NOAA: El Nino is Coming. Extreme Weather, New Global High Temperature Records to Likely Follow.

In the masterfully constructed fantasy world of Westeros, George R.R. Martin’s characters have a saying — Winter is Coming.

The words are spoken with an air of dread as winters in this realm can extend for years, starve entire cities, and push civilizations to the brink. In a world impacted by human climate change, the words El Nino might be uttered with a similar dread, as it foreshadows a dumping of Pacific Ocean heat back into an already warming atmosphere.

The result is that most moderate to strong El Nino years are record hot years, pushing the global temperature average ever higher through a cycle of natural variability warped toward hot by human greenhouse gas forcing. And, in fact, even two of the recent weak El Nina years, 2005 and 2010, were both hottest years on record:

gistemp_nino_s

(NASA GISS temperature graph showing global increases since 1950 reflecting El Nino, La Nina, and ENSO neutral years. Image source: NASA GISS.)

These new record high temperatures occurred during a period when cold water upwelling in the Pacific was particularly strong. Driven by the most powerful trade winds on record, this ocean surface and atmosphere mixing dumped an unprecedented amount of heat into Pacific waters. It is a period known as negative Pacific Decadal Oscillation and it usually reflects a time of cooling for the atmosphere. But, despite this rather intense period of heat transfer from atmosphere to ocean, the atmosphere remained at or near record hot levels, only slightly slowing in its rate of upward rise.

El Nino is Coming

Now, according to reports from NOAA, the waters just below the surface of the Eastern Pacific are starting to warm and rise. This warm water pulse, known as a Kelvin Wave, is proceeding from west to east even as it is rising from the depths. The source of these warm waters is a deep, hot pool in the Central and Western Pacific. A pool of warmth that has been intensified over the last 14 years by a near constant bombardment of above normal ocean surface temperatures. The hot ocean waters evaporated, becoming more heavily burdened with saline and eventually sank far into the depths.

Now, as the trade winds have weakened and westerlies sporadically began to emerge, this pool of hot water was drawn eastward by upwelling currents near the South American Continent. Should these hotter waters break the surface, the world will experience a moderate to strong El Nino along with global atmospheric temperatures that are likely to be the hottest on record.

From the NOAA ENSO forecast:

While all models predict warming in the tropical Pacific, there is considerable uncertainty as to whether El Niño will develop during the summer or fall. If westerly winds continue to emerge in the western equatorial Pacific, the development of El Niño would become more likely. However, the lower forecast skill during the spring and overall propensity for cooler conditions over the last decade still justify significant probabilities for ENSO-neutral. The consensus forecast is for ENSO-neutral to continue through the Northern Hemisphere spring 2014, with about a 50% chance of El Niño developing during the summer or fall.

Meanwhile, the latest Climate Prediction Center forecast now shows a 52% chance that El Nino will form by the months of October, November and December:

CPC ENSO forecast

(CPC ENSO forecast through December of 2014. Image source: IRI CPC)

This is slight increase of about 2% from even the late February analysis.

It’s worth noting that though continued forecast agreement across agencies through early March provides increased likelihood of El Nino’s emergence later this year, spring forecasts are typically somewhat unreliable due to atmospheric instability. In addition, the Pacific Ocean remaining in a negative PDO state over the last 14 years also produces some uncertainty in the forecast.

“Impressive” Subsurface Warming

In addition to models showing an increased chance of El Nino starting in April and rising through November, projections imply that this El Nino, should it emerge, may be the strongest in over a decade. As noted above, a very large pool of warm water is rising up from the depths. Meanwhile, model runs show sea surface temperatures warming to an average deviation above 1.25 degrees Celsius with some showing values above 2.5 C. Such moderate to strong values, should they emerge, could produce the warmest conditions for the Eastern Pacific since 1998, a powerful event that spiked surface water temperatures for that region up to 2.9 C above normal.

Kelvin Wave Subsurface Temperatures

(Strong Kelvin Wave spreads eastward and features subsurface temperature anomalies in the range of 4-6 C above average in a wide zone at 150 depth. Note the wave beginning to push above 60 meters in a region near the Eastern Pacific during late February. Image source: NOAA.)

Mark Halpert, acting director at the Climate Prediction Center, noted that subsurface warming was “impressive” and seemed quite confident for early spring that this region of the world was developing toward a substantial El Nino event later this year.

Globe to Warm. Amped Hydrological Cycle, Sea Ice Loss to Play a Role in El Nino Induced Weather Swings?

