The EPIC data also helped confirm that the flashes are coming from a high altitude, not simply water on the ground. Two channels on the instrument are designed to measure the height of clouds. According to the observations, high cirrus clouds—5 to 8 kilometers (3 to 5 miles) up in the atmosphere—appeared wherever the glints were located.
“The source of the flashes is definitely not on the ground,” Marshak said. “It is definitely ice, and most likely solar reflection off of horizontally oriented particles.”
Marshak is now investigating how common these horizontal ice particles are, and whether they are common enough to have a measurable impact on how much sunlight passes through the atmosphere. If so, it is a feature that would need to be incorporated into computer models of how much heat is reaching and leaving Earth.
Perhaps we should admit that it will take time to get ‘the science’ properly settled.
There is a notion in IPCC ‘climate science’ that high altitude cloud has a warming influence on the surface. A manurial notion if ever there was one.
As to whether there will be ice cloud at elevation or not….then the ozone content of the air will be a factor of importance because ozone absorption of infrared from the Earth itself determines air temperature and therefore relative humidity and the degree and extent of precipitation.
Unfortunately this essay does nothing to advance our knowledge of the role of the polar atmosphere in determining climate dynamics. It represents the contrived views of established climate science practitioners of the alarmist persuasion.
There is a relationship between the ozone content of the air and surface pressure that was discovered prior to 1900 that was well documented by Dobson in the 1920s. In mid and high latitudes low surface pressure is associated with superior total column ozone. Ozone is a warming, rarefying influence because it is a greenhouse gas mobilising infrared energy from the Earth itself, even within the region of the polar night. To materially change surface pressure ozone must be present through the bulk of the atmospheric column. Half of the atmospheric column is found below the 500 hPa pressure level and half above. More than half of the column is affected. It follows that the tropopause is not found at the same pressure level in high latitudes as it is in low latitudes. This is important because the tropopause marks the boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere.
Let me begin by taking issue with this following statement from the Waugh, Sobel and Polvani paper: The strong circumpolar westerlies that define the stratospheric polar vortex maximize at around 60° latitude, from just above the tropopause (~100 hPa) into the mesosphere (above 1 hPa; see Fig. 2).
The ’tropopause’, by definition, is found at the elevation where air temperature ceases to decline with altitude. Wikipedia puts it this way: ‘Going upward from the surface, it is the point where air ceases to cool with height, and becomes almost completely dry.’
The reversal of temperature decline at ‘the tropopause’ is due to the presence of ozone that absorbs energy from Earths long wave radiation in the infrared spectrum. The ‘tropopause’ marks the start of the stratosphere where the air is dry and it warms or at least maintains its temperature with increasing elevation.
The atmosphere in the mid latitudes between 400 hPa and 50 hPa moves from west to east and pole-wards. The strongest winds on the planet are the north westerlies of the southern hemisphere. Even in the northern hemisphere air masses move gradually southwards towards the Antarctic polar front where surface air pressure achieves a planetary minimum that is sustained across all months of the year.
In regions of low surface pressure, commonly centred at about 60° of latitude, the decline in temperature with increasing altitude ceases at a lower elevation (400hPa) than in zones of high surface pressure. Between 400 hPa and 50 hPa air masses with a very different composition in terms of ozone, temperature and density occupy the same horizontal domain. Here, instability is the rule. Ozone rich air is displaced upwards and polar cyclones are initiated. Polar cyclones propagate from the interaction layer down to the surface and they initiate the flow that manifests as the vortex in the stratosphere.
Over the polar cap the temperature of the air falls all the way between the surface and the upper stratosphere. Patently, there is no tropopause to be found inside the vortex. Here the air contains little ozone.
Lets re-iterate this point: Polar cyclones are generated at the front between air of polar and extra-tropical origin the latter being rich in ozone, warmer, less dense and manifesting at a lower altitude. The ‘polar front’ is where two air streams of different character converge. The difference in air density is most extreme in winter due to the descent of ozone starved mesospheric air inside the vortex and the increase in the ozone content of the air outside the vortex in the winter season. But, summer or winter, it is the ozone content of the air, and its latitudinal origin that is a major influence on air density. If air travels pole-wards it is less dense because it comes from a warmer place and in addition it is continually warmed because it is ozone rich. As such it derives energy from the Earths itself.
