'La Nada' climate pattern lingers in the Pacific

Sep 10, 2013 by Alan Buis
The latest image of sea surface heights in the Pacific Ocean from NASA's Jason-2 satellite shows that the equatorial Pacific Ocean is now in its 16th month of being locked in what some call a neutral, or "La Nada" state. Credit: NASA-JPL/Caltech/Ocean Surface Topography Team

(Phys.org) —New remote sensing data from NASA's Jason-2 satellite show near-normal sea-surface height conditions across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. This neutral, or "La Nada" event, has stubbornly persisted for 16 months, since spring 2012. Models suggest this pattern will continue through the spring of 2014, according to the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center.

"Without an El Niño or La Niña signal present, other, less predictable, will govern fall, winter and spring ," said climatologist Bill Patzert of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "Long-range forecasts are most successful during El Niño and La Niña episodes. The 'in between' state, La Nada, is the dominant condition, and is frustrating for long-range . It's like driving without a decent road map—it makes forecasting difficult."

The near-normal conditions are shown in a new image (as areas shaded in green), based on the average of 10 days of data centered on Aug. 27, 2013.

For the past several decades, about half of all years have experienced La Nada conditions, compared to about 20 percent for El Niño and 30 percent for La Niña.

Patzert noted that some of the wettest and driest winters occur during La Nada periods.

"Neutral infers something benign, but in fact if you look at these La Nada years when neither El Niño nor La Niña are present, they can be the most volatile and punishing. As an example, the continuing, deepening drought in the American West is far from 'neutral,'" he said.

The height of the relates, in part, to its temperature, and thus is an indicator of the amount of heat stored in the ocean below. As the ocean warms, its level rises; as it cools, its level falls. Yellow and red areas indicate where the waters are relatively warmer and have expanded above normal sea level, while green (which dominates in this image) indicates near-normal sea level, and blue and purple areas show where the waters are relatively colder and sea level is lower than normal. Above-normal height variations along the equatorial Pacific indicate El Niño conditions, while below-normal height variations indicate La Niña conditions. The temperature of the upper ocean can have a significant influence on weather patterns and climate. For a more detailed explanation of what this type of image means, visit: http://sealevel.jpl..gov/science/elninopdo/latestdata/.

This latest image highlights the processes that occur on time scales of more than a year, but usually less than 10 years, such as El Niño and La Niña. These processes are known as the interannual ocean signal. To show that signal, scientists refined data for this image by removing trends over the past 20 years, seasonal variations and time-averaged signals of large-scale ocean circulation.

NASA scientists will continue to monitor this persistent La Nada event to see what the Pacific Ocean has in store next for the world's climate.

The comings and goings of El Niño, La Niña and La Nada are part of the long-term, evolving state of global climate, for which measurements of are a key indicator. Jason-2 is a joint effort between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the French Space Agency Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). JPL manages the U.S. portion of Jason-2 for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. In early 2015, NASA and its international partners CNES, NOAA and EUMETSAT will launch Jason-3, which will extend the timeline of ocean surface topography measurements begun by the Topex/Poseidon and Jason 1 and 2 satellites. Jason-3 will make highly detailed measurements of on Earth to gain insight into ocean circulation and climate change.

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User comments : 36

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mememine69
1.4 / 5 (27) Sep 10, 2013
We must listen to the scientists!

Only you remaining climate blame believers and news editors and politicians are saying climate change "WILL BE" an inevitable crisis because the scientific consensus was that it only "COULD" be a crisis and science has never in 28 years agreed or said it WILL be an eventual threat to the planet, only "COULD BE". Now who's the fear monger?

This costly debate to "save the planet" will end when science finally agrees their own catastrophic climate crisis WILL happen and is "unavoidable".

And get ahead of the curve:
*Occupywallstreet now does not even mention CO2 in its list of demands because of the bank-funded and corporate run carbon trading stock markets ruled by politicians.
NikFromNYC
1.8 / 5 (25) Sep 10, 2013
Wither warming as climate cycles reverse?
shavera
3.4 / 5 (13) Sep 10, 2013
Wither warming as climate cycles reverse?


