More on That El Niño And Its Cause


This is a cross-post of my comment on WattsUpWithThat. com on a post in which Bob Tisdale, their resident El Niño expert, tells how the El Niñ forms.

Taking an earlier post by Bob and the YouTube videos referenced in it, I here show month by month the early stages of the biggest documented El Niño in our short history of El Niños.

I should note that three days ago, on the same day as my last post, which was on this subject, I submitted my post here to Anthony Watts of WUWT.  And two days later Bob – who had promised to stop posting because he didn’t have time – re-posted a hand-illustrated version of his hypothesis of how El Niño starts.

However, his re-post is completely contradicted by his YouTube video.  That is what this post is about.  It appears that I am disagreeing on this with someone who knows 1,000 times more than I do about it.  But his own data-based maps contradict the sequence in his hypothesis.

For those technically minded, this gets good…

I begin:

Bob –

If I come off as a contrarian here, it is not my intention, but your start of the El Niño here doesn’t agree with the El Niño formation in 1998 – as shown in your own YouTube video.

In your earlier post La Niña is not the Opposite of El Niño you point to this YouTube video:

In the video as the 12-month averages progress one month at a time, the first thing one sees is a warming above the East Pacific Rise (EPR) in the eastern Pacific without a commensurate anomaly lowering in the west (the west is still white). If the El Niño starts as a stoppage of the equatorial easterlies that are piling up warm water in the west, then the west Pacific warm Pool (WPWP) should cool down. Where is the cooling down?

We should see two things if the warm piled up water is moving east: We should see a warm anomaly starting east of the WPWP and a cooling IN the WPWP. And the warm anomaly should be continuing to move eastward and expanding – and leaving a remnant warm anomaly all along the way, AND the WPWP should continue to cool. After all, the warmth is leaving and traveling eastward.

But we don’t see that. Or anything close to it.

[The follwing images I was not able to post in my WUWT comment, but am including here for clarity.]

Look at 0:25: [Dec-Nov97] There is a warm bloom beginning over the EPR – IN THE EAST, off the coast of S America. The WPWP is white.Dec-Nov1997 El Niño 12-month averaged SSTs

At 0:26: [Jan-Dec97] The EAST anomaly is growing. The WPWP? Still white. It should be cooling and turning bluer. I AM paying attention to the fact that these are anomalies, so I assume that the WPWP is as warm as it is normally during ENSO Neutral conditions.Jan-Dec1997 El Niño 12-month averaged SSTs

At 0:27: [Feb-Jan98] WOW. The bloom over the EPR has grown and warmed considerably. Hottest over the Galapagos. The WPWP? Still white. Where is the cooling? If the El Niño is this massive warm pool moving east and CAUSING it all – bringing the heat eastward – where is the cooling that must come in the WPWP? That “piled up” warm water is moving east? Where is the evidence here?Feb-Jan1998 El Niño 12-month averaged SSTs

At 0:27-28: [Mar-Feb98] MUCH bigger and warmer heat bloom over the EPR. It stretches to the S America coast and west as far as Seattle. <i>Still nothing doing in the WPWP. The warmth moving east still hasn’t shown up as a cooling in Indonesia.</i> There is some warmth moving eastward out of the Indian Ocean.Mar-Feb1998 El Niño 12-month averaged SSTs

At 0:28: [Apr-Mar98] HUGE EPR bloom with PINK showing in the center, just west of the Galapagos. It extends from SA to as far west as the Bering Strait. In addition, a northern warm bloom has extended west of Central America all the way to about the longitude of Kamchatka. The WPWP? Finally some warmth, NOT COOLING, and it is that warmth from the Indian Ocean extending into Indonesia.Apr-Mar1998 El Niño 12-month averaged SSTs

At 0:28: [May-Apr98] The warm bloom over the EPR has now turned PINK, and extends all the way from SA to as far west a Anchorage. The yellow is as far west as New Zealand. The WPWP? Still no cooling.May-Apr1998 El Niño 12-month averaged SSTs

At 028:-0: [Jun-May98] The PINK has grown even more, wider and a bit longer to the west. The long warm tongue from the east has joined with the warm tongue out of the Indian Ocean. The WPWP is warmer than when the sequence started.Jun-May1998 El Niño 12-month averaged SSTs

I could continue, but I am addressing the START of the El Niño, not the middle or end of it.

Bob, if your YT video is correct, there was NO piled up sloshing eastward to start the 1998 El Niño. The first and ONLY feature in the video is the heat bloom beginning and growing over the Eastern Pacific Rise and expanding and expanding until it reached all the way westward.

Bob, your two posts are 180° contradicting each other.

What gives with this?

It is patently clear that the 1998 El Niño began in the EAST, not the west. Unless your earlier video is based on bad data. In which case you would have taken it down.

Which is correct? The presentation here or the data-based video?

[Having submitted the post to Anthony Watts only three days ago, I have reason to believe that my submission triggered Anthony to have Bob re-post his sketched sequence (to give me a primer on El Niño is my guess).  But the world doesn’t revolve around me, so maybe I am being overly egocentric there.

I added the following note in my comment on WUWT today, arguing that Anthony should hear other sides of this than Bob”s side.  But since Bob contradicts his own evidence, I am not sure which side Bob is taking.  Or, perhaps, Bob missed the heat bloom in the eastern Pacific.]

Note to Anthony: THIS video is exactly what my proposed post the other day is about. There is clearly a heat source on the Eastern Pacific Rise that started the 1998 El Niño. I propose that the heat source is the Eastern Pacific Rise itself. This Ridge is the fastest spreading mid-ocean ridge in the world, meaning more heat comes out of it than any other. At the Galapagos it joins the Galapagos Rift, which is where hydrothermal vents were found and have been found in abundance. There is every reason to think this region has the most terrestrial “heat flow” (technical term), coming out of the Earth from the mantle. The heat flow here has been measured at ten times the global average and more, so it is always a hot spot. Variations in this heat flow from below may well be the cause of El Niño. Bob’s YT video supports this premise. This post contradicts the video and this premise. There IS no heat bubble moving eastward. There is only a heat plume forming in the eastern Pacific, and the heat flows WEST from there.

And BTW, the heat flow averaged over this EPR region is – to the best I can get out of the data – from the International Heat Flow Committee – is that the heat flow here is approximately equal to all of the internal heat of the entire world.

The upshot of this is really this: The climate people may be missing an integral portion of heat in their balancing of the climate. And if the missing element has variations, then it could explain the oscillations in the ENSO, as well as their variability in time and duration. I do not KNOW that there are such variations, but Bob’s YouTube video shows a LOT of heat warming up the EPR region in 1998.  For now I am suggesting/predicting that the same heat bloom will appear in maps of other El Niños.  If that predictions is somehow wrong, then the 1998 El Niño was different from other El Niños.

 If you’ve read this far, you might want to go back and look at that sequence of events and take note that the warmer the equatorial region was getting at each stage, the COOLER the mid-latitude and northern Pacific was becoming.  That is an integral part of the effects of El Niño.  At this point I have put no serious thought into it, so I can only point at it and say, “WOW! Look at that! I wonder what is doing THAT!”

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