El Nino Crosses Monstrous Event Threshold

What’s the worst sin of all? If you agree with the Greek playwrights it would have to be hubris — or pride so terrible that it results in blindness. For the fossil fuel industry and its sock puppets — like Anthony Watts and Bob Tisdale — hubris probably best describes their response to anything climate change related.

Hollow Laughter at Climate Monsters

A year and a half ago, these fossil fuel industry supported purveyors of climate change denial quackery derided this blog for reporting on the risk of a potential Monster El Nino emerging in 2014 and 2015. They claimed the researchers and experts here knew nothing about El Nino. They used the fact that I sometimes write fiction as a kind of flimsy ad-hominem support to this blatantly false claim. Lacking any creativity or freedom of expression, they continued to rattle off their authoritarian, scripted, boiled-down, Heartland-produced talking points.

Kelvin Wave Monster El Nino Emerging

(The warm Kelvin Wave that never really went away. Strong Westerlies during 2014 and 2015 shoved extremely warm Pacific Ocean waters eastward where they eventually backed up to the surface, setting off a series of record and near record ocean temperature events. Image source: NOAA.)

The misrepresentations they developed were as contrived as they were tortured — Pacific Ocean heat content was normal, they said. The underlying heat imbalance was not capable of resulting in a monster El Nino event, they claimed. Global warming didn’t exist to the point that it could have any impact on El Nino, they asserted. It was all just one more scam in their endless bid to de-inform the public and pretend the climate change elephant in the room doesn’t exist at all. Just one more fossil fuel industry cover-up at the tail of a nearly endless list.

They did this even as they continued to ignore and attack the relevant science and its scientific luminaries — both standard and climate change related. And so blinded, they laughed and laughed like fools drunk on their own special interest inspired logical fallacies as the potential for a monster event grew.

More than anything else, it’s a cautionary tale. If you listen to Bob Tisdale or Watts (a man who uses his last name to throw derision at our understanding of Earth’s Energy imbalance), more than likely you’re going to end up being surprised by what’s coming down the pipe. So better not to buy into their nonsense and end up as blind to future risks as they are, or worse, contribute to those risks by failing to support a rapid reduction of fossil fuel burning.

Hitting 5 C Positive Anomaly

In July of 2015, as we initially warned may happen, sea surface temperature anomalies hit above 5 C in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific. Though the first Kelvin waves failed to achieve this mark, the ocean and atmospheric heat imbalances remained and wave after warm wave just kept shoving more heat into the El Nino firing zone.

El Nino Starting to Look Monstrous

(On July 10, 2015, something that Anthony Watts and Bob Tisdale believed wouldn’t happen happened — sea surface temperatures in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific hit a +5.1 C positive anomaly. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

These waves were fed by an endless series of Westerlies in the Western Pacific pushing the hot surface waters down and eastward. Firing off throughout 2014 and 2015, some of these MJO related westerlies were so strong as to have hit record marks. A monstrous El Nino was fighting to break out and there wasn’t any kind of oceanic or atmospheric inertia that appeared to be able to hold it back.

Subsurface heat was skyrocketing. And by Spring of this year upper ocean heat anomalies had hit and were maintaining a range between 1.4 and 1.8 C above average. By August, a westerly wind burst that continued for more than 40 days running had shoved the upper ocean anomalies into the range of nearly 2 C above average.

The massive heat pulses hit the surface and then steadily rippled westward. The spiking temperature anomalies were so strong as to set off a record longest period for +1 C above ‘average’ temperatures for all El Nino zones. A period that finally ended with this week’s NOAA El Nino report as values again dipped to 0.9 C positive anomaly in the Nino 4 zone.

Central Pacific Heat Rockets into Monster El Nino Range

But in the critical Nino 3.4 zone, temperatures continued their steady climb. As of this week, readings had hit a +1.9 C anomaly in that benchmark. In other words, the current El Nino just rocketed past the 1.8 C monster event threshold without so much as a blink.

It’s a very high reading for August when we’re still supposed to be building toward an El Nino predicted to peak in October or November. A reading that is already in the range of a monster event in the weekly monitor. A reading that, even if it were to simply maintain, would mark one of the most intense El Ninos on record.


(Nino 3.4 hits Monster event threshold in the NOAA monitor as of this week’s most recent update. Image source: NOAA.)

But the heat build into Nino 3.4 appears to be steadily ramping up. The warm Kelvin wave and powerful upper ocean heat anomalies continue along their path of rebound to mid ocean. An upper ocean heat pulse as strong as it’s ever been throughout 2014 and 2015. All of it on a rendezvous with the Central Pacific over the next 4-12 weeks.

Heat Pulse Ahead of Most Models

The jump to 1.9 C thresholds this week came as a bit of a surprise as the corrected consensus models NOAA uses point toward only 1.5 C to 1.7 C departures for August steadily warming to around 1.9 to 2.1 C above average readings by October and November. Such predictions are still enough to put the 2014-2015 El Nino in the range of top 3 events on record. But the jump to 1.9 C follows more along the pathways predicted by the UKMO to ECMWF ensembles — whose guidance shows mid ocean warming hitting 2.2 to even 3 C above average readings. Temperatures hitting such high marks in the Equatorial Pacific would exceed the maximum values seen during even the record 1997-1998 event.


(It’s getting very warm in the Central Equatorial Pacific. Sea surface temperature anomalies, which this map tracks, are at 3 C hotter than average in many regions of the Nino 3.4 zone ranging from 180 to 120 East Longitude. A level of heat that’s well ahead of some of the more conservative model guidance. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

Overall, it looks as though the most likely 3 month average for the 2014 to 2015 event is in the range of +1.6 to +2.5 C putting the current El Nino tracking in the strong-to-monstrous range that we’ve been highlighting as a possibility for the past year and a half.

Conditions in Context

In the context of human-caused climate change such a powerful El Nino occurring during 2015 means that global average temperatures are likely to continue to hit new record high marks. The heat bleed off the Pacific Ocean is, for lack of a better word, massive. And not just in the Equatorial regions. The vast majority of the North Pacific features above average temperatures. The hot blob in the Northeastern Pacific remains firmly entrenched and a related south to north heat transport over Alaska and into the Pacific side of the Arctic remains firmly in place.