In the deep oceans http://www.skepti...l--.html

I mean, the world is a convolution of natural cycles and our forcing. So if the climate naturally cycles up and down, then sometimes the down cycle will balance out against our warming (temperature pause now) but the up cycle will enhance the effect of our warming. The long-term trend is warming.
omatwankr
1.7 / 5 (26) Sep 10, 2013
my lord, now they are trying to say the temperature of the ocean effects the weather, pull the other one, the ocean is water and the air is gas so how can one effect the other......
http://wattsupwiththat.com/
shavera
4.3 / 5 (16) Sep 10, 2013
Yep my cup of hot coffee never loses its heat to the air around it. Coffee is coffee and air is gas, they can't possibly affect one another.
NikFromNYC
1.6 / 5 (25) Sep 10, 2013
(1) From Tallbloke's Talkshop blog:
"If the negative phases of natural variations are sufficiently geo-effective in the 21st century to cancel the alleged effect of extra airborne co2 on surface temperature, how much did their positive phases contribute to the warming of the late 20th century?"

(2) The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation is now turning right back to the same negative phase that last time corresponded to the 1940s to 1970s ice age scare:
http://s16.postim...mage.jpg

(3) Nobody said the overall trend wasn't boringly positive, shavera, given that all old thermometer records show the same old warming trend, but the pause now falsifies climate models that form the entire justification for Global Warming alarm:
http://i.minus.com/idAOoE.gif

(4) omawankter's link is useful today since it properly ridicules John Cook's 97% study. His latest paper wasn't so lucky to even pass peer review:
http://www.earth-...2013.pdf
NikFromNYC
1.8 / 5 (26) Sep 10, 2013
I mention John Cook the non-Ph.D. comic pane artist who once got a physics degree since he runs SkepticalScience.com. From his latest "study" rejection I quote:

"The long, didactic introduction is not appropriate for this journal and all the meat of the paper is currently in the appendix which is a strange place for it. Indeed, as currently structured there is no paper in this paper, i.e. there is no actual science (hypothesis, testing of a hypothesis) in the main body. The historical lessons and systemization of error may be scholarship, but not in this (ESD) field and may be more appropriate for a different audience (I'm thinking Physics Today or a philosophy of science journal). / Second, much of the discussion in the appendix is written in an inflammatory and insufficiently supported fashion. Removal of subjective characterization would make the paper stronger by reducing the verbosity and of more lasting value by focusing on scientific issues."
runrig
3.7 / 5 (13) Sep 10, 2013
(1) From Tallbloke's Talkshop blog:
"If the negative phases of natural variations are sufficiently geo-effective in the 21st century to cancel the alleged effect of extra airborne co2 on surface temperature, how much did their positive phases contribute to the warming of the late 20th century?"


From this graph....http://blog.chron...ines.pdf

It can be seen that over a 40 year period a GW signal of +0.7C has been recorded. Whereas a switch from/to El Nino/La Nina contributes +/- 0.2C over that signal.
But the ENSO/PDO cycle does not contribute a NET input of heat it merely cycles heat temporally. (obviously as net heat comes from the Sun)
So the +ve phase contributions are averaged away and we are left with the NET 0.7C rise ( due AGW ) over the last ~40 years.
Prior to the current cool ENSO phase we were running along the red line and now oscillating between the blue/green regression lines.
verkle
1.6 / 5 (21) Sep 10, 2013
Imagine that. We are having "normal" climate. What a peaceful news report. Now let's get onto other more pressing topics.
gregor1
1.2 / 5 (21) Sep 11, 2013
But wait until Obama finds out it's being "stubborn". He'll totally kick it's butt for us.
Howhot
3.5 / 5 (8) Sep 11, 2013
You deniers suck ass man. It befuddles my mind how you guys suck down your throats this global warming denial crap! Physics is physics. If you dump enough junk into the air, eventually the air will be full of junk. We hit that limit. The tipping point is here.

World CO2 Emissions Set New Record in 2012 at 31.6 Gigatons; On Current Path, World Locks in Dangerous, 2 Degree + Warming Before 2029

Howhot
3.3 / 5 (7) Sep 12, 2013
@Shevera had the best link on the subject.

http://www.skepti...l--.html

Thumbs up!
djr
3.5 / 5 (8) Sep 15, 2013
So - anti science gang - here is a couple of questions for you. Has the climate warmed at all over the past 100 years? If yes - what is the driver of that warming?
ubavontuba
1.4 / 5 (19) Sep 15, 2013
So - anti science gang - here is a couple of questions for you. Has the climate warmed at all over the past 100 years? If yes - what is the driver of that warming?
Natural variation.
djr
3.6 / 5 (9) Sep 15, 2013
Natural variation.

