Sea Level and ENSO

Been puzzling lately over this graphic from the university of Colorado.

Nino Sea level

It shows a very significant relationship between El Nino and global mean sea level. The notes on their website,, state that “often” the ENSO index leads sea level and observe that the NINA of 2011 apparently caused global sea level to drop.

The simplistic reasoning usually applied to this goes something like, “Oh yeah, Ninos are hot and Ninas are cold, it’s thermal expansion and contraction.” Well, ENSO indices are measurements of ocean surface temperatures. They do not create energy. The Nino condition allows a lot of warm water that the trade winds have piled up against Indonesia to relax back across the Pacific and replace normally much colder upwelled water off Peru.

Nothing in this process should change the overall temperature or altitude of the global oceans.

So what is going on? To my eye, GMSL leads ENSO about as “often” in their graphic  as the reverse they cite . We don’t know what’s going on and we really need to know if we ever want to understand ENSO.

Since the relationship is clear sea level must now be considered an “index” of ENSO. Accordingly it is included in the graphic below used in the previous post.

ENSO Indicec and GMSL

The graphic says “monthly” but the data were since averaged into yearly and the same was done with the GMSL data. One purpose is to see if the sea level matched any particular ENSO index better than the rest. Nope.

If you look at the Colorado graphic carefully you can see that GMSL dropped sharply during the 1998 Nino, and then rebounded. When this is averaged on a yearly basis it makes for a far less than impressive sea level rise in the “super” Nino that year. It is also interesting that the 2011 sea level drop dramatically overshot the other indices.

All we can really say is that we are looking for an ENSO driver that:

  1. Causes the trade winds to weaken.
  2. Causes sea level to rise.

Wow, nothing really comes to mind…

Posted in Climate, ENSO, Global Mean Sea Level | Tagged | Leave a comment

How Big a Baby Will the 2015-16 Nino Be?

Lots of bluster about coming storms but what does the data we have tell us?

ENSO Indices Compared

What jumps right out is that the hot whopping 1997 El Nino shows remarkable agreement in phase and strength between all the indices. We really don’t know what causes El Ninos so it is possible the 1997 alignment of indices was the cause of the powerful Nino. It is also possible some unknown force pushed the data into alignment.

Paul Pukite has done some interesting work with QBO. The Quasi Biennial Oscillation (what a mouth-full of hay) is a stratospheric wind that switches direction about every half a year. Paul has shown that the second derivative of QBO correlates well with ENSO. His power spectra are shown below.

Pukite QBO ENSO Power Spectra

Still struggling with whether second derivatives are meaningful. In the first graphic is is clear that the first derivative correlation of QBO with the other indices is not impressive at all. Nevertheless, QBO was “all in” for 1997.

QBO appears to be “all out” this year. It must be noted that the 2015 data goes only through August and has four months to continue growing. QBO might even reverse field, but it will not be phase matched as it was in 1997.

If QBO really is a predictor, the weight of evidence points to a normal baby boy, and not a Super Nino like 1997.

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The banality of California’s ‘1,200-year’ drought


Terrific post. Couldn’t agree more. California drought? What else is new?

Originally posted on California WaterBlog:

The south fork of Lake Oroville, California's second largest reservoir, in September 2014. Photo by Kelly M. Grow/California Department of Water Resources.The south fork of Lake Oroville, California’s second largest reservoir, in September 2014. Photo by Kelly M. Grow/California Department of Water Resources

By Jay Lund

California’s ongoing drought will continue to break records and grab headlines, but it is unlikely to be especially rare from a water policy and management perspective.

Estimates of the current drought’s rarity range from once in 15 years to once in 1,200 years (Griffin and Anchukaitis 2014), depending on the region and indicators used (precipitation, stream runoff, soil moisture or snowpack). In the Middle Ages, large parts of California had droughts far worse than this one, some lasting more than a century (Stine 1994). The probability of California experiencing a once in 1,200-year drought during a short human lifetime is extremely low.

