N3.4 SSTA, but I’m happy to be proven wrong. Do you have the data?

    There are some interesting looks when subtracting the difference between the North Annular Mode and the South Annular Mode, then lagging them ~3yrs to ENSO/the global temp.

    The lagged values, if the relationship continues, suggest a steep drop in global temps beginning sometime in late 2012 or 2013, which just do happens to be the time when the COM (center of mass) and Sun meet up (2013), and also close to the solar polar flip @ solar max (2013).

    It also so happens that our 23,000yr precession cycle reached peak this past DEC, and winter 2012-13 will mark the crucial 1yr return point in the cycle.

    The AP lag I showed earlier just so happened to coincide with the end (peak) of the 23,000yr precession cycle! So in winter 2012-13, I think the (forbidden word) begins.

  31. tchannon says:

    Rog, asymmetry.

  32. Roger Andrews says:

    Phil:

    “I’ve always been under the impression that it was the global wind budget/GLAAM change that preceded ENSO”. According to Höpfner (http://bib.gfz-potsdam.de/pub/str9907/9907.pdf) the ENSO events caused the atmospheric angular momentum changes.

    The data I use are surface wind data from the KNMI Climate Explorer (http://climexp.knmi.nl/start.cgi?id=someone@somewhere). According to these data:

    1. ENSO events are at best weakly correlated with surface wind changes (R^2 = 0.1 to 0.3)

    2. Wind changes lag ENSO by 3-4 months (hard to measure exactly because of the weak correlations).

    So I think we can dismiss surface wind changes as a possible cause of ENSO events.

  33. Phil says:

    Mr. Andrews,

    Thanks, though I’m curious where you looked…Specifically over the ENSO regions? The globe? The global tropics?

    What are your thoughts on what causes the upwelling/downwelling then? Can’t be the PDO since it lags ENSO, though sometimes all it takes is an MJO wave.

  34. Phil says:

    BTW thanks for that link, loads of useful data there.

    In doing some research, the pacific walker circulation could be the aspect that is solar modulated, which might solve the puzzle. Still is hard to know how and why ENSO is lagging the indifference between the two annular modes by 3yrs.

    Here is a recent peer reviewed study on the initiation of ENSO: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/JCLI4036.1

  35. Climate is the final, observable sequence in a binary energy flux equation. The two energy inputs are vairable solar fusion (and particle flux) and Earth’s variable fission which is controlled by changes in solar particle bombardment. It is virtually impossible for atmosphereic or surface ocean energy changes to be “subducted” to lower ocean layers for later release. The Earth hides a large portion of the total geothermal output in the production of lower order “elemental” atoms and molecules. This is explained in “Earth’s Missing Geothermal Flux” posted at the FauxScienceSlayer website along with other articles explaining the variable fission theory. If you ignore this factor you are an epiphany away from Truth.

  36. Roger Andrews says:

    Phil:

    What are my thoughts on what causes the upwelling? Straight answer, I don’t know, but here are some random musings.

    Trying to relate ENSO variations to ocean cycles like the PDO or the SOI doesn’t get us very far because even if we could find a climate index that leads ENSO (and the SOI comes closest, with a lag of zero) we’re still left with the problem of explaining what controls the SOI. And if we then found another atmospheric or oceanic index that led the SOI we would have the problem of explaining what controls that index etc. etc.

    Why do we get periodic stair-step heat releases from the ocean? Possibly because the sea surface cools slowly after each heat release and eventually reaches a state of thermal disequilibrium that triggers another release (I think Bob Tisdale came up with that one too). But don’t ask me for a theoretical proof.

    And how can cyclic changes in sunspot number (or in TSI, UV, the AA geomag index or whatever) trigger abrupt heat releases from the sea, or at least trigger the sequence of ENSO events that leads to them? I can’t think of any way they could do this, but maybe that’s because I’m not smart enough to figure it out.

    All of which makes me think that I might have jumped the gun in claiming that the sun controls ENSO events. When it comes to climate it’s common to think of the sun as the perpetrator and the Earth as the victim, but Ninderthana has just linked to a paper over on the Suggestions thread which theorizes that solar cycles are in fact generated by planetary gravitational and tidal effects, which if true would make the sun and the planets perps and victims together. But I like this theory because it allows us to explain ENSO variations as tidal effects, which I find a lot more plausible than the alternative explanations, and it also explains why ENSO events and the sunspot cycle are so closely correlated (they’re both controlled by Jupiter & Company).

    A long way to go on all this, but talking about it helps. :-)

  37. tchannon says:

    RA,
    Maybe I have less of a problem with mechanism.

    If the sun is pushing energy into the sea in a way that creates an activily held regime, when the sun stops the regime flips to heat emission. This is the kind of situation we come across in engineering processes, back off and it kicks back, so I don’t dismiss the idea as impossible.

    I note there seems to be a UV window where the ocean and atmosphere is clear.

  38. Roger Andrews says:

    Hi Tim.

    Interesting theory. It fits the 1989 and 2001 upward shifts, which occurred at solar maximum, and I guess it might also fit the 1965 downward shift, which occurred at solar minimum. But it doesn’t fit the 1976 shift, which was upward and which also occurred at solar minimum.