Should the predicted El Nino emerge and be as strong as average model values indicate, global surface temperatures could rise by between .05 and .15 degrees Celsius, pushing climatology into a range of .85 to .95 degrees Celsius above 1880s values. This would be a substantial jump for a single year, resulting in yet one more large shift toward an ever more extreme climate.

Perhaps also as concerning is the fact that El Nino often results in severe weather shifts around the globe. With drought and flood events already being amplified by a 6% increase in the hydrological cycle since 1880 and with a massive reduction in Arctic sea ice coverage playing havoc with the Jet Stream, adding an excess of heat over hundreds of thousands of square miles of Eastern Pacific waters is likely to further increase instability.

As examples, the last, rather mild, El Nino of 2010 coincided with one of the worst heatwaves and wildfire outbreaks ever experienced in Russia, while the powerful 1998 El Nino battered California with a winter-long series of extraordinarily intense storms.

Flattened Jet Stream Aims Storm Track at West Coast

(El Nino flattens and amplifies storm track while aiming it at the US West Coast. In combination with already excessive atmospheric moisture levels driven by human-caused warming, such a situation can result in an extraordinarily extreme progression of storms for California in the event that a strong El Nino combines with human-warming driven weather alterations. Image source: ZoomRadar.)

For the potentially arising El Nino, farmers in California may experience a switch from extreme drought conditions to extreme deluge. The result of a flattening pattern in the Pacific Jet Stream that tends to coincide with El Nino to funnel a river of Pacific moisture directly over the US West Coast. With the hydrological cycle already amped up by human-caused warming, such a large moisture dump could be even worse than those previously experienced.

As observed in 2010, high temperature anomalies over Central Asia that typically coincide with El Nino can, in the current climate state, result in severe droughts and wildfire outbreaks. This could result in an expanding zone of drought and fire as well as produce a troubling hot air pool that could occasionally spill into the Arctic. If the pattern emerges during summer or early fall, the result could be both record sea ice melt and severe heatwaves, wildfires and droughts from the center of the Eurasian Continent all the way to the Arctic Ocean.

It’s worth noting that both increased rates of evaporation and very low levels of Arctic sea ice could amplify some aspects of El Nino induced weather extremes. So the combination of spiking global temperatures and adding yet more weather instability to an already amped up system could make a moderate to strong 2014 El Nino a severe event indeed.

Links:

IRI CPC

NOAA

Dr. Jeff Masters: El Nino Coming in 2014?

El Nino Watch Alert

NASA GISS

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62 Comments

  1. Based on a new method, these fellows recently estimated the chances of an El Nino by year’s end of 74%:

    Here we show that our method correctly predicted the absence of El Niño events in 2012 and 2013 and now announce that our approach indicated (in September 2013 already) the return of El Niño in late 2014 with a 3-in-4 likelihood. We also discuss the relevance of the next El Niño to the question of global warming and the present hiatus in the global mean surface temperature.

    Ludescher, Josef, et al. Very early warning of next El Niño. (pdf) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111.6 (2014): 2064-2066.

    Reply
  2. Andy

     /  March 7, 2014

    I lived in Orange County Cali when the big El Nino hit in 97. Deluge is an understatement. The flooding and damage was relentless. Again I live in what should be it’s path in So Cal.

    I have a question. Is there a chance that the large ridge in the Pacific will continue to hold if in fact an El Nino develops?

    And if so, would it deflect it? For example push it north so Washington / BC / Alaska get the moisture + heat?

    Just thinking that if it deflected up through Alaska, then would there be a chance for it to further damage the ice plus embed more heat.

    Reply
    • It’s possible. But it would be somewhat odd to see it occur during a moderate to strong El Niño. Generally you see the storm track aim more toward California even as the Jet stream splits, with one arc running up toward Alaska and the second driving the storm track. It’ll be curious to see if/how sea ice loss might interplay with the traditional pattern. Does it shift more to the north? Do we see the northern split elongate toward the pole? Is the ridge more maintained than it would otherwise be?

      In my opinion the storm track would probably be strengthened by the added heat/ moisture bleeding off the Eastern Pacific. All while warmth from the northern split invades further toward the pole.

      Reply
  3. Upsetting scenes from Australia’s drought

    Emergency relief is on its way to drought-hit farmers in eastern Australia as many are forced to sell or slaughter their cattle.