Polar cyclones propagate downwards from the domain where marked differences in the ozone content of the air manifest. This domain lies between the 400 hPa and 50 hPa pressure levels. This domain can not be described as either troposphere or stratosphere and the term ‘tropopause’ has no place in the description of the properties of this domain. Arguably, in winter, the atmosphere directly over the poles is entirely stratospheric and mesospheric in origin. It is extremely dry and very cold. Air that enters the circulation from the mid latitudes is warm and rich in ozone. It is stratospheric in its composition at 400 hPa.
A chain of Polar Cyclones constitutes THE POLAR VORTEX. The strongest winds are located between 400 hPa and 50 hPa and again in the upper stratosphere at 10 hPa.
Given the relationship between the ozone content of the air and its density and also the highly variable increase in the ozone content of the air in winter from one winter to the next and also across the decades, the rate of transfer of energy from the equator to polar regions via atmospheric movement is inconstant. The temperature of the air at a particular location is a function of the strength of the polar vortex. Enhanced north westerly winds in the southern hemisphere are consistent with enhanced flows of warm, moist air of tropical origin to high latitudes. On the other hand, displacement of the polar cyclones towards the equator brings cold polar air to the mid latitudes. Lower surface pressure in high latitudes results in higher surface pressure in the mid latitudes affecting cloud cover, rainfall, and air flows.
The decline in surface pressure at all latitudes south of 50° south over the last seventy years is well documented. This decline in surface pressure relates to an increase in the ozone content of the air outside the vortex. It constitutes climate change in action.
RE The stratospheric polar vortex appears each winter as a consequence of the large-scale temperature gradients between the midlatitudes and the pole.
Emphatically no, the vortex is a product of variations in air density at the same elevation, not the gradient in temperature between the equator and the pole. In winter ascent occurs outside the vortex proceeding to the limits of the stratosphere while descent of cold air prevails inside the vortex. Descent also occurs in the mid latitudes of the winter hemisphere where high pressure cells prevail. Over the polar cap in winter descent is reinforced by high surface pressure. In summer a gently ascending circulation of low density ozone rich air occurs in the stratosphere across the entire polar cap. For this reason and the slight warming due to summer insolation and despite the shift in the atmosphere from mid latitudes to the poles as surface pressures rise due to reduced polar cyclone activity, polar surface pressure is lower in summer than in winter.
Differences between the hemispheres
There is a fundamental difference between the hemispheres in the nature of the polar vortex. It is more vigorous and longer sustained in its winter form in the southern hemisphere than in the northern hemisphere. This is due to sustained contrasts in air density in the 400 hPa to 50 hPa domain on the margins of Antarctica. The geography of the distribution of land and sea between the hemispheres is responsible for this difference. In the upshot strong flows of mesospheric air inside the vortex dilute the ozone content of the air in the entire southern hemisphere while an absence of this flow in the northern hemisphere allows ozone partial pressure to build.
The Ozone Hole over Antarctica in Spring
This phenomenon is entirely natural. It is a consequence of the change in the circulation of the air during the final warming that brings ozone deficient tropospheric air of mid latitude origin flooding across the polar cap and into the 400 hPa to 50 hPa domain.
Rossby Waves and sudden stratospheric warmings.
re this statement
“Rossby waves excited in the troposphere propagate up into the stratosphere and perturb the vortex away from radiative equilibrium, weakening it and distorting its shape away from circular symmetry about the pole.”
