Archive for the ‘ENSO’ Category

2019 ENSO forecast

Posted: April 5, 2019 by oldbrew in ENSO, Forecasting

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We like a forecast at the Talkshop. Let’s see how this one goes.

Climate Etc.

by Judith Curry and Jim Johnstone

CFAN’s 2019 ENSO forecast is for a transition away from El Niño conditions as the summer progresses. The forecast for Sept-Oct-Nov 2019 calls for 60% probability of ENSO neutral conditions, with 40% probability of weak El Niño conditions. – Forecast issued 3/25/19

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Credit: NASA climatekids


The necessary ocean-atmosphere coupling needed for El Niño to develop has not been observed so far, despite earlier favourable predictions.

ENSO-neutral conditions are present, says NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center [pdf].

Equatorial sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are above average across most of
the Pacific Ocean.

The patterns of convection and winds are mostly near average over the tropical Pacific.

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Credit: NASA climatekids


The official view of US experts on the current status of El Niño will be delivered on Thursday.

Heavy rain in California and piles of snow in the Southeast may be signs another El Niño weather phenomenon is upon us, says CBS News.
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Heavy rain and mudslides in California, flooding in Texas, and up to 2 feet of snow in North Carolina — all these recent weather events are symptoms of the infamous climate phenomena called El Niño.

For months now we have been on the verge of an official El Niño, but so far the climate community has not pulled the El Niño trigger.

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Misleading manipulation of climate-related stats is an ongoing issue, as explained here.

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, says David Whitehouse @ The GWPF.

In science communication however, a simple graph can be worth far more than pictures particularly when the main point is that the last four years have been the hottest on record.

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The last one finished in mid-2016 and was one of the strongest on record.

The World Meteorological Organization says there’s a 75-80% chance of the weather phenomenon forming by next February, BBC News reports.

The naturally occurring event causes changes in the temperature of the Pacific Ocean and has a major influence on weather patterns around the world.

It is linked to floods in South America and droughts in Africa and Asia.

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Conservation of angular momentum – ice skater


The title says it all. Another in the author’s series of intriguing brain-teasers for followers of climate theory to explore, this time with a particularly topical theme.

1. The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO)

The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) is the dominant form of intra-seasonal (30 to 90 days) atmospheric variability in the Earth’s equatorial regions (Zang 2005). It is characterized by the eastward progression of a large region of enhanced convection and rainfall that is centered upon the Equator.

This region of enhanced precipitation is followed by an equally large region of suppressed convection and rainfall. The precipitation pattern takes about 30 – 60 days to complete one cycle, when seen from a given point along the equator (Madden and Julian 1971, 1972).

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[For details on the graph see below]

Update 12/11/2018: Ian Wilson’s 2019 El Nino forecast can be found here.

Cognitive Dissonance: When a person or a group of people have attitudes, beliefs or behaviors that are in conflict with each other. Generally, this produces a feeling of mental discomfort that leads to an alteration in their attitudes, beliefs or behaviors that moderates their mental discomfort and restores balance.

I believe that the level of cognitive dissonance that we have about the influence of lunar tides upon El Nino events has become so large that something has to give.

In a series of blog posts in November 2014:

http://astroclimateconnection.blogspot.com/2014/11/evidence-that-strong-el-nino-events-are_13.html

I showed that between 1870 and 2025, the precise alignments between the lunar synodic [phase] cycle and the 31/62 year Perigean New/Full moon cycle, naturally breaks up into six 31-year epochs each of which has a distinctly different tidal property. Note that the second of these 31-year intervals starts with the precise alignment on the 15th of April 1870, with the subsequent epoch boundaries occurring every 31 years after that:

Epoch 1 – Prior to 15th April  1870
Epoch 2 – 15th April 1870 to 18th April 1901
Epoch 3 – 8th April 1901 to 20th April 1932
Epoch 4 – 20th April 1932 to 23rd April 1963
Epoch 5 – 23rd April 1963 to 25th April 1994
Epoch 6 – 25th April 1994 to 27th April 2025

I claimed that if the 31/62-year seasonal tidal cycle plays a role in sequencing the triggering of El Niño events, it would be reasonable to expect that its effects for the following three epochs:

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Ocean currents
[image credit: SPL/BBC]


The latest NOAA synopsis says: ‘Overall, the oceanic and atmospheric conditions reflected ENSO-neutral, but with recent trends indicative of a developing El Niño.’ Sounds like a ‘definite maybe’ there, with models now forecasting a relatively weak El Niño.

