I’m presenting this for those who look for patterns. I see it only as a curiosity—nothing more. I am not suggesting that future ENSO events will mimic those of the past, but…
El Niño-Southern Oscillation indices are used to monitor the strength, frequency and duration of El Niño and La Niña events. One of the commonly used indices is the sea surface temperature anomalies of an area in the east-central equatorial Pacific called the NINO3.4 region (5S-5N, 170W-120W). A blogger recently advised me in a comment of a curious agreement in the NINO3.4 data for two periods separated by more than 100 years. Thanks, Bob. That is, the sea surface temperature anomalies of the NINO3.4 region for the period of January 2004 to March 2013 are quite similar to those from January 1883 to March 1892. Refer to Figure 1, which presents NINO3.4 anomaly data for the two periods, from the Kaplan reconstruction of sea surface temperatures. The agreement is reasonably strong for climate data. The two periods have a correlation coefficient of 0.77.
UPDATE: When considering those graphs, keep in mind that sea surface temperature sampling along the equatorial Pacific is rare before the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. Sea surface temperature reconstructions in the NINO3.4 region are questionable in the 1800s. END UPDATE
You’ll note that I’ve extended the past data forward another 8 years. Someone was bound to ask me to do this, so there was no point in my presenting only the overlapping periods. Again, I’m not suggesting that future El Niño and La Niña events will coincide with the past. But…
Imagine what would happen IF (big if) we didn’t have another strong El Niño until 2017/18—four ENSO seasons from now—and that a multiyear La Niña event dominated the years until then: Global surface temperatures would likely remain flat for four more years. Global warming skeptics would be pleased, and climate scientists would be conjuring up more excuses for the lack of warming. If the response of the ocean heat content for the tropical Pacific was similar to past multiyear La Niña events, the tropical Pacific would likely warm to fuel the upcoming 2017/18 El Niño, and alarmists would point to that increase in ocean heat content as proof of human-induced global warming. In other words, little would change.
INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE EL NIÑO AND LA NIÑA AND THEIR LONG-TERM EFFECTS ON GLOBAL SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES?
Why should you be interested? Sea surface temperature records indicate El Niño and La Niña events are responsible for the warming of global sea surface temperature anomalies over the past 30 years, not manmade greenhouse gases. I’ve searched sea surface temperature records for more than 4 years, and I’ve searched ocean heat content records for more than 3 years, and I can find no evidence of an anthropogenic greenhouse gas signal. That is, the data indicates the warming of the global oceans has been caused by Mother Nature, not anthropogenic greenhouse gases.
For a further discussion, see the essay (pdf) titled The Manmade Global Warming Challenge. (It’s 42MB, but it’s free and worth the download time.)
I’ve recently published my e-book (pdf) about the phenomena called El Niño and La Niña. It’s titled Who Turned on the Heat? with the subtitle The Unsuspected Global Warming Culprit, El Niño Southern Oscillation. It is intended for persons (with or without technical backgrounds) interested in learning about El Niño and La Niña events and in understanding the natural causes of the warming of our global oceans for the past 30 years. Because land surface air temperatures simply exaggerate the natural warming of the global oceans over annual and multidecadal time periods, the vast majority of the warming taking place on land is natural as well. The book is the product of years of research of the satellite-era sea surface temperature data that’s available to the public via the internet. It presents how the data accounts for its warming—and there are no indications the warming was caused by manmade greenhouse gases. None at all.
Who Turned on the Heat? was introduced in the blog post Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about El Niño and La Niña… …Well Just about Everything. The Updated Free Preview includes the Table of Contents; the Introduction; the beginning of Section 1, with the cartoon-like illustrations; the discussion About the Cover; and the Closing. The book was updated recently to correct a few typos.
Please buy a copy. (Credit/Debit Card through PayPal. You do NOT need to open a PayPal account.) Simply scroll down to the “Don’t Have a PayPal Account” purchase option. It’s only US$8.00.