Ice Ages Looked Like El Niño

“During past ice ages the tropical Pacific Ocean behaved rather as it does to day in an El Niño event, bringing downpours to some places and drought to others.” Thus began a 2002 article Nature magazine (12 Jul 2002)

Studies by Stott and Kouvatas suggest that “shifts between warm and cool global average temperatures look, from the perspective of the tropical Pacific, like super El Niños. So too do the swings from shorter-term warming and cooling spells, called interstadials and stadials, that punctuated the last ice age.”

“It’s not clear  whether these changes imply that the climate was persistently in an El Niño-like phase during ice ages, or whether such phases came and went every few years, as they do at present, but more frequently and more intensely,” says Lowel Stott of the University of Southern California.

It’s not global warming, it’s ocean warming, and it’s leading into the next ice age.

See “Ice ages looked like El Niño,” Nature, 12 Jul 2002


8 thoughts on “Ice Ages Looked Like El Niño”

  1. ocean has a share so does upperlevel air..and with all the cooling ash recently those air currents are going to be affected
    cooling wise.

  2. Are we at the point now where we throw our arms in the air and admit we know virtually nothing about the climate?

    • We actually have a fair bit of knowledge about what DOESN’T control climate and a 30 year data set supporting this.

      Obviously the claim that CO2 drives climate is not only based on unsupportable assumptions the 30 year data set supports the claim that CO2 is not even a major factor.

      Obviously the claim that radiative balance alone drives climate is not only based on unsupportable assumptions the 30 year data set supports the claim that radiative balance is not even a major factor in Earth’s internal fluctuations.

      Obviously the claim that radiative “heat trapping” alone drives climate is not only based on unsupportable assumptions the 30 year data set supports the claim that radiative “heat trapping” doesn’t even exist.

      That amounts to a substantial amount of knowledge as to what doesn’t drive climate so means something.

      Changing the political agenda is another story.

    • NO, too many people making money off “Go Green”. What would the Environmental Terrorists use to cut the use of Carbon Fuel and destroy Civilization as we know it. You know the one that was built on abundant energy.

    • No, a significant amount is known about the climate and its drivers. But not about the Sun’s activities during long warming periods or the much shorter but more devastating cooling periods during solar minimums we are now in.
      Our Star is a UV variable star and its variability is the ultimate cause of our climates variability during interglacial’s. The cause of that variability is the gravitational influences of the Jovian Gas Giants on the Solar System BarryCentre and the Sun.

  3. They are looking at the tail of the dog and not what wags that tail.

    F. H. Haynie, former EPA scientist said

    If I were asked to pick a single point on earth that most likely has the greatest effect on global weather and climate, it would be 0 and 90W (Galapagos). This is where El-nino winds, the deep sea Cromwell current, the Panama current, and the Humboldt current meet. These flows are not constant and each has different cycles and those cycles are not constant. Cycles on cycles create extremes in weather and climate. These extremes have an effect globally. I suspect these cycles are also controlling our observed atmospheric concentration of CO2. CO2 is very likely a lagging indicator and not a cause of climate change.

    Ozone effects the winds that drive the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. The Stronger the wind the faster the current. When the current hits the tip of South America it sends some of the cold Antarctic waters up the coast of South America. as the Humboldt Current.

    If you look at this Sea Surface Temperature map it has a good image of the tongue of cold water from the Antarctic Circumpolar Current just before Drake Passage, headed up the coast of South America.

    Antarctic sea ice growth could effect the wind and currents in that area especially at the Drake Passage restriction. This could then effect the cold waters headed up the west coast of South America.

    Effect of Drake Passage on the global thermohaline circulation
    The Ekman divergence around Antarctica raises a large amount of deep water to the ocean’s surface. The regional Ekman transport moves the upwelled deep water northward out of the circumpolar zone. The divergence and northward surface drift combine, in effect, to remove deep water from the interior of the ocean. This wind-driven removal process is facilitated by a unique dynamic constraint operating in the latitude band containing Drake Passage. Through a simple model sensitivity experiment WC show that the upwelling and removal of deep water in the circumpolar belt may be quantitatively related to the formation of new deep water in the northern North Atlantic. These results show that stronger winds in the south can induct more deep water formation in the north and more deep outflow through the South Atlantic. The fact that winds in the southern hemisphere might influence the formation of deep water in the North Atlantic brings into question long-standing notions about the forces that drive the ocean’ thermohaline circulation….

    Research on Drakes Passage today:


    The experiments address a fundamental question of how the circulation of the ocean works. Since the global overturning circulation is apparently sensitive to wind even in regions where the ocean has eastern and western boundaries, it may be influenced by wind outside the Drake Passage latitudes. However, our results indicate that the unique geometry of the Drake Passage latitudes does make the global circulation – and perhaps the climate of the North Atlantic – especially sensitive to wind there.

    They actually did field research in this study on atmospheric circulation shifts.

    06 May 2012 Nature Geoscience | Letter Regional atmospheric circulation shifts induced by a grand solar minimum

    Large changes in solar ultraviolet radiation can indirectly affect climate by inducing atmospheric changes. Specifically, it has been suggested that centennial-scale climate variability during the Holocene epoch was controlled by the Sun. However, the amplitude of solar forcing is small when compared with the climatic effects and, without reliable data sets, it is unclear which feedback mechanisms could have amplified the forcing. Here we analyse annually laminated sediments of Lake Meerfelder Maar, Germany, to derive variations in wind strength and the rate of 10Be accumulation, a proxy for solar activity, from 3,300 to 2,000 years before present. We find a sharp increase in windiness and cosmogenic 10Be deposition 2,759  ±  39 varve years before present and a reduction in both entities 199  ±  9 annual layers later. We infer that the atmospheric circulation reacted abruptly and in phase with the solar minimum. A shift in atmospheric circulation in response to changes in solar activity is broadly consistent with atmospheric circulation patterns in long-term climate model simulations, and in reanalysis data that assimilate observations from recent solar minima into a climate model. We conclude that changes in atmospheric circulation amplified the solar signal and caused abrupt climate change about 2,800 years ago, coincident with a grand solar minimum.

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