Last year, we discussed in a number of posts how the claims of record high global surface temperatures were due primarily to the unusual, naturally occurring warming event in the eastern extratropical North Pacific…known as “The Blob”. See the list of posts about The Blob and its impacts at the end of this post.
This year, in addition to The Blob (which still exists), there is an El Niño developing in the eastern tropical Pacific. This has driven global surface temperatures even higher…once again naturally. As a result, it seems that NOAA has proclaimed “theee warmest ever [insert month name here]” each time they update their monthly State of the Climate Report.
Next year, can we expect a repeat of the monthly “warmest ever” claims?
Global surface and lower troposphere temperatures will often peak during the decay year of a strong El Niño, not the evolution year. And 2015 is the evolution year of the 2015/16 El Niño. This lagged effect is not always the case, though. Sometimes, but as an exception, they can peak during the evolution year.
This on-and-off (mostly on) lagged effect is easy to see if we detrend the global surface temperature (GISS land-ocean temperature index) and lower troposphere temperature (UAH TLT, version 6) data and compare them to an (arbitrarily scaled) ENSO index. I’m using NINO3.4 region sea surface temperature anomalies as the ENSO index. The NINO3.4 data typically peak during the evolution year of the El Niño. The obvious exception is the multiyear 1986/87/88 El Niño, when the NINO3.4 region temperature anomalies peaked during the second year.
Update: I forgot to mention that I’ve included lower troposphere temperature data as a reference.
And for your information, Figure 2 includes the annual GISS land ocean temperature index and UAH lower troposphere temperature anomalies, with the year-to-date (January to August) average highlighted with a red horizontal line.
The big question mark continues to be The Blob. IF (big if) The Blob disappears after the 2015/16 El Niño, that drop in temperature in the eastern extratropical North Pacific SHOULD (big SHOULD) offset some of the typical lagged effects of the El Niño. Personally, I wouldn’t bet on a complete departure of The Blob.
POSTS ABOUT THE BLOB
- The Hotspot in the North Pacific (February 2014)
- On The Recent Record-High Global Sea Surface Temperatures – The Wheres and Whys (August 2014)
- Axel Timmermann and Kevin Trenberth Highlight the Importance of Natural Variability in Global Warming… (November 2014)
- Researchers Find Northeast Pacific Surface Warming (1900-2012) Caused By Changes in Atmospheric Circulation, NOT Manmade Forcings (December 2014)
- Did ENSO and the “Monster” Kelvin Wave Contribute to the Record High Global Sea Surface Temperatures in 2014? (December 2014)
- Alarmists Bizarrely Claim “Just what AGW predicts” about the Record High Global Sea Surface Temperatures in 2014 (January 2015)
- North Pacific Update: The Blob’s Strengthening Suggests It’s Not Ready to Depart (April 2015)
And the most recent update (August 12, 2015) on The Blob is here.