Warming waters in the equatorial Pacific give increasing confidence that El Niño will be here soon, says Discover magazine.

It’s still not here yet, but El Niño sure looks like it’s coming.

In its latest forecast, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says there is a 70 to 75 percent chance that El Niño will form “in the next couple of months and continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2018-19.”

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Volcanic eruption


Interesting results from this research into where and how volcanoes might fit into the oceans/climate picture.

Volcanic eruptions are among the most important natural causes of climate change, playing a leading role over the past millennium, says Phys.org.

Injections of sulfate aerosols into the lower stratosphere reduce the incoming solar radiation, in turn cooling the surface.

As a natural external forcing to the Earth’s climate system, the impact of volcanic aerosols on the climate has been of great concern to the scientific society and the public.

In recent years, scientists have found that there is a relationship between volcanic eruptions and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) based on reconstructions and model simulations, which is manifested in increased/decreased sea surface temperature (SST) gradient over the equatorial Pacific.

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The blueprint for El Niño diversity

Posted: July 27, 2018 by oldbrew in ENSO, Ocean dynamics, research

Credit: concernusa.org


How much this research can aid ENSO predictions remains to be seen, but any advance in understanding is welcome.

A new study isolates key mechanisms that cause El Niño events to differ, says ScienceDaily.

Researchers found that the complexity and irregular occurrence of El Niño and La Niña events can be traced back to the co-existence of two coupled atmosphere-ocean oscillations, with different spatial characteristics and different frequencies.

A new research study, published this week by an international team of climate scientists in the journal Nature, isolates key mechanisms that cause El Niño events to differ amongst each other.

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Drought conditions in Northern China

But what is driving the drivers – that bright thing in the sky perhaps?

A recent study reveals the large-scale dynamic drivers of the prolonged spring-summer drought over North China, where prolonged drought tends to begin in spring and persists to summer with severe societal impacts, says EurekAlert!.

North China, where almost half China’s population lives and most wheat and corn are grown, is facing serious water crisis. Since the late 1990s severe and extreme droughts have frequently dropped by and drought affected area has been increasing by 3.72% decade-1 in the past five decades, posing great challenges for regional sustainable development.

Scientists have been concerned that if climate continues to warm in the future, there is a high confidence level that drought over North China will continue to increase. Thus, it is of great importance to identify the drivers and dynamic mechanisms of North China drought in order to improve drought prediction and better water management.

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Is there evidence of a cause and effect connection between geological forces and El Niño generation? A look at one theory.

The Next Grand Minimum

El Niño and La Niña weather patterns have a significant impact on California climate. This illustration shows the drought impacts.

west-with-out-water-page-54

Long-term La Niña periods have been associated with long-term droughts in the southwest lasting 200, 90 and 55 years. More specifically severe droughts from AD1021 to 1051, AD1130 to 1180, AD1240 to 1265, AD1360 to 1365.

I often wondered what was the controlling mechanism that generated long-term La Niña conditions with few La Niño conditions. Plate Climatology Theory may be one possible answer, the generation of La Niña events by undersea volcanic activity.

I found this article on Plate Climatology most interesting.

eruptive-warm-burstGeologically induced “Eruptive” warm burst that helps generate 2014-2015 El Nino.

All El Ninos originate at the same fixed “Point Source” located east of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Fixed point sources are typical of geological features, and not typical of ever moving atmospheric or ocean…

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Levee breach on the Mississippi river [image credit: Wikipedia]


This shows once again that glib claims about climate-related flooding due to ‘extreme weather’ should be treated with great caution, or even suspicion. The reality is that other factors are at work.

A new study has revealed for the first time the last 500-year flood history of the Mississippi River, as Eurakalert reports.

It shows a dramatic rise in the size and frequency of extreme floods in the past century — mostly due to projects to straighten, channelize, and bound the river with artificial levees.

The new research, led by scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), also uncovered a clear pattern over the centuries linking flooding on the Mississippi with natural fluctuations of Pacific and Atlantic Ocean water temperatures.

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Image credit: NOAA


Another attempt to shed light on this recurring but tricky to predict climate phenomenon.

For decades, scientists have observed the phenomena known as El Niño and La Niña, says Phys.org. Both significantly impact the global climate and both pose a puzzle to scientists since they’re not completely understood.