The more rational explanation is that localised centres of tropospheric descent and stratospheric ascent that form up in the mid latitudes over the oceans are periodically invigorated as ozone accumulates above 50 hPa. Episodically, these centres of ozone accumulation expand in diameter and invade the polar domain assisting the lowering of surface pressure in high latitudes as they do so. Centres of ozone accumulation are represented on diagrams of the upper atmosphere as regions of elevated geopotential height. The phenomenon of sudden stratospheric warmings in winter are no different in nature to that of the final stratospheric warming in late spring. Both involve a takeover of the polar cap by ozone rich air that circulates anticlockwise on the outer margins of the polar vortex. Hence, in summer, and during a stratospheric warming over the pole, easterlies replace westerly winds at the 10 hPa pressure elevation. The takeover in winter begins and has its greatest impact at the highest elevations.
All movements in the atmosphere are driven in the first instance by surface pressure relationships. Secondly, differences in air density in the horizontal domain result in uplift whatever the elevation that they occur at. Thirdly, in view of the fact that the atmosphere rotates in the same direction as the Earth, but faster, there is very likely an electromagnetic driver that is most energetic at the highest elevations where the atmosphere carries particles with an electric charge. Gravity ensures that what goes up must come down. Areas of descent tend to form over the cooler oceans especially in the winter hemisphere. In the upper stratosphere these areas of tropospheric descent are ozone rich and give rise to ascent and spreading as ozone accumulates.
Inside the polar vortex there is mixing of stratospheric and mesospheric air, that remains relatively ozone poor.
Conclusion: Climate science as presently constituted fails to get to grips with the natural and enduring dynamics of the atmosphere that are manifestly responsible for climate change. Unfortunately establishment climate science is wedded to the philosophy that demonises carbon dioxide, an essential ingredient for photosynthesis on land and in the oceans. Carbon dioxide is at the base of the food chain. Human welfare is tied to its proliferation.
The establishment has it ‘arse about’ and are hell bent on ruination.
If one appreciates the way in which the planet has warmed in some places and not in others, the way it warms in winter rather than in summer, the way it warms in fits and starts then, the thesis that the warming relates to the steadily increasing proportion of so called ‘greenhouse gases’ in the atmosphere must be seen to be implausible. If one appreciates that the high latitudes of the southern hemisphere are cooler today than seven decades ago, then it is obvious that there are more influential factors at work. If one appreciates that the entire southern hemisphere is no warmer today in the month of December than it was in the nineteen fifties then a sensible person would have to conclude that something other than the ‘enhanced greenhouse effect’ is at work. The change in surface temperature is plainly not due to enhanced back radiation alone, if at all.
Indeed there are natural factors at work that have nothing to do with the activities of man. THE FUNDAMENTAL modes of natural climate change have been termed the Northern Annular Mode and the Southern Annular Mode. These modes involve shifts in atmospheric mass from high to mid and low latitudes and across the hemispheres accompanied by change in surface pressure, the winds and surface temperature.
Surface pressure simply reflects the total ozone content of the atmospheric column, an identity that was discovered more than 100 years ago. Ozone is material to the presence of what we call the stratosphere. It is change in the ozone content of the stratosphere that is responsible for change in surface pressure, surface winds, sea surface and air temperature.
I abandoned this blog for months while engaged in a project that demanded my full attention. During this period the election of Trump to the presidency of the USA and the appointment of men who understand that cheap and reliable energy is a requirement for economic growth and sustained living standards has led climate realists to think that the tide of manipulation designed to promote the idea of ‘renewables’ will been turned back and we can at last relax.
The last few days have been spent on the flat of my back. With little else to do I went to Google to discover whether any progress has been made in explaining the role of the annular modes …and indeed there has, but in Beijing, not in Washington or Colorado.
It is a treasure trove of useful observation and deduction.
A paper published in December 2016 is of the first importance
Xie, F., J. Li*, W. S. Tian, Q. Fu, F. F. Jin, Y. Y. Hu, J. K. Zhang, W. K. Wang, C. Sun, J. Feng, Y. Yang and R. Q. Ding, 2016:A connection from Arctic stratospheric ozone to El Niño-Southern oscillation. Environ. Res. Lett.,11, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/11/12/124026.