With these conditions so dug in, there is rising risk that the heat plume coming off a near record El Nino may be headed north. This could have severe implications for an already terrible set of polar amplification related conditions in the Arctic. Such a powerful heat plume would also reinforce storminess along a broad band from the south and eastern US and on across the North Atlantic where a climate change related cool pool (associated with Gulf Stream slowdown, AMOC weakening, and Greenland melt) is already in the process of intensifying the storm track. The result is a potential teleconnection between El Nino and a number of already well established climate change related patterns.

Climate Change Denial vs Active Event Tracking Aimed at Informing the Public

As for the fossil fuel industry funded deniers — I’m sure they’ll have a number of derisive things to say about this science-based analysis. For though I’m not a scientist (I’m an emerging threats expert), I do read the science (over 1,000 reports and papers so far on climate change alone). I listen to what scientists have to say rather than constantly attacking and attempting to undermine their positions. And to help me, I have scores of other experts and laypersons who often post their own fantastic analysis and reports in the comments section here. So what you find here is an honest effort by concerned people to keep track of a growing climate crisis and what you have over at Watts and Tisdale is, conversely, an active industry-based cover-up.

Since jump, those fossil fuel industry serfs have been attacking the pillars of climate science and the great scientists who’ve advanced our understanding of human caused climate change. Luminaries like Hansen, Mann, Schmidt, Francis, Trenberth, Wadhams, Shakhova, and Archer. They’ve attacked even the conservative reports of the IPCC. And they’ve attacked the people here — in some way thinking that we quail at the over-used term ‘alarmist.’

But we need not worry about them. Their endless quibbling represents little more than a constantly running and vicious commercial for the fossil fuel industry. Just as slanted, inaccurate, manipulative, and special interest focused. And as with any other annoying commercial the best thing to do is to simply hit the off button. We have far more important things to do than to overly concern ourselves with such shallow corporate mercenaries. We have threats to identify, policies to support, and lives to save. Them we’ll leave to their foundering and increasingly amoral corporate masters.


Monster El Nino Emerging From the Depths

NOAA Climate Prediction Center

Earth Nullschool

Record MJO During Spring of 2015

(Please support public, non-special interest based science like the fantastic work done by NOAA and without which this report would not have been possible.)

Leave a comment


  1. rustj2015

     /  August 10, 2015

    Yeeeeeee! Geeeetttemm!
    or as we may remember:
    Cut ’em out, ride ’em in
    Ride ’em in, let ’em out
    Cut ’em out, ride ’em in

  2. labmonkey2

     /  August 10, 2015

    Great article Robert.. And I agree that we ‘can’t be baffled by their BS’ – because we’re dazzled with your brilliance!

    • All I do is shine a light on the gems that have been left in the dark for far too long. And you guys, bless you all, are helping.

  3. Ken Barrows

     /  August 11, 2015

    Deniers will love this El Nino. After a record setting 2015, they will merely say: There’s no global warming, it’s just El Nino!

    • Kinda hard for them to do that after they said this El Niño would never be so strong in the first place…

      • Ken Barrows

         /  August 11, 2015

        You know that isn’t going to stop a denier from making the claim. Rationalize, rationalize.

    • Andy in SD

       /  August 11, 2015

      In 2017 they’ll claim the temp is falling when you use one data point from 2015, and one from 2017. They will also breathe a sigh of relief as the tired “hiatus” BS can be resurrected for a few years using this winter as the single data point that all temperatures are compared to.

      Just like the past 10+ years where all temp data begins at the 97/98 El Nino and all temperature data is compared to that. Not to any of the 100 years before, or any afterwards. And then when the temp delta renders that line of argument inert, just attack thermometers and sensors, scientists, anything to create noise.

  4. Hi, Robert. Thanks for all you do. Without this blog I would still be in the dark about AGW. Not a denier, but as one who has faith that the conservative IPCC reports are accurate prognostications about the future climate. Again, thank you!

    PS you should be doing victory laps on Twitter like Trump, The Donald is doing! 😉

  5. DanEJ

     /  August 11, 2015

    Robert – This is such a fantastic blog. I’m an avid follower of Neven’s blog too, and I am always impressed to open up my inbox to see another great post by you.

    And thank you for treating the fossil fuel industry shills the way they should be treated with distain but mostly ambivalence. Frankly I don’t know how they sleep at night. Unless they’re so utterly stupid as to not understand the science, they must be lying to themselves as much as they are to the world in general.

    On the current status of the planet… The temperature differential in the North Atlantic below Greenland is quite uncanny in the way it runs directly along the autumn storm track. I think that Europe (especially the UK) is in for an extremely stormy autumn/winter period. The extra energy that the anomalies will produce may give us our first taste of those ‘storms of our grandchildren’ a few decades too soon! (Just like most aspects of climate change it seems!) – What do you think?

  6. Tom

     /  August 11, 2015

    Thursday, Denmark produced 140% of its energy needs from wind

    Read more: http://www.zmescience.com/ecology/renewable-energy-ecology/denmark-wind-energy-wind-12072015/#ixzz3iSrTwlRn

    and Sweden’s trash to energy program is working so well they’re importing trash from other countries. Why are we so backward here?

    • And Denmark just got sued by its own citizens for not moving fast enough on climate change. We’re backward here because a lot of fools keep standing in the way.

  7. Chowmin

     /  August 11, 2015

    I am really curious about how this El Nino will unfold for California later this fall/winter. Already this summer,Southern California had a rare treat of hurricane remnants.

  8. Steven Blaisdell

     /  August 11, 2015

    “And as with any other annoying commercial the best thing to do is to simply hit the off button. We have far more important things to do than to overly concern ourselves with such shallow corporate mercenaries.”
    Yup. The time is long past for treating soulless, amoral s**ts as they are. They don’t matter. Until international courts start to adjudicate culpability for the avoidable death and destruction…..

    • Culpability, indeed. They need to back the hell off and get out of the way of the people who are trying to help.