    A Landscheidt-type phase reversal, maybe?

  39. tallbloke says:

    tchannon says:
    March 17, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    RA,
    Maybe I have less of a problem with mechanism.

    If the sun is pushing energy into the sea in a way that creates an activily held regime, when the sun stops the regime flips to heat emission. This is the kind of situation we come across in engineering processes, back off and it kicks back, so I don’t dismiss the idea as impossible.

    I hope you’re right Tim, since that’s the concept I’ve been trying to get people to see for the last four years.

    I’m glad others are starting to come round to the same thoughts. :)

  40. tchannon says:

    Both,
    I’m not very good at communicating.

    Conceptually I have an idea on what might be going on. This needs firming up but I already know the data is terrible. Lets take the hot/cold (never can remember the nina stuff, words mean nothing to me). This is based on a contrived human measure based of lousy data. RA, you mentioned the 1992 heat as not fitting but did you know the plain SST data has that reversed to cold? So which is it?

    I’m not aware of a suitable solar radiation dataset, an improbable facility.

    Solar activity is not constant with I think periods of more frenetic activity. RA you mention Landscheidt whom I think mentioned this, ie. the shape of the sunspot cycle is not a reliable measure. I add that some of what L. said is wrong, I’ve falsified it but he couldn’t have known the tools were poor. (this hits on where I’ve a spot of history)

    I hope it is obvious why I posted the plots above. You want a linkage, well there had better be something pretty convincing. That second dataset is the sunspot database kept by Hathaway. It is horrible. So time ago I took a stab at decoding it and producing a usable time series.
    It does produce what I assume is a near clone of the sunspot time series (looks so but I’ve not bothered checking). Much more interesting it gives the locations and areas. If you are familiar with the butterfly diagram and general way things go you might be aware of the north south preponderance variation. Ties in to lots of things on polarity.

    This is a very interesting subject. A recent snippet is suggestion there was unipolar behaviour duing the Maunder minimum times, which is related to magnetics too. Going on the polar field at the moment I do wonder.

    Snag with sunspots is they are not always there but is the sun really doing nothing? It might be that clues are in that data. More or less white sheet of paper here folks.

    Nothing obvious came from the work I did on barycentre. I still suspect a position sunspot oddity, which Rog knows some about.

    Pick over that as best you can.

  41. Phil says:

    Mr. Andews:

    Do you have any thoughts for why the the directional configuration of the pacific walker circulation precedes ENSO by 12-15 months? I think this supports a solar-origin for ENSO because the walker circulation seems to be driven by stratospheric means such as the U-wind profile and QBO, (Driving the MJO) which not only features a great correlation to the AP index, but also happens to tie into the AO and can explain it’s wild swings as of late.

    The walker circulation seems to be the driver of weather conditions over the pacific ocean, specifically: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/JCLI4036.1

  42. tallbloke says:

    Tim,
    Following up on the sunspot asymmetry is something I keep thinking I should get around to. As I said to Ian on Tim’s SST-TLT thread, I think one of the possible reasons for a 60 year component in the SST is the fact that sequential triplets of ~11 year solar Schwabe cycles contain 2 south and 1 north polarity sunspot cycle, and then 1 south and two north polarity cycles. Earth has constant polarity, until a flip, which happens irregularly on long time scales (though Ray Tomes has found some periodicities). Svalgaard says reconnection events between solar magnetics and Earth are effective at transferring energy when the field is south.

    I did find a reasonable correlation between Hathaway’s Greenwich dataset and ‘z’ axis planetary motion too…

    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/sunspot-asymmetry-barycentre-to-solar-centre-link/

  43. Nice work,
    roger andrews.

    You say :
    The six El Niños that didn’t transition into La Niñas also broadly match the sunspot cycle, beginning at or after sunspot minimum in cycles 20 and 21 and at or after sunspot maximum in cycles 23 and 24.


    …..
    ……

    Update :
    “….or after sunspot maximum in cycles 22 and 23.”

    I translate for my blog.
    michele
    Nia

  44. Stephen Wilde says:

    I think that the basic ENSO oscillation is created by the fact that the mean position of the ITCZ is north of the equator.

    That leads to different levels of solar input to the oceans either side of the equator.

    Over time, a discrepancy in ocean heat content either side of the equator builds up until it reaches a critical size which results in periodic energy discharges as the excess energy south of the equator breaks out across the Pacific and moves into the northern hemisphere.

    That basic scenario is then supplemented by solar effects on the air circulation whereby global cloudiness and albedo changes alter the amount of solar input getting into the oceans on each side of the equator.

    When more solar energy is getting in the ENSO process is skewed in favour of El Nino events and when less solar energy is getting in the ENSO process is skewed in favour of La Nina.

    The source of cool water to fuel La Nina is from the upwelling colder water from the thermohaline circulation (THC) which upwells off Peru.

    The upshot is that an active sun reduces global cloudiness by drawing the jetstreams and climate zones poleward allowing more solar input to the oceans which more than offsets the cooling that would otherwise have been available from the upwelling THC waters.

    A less active sun reduces solar input to the oceans to allow the THC upwelling to resume its cooling effect in the equatorial regions.

