New Paper Claims Extreme La Niñas to Become More Frequent under Global Warming

The new 2015 paper by Cai et al Increased frequency of extreme La Niña events under greenhouse warming has been getting a lot of alarmist attention recently. Examples: see the CBS News story Climate change expected to bring more La Niñas, and the  BBC News article Study: Global warming ‘doubles risk’ of extreme weather,  and, for those of you who are multilingual, see the German journal  Bild der Wissenschaft post Mehr Besuche der kalten Schwester von „El Niño”.  [Thanks to bloggers Alec aka Daffy Duck, Paul Homewood and Werner Kohl for the heads-up.]  Also see Paul Homewood’s post BBC – Global Warming Doubles Risk Of Extreme Weather at NotALotOfPeopleKnowThat.

Cai et al. (2015) 14 co-authors are a who’s-who of climate scientists, including Michael McPhaden of NOAA’s PMEL, who’s written numerous papers about ENSO; and Eric Guilyardi, who’s the lead author of Guilyardi et al. (2009) Understanding El Niño in Ocean-Atmosphere General Circulation Models: progress and challenges.

We discussed Guilyardi et al. (2009) back in July 2012 in the post here. As you may recall, it was a study of how poorly the CMIP3-archived climate models simulated ENSO…that the models basically simulated no ENSO processes correctly.  Thus one of their conclusions was:

Because ENSO is the dominant mode of climate variability at interannual time scales, the lack of consistency in the model predictions of the response of ENSO to global warming currently limits our confidence in using these predictions to address adaptive societal concerns, such as regional impacts or extremes (Joseph and Nigam 2006; Power et al. 2006).

Cai et al (2015) Increased frequency of extreme La Niña events under greenhouse warming is a companion paper to Cai et al (2013) Increasing frequency of extreme El Niño events due to greenhouse warming.   We discussed the earlier paper in the post Our Climate Models Are Aglow with Whirling, Transient Nodes of Thought Careening through a Cosmic Vapor of Invention.  It included a link to and discussion of Bellenger et al. (2012), which described how poorly the CMIP5-archived models simulated ENSO.  Once again, the models simulate little if anything correctly.  The same arguments apply to the newer paper Cai et al (2015), so there’s no need to repeat them, so please see the “Climate Models are Aglow” post.

The following is from an update to the “Climate Models are Aglow” post about the earlier paper.  It should also apply to the newer paper:

Brian Kahn also covered Cai et al. (2013) in his ClimateCentral post Climate Change Could Double Likelihood of Super El Ninos.  (Thanks again Andrew for the link to the post at HockeySchtick.) Brian Kahn’s article included the following and a remarkable quote from Kevin Trenberth:

The core of Cai’s results, that more super El Ninos are likely, was disputed by Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Corporation [sic] for Atmospheric Research.

He said some of the models used in the study overestimate the past number of El Nino events by a wide margin and do a poor job of representing them and their impacts.

“This seriously undermines the confidence that the models do an adequate job in ENSO (El Nino-Southern Oscillation) simulations and so why should we trust their future projections?” he said in an email.

Trenberth also said that some long-range climate models also fail to adequately simulate other natural climate patterns that influence El Nino let alone how they might also shift in a warming world.

Trenberth asked,“…so why should we trust their [climate models’] future projections?”

The obvious answer is ____________________ [I’ll let you fill in the blank].

About Bob Tisdale

Research interest: the long-term aftereffects of El Niño and La Nina events on global sea surface temperature and ocean heat content. Author of the ebook Who Turned on the Heat? and regular contributor at WattsUpWithThat.
This entry was posted in Alarmism, El Nino-La Nina Processes. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to New Paper Claims Extreme La Niñas to Become More Frequent under Global Warming

  1. skeohane says:

    It’s models all the way down. Is Trenberth denying the foundations the the great Church of CO2? Sounds heretical. Thanks Bob.

  2. Thanks, Bob. You have shown the GCMs failure to model ENSO, and the importance of ENSO in Earth’s climate; There is no reason to trust the GCMs.

  3. Alec aka Daffy Duck says:

    Hi Bob, Layman question:

    What impact,if any, does a decrease (or increase) in the amount of equatorial Cirrus clouds have on ENSO?

    I’ve dug around but unsuccessful.

    Long story, I had been peeking around on Cirrus formation BUT then yesterday I noticed an bit of an equatorial warming event at 10hPA:

    Hmm, what really piqued my curiosity is the warmest area is 100E-180E which is where the most Cirrus clouds are, (see pages 3-4 “Global characterization of cirrus clouds using CALIPSO data ” )

    That is also the neighborhood of where: “Huge [OZONE] Hole in Earth’s ‘Detergent’ Layer Found Over Pacific”

  4. Bob Tisdale says:

    Alec aka Daffy Duck, the most comprehensive studies I’ve seen on ENSO and cloud cover dealt with total cloud amount.

  5. Chuckarama says:

    Of course it predicts more extreme and frequent La Ninas. Almost everything falls within the realm of possibility with the model predictions and Climate Change theory. But of course all of this is bet hedging so that should a cooler period dominate or the pause continue, they will have a paper to point at and say, “See! Our science predicted this!” I predict that this paper will be included in the next IPCC rounds if the pause continues or left out if it doesn’t.

  6. Any studies on increased neutral ENSO due to AGW for the full ‘hat trick’..

    All climate is AGW.. Boooringgg..
    Now cycle research is fascinating

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