    • Abel Adamski

       /  August 11, 2015

      I have to wonder, a regular comment made by the denier sector is that population is the issue. Hopefully they aren’t that insane that their stance is an intentional policy to kill off a large proportion of the worlds population, you know those dark skinned and slant eyed oxygen wasters, then of course rescue the civilised world by removing the CO2 from the atmosphere.
      They wouldn’t be that daft would they ?, but then we have the Georgia stones where the inscription reads to keep world population below a particular level in several languages

      • Typical issue manipulation by climate change deniers. And a convenient issue to manipulate.

        So, yes, reducing global population helps RE climate because it reduces the overall rate of greenhouse gas emissions. But first, without a transition away from fossil fuels, those emissions do not stop. They just keep building and building over longer time-scales. So population reduction alone does not solve the climate problem.

        Second, population restraint takes decades and decades to achieve. And, in fact, we’re on a trajectory to peak global population by or before mid century. And, ironically, the policies that support population restraint — womens rights, reproductive freedom, widespread education and equality of pay among genders — are all policies the climate deniers on the right tend to oppose.

        So, basically, they’re distratcting you by saying that population is the main issue when it comes to climate change. And then they’re saying, though population is the problem (they ‘think’), they won’t help you with population…

        More BS and distractions.

        So the chief issue with climate has always been shutting down those carbon emissions. With climate, everything else is a peripheral issue. So yes, population restraint helps. But it does not get you where you need to go in the end. Shutting down carbon emissions is the center of gravity to the crisis and that means taking down fossil fuels.

  9. Kudos, Rob. Your response to Anthony Watts and Bob Tisdale was pitch-perfect. They are just pathetic little fossil fuel industry shrills. They also must not be too bright either, because their repeatedly failed climate forecasts only serve to further diminish their already miniscule scientific credibility.

    • Cheers, Robert. I honestly went back and forth as to whether they were even worth the space to write about. But then I thought about thugs, bullies and witch hunters and what happens, historically, if they don’t get their noses bloodied early on. In any case, if they attack me back, that’s less time they spend attacking scientists.

      I must say that it means much to me that someone so clear-thinking, astute and kind-hearted as yourself finds my words and work helpful.

      • Your words and work are much more than helpful, they are vital. IMO, yours is the best climate blog anywhere I’ve seen by a wide margin. That the deniers have taken notice of it provides testament.

        Thank you for the kind compliments. 🙂

  10. Fantastic (in the original sense also) report, Robert. I have a request: in your screenshots, as for nullschool, can you include the date taken as well as time, perhaps by configuring your ipad to display it at the top alongside the time? I save a lot of your images, and by having the date on them somewhere also, it makes it easier to understand them in context while viewing them. No biggie if you don’t want to do this.

    • I’ll see what I can do about adding dates to the image impressions. Pretty sure I can configure Safari to indicate date as well as time at the top.

      Best to you, Jim.

  11. Bruce

     /  August 11, 2015

    Good one! I remember coming across Watts and co. hit pieces when I Googled to get information on who you are (scientist, journalist…) early on. Of course I paid them little mind. Generally I think the deniers days have passed and are mostly a waste of time to bother with—but hey they went after you… BTW a few years back Watts along with Inhofe was given time in a News Hour piece. I was one of many people who wrote to complain about that and the Ombudsman addressed our complaints. My letter was one of the ones they posted as an example—edited of comments about PBS taking money from oil industry advertisers! I think they are much less likely to present the likes of Watts as any kind of authority now. I should hope anyway.

    b Date: Mon, 10 Aug 2015 22:06:50 +0000 To: baffsprung@hotmail.com

    • Well done! In all honesty, PBS should be ashamed of both taking money from oil industry and giving Inhofe and Watts equal time, and therefore lending credibility to their outrageous and quite frankly harmful statements on climate change.

  12. Andy in SD

     /  August 11, 2015

    It doesn’t matter what Watts et al stated as fact, written in stone on the internet and claimed as an absolute that there is no danger of El Nino, post El Nino effects etc…

    One has to realize how these people operate.

    They will state a 100% certainty that temps are falling, arctic ice is growing year after year, there won’t be a major El Nino, droughts don’t exist etc… etc… They will pin their reputation on it. Their support posters in their forums will cheer for bread and circuses. They will talk about UN take overs, Al Gore, Libs and whatever else they dig up. They will use absolute proof that temps are droppnig globally because Tuesday was not as hot as last Thursday in my town. There are less hurricane hitting the USA so that whole global typhoon thing is wrong again. Arctic Sea Ice will rebound from October to December (more proof! Just draw THAT graph!).

    And when all their horse crap goes poof, and there are no ad hominem attacks left or sleight of hand, facts will be left standing that they can’t deny. Or they pretend that typhoons/hurricanes can’t happen elsewhere.

    Then they simply pull a page from Orwells 1984 and apply revisionistic interpretation of what they had stated as a fact previously. They get slippery about that absolute, they state “I never meant for certain when I said 100% sure”. They reinterpret their certainty to a new certainty. Then when they are done they are still 100% perfect, accurate and infallible.

    And their cheerleaders will beg for more bread and circuses in their forums.

    • Absolutely spot on, Andy. These charlatans need to be called out for what they are by somebody such as yourself, who has an important voice and a track record of being very accurate. Which brings up a thought- don’t the lemmings that follow Watts and those like him have a memory? They’ve been making predictions (more like factually contradictory assertions) long enough to have a track record…which has been wrong on every single claim they made. It’s some kind of bizarro universe straight out of 1984 where doublespeak/think carry more weight than facts and observable reality. I’m glad you mention Orwell, because if you read 1984 right now and didn’t know better you’d swear it was a recent novel about the Republican Party/climate change deniers. It’s total insanity, and the complete opposite of the incredible space Robert provides for us here.

  13. Andy in SD

     /  August 11, 2015

    An interesting piece on Shells arctic drilling en devour. Lots of challenges, big bets, lots of opportunity for disaster. When they says “oops” it seems to cost at least 10 million bucks. When they say “oh shit”, that price tag skyrockets.

    As you read through, you can see some pretty big gambles.


  14. Robert, with so many ongoing WWBs, do you think that, instead to El Nino peaking higher in Oct/Nov, it could peak higher well into December and stick around longer than most previous ones?

