Record El Nino, climate change drive extreme weather

December 28, 2015 by Marlowe Hood
Aerial view of Paysandu harbor as Paraguay is hit by floods on December 27, 2015
Aerial view of Paysandu harbor as Paraguay is hit by floods on December 27, 2015

Deadly extreme weather on at least five continents is driven in large part by a record-breaking El Nino, but climate change is a likely booster too, experts said Monday.

The 2015-16 El Nino, they added, is the strongest ever measured.

"It is probably the most powerful in the last 100 years," said Jerome Lecou, a climate expert at the French weather service Meteo France, noting that accurate measurements have only existed since the mid-20th century.

Flooding and mudslides unleashed by torrential rains have killed at least 10 people and driven more than 150,000 from their homes in Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay in recent days.

In central and southwestern United States—where temperatures in Texas are forecast to drop from a balmy 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit) Saturday to zero (32 F) on Monday—clashing weather fronts have given rise to snow-packed blizzards, freezing rain and a spate of tornadoes that have claimed at least 43 lives.

Across the Pacific, meanwhile, wildfires in Australia fanned by high temperatures and super-dry conditions have engulfed more than 100 homes outside Melbourne, with hundreds more threatened.

Across south and southeast Asia, monsoon rains essential for life-sustaining crops have been limited, while drought in eastern Africa means millions will require food aid, especially in Ethiopia, according to Oxfam.

Wildfires in Australia fanned by hot, dry conditions have engulfed more than 100 homes outside Melbourne
Wildfires in Australia fanned by hot, dry conditions have engulfed more than 100 homes outside Melbourne

"The role of El Nino on much of what we are seeing around the planet is obvious," said Herve Le Treut, a climate scientist and director of the Pierre-Simon Laplace Institute, which is a federation of French research centres.

El Ninos, which emerge every four to seven years on average and run from October through January, are triggered by a shift in trade winds across the Pacific around the equator.

Multiplier effect

Warmer surface water that normally accumulates in the eastern Pacific moves to the west, leading to heavier rainfall along the west coast of the Americas and drier-than-usual conditions in Australasia and southeast Asia.

An American flag placed by first responders is seen December 27, 2015 in the aftermath of an unseasonable tornado in Rowlett, Te
An American flag placed by first responders is seen December 27, 2015 in the aftermath of an unseasonable tornado in Rowlett, Texas

This year's El Nino is the most powerful ever measured, surpassing the one in 1997-98, both in terms of ocean surface temperature—up by more than 3C (5.4F)—and the surface area affected, said Lecou.

As was true in 1998, this year's super El Nino will have contributed to making 2015 the warmest on record, worldwide.

But the reverse may also be true, with boosting the power of cyclical El Nino events.

"If you add the background to natural weather phenomena, there's a tendency to break records left and right," Le Treut told AFP.

Members of the emergency services transport residents to safety after their homes were flooded in York, northern England, on Dec
Members of the emergency services transport residents to safety after their homes were flooded in York, northern England, on December 27, 2015

"This naturally occurring El Nino and human-induced climate change may interact and modify each other in ways which we have never before experienced," Michel Jarraud, head of the World Meteorological Organisation in Geneva, noted last month.

But the multiplier effect of climate change on extreme weather events—while predicted by climate models—is very difficult to establish on a case-by-case basis, scientists caution.

The tornadoes, for example, that ripped across populated stretches of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolis in Texas cannot be directly linked to global warming, even if generally warmer conditions may favour their occurence.

Likewise the heavy rains and flooding that have devastated parts of northern England, where the government dispatched hundreds of soldiers for emergency assistance.

"Milder winters favour rainfall, such as what we are seeing in England," said French researcher Jean Jouzel, former vice chair of the UN's top panel of climate scientists.

But such extremes could still fall within the boundaries of natural cycles, independent of climate change, he added.

This year's El Nino is credited with the largest number—nine, in total—of major Pacific hurricanes in a single season, along with the single most powerful hurricane ever recorded.

Patricia, packing 320-kilometre (200-mile) per hour winds, was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it struck Mexico in October.

Explore further: El Nino could be strongest in modern history: US

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38 comments

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aksdad
2.5 / 5 (13) Dec 28, 2015
"But such extremes could still fall within the boundaries of natural cycles, independent of climate change, he added."

