Posts Tagged ‘La Nina’

Nature Editorial – All change but no change (because the heat is hidden)

August 29, 2013

A very peculiar Nature Editorial.

First they confirm that there has been a hiatus in global temperature.Then they report on recent papers trying to invoke ocean cycles and their impact on global temperatures. This is followed by a claim that this does not explain the “missing heat” but fail to say that there may be no “missing heat” at all if global warming has slowed-down or ceased. By assuming that there must be “missing heat” they then claim that the underlying science has not changed. The key point of course is that if ocean cycles can cause global cooling they can also cause global warming. Natural processes can then well explain all the temperature observations of the last 150 years. Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere and the 5% of global emission that is man-made emissions of carbon dioxide become irrelevant and unnecessary to the explanations for changes to climate.

“Hidden heat” that cannot be found is just a convenient excuse to avoid having to scrap most of the existing climate models. And what Nature fails to mention is that if there is no “missing heat” then the entire edifice that is the man-made global warming hypothesis comes crashing down.

Nature: Hidden heat

Nature 500, 501 (29 August 2013), doi:10.1038/500501a

This week, Nature publishes a study online suggesting that a recent cooling trend in the tropical Pacific Ocean can explain the current hiatus in global warming. Authored by a pair of scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, the paper does not say why the Pacific seems to have entered a prolonged ‘La Niña’ phase, in which cooler surface waters gather in the eastern equatorial Pacific. It is also silent on where the missing heat is going. But it does suggest that this phenomenon — affecting as little as 8% of Earth’s surface — could temporarily counteract the temperature increase expected from rising greenhouse-gas emissions

(Y. Kosaka and S.-P. Xie  Nature,; 2013).

Previous modelling studies have linked the pause to La-Niña-like conditions that have prevailed since 1999, suggesting that heat that would otherwise go into the atmosphere is getting buried deeper in the ocean. And scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, have a study in the press indicating that decades in which global air temperature rises rapidly — including the 1980s and 1990s — are associated with warmer temperatures in the tropical Pacific, as exemplified by La Niña’s opposite effect, El Niño (G. A. Meehl et al. J. Climate; 2013). The Scripps researchers also confirmed that El-Niño-like conditions can boost global temperatures.

Scientists seem to be homing in on an important lever in the climate system. And none too soon. Although a prolonged hiatus in warming does not necessarily contradict prevailing theory, this one came as a surprise and has been used to discredit the climate-science community. The story will probably not end there. Scientists know that the Sun has been in a prolonged solar minimum for several years, which means less incoming energy, and there may yet be a role for sunlight-blocking aerosols — human pollution and volcanic ash — and other factors in the hiatus. But at least a better explanation of the climate system is beginning to take shape.

All of this comes as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) prepares to release the first instalment of its fifth assessment report. The hiatus in warming is at the centre of an ongoing debate about ‘equilibrium climate sensitivity’, which is the amount of warming that would be expected over the long term owing to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Several papers have assessed the most recent data and conclude that the climate may not be as sensitive to greenhouse gases as was previously thought. The latest draft of the IPCC summary for policy-makers accounts for this — just. It suggests a likely climate sensitivity of 1.5–4.5 °C, compared with a range of 2–4.5 °C in the IPCC’s last assessment report.

Some argue that recent temperature trends show that the climate problem is less urgent. One can only hope that this is so, and scientists will continue to probe the matter. But policy-makers would be foolhardy to think that the danger has receded. Although scientists understand the basic physics, nobody can know how the numbers will turn out, as shown by the various temperature projections. Plenty of other lines of evidence, including palaeoclimate data and modern modelling experiments, support the higher end of these.

Ultimately, the decision over how to characterize climate sensitivity will fall to government officials who will approve — under the watchful eye of scientists — the latest IPCC documents in Stockholm next month. Whatever their decision, the underlying science has not changed.