    • Just saw this on Daniel Swain twitter feed “Ongoing Pacific Kelvin wave appears to be strongest of 2014-2015 #ElNino event thus far. #CAwx #CAdrought via @NOAA”

      • Andy in SD

         /  August 11, 2015

        That is a great piece of data visualization for El Nino. Thanks for shareing!

  15. labmonkey2

     /  August 11, 2015

    Spotted this over at physorg as impacts of CC affect the chain of life:

    “We showed, based on extrapolation from a random sample of land snail species from all over the world, and via two independent approaches, that we may already have lost 7 percent (130,000 extinctions) of all the animal species on Earth,” said Robert Cowie, research professor at PBRC and co-author of the two studies.

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-08-catastrophic-invertebrate-extinction-hawaii-globally.html#jCp

    GULP! I’m still flabbergasted at the lack of effort by our elected oafs to do anything about this. As the Chef on Sesame St. would say: ‘Wert der ferk?’

  16. Magma

     /  August 11, 2015

    RS: As for the fossil fuel industry funded deniers — I’m sure they’ll have a number of derisive things to say about this science-based analysis.

    That’s a remarkable amount of heat, and needs a remarkably flexible mind to ignore it. Let’s see, time to put on the unthinking cap… How about “Whatever the warmists claim, the Pacific isn’t even _close_ to boiling.”

    Or could that actually be *too* dumb?

  17. The only real question left is how high will it go? On GISS, .90C or beyond?

  18. Syd Bridges

     /  August 11, 2015

    Thank you for yet more informative posts, Robert. The jump to 1.9C already looks pretty grim. With the prolonged negative PDO, it doesn’t surprise me, as clearly there has been a massive buildup of heat in the WPWP, as shown by typhoons in that area. That heat is now returning to haunt us.

    As for deniers being able to claim that “global warming ended in 2015 (or2016),” I think that if the PDO flips positive for a number of years, they will be abandoning the “it stopped” year as fast as coastal communities will be abandoning their homes. It will stop in 2019, 2023, and 2027, but it has clearly stopped in 2028,because my Uncle George’s neighbour’s cat isn’t shedding as much hair as last year. QED!

    As for scurrilous suggestions that my home country (the UK) might be in for a bad winter, do you not know of the power of Prime Minister Cameron’s Thought? Admittedly, I haven’t yet read any of his penetrating analysis, but it’s on my “must read” list for after the lobotomy. Failing that, my family could throw in a copy at the crematorium, so that I can read it at leisure.

    • Syd — your fantastic dry wit is a godsend. One of the things on this blog helping me keep perspective given the situation. My uncle George’s neighbour’s cat, indeed!

      We’ll keep our fingers crossed for your country and hope it misses the bullet this time. The way things are stacking up — Pacific to Atlantic — doesn’t look too good though. Maybe this El Nino will kick up another notch or two and wipe out the RRR and the hot blob in the NE Pacific. That would be good news for England, but in my opinion, would fire some amazing, and possibly not witnessed before, storms at the US west coast.

      I wonder what the cat would think of that 😉

  19. redskylite

     /  August 11, 2015

    They’re used to the heat in Egypt, but not 4°C to 5°C higher than usual with very high humidity . . . .

    Temperatures soar in deadly Egypt heatwave

    “There is a big rise in temperature compared with previous years. But the problem is the humidity which is affecting people more,” Hossam Abdel Ghaffar, a ministry spokesperson, said.”


    • Wet bulb… People need to start paying attention to wet bulb readings. Heat index is a good proxy, but we should just cut to the chase and use the wet bulb as a measure.

  20. redskylite

     /  August 11, 2015

    Today’s Vice covering the Pacific Algae bloom, gloomy news . . .

    A Huge Algae Bloom Off the Pacific Coast Is Poisoning Shellfish and Sea Lions

    While only a few mild cases of poisoning in humans have been reported, sea lions have been much more greatly impacted. In the latter half of May alone, right after the bloom was detected, more than fifty California sea lions along the Monterey coast fell ill.

  21. Andy in SD

     /  August 11, 2015

    I was thinking the other day about the low Arctic Ice extent in 2012. Not sure if anyone remembers the giant storm that smashed the ice up as part of it. Robert had noted that it was an event that was outside the norm, as was it’s outcome.

    We’re pretty low this year. No single specific storm causing an anomalous event. The storms are steady in frequency and intensity through the summer as if they are now the norm (lower then that one, but more and steady).

    • The storms aren’t too strong. But we have had 4-9 foot seas in the regions that were once ice covered, 30-40 mph winds at times, and lows dipping into the 990s which is enough to generate Ekman pumping to pull the warmer waters up from below.

      It’s more been a constant state of storminess as opposed to one huge, outlier storm. And you’re right, Andy. That particular storm was extreme. 966 mb 60+ mph winds pushing 16 foot seas through the ice, tapping the warmer waters below, and really wrecking ice integrity throughout the Arctic.

      Something to think about…

      Over the next week the forecast models have the storm track orienting south to north across the northwestern Pacific. This will pull storms and warm winds into the ESS and Chukchi. Some of these storms will be hurricane remnants. So there’s a possibility given all that potential energy that we see some more severe storms firing up. Nothing specific predicted as yet. But the potential energy is being delivered.

  22. LAM78

     /  August 11, 2015

    Dear Robert, one thing that concerns me is the lack of a rather big pool of cool water in the Western Pacific which is one sign of a full blown El Niño. If there won’t be a big one I think we can’t completely rule out the possibility of a El Niño streching through the whole 2016 and into winter/spring 2017 though the odds for that would be very small. Any ideas of that?

    During the massive El Niño 1997-1998 the global average temperature record from 1997 smashed by roughly 0,15C after 1997 beated 1995 by 0,02C. This time thie margin might be even bigger if we are having bad luck.

    Oh, I must ask what the US would be if Donald Trump by some ridiculous idea gets the next president as stupid voters are being deluded by the entertainment media (my perception is that real news media no longer exist in the US – just look at the GMOs)?

