Climate Wrap-Ups

Wrap-up 24. Feb 2010: High temperatures and El Nino

Posted by Administrator (admin) on 24th February, 2010
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by Nicolai Skjoldby

Temperatures

Temperatures were very high in January 2010:

UAH temperatures for January: +0,72, nearing record high at 1998 el Nino warming, see also Spencer here. 37-month average on the rising from around +0,2, but still below the 2002-2007 level of almost +0,3.

As Spencer notes, warming is greatest in the tropics, where El Nino conditions persist, see below.

However, the polar regions does not show significant warming: The Antarctic still does not show any signs of warming with no peak in January-February, and 37-month anomaly around 0,0. In the Arctic there is a peak similar to peaks in 2006, 2003, 1997, 1995, 1986, 1985, 1981 and 1980. 37-month trend is at the level of 2002-2009 period.

Other temperature indices show similar patterns, see RSS, HadCRU3, NDCD and GISS temperarures.

Indices

SOI index dropped fast in beginning of February to very low -24, indicating warming. 

and El Nino continues to be high, with last weekly value 1,21, also indicating warming.

The AO winter index has been record low this winter:

Negative AO and NAO indices are associated with cold and snowy in the US and Europe:

 

Forecast

Most models forecast continued warm El Nino conditions, moving to neutral conditions for the period February-June 2010. The 3-month period from June-August is predicted to be neutral.

Interpretation

All temperature measures show very high values in end January beginning february. At the same time we have a persistant El Nino event and SOI-index that has been negative since October 2009 and took a sharp decline to very low level in February 2010. Under such conditions, warming would be expected.

At the same time, some local areas in the Northern Hemisphere has experienced extreme cold during this winter.

Spencer interprets the unusual globally warm conditions, compared with unusual cold in some NH areas this way:

the atmospheric general circulation this winter has become unusually land-locked, allowing cold air masses to intensify over the major Northern Hemispheric land masses more than usual. Note this ALSO means that not as much cold air is flowing over and cooling the ocean surface compared to normal.

So where are we heading? It will be interesting to follow global temperatures and ENSO indices during the next half year. We predict that as the El Nino event gradually recedes, and at some point will be replaced by La Nina conditions, global temperatures will also continue the decline they started around 1998-2002.

Last changed: 24th February, 2010 at 17:39:05

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