Comment on “No consistent ENSO response to volcanic forcing over the last millennium”


Dee et al. (Reports, 27 March 2020, p. 1477) claimed that large volcanic eruptions do not produce a detectable El Niño response. However, they come to the wrong conclusion because they have ignored the fundamental climate response to large volcanic eruptions: Volcanic eruptions cool the surface, thus masking the relative El Niño warming.

The recent report by Dee et al. (1) claims that large volcanic eruptions do not produce a detectable El Niño response. However, they come to the wrong conclusion because the coral temperature reconstructions they use measure actual sea surface temperature (SST) and not the temperature relative to the rest of the tropics. Volcanic eruptions cool the surface, thus masking the relative El Niño warming, if expressed in absolute temperature changes. El Niño is a dynamical ocean response, which warms the eastern and central tropical Pacific with respect to the surrounding water. When the entire tropics cools in response to stratospheric aerosols from volcanic eruptions, the absolute temperature in the El Niño region will cool, too, and the impact will only be clear with respect to the surrounding region. This is called the relative SST (RSST), as shown by Khodri et al. (2).

Dee et al. have produced a valuable climate record by using oxygen isotope records from Palmyra corals to give a record of SST near the center of the region in the central Pacific Ocean that warms during an El Niño relative to the regions around it. But this SST is affected both by large-scale climate change and by local El Niños. Whereas Dee et al. used RSST in their analysis of climate model simulations in their figure S8, the basic results in figure 4 consider only raw SST, without accounting for the cooling effects of the volcanic eruptions. This is because they do not have a reliable way to calculate the tropical average temperature from proxies, so it is important to interpret the actual SST record they have produced. In this comment I am only addressing the interpretations from the Palmyra δ18O temperature reconstructions, and not the climate model results, because climate models still imperfectly simulate the El Niño response to volcanic eruptions, as can be seen by the large differences in the climate model simulations shown in figure 4.

The smaller eruptions, shown in figure 4, A and B, would not be expected to show a strong El Niño signal because of the small radiative forcing. Figure 4D shows the signal from the largest eruption in their study, the 1257 CE Samalas eruption. Rather than showing the expected large cooling in year 1 after the eruption, they found basically no signal, which I interpret as an El Niño, counteracted by the volcanic cooling. In fact, if there had not been an El Niño, we would expect to see significant cooling. The dynamical response of the climate system that triggers El Niños does not in general produce larger El Niños for larger eruptions, so the El Niño after this largest eruption would be expected to show a weaker absolute SST warming signal than that from smaller eruptions, because the volcanic cooling would be larger.

Timmreck et al. (3) have suggested that larger aerosol particles from larger SO2 stratospheric injections from larger eruptions would make the radiative forcing less than linear as a function of SO2 input. Still, the radiative forcing as shown in figure 1 of Dee et al. for Samalas is approximately twice that of the average of the next three largest eruptions, and therefore we should expect twice as much cooling from that eruption. Guillet et al. (4) examined Northern Hemisphere responses to the Samalas eruption and found “that 1258 and 1259 experienced some of the coldest Northern Hemisphere summers of the past millennium.” They also found that “in North America, volcanic radiative forcing was modulated by a positive phase of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation,” evidence indeed that the Samalas eruption produced an El Niño.

Figure 4C of Dee et al. shows the SST signal averaged for the four largest eruptions, including Samalas. Even with the 0.0‰ signal from Samalas at lag 1 year, figure 4C shows a strong El Niño signal, significant at close to the 95% significance level. If the 0.0‰ value from Samalas had not been included in this average, the signal would have been higher by one-third of the signal and would have been 0.13‰, not the current 0.10‰ at lag 1 year, and would certainly have been significant at a 95% level.

If we take into account the expected cooling from volcanic eruptions, the results from Dee et al. show a clear El Niño signal from the largest eruptions they considered. The El Niño SST signal for the largest eruption is obscured by the cooling effect of the eruption. The El Niño SST signal from the next three largest eruptions is clear even when looking at the absolute SST signal.

Acknowledgments: Supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Hatch project 1006616 through the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Hatch project NJ07175.

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Serbian President Vucic non-committal on Trump’s Jerusalem embassy comment

Serbian president Aleksander Vucic appeared somewhat taken aback when the US President declared that Serbia had agreed to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem.