    Cheers, LAM

    • Donald Trump could be a Mussolini for our times. He glares, he pouts, he preens, he struts – and he is very popular.


    • That’s a good observation, LAM. And one I’m a little bit concerned about as well. The typical signature of El Nino is one where the equatorial region is markedly hotter than the surrounding oceans. Part of what drives its last stages are that thermal gradient — eventually exhausting all the potential energy for the event in both the atmosphere and in the ocean.

      We do have some gradient. For example, the Western Equatorial Pacific has cooled off somewhat. But northward toward Japan on into the North Pacific near the Bering and into the Gulf of Alaska as well as the whole region north of Hawaii is hot, hot, hot.

      This would imply a bit of atmospheric and ocean inertia pushing for El Nino to extend. But the hot pool in WPAC, at least, appears to be dumping into the Eastern and Central Pacific. And that’s the primary source of energy. If WPAC keeps cooling, then at least we’re exhausting the key source of energy for the pattern.

      Thing is, the WWB isn’t quitting. It’s the same WWB that has been ongoing since late June now and its firing up another strong set of westerlies over the coming days. As far as atmospheric feedbacks go, it really has been an extraordinary feature.

  23. Vic

     /  August 11, 2015

    Another indicator of El Nino intensity, sea levels in the Western equatorial Pacific.

  24. Phil

     /  August 11, 2015

    Looks like another WWB entrain at the moment on earth null school. Further reinforcement of Kelvin Wave. Apart from a small depression in southern hemisphere, also lack of tropical cyclones at the moment. Looks like long awaited ocean/atmospheric coupling might be starting to provide some positive feedback?

    • Same WWB that started out in late June and just keeps flaring and flaring.

      ECMWF predicted an atmospheric feedback this month in the range of 4 SD above ENSO neutral. That’s about a 1 in 100 atmospheric feedback intensity for El Nino should it emerge. We’ve been in the 3 SD range since June (top 10 percent).

      Thing is, we need a really strong atmospheric feedback to completely flip the current ocean state and over-ride all that heat to the north. In the run up to that, we get some serious storms ranging up through the Bering. Making hard left turns before they start bending right.

      God are the next few weeks going to be interesting.

  25. Colorado Bob

     /  August 11, 2015

    Watts et al –
    Lie, deny, rinse, repeat
    Lie, deny, rinse, repeat
    Lie, deny, rinse, repeat

  26. Colorado Bob

     /  August 11, 2015

    The Atlantic Ocean holds the key to western Amazon rainfall

    The amount of rain that falls on the land during its dry season can be predicted from sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean during the preceding months, according to a 2011 study.

    “2005 and 2010 were very peculiar droughts. They were very, very intense… so we started looking at the pull of the Atlantic,” says the lead author Kátia Fernandes.

    “We looked at the frequency of dry events within a decade and found that greater frequency of droughts, or dry years, are related to oceanic patterns,” Fernandes says.

    The oceanic pattern in question is the relative warmth of the North in relation to the South Atlantic Ocean.

    When the northern ocean is warmer, the moisture-bearing Intertropical Convergence Zone, a band of clouds along the equator, is drawn northwards away from the rainforests which reduces moisture transported from the Atlantic to the continent.

    That means less rainfall in the western Amazon.


  27. Colorado Bob

     /  August 11, 2015

    Record Heat Wave in Japan Leads to 32 Deaths in a Week

    It was the second week in a row that over 10,000 people required emergency care for heat stroke in a week. In the previous week between July 27 and Aug. 2, there were 11,995 patients, which was the highest number since the agency began keeping records in 2008.


    • 45,000 hospitalized in total since July, 90 deaths so far in total… Probably ten times that number of related deaths that are not specifically attributed to heat. It’s Nuts and this is just one of many heatwave mass casualty events this year.

  28. Colorado Bob

     /  August 11, 2015

    Drought causes $100 million in crop losses in El Salvador

    A drought cost nearly $100 million in lost corn and bean harvests in El Salvador in June and July, the government said Monday in announcing a plan to distribute seeds to hard-hit farmers.

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-08-drought-million-crop-losses-el.html#jCp

  29. Colorado Bob

     /  August 11, 2015

    Scientists pioneer method to track water flowing through glaciers

    Researchers tested the theory on glaciers with meltwater rivers and found that the timing of the meltwater and the seismic signals synced perfectly. The method is very good at identifying when the glacial discharge is flowing into the ocean, Bartholomaus said, but it will take more research to determine exactly how much water is flowing out.

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-08-scientists-method-track-glaciers.html#jCp

  30. Colorado Bob

     /  August 11, 2015

    New tadpole disease affecting frogs

    London – Tadpoles are contracting a new, highly infectious disease that may be threatening frog populations worldwide, British scientists have found.

    A parasitic disease caused by single-celled microbes known as “protists” was found in the livers of tadpole samples taken from six countries across three continents, the scientists said in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Journal.


  31. Colorado Bob

     /  August 11, 2015

    Extreme weather puts insurance cost on track for record high

    The costs associated with extreme weather events this year are tracking on par with recent years , which have seen historic highs in weather-related insurance claims.

    Figures from the Insurance Council of New Zealand showed the total costs to date of 2015 weather-related events were getting close to $100 million, with $44 million of that made up of claims from the June weatherbomb which caused extensive flooding in the lower North Island and the west coast of the South Island.


  32. caman9119

     /  August 11, 2015

    Reblogged this on The Jones Theory.

  33. Colorado Bob

     /  August 11, 2015

    Westerlies ‘kick-started’ Antarctic current

    The strongest ocean current in the world only started flowing once Tasmania drifted north of the prevailing westerly winds 30 million years ago, say researchers.

    The findings come from reconstructions of ancient ocean circulation patterns reported today in the journal Nature.

    “The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is today the strongest ocean current in the world and it helps keep Antarctica cold,” says marine geophysicist co-author, Dr Joanne Whittaker of the University of Tasmania.

    “It thermally isolates Antarctica so you can’t get warmer currents coming down from lower latitudes and warming up the continent.”