This 2007 ClimateGate quote seems timely:

“What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably…”

[Via Barry Woods; Tommy Wills, Swansea University to the mailing list for tree-ring data forum ITRDB, 28 Mar 2007]

La Niña may come back for a third straight year

March 4, 2012

P. Gosselin reports on his blog that Norwegian scientists are already predicting that La Niña may come back for a 3rd year.

(Related: La Niña will last well into 2011 and could extend into 2012)

It wasn’t all that long ago when a number of climate scientists were projecting the Earth would soon fall into an almost permanent, increasing El Niño mode, where the surface temperatures of the equatorial Pacific would always be like what we saw in 1998 – all man-made.

Today a number of German-language papers are reporting that Norwegian scientist Tore Furevik of the Bjerknes Centre of the University of Bergen says he expects the opposite to happen at least this year. Furevik says that La Niña may come back for third straight year. “The situation is simlar to the previous year,” he says.

Die Welt here writes that “there are no signs that La Nina is going to disappear anytime soon” and that according to Norwegian experts “it will occur even more strongly than in 2011″.

The Wiener Zeitung of Vienna, Austria adds:

The La Niña phenomena has been persisting since 2010 and there are no signs of it going away. We had this strong cooling in 2010 and instead of getting warmer, we stayed in a long cold phase’, said Furevik. “And it appears as if an even stronger La Niña will occur.’”

Furevik’s La Niña forecast contradicts the experts’ forecast, where an ensemble of models show the trend towards an El Niño for the 2nd half of the year:

Murray Darling basin is 87% full, La Niña is back and floods and fires are on the agenda

October 10, 2011
The "Mighty Murray", the longest riv...

The "Mighty Murray": Image via Wikipedia

After a decade of drought and two very wet years Australia is facing a third consecutive wet year. La Niña is back and the Murray Darling basin is already 87% full as of 23rd September. Last year levels were the highest since 2001 and this year they are even higher.

Water levels are high across all of Australia except in the West. The ground is also reported well saturated and as the rains come the controlled release of water from the dams system will be crucial to prevent a repeat of this year’s floods in January and February 2012.

The Australian writes:

… if the spring rains continue, the water storage that is so vital to the prosperity of irrigation farmers along the Murray River and to Adelaide’s drinking water supply, will be full by next year. Around the nation, water storage reserves are at levels not seen since the start of the decade-long drought in the late 90s.

The Bureau of Meteorology estimates Australia’s 261 largest drinking water and irrigation storages, with a total capacity of 78 million megalitres of water, are on average 80 per cent full. This time last year, the figure was 65 per cent. 

Drinking water supplies for the major cities have been replenished by the wettest 10-month period ever recorded, between July last year and April. Sydney’s city water storages are now 79 per cent full, while dams supplying Adelaide and Brisbane are at a healthy 83 per cent capacity. Even Melbourne’s once critically low dams have climbed to 63 per cent full with recent rainfall, their highest levels in 12 years. Melbourne’s largest supply dam, the Thomson, is this week half-full for the first time since 2005.

The anomaly is Perth, which is still critically dry, relying on desalination plants and aquifers for 60 per cent of its water supplies. ….. 

… The filling of the giant Dartmouth Dam is an extraordinary feat that has happened just three times since the vast reservoir in the remote Victorian high country was commissioned in 1980. Only in 1990, 1993 and 1997 has water overflowed from the four-million-megalitre dam and thundered down its 180m drop spillway. It’s a far cry from this time last year, when the Dartmouth Dam was just 26 per cent full. Now holding 2.8 million ML of water, according to operators Goulburn-Murray Water, it’s a rejuvenation that has tourists, anglers and irrigation farmers flocking to enjoy the dam’s beauty and plentiful trout.

The level in the Dartmouth Dam is so high that irrigation needs for farmers downstream are assured for about 4 years. But the risk of flooding is being closely watched

La Niña has become synonymous with flooding as a result of above average rainfall. This year is likely to see a re-emergence of both but on a smaller scale than last year. “Above average rain through northern and eastern Australia is likely to once again prompt broad-scale flooding. Areas which will see a return of above average rain include; Queensland, the Northern Territory, northern parts of Western Australia, north-east parts of South Australia, much of New South Wales and northern Victoria,” says Dick Whitaker, Chief Meteorologist at The Weather Channel.