Brilliant - Uba has made a declaration. I wonder what Uba is talking about when saying 'natural variation' Could it be Milankovich cycles? Could it be solar radiation? could it be vulcanism? Could it be cloud reflectivity? Wonder if Uba could be more specific - and link us to any research, or data that would support the hypothesis.
ubavontuba
1.2 / 5 (19) Sep 15, 2013
Natural variation.

Brilliant - Uba has made a declaration. I wonder what Uba is talking about when saying 'natural variation' Could it be Milankovich cycles? Could it be solar radiation? could it be vulcanism? Could it be cloud reflectivity? Wonder if Uba could be more specific - and link us to any research, or data that would support the hypothesis.
So is it your contention then, the climate has never varied before? What makes you think it would all of a sudden stop doing so, just because man exists?

djr
4.4 / 5 (7) Sep 15, 2013
"So is it your contention then, the climate has never varied before?"

My post clearly asked uba to specify what was being referred to when using the term 'natural variablility'. I even helped Uba by giving some examples of natural variability. Once again the response is childish obfuscation. Of course it is not my contention that climate has never varied before. I showed in my post that I understand that there are many drivers of climate variation. I was asking Uba which was the current driver - and also for some support for the hypothesis. As usual - total obfuscation. You poison this kind of discussion thread uba. The current scientific opinion is that the driver of this current warming trend (that Uba clearly now acknowledges) is green house gases.
djr
4.3 / 5 (6) Sep 16, 2013
Notice how Uba is unable to answer a very basic question - 'what is the driver of this current warming trend.' Look at the level of obfuscation - Uba acknowledges that there is a current warming trend - but then asks why the temperatures are going down, down down. Can there be a more blatant example of contradiction? Of course the answer to this question is that the surface temperatures are but one part of a highly complex system. When taken as a whole - and when we look at a multi decade time frame - the system is clearly on a long term warming trend. Uba has in the past next tried to pivot the argument on to a technicality of the definition of Global Warming. Again - when the Climate is looked at on a multi decade time frame, and the whole climate system is looked at - there is clearly a warming trend - and uba cannot explain said warming. The science is sound - as is Uba's master of tying up a thread with obfuscation and contradiction.
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (16) Sep 16, 2013
Uba acknowledges that there is a current warming trend
When did I supposedly do that?
djr
3.7 / 5 (7) Sep 17, 2013
"When did I supposedly do that?"

You see - I asked -

"So - anti science gang - here is a couple of questions for you. Has the climate warmed at all over the past 100 years? If yes - what is the driver of that warming?"

And Uba responded "Natural variation."

Which is of course is an acknowledgement of the current warming that I was asking about. Otherwise Uba would have said 'no - there is no current warming.' But Uba did not.

Que - circular argument, sophistry, obfuscation, and contradiction from the master.

runrig
4 / 5 (5) Sep 17, 2013
"When did I supposedly do that?"

You see - I asked -

"So - anti science gang - here is a couple of questions for you. Has the climate warmed at all over the past 100 years? If yes - what is the driver of that warming?"

And Uba responded "Natural variation."

Which is of course is an acknowledgement of the current warming that I was asking about. Otherwise Uba would have said 'no - there is no current warming.' But Uba did not.

Que - circular argument, sophistry, obfuscation, and contradiction from the master.



That's why I don't engage directly. If you do It's a sure way to madness.
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (15) Sep 18, 2013
You see - I asked -

"So - anti science gang - here is a couple of questions for you. Has the climate warmed at all over the past 100 years? If yes - what is the driver of that warming?"

And Uba responded "Natural variation."

Which is of course is an acknowledgement of the current warming that I was asking about. Otherwise Uba would have said 'no - there is no current warming.' But Uba did not.

Que - circular argument, sophistry, obfuscation, and contradiction from the master.
Warming "at all over the last 100 years" is not saying the same thing as "current warming."

But you know this. This was nothing more than you playing "Move the Goalposts."

And he wonders why I say he's dishonest! Go figure...

ubavontuba
1 / 5 (14) Sep 18, 2013
That's why I don't engage directly. If you do It's a sure way to madness.
Right, 'cause you like to play "Move the Goalposts" too, but unlike with djr, you can't deal with being caught.

just watch, djr is sure to come back with some ridiculous justification for this obviously deceitful ploy.
djr
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 18, 2013
Warming "at all over the last 100 years" is not saying the same thing as "current warming."

