Sunday, February 16, 2014

Bob Tisdale's ENSO, global warming and the third possibility...

Sou | 12:59 PM Go to the first of 8 comments. Add a comment

Perennially Puzzled Bob Tisdale has another article about ENSO (archived here).

The third possibility...

This time Bob's asking people for their predictions of when the next El Niño (or La Niña) will happen.  Bob at one point asked what he thinks is a rhetorical question:
To which Pippen Kool makes the only sensible response and says:
February 15, 2014 at 11:37 am
I select the third possibility. 

ENSO doesn't cause global warming

Bob is still stuck in his groove of "El Niño causes global warming", repeating his mantra:
...for years we’ve been discussing the naturally occurring, sunlight-fueled processes that drive El Niño events and cause long-term warming of global surface temperatures. 

He still hasn't explained why El Niño only started causing "long-term warming" at the same time as CO2 started increasing a lot.  Why didn't El Niño cause any global warming  over the entire Holocene and earlier?  I've illustrated this in the chart below:

Adapted from Jos Hagelaars

Bob has always tried to argue that El Niño raises global surface temperatures (which it does, for a short time) but that La Niña doesn't balance this out.  In today's article he's arguing that La Niña stopped surface temperatures from going up, which is a bit of progress I suppose.

La Niña's cool surface temperatures.  However even La Niña years are getting progressively hotter.  The chart below shows La Niña's short term cooling effect as well as the fact that La Niña years are getting progressively hotter.

Data source: NASA and WMO

Bob Tisdale's hypothesis is that "El Niño causes global warming".  For that to work, greenhouse gases would have to have stopped working.  Not only that, but Bob hasn't explained how ENSO neutral years are warming the world.  Nor has he explained why La Niña years have stopped balancing out El Niño warming.

Bob's hypothesis contradicts everything that is known about ENSO.

I've written a lengthy article about ENSO already (click here).  It has enough references to help you learn about it, so I'll not go into that all over again.

ENSO shifts heat around

Suffice to say that over millenia, the net effect of ENSO on global surface temperatures has been zilch.  On balance, ENSO doesn't warm up the world or cool it down.  What it is is a shifting of heat (and energy) around between the ocean and the atmosphere.  The El Niño Southern Oscillation doesn't add any heat to the earth system nor does it remove heat (or energy) from the system.  If it had there would have to be a mechanism to explain that.  The extra heat would have to come from somewhere.

The only plausible source of extra heat in the past 150 years would be the sun.  But Bob isn't arguing that the sun  is sending more energy to Earth. If he was he'd be wrong. It isn't.  In fact the world is still heating up even though the incoming radiation has dropped a bit.  Bob's trying to argue that ENSO creates energy out of nothing.  It warms the earth by magic, according to Bob Tisdale.

Bob is also trying to provide fake sceptics with an argument for when the surface temperature suddenly shoots up a lot again.  He's saying it will be because of El Niño.  What he isn't pointing out is that if there is a rise in surface temperature with an El Niño in the next few years, it will most likely be above the temperature of the last El Niño year.  It will be hotter.  That's because the entire Earth is getting hotter.  Earth is accumulating more energy as time goes by.  It's accumulating in the oceans and in the atmosphere and on the land surface.

All El Niño does is shift heat from the ocean to the air.  It doesn't add heat.  It's the extra greenhouse gases that are causing heat to build up in the system.  They slow the flow of radiation out from the surface, so Earth is getting hotter.

Bob Tisdale is a greenhouse effect denier.  He denies physics that has been understood for more than a century and a half.  Anthony Watts promotes lots of greenhouse effect deniers on his blog.

From the WUWT comments

Here's a selection of comments from the archived WUWT article.

Jenn Oates tries on the argument from ignorance. He or she doesn't understand the science therefore no-one does, in her or his mind.  Jenn says:
February 15, 2014 at 3:21 am
I predict that the climate will continue to change as it always has, and that we won’t be able to do very much about it, for two reasons: not only because we’re just one puny species on the face of a big planet, but mostly because we really don’t have a comprehensive understanding of what makes global climate systems tick in the first place.
That’s as far as I’ll go. :)

markstoval is a paranoid "climate science is a hoax" conspiracy nutter and says (excerpt):
February 15, 2014 at 3:40 am
Since the temperature data sets are massively fraudulent, I expect to see massive “adjustments” to the measured temperatures regardless of El Niño or La Niña conditions. The blatant fraud that is “climate science” proves that science is totally unworthy of the confidence that many moderns place in it.