Vucic was at the White House last week to agree to a US-brokered deal normalising economic ties between Serbia and Kosovo.

The talks included Serbia moving its Israeli embassy, and Israel and Kosovo agreeing to mutual recognition.

However when Donald Trump commented on the agreement to move Serbia’s embassy, Vucic appeared confused.

The Trump administration recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017, moving its own embassy there in 2018, and Trump has encouraged other countries to follow suit.

It’s controversial because the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains unresolved, and the Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their own capital city.

Vucic was in Brussels today alongside his Kosovo’s prime minister Avdullah Hoti as part of the ongoing negotiations between the two sides, and talks on how both countries’ bids to become EU members are progressing.

The EU however opposes countries moving their Israeli embassies to Jerusalem.

EU spokesman Peter Stano said the EU expects aspiring countries to follow its line of foreign policy.

He added that the countries’ path to the EU is not undermined, but if they take decisions that would put into question the general position of the EU regarding Jerusalem, it would raise concerns and regrets.

After leaving those talks, Euronews asked Vucic to clarify the situation on the embassy.

He said: “Serbia has not opened that chapter yet. But we are doing our best to align with EU declarations, with EU resolutions as much as it is possible. But we follow our own interests, of course.”

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Ryan won’t comment on return to council


This was not a good occasion to discuss returning to the Town Council, said former Mayor Damien Ryan this morning, when asked by the Alice Springs News whether he would.

He was here to congratulate Robyn Lambley, he said, on retaining her seat of Araluen which he was trying to take off her in the 2020 Territory Election on August 22.

“Here” was the temporary Electoral Commission office in the Mall where the results in Central Australia were being declared.

Mrs Lambley was not there, and neither were most of the other people invited by the commission with the exception of Mr Ryan’s wife, Joanne, their daughter Lisa-Marie, her husband Josh Burgoyne (at right) who unseated ex-front bencher Dale Wakefield in Braitling, and Tony Willis, the bottom scorer in Namatjira.

This crowd of five was told that more than half the electors cast early votes and participation in the bush was dismally low, for example, just 56% in Gwoja.

In Central Australia the results in Araluen, Braitling, Barkly and Namatjira were decided on preferences. Only Chansey Paech, in Gwoja, had an outright victory (more than half of the votes cast).

Just for interest, below are the primary votes, before preferences were allocated. However, these changed the result only in Araluen.

ARALUEN: Damien Ryan (CLP) 1659; Robyn Lambley (TA) 1276; Jackson Ankers (ALP) 789; Bernard Hickey (Greens) 455; Domenico Pecorari (FP) 114; Wayne Wright (Ind) 71. Winner Lambley.

BARKLY: Steve Edington (CLP) 1431; Sid Vashist (ALP) 1238; Gadrian Hoosan (Ind) 663; Daniel Mulholland (IND) 109. Winner Edington.

BRAITLING: Joshua Burgoyne (CLP) 1548; Dale Wakefield (ALP) 993; Kim Hopper (Ind) 648; Dale McIver (TA) 488; Chris Tomlins (Greens) 379;  Scott McConnell (Ind) 199; Marli Banks (FP) 140. Scott McConnell (Ind) 199; Winner Burgoyne.

GWOJA: Chansey Paech (ALP) 1612; Phillip Alice (CL) 702; Kenny Lechleitner (FP) 344. Winner Paech – no preferences allocated.

NAMATJIRA: Bill Yan (CLP) 1066; Sheralee Taylor (ALP) 977; Matt Paterson (TA) 809; Catherine Satour (FP) 344; Nikki McCoy (Greens) 279; Tony Willis (Ind) 131. Winner Yan.

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NHL TV commentator Mike Milbury in hot water with NBC over ‘women’ comment

The NHL bubble may keep its players safe from COVID-19, but not its fans from Mike Milbury’s “insensitive and insulting” commentary.

The NBC Sports analyst came under fire on Friday (AEST), while calling the Islanders and Capitals game, for suggesting that women were a distraction to NHL players.

“If you think about it, [the bubble is] a terrific environment with regard to — if you enjoy playing and enjoy being with your teammates for long periods of time, it’s a perfect place,” play-by-play man John Forslund said.