    That neatly draws a wide variety of apparently unrelated observations into a single, plausible process.

  45. Roger Andrews says:

    Phil:

    Do I have any thoughts for why the the directional configuration of the pacific walker circulation precedes ENSO by 12-15 months?

    Well, I looked at the paper you linked to, and what it does is compare Niño3.4 against the November– March intraseasonal standard deviation of the normalized daily sea level pressure anomalies from 20̊ to 45̊N and 150̊ to 175̊W. It’s not clear to me how this obscure metric might relate to ENSO events and even less clear how it might relate to solar activity, and it doesn’t even match Niño3.4 all that well (R^2 = 0.25 according to the author). And nowhere does the paper mention the Walker Circulation, although that of course doesn’t mean that the Walker Circulation has no impact.

  46. Roger Andrews says:

    Michele:

    Thank you for the correction on cycles 22 and 23. I missed that one.

    I will look forward to reading your translation. I don’t speak Italian but my Spanish should help. :-)

  47. Roger Andrews says:

    Tim C:

    “I already know the data is terrible”

    I don’t agree with you there, but basically all I’m using the data for is to define a) solar maxima and solar minima and b) abrupt shifts of several tenths of a degree in the temperature records, and I think the data are at least good enough for that. Do you concur?

  48. OT

    @ Roger Andrews
    Next week I will publish on my blog, article on the Gulf Stream.
    I communicate (email) Tim and Roger (English translation link) for publication on Talkshop

    stay tuned
    : smile:

  49. tchannon says:

    RA, I’m afraid I don’t, without going into the technical reasons. Giving one item: I know of unexplained jumps larger than those, which are coherent with non data change and neither documented nor acknowledged. Audit fail. Given known bad behaviour, problems pointed out resulting in covering up instead of fixing, the acceptance bar is high.

    In the absence of anything better please carry on, ignore me on this.

    I’m known as unusually difficult when it comes to assenting what I do not accept as safe.

  50. tchannon says:

    Point out something: The concept of solar energy burying in the ocean might mean the data needs to avoid cloud, further complicated by the water moving. Any thoughts on this?

  51. Roger Andrews says:

    What’s going on here?

    Third time lucky.

    Stephen Wilde:

    “When more solar energy is getting in the ENSO process is skewed in favour of El Nino events
    and when less solar energy is getting in the ENSO process is skewed in favour of La Nina.” I did
    some checking on this with the following results.

    I assumed that SSN greater than 67.3 (the 1960-2012 average) defines when more solar energy is getting in and SSN less than 67.3 defines when less solar energy is getting in.

    When SSN was greater than 67.3 there were 57 El Niño months (Niño3.4 greater than 0.5C) and 70 La Niña months (Niño3.4 less than minus 0.5C), i.e. 45% Niños and 55% Niñas.

    When SSN was less than 67.3 there were 97 El Niño months and 115 La Niña months i.e. 46% Niños and 54% Niñas.

    No sign of a skew here. Any comments?

    [Reply] Watch out for left and right chevrons in comments. WordPress tries to interpret anything between them as a command code and bins the lot when it doesn’t match one it recognises. Use & immediately followed by lt for a ‘less than’ or a & immediately followed by gt for a ‘greater than’ symbol

  52. Roger Andrews says:

    Tim:

    I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree on the question of data quality. The data I used aren’t perfect, but by Stock Exchange Regulatory Agency standards they qualify as “audit pass”.

    “The concept of solar energy burying in the ocean might mean the data needs to avoid cloud, further complicated by the water moving. Any thoughts on this?” Well, I probably would have if you could clarify what you’re getting at. :-)

    And while you’re there, could you please delete the two garbaged responses to Stephen Wilde just above? I think the problem was that I used a “less than” symbol and the machine read it as “delete”. Thanks.

  53. Stephen Wilde says:

    “No sign of a skew here. Any comments?”

    Would you be able to take intensities and duration into account ?

    And the issue of time lags ?

    During the late 20th century warming period solar activity was high, cloudiness fell, the jets moved more poleward and became more zonal, El Ninos dominated over La Ninas, ocean heat content rose and air temperatures showed a slight rise.

    Since around 2000 solar activity has been dropping, cloudiness has been rising, La Ninas are not yet fully dominant but moving that way, the ocean heat content does not seem to be recharging fully, the jets are more meridional/equatorward and air temperatures are no longer rising.

    I don’t see that so much can simply be a coincidence and we do not have the data to make meaningful historical comparisons.

    I also think that the ENSO cycles can supplement or offset solar effects over at least 3 solar cycles as per the negative PDO offsetting the high solar activity of cycles 18 and 19.

  54. Stephen Wilde says:

    “I assumed that SSN greater than 67.3 (the 1960-2012 average) defines when more solar energy is getting in and SSN less than 67.3 defines when less solar energy is getting in.”

    I think 67.3 could be too high for balance given that there has been increasing solar activity and increasing warmth since the end of the LIA with the period 1960 to 2012 very high compared to everything since the peak of the MWP nearly 1000 years ago.

    I’m also puzzled by apparent La Nina dominance throughout the period according to your figures when it is generally acknowledged that El Nino was strongly dominant for 30 years or so during the late 20th century.