What is known as the El Nino Southern Oscillation represents the most spectacular manifestation of surface temperature change. This phenomenon has been described as an ‘oscillation’ that is said to be internal to the climate system. Not so. It has its origin in change in the stratosphere in high latitudes that is the subject of previous chapters in this blog. The most dramatic swings in the ozone content of the stratosphere occur in the northern hemisphere in winter.The poles are where climate change is initiated.
The authors conclude that: ‘understanding this kind of connection and potential feedback between the stratospheric tracer gases (such as ozone) and the climate system deserves more attention.’
It’s one thing to identify the chain of causation and another to understand and explain the physical processes behind it. It’s yet another to explain how and why ozone varies in the polar stratosphere and to explain the drivers that operate in the upper atmosphere where the Earth system is a part of the interplanetary environment. This is the real frontier in climate science.
There is no great urgency to discover and describe the mechanisms involved, no pressing need for massive funding unless humanity is led astray by false prophets. We can expect that those who have a vested interest in continued funding of their ‘global warming’enterprise will put up vociferous arguments to try and justify their claims. End of the day, the voters decide how their taxes are spent and it appears that, when offered a clear alternative, voters can work out when they are being ‘had’ and adjust accordingly. It’s possible to fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.
Let’s hope the tide has turned.
Its a worry that ‘global warming’ hysteria got as far as it did and did as much damage as it did before people woke up to what has been happening.
In general the planet warms as surface pressure increases in low and mid latitudes.
The chain of causation runs like this: Increased surface pressure is associated with increased geopotential height, extra warmth in the atmospheric column and a consequent reduction in the quotient of moisture held in the very expansive ice crystal form. As cloud cover diminishes more solar radiation reaches the surface of the planet. When energy is absorbed by the ocean it is stored to depth and, by virtue of ocean currents, re-distributed, fortuitously warming those parts that receive little solar energy.
In contrast, when solar energy falls on land it is swiftly, in the main overnight, returned to the atmosphere. The warming of the atmosphere that is occasioned in northern summer, due to the extensive land masses of that hemisphere, results in a global deficit of cloud cover in the middle of the year producing the annual maximum in planetary temperature when the Earth is furthest from the sun and solar irradiance 6% diminished by comparison with January. It should be obvious (how did climate scientists miss this?) that the primary dynamic determining surface temperature is the temperature of the atmosphere in relation to the moisture that it contains.
Please inspect the map below. The planetary winds drive ocean currents that mix cold waters from high latitudes and the ocean deep into the warm waters of the tropics. This is evident on the eastern margins of the oceans and particularly so in the southern hemisphere. The Indian Ocean is the odd man out with a weak cold current on its western margins and a warm, southward travelling, current on its eastern margin. The consequence is a relative backwater that is less affected by the mixing of cold with warm water.
It follows that the circulation of the oceans results in a very different thermal regime in each basin according to the the ocean currents that are primarily driven by the winds. As the winds evolve, so do the currents.
The table below documents the extent of the temperature increase over the last 68 years according to latitude and longitude in the three major ocean basins. For economy I focus on those latitudes that are warm enough to be relatively hospitable to man.
It is obvious that the bulk of the Pacific Ocean has not warmed to the same extent as the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. In terms of basin averages, in January the Indian Ocean has warmed by 0.87°C, The Pacific by 0.42°C and the Atlantic by 0.46°C. In July the Indian has warmed by 0.84°C the Pacific by 0.12°C and the Atlantic by 0.6°C. It is in July that the contrast between the oceans is strongest.It is the Indian Ocean that has warmed to the greatest extent.
THE SURFACE PRESSURE DYNAMIC
If we are to understand the differences in the rate of warming of the Ocean basins we need to comprehend to role of polar cyclones in high latitudes. Enhanced polar cyclone activity in the Antarctic circumpolar trough (red and orange in the map above) has, over the period of record, shifted atmospheric mass into low and mid latitudes from latitudes south of the 50° parallel. In consequence the high latitude west wind drift that is coextensive with the circumpolar trough, that drives cold water into the tropics, has accelerated. The flow is restricted at the Drake Passage between the Pacific and the Atlantic. Accordingly the Pacific Ocean cooled in parts and generally warmed at a much reduced rate when compared to the Indian and Atlantic Oceans.