Thank you for the sanity check. NOAA says this El Niño may be one of the 3 strongest since 1950 but hesitates to call it the strongest for various reasons.

https://www.clima...c-powers

Apparently some French researchers are a little more reckless. Vive la France!

As for the suggestion that temperatures may be boosting the strength of this El Niño, the global satellite record shows no global temperature increase since 1998.

http://images.rem...ies.html
http://nsstc.uah.edu/climate/

For those not familiar with meteorology, it takes more than just an increase in temperature or humidity to generate powerful storms. It takes a difference in temperature, like cool, dry air over warm tropical waters or a collision of warm and cold fronts.
roaldjl
2.1 / 5 (14) Dec 28, 2015
It's what we will see as the sun's energy output decreases.

Weaker sun makes the earth cool down, more at the poles. Less active and weaker sun also makes the sun magnetic field weaker.The weaker magnetic field of the sun allows more cosmic rays to penetrate the atmosphere which, in turn, leads to more clouds and more precipitation, as we can see all over the world. The difference in cold from the Arctic and Antarctica, to the heat of the equator makes the weather in between more labile and volatile, quite normal even if we haven't seen it as much while the sun was warming the earth after 1979. As the sun continue to put out less energy and the oceans really starts to cool with the La Niña that just started, prepare for potentially a lot more ..

Expect storms like those who made "MS Berge Istra", "MS Berge Vanga" and " MS Anita" disappear at sea in the 70's, when "everybody" said we were heading for a new ice-age, to become more frequent.
Vietvet
3.7 / 5 (6) Dec 29, 2015


with the La Niña that just started,

LMFAO!

Caliban
4.1 / 5 (9) Dec 29, 2015
"But such extremes could still fall within the boundaries of natural cycles, independent of climate change, he added."


This is entirely correct, sackbag.

Thank you for the sanity check. NOAA says this El Niño may be one of the 3 strongest since 1950 but hesitates to call it the strongest for various reasons.


No thanks to you, sackbag, for your cherrypicking. The NOAA report was prepared MORE THAN A MONTH AGO. The report from the French was based on data from a one month larger dataset and therefore SUPERCEDES the report from NOAA, a fact which you knowingly ignore in commission of your attempted fraud.

Caliban
3.7 / 5 (9) Dec 29, 2015

As for the suggestion that temperatures may be boosting the strength of this El Niño, the global satellite record shows no global temperature increase since 1998.


As for your suggestion, sackbag, that the global satellite record shows no increase since 1998, we say:

SO WHAT.

It has been pointed out to you overnovernovernovernovernovernovernovernoveragain that the satellite record is of much shorter length than land-based records, and doesn't matter besides for the compelling reason that IT DOESN'T MEASURE GLOBAL S-U-R-F-A-C-E TEMPERATURES, which are what we are chiefly concerned with.

Do I have to spell it out for you again, SACKBAG?

Purposeful deceit --such as you practiced in your comment-- is NO BETTER THAN LYING. Many consider it to be even worse, since it implies a degree of smugnsmarmy condescencion in the troll employing it, SACKBAG.

Caliban
3.9 / 5 (7) Dec 29, 2015

For those not familiar with meteorology, it takes more than just an increase in temperature or humidity to generate powerful storms. It takes a difference in temperature, like cool, dry air over warm tropical waters or a collision of warm and cold fronts.


Thank you for pointing out the glaringly obvious, SACKBAG.

While this assertion is generally true, it is also true that this assertion is the only thing from your post that isn't employed as an outright attempt at deception.

It is also true that it comes as ABSOLUTELY NO NEWS AT ALL to anyone with better than a fourth grade education, SACKBAG.

Which may explain why you posted it in the first place.

Is it new news to you, SACKBAG?
antigoracle
2.9 / 5 (15) Dec 29, 2015
Apparently no one informed GloBULL warming that the Atlantic is in the globe, since it just had the weakest hurricane season in decades.
Caliban
4 / 5 (8) Dec 29, 2015
Apparently no one informed GloBULL warming that the Atlantic is in the globe, since it just had the weakest hurricane season in decades.


Apparently no one is concerned what sort of prognostication the examination of auntiegriselda's diaper contents might yield.

At the same time, it seems unlikely that anyone would be interested in the relative strength or weakness of the "hurricane season" there, either.

Excepting auntiegriselda, of course.
Vietvet
3.5 / 5 (8) Dec 29, 2015
Apparently no one informed GloBULL warming that the Atlantic is in the globe, since it just had the weakest hurricane season in decades.