    Focusing on Nino 3.4 might be unwise when we are considering effects on the entire global oceans.

    Perhaps use the Trans Nino Index (TNI) ?

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/catalog/climind/TNI_N34/index.html

    “TNI leads N3.4 by 3 to 12 months prior to the climate shift in 1976/77 and also follows N3.4 but with opposite sign 3 to 12 months later. However, after the 1976/77 shift, the sign of the TNI leads and lags are reversed.”

    The sign of the TNI clearly shows the 1976/77 climate shift when the negative Pacific Multidecadal Oscillation (PMO) faded away allowing the solar impacts to gain precedence again after a period when the solar effects were being opposed by the negative PMO.

    Note that one should use the term Pacific Multidecadal Oscillation rather than PDO because PDO is merely a statistical derivative of ENSO (as Bob Tisdale has often said).

  55. [...] How the Sun Caused All The Recent Global Warming Share this:ShareDiggEmailRedditPrintStumbleUponTwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  56. Roger Andrews says:

    Stephen:

    “Would you be able to take intensities and duration into account ?”

    I did. Niño amplitudes tend to be higher than Niña amplitudes, and when you factor them in with duration the Niños and Niñas since 1960 come out about equal.

    “And the issue of time lags?”

    Not sure what to lag against what, or by how much.

    “I think 67.3 could be too high for balance given that there has been increasing solar activity and increasing warmth since the end of the LIA with the period 1960 to 2012 very high compared to everything since the peak of the MWP nearly 1000 years ago.”

    I took the comparison back to 1860, which is as far back as Niño3.4 goes and as close to the LIA as I could get.The only two things that stuck out were a) a large increase in El Niño frequency during “weak sun” periods between 1860 and about 1935 and b) a broad correlation between the frequency of La Niñas (not El Niños) and solar activity, with both peaking around 1955.

    “I’m also puzzled by apparent La Nina dominance throughout the period according to your figures when it is generally acknowledged that El Nino was strongly dominant for 30 years or so during the late 20th century.”

    I don’t know where that idea came from. None of the ENSO indices show strongly dominant El Niños over this period.

    “Perhaps use the Trans Nino Index (TNI)?”

    This index looks different to the other ENSO indices. I’ll give it a shot. Thanks for the link.

    “TNI leads N3.4 by 3 to 12 months prior to the climate shift in 1976/77 and also follows N3.4 but with opposite sign 3 to 12 months later. However, after the 1976/77 shift, the sign of the TNI leads and lags are reversed.”

    Interesting. Sounds like a phase reversal of some kind.

    “I don’t see that so much can simply be a coincidence and we do not have the data to make meaningful historical comparisons.”

    Concur with the first sentiment but not the second.

  57. Stephen Wilde says:

    “43% of the extreme ENSO events noted since A.D. 1525 occur during the 20th century, with an obvious bias towards enhanced El Niño conditions in recent decades. Of the total number of extreme event years reconstructed, 30% of all reconstructed ENSO event years occur post-1940 alone suggesting that recent ENSO variability appears anomalous in the context of the past five centuries”

    http://www.adv-geosci.net/6/173/2006/adgeo-6-173-2006.html

    Also if you look at the TNI index in the earlier link you will see:

    i) Strong El Nino conditions during the late 20th century.

    ii) La Nina conditions during the cool 1890s

    iii) A general, if irregular, trend towards stronger El Ninos through the intervening period.

    In contrast, those features do not show up in the Nino 3.4 region displayed just above the TNI graph.

    As regards lagging effects the solar influence can be obscured by the 30 year cool and 30 year warm oceanic cycling.

    It is the confounding effect of the ocean cycling that gives upward stepping from one positive oceanic phase to the next as seen during the 20th century. I suspect that successive upward stepping is a feature of a period of increasing solar activity as from LIA to date and that downward stepping would have been apparent from MWP to LIA.

    Proposing changing solar input to the oceans on that 1000 year solar cycling (MWP through LIA to current warm period) provides a plausible mechanism.

  58. Tenuc says:

    tchannon says:
    March 18, 2012 at 2:42 am
    “…I hope it is obvious why I posted the plots above. You want a linkage, well there had better be something pretty convincing. That second dataset is the sunspot database kept by Hathaway. It is horrible. So time ago I took a stab at decoding it and producing a usable time series.
    It does produce what I assume is a near clone of the sunspot time series (looks so but I’ve not bothered checking). Much more interesting it gives the locations and areas. If you are familiar with the butterfly diagram and general way things go you might be aware of the north south preponderance variation. Ties in to lots of things on polarity.

    This is a very interesting subject. A recent snippet is suggestion there was unipolar behaviour during the Maunder minimum times, which is related to magnetics too. Going on the polar field at the moment I do wonder…

    Hi Tim. I too have been watching the solar magnetic field and noticed some anomalies over the last few years. Just came across this paper from a WUWT post and it too shows changes to the ‘normal’ pattern, although we haven’t observed the sun for long enough to get meaningful data of possible range of behaviour…

    Geomagnetic detection of the sectorial solar magnetic field and the historical peculiarity of minimum 23–24

    “Analysis is made of the geomagnetic-activity aa index covering solar cycle 11 to the beginning of 24, 1868–2011. Autocorrelation shows 27.0-d recurrent geomagnetic activity that is well-known to be prominent during solar-cycle minima; some minima also exhibit a smaller amount of 13.5-d recurrence. Previous work has shown that the recent solar minimum 23–24 exhibited 9.0 and 6.7-d recurrence in geomagnetic and heliospheric data, but those recurrence intervals were not prominently present during the preceding minima 21–22 and 22–23.