The Indian Ocean is like the canary in the coalmine, a companion to the miner to warn him of a change in the quality of the air. The evolution of surface temperature in the Indian Ocean offers a glimpse of unfettered reality in terms of the march of surface temperature across the globe as it is forced by change in cloud cover associated with shifts in atmospheric mass and the change in the planetary winds.
The remainder of this chapter explores the shift in atmospheric mass from high southern latitudes and its relationship to surface pressure in the rest of the globe and the Indian Ocean in particular.
The discussion is is not based on the hypothetical constructs of a climate model or the abstruse mysteries of so called ‘planetary forcings’. Rather it is grounded in observation and measurement based on data as presented in the reanalysis work of Kalnay et al accessible here.
The graph below represents the evolution of surface pressure in the Indian Ocean south of the equator.We must to answer the question: Why is it so?
The entire southern hemisphere has not warmed in the month of December in the last 68 years. If surface temperature were being forced by increased back radiation from the atmosphere the southern hemisphere should warm in all months. There is no reason to expect the degree of warming due to a hypothetical increase in back radiation to be different in one month to another. We therefore discard the hypothesis that temperature at the surface is driven by the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere. We look for other mechanisms to explain the flux in surface temperature. Radiation theory is all very well but in the real world, inoperable. The concept of anthropogenic warming is a distraction from fairyland. We can, to advantage, be more discriminating in what we choose to believe.
SURFACE PRESSURE DYNAMICS
Figure 1 compares the evolution of sea level atmospheric pressure in the Antarctic circumpolar trough to all latitudes south of 50° south. It is plain that the relatively short term fluctuations in surface pressure in the larger entity are greater than in the ‘trough’. In point of fact the trough expands and contracts across the parallels affecting surface pressure in adjacent latitudes and in particular across the Antarctic continent. The agent of change is polar cyclone activity that is energised by differences in atmospheric density between very different parcels of air that meet in the region of the trough in the very broad interface between the stratosphere and the troposphere between about 400 hPa and 50 hPa. It is in this region that the strongest winds are to be found. Polar cyclones are generated aloft. This is the nature of the ‘coupling of the troposphere with the stratosphere’, a concept that is a postulate of conventional climate science but remains a mystery so far as its modes of causation is concerned. If one is wedded to radiation theory it limits the mind.
In figure 2 we compare the evolution of surface pressure south of the 50° south parallel of latitude with surface pressure north of that same parallel. If the total mass of the atmosphere were to be invariable we would expect a strictly reciprocal relationship. As pressure falls on one side of the 50th parallel it should rise on the other. Plainly, the increase, decrease and subsequent increase in surface pressure in concert, between 1948 and 1964, is evidence of a planetary evolution in the quantum of atmospheric mass perhaps associated with enhanced loss in very active solar cycles and incremental gain in quiet cycles. That is a subject for another day.
Plainly, since 1964 it is the reciprocal transfer relationship that dominates. When atmospheric mass is lost south of the 50th parallel it moves north the 50th parallel and vice versa.This process of exchange is referred to as the Antarctic Oscillation.
In figure 3 we compare the evolution of surface pressure in the Indian Ocean south of the equator through to 30°of latitude with that north of the 50th parallel.
Figure 4 presents the same information as in figure 3 but on two axes with independent scales. It’s plain that broadly speaking the Indian Ocean south of the equator gains and loses atmospheric mass in parallel with all points north of the 50th south parallel but there are short term differences. These discrepancies are likely due to complex interactions between the southern and the northern hemispheres where, depending on the time of the year the Arctic Oscillation imposes change in the southern hemisphere or in the reverse, the Antarctic Oscillation imposes change on the northern hemisphere, tending to produce ‘mirror image’ results. Short term variations in these two data series can be in opposite directions.
