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The wacky world of the Oceanic Niño Index

January 13, 2016

By Paul Homewood 



There are various ways of measuring El Ninos/La Ninas, and in reality every event is different to every other, just as with any other weather event.


Xmetman Bruce has his own take on the current El Nino, which is well worth a read here.



Ranked El Niño & La Niña Cycles (Jan 1950-Nov 2015)


There seems little doubt that the 1997/8 event was the biggest on record since 1950, but when comparing with the 1982 El Nino, it is worth recalling that the latter coincided with the El Chichon volcanic eruption in April 1982.

This paper by Alan Robuck (he of ShuklaGate fame) found that:


The eruption took place just as the largest El Nino of the century so far was beginning. (In fact the volcanic cloud in the stratosphere fooled the satellite sensors which monitor ocean temperatures into thinking ocean temperatures were normal, whereas they had warmed substantially. Thus, scientists were not aware of the El Nino until months after it had started.



As we know, El Ninos are essentially solar driven events. If they really are getting stronger, that says a lot about the sun/clouds, and nothing at all about CO2.




Neil Catto has added this time series graph:


ENSO 1950-2015 [390789]

  1. January 14, 2016 6:29 am

    I don’t like the mixing of ranking with graphs as it can be a trick to show a trend when none exists.
    I think the Met Office did it with warmest years, and it was only if you looked carefully that you saw the actual years were jumbled up.
    Be better to show a year vs strength graph

  2. Mark Hodgson permalink
    January 14, 2016 9:35 am

    A bit O/T, but I have to share this gem from the BBC website with you, under the headline “Carbon emissions ‘postpone ice age'”:

    It includes this delightful piece:

    “”We are now in a period when our (northern) summer is furthest from the Sun,” the Potsdam researcher explained.
    “Under normal circumstances, the interglacial would be terminated, and a new ice age would start. So, in principle, we are in the perfect conditions from an astronomical point of view. If we had a CO2 concentration of 240 parts per million (200 years ago) then an ice age could start, but luckily we had a concentration that was higher, 280ppm.” Today, industrial society has taken that concentration to over 400ppm.”

    Without having to agree with them, I ask what their problem is with this? They seem to be saying that if it weren’t for CO2 emissions, we’d now be in an ice age. And the fact that we’ve avoided an ice age is bad, why, exactly?

    These people are so busy spinning, they’re losing all contact with reality!

    • NeilC permalink
      January 14, 2016 9:42 am

      Anthropogenic levels of CO2 as percentage of 400ppm global CO2 is 3.75% as stated here

      Therefore global anthropogenic levels of CO2 is 400*3.75% = 15ppm (Equivalent to 1 molecule in 66,667)

      Do people really believe 1 molecule in 66,667 will stop an ice age?

      • Wijnand permalink
        February 10, 2016 1:27 pm

        @NeilC Your interpretation of your source is incorrect. The 3,75 % is relative to the fluxes of CO2. These fluxes are much higher than the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. The antropogenic contribution to the atmosphere is about 120 ppm of the total of 400ppm. Which is about 1 in 3 molecules or 30%.

  3. January 14, 2016 12:56 pm

    In today’s parlance, “expert” defines someone who is malleable enough to espouse whatever position his “handlers” dictate. I.E. “Will lie for rewards”

  4. January 14, 2016 5:05 pm

    Thanks, Paul. Good article.
    ENSO can be large or small, or not there. ENSO seems to be tripolar and bi-sexual.
    No wonder it is impossible to predict its future; we cannot even tell its history.
    I think the best one-number index that has been developed is the ESRL-PSD Multivariate ENSO Index (Klaus Wolter, NOAA), at

  5. January 16, 2016 2:14 am

    El Nino and La Nina are not “weather events”, they are oceanic volcanic events, specifically El Nino, which is caused by oceanic vulcanism. Hence the reason why, as charts and satellite data clearly shows, they occur in exactly the same spot in the Pacific ocean every single time.

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