    Using annual-averages and solar-cycle averages of autocorrelations of the historical aa data, we put these observations into a long-term perspective: none of the 12 minima preceding 23–24 exhibited prominent 9.0 and 6.7-d geomagnetic activity recurrence. We show that the detection of these recurrence intervals can be traced to an unusual combination of sectorial spherical-harmonic structure in the solar magnetic field and anomalously low sunspot number. We speculate that 9.0 and 6.7-d recurrence is related to transient large-scale, low-latitude organization of the solar dynamo, such as seen in some numerical simulations.”

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2012/2011GL050702.shtml

    The solar magnetic field appears to be going through a phase of period doubling, and it is assumed that period three always results in chaotic behaviour. I can see hints of this on the following charts…


    Click for large

    [Plots from Leif's site]

  59. Roger Andrews says:

    Stephen Wilde:

    I looked at the ENSO proxy reconstruction you link to above. Comparing it with observations just since 1950 shows that it identifies two “extreme” La Niña events in 1950 and 1953 that never occurred, fails to identify the 1957, 1965 and 1972 El Niños, which are officially ranked as “strong”, and also fails to identify the 1997/98 “Superniño”.

    The Trans-Niño Index is defined as the difference in normalized SST anomalies between the Niño 1+2 and Niño 4 regions. It’s totally uncorrelated with any of the ENSO indices (R^2 = 0.0006 vs. Niño3.4).

  60. Stephen Wilde says:

    Roger,

    Then I suggest you refer to PDO instead.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_decadal_oscillation

    I’m not in a position to asses your data as compared to other sources but there are lots of references to increasing El Nino dominance over La Nina during the late 20th century warming period when the sun was active AND PDO was in the warm phase.

  61. tallbloke says:

    Roger Andrews says:
    March 19, 2012 at 4:00 am

    Stephen:

    “Would you be able to take intensities and duration into account ?”

    I did. Niño amplitudes tend to be higher than Niña amplitudes, and when you factor them in with duration the Niños and Niñas since 1960 come out about equal.

    I think pretty much everyone accepts the big phase PDO shift occurred in 1975. I suggest you rerun your totallings from then and see how it looks.

  62. tchannon says:

    As part of picking apart a peculiar dataset I needed to do feature detection, he says phrenetically.
    The data is awkward, why is part of the what I am trying to find out.

    Had a quick scull around, coming across some bones and something I have not come across before. In the context of this thread it’s worth mentioning. This is phase coherence based edge detection. (the jumps in the data shown by RA are human identified edges)

    Context is developed for 1D but extended to 2D (images) where most people have an interest.
    http://mitpress.mit.edu/e-journals/Videre/001/v13.html
    (anyone with more interest and able to handle postscript, this might add more
    http://www.csse.uwa.edu.au/~pk/Research/research.html )

    Basic concept is a timeseries in the frequency domain provides phase information for each frequency. Edges will tend to have coherent phase, all together. Actually extracting this information is not so easy.

    There are a variety of other methods where always the problem is noise messes things up.

  63. Roger Andrews says:

    Hi Tim:

    Sounds interesting, but I have to admit that phase coherence based edge detection isn’t something I can claim to be intimately familiar with.

    But choose your data set with care. There are probably a dozen or so data sets that that show the Human Eyeball Mark I shifts and some of them may be better for your purposes than others. There are also some “corrected” data sets you wouldn’t want to use at all, like HadSST3 and CRUTEM3 (CRUTEM4 is even worse), HadSST2 before 1946 and maybe some of the other SST data sets.

  64. Roger Andrews says:

    TB

    “This thread is now well and truly derailed. My apologies to Peter Morcombe. Roger: Please can we move further discussion to your thread.”

    I’ve given a lot of thought as to how, or even whether, I should respond to this comment, but I’ve decided a) that a response is necessary and b) that limiting it to the single word that popped into my head when I first read it would not advance the science.

    So let me make the following hopefully constructive suggestion. You can take it as a challenge if you like.

    Post a new thread entitled “The recent warming has been entirely a result of declining cloud cover and related cloud albedo” (Ned Nikolov’s claim). Provide evidence to support this claim. At the same time show why my competing theory that the recent warming was entirely a result of stored ocean heat releases is wrong, or otherwise show how the heat releases were triggered by cloud albedo changes.

    That should make for an interesting discussion, although I suspect it would be me against the world. But that’s fine as long as we learn something.

    [Reply] Apologies if I seemed testy, it was the second time of asking for the thread move.
    New thread coming up.

  65. Stephen Wilde says:

    Roger A is correct that recent warming was (or could) have been entirely a result of stored ocean heat release.

    That is not inconsistent with the proposition that an active sun arranges less clouds for a greater energy input to the oceans to fuel those releases.