Yes it is. We have had this conversation so many times. What is the appropriate time scale for looking at the climate? If it is cooler today than it was yesterday - does that make a trend? No! What about this week over last week? Still no. So we have had this conversation so many times - and Uba plays this stupid game of obfuscation. When looking at the climate - the longer the time frame you look at - the more valid your observation. You cannot look at one week, or one year, or even one decade. You must look at multiple decades. You also cannot look at one subset of the data. Just looking at the surface temps does not establish what is happening in the climate as a whole. Uba either knows this - or should not be wasting time commenting on a board for adults. So the best thing is to look at the past 100 years - or even several hundred years. And on that basis - cont.
djr
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 18, 2013
cont. - we have a warming trend. Look at the ocean temps, the glaciers melting, the ice sheets melting, the ocean levels rising. Yes Uba - we have a warming trend - this is the same as saying we have current warming. Just because there is a plateau on surface temps (as there was 1940-80) - that is not the whole picture. So Uba - yes or no - is the climate warming? What were you referring to when you used the term natural variation. Is it solar radiation? maybe cloud reflectivity? what about milankovitch cycles. Wonder if Uba can actually answer the question. Is Uba saying - 'there is no current warming - but the current warming that there is - is caused by natural variation - but I wont tell you exactly which natural variation.

Que - circular argument, sophistry, obfuscation, and contradiction from the master.
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (14) Sep 18, 2013
Warming "at all over the last 100 years" is not saying the same thing as "current warming."

Yes it is. We have had this conversation so many times.
Right, and you have agreed that currently, the warming is on hiatus, and has been since the 1990's.

If you really have to lie so much to argue your viewpoint, maybe you should reexamine your viewpoint.

ubavontuba
1 / 5 (14) Sep 18, 2013
What were you referring to when you used the term natural variation.
Obviously, variation which occurs naturally.

Is it solar radiation? maybe cloud reflectivity? what about milankovitch cycles.
Yes, and more. It's all of it, all the time.

circular argument, sophistry, obfuscation, and contradiction from the master.
This appears to be your shtick.

ubavontuba
1 / 5 (15) Sep 18, 2013
just watch, djr is sure to come back with some ridiculous justification for this obviously deceitful ploy.
What is the appropriate time scale for looking at the climate? If it is cooler today than it was yesterday - does that make a trend? No! What about this week over last week? Still no...
blah, blah, blah ad infinitum...

See? Just like clockwork...

Howhot
3.6 / 5 (7) Sep 19, 2013
Ubbatuba says
blah, blah, blah ad infinitum...

See? Just like clockwork.

Yeah, yeah yeah. The NASA's Jason-2 satellite found nothing in sea surface height differences. However, I see off the charts sea-level rise around the Florida pan handle. Explain that one to me. Regardless, if you look at the articles photo and project the same data image but with a global average temperature 2-degreesC above that baseline; all the sudden the world model is solid orange. It's something to think about. Do you want that future?

VendicarE
3.2 / 5 (5) Sep 19, 2013
"From Tallbloke's Talkshop blog:" - NikkieTard

Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah......
Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah......
Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah......
Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah......

NikkieTard = Moron.
VendicarE
3.2 / 5 (5) Sep 19, 2013
"blah, blah, blah ad infinitum..." - UbVonTard

Yup. That just about sums up Tardieboy's comprehension of science and the world around him.

Death will be his only release from his life of pure ignorance.

VendicarE
3.2 / 5 (5) Sep 19, 2013
"Right, and you have agreed that currently, the warming is on hiatus, and has been since the 1990's." - UbVonTard

http://www.woodfo...to/trend

And yet, global surface temperature has risen 0;12'C since 1994.

Do you intend to remain a low grade MORN for the rest of your life UbvonTard?

djr
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 19, 2013
Uba - "blah, blah, blah ad infinitum..."

Well - I guess I was wrong - I was predicting obfuscation etc. Instead Uba surprises me - slaying me with the old blah blah blah argument - check mate on that one old boy. Also supported by the
"This appears to be your shtick." - otherwise know as the "Uba - I know I am, but what are you" response.

Time to go work in my garden - and leave the science to the 3 year olds.

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