    However the drought is not only inflicting a financial toll – there’s a mounting psychological cost on communities where once fertile land has turned to dust.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-26439750

    Reply
    • Phil

       /  March 7, 2014

      I live in Queensland and 15 shires were added to the drought declared list earlier today. Now 80% of the state is drought declared which helps mainly farmers get financial assistance. The following story has more details:

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-07/qld-drought–most-widespread-ever-recorded/5306044

      Interestingly, many of the shires recently announced are more coastal and also some like Bundaberg and the Burnett regions experienced very serious floods around this time last year. They also contain much larger populations and also are important areas for small crops including fruit and vegetables and also dairying. The inland areas are mainly beef cattle and grains. Also geographically, the drought declared regions are now encroaching upon Brisbane.

      The interesting thing is the current drought is on the back of ENSO neutral conditions and with the possibility of an El Nino latter in the year looking more lilkely, things are likely to get alot worse if that eventuates.

      The other issue is that alot of affected parties would most likely have very skeptical views about climate change – most rural communities including many of the recently declared regions voted in climate change denier conservative governments at both a state and federal level whose key aim is to extract and sell as much coal and gas as they can, while deliberately destroying renewables. So they are effectively voting for more severe droughts in the future.

      That is one aspect I cannot understand with farmers (and educated conservatives) – they should be more savy but their voting patterns will help ensure the destruction of alot of viable farming land and throught this rural communities as well as endangering the prospects of future generations including than own offspring. Ideology governs everything and not scientific reasoning or common sense it would seem. Of course, drought assistance (together with assistance for natural disasters) will both increase and also become a permanent feature of society as well if climate projections hold true.

      Reply
      • Mark Archambault

         /  March 7, 2014

        Phil, thanks for the update on what’s going on ‘down under’ for us northern hemisphere folks. I’ve always wanted to visit the rainforests of Queensland, especially to see the flying foxes. How are the forests holding up in the drought? I hope they’re surviving and that rains return soon.

        You write: “That is one aspect I cannot understand with farmers (and educated conservatives) – they should be more savvy but their voting patterns will help ensure the destruction of a lot of viable farming land and throughout this rural communities as well as endangering the prospects of future generations including than own offspring.” – those of us in the USA are saying the same thing. It’s maddening.

      • The madness afflicting conservative is now quite global. You can thank media outlets such as those owned by Murdoch for that.

      • And the irony of all ironies is that it’s brought about by government action to enforce a dangerous and damaging status quo. As you hint, they are effectively attempting to block, ban and suppress potential solutions.

    • Mark Archambault

       /  March 7, 2014

      Thanks ‘Todaysguestis’ for the link to that BBC report. The drought there looks very bad. It makes you wonder how people living through these events can deny that human-caused climate change is accelerating.

      Reply
    • Phil

       /  March 7, 2014

      @Mark Archambault. I think the best rainforests would be in far north Queensland and they should be doing fine – they have had recent rains from moonsoon and some low pressure systems. Of more concern up there is the health of the Great Barrier Reef which is in serious trouble – a recent report said it will be well beyond the point of return by 2030 – see the following for further details:

      http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/great-barrier-reef-faced-with-irreversible-damage-20140305-347ha.html

      The interesting thing is that once again many communities that depend upon the reef for their livelihoods including tourism and fisheries often vote in climate change denier politicians as their representatives. There has been alot of coal seam gas and coal developments in central and north Queensland including development of proposed port facilities at Gladstone and around Bowen with associated dredging which will probably end up dumped on in the reef.

      Once again, gross stupidity – they vote in governments whose will ultimately oversee the destruction of their own livelihoods and communities.

      I also agree about Murdoch. We only have one broadsheet in Queensland and you can guess who owns that and to what standard of news reporting that rag aspires to. Our main cable news channel Sky News is also a Murdock toy and as you can imagine it is a slightly less rabid version of Fox News.

      Reply
      • Why do they try everything terrible in America first? I’m thinking Fox should have a warning label.

        In any case, it’s terrible what’s happening to the reef. Ocean acidification alone is enough to push it to the tipping point before mid-century. But add in heat, anoxia and stratification and it’s very rough from here on out.

    • Phil

       /  March 7, 2014

      I should mention that flying foxes are in trouble – they have been linked to spreading a virus called Hendra virus which is something that has transferred from killing horses to killing humans. There as been calls to cull flying foxes in light of this. Not sure to extent this has been implemented however.

      Reply
      • Respiratory and encephalitic? Nasty.

        I am thinking we’ll be seeing a lot more ugly diseases with climate change. The warmer environments support it. The stress to animal populations support it. Human food stress supports it … and joy of all joys we have old viruses being unlocked from the ice.