  34. Colorado Bob

     /  August 11, 2015

    World’s deepest lake shrouded in smoke, swimmers covered in ash

    Summer wildfires ignited in areas close to the vast Siberian lake at the height of the vacation season, causing breathing problems in some areas. Campers reported their tents and cars caked in ashes from the huge fires.

    Some 45 people were evacuated from the Baikal shore on Monday, and there are fears of dangers to people from bears fleeing the smoke towards the lake shore.

    One man called Alexander reported: ‘When we swam in Baikal on Saturday, we were all covered in ashes. Ash was floating in the water and on the water. In the morning we woke up, all the cars and tents were covered with ash too.’


    • Severe outbreak over the past few days near Lake Baikal. It never really stopped. It has just been burning and burning and burning since April.

  35. WebHubTelescope

     /  August 11, 2015

    Tisdale is absolutely the worst of the lot. He is a human spew-machine, continuously creating Rudyard Kipling-like “just so stories” to explain whatever is happening in the Pacific Ocean.

  36. rustj2015

     /  August 11, 2015

    They are not only liars, they are villains, rapists, marauders —

    The reality is that lifting the oil export ban will result in large increases in fracking for oil in the U.S.


    and all those with conscience suffer their depradations in greater despair:

    A 2007 poll of more than a thousand middle-schoolers found that almost 60 percent feared climate change more than terrorism, car crashes or cancer. Roughly the same percentage thought more needed to be done to combat the threat, and more than 40 percent reported that concern about climate change occasionally occupies their minds.

    “Unlike adults who can put their heads in the sand … kids are very aware of what’s going on,” said Chris Saade, a North Carolina-based psychotherapist, in a 2014 interview with The Globe and Mail. “Children often ask me questions that we, as adults, try to evade: ‘What is going to happen to the human race?’ ”


    • rustj2015

       /  August 11, 2015

      depredation: plunder, rape, swinishness, blackmail, kleptomania, abduction, ransacking, swindle, bloodsucking, despoliation. mf’rs

      • If anyone wants to go on a rant about the abuses of the fossil fuel industry, you’ve got a wide open forum here. You won’t be censored or confronted with climate change denier bullies. In fact, you’ll be encouraged. Calling out the bad actors is a part of the solution. We have been far, far too cordial in this regard. We’re nice people. But we should not allow kindness to be weakness. Otherwise we, unwittingly, enable the abuse to continue.

    • Yeah. We need to keep that ban in place and shut in that fuel. The stuff needs to stay in the ground.

    • Abel Adamski

       /  August 12, 2015

      An article from Climate Crocks that is most pertinent
      And from a comment by jimbills

      “Here’s what Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association President Chad Warmington has to say in defense of the practice of injecting wastewater underground:

      — “I don’t think people realize just how nasty this water is,” Warmington said. —”

      Consider during this drought, more and more the wells are going deeper and deeper down to those toxically polluted deep levels

      • They’re wrecking the resource that’s most precious to the west’s survival. And it’s certainly not fossil energy. It’s water.

  37. Spike

     /  August 11, 2015

    Heatwave caused surge in mortality in NW Italy in early July


  38. Brian

     /  August 11, 2015

    Unprecedented heatwave kills at least 40 in Egypt…..


  39. Brian

     /  August 11, 2015

    The thing I’ve found about people who’ve been completely brain-washed by fossil-fuel industry propaganda is that they will never concede a point or admit that one of their little factoids could be wrong so it is almost impossible to have a reasonable discussion. When cornered with faulty logic or misinterpretation of the facts, ad hominem insults and name-calling are the order of the day…very frustrating because it serves to shut down any reasonable discussion. It never fails to amaze me that anything thrown out on a blog is taken as absolute and irrefutable fact but that actual climate scientists are always liars and idiots who don’t have a clue about what is going on because it snowed in Boston yesterday.

    I remember one particular discussion with a denier about the pH scale and how the oceans are becoming more acidic and his reply was along the lines of “the oceans are nowhere near acidic and what about Al Gore…”

    You come to realize that some people are just so politically mesmerized by the, “global warming is a liberal scam for grant money.” thing that they have lost the ability for critical thinking if they ever had it.

    As tiring as it is, I agree that concerned people have to just keep throwing the scientific evidence out there and take hope by realizing that the tide is turning. One day deniers will be looked upon with the same disdain held for the paid shills that denied the harm of tobacco or CFC’s. Hopefully it won’t be too late

    As the reality of what we are facing sinks in, people around the world are becoming more and more aware of what is at stake. Don’t give up the fight, Robert. Organizations like Heartland and their ilk can only fool gullible people for so long before the gig is up.

    • In addition, we have people preaching ‘fossil fuel abstinance’ as a kind of broad based solution. When you live in a world in which fossil fuels are the dominant energy source then preaching fossil fuel abstinence to them is like preaching sexual abstinence to teenagers.

      Sure, some individuals will listen, but it won’t be enough to change the underlying dependency and captive consumerism. In a situation where you have a harmful product that dominates markets you need broad based policy to uproot and replace it. That’s the way we managed tobacco, that’s the way we managed CFCs, and its the only way we have a snowball’s chance in a hothouse of managing this fossil fuel driven greenhouse gas nightmare we’re setting off.

      No way I’m giving up.

      • Brian

         /  August 11, 2015

        “No way I’m giving up”

        Nor should you. you are doing great work here with your wonderfully informative blog and heartfelt community of concerned people.

        Changing the world one post at a time………

      • Well that means we basically have to got uproot the present form of capitalism. Completely. Problem is, we can’t just replace it with communism; look at what happened in Russia and China! 😦

      • Brian#2

         /  August 14, 2015

        Hi Ed-M. I think you are absolutely correct we do have to uproot the present form of capitalism because it is not working. What happened in Russia and China was really just state capitalism rather than collectivism or even traditional socialism.

        I think the real issue is examining the unfettered, deregulated, individualistic form of capitalism we have been sold as ideology for the last 35 years. The trouble is that even trying to have an adult conversation about issues like this is enrage the congregation with shouts of blasphemy! We cannot even seem to have a grown-up conversation about the state of the capitalist system in the current political atmosphere.

        Wasn’t the big argument against communism that it centralized power and wealth and therefore inevitably led to tyranny and suppression of the rights of the majority?

        What the heck do they think is happening now on Wall St. and in Washington and Brussels?

        (Sorry there was no reply button on your post so I replied to Robert’s instead)

        • Thanks, I agree with you 100%. In fact, I’ve been mulling for some time that a sequel to Von Hayek’s book would be called All Roads Lead to Serfdom., when someone writes it.

    • Individual action in the form of getting off fossil fuels is certainly worthwhile and definitely helps matters. But to set the captive consumer free we have to break the fossil fuel industry’s grip on energy. And that’s really what we should be focusing on. That’s the center of gravity to the whole problem. So individual action on up the chain should be aimed at that goal. And we set ourselves up for dramatic failure if we make this just about abstinence. What we should be fighting for is abolition.

  40. Not news, but an excellent brief presentation for some of us newbies –

  41. redskylite

     /  August 11, 2015


    It is truly inspiring and excellent that you have the energy and enthusiasm to run this site and it’s great not to be affronted by vested interests of the fossil fuel industry (as with other climate related sites).

    This from Jeff Masters Wunderblog today . . .

    “Theory, modeling, and observations all support the general trend toward intensified precipitation events in many areas, together with exacerbated impacts when drought does strike (the “wet get wetter, dry get drier” concept). ”


  42. redskylite

     /  August 11, 2015

    This study from the University of Leeds (U.K) . .

    Mass extinction survival is more than just a numbers game

    “It appears a human-driven sixth mass extinction will affect all organisms, not just currently endangered and geographically restricted species.”


    • Fossil fuel industry is making the whole world an unsafe place. Unsafe for innocent creatures and unsafe for human beings as well.

    • Apneaman

       /  August 11, 2015

      That mass extinction article has a glaring error in it. It was CO2 from volcanism that was the main driver of the Cretaceous extinction period – just like all 14 extinction periods.

      So what did-in the dinosaurs? A murder mystery…
      Posted on 12 March 2015 by howardlee

      Scientists have assembled a slew of new forensic evidence – from high-resolution dates to microscopic fossils – to prosecute the dino-killer. Their indictment has worrying implications for us.


      • The Canfield Ocean state is a serial killer like no other. Fossil fuel industry is doing its best to ensure we get a Canfield Ocean.

      • Abel Adamski

         /  August 12, 2015

        A reminder

        To Quote
        “Indeed, a 2010 study showed that humans are acidifying the oceans 10 times faster today than 55 million years ago when a mass extinction of marine species occurred. And a 2015 study in Science concluded that the Permo-Triassic extinction 252 million years ago — considered the “the greatest extinction of all time” — happened during the time when massive amounts carbon dioxide were injected into the atmosphere, first slowly and then quickly (driven by volcanic eruptions). The researchers found that “during the second extinction pulse, however, a rapid and large injection of carbon caused an abrupt acidification event that drove the preferential loss of heavily calcified marine biota.” How bad was this extinction? Besides killing over 90 percent of marine life, it wiped out some 70 percent of land-based animal and plant life.”

        As an aside I wonder if there is a correlation between that second large injection pulse of CO2 was not in fact the Clathrate explosion from those massive undersea craters you mentioned in the Methane article Robert. Methane doesn’t hang around and turns into that Carbon fairly quickly

        • Clathrate would have been well charged during the Permian — primarily due to the fact that the Permian hothouse arose from a prior period of glaciation. The glacial period would have sequestered a heavy load of carbon. And the Permian warming would have rereleased that carbon into the atmosphere — in addition to the action of the Permian flood basalts.

          The reason why the Permian was so deadly, likely the primary reason, was due to the fact that the oceans eventually filled up with hydrogen sulfide gas. The gas eventually vented into the atmosphere. In addition to direct killing by toxic gas exposure, it wafted into the upper atmosphere and took down the ozone layer. That’s why you end up with this huge follow on killing on land. Ocean acidification doesn’t do that. Ocean acidification is just the start of the ocean mass extinction. It’s the filling up with hydrogen sulfide which then vents into the atmosphere which makes the hothouse Canfield Oceans so deadly.

    • Hoo-boy, Guy McPherson is really going to run with that one. :dread: He’ll interpret that to mean as all individual organisms, down to the last person, animal, plant and microbe.

  43. Spike

     /  August 11, 2015

    The current heat waves are an ominous portent of our future, their one saving grace being that they lift the veil of disinformation draped by the denial industry over public knowledge. The public can relate to air temperature extremes in a way that they can’t so easily to warmer seas, droughts, fires or floods. It speaks to them more obviously of an inevitable consequence of a warming world, and the science linking it to AGW is so well developed.

    The deniers realise this, in the way they leap all over a cold or snowy episode, even bringing snowballs to the senate. They realise it speaks directly to people’s gut instincts and beliefs. This is why reports that make the public aware of the sheer frequency of heat episodes, such as Hansen’s New Climate Dice, and now Robert’s truth telling here, are so valuable and important.

  44. Spike

     /  August 11, 2015

    I like Rahmstorf’s view of the role of the climate change deniers:

  45. Strathmore Park

     /  August 12, 2015

    Reblogged this on strathmorepark.

  46. bearingwitness

     /  August 12, 2015

    This may have been posted elsewhere on this blog, but I just read that National Geographic have updated their Arctic maps to more accurately illustrate the shrinking sea ice…
    I’m not sure how to embed the gif image (so forgive me if this doesn’t work!)…

    Regarding climate chaos denialists, I’m sick to the back teeth of how the likes of Messrs. Watts and Tisdale – and Abbott in Aust.! – don’t have to really live by their words (“put their money where their mouths are”). It’s absolutely cowardly and immoral that they can continue to rubbish science and scientists without it actually costing them anything (and yet it continues to cost the earth and the poorest peoples everything). The “status” and “honor” and “privileges” of these deniers remain intact, and this can no longer do.

    I propose some sort of community-led, very public, old-fashioned, legally-binding challenge. We put to them a wager that they, as full-grown male adults, would surely not refuse if they have any integrity or self-respect.