    Roger A (I think) proposes that longer stored ocean heat is responsible and that also is consistent with the solar driven scenario because one of the possibilities I have previously mentioned is that there might well now be a trend for the ocean surfaces to warm as a result of higher energy input to the oceans back during the MWP when as now the jets were more poleward, cloudiness was reduced and more energy entered the oceans.

    The thermohaline circulation being about 800 to 1000 years and the lag revealed by the ice cores being about 800 years it could well be that greater energy input to the oceans during the MWP could be resulting in slightly higher upwelling temperature from the THC now than will be the case when we get to 800 years from the LIA.

    So, I see Roger A’s proposals as entirely consistent with mine and do not understand his objections.

  66. [...] Comments Stephen Wilde on Roger Andrews: How the Sun Cau…Brian H on The Sun dances the Jupiter-Ven…Roger Andrews on Roger Andrews: How the Sun [...]

  67. Roger Andrews says:

    TB:

    Thanks. Apology accepted. And I apologize for making you testy in the first place.

    New thread coming up – great.

    Let’s move on. :-)

    Stephen W:

    I’m not sure my theory (which is actually a series of observationally-based deductions) is entirely consistent with yours, but we can talk about it on the thread.

  68. Dear Roger,

    could you shortly note what your qualifications are, especially regarding this topic? I asked earlier, but Roger seems to have deleted my comment (no idea why).

    cheers!

    Peter Hartmann

    [Reply] Your earlier comment demanded occupation qualification and country of residence without revealing anything about yourself. Now that we have a name to respond to we can respond politely.

  69. adamjayne says:

    Roger Andrews and Tallbloke, I’d be interested to know your opinion on this article here
    http://theinconvenientskeptic.com/2011/07/why-i-am-still-skeptical-about-sunspots-and-temperature/

  70. Roger Andrews says:

    @adamjayne:

    I have two problems with this article:

    The first is the assumption that “… an increase in sunspots will reduce cloudiness which will increase temperature. A reduction in sunspots will increase cloudiness which will decrease temperature”. We don’t have enough good data to confirm that clouds control temperature, and in my opinion the data we do have suggest that in fact they probably don’t. We recently discussed this at https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/clouds-of-uncertainty-over/ and elsewhere.

    The second is the conclusion that: “So in the modern day high resolution data there is no clear effect of solar activity on the Earth’s temperature. In the long term reconstruction there is also a distinct lack of solar activity causing changes to the Earth’s temperature.” http://oi44.tinypic.com/jfyvyt.jpg shows a strong correlation between ICOADS SST and smoothed Shapiro TSI before 1976, and I think the ocean heat releases discussed in this thread explain the divergences after 1976.

  71. Roger Andrews says:

    Peter Hartmann:

    Apologies for the delay in replying, but I’ve been gone all week.

    First, please note that the deductions I make in this thread are based almost entirely on analysis of observational data, not on theoretical considerations. So the question becomes, what do I know about data analysis?

    Well, my work as a mining consultant requires me to analyze and validate – or not validate, as the case may be – assay data bases (gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc etc). So I guess that makes me a Data Analyst.

    And I get paid for doing it, so I guess that makes me a Professional Data Analyst.

    And I’ve been doing it for over 20 years, so I guess that makes me an Experienced Professional Data Analyst.

    And Stock Exchange Regulatory Agencies, who rely on independents like me to prevent the ruination of yet more widows and orphans by rapacious mining speculators, accept my opinions, so I guess that makes me a Regulatory Agency-Approved Experienced Professional Data Analyst.

    Now I would like to be able to claim that I’m a Regulatory Agency-Approved Experienced Professional Climate Data Analyst, but I can’t because there are no Regulatory Agencies that ride herd on climate data (more’s the pity) and because I don’t get paid for analyzing climate data. But assay data bases are analogous to the climate data bases I work with (assay grade equivalent to temperature, pressure etc, depth equivalent to month, year etc., XY coordinates the same), and I’ve been working with climate data bases for 15 years, so I guess I can at least claim to be an Experienced Climate Data Analyst.

    And for what it’s worth I have a Bachelor’s in Geology and a Master’s in Applied Geophysics, but I’m not sure these degrees are worth much any more because I earned them 50 years ago,

    Hope this answers your question.

  72. Ulric Lyons says:

    Phil says:
    March 17, 2012 at 3:04 am

    “Changes in the trade winds precede always precede ENSO…”

    That`s right, and I think the driver is the solar wind speed, no need for any big lags though, the response is fast, but ENSO is also seasonally determined so has preferred times to change vector.
    Slower solar wind gives -AO and lower land temp`s, and the resultant cooling leads to El Nino conditions/episodes.

    p.s. fancy a wager on next winter ?

  73. Ulric Lyons says:

    Stephen Wilde says:
    March 18, 2012 at 3:07 pm
    “When more solar energy is getting in the ENSO process is skewed in favour of El Nino events and when less solar energy is getting in the ENSO process is skewed in favour of La Nina.”

    That`s the wrong way round.