    • Phil

       /  March 8, 2014

      Even staying in hospitals is becoming more risky. They have viruses and other nasties lurking in them that currently have no cures.

      As the old viruses become active with climate change, that could really put the cat amongst the pigeons. An analogy would potentially be to something like the black plague or flu outbreaks in the early 20 century. Potentially, highly virulent diseases with high mortaility rates, capable of mutation and no cures. Not a potential danger of climate change that is mentioned too often in the media.

      Reply
      • In another life, I edited a Chem-bio response guide for first responders. Those guys and gals are going to really have their work cut out as this progresses.

    • Phil

       /  March 8, 2014

      On top of the drought, we now possibly have two cyclones impacting north Queensland latter this weekend and into early next week. At this stage, not expected to be severe and will probably not affect drought areas in Queensland but more likely affect areas which have had plenty of rain. Will have to wait an see about this of course because cyclone tracks can be hard to predict and are liable to change.

      It would be somewhat ironic however if the areas that were not drought declared happened to be flooded – 80% in drought and the other 20% flooded. Time will tell.

      Reply
    • Phil

       /  March 8, 2014

      They could potentially. It is very complex at the moment – for example, how they might interact with each other – something called the Fujiwhara effect. Also considerable uncertainty about their strength and track path over land. Next couple of days could be interesting. Given that they are expected to be Category 1 cyclones, rain will be the main issue arising with them which will be good for drough areas if they travel over those areas.

      Reply
      • If they’re close enough, they can hinder each other’s development. Outflow from one storm can shear the other. But getting two over land could extend the rainfall event, especially if the soil is already moist, then you can end up with a brown ocean effect. So if it does hot the area that’s been receiving rainfall expect the potential for a long duration event.

    • Phil

       /  March 8, 2014

      They are a fair distance from each other. One is coming in via the Gulf of Carpentaria over Weipa while the other most likely somewhere between Townsville and MacKay. The most interesting interaction would be over land in North Queensland once both have crossed the coast on their track maps.

      That could help some drought affected areas in inland North Queensland and could enhance rainfall significantly especially in the low tracks north from Townsville over land. Still alot of uncertainty over track maps however but they will definitely not make landfall on the same track map or anything like that.

      Latest information on them is available at: http://www.bom.gov.au/qld/warnings/

      Reply
  4. It is official – this drought is Queensland’s most widespread on record, with almost 80 per cent of the state now drought-declared.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-07/qld-drought–most-widespread-ever-recorded/5306044

    Reply
  5. Andy

     /  March 7, 2014

    Here is San Diego, the county just finished draining a reservoir down to 4%. It is March, the end of what is supposed to be the rainy season.

    http://www.kpbs.org/news/2014/mar/06/lake-morena-reservoir-4-percent-full-and-will-stay/

    Milk went from $3.39/gallon to $3.79/gallon as well (12% hike). This can not be due to inflationary pressure, but rather no grazing areas ( thus purchased feed ) as well as reduced herds. Again, the hills should be flush with vegetation this time of year, there should less financial burden on farmers.

    Reply
  6. Andy

     /  March 7, 2014

    Robert,

    A thread or 2 ago, on the subject of Ukraine / Russia, you had mentioned the possibility of Russia securing their breadbasket ( Ukraine ) as part of the current events.

    I came across this as I was digging around for motives along those lines:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/10332007/China-to-rent-five-per-cent-of-Ukraine.html

    It appears, ~6 months ago the letter of intent for leasing a chunk of the Ukraine the size of Belgium by the Chinese occurred. Now this dovetails in quite nicely with the postulate of a commodities related motive.

    Reply
  7. coopgeek

     /  March 7, 2014

    I just had a couple of puzzle pieces click together, ominously. My mother sent a note (remember those?) about how she’d been to a “king tides” presentation in Eureka, where they got a chance to see how high the water is getting on the highest tides of the year (which happen Jan/Feb in California but just flooded out the Marshall Islands’ capital on Monday:

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/03/06/3372301/marshall-islands-flood-king-tide/

    From what I gather, the Eureka event wasn’t a true king tide. But it was high enough to rattle her cage a bit. I’d forgotten about these, so I did some looking around and discovered a very interesting “see the future” of sea level rise project that shows what we can expect coming down the pike: http://california.kingtides.net/

    But what just hit me is that we had an extremely quiet king tide season here in California, due to almost no weather coming through when the tides were highest. You see where this is going…

    So assuming that we have a strong El Nino with storm after storm pushing the Pacific against North America, it could be a very interesting season. I guess we should mark our calendars for Dec/Jan to be a sort of wake-up call.