“Not even any women here to disrupt your concentration,” Milbury replied.

The NHL issued a statement Friday condemning Milbury’s remark.

“The National Hockey League condemns the insensitive and insulting comment that Mike Milbury made during last night’s broadcast and we have communicated our feelings to NBC,” the league said. “The comment did not reflect the NHL’s values and commitment to making our game more inclusive and welcoming to all.”

NBC Sports said it was “disappointed about Mike’s insensitive comment and have addressed it with him.” Milbury also issued an apology Friday.

“I sincerely apologise for making the comment. It was not my intention to disrespect anyone,” he said in a statement.

“I was trying to be irreverent and took it a step too far. It was a regrettable mistake that I take seriously.”

Milbury was stood down from his scheduled TV appearance to call Game 6 of the NHL Playoffs series between the Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens in Toronto on Saturday (AEST).

It’s not the first time the former Islanders coach has been called out for his commentary in the bubble, though. Last week, he questioned Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask’s decision to leave the bubble for family reasons. It has since been reported there was a family emergency.

“Nobody has simply opted to leave the bubble just because they didn’t want to be here and they needed to be with their family,” Milbury said at the time. “I would not have done it, the rest of the league’s players have not done it.”

Milbury’s suspension comes after Cincinnati Reds TV caller Thom Brennaman begged for forgiveness after video showed him using a homophobic slur on a hot mic earlier in the day.

“One of the f** capitals of the world,” Brennaman could be heard saying before introducing the Fox Sports Ohio TV Major League Baseball broadcast between the Reds and Royals in Kansas City.

The 56-year-old later exited the second game of the scheduled double-header after videos of the incident made the rounds on social media.

“I made a comment earlier tonight that, I guess, went out over the air, that I am deeply ashamed of,” Brennaman said during the fifth inning.

“If I have hurt anyone out there, I can’t tell you how much I say from the bottom of my heart, I am so very, very sorry. I pride myself and think of myself as a man of faith. … I don’t know if I’ll be putting on this headset again. I don’t know if it’ll be for the Reds, I don’t know if it’s going to be for my bosses at Fox, I want to apologise to the people that sign my paycheck — for the Reds, for Fox Sports Ohio, for the people I work with, for anybody I’ve offended tonight. I can’t begin to tell you how deeply sorry I am. That is not who I am, it never has been. I’d like to think that I have some people that could back that up. I am very, very sorry and I beg for your forgiveness.

“Jim Day will take you the rest of the way,” Brennaman said, referring to another Fox Sports Ohio broadcaster.

It was unclear whether Brennaman was removed from the broadcast, or left on his own accord

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“No comment” about man on hunger strike in quarantine

ABOVE: Food which hunger striker Braedon Earley left outside his quarantine room.


“We won’t be commenting on individuals in the quarantine facilities.”

That is the blunt answer to questions from the Alice Springs News put to the Territory’s coronavirus pandemic authorities about Braedon Earley, a Darwin businessman and some-time political figure who is in quarantine, where he is now on a hunger strike, after a flight from Brisbane on Sunday.

Mr Earley has raised major issues about the Howard Springs Quarantine Facility where he is being detained, including what he considers major safety shortcomings.

He says he has observed some repair work today.

However, when he raised issues with two uniformed police officers this afternoon, posted at the facility, they told him: “We don’t take complaints.”

Meanwhile a spokesperson for the facility provided this statement to the News: “The Northern Territory Government is the owner of the Howard Springs Quarantine Facility and has partnered with private contractors to provide soft facilities management including the provision of meals and amenities in the centre.”

“All staff are inducted onto the site and are required to undertake Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) training.”

Mr Earley says: “Some people are wearing PPE, some are not.”

Says the statement: “All persons in quarantine are provided with three meals per day, which are prepared and delivered to Australian standards.

“People undertaking quarantine also have access to click and collect services where they can order products from Coles, Woolworths, Kmart and Big W including non-perishable goods and personal items such as yoga mats, puzzles, books and clothing.

“Alcohol is prohibited.

“Online orders are delivered to rooms by trained persons wearing Personal Protective Equipment.”

Mr Earley says he has been unable to obtain groceries from Coles because the click and collect at Coles Coolalinga was sold out, and with Woolworth the phone kept cutting in an out with the WiFi.