…. The Australian cyclone season runs from November to April and The Weather Channel expects a more active season compared to last year. “This year is likely to be a more active season than last year when despite strong La Niña conditions we saw only 11 cyclones. We are expecting a total of around 12 to 13 cyclones this year in Australian waters, but on average only half of our cyclones actually cross the coast,” says Tom Saunders, Senior Meteorologist at The Weather Channel.

“About 5-6 cyclones can be expected off the north-west coast of Western Australia and two of these should cross the coast, one of which is likely to be severe (category 3 or above),” he continues. “Off the Queensland coast, 4-5 tropical cyclones are likely, with one or two coastal crossings. While off the north coast between the Kimberley and Cape York Peninsula, four cyclones are likely, three of which should cross the coast,” Saunders continues.

“If La Niña conditions strengthen over the next few months as predicted by some models we may add one or two more cyclones to the forecast for each region,” says Saunders.

Paradoxically, “the heavy rains last year have pushed the nation’s grassfire risk to levels not seen in 40 years, with an area in central Australia twice the size of Tasmania having burned since June”.


UK Met office reported to be predicting a new little ice age!!

October 9, 2011

This report in GWPF where the UK Met Office is said to predicting a return of a little ice age is said to be based on a piece by Jonathan Leake in today’s Sunday Times (which I no longer read or access ever since they starting hiding behind a pay-wall). Somewhat surprising since it supports what I think is happening with our climate and especially since the Met Office, Nature, Jonathan Leake and the Sunday Times are all strong believers in the anthropogenic global warming orthodoxy.

Frost Fair on the Thames 1683-84 by Thomas Wyke. During the Great Frost of 1683–84, the worst frost recorded in England, the Thames was completely frozen for two months: wikipedia

Met Office U-Turn: Europe May be Facing Return Of ‘Little Ice Age’

Britain should brace itself for another freezing winter with the return of La Niña, a climate phenomenon known to disrupt global weather, ministers have warned.

La Niña, in which cold water piles up in the equatorial eastern Pacific, is linked to extreme winter weather in America. Some suggest that last year’s strong La Niña was linked to Britain’s icy winter, one of the coldest on record. The connection between La Niña and weather in Europe is scientifically uncertain but ministers have told transport organisations and emergency services to take no chances.

The warning coincides with research from the Met Office suggesting Europe could be facing a return of the “little ice age” that gripped Britain 300 years ago, causing decades of bitter winters. The prediction, to be published in Nature, is based on observations showing a slight fall in the sun’s emissions of ultraviolet radiation, which over a long period may trigger mini ice ages in Europe.

Some sort of confirmation is in this post here which quotes the same article but is equally incredulous about the U-turn by the Met Office:

Met Office Research Suggests Return of The Little Ice Age?

Another harsh winter is expected as La Niña returns

September 9, 2011

Yesterday the NOAA finally confirmed that  La Niña was back. 

The Indian monsoon has been reasonably good and we can expect  greater evaporation leading to increased rains in the Western Pacific and in Australia. There should be less rain in the Eastern Pacific on the western coast of S. America (coastal Chile and Peru) but increased rain on the east coast in southern Brazil and  northern Argentina. Dry conditions should persist in the Southern US but the Northern hemisphere can now expect another harsh winter for the third year in a row. Forecasters are beginning to warn about this and local authorities are preparing to stock adequate amounts of salt and grit.

Sweden: Forecasters promise another harsh winter 

While Swedes are still enjoying the relatively clement weather of early autumn, weather experts are already forecasting another freezing winter to follow the last two. ”It is true that they generally follow each other,” said meteorologist Lisa Frost from the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) to daily Aftonbladet.
According to experts, the last two winters have been the coldest for the last few decades and statistics from the institute all point to cold winters coming in threes. …. The three extremely cold winters 1940-43, during the war, were followed by four very clement winters. Since then, the weather would seem to have followed this 3.5 year pattern.