And the Pacific had a record number of hurricanes, including the strongest ever recorded.
greenonions
4.4 / 5 (7) Dec 29, 2015
vietvet (in response to antigoracle)
And the Pacific had a record number of hurricanes, including the strongest ever recorded.


This exact point was made to antigoracle on a recent article - when goracle was making exactly the same claim about the 'weakest hurricane season in decades' It was also pointed out that calling this the weakest hurricane season in decades is a lie - as this hurricane season is 'slightly below average' - https://en.wikipe...e_season It does not stop the denier community from just repeating their lies over and over. It is pointless engaging in any kind of dialogue with a liar like goracle - but good to keep up the pressure of truth - so others see the balance.
antigoracle
2.7 / 5 (14) Dec 29, 2015
Apparently no one informed GloBULL warming that the Atlantic is in the globe, since it just had the weakest hurricane season in decades.


And the Pacific had a record number of hurricanes, including the strongest ever recorded.

Obviously, you could not find someone with a brain to read and explain this article to you. Natural climatic event i.e El Nino, that we have no control over, do not understand and are unprepared for, because instead we are busy squandering billions on the globull warming lies.
Caliban
4.3 / 5 (6) Dec 29, 2015
Apparently no one informed GloBULL warming that the Atlantic is in the globe, since it just had the weakest hurricane season in decades.


And the Pacific had a record number of hurricanes, including the strongest ever recorded.

Obviously, you could not find someone with a brain to read and explain this article to you. Natural climatic event i.e El Nino, that we have no control over, do not understand and are unprepared for, because instead we are busy squandering billions on the globull warming lies.


And yet more steaming diaperload from auntigriselda.

Poor thing --the mind is completely gone, but the gut keeps churning away. Lord only knows what they're feeding her at the home.
jeffensley
2.5 / 5 (11) Dec 29, 2015
It is probably the most powerful in the last 100 years


Which means little to nothing if put into proper perspective. Considering the amazingly short period of time we've been recording weather, records are bound to be shattered on a fairly regular basis.
my2cts
2.6 / 5 (10) Dec 30, 2015
Storms that warm up the north pole are underway,
the worst floods happen in England, North America South America,
less and less snow and frost, no frost in december for the first time on record in my country,
but this do not distract antigoracle from his very own truth.
Anything global is "GloBULL" if it goes against antigoracle's infallible instincts.
The facts do not affect antigoracle's opinion.
https://www.inver...-iceland
my2cts
2.6 / 5 (10) Dec 30, 2015
It is probably the most powerful in the last 100 years


Which means little to nothing if put into proper perspective. Considering the amazingly short period of time we've been recording weather, records are bound to be shattered on a fairly regular basis.

It means a lot when put into proper perspective.
Your perspective is not the proper one.
my2cts
2.3 / 5 (9) Dec 30, 2015
California's snowpack is at a 500 year low, but what is 500 years "if put in proper perspective"?
https://www.inver...year-low
Me worry ?
http://media.dcen...card.jpg
antialias_physorg
4.4 / 5 (7) Dec 30, 2015
Considering the amazingly short period of time we've been recording weather, records are bound to be shattered on a fairly regular basis.

This is a fairly basic statistical analysis. Given the number of times records have been shattered in the past decades this is by no means within the expected range for some radom fluctuation. We are well within the region of scinetific significance, here.

...and already a LOT out of the region of what you would call non-random in everyday occurences. If this were a card game you would have accused someone of stacking the deck over a decade ago. But for some weird reason the climate trend doesn't bug you. There's some very selective statistical incompetence going on in your case.
my2cts
2.6 / 5 (10) Dec 30, 2015
@antialias
It is called willful blindness:
https://en.wikipe...lindness
I have a highly skilled, intelligent colleague who says that if he observes anything that conflicts with his religion he chooses for his religion.
antigoracle
2.8 / 5 (11) Dec 30, 2015
Poor 2cts stuck in his basement too afraid of globull warming.
http://www.latime...ory.html
my2cts
2.6 / 5 (10) Dec 30, 2015
@antigoracle
The basement would be a bad place with all the flooding going on. Check the news.
And where are you, with your head stuck up your behind, surrounded by manure ?
That would explain your perspective on things.
jeffensley
2.8 / 5 (9) Dec 30, 2015
Given the number of times records have been shattered in the past decades this is by no means within the expected range for some radom fluctuation. We are well within the region of scinetific significance, here.


