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UAH & ENSO Updates For March 2016

April 5, 2016

By Paul Homewood 




According to UAH, lower troposphere anomalies fell back sharply in March, down 0.10C. RSS also show a similar picture, down 0.13C.

With El Nino conditions continuing to dissipate during March, we may well have now seen the temperature peak in February, as I have been saying for a while.




It is worth comparing the current situation with 1997/98.

First, ENSO values:




We see that, although the 1997/98 El Nino peaked, (so far), higher than this one, we have actually had El Nino conditions for much longer in 2015/16. Indeed, there has been a mild El Nino since Spring 2014. This is one reason why temperatures have so far peaked slightly higher this year.

The second thing to note is that El Nino recovered in strength to make a second peak in Spring 1998. I would expect the MEI values for March to be much lower than February, so any such recovery this year looks increasingly unlikely.

Quite simply, there is no warm water left in the Western Pacific to push east. The best visualisation of this is below. Since early February, most of the near surface warm anomaly has disappeared, whilst the colder water to the west has continued to push east.





As for the effect on temperatures, we can compare the two periods:





As noted, we ran through 2015 with higher temperatures than 1997 partly because temperatures were enhanced by El Nino conditions starting in 2014. This is evident from comparisons of temperature anomalies in the Tropics.

Following the strong recovery of El Nino in February 1998, temperatures were also ramped back up, peaking in April and remaining high until Autumn. Watch this space for what happens in the next few months, but if MEI values continue to decline, my guess is that temperatures will quickly drop away from those 1998 values.

  1. Rasa permalink
    April 5, 2016 6:26 pm

    Google Professor Terry Hughes and his rubbish report on Great Barrier Reef “frying” and 95% bleaching and death of coral. Has been circulated to the usual suspect press.
    In fact is past the peak temp and the federal managing body, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) provides a professional record of the health of the reef.

    • Broadlands permalink
      April 5, 2016 9:00 pm

      Rasa… I wrote to Professor Hughes…

      You (and many others) are quick to blame this on high winter sea surface temperatures that are the result of the El-Nino (natural events that we can do nothing about).

      Have you considered that the GBR is located in a region where the winter temperatures are warm but the winter skies are commonly blue…very clear? Therefore, could this bleaching have been due to, or certainly modified by the added enhanced UV effect on the symbionts? As you know, this has been shown experimentally, e.g. Gleason and Wellington, 1993). After all, the maximum sea surface temperatures at Townsville occur in January and average 84.2°F with a maximum of only 88.3°F (and then for only a few days). Last year, globally, the warmest SSTs were in the Middle East (Abu Dhabi) where they reached 96°F., which is not a record there. Their corals have also been “hit” by El-Nino and they have been trying to resurrect their numbers. But no corals have been killed to extinction; close but not yet at temperatures 8°F above those on the GBR. It’s noteworthy that in many places the “monster” 1998 El-Nino was to blame for bleaching, as were the 1987 and 1983 El-Ninos before it.

      Bottom line? We cannot control El-Ninos and our added CO2 has had no “boosting” or amplifying effect. Your concern is justifiable, but like earthquakes and volcanic activity, nothing we can really do about it.

      So far, no reply.

      RE… ENSO, using the NOAA 3-month overlapping index (ONI), The 1997-98 El-Nino started with AMJ in 1997 and ended in MJJ of 1998, after which the big La-Nina began and lasted until FMA of 2001. It don’t get no respect?

    • April 6, 2016 7:20 am

      yep sometimes old coral does bleach..and then new coral grows over.
      It’s not like the whole reef just disappears.

  2. Andy DC permalink
    April 5, 2016 6:37 pm

    El Nino worked pretty much the way it was supposed to work here in the US, with above normal temperatures in most places, warmest in the north central states. Also good rains and snows for much of California.

    In Washington, DC, 9 of the top 10 snowfalls since 1958 have happened during El Nino conditions. The one exception (1996) was when we had recently come out of a significant El Nino. We kept that rather amazing correlation going with our big blizzard last January.

    When I first heard of El Nino, I was highly skeptical that water temperatures thousands of miles away could have much effect with respect to DC snowstorms. It would now appear that the evidence strongly suggests that there is quite a meaningful correlation.

  3. emsnews permalink
    April 6, 2016 12:49 am

    This week in April, it went to 4 degrees F this morning and it has snowed and snowed and it is cold not for one day but day after day, this is a disaster and very, very cold, January weather every three days which is utterly out of season.

    And the rulers and media ignore all this, of course.

  4. Broadlands permalink
    April 6, 2016 5:28 pm

    In the US there are some interesting coincidences(?). The warmest September on record was in 1998. The warmest November was in 1999. The wettest February was in 1998, and the wettest November and December were in 1983 and 1982, respectively. Is this a “meaningful” correlation? Those were big ENSOs.

    • dave permalink
      April 7, 2016 8:14 am

      The El Nino episode of 2015/2016 seems to be dying. It was pretty much a re-run of 1997-1998, as regards a spike in the ‘global brightness temperature’ anomalies.
      However, the recent episode was virtually confined to the Northern Hemisphere (see the ‘2-meter’ anomalies that Maue publishes every day.)

      Sea-Ice in the Arctic on the Canadian side (i.e. in the true Arctic Basin, and in Hudson’s Bay) is of normal extent for late-winter (compared to averages of 1979-2010.) The Barents Sea and the Greenland Sea, which are vulnerable to the currents of the Atlantic, are below normal (a ‘new normal’ probably.)

      Sea-Ice in the Antarctic is growing abnormally fast for the beginning of the Southern winter..

      • dave permalink
        April 10, 2016 1:49 pm

        For some reason (possibly a mistake?) the area of the Northern Sea-Ice has gone up again! Any way , according to the “The Cryosphere,” the GLOBAL ice anomaly is now precisely ZERO!!

  5. April 7, 2016 3:34 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

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