Scotland: New bid to avoid repeat of winter road chaos 

The Scottish Government has called in the Red Cross to help prepare for the possibility of another harsh winter. In a bid to avoid a repeat of last year when motorists were stranded for hours on snow- bound motorways, transport minister Keith Brown has called a ‘Get Ready For Winter’ week next month.

Ireland: Heavy snow promised in Ireland  

The Irish Government has told Irish households to stock up on disposable barbecues to avoid disasters during the freezing weather promised for the forthcoming winter. After studying the last two years bitterly cold winters and the situations which arose the Government has advised that citizens should have “some barbecue trays” to hand in case they get snowed in.

UK: Forecaster Predicts Early Winter Snowfall For Ireland And Britain 

A long range weather forecaster is predicting an early start to winter 2011-2012 for many regions of the United Kingdom and Ireland.  James Madden of Exacta Weather says heavy snowfalls are likely in places as soon as late October and early November.

US: Resurgent La Niña may enhance snowfall for northern Colo. ski areas this winter 

… the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA ) has issued a La Niña Advisory. This means La Niña conditions are likely to drive weather trends this winter. … “At this time, the Climate Forecast System (CFS) models are predicting an episode rivaling the same strength as last winter, but that forecast may change quite a bit as we get closer to the winter.”

Last winter, a moderate La Niña in the Pacific Ocean helped generate conditions just right for continuous massive snowfall in the Rocky Mountains of central and northern Colorado.

Related: Newborn La Niña: An Illustrated Guide

La Niña is back and will persist till 2012

August 22, 2011

In February Klaus Wolter came to the conclusion that there was an even chance that La Niña conditions could extend into 2012. He wrote then:

While La Niña conditions are guaranteed well into 2011, it remains to be seen whether it can rally once more to cross the -2 sigma barrier, and/or whether it will indeed last into 2012, as discussed six months ago on this page. I believe the odds for a two-year event remain well above 50%, made even more likely by the continued unabated strength in various ENSO indices.

Bob Tisdale points out at WUWT that

NINO3.4 SST anomalies (a commonly used El Niño-Southern Oscillation Index) have dropped significantly below the -0.5 deg C threshold of a La Niña Event. They are presently at approximately -0.74 deg C.

NINO3.4 SST anomalies

NOAA has yet to update its El Niño / La Niña forecasts but has called a “La Niña watch” but Bob Tisdale is ahead of them in calling the return of La Niña which is not too far away from Wolter’s forecast.

Update!! 8th September: NOAA now calls it:  La Niña is back

But reports that the money is already betting on La Niña conditions for this winter and into 2012:

Sentiment towards commodities lying in the traditional path of conditions known as La Nina is starting to turn more bullish, exacerbated by supply shortages in a number of products like iron ore and coal.

Forecasting models by the U.S. National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center predict La Nina will redevelop this autumn. “Atmospheric patterns continue to reflect La Nina-like conditions,” the weather body said.

La Nina is a periodic climatic phenomenon that brings more rain to the western Pacific, and to a lesser extent, to the eastern Pacific. Climatologists blamed La Nina for last year’s floods that gripped Australia, resulting in major losses to coal and iron ore stockpiles. 

But while it isn’t clear what impact La Nina might have on the production and shipment of commodities, its return isn’t expected to cause the same serious problems as in 2010. That’s because historically the La Nina weather phenomenon occurs in bursts of three consecutive years, with the first one being the worst and the next two much milder. ……

Joe Vaclavik, grains broker at Chicago-based MF global, said from an agricultural commodity markets perspective, the biggest fear of a second La Nina would be the continuation of the current drought in the U.S. southern plains, causing further damage to the winter wheat crop. ….. Matt Rogers, President of Maryland-based Commodity Weather Group, warned that possible effects from the second round of La Nina could bring above-normal precipitation in eastern Australia, but would actually benefit the wheat and barley crops in terms of moisture. Yet, dryness concerns could be an issue for Argentina and southern Brazil, which would experience lower amounts of rainfall, causing damage to wheat, corn and soybean yields.

