A Few Things Ill Considered

Bad news, good news, bad news.

So, the bad news is that it is looking increasingly likely that the world will experience a very strong El Nino event this 2014-2015 winter (winter in the N. hemisphere, summer down under).  There is even talk of a super-El Nino, one to rival 1998’s phenomenal event.  Lots of good information on that here at P3.  Some forecasters are now putting the odds at 70%.

Model ensemble predictions showing a coming El Nino

Model ensemble predictions showing a coming El Nino

The repercussions for global and regional weather are very large, there will be winners and losers, though as with climate change impacts in general, the wins are no match for the losses.  There will also undoubtedly be a new, likely very striking, global temperature anomaly record high.  Which brings us to….

The good news is this will finally silence the Wattses and the Currys and the Moncktons and their disingenuous meme about global warming having stopped in 1998.  A new, head-and-shoulders-above-the-trend, global high temperature will put 1998’s head-and-shoulders-above-the-trend record well in the past.  The new emerging trend will no longer look like a climate model predictive failure even when the climate change deniers rummage for the ripest and reddest in the bowl full of temperature record cherries.  This will also finally silence the avalanche of attacks on another 1998 phenomenon, the famous Mann et al. Hockey Stick graph as this level of warmth can no longer be doubted to be below the peak of any remotely plausible reconstruction of the medieval warm period.

And lastly, the bad news is that I’m only kidding about the good news…


  1. #1 DAS
    April 15, 2014


  2. #2 Chris S.
    April 15, 2014

    Sou has covered Watts’ pre-emptive strike here: http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2014/04/anthony-watts-is-confused-about-enso.html

  3. #3 freddy
    April 15, 2014



  4. #4 freddy
    April 15, 2014

    So, Coby, what are you really saying above?

    Do you honestly maintain that 2014 will be a new record global temperature year?

  5. #5 Windchaser
    April 16, 2014

    @ #4,

    I’ll bite. If we do get an ENSO this year, then 2015 will almost certainly be a new record year for surface temperatures.

    If we get a extremely strong ENSO (similar to 1997/8), then we’ll see a record high in all the major temperature records, not just the surface temperature records (GISS, Hadcrut, RSS, etc.).
    Also, in the case of a very strong ENSO, the new surface records will blow 1998 out of the water, with a >0.1C increase in annual temps from the previous record.

  6. #6 coby
    April 16, 2014

    Freddy, if there were a strong El Nino event then there would be a new record high global temperature, but (not 100% sure) I think it would happen in 2015. I have no hesitation in asserting that.

  7. #7 mandas
    April 16, 2014

    Well Coby, that will teach me to read to the end of the article.

    I was all set to submit a snarky response to the suggestion that an El Nino will finally silence the wattsupmybutt and monkeytowns of this world, when I read your final sentence.

  8. #8 coby
    April 16, 2014

    Let’s hear it for text-based communication because I could never have actually said that and kept a straight face! 🙂

  9. #9 Lawrence
    April 17, 2014

    Just to add to 5 & 6…

    Jan-Feb-Mar ranked 4-21-4 as far as hottest on record for global temps. So if El Nino does develop and it’s at the early end of the timeframe, it’s possible 2014 could set the record only to be blown out of the water in 2015.

  10. #10 ray
    April 17, 2014

    it has occurred to me lately that a roller-coaster is a cyclical event, until a rail breaks. up till then its just a scary ride. then we reach a tipping point. what ,actually constrains the extremes of an El Nino event?

  11. #11 cytochromeC
    April 17, 2014

    Reality check:

    10 warmest years on record (°C anomaly from 1901–2000 mean)
    Year Global[66] Land[67] Ocean[68]
    2010 0.6590 1.0748 0.5027
    2005 0.6523 1.0505 0.5007
    1998 0.6325 0.9351 0.5160
    2003 0.6219 0.8859 0.5207
    2002 0.6130 0.9351 0.4902
    2006 0.5978 0.9091 0.4792
    2009 0.5957 0.8621 0.4953
    2007 0.5914 1.0886 0.3900
    2004 0.5779 0.8132 0.4885
    2012 0.5728 0.8968 0.4509

  12. #12 coby
    April 17, 2014

    Yeah, I know. I was coy about whether 1998 still stood as a record today, but it does in some data sets (eg HADCRUT)

  13. […] may be looking at a Super El Nino, rivaling the 1998 maximum. But if it comes to pass, it might restrain hurricane […]

  14. #14 Ryan
    April 20, 2014

    I’m looking forward to harping on the 2015-2022 “pause” in warming. It’ll basically blow this whole global warming thing out of the water. ; )

  15. […] may be looking at a Super El Nino, rivaling the 1998 maximum. But if it comes to pass, it might restrain hurricane […]

  16. […] may be looking at a Super El Nino, rivaling the 1998 maximum. But if it comes to pass, it might restrain hurricane […]

  17. #17 Taryn Kotze
    South Africa
    April 21, 2014

    Coby this is a very interesting piece ! What makes you think that this will happen in 2015, why not a year around 2020?


  18. #18 coby
    April 22, 2014

    Given the back ground rising trend, I would expect every very strong El Niño occurring more than a few years after the last to set a new record.

  19. #19 Sigudla 24041344
    Pretoria, SA
    April 22, 2014

    Even though, two thirds of the climate models are suggesting a high likelihood of an El-nino Event beginning between June and August 2014 , the world record temperature prediction as indicated by Coby cannot be justified. The SOI is used to predict the likelihood of the occurrence of the ENSO event. Although it has a relationship with the Sea surface Temperatures, an increase in the anomaly of the SOI index does not implicitly translate to extreme surface temperature observation( it does show a temperature anomaly). Also worth noting is the fact that the ENSO is a cyclical event occurring every 2-7 years, and is not caused by climate change.However its frequency and intensity could be due to climate change.

  20. #20 adelady
    city of wine and roses
    April 25, 2014

    The easiest way to look at whether you do or don’t expect a record high temperature with a strong el Nino is to look at the temperature trends for the years classified into EN, LN and neutral. Look at the trend line for el Nino on this NASA graphic.

    I realise that an el Nino summer here will be hellish, but the really disturbing thing is the La Nina trendline. Every La Nina year from 2001 onwards is hotter than every el Nino year before 1998. Talk about the new “normal”.