Rick, nice cherry picking of an el nino year there. Ably assisted by the fact that red seems to be the only colour left in the NOAA's crayon box. I notice you chose to show us the May anomaly chart. How about a quick look at what is happening to the rate of change of Sea Surface Temperature (SST) in the nino34 area (5N-5S 120-170 degrees W) now the el nino is over. This chart is bang up to date, June 17th.
And just in case Rick doesn't think the nino 34 region is representative of the global oceans, here's a comparison graph of the actual sea surface temperature there and globally.
The scientific fact is, ocean heat content has been level since 2003 and is now falling as the oceans give up the heat they acquired during the second half of the C20th during the run of high, short minimum solar cycles. As the heat leaves the oceans in bi-annual belches, it raises the surface temperature for a while in an el nino. I predicted a while ago that by jan 2011 the sea surface temperature will have dropped to below jan 2008 levels. Brace for another cold winter like the last one I successfully predicted (to much scoffing from the warmista), and like the one started in the southern hemisphere right now.
I ran some calculations to work out how much excess heat the ocean was absorbing at the surface in the 1993-2003 decade to make that jump in heat-energy content. Rather than rely on the Argo buoy system I worked from steric sea level rise as measured by satellite and calculated the energy required for the amount of thermal expansion indicated by the rise. The answer came out at 4W/m^2. This is far more than co2 can manage (1.7W/m^2 according to the IPCC) and in any case, downwelling radiation from the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere doesn't heat the ocean, as long wave radiation can't penetrate the surface beyond it's own wavelength, it just causes evaporation at the surface.
So the extra energy must have been coming from a combination of a very active sun, and lowered cloud albedo.
People have been misled by the IPCC that climate change can't be due to solar variation because the sun's output doesn't vary enough to make much difference. The fact is, the amount of insolation ariving on the surface (mostly ocean) depends not only on the sun, but the amount of cloud reflecting the sunlight back into space.
According to data from the ISCCP, the cloud amount fell from the late 70's until around 1998...
Here's a graph of sunshine hours in Japan against temperature in China over the C20th, can you see a possible connection? I can.