What follows is the second part of today’s post appearing at German climate science critical site: Die kalte Sonne.
By Frank Bosse and Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt
(Translated/edited by P Gosselin)
The global February temperature reported by GISS is 1.35°C above the 1951-1980 mean. That’s an impressive record and is 0.8°C (!) warmer than February 2014. How can such a huge jump in such a short time be explained? We presented one source last month: The Current El Niño.
But this time around we will focus on a huge area of ocean: the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool (IPWP). It stretches from 90° east to 180° east, and from 20°south to 20°north, see shaded area below:
Figure 5: The IPWP (shaded turquoise), Source: „Google Earth“
In this ocean region heated water of the tropical Pacific comes from Central and South America and is driven westwards by trade winds when normal conditions of the El Niño Southern Oscillation prevail (ENSO), or even under La Niña conditions. We have clearly explained this here. The highest sea surface temperatures occur here in the marked region shown in Figure 5 and is stable at approx. 28.5°C. The heat that originates from the entire tropical Pacific gets transported down to 500 m deep into the water. The temperatures down to these depths have behaved as follows since 2004:
Figure 6: The vertical temperature distribution of the IPWP (dbar= meters water depth). The chart was generated by Argo Global Marine Atlas.
Clear to see are: the smaller El Niños 2004/2005 (blue = cooler), the La Niña of 2008 providing for a warmer IPWP, the 2009/2010 El Niño providing for a short cooling, and the 2011-2012 La Niña bringing surface warming of the water once again.
Since 2014 we have seen a very pronounced cooling over the entire depth. For our consideration of the current global warming pulse, we limit our focus to the period after 2013.
Figure 7: The temperature curve of the IPWP down to 500 m depth (blue) since 2013 and the GISS global temperature (red) until December 2015. (Data source: GISS, Argo).
The mean temperature of the IPWP has fallen 1°C since spring 2013. The current temperature has never been this cool since ARGO measurements started in 2004. Here we are describing a water amount of approximately 16 million cubic KILOMETERS, taking the share of land into consideration in the IPWP! Here a quantity of energy is released that is equivalent to 4 days of sunshine over the entire planet. This energy increases the global surface temperature and leads to an increased outward radiation of a large part of the heat into outer space. Ultimately an El Niño results in heat being extracted from the Earth system.
This means that the warming that we are currently seeing is in fact a picture of this naturally occurring process which is now underway. The current record warmth has much more to do with the natural ENSO cycles than it does with the very modest global warming that is suspected to be about 0.01°C/year from greenhouse gases.