And Indian and Japanese forecasters have already called La Niña conditions.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast an active wet spell for northwest India during the next five days and over east and adjoining central India during the next three days. This came about on a day when Japanese scientists assessed that the predicted return of La Nina conditions may already be happening.

Dr Jing-Jia Luo, Senior Scientist with the Climate Variation Predictability and Applicability Research Programme Research at RIGC, wrote to Business Lineon Friday that the La Nina condition is currently on the way back. This condition is forecast to persist until early next year, Dr Jing-Jia says, adding that a weak positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which mimics EL Nino-La Nina in the Indian Ocean, also may occur during the next few months.

Positive IOD refers to the warming of seas-surface temperatures in the western part of the Indian Ocean, and vice versa. Positive IOD has been found to favour a concurrent monsoon. Regional forecast from the RIGC said that the La Nina would bring cool to wet conditions over southern Africa, Australia, and Brazil during the southern hemisphere summer.

The confirming indicators for a La Niña event are accumulating – from the Indian monsoon to greater evaporation leading to increased rains expected in the Western Pacific in Australia, less rain in the Eastern Pacific on the western coast of S. America (coastal Chile and Peru) but increased rain on the east coast in southern Brazil and  northern Argentina.

La Niña and NAO driving current stormy weather

February 8, 2011
During cold La Niña episodes the normal patter...

La Nina Regional impacts: Image via Wikipedia

It may seem obvious (or it should be) that it is ocean currents that dominate weather and man-made effects pale into insignificance in relation to these. But it has been more politically correct to find that every kind of weather event is due to man-made global warming.

But as this article in PhysOrg shows, perhaps the oceans (and the sun) are beginning to get their due (but of course they don’t really care whether anybody believes in them or not – they just carry on).

The term La Niña refers to a period of cooler-than-average sea-surface temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean that occurs as part of natural climate variability. This situation is roughly the opposite of what happens during El Niño (“the boy”) events, when surface waters in this region are warmer than normal. Because the Pacific is the largest ocean on the planet, any significant changes in average conditions there can have consequences for temperature, rainfall and vegetation in distant places. Scientists at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), part of Columbia’s Earth Institute, expect moderate-to-strong La Niña conditions to continue in the tropical Pacific, potentially causing additional shifts in rainfall patterns across many parts of the world in months to come.

These shifts, combined with socioeconomic conditions and other factors, are making some countries more vulnerable. However, La Niña and El Niño conditions actually allow for more accurate seasonal forecasts and help better predict extreme drought or rainfall in some areas. ………..

“Based on current observations and on predictions from models, we see at least a 90 percent chance that La Niña conditions will continue through March,” said IRI’s chief forecaster, Tony Barnston.

Climate scientists have found La Niña’s fingerprints on a number of extreme weather events such as the devastating flood that occurred in Pakistan in 2010, as well as flooding in West Africa, South Africa and most recently in Queensland, Australia, where an area equal to the combined size of France and Germany was underwater. La Niña is also to blame for Cyclone Yasi, one of the strongest to hit Australia, which came ashore on Feb. 2. Cyclone Yasi is the second most damaging Australian cyclone on record after Cyclone Tracy, which struck in 1974.

But La Niña isn’t to blame for the recent severe weather affecting the Northeast. Winter weather for these regions is often driven not by La Niña but by large-scale weather patterns over the U.S., the northern Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic. These are often short-term, and are generally predictable only a week or so in advance. They are the culprits responsible for the dip in temperatures and spike in snow storms in the Midwest and Northeast.