Where did this "expected range" come from if not our high resolution, minuscule span of direct observations? Outside of that we have nothing but proxies which tend to be low resolution and wouldn't be able to distinguish between a 100 degree day or a 98. Regarding the drought, how about letting past observations decide instead of sensationalism?

https://upload.wi...2011.png
jeffensley
2.6 / 5 (10) Dec 30, 2015
If this were a card game you would have accused someone of stacking the deck over a decade ago. But for some weird reason the climate trend doesn't bug you.


We've gained the ability to observe and record in very fine detail the changes of our planet. If there weren't an observable trend, I would be shocked. Would you prefer to see a cooling one? Plus, we have Earth's chaotic history to provide us comfort in knowing that trends don't last forever. There's nothing about the planet's history that suggests stability is the rule.
Phys1
2.8 / 5 (9) Dec 30, 2015
And of course you are also unimpressed by the news that the NP is melting:
http://edition.cn...re-feat/
Are you sure you are not confusing scepsis and intelligence?
antigoracle
2.7 / 5 (12) Dec 30, 2015
Oh 2cts, it's a pity you don't even have manure between your ears. Yet, I can't say that explains your stupidity of things. Perhaps you can get 1 of the 97% to explain El Nino to you.
Caliban
4.3 / 5 (6) Dec 30, 2015
It is probably the most powerful in the last 100 years


Which means little to nothing if put into proper perspective. Considering the amazingly short period of time we've been recording weather, records are bound to be shattered on a fairly regular basis.


Not so fast, jeffie.

It has been put into proprer perspective. Our knowledge of the PDSO is quite extensive, and a proxy record of the PDSO and its wider climatological and environmental effects extends back for a couple hundred thousand years.

Your problem is that you don't like the fact that the increase in the strength and effects of the PDSO don't fit into your denierperspective, and therefore, you feel free to concoct whatever horseshit narrative you see fit.

This is the same thing as LYING.

No suprise, of course --coming from a LYING LIAR such as your detestable self.
antigoracle
3.3 / 5 (12) Dec 30, 2015
LOL. Caliban surfaces from it's cesspool of ignorance with a jewel.
Tell us Cali, what's PDSO and perhaps you could provide a link to that extensive knowledge we have of it.
Vietvet
3.9 / 5 (7) Dec 31, 2015
LOL. Caliban surfaces from it's cesspool of ignorance with a jewel.
Tell us Cali, what's PDSO and perhaps you could provide a link to that extensive knowledge we have of it.


http://adsabs.har...43B1534S
Caliban
5 / 5 (4) Jan 01, 2016
LOL. Caliban surfaces from it's cesspool of ignorance with a jewel.
Tell us Cali, what's PDSO and perhaps you could provide a link to that extensive knowledge we have of it.


LOL.

auntiegriselda makes an uncharacteristicallly accurate observation!

LOL.

Not entirely sure how relevant this nitpicking is, though.

LOL.

Nevertheless, my apologies for the inadvertent conflation of PDO and ENSO.

LOL.

I'm sure you will enshrine this tiny treasure with the rest of the beloved contents of your perennially soiled diaper, auntiegriselda.

LOL.

Caliban
5 / 5 (3) Jan 01, 2016
LOL. Caliban surfaces from it's cesspool of ignorance with a jewel.
Tell us Cali, what's PDSO and perhaps you could provide a link to that extensive knowledge we have of it.


http://adsabs.har...43B1534S


Thanks for supplying the relevant citation, Vietvet
antigoracle
3 / 5 (8) Jan 01, 2016
contents of your perennially soiled diaper, auntiegriselda.

If you had those contents in the empty space between your ears, you would actually have some sense and not be the perpetual idiot and laughing stock of the forum. That was the first post you attempted, with any relevance to the article and you did such a spectacular F-up.
antigoracle
3.3 / 5 (7) Jan 01, 2016
BTW Caliban, you are the Cult's PDSO - Primary Designated Senseless Oaf.
aksdad
2 / 5 (4) Jan 01, 2016
Caliban, perhaps a review of the Science X Comments Guidelines would be helpful. See here:

https://sciencex....omments/

especially the part about "avoiding personal attacks and name calling" and "degrading others". You have personally attacked several commenters here:

-"sackbag" (very offensive)
-"fourth grade education"
-"examination of auntiegriselda's diaper contents"
-"more steaming diaperload from auntigriselda"
-"you feel free to concoct whatever horseshit narrative you see fit"
-"This is the same thing as LYING."
-"No suprise, of course --coming from a LYING LIAR such as your detestable self."