In figure 5 we compare the evolution of sea surface temperature in the Indian Ocean north of the equator with that south of the equator. The data is a twelve month moving average of monthly means so as to remove the seasonal influence. It is plain that the more extreme variations occur north of the equator. Nevertheless the series are very similar in their evolution with generally coincident peaks.
In figure 6 we compare the evolution of sea level pressure in the Indian Ocean to the south of the equator with the evolution of sea surface temperature in the Indian Ocean north of the equator. Sea surface temperature tends to lag surface pressure by a few months. Plainly the Antarctic Oscillation affects sea surface temperature via coincident heating of the atmospheric column as reflected in increased geopotential height driving a reduction in cloud cover.
Figure 7 looks at the relationship between geopotential height and sea surface temperature. Note that geopotential height is strongly related to sea surface temperature but the relationship is not proportional. It is not the increase in sea surface temperature that drives the increase in geopotential height but warming of the air column due to the increase in the ozone content of the air within descending columns of air. These air columns reflect in their temperature the increased surface pressure, the increased warming at the surface and the increase in the ozone content of the descending air. At 200 hPa the air is warmer in winter than in summer due to enhanced ozone content in winter. The temperature of the air is independent of the temperature of the surface over which it lies.
In figure 8 we focus on monthly data. Shown is the departure of a particular month’s data from the whole of period average for that month.
This graph reveals a climate system that is capable of swinging between a sea surface temperature anomaly of about -0.3°C and +1.2°C in an interval of between one and six years. The amplitude of this variation is almost double the increase in temperature that has occurred in the Indian Ocean over the last 68 years. In this circumstance we should simply move on. There is nothing exceptional about this increase in temperature. There is no need to invoke new modes of causation to explain this phenomenon.
Why has surface pressure and sea surface temperature in the Indian Ocean increased almost continuously since 2011? The answer lies in the forces that determine polar cyclone activity in the Antarctic circumpolar trough. Those circumstances relate to the changing nature of the atmosphere in the area of overlap between the stratosphere and the troposphere in high southern latitudes.
As Gordon Dobson observed back in 1925, surface pressure is a by-product of total column ozone. Low pressure cells have more ozone aloft and exhibit a lower tropopause than high pressure cells.
Ultimately polar cyclone activity and surface temperature together with wind direction and intensity and the extent of mixing in the ocean are a function of the ozone content of the air in high latitudes.
To what extent is the temperature of the surface of the sea simply a reflection of a variable rate of mixing of the volumes of cold water from high latitudes and the deep ocean into the warmer waters of low and mid latitudes?
To what extent is the variation in surface temperature due to a change in cloud cover?
To what extent is the variation in surface temperature due to a ‘greenhouse effect’ as the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere increases?
At the outset we can dismiss the notion that a greenhouse effect drives surface temperature. The Southern Hemisphere has not warmed in December for seven decades. In logic (science) one instance of failure is sufficient to reject a hypothesis. If one persists with a failed hypothesis one is engaged in a religious observance rather than science.
Figures 1 a,b,c and d are tendered in support of this observation
Figure 1 a, b, c and d. data source Kalnay et al reanalysis here. The arrow in 1d is horizontal.
It is plain from the data in figure 1 c that temperature evolves differently according to the month of the year, that it increases and decreases and the rate of change is highly variable.
If we are to understand climate change, it is the highly variable evolution of surface temperature from month to month that we need to explain.
EVOLUTION OF TEMPERATURE ACCORDING TO LOCATION AND TIME
To investigate the mixing of cold with warm water and temperature change due to cloud effects, it is useful to look at raw data that describes the surface temperature of the ocean at a moment in time.
The Earth can be divided into discrete zones according to latitude and longitude. Figure 2 represents one of these zones at 30-40° north latitude. Plainly, there are zones in the North Pacific Ocean where temperature has declined over the last seventy years.
For this analysis the globe can be divided into twelve zones according to longitude in each of four latitude bands namely 30-40° south, 0-30° south, 0-30° north and 30-40° north. In zones dominated by land data is not reported. The upshot is that there are twenty nine zones with large bodies of water to consider.