    Reply
    • If a moderate to strong El Nino develops, I would certainly keep a keen eye out. You guys might get a progression of storms that could rival or top what happened in Britain this year. It’s pretty far out to project. But certainly worth keeping an eye on.

      Reply
  8. Researchers map European climate change (Update)
    The study, which has been published today, 7 March, in IOP Publishing’s journal Environmental Research Letters, also shows that in the summer, daily maximum temperatures could increase by 3-4 °C over South-Eastern Europe and the Iberian Peninsula and rise well above 40 °C in regions that already experience some of the highest temperatures in Europe, such as Spain, Portugal and France. Such higher temperatures will increase evaporation and drought.

    In the winter, the maximum daily temperatures could increase by more than 6 °C across Scandinavia and Russia.

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-03-european-climate.html#jCp

    Reply
  9. Extreme weather causes huge damage of trees in Britain: research

    LONDON, March 7 (Xinhua) — Extreme weather in last winter has caused huge damage of trees in Britain, while the country is also facing the biggest tree losses in the past 20 years, new research released on Friday showed.

    High winds and extreme weather throughout the winter have seen some places lose hundreds of trees, including many valued ancient trees, according to the research of National Trust.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/sci/2014-03/07/c_133169652.htm

    Reply
    • Trees seem to be taking it from all sides recently. Fires, floods, winds, drought, acid rain, NOx, invasives, shifting climate zones, wildfires and, of course, human deforestation.

      Reply
  10. (Reuters) – The Middle East’s driest winter in several decades could pose a threat to global food prices, with local crops depleted and farmers’ livelihoods blighted, U.N. experts and climatologists say.

    Varying degrees of drought are hitting almost two thirds of the limited arable land across Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinian territories and Iraq.

    “Going back to the last 100 years, I don’t think you can get a five-year span that’s been as dry,” said Mohammad Raafi Hossain, a U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) environmental economist.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/07/us-climate-drought-middleast-idUSBREA2611P20140307

    Reply
    • Andy

       /  March 7, 2014

      Social unrest is the outcome of this. Tie in a reduced export capability (or higher commodity prices on the market) from net exporters and there may be a subsequent “Arab spring” in that region.

      I’ve been looking at purchases, and rights acquisitions over the past few years by wealthier state / nation players of current and future arable land. China through deliberate or accidental action has made key purchases related to food security globally (such as in USA, Brazil, Argentina, Ukraine).

      Others are positioning or have within the past 5 years deployed export bans (such as Russia, India).

      I suspect there is deliberate value in not allowing these intersecting cause & consequence scenarios to gain traction in the populations.

      Reply
  11. Climatologist Who Predicted California Drought 10 Years Ago Says It May Soon Be ‘Even More Dire’
    Climate change can worsen drought in multiple ways. Climate scientists and political scientists often confuse the public and the media by focusing on the narrow question, “Did climate change cause the drought” — that is, did it reduce precipitation?

    In general, most climate scientists say that is the wrong question — severe drought is much more than just a reduction in precipitation. After a political scientist unjustifiably labeled his mainstream views “zombie science,” the President’s Science Advisor, Dr. John P. Holdren, explained in an extended debunking how climate change worsens Western droughts even if it doesn’t reduce precipitation (see here and below).

    First, though, as I’ve reported, scientists a decade ago not only predicted the loss of Arctic ice would dry out California, they also precisely predicted the specific, unprecedented change in the jet stream that has in fact caused the unprecedented nature of the California drought. Study co-author, Prof. Lisa Sloan, told me last week that, “I think the actual situation in the next few decades could be even more dire that our study suggested.”

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/03/07/3370481/california-drought/

    Reply
    • What we thought would happen in ten years is happening now. Another issue is that the rate of evaporation increases. So you get drought conditions faster than you used to. See Brazil this year. Extended drought is even more brutal because you get the enhanced rates of evaporation on top of it.

      Reply
      • Canegrowers CEO Brendan Stewart says production could be down by 30 to 40 per cent in the drought-affected areas in the Wide Bay Burnett area.

        “It’s hard to imagine that 14 months ago these areas were devastated with floodwaters. Now they are being devastated again by natural disaster, being drought,” he said.

        http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-07/qld-drought–most-widespread-ever-recorded/5306044

      • Andy

         /  March 7, 2014

        The cane shortage will cause a degree of inflation in Brazil as their transportation is generally powered by sugar cane processed fuels. This is of course is in addition to the food related impacts globally.