  74. Ulric Lyons says:

    steveta_uk says:
    March 16, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Except for the 1964/65 shift, which isn’t obvious in the surface air record, the same shifts occur in the global air temperature records

    Call me old fashioned if you like, but back when I did science this was known as “disproving a hypothesis”.
    _________________________________________

    Firstly it is highly useful to know where the step changes occur, i.e. at the Ap lowest point just after minimum, and secondly, by understanding the the nature of the exception at 1964, one may be able to predict whether the step will be up or down, or stay flat.

  75. Roger Andrews says:

    Stephen Wilde says: “When more solar energy is getting in the ENSO process is skewed in favour of El Nino events and when less solar energy is getting in the ENSO process is skewed in favour of La Nina.”

    Ulric Lyons says: “That`s the wrong way round.”

    Who’s right? Now that my new computer is finally up and running I’ve been able to crunch the sunspot and ENSO numbers, and here are the results I got using the monthly data for the period since 1960:

    During El Niños .. mean sunspot count 57.2, standard deviation 44.8
    During La Niñas .. mean sunspot count 55.5, standard deviation 47.1
    No Niños/Niñas … mean sunspot count 71.9, standard deviation 52.2

    Sunspot counts during Niño and Niña events are effectively the same but significantly lower than sunspot counts when no Niños-Niñas are running. Curious.

  76. Stephen Wilde says:

    Thanks RA, a useful start and an interesting result.

    I assume you have used the SO index to define El Ninos and La Ninas and neutral periods.

    What I would like to see is an analysis taken at the top of the late 20th century warming period, say the 1990 to 2000 period and as a comparison the numbers for the the relatively weak solar cycle 20, say 1960 to 1970.

    The solar cycle 24/25 data will no doubt be even more useful but we will have to wait for that.

    I suspect that there will be a change in the relationships for periods when the sun is active as against periods when the sun is less active.

    However cycle 20 is not an ideal comparator because it was only relatively weak compared to the cycles before and after and only gave rise to a modest cooling.

    A much better comparator would have been say 1890 and 1900 but we don’t have reliable ENSO data for the oceans back then.

  77. Roger Andrews says:

    Stephen W:

    I’ve just crunched the ENSO/SSN numbers going back to 1856 (using the Niño3.4 Index) and am unable to find any correlation at all between SSN and ENSO events, either during strong cycles such as 21 and 22 or during weak cycles such as 20. I think we can reasonably conclude from this that ENSO events, or at least individual ENSO events, aren’t controlled by changes in solar intensity.

    As discussed in the post, however, there is a clear correlation between ENSO and solar cycles, at least since 1960.

    What to make of this?

    Going way out on a limb, the only way I can make sense of it is by assuming that the solar cycle and ENSO events are both controlled by something else. As to what this something else might be, the ENSO shifts since 1960 match the planetary index plot shown in https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/how-can-jupiter-and-saturn-affect-solar-cycles-brief-review/#more-5443 as well as they match the solar cycle:

    http://oi44.tinypic.com/bgs950.jpg

    Comments?

  78. Stephen Wilde says:

    RA, that finding will be of interest to TB and others.

    For my part I think we need to dig a bit deeper (or differently).

    I have suggested that changes in solar activity change cloudcover to skew the balance between El Nino and La Nina.

    But that needn’t be in terms of frequency or length. It could just be a matter of changing water surface temperatures thus:

    During a period of high solar activity the El Nino surface waters are a little warmer as compared to La Nina and vice versa when the sun is less active.

    Can your numbers reveal the relative water surface temperatures of the two phenomena at any given time ?

    The difficulty is that the temperatures might not even correlate to the size of the SO index. The temperature of the water would not necessarily be revealed by that due to effects from other parts of the climate system.

  79. Stephen Wilde says:

    RA,

    Have you looked at successive groups of say three solar cycles over centuries ?

    From 1860 to 2000 there was a general long term trend of increasing SSN and a similar trend of warming with steps upward in temperatures during each successive warm phase of the PDO.

    So if we propose that the sun gradually but erratically became more active over the period since the depths of the Maunder Minimum we can link that to both the emperature recovery since the LIA and the building up of El Nino warmth to a peak in the late 20th.

    However trhe warming is only apparent during the positive PDO and is masked during the negative PDO hence the successive upward stepping as shown by Bob Tisdale.

  80. Roger Andrews says:

    Stephen

    If I understand you correctly the info you are looking for is on the graph below, which shows XY-plots of monthly El Niño and La Niña amplitudes against monthly sunspot number since 1856. ENSO amplitudes also appear to be unrelated to sunspot number.

    http://oi43.tinypic.com/7145sz.jpg

    I redid the plots with the data divided into three-cycle groups and got pretty much the same results.

    Hope this comment gets by moderation ;-)

  81. Stephen Wilde says:

    RA,

    The link wouldn’t work for me unfortunately but thanks for the effort you are putting into it.

    Where do the XY plots come from ?

    ENSO was only recognised as a discrete internal ocean cycle a couple of decades ago. Presumably your data is based on a proxy of some sort ?

    Anyway, I’m not sure that simple ‘amplitudes’ are what we need. We need to know how the ocean surface temperature and ocean heat content differed as between El Nino and La NIna over successive 30 year periods.

    We have been recovering from the LIA for some 400 years so the rate of recovery might well have been steady (the early 20th century warming was at much the same rate as the late 20th century warming).