Since 1950, the world has experienced six major La Niña events, wreaking havoc in countries around the world. In 2000, for example, floods associated with La Niña affected 400,000 people in southern Africa, caused at least 96 deaths and left 32,000 homeless.

La Niña conditions typically persist for 9 to 12 months, peaking sometime during the end of the year. But 2010 was a lively year for climate scientists: For the first four months of this year, El Niño conditions prevailed in the tropical Pacific, but that quickly changed, and by June, a La Niña pattern had emerged.

“Last year’s transition from El Niño to La Niña was about the most sudden we’ve ever had,” Barnston said. “When we had rapid flips like this in the past, we sometimes ended up having a two-year La Niña, such as right after the El Niño episodes of 1972 to 1973 and 1997 to 1998.”

Barnston cautions that the likelihood of this happening with the current La Niña is unknown. “Even if we do have a second year of La Niña developing in northern summer 2011, we expect at least a brief return to neutral conditions from May to July of 2011.”


La Niña will last well into 2011 and could extend into 2012

February 5, 2011

A new article has been posted on the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration website and comes to the conclusion that there is an even chance that La Niña conditions could extend into 2012:

Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) by Klaus Wolter 4th February 2011

El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the most important coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon to cause global climate variability on interannual time scales. Here we attempt to monitor ENSO by basing the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) on the six main observed variables over the tropical Pacific. These six variables are: sea-level pressure (P), zonal (U) and meridional (V) components of the surface wind, sea surface temperature (S), surface air temperature (A), and total cloudiness fraction of the sky (C). …… Negative values of the MEI represent the cold ENSO phase, a.k.a.La Niña, while positive MEI values represent the warm ENSO phase (El Niño)………

Discussion and comparison of recent conditions with historic La Niña events

In the context of the rapid transition of the MEI into strong La Niña conditions, this section features a comparison figure with strong La Niña events that all reached at least minus one standard deviations by June-July, and a peak of at least -1.4 sigma over the course of an event. The most recent moderate La Niña events of 1998-2001 and 2007-09 did not qualify, since they either did not reach the required peak anomaly (the first one) or became strong too late in the calendar year (both).

The updated (December-January) MEI value has strengthened slightly to -1.62 standard deviations after almost dropping below -2 standard deviations in August-September. Nevertheless, the most recent value ranks 2nd for this time of year, clearly below the 10%-tile threshold for strong La Niña MEI rankings , but slightly weaker than the value recorded in 1974. If one were to take the average of all MEI rankings since July-August (a six-month period), the strongest La Niña half-year periods of mid-55, ’73-74, and late ’75 averaged slightly stronger than the current event, for now (this is means Rank 4 for the current event, up one from last month).
Negative SST anomalies are covering much of the eastern (sub-)tropical Pacific in the latest weekly SST map. Many of these anomalies are in excess of -1C.
For an alternate interpretation of the current situation, I highly recommend reading the latest NOAA ENSO Advisory which represents the official and most recent Climate Prediction Center opinion on this subject. In its latest update (6 January 2011), La Niña conditions are expected to last “well” into the Northern Hemisphere spring of 2011. …….. While La Niña conditions are guaranteed well into 2011, it remains to be seen whether it can rally once more to cross the -2 sigma barrier, and/or whether it will indeed last into 2012, as discussed six months ago on this page. I believe the odds for a two-year event remain well above 50%, made even more likely by the continued unabated strength in various ENSO indices.

It seems self-evident ( even if not fashionable or politically correct) that the sun controls our climate and that the oceans do the sun’s bidding as they drive the atmosphere which then determines our weather.

The consequences of an extended La Niña into 2011 / 2012 could be

  • another good monsoon year in India,
  • a cold winter again for 2011/2012 in the Northern hemishere

Current La Niña most intense in 50 years

January 14, 2011

La Niña is expected to continue well into the Northern Hemisphere spring 2011.

The latest report from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) noted that “A moderate-to-strong La Niña continued during December 2010 as reflected by well below-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.” The CPC report said that La Niña is expected to continue well into the Northern Hemisphere spring 2011.