    • Drought in Vietnam Causes Coffee Headache

      Coffee production in Vietnam, the world’s biggest producer of robusta beans, will be significantly lower than last year due to cold and dry weather, the Vietnam Coffee-Cocoa Association said Thursday.

      The association, known as Vicofa, said in a statement that the dry weather spell was “quite severe” in the main coffee-growing area in the Central Highlands, where it hasn’t rained since the end of November. Vicofa said 40% of the area in the region is at risk of water shortages.

      A spell of dry weather is affecting much of Southeast Asia, affecting the production of another key commodity produced in the region: palm oil. February was the driest month on record in Singapore, while in Malaysia, authorities in Selangor province have started rationing water.

      Link

      Reply
      • Drought Threatens S.E. Asia Food Price Gains Amid Haze

        The drought parching Singapore and swaths of Malaysia and Indonesia threatens to raise food prices, slow economic growth and disrupt water supply in the region, home to the world’s oldest tropical rain forests.

        Link

  12. Andy

     /  March 7, 2014

    I just came across this. UC Irvine global drought monitor. Not sure if it is useful for anyone.

    http://drought.eng.uci.edu/

    Reply
  13. THE worst floods in 40 years that swamped Masvingo did not just wash away homes and destroy the livelihoods of thousands of people near Tokwe-Murkosi dam, but also swept away the hopes of hundreds of school children who are due to write their Grade 7 primary school examinations later this year.

    The schools were razed to the ground by weeks of relentless rain and this has left many children stranded, their plans floating or, as the more pessimistic believe, drowned.

    Link

    Reply
  14. Mark Archambault

     /  March 7, 2014

    Hey, El Nino is in the mainstream news! My local paper even has the story, which is titled “El Nino is good news for US weather woes – warming trend should bring rain to Calif., heat to the northeast” – Associated Press

    The article is mostly US-centric, of course, as it seems that the rest of the world doesn’t matter to many Americans… But, there are some tidbits in the article worth repeating here:

    Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, states that “This could be a substantial event and I think we’re due. And I think it could have major consequences”. Trenberth said this El Nino may even push the globe out of a decade-long slowdown in temperature increase, so suddenly global warming kicks into a whole new level.

    Reply
    • Well, ‘Good News’ is a bit of a stretch. More storms in California, return to drought in the heartland, and a shift to warmth in the Northeast. Add climate change and it all ends up quite messy.

      Reply
      • Mark Archambault

         /  March 7, 2014

        I know, don’t you love how the US press slants topics that have a worldwide impact.

        I’m not so keen on increased heat in the northeast, as I live there. But New England is pretty resilient compared to many parts of the country and the world. We get 40 inches of rain a year and aside from the occasional hurricane and blizzard, we don’t typically get (yet) tornadoes or long periods of drought. Last significant flooding was in 2010 after very heavy rains that lasted nearly a week. THAT was not good. Was 2010 an El Nino year?

        It’s the rest of the world I’m more concerned about, especially the middle east and the Amazon rainforest, Australia, Asia, etc…

        Question: what affect does El Nino typically have on rainfall over the Amazon rainforest basin? Does it bring more rain or dryness?

      • Yes. 2010 was an El Nino year. The Eastern US typically gets more wet weather during such an event. But it’s usually the southeast that’s hit the hardest. I wonder if the zone is shifting north, though.

        El Nino brings drought to the northern sections of the Amazon and Northern South America typically.

    • Trenberth is certainly worth listening to, though. I believe he’s right in that there’s likely to be very serious consequences if this turns out to be a significant event.

      Reply
  15. One somewhat related point…. in the Denyosphere, as one of their “global warming has ended” and “what we really need to worry about is global cooling” memes, the was the anomolous absence of sunspots, which, it had been suggested, might mean another Maunder Minimum, with a real scientist putting the probability somewhere around 10%, but noting that it would be little more than a speed bump along the road to a warmer future. However, like Clash of the Titans 3, the new Maunder Minimum has been put on indefinite hold.

    Please see:

    Solar activity at a ten-year high
    Idiot Tracker, March 8, 2014
    http://theidiottracker.blogspot.com/2014/03/solar-activity-at-ten-year-high.html

    Reply
    • Even if it did happen the negative forcing would be something on the order of -.2 to -.4 watts per meter squared. The Earth would still have an energy imbalance and still be accumulating heat. The human forcing is jut too large.

      Reply
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