“Two of the airborne precautions require doors remain to be closed, and cleaning hand between entering and leaving the room,” says Mr Earley.

“There is no sanitiser inside nor outside of the room and the laundry.

“The cabin doors butt up to each-other. People entering or leaving at the same time would not be maintaining social distancing,” says Mr Earley.

“That means the design of the facility is absolutely unsuitable.

“When you are sitting on a balcony, people on adjoining balconies are too close for airborne particles. Even with face masks in use, eyes and skin are exposed.”

BELOW: Signs Mr Earley says he saw being put up today.

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Bruce McAvaney comment on Jordan De Goey charge

Footy commentators have accused Bruce McAvaney of delivering a flippant description of Collingwood star Jordan De Goey’s sexual assault charge.

The Channel 7 icon on Thursday night commentated the moment De Goey celebrated his return to the Collingwood side with the first goal of the match against Geelong in Perth.

McAvaney — in the eyes of some — appeared to describe the assault charge as a “hiccup” for the Collingwood player — leading to a social media storm.

The 67-year-old responded to the criticism when he took a moment at the end of the match to apologise for his comment.

“I mentioned him (De Goey) earlier tonight and I used some words that I wish I hadn’t,” McAvaney said.

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“I said that he had a hiccup. I was thinking of it in a football sense and I know that it’s upset a lot of people tonight and I do apologise completely.

“I do apologise. Jordan is facing some serious allegations and it’s more than a hiccup and I realise that. So for anyone that’s taken offence, I understand completely.”

De Goey was forced to break the AFL’s strict biosecurity measures when he attended a Melbourne police station earlier this month — leading to him being stood down by Collingwood for one match.

It came after De Goey was charged with one count of indecent assault relating to an historical incident in 2015.

Collingwood declared earlier this month the club would support De Goey and allow him to keep playing for the club while the legal process takes its course.

The AFL and Victoria police investigated the 2015 incident in 2018. No charges were laid.

The star forward kicked the first goal of the match against the Cats and had teammates running in from all directions.

McAvaney said as De Goey lined up for goal: “This will do his confidence a world of good.

“We feel like he’s full of confidence. He’s had an OK year so far. And then he’s had a hiccup, we know.”

While McAvaney has moved to clarify his comment, footy commentators were earlier quick to criticise him for a poor choice of words.

The Australian’s Jessica Halloran posted on Twitter: “The Victorian Police have charged Jordan De Goey with sexual assault. A “hiccup”?”.

Halloran has previously campaigned for the AFL to adopt the same “no-fault stand down” rule that stops NRL players from playing while there is a serious matter before the courts.

Fox Footy reporter Max Laughton posted on Twitter: “A “hiccup” for Jordan de Goey. Not great”.

Many other footy fans on social media also questioned McAvaney’s choice of words.

McAvaney was clearly enjoying De Goey’s return to form, declaring the 24-year-old was playing his best game of the season after kicking two goals in the first half.

“The best form we seen him in all year,” McAvaney said.

De Goey will face the Melbourne Magistrates Court on October 30.

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley also said this week that De Goey was in a “good head space” after flying to Perth without his teammates.

McAvaney earlier this month also came under fire for appearing to fat-shame Essendon star Jake Stringer.

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Ernie Dingo lashes out after alleged racist comment at Perth train station

Acclaimed Australian actor Ernie Dingo says he confronted and “whacked” a man who allegedly racially abused him at Perth’s central train station.

Dingo posted about the incident on Facebook, which was then shared by Ngaarda Media and confirmed by his agent.

The racial slur allegedly came from a man in his 30s about 8:00am at the city’s central train station.

The Yamatji actor said the man had been watching him prior to the incident, before he called Dingo by an offensive and pejorative term referring to Aboriginal people.

“I chased him and scruffs him ‘Say it again’, he is scared now and I whack him on the right side of his head,” Dingo wrote.

Ernie Dingo, left, said he chased the man after he racially abused him.(ABC Far North: Sharnie Kim)

“He slips and falls trying to get away, his foot falls between the platform and the train, I drag his arse away from the edge, as he is laying there.

“I ask again ‘Say it again, give me an excuse to whack you’, he doesn’t.

