There’s a lot noise that comes around with each El Niño event about how the Pacific has HOT! water off the cost of California and it just must mean Global Warming!!!! (Horrors!!!) since it involves HOT!!! somewhere.
Like now when we have The Blob out there.
I think it is well worth noting that The Blob can just as easily indicate a cooling trend is well underway.
The California current off the coast of California brings COLD water down from the far north and causes an upwelling of even colder water from the depths off the coast. The “blob” is an “anomaly”, so ‘warmer than usual’ but not actually warm. Water temp is typically about 40 F (about 5 C) off the coast here so the “blob” is actually quite cold. Just not as frigid as usual. I’ve swum in the waters of Santa Cruz bay in summer and ended up near hypothermic. (Lobster red and shivering… but hey, I have English and Viking ancestors so it was just my cultural heritage showing ;-)
Slow that current and the overturning, the surface has a chance to warm up in all of our sunshine! I call it a feature…
Published online 12 July 2002 Nature
Ice ages looked like El Niño
Climatologists find familiar fluctuations in Pacific’s past
During past ice ages, the tropical Pacific Ocean behaved rather as it does today in an El Niño event, bringing downpours to some places and drought to others, say US researchers. The link might help us to understand and predict how and why the Earth’s climate can change rapidly.
For example, it could explain the low atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, during the last ice age. It is not clear whether this was a cause or a consequence of the difference in global climate, but such decreases would have lowered global temperatures still further, maintaining ice-age conditions.
The results also reveal a new layer of complexity in our planet’s climate. The El Niño cycle repeats every 3 to 10 years; changes between ice-age and warm conditions happen over centuries or millennia.
Lowell Stott of the University of Southern California and co-workers came to the conclusion that these two seemingly disparate cycles might be connected after examining geological records of environmental and climate changes off Indonesia1.
Looking at climate records from the other side of the Pacific, in the Galapagos Islands, Athanasios Koutavas of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York and co-workers reached similar conclusions.
While it is pleasant to see them admitting that maybe, just maybe, in keeping with all we know about gas laws and CO2 solubility in water, that a load of ice cold rain might strip CO2 from the air and lead to low CO2 levels; they then are compelled to emit the catechism that CO2 warms when present and cools when absent. Completely ignoring that it is only an emitter in the stratosphere and that it cools there. Oh Well… At least 1/2 way toward the truth…
IMHO, what the cold in Europe right now, and the cold in the Southern Hemisphere (killing farm animals of many kinds at the moment, people to follow…) indicates is that the Thermo-Haline Circulation has slowed as it does in cooling events and this has caused a lesser rotation of the Southern Ocean around Antarctica leading to less “slopping” up the coast of Chile to make a tongue of cold out into the Pacific, thus an El Niño like event.
So watch the developing El Niño, and hope for rain in California, but remember it is an “Ice Age like” event.
Since folks are talking about actual SST and the SST anomaly in the southern hemisphere, I’m adding those graphs from Unisys. I’m not fond of the garish yellow in the ‘new’ Unisys map, but I’ve not spent the time to find a better source yet…