Physorg reports:

New NASA satellite data indicate the current La Niña event in the eastern Pacific has remained strong during November and December 2010.

The La Niña is evident by the large pool cooler than normal (blue and purple) water stretching from the eastern to the central Pacific Ocean, reflecting lower than normal sea surface heights. "This La Niña has strengthened for the past seven months, and is one of the most intense events of the past half century," said Climatologist Bill Patzert of NASA JPL. Credit: NASA JPL/Bill Patzert

A new Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM)/Jason-2 satellite image of the Pacific Ocean that averaged 10 days of data was just released fromNASA. The image, centered on Dec. 26, 2010, was created at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif.

“The solid record of La Niña strength only goes back about 50 years and this latest event appears to be one of the strongest ones over this time period,” said Climatologist Bill Patzert of JPL. “It is already impacting weather and climate all around the planet.”

“Although exacerbated by precipitation from a tropical cyclone, rainfalls of historic proportion in eastern Queensland, Australia have led to levels of flooding usually only seen once in a century,” said David Adamec, Oceanographer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. “The copious rainfall is a direct result of La Niña’s effect on the Pacific trade winds and has made tropical Australia particularly rainy this year.”

The new image depicts places where the Pacific sea surface height is near-normal, higher (warmer) than normal and lower (cooler) than normal. The cooler-than normal pool of water that stretches from the eastern to the central Pacific Ocean is a hallmark of a La Niña event.



La Niña driving severe rains and floods in Brazil and Australia

January 12, 2011

The La Niña event established this year is particularly intense and maybe the most severe in a 100 years. Such events are known to give warm sea surface temperatures and greater evaporation giving heavy rains in the Western Pacific in Australia, less rain in the Eastern Pacific on the western coast of S. America (coastal Chile and Peru) but increased rain on the east coast in southern Brazil and  northern Argentina.

Yesterday, heavy rainfall and floods in Brazil  claimed 80 lives.

UPDATE!! This morning the death toll is reported to be over 250.

UPDATE 2!! 13th January: Now death toll is around 400.


More than 80 people have died in towns near Rio de Janeiro as heavy rains continue to cause flooding and mudslides in south-eastern Brazil. Overnight downpours triggered landslides in the mountain town of Teresopolis, where more than 50 were reported to have died. At least three firefighters were among several people buried in mudslides in Nova Friburgo.

Brazil has seen severe flooding this year which has left thousands homeless.

The death toll is expected to climb as rescuers reach remote villages in the mountains. One report, compiling official and media figures, put the toll so far at 93.

This week, torrential rains in neighbouring Sao Paulo state left 13 people dead and brought traffic chaos to Brazil’s biggest city. In Teresopolis, 100km (62 miles) north of Rio Janeiro, a river burst its banks, submerging buildings, while the rainfall set off several mudslides.

The rains and floods in Queensland have claimed 13 lives so far but the peak in Brisbane a few hours ago was fortunately about 1 m lower than in the 1974 floods. Nevertheless many thousands of homes have been inundated and the damage to Queensland industry and agriculture is severe. The final death toll is likely to be higher since it is feared that some bodies will only be discovered after the waters recede. Now heavy rain and flash floods have hit Victoria as well.

The Guardian:

The devastating flooding in Queensland is the result of Australia being in the grip of an unusually strong “La Niña”, a periodic climate phenomenon that brings more rain to the western Pacific, and less to South America along the eastern Pacific.

“The Queensland floods are caused by what is one of the strongest – if not the strongest – La Niña events since our records began in the late 19th century,” said Prof Neville Nicholls at Monash University and president of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society. “The La Niña is associated with record warm sea-surface temperatures around Australia and these would have contributed to the heavy rains.” Warmer oceans produce damper air and hence more rain. This is driven onshore by the stronger east-to-west trade winds characteristic of La Niña.

In both Australia and S. America the rains have about another 2 months to run.

related posts:

June 2010 –

October 2010 –

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