    If the trend was pretty steady then the relationships since 1856 could be much the same but still with an underlying solar influence creating the trend.

    A better comparator would be accurate data during the decline from the MWP. I suspect that there would have been downward stepping from one negative PDO to the next during that period.

    I’m reluctant to give up on my suggestions unless the data to the contrary is rock solid because I can’t think of any other scenario that fits observations and basic physics.

    The effects of cycle 24 and cycle 25 will be a better comparator against the late 20th century now that we have much better sensors.

    For example, cloudiness increased, ocean heat content stopped rising,and PDO went negative all in the past few years which ‘coincidentally’ happened at just the time that solar activity dropped to the lowest in 100 years.

  82. Stephen Wilde says:

    RA.

    Some stuff for you to consider:

    Firstly, note the various ENSO regions from which you will see that region 3.4 is in the centre of the ENSO phenomenon well away from land and therefore the portion least affected by external or surrounding influences.

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/catalog/climind/TNI_N34/index.html

    Then a note on the relationships between sunspots and various ENSO regions

    http://www.knmi.nl/~oldenbor/Correlations/sunspots.html

    Note that the correlation between region 3.4 and sunspot numbers is high but not so for other regions and for SOI.

    I suggest that region 3.4 is affected most by sunspot variations and the associated shifting of the climate zones but the noise from other factors affecting the other ENSO regions and the SOI index obscures the relationship outside region 3.4.

  83. Roger Andrews says:

    Stephen:

    Niño3.4 is probably the most commonly-used ENSO Index, but the other ENSO indices (bivariate, multivariate, ONI etc.) give pretty much the same results. ENSO indices are based on Equatorial Pacific SSTs because that’s where El Niños and La Niñas occur.

    The Trans-Niño Index (devised by Trenberth, incidentally) measures the difference between SSTs in the Equatorial Pacific and off the coast of South America. I don’t use it because I’m not sure what it means. According to reports, however, it does show “… that El Niño events between 1950 and 1976 tended to develop first along the coast of South America and then spread westward. More recent El Niño events developed in the central Pacific and spread eastward.” This may be a result of the phase change that I think occurred in 1986 (see last para of post).

    Oldenborgh’s results confirm my earlier conclusion ( April 7, 2012 at 6:43 pm ) that there’s no correlation between SSN and ENSO events when all we consider is ENSO event amplitude.

    “I suggest that region 3.4 is affected most by sunspot variations and the associated shifting of the climate zones but the noise from other factors affecting the other ENSO regions and the SOI index obscures the relationship outside region 3.4.” The three ENSO temperature shifts that have occurred since 1976 are detectable from at least 60N to 30S and are clearly visible in the global temperature records shown in the post. It does take several months for the SST shifts to spread out into temperate latitudes, but the fact that the air temperature shifts always lag the SST shifts by a few months indicates that any shifting of the climate zones is induced by the ocean heat releases and not by atmospheric effects.

    Note, however, that this mechanism explains only the warming since 1976. Whether earlier periods of warming (recovery from the LIA, MWP etc.) were caused by the same mechanism is anyone’s guess.

  84. Stephen Wilde says:

    “but the fact that the air temperature shifts always lag the SST shifts by a few months indicates that any shifting of the climate zones is induced by the ocean heat releases ”

    I’ve always said that the shifting of the climate zones results from an interplay between bottom up oceanic and top down solar effects so the net outturn is very variable which helps to explain the problems of correlation.

    A summary of my position is as follows:

    i ) There is an internal ocean cycling which has a 60 year periodicity with opposite phases for 30 years at a time.

    ii) Underlying that is the length of the thermohaline circulation which gives an indeterminate periodicity somewhere about 1000 to 1500 years.

    iii) There is a separate solar effect but it doesn’t show up much from one cycle to another. However it does show up on the 1000 year cycle from MWP to LIA to date.

    iv) That longer term solar trend gives an uptrend in ocean temperatures and CO2 outgassing for 500 years at a time and then a downtrend for 500 years at a time.

    v) The solar effect is achieved by altering the vertical temperature profile of the atmosphere thus shifting the climate zones poleward or equatorward. Ocean heat content is affected via cloudiness changes and the oceans then shift the climate zones differently to what would have happened if the sun had stayed the same.

    vi) Depending on phasing, the solar trend can be in or out of step with the oceanic effects hence the problems of correlation. but generally a rising solar trend will show upward temperature stepping and a downward solar trend will show downward temperature stepping.

    The observation of a correlation between sunspot numbers and the 3.4 region is a helpful indicator but it does not seem to show up in the other regions or the SOI within the rather poor historical data that we have.

    To confirm or rebut this hypothesis we need to watch what happens over coming years.

    Your article is not necessarily wrong because it could fit a scenario whereby the thermohaline circulation were now returning MWP warmth to the surface.

    All I am saying is that it is more complex than that if we are to incorporate more observations. The return of past heat from the oceans as proposed by you doesn’t fully fit the bill but it may well be a factor.

  85. Roger Andrews says:

    “I’ve always said that the shifting of the climate zones results from an interplay between bottom up oceanic and top down solar effects …”

    Well, that’s what I’m saying too :-)

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