To shear or not to shear – these 5 images show El Niño’s possible effect on Atlantic hurricanes, and other jet stream stuff

Ten years after Katrina* the world is on the brink of a whole new cluster of climatic disasters, including wide-spread coral bleaching, Pacific atol floods, possibly another devasting Brazil drought and another record-breaking hot year, following from the currently developing Super El Niño.

Another devastating Atlantic hurricane will most likely not be a part of disrupting extreme climate events this year. These five images tell you why:

In 2005 Katrina awoke America to the reality of climate change
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Graph shows countries urgently need to strengthen 2030 emission targets before Paris climate summit – emissions gap >19Gt CO2

Today’s Graph of the Day has a really sobering message. Within four months of the crucial UNFCCC climate conference in Paris (‘COP21′) countries have submitted grossly insufficient emission reduction targets for the year 2030 – the target year for the new UN climate treaty that will be established at the end of that two-week conference.*

2030 emission targets for Paris climate conference
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Global 2015-2016 winter forecast: comparing NCEP model runs to NOAA’s ‘typical El Niño patterns’ – Brazil in for shock, little relief for California

Normally we think of droughts over South East Asia (i.e. Borneo) and north-eastern Australia (Queensland) associated with strong El Niño events. This for instance led to dramatic fires through the tropical rainforests of Borneo, during the last ‘Super El Niño’ – of 1997-1998.

A typical El Niño winter
A ‘typical El Niño winter’ according to NOAA. But not all Super El Niños are the same – see below.

This year – during the currently developing Super El Niño of 2015-2016 – we should also keep an eye on the tropical Atlantic, where the Southern Amazon and agricultural parts of northern Brazil should brace themselves for record-drought, accompanied by soaring temperatures – judging by climate model runs.

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2015 El Niño produces new climate record: 3 simultaneous Pacific category 4 hurricanes

Small Island States don’t (yet*) make global headlines, but this NASA picture shows a new Pacific climate record, which has a story for us all.

2015 El Niño fuelling Pacific hurricanes
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NASA climate model forecast shows 2015 El Niño to go off the charts during Paris climate summit

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.

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Halfway through and 2014 Hottest Year Prediction coming very close to Truth

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:

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