Thursday, May 01, 2014

Trenberth on the Coming El Niño: How Big, Not If

From And Then There's Physics(*), Kevin Trenberth says he thinks the weather services are being conservative in their estimates of a coming El Niño, and that the question in his mind isn't whether there will be an El Niño later this year, but about how big it will be and if it will be as disruptive as the 1997-98 Monster.

The 1997-98 El Niño raised the global average surface temperature by 0.2°C above the long-term warming trend line.

This figure is from Hansen et al PNAS 2006, showing why the 1983 and 1998 El Niños were labeled, in turn, "El Niño of the century":

Last week's Nino3.4 temperature anomaly jumped up to +0.4°C, higher than it's been since November 2012. (An official El Niño happens when, I think, the 3-month running average of this region's anomalies is above +0.5°C.)

(*) Really, is there anything else?

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