An apology is in order, unless your account has already been yanked for flagrant violation of the comment policy.

Denigrating others may give you a brief feeling of smugness and superiority, but it doesn't persuade anyone to your viewpoint. Try countering the commenters with well-reasoned arguments.
aksdad
2 / 5 (4) Jan 01, 2016
Along the lines of well-reasoned argument:

If global temperature hasn't gone up over the last 17 years (since the 1998 El Niño) and the surface temperature hasn't either, how is climate change (i.e.; global warming) a "likely booster" of extreme weather in the last few weeks? In other words, the average global temperature in the last few weeks is not (statistically) higher than it was 17 years ago, so how is it "boosting" recent extreme weather? If you're not sure about temperature trends, see here:

Satellite (1979-present):
http://images.rem...ies.html
http://nsstc.uah.edu/climate/

HadCRUT4 surface temps (1880-present, note period from 1998 to 2015):
http://climexp.kn...n_su.png

GISS surface temps (1880-present, note 1998 to 2015):
http://climexp.kn...0N_n.png

Or graph for yourself on the KNMI Climate Explorer.
Vietvet
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 01, 2016
I wonder why askdad didn't link to this graph, or the many others like it.

http://ete.cet.ed...show/3/3
Caliban
5 / 5 (2) Jan 02, 2016
contents of your perennially soiled diaper, auntiegriselda.

If you had those contents in the empty space between your ears, you would actually have some sense and not be the perpetual idiot and laughing stock of the forum. That was the first post you attempted, with any relevance to the article and you did such a spectacular F-up.


No thanks, auntie gizzard.

I leave you the contents of your soiled diaper entirely for your own delectation.

You do everyone else the favor of leaving the discussion of science to people who are interested in discussing the science.
Caliban
4 / 5 (4) Jan 02, 2016
Caliban, perhaps a review of the Science X Comments Guidelines would be helpful. See here:

https://sciencex....omments/

especially the part about "avoiding personal attacks and name calling" and "degrading others". You have personally attacked several commenters here:

[...]

An apology is in order [...]

Denigrating others may give you a brief feeling of smugness and superiority, but it doesn't persuade anyone to your viewpoint. Try countering the commenters with well-reasoned arguments.


Also no thanks, sackbag.

Perhaps(though I doubt it) it hasn't occurred to you, or gizzard, or a number of others here that your persistent, agenda-driven antiscience fraud and chicanery is also a "personal attack", no doubt perpetrated as a means to attain just such a "brief feeling of smugness and superiority" for yourselves.

Your Masters appreciate it, anyway.

No apology due you OR them.
jeffensley
3 / 5 (6) Jan 03, 2016
Along the lines of well-reasoned argument:

If global temperature hasn't gone up over the last 17 years (since the 1998 El Niño) and the surface temperature hasn't either, how is climate change (i.e.; global warming) a "likely booster" of extreme weather in the last few weeks?


You'll unfortunately note that no one responds to reasoned argument... at least not in a reasonable way. The argument would be made that beginning with the now non-existent Pause, heat suddenly diffused into ocean waters and ceased affecting surface temperatures. Models were corrected to find ways to explain this but depending on who you believe, there is no Pause to explain and no need to make models chart a Pause that never existed. I'm currently re-reading Orwell's "1984" and this behavior has too many similarities with the actions of Ministry of Truth, re-writing history to fit the current narrative.
Caliban
5 / 5 (2) Jan 04, 2016

You'll unfortunately note that no one responds to reasoned argument... at least not in a reasonable way.


Only too right, jeffie, including yourself, of course.

The argument would be made that beginning with the now non-existent Pause, heat suddenly diffused into ocean waters and ceased affecting surface temperatures.


Right again, jeffie, considering that the so-called pause was, in actual fact, the increased uptake of heat by the Global Ocean, leaving surface temperatures to continue rising at a decreased rate.

Models were corrected to find ways to explain this


Wrong, jeffffie --the models weren't corrected. The inputs had to be reapportioned to correctly account for the massive heat uptake of the global Ocean.

I'm currently re-reading Orwell's "1984" and this behavior has too many similarities with the actions of Ministry of Truth, re-writing history to fit the current narrative.


That's you all over, jeffie..

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