Figure 3 shows sea surface temperature on the 17th of September 2016. Superimposed are numbers indicating whole of period change for both January and July, the two months that are known to exhibit the greatest variability. Note that it is the change in the Excel calculated trend line that is reported here rather than simply the difference in the temperature between the first and last month.
For clarity the data is presented again in table 1.
If we consider increases of 0.9° C and more as notably extreme, it is in the southern hemisphere in the 0-30° latitude band and the 30-40° south latitude bands that extreme warming is observed. Look for the numbers in white on the map and the cells in yellow in in table 1.. Change smaller than 0.2°C is marked in green and enclosed with a border.
Generalising we can say that temperature advance is more a southern than a northern hemisphere phenomenon. Between the equator and 30° south the increase in January is notable. At 30-40° south the increase in June is notable. The Pacific is both peaceful and more stable in its temperature than the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Some areas of the Pacific are cooler today than they were seventy years ago.
Why does temperature change exhibit such diversity?
WIND AS DRIVER
The lowest surface atmospheric pressure occurs in the Antarctic circumpolar trough that is located over the Southern Ocean on the margins of the Antarctic continent. There is no counterpart to this extreme trough in surface pressure in the northern hemisphere where moderately low surface pressure is found over the continents in summer and the sea in winter. Accordingly, across the entire globe, including the tropics, air moves towards the south east, spiralling towards the Antarctic circumpolar trough. Locally, counter currents exist with the movement of the air in other directions but this north- west to south- east flow is the dominant pattern. Part of the counter flow is moist air that moves from the equator into mid and high latitudes, especially in the northern hemisphere, bringing moisture and warmth to cold locations far from the equator. This is a counter flow to the trade winds and without this flow high latitudes would be both colder and drier. Counter flows are in part monsoonal in nature but they also derive from the fact that on a local scale, air circulates about cells of low and high surface pressure.
The strongest winds on the planet are the westerlies of the southern hemisphere. These are also the most variable winds due to the ever changing relationship between surface atmospheric pressure in the mid latitudes and the Antarctic circumpolar trough. This westerly flow has become progressively more extreme over the last seventy years. Oscillations in the flow are consistent with change in the ‘Antarctic Oscillation index’. This change, that is globally influential, is driven by the changing intensity of cyclonic activity in the Antarctic circumpolar trough.
With the notable exception of the Indian Ocean, currents circulate in a clockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere and anticlockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. Currents are forced by the planetary winds. Since the strongest of these winds are the westerlies of the Southern Ocean, this is where the movement of the ocean is most vigorous. The West Wind Drift of the southern ocean is interrupted by the near conjunction of the South American land mass and the Antarctic Peninsula. A certain amount of up-welling occurs in coastal waters promoting strong fisheries on the Eastern margins of the Oceans, particularly off the coast of Chile. A failure in this up-welling involves a collapse in the fishery. The intensity of up-welling changes the pattern of surface temperature and as we see in table 1 the effect is very much greater in the Pacific.
Notable is the northward extension of warm waters to provide a more equable climate to the western margins of the ocean basins in the northern hemisphere. Because these flows are anomalously warm as they reach the eastern margins of the ocean basins, so the western margins of both North America and Europe are warmer than they would be in the absence of these warm waters. The Gulf Stream is an instance but the Eastern Pacific is equally an example. There is no comparable situation in the southern hemisphere because the northward flow of cold Antarctic waters on the western margins of the southern continents is deterministic.
Limiting this tendency to equable temperatures on the eastern margins of the major oceans, cold water from high latitudes is driven towards the tropics. This is particularly the case in the Pacific (the largest basin) and more particularly in the southern hemisphere. Anomalously cold water is therefore found in the region of the Galapagos Islands and also from Cape Town to Sierra Leonie. Cold water coursing along the coast towards the equator tends to promote precipitation over the ocean rather than the land,and the desertification of adjacent land.
In complete contrast, the Western coast of Western Australia is warmed by a southerly flowing current. The Indian Ocean is atypical in that it