The chance that this dry period is a “new normal” is probably small. Many parts of Australia are paying for expensive desalination plants…

View original 765 more words

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The Day and the Night

I have responded to many of Stephen Mosher’s comments on various sites, but to date he has responded to only one. His response displayed surprising ignorance on many levels but in good spirit I queried if he knew the difference between daytime high and nighttime lows in the BEST data set.

No response, so I had to do it myself. Twenty years is the longest time frame offered for the data. The data is land only for nighttime lows and daytime highs.

Best Monthly Highs vs Monthly Lows

Science is not kind to our preconceptions and I totally thought that CO2 might rule the night. Well, maybe from 1965 to 2000 and change, but the end of the data in 2000 and change (sorry, this is a 20 year average) appears to be another crossover point.

Apparently the highs dominated the warming from 1850 to 1870 even though the lows began the downward drag a few years earlier. The low’s striking drop from 1864 to 1888 barely restrained the highs over the same rough period.The lows lead the charge from 1888 to 1925 when they handed the ball to the highs. The highs were on a roll until 1942 when they ran out of gas. The lows rose to the occasion and carried the ball past the crossover point in 1962 all the way through the high tailspin from 1942 to 1970 to the 2002 crossover.

If you thought this was going to be easy, sorry ’bout that. None of these transition points from daily low to daily high temperature hegemony matches the average temperature transition points. They are on different layers. Average all you like but to get to the bottom of this we are going to have to bear down on many, many layers of input.

My advice: pack a lunch, go to work every day looking for insight.

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A Graphical Calculus of the TLT Weighting Function

The lower troposphere is a big place and it is difficult to understand what a published temperature really means when viewing NASA GISS or UAH data. This difficulty becomes important as thermometer surface temperature data seemingly diverges from satellite derived TLT.

A burning question is, “what is the implied surface temperature of a given TLT value?”

Here we pursue a graphical approach to derive the median altitude of the TLT weighting function. From this median the average lapse rate can be used to derive an implied surface temperature.


In a previous post we explored the relationship between ocean surface temperature and TLT in absolute (not anomaly) terms. The ocean is substantially warmer in all cases, but to determine whether or not the atmosphere can ever warm the ocean an implied surface temperature would be very useful.



From this you can see that a typical temperature for the tropical ocean would be 300 K  and for the tropical atmosphere 280 K. The average lapse rate is 10 K per kilometer. The implied surface temperature of 280 K TLT is 280+34.4=314 K. The 34.4 is derived by projecting the lapse rate at 10 K  per kilometer down from the median (seemingly also mean) weighting function at 3.44 Km of altitude.

Unfortunately, it is not even close.

The same applies if we try moving 45 degrees north or south to average ocean temperatures of 285 K and TLT of 260 where the implied surface temperature would be 294.4.

Ain’t science a bitch? Maybe there is a mathematical aspect of the weighting function that defies an area under the curve approach. Maybe the graphic is distorted.

The reason we know the implied temperature is wrong is that NOAA has these cooperating ships reporting SST and air temperature in near real time. You can go to the National Data Buoy Center Ship Observations Report and see all the ship data between the most recent 0400 and 0440 hours.

Ship Data

One can treat any given day as a random sample, kind of like a telephone survey. This was 8-20-2015. The data was parsed to lat long, air temp and water temp. All ships with missing data were culled. The data was sorted by latitude.

Air Sea Delta by Latitude

Negative delta values indicate air warmer than ocean. There are definitely places where the air is warmer than the ocean. They appear concentrated in the northern hemisphere mid latitudes, but then again, everything is. That is the bias in ship routes.

The average temperature delta reported on this day was +1.98. This is how we know the -14 for the tropics and the -9 for the mid latitudes implied from TLT is wrong.

Ship Data


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Piltdown Mann and his Hockey Stick

The estimable Michael Mann has continued to defend his infamous “Hockey Stick” with bluster and litigation, even as his data has become increasingly indefensible.

Hockey Stick credit Alan Caruba

Credit Alan Caruba.