    If, say by 2030, things are indeed WORSE for our climate on each major “tipping point” factor, these “men” (including their families) will be required to forfeit any “rights” to shelter, air conditioning, food (which they haven’t grown themselves), travel/ transport, water, et cetera – – an all-inclusive exemption from essentials for human survival. My rationale is that by denying the science, misleading the public, and in the instance of Australia’s Prime Minister, delaying strong action to cut carbon emissions, these men are stealing the “essentials for human survival” that the world’s poorest are already suffering from. How can they justify access to these things, after all they’ve said/ done, when the SHTF?

    And in any case, if climate change isn’t true, it won’t matter, will it? So… if, climatically-speaking, things are equal to or less worse by 2030, my part of the deal would be along the lines of “forever holding my silence”. I shall ne’er mention climate chaos again, in conversation nor print. And that would personally be hard to do, after studying/ following climate change for 15+ years. But I’m willing to stake my reputation and personal comfort for it (been and done, so nothing to lose, heh).

    Anyway, that’s a random idea I’ve been thinking about for a while. I don’t know if it’s a feasible proposition, but thought I’d put it out there.

    Keep up the good work, Robert.

  47. Brian#2

     /  August 12, 2015

    Hi Robert,

    I just realized there are two people named Brian here so I guess I am number 2. Regarding your comments about needing to abolish the fossil fuel industry and consumer dependence rather than just abstinence, I am right on board with this but given the current paralysis of the political system and it’s total submission to corporate interests I think that is going to be a difficult proposition without some kind of major shock to the system such as popular revolt or mass movements of people – and even then, how do you take that global?

    I just don’t see how the media supported political power structure is flexible enough to undertake the kind of changes you suggest at least in the present.

    A case in point about the media and it’s subservience to the status quo;

    This story appeared in the Guardian newspaper the other day:

    “Canada’s Conservative government spent several million dollars on a tar sands advocacy fund as its push to export the oil faltered, documents reveal.
    In its 2013 budget, the government invested $30 million over two years on public relations advertising and domestic and international “outreach activities” to promote Alberta’s tar sands.

    The outreach activities, which cost $4.5 million and were never publicly disclosed, included efforts to “advance energy literacy amongst BC First Nations communities.”
    The Harper government has been trying to ship tar sands to the British Columbia coast via two pipelines, Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan, which scores of First Nations communities have pledged to block because of environmental and economic concerns.
    With Canada’s federal election in full swing, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been on the defensive over his backing of the tar sands, which have derailed the country’s emissions reduction targets and, since the crash of oil prices, destabilized its economy.

    According to the government documents, other outreach activities included research to support Canadian lobbying against a European environmental measure that would have hampered tar sands exports. Canada has succeeded in delaying the measure – the EU Fuel Quality Directive – several times.”


    So with a federal election campaign underway, this article appearing in The Guardian was nowhere to be found televised news or the major newspapers in Canada. No one here thought this story was significant enough to be reported in any national or local media outlet. Neither the CBC, The Globe and Mail or the Vancouver Sun thought this important bit of information was worthy of reprint in order to inform Canadians on this issue.

    And yet, New Democrat candidate Linda Mcquaig, a harsh critic of neo-conservative public policy and Canada’s inaction on environmental issues including climate change and author of “It’s the Crude, Dude, a expose on the motivation for the war on Iraq, was roundly attacked in the mainstream media for suggesting that “in order to meet emission goals some of the oilsands may have to remain in the ground.”

    Mcquaig was set up by CBC host Rosie Barton to field a question which she knew would be turned into an softball attack by conservative MP Michelle Rempel who fielded the pop-up and immediately turned the comment into a partisan hornet’s nest suggesting that Mcquiag and the NDP would destroy the economy, cause massive unemployment and shut down Canada’s energy sector, ruining Alberta for future generations to come.

    All the local media picked up this story and it became a major controversy which forced NDP leader Tom Mulcair to distance himself from Mcquaig’s comments and reaffirm that he supported “sustainable development” of Canada’s energy resources.

    The CBC to it’s credit later published a fact-check on the controversy:

    “And while Harper criticized McQuaig for her comments, he himself all but conceded that some oil will be stranded when he and other G7 leaders agreed to an eventual end to fossil fuel use by 2100. Unless oilsands production and technology substantially improve, and oil demand and prices return to sky-high levels, there is little chance all of Alberta’s bitumen will be sucked out of the ground before the end of the century.

    If further affirmation was needed that some oil, not only in Canada but around the world, will be left untouched, even the world’s leading producer is predicting as much.

    “We recognize that eventually, one of these days, we are not going to need fossil fuels, I don’t know when, in 2040, 2050,… so we have embarked on a program to develop solar energy,” said Saudi Arabia oil minister Ali Al-Naimi in May.”


    So, first let me apologise for this rather lengthy and perhaps off topic post but my question is this, in light of all the vitriol and controversy that a simple, honest statement by a concerned non-professional politician dredged up over development of tar-sands, do you see a process coming whereby the political structure we currently are enduring here in Canada and the United States can be flexible enough to accommodate the kind of change in energy policy you are advocating – I am talking about “breaking the fossil fuel industries grip on energy” as you have suggested.

    If not, what changes in the political structure do you think we need to try to embrace in order to put your vision in place? I am totally with you on this but I when I consider how addicted we are as consumers to oil based products, and not just energy alone, and how invested the opposition is maintaining their hegemony over the world’s energy policy, what course do you see as the best one going forward?

    • Nothing worthwhile ever ends up being easy. And abolition of fossil fuel burning may just be the most worthwhile thing this generation accomplishes.

  48. Sunkensheep

     /  August 16, 2015

    There’s something a little weird going on in the equatorial Pacific right now. The Westerly Wind bursts are drawing cooler surface water from the far western pacific into the mid-ocean region. I’m unsure if this is a normal limiting behavior for large El-Nino events (I can’t find it in historical data), but it should slow down the warming for a while at least.

  1. El Nino | The crankydruid
  2. Ocieplenie ziemskiej atmosfery wkrótce przyspieszy (aktualizacja: 8.08.2015) | Exignorant's Blog
  3. 2015’s Cruel Climate Count Continues as NASA Shows July Was Hottest On Record | robertscribbler

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