“If he is gunna say that s*** to me, I’ll have a go at him.

“I’m 63, I don’t take that s*** from anyone.”

‘He should have known better’, Dingo says

Dingo, who appeared in 1980s blockbuster film Crocodile Dundee II and more recently in television series Redfern Now and Mystery Road, said once he boarded the train, a woman asked him if he was alright.

“I told her ‘He should’ve known better’,” he wrote.

“I might make the news tonight, I’m sure it was captured on CCTV.

“If it does, you heard it from me first and I wouldn’t have minded if I caught the next train, rather than not do anything about it and be angry on the train.”

PTA not referring incident to police

A Public Transport Authority spokesperson said CCTV vision would not be released, and that they would not be referring it to police.

“The PTA would not as a matter of course report an incident like this directly to WA Police,” they said.

“We would advise a complainant to formally report an incident to WA Police if they wished to pursue it further.”

WA Police said on Tuesday afternoon they had not received any complaints relating to the train station incident.

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Garry Lyon slams Patrick Dangerfield for sling tackle comment

Footy legend Garry Lyon has given Patrick Dangerfield a clip over the Geelong star’s diplomatic response to the AFL’s sling tackle review changes.

The AFL has moved to tighten the competition’s dangerous tackle guidelines after widespread public outcry surrounding Hawthorn veteran Shaun Burgoyne’s Friday night tackle which saw Dangerfield’s head dumped into the turf during the Cats’ win over the Hawks.

Burgoyne was let off with a $1000 fine for rough conduct because Dangerfield avoided injury in the incident.

Dangerfield responded to the controversy on Monday and declared he was satisfied with Burgoyne’s punishment.

“It’s a tough game to play,” Dangerfield told Fox Footy’s On The Couch.

“I definitely think we need to protect the head, but we expect a huge amount of our players to play on instinct and play on edge to put on a good show.

“In the position that Shaun was in, we can replay that as many times as we possibly like and dissect it, but in a split-second movement, when you’re locking your head down to try and tackle your opponent and bring him to ground, what is the process?

“I think it was adjudicated fairly and I’m glad I got the free kick, otherwise it was holding the ball.”

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Lyon, however, insists that the Burgoyne verdict is completely out of character for the game — following the sport’s committed focus to protecting players from concussion and head injuries.

He said Dangerfield’s response is counter-productive to the game’s push for greater awareness of concussion injuries.

“The issue of concussion has got to the situation where players, their careers are not only finishing up, but their lives are being compromised and this (sling tackle) action contributes to that,” Lyon told SEN Breakfast on Tuesday.

“It’s not good enough to have Patrick turn around and say, ‘Well, I understand, I thought it was a good executed tackle’. I was disappointed in that.”

He said it is “disingenuous” for players to suggest that players operate within an understood “players code” of protecting each other when it comes to concussion issues.

Fellow footy great Tim Watson responded to Lyon’s comments by declaring on SEN that Dangerfield had to hold back from criticising the league or Burgoyne because of his position as president of the AFL Players’ Association.

“I think he’s in an insidious position regarding this topic, because of his position as president of the players association,” Watson said.

“If he comes out and criticises the decision then he’s criticising the tackle and he’s also criticising another member of his own association. He would probably be thinking about how he’s viewed by other members of the players association. I’m not saying that’s right, but I can understand the position that he finds himself in.

“That’s probably why he’s trying to take as much heat out of this as he possibly could.”

Senior coaches John Worsfold and Chris Fagan on Monday backed the AFL’s attempt to stamp out sling tackles and protect players’ heads.

The AFL ticked off the ruling on Monday but admitted it exposed a flaw in the guidelines laid out for match review officer Michael Christian.

An immediate change will give Christian power to consider the potential for all dangerous tackles to cause injury when grading them from round three onwards.

Previously the MRO could only consider the potential for injury when assessing spear tackles and driving tackles.

“If you choose to lay a dangerous tackle it’s going to be captured under these new guidelines,” AFL football operations boss Steve Hocking said.

“We want to be clear — protection to the head is our highest priority.

Burgoyne, 37, is free to play for the Hawks against Richmond at the MCG on Thursday night.

The AFL has halved fines in 2020 because of league-wide player salary cuts, meaning Burgoyne will pay $500.

— with AAP

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