When the likes of Wallace Broecker make observations like, “I don’t trust people like that. A lot of the data sets he uses are shitty, you know. They are just not up to what he is trying to do….”, you have a problem. Dr. Broecker is a senior climate scientist at Columbia University. He was an early advocate of human warming from CO2, predicting this role in the 1970’s when Kenneth Watt and institutional science was concerned with global cooling. He is also credited with the concepts of the thermohaline circulation of the oceans and the bipolar see saw.

Atte Korhola writes, “Another example is a study recently published in the prestigious journal Science. Proxies have been included selectively, they have been digested, manipulated, filtered, and combined – for example, data collected from Finland in the past by my own colleagues has even been turned upside down such that the warm periods become cold and vice versa. Normally, this would be considered as a scientific forgery, which has serious consequences.” Dr. Korhola is a professor of Climate Change at the University of Helsinki and an expert in Arctic paleoclimate.

Robert Way writes, “ I’ve personally seen work that is unpublished that challenges every single one of his reconstructions because they all either understate or overstate low-frequency variations. Mann et al stood by after their original HS and let others treat it with the confidence that they themselves couldn’t assign to it. The original hockey stick still used the wrong methods and these methods were defended over and over despite being wrong. He fought like a dog to discredit and argue with those on the other side that his method was not flawed. And in the end he never admitted that the entire method was a mistake. They then let this HS be used in every way possible despite knowing the stats behind it weren’t rock solid.” Robert is a doctoral student in Canadian permafrost and a team member of SkS, a staunchly CAGW website.

The point here is that all the comments above are from people who agree with Michael Mann about the dangers of human CO2.

Piltdown Man was an amazing fabrication of a skull to fit the anthropological preconception that the brain was the driver of human evolution and that the missing link between humans and apes would be an ape with a large brain. The staggering effort to accomplish this fabrication, in itself, speaks to the incredible power of preconception and superstition in the human psyche.

Piltdown Replica Credit Mike Peel

Credit Mike Peel. This image is of a replica of the original skull that was filed and fitted and treated with acids to give the appearance of great antiquity.


Credit not available. Astonishing craftsmanship in its own right. The pieces were from fossil human and fossil Orangutan.

It is now widely believed that humans have a common ancestor with apes, so in the end, the effort was completely unnecessary. The perpetrator(s) remain uncertain, although one Mr. Dawson appears to have had many prior forgeries in his portfolio. It is difficult to believe that one man could accomplish this without at least tacit collusion from other experts with the same agenda.

And so it is with the hockey stick.

Apologies, if any are needed, to the owner of the Twitter handle “Piltdown Mann”.

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The Holocaust (I mean) Pause Never Happened

Ironic that the Carbon cult who would accuse skeptical scientists of believing the moon landing was faked are now furiously adjusting the data to “disappear” the Pause.


Actually, the very word “pause” presumes that warming will resume. Time scales become important in this regard. We live in an ice age. The fifth that we know of in the Planet’s history. The first four ice ages ended and the planet returned to its average temperature, several degrees warmer than today.

Trouble is, we have absolutely no idea why the planet goes into ice ages. We therefore have no idea why they end.

It is reasonable to suspect that whatever mysterious forces push the planet into ice ages might also be at work causing the fibrillation between glacial and interglacial periods within ice ages. Yes, it is reasonable to suspect that the very same mysterious forces may be causing the Pause.

Funny thing about temperature data, you can’t just go back and measure it again. The data were not collected by skeptics. It was proudly collected by the Carbon cult with the full expectation that it would further validate their superstition. To their consternation, it didn’t. Now they are adjusting the data, cooling the past and warming the present to tip the pause out of dead level.hadcrut coolpast warm present


If the can adjust away the pause, what will be next? I play tennis with a likable chap who will tell you with a straight face that the Holocaust never happened…

Posted in Anthropology, Carbon Theology, Climate, Global Warming Denial, the "Pause" | Tagged | Leave a comment