Now, a new study clarifies some of the obscurity surrounding El Niño and La Niña, which together are called the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

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Antarctica [credit: Wikipedia]


Some parts of the media may try to give a different impression, but El Niño/La Niña events are natural phenomena with a range of consequences.

A new study published Jan. 8 in the journal Nature Geoscience reveals that strong El Niño events can cause significant ice loss in some Antarctic ice shelves while the opposite may occur during strong La Niña events, reports SpaceRef.

El Niño and La Niña are two distinct phases of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), a naturally occurring phenomenon characterized by how water temperatures in the tropical Pacific periodically oscillate between warmer than average during El Niños and cooler during La Niñas.

The research, funded by NASA and the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship, provides new insights into how Antarctic ice shelves respond to variability in global ocean and atmospheric conditions.

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Is La Niña on the way?

Posted: October 6, 2017 by oldbrew in ENSO, MET office, Natural Variation, Ocean dynamics, opinion
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The latest assessment from the UK Met Office.

Official blog of the Met Office news team

During 2015 and 2016, the planet experienced one of the largest El Niño events in a century.  El Niño (Spanish for the boy) is actually the warm phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation and climate scientists are now suggesting that this oscillation in tropical Pacific temperature is likely tipping towards its opposite cool phase, La Niña.

Ensemble members show an increasing likelihood of La Niña conditions developing during October and November. La Niña conditions are said to develop when the sea surface temperature anomaly goes below –0.5°C.

Perhaps less well known than its larger brother, La Niña (Spanish for ‘the girl’) is an event that can trigger significant impacts.  Professor Adam Scaife, head of monthly to decadal prediction at the Met Office, said: “During El Niño, temperatures in the equatorial Pacific can warm by as much as 3°C. La Niña tends to be smaller and rarely exceeds 2°C, but…

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Coral reef [image credit: Toby Hudson / Wikipedia]


Reports by scientists that climate change has damaged the Great Barrier Reef beyond repair have been greatly exaggerated, says the GWPF.

Once again, climate alarmists have ignored the science of coral bleaching which is a regular El Niño-linked occurrence and regularly leads to post-El Niño recovery.

Optimism is rising among scientists that parts of the Great Barrier Reef that were severely bleached over the past two years are making a recovery.

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US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt


As Dr Roy Spencer points out: ‘You can’t build a case for human-caused warming by relying on natural warming! (But, they did anyway.)’

A new paper in Nature: Scientific Reports by Santer et al entitled Tropospheric Warming Over the Past Two Decades begins with this:

After a recent Senate confirmation hearing, Scott Pruitt the new Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency received a written question regarding observed warming estimates. In response, Mr. Pruitt claimed that over the past two decades satellite data indicates there has been a leveling off of warming. We test this claim here.

Now, exactly how does one scientifically test a claim of “leveling off of warming”?

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Credit: BBC / Met Office


Contrasting weather situations for the UK and the US, post El Niño. Even the wettest place in England is ‘bone dry’.

There are fears the UK could be braced for widespread drought this summer after “excessively dry conditions”, says ITV News.

The Environment Agency said the UK saw just 35% of its normal rainfall in April and farmers have been warned crops could fail.The unusual weather spell follows the driest winter since 1995-1996.

Minette Batters, Deputy President of the National Farmers’ Union, told ITV News: “I think many of my farming colleagues in East Anglia, in the south east are seeing excessively dry conditions.”

Farmer James Winslade told ITV News: “Arable farmers, grass farmers, dairy farmers – it doesn’t make any difference. They’re all worried. They’ve all cut grass earlier than they normally would have done and we haven’t had the rain to get the grass and crops growing back”.

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Credit: livescience.com

Once the El Niño crutch is kicked away, what have climate models got left in terms of warming apart from ‘the pause’? Not a lot, according to this analysis.
H/T GWPF

El Niños can be used to make computer climate models look better than they are, for a short time at least, says Dr. David Whitehouse.

The message one is trying to get across when communicating science can depend much on what one doesn’t say. Leaving something vital out can make all the difference and when it’s done it can make scientists look like politicians, although not sophisticated ones.

As an example of what I mean consider the El Niño phenomenon – a short-term oceanographic weather event. The El Niño can be used to make computer climate models look better than they are, for a short time at least.
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