What came first Global Warming or El Niño?

El Nino globalssha_jas_2010

color bar El Nini pacificssha_jas_2010045_palette

NASA’s website has an interesting article titled Kelvin Wave Renews El Nino.  I find it interesting for many reasons, which prompts me to wonder what the deal is with El Niño?

  • “The climate pattern known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, or “ENSO” for short, is the biggest cause of large-scale climate variability in the tropics.” (It also causes a lot of changes elsewhere).
  • The series of globes showing the progression of the Kelvin waves has zero in the center and shows +/- 220 millimeters of wave height.  220 mm = 8.6 inches.  So that’s a plus/minus of 17.2 inches in sea level.  (NOAA also advises the sea level can actually be about 1/2 meter higher off Peru than it is off Indonesia, about the same amount).
  • It also causes large differences in the surface temparature of the ocean.

I also find it can:

  • Affect weather in the Atlantic causing warming.
  • Affect the weather on the West Coast of the US and Canada (remember all the whining about the lack of snow at the Olympics in Vancouver? Guess why?).
  • That El Nino is being attributed to AGW by some of the usual suspects, some who claim it’s increasing in frequency.
  • The biggest one we’ve had was 1982-83. (Living in California I sure do remember it rain-rain-rain and more rain).
  • Past El Nino Years back to the turn of the 20th century are 1902-03, 1905-06, 1911-12,914-15, 1918-19, 1923-24, 1925-26, 1930-31, 1932-33, 1939-40, 1941-42, 1951-52, 1953-1954, 1957-58, 1965-1966, 1969-70, 1972-73, 1976-77, 1982-83, 1986-87, 1991-92, 1995-95, 1997-98, 2002-03, 2006-07, and the current 2009-10.

I’m not writing this to impugne this latest data.  It’s very recent (January 15, 30 and February 15, 2010), and I’d doubt in this case there’s anything amiss with it.  It’s done with satellite data and there is no reason for NASA or NOAA to spin it.  They obviously lean to the “it’s caused by AGW” side and probably beleive this helps prove their case.

Per the title, what this article did was cause me to wonder about is cause and effect.  To link what prompted this in my mind, it’s the fact that we have the AGW people believing CO2 causes warming, but we also have proof that the CO2 doesn’t cause the warming, that it actually follows it.

I question claims that AGW is causing El Niñ0, based upon the “tricks”, lies, errors, e-mails, consensus, etc., that have been used to promote the AGW.  Sorry, but some scientists should look into the mirror to see why their credibility is shot in many people’s minds.  Past performance does count, ask any jury.

Is it not entirely possible that El Niño is causing some global warming and not the other way around? That it will soon lessen as it always has, and so will its effect upon the Earths’ climate?

I’ve read the arguments that we’re having El Niño upon El Niño and no cooling in between, that global warming is causing it to increase frequency, and that eventually, all we’ll have is one big year-round El Niño.   (Frankly I’m not so certain that would be a bad thing as it seems to bring a lot of rain to areas like California, that were desperatly in need of it and now have water storage up to about 86.5% of normal in a matter of a few months).

I have to question the theory of more frequency.  If you look at the data for the previous 127 years of El Niños in the chart below, you can see some large gaps and years when it’s been one after the other.   I’d suggest using the frequency of recent years is just cherry picking data to prove AGW  is real and that is it causing El Niño to increase.  Perhaps it’s kind of a hocky-stick for El Niño?


The article also promps me to question if the sea-level and sea-temperature data isn’t being misconstrued to assist in proving we have AGW?  To reiterate, I have no basis for this other than past bad scientific behavior, (climategate, Pachaurigate, glaciergate, the hockey-stick, NASA’s using CRU data because their own was a mess, etc), and an inquiring mind.

I can see where it would be tempting to use some of the higher El Niño caused sea-levels and higher ocean-temperatures,  to try and foster the idea that AGW is causing the oceans to warm, which is causing the glaciers and ice to melt, which is in turn causing the sea-levels to rise.  Kind of all ties in neatly in my mind.  It’s been done with temperature data, why not El Niño data?

Chicken or Egg?  You tell me.


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