Greg is looking for patterns and trying to find some agreement between the conflicting hypotheses of Perennially Puzzled Bob "ENSO" Tisdale and Wondering Willis "emergent phenomena" Eschenbach, and says:
February 15, 2014 at 3:40 amI’ve isolated a 9.3 year variation in Indian Ocean that corresponds to cyclic changes in the lunar declination angle.
This shows warm water being transported in and out of the tropical portion of the Indian Ocean in a 9.3 year cycle. It seems that Willis’ tropical governor warms up the cooler surface when the warm water moves south, leading to a net warming rather than a neutral displacement of heat.
A more complex pattern seems to exist in Pacific and Atlantic that span both hemispheres. There is an interplay of 9.3 and 8.85
Now that may come some way to your hypothesis that oceanic variations are behind the warming trend.

dccowboy is none too bright when it comes to climate and says:
February 15, 2014 at 3:50 am
Amusing that the AGW proponents are at all interested in ENSO because, by predicting that El Nino raises global temperatures, they are implicity admiting that CO2 isn’t the ‘driver’ of temperatures they seem to think it is. If CO2 were the overriding ‘driver’ (and if the increase in CO2 drives temperatures higher) wouldn’t it have overcome the effects of both El Nino & La Nina? Still more interesting is the idea that natural processes like ENSO, PDO, AMO have somehow ‘conspired’ to exactly balance the CO2 driven temperature increases for over 17 years. I’m not a betting man, but, I’d be very hesitant to put money on that proposition being true.

Stephen Richards is into making up stuff, on two counts, and says:
February 15, 2014 at 5:53 am
Hansen was forever predicting massive El Niños but they never came .

herkimer thinks there will be global cooling and says:
February 15, 2014 at 8:19 am
In my opinion, a weak El Nino is likely during late 2014 and early 2015 which will not raise global temperatures in any significant way and the pause and subsequent decline in global temperature anomalies will resume there after

kenin swears his oath of allegiance to the scientific illiterati and says:
February 15, 2014 at 8:46 am
I couldn’t care any less about whether or not its nina , nino or even nada; so long as mother nature is in control and not some group of corporations who want to manipulate the oceans and atmosphere. And believe me, they do want to manipulate- that’s why records are kept, so they have something to compare it to. If you want to control something, first you need to understand how it works.
Lets face it… we are such a strange species; look at the crap we waste our time with. Common its weird man; littering the ocean with buoys, cables and watching it closely with satellites…. really for what. Yeah its interesting, I get it, i’m guilty of that too; but! its really all for not. If anything it will be used against us and the earth.
In my next life I want to come back as an elephant. walking the savannas of Africa with my friends and family just being.

Kenin pretty well sums up the denialiati, so I'll leave it there.


  1. Yep, the Law's of Thermodynamics don't exist in the hard-core denier brain. That is why they will never get it. They will never understand the earth's energy budget. For them it's just wacky mumbo jumbo so that scientists can get money.That is why it is so wrong to call them 'sceptics'. How is someone skeptical of immutable natural laws. No, they are fake sceptics, or more properly, deniers.

  2. wrt markstovals comment, if scientist have so manipulated temperature record, why have they allowed this whole pause / hiatus / lack of statistically significant warming thing to go on so long?

    Surely if mark was right, temps would still be rising metronomically (with a few wiggles for verisimilitude) to crush all debate. Scientists must be so dumb they can't even fake data to give the desired result. And yet they manage to sustain the greatest conpiricy in history....

    Increasingly, I find that denier arguments don't even need a scientific response. More and more seem to fail the most elementary tests of logic, which any reasonable(!) person can muster. That goes for most Lolwuts, but increasingly with the resident rejectionists at more sensible blogs too.


  3. I'm detecting a bunker mentality in the denier camp, the way they're hunkered down swapping old stories for comfort.

    They've clearly been nervous about surface temperatures over the last year; perhaps they've realised that without a La Nina every year or two AGW is just eating them up. And the La Ninas (Las Ninas?) are getting warmer anyway. Having made everything about surface temperatures they find themselves in a vice. Tisdale is patching together a defence-line against El Nino but it's delusional. Which means good enough for existing cult-members but not going to sell to outsiders.

    Meanwhile they're having to fight on another vital front - concensus, or lack of same.

    Evidence is mounting for the Curse of the Downfall Parody.

  4. It would be a mistake to bank on an El Nino in 2014. To have an El Nino surface winds have to drop. They're normal now.


  5. Replies
    1. Thanks, JCH. So once, eight years ago, in an early "not for release" draft, later amended turns into "forever" in the denier hive mind. Par for the course, isn't it.

    2. Yes.

      This time the El Nino forecast comes from IRI, BOM, NOAA, and Wolter (MEI).

      And I still don't really believe it. I believe it in July.


    3. BoM isn't making any definitive forecast for an El Nino. Here is the latest and it's the first time it's even suggested the possibility IIRC:


      The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) state is neutral, with climate models suggesting neutral conditions will persist at least until the end of the austral autumn. However, some warming of the Pacific is likely in the coming months.

      Most international climate models surveyed by the Bureau suggest the tropical Pacific Ocean will warm through the austral autumn and winter. Some, but not all, models indicate central Pacific Ocean temperatures may approach El Niño levels by early winter. Model outlooks that span autumn tend to have lower skill than outlooks made at other times of the year, hence long-range outlooks should be used cautiously at this point. Neither neutral nor El Niño states can be discounted for the second half of 2014.


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