According to the world’s best-established dynamical climate models (e.g. NOAA NCEP, NASA GMAO) the 2015 El Niño is set to peak to dramatic proportions just before and possibly also during the all-important Paris climate summit – the UNFCCC’s ‘COP21′ – which starts November 30 and is supposed to lead to a new global climate treaty somewhere during the weekend of December 11/13 of this year. The end-2015 monster El Niño is likely to produce extreme weather events across the Pacific and will add even more heat to this globally already record-breaking hot year.
Okay, disclaimer first: there may be a bit of a climate ego involved in this post. So therefore it is probably best to start with where we were wrong(ish).
Based on some rather extensive monitoring of climate models over several months [which is a far easier job than it may sound btw] by the start of April this year we were fairly confident the Pacific would enter ‘at least into moderate’ El Niño state halfway through the boreal summer of 2014. By October (as for instance NOAA’s NCEP model showed) we could even have an officially ‘strong’ El Niño (that is, sea surface temperature anomaly over +1.5 degrees Celsius) – we thought.
Well, it is October now, and we know we were wrong:
Yesterday we took a look at what we have been doing over the past 40 years. Now we take a look at what we will be doing over the rest of the 21st century. It’s a real shocker to look at: All policy scenarios now require an immediate trend breach – this is the biggest challenge mankind has ever faced:
And now it has to go sharply down. To summarise the entire IPCC WG3 report on climate mitigation:
This is the graph of the world’s best-established temperature dataset, of NASA GISS. It shows another good representation of the 1997-1998 El Niño world average temperature peak.
Recent years have been net influenced by La Niña state, as shown in this graph – although also the 2005 and 2010 temperature records have been provoked by short/weak El Niño events, taking place in late 2004 and late 2009. From 2010 La Niña has dominated. This will change.
Shown below is a graph of the satellite-derived University of Alabama global temperature dataset (those fellows that each year in early January beat NOAA/NASA/MetOffice/WMO etc by being the first to say ‘how warm it was’). Clearly visible is the peak of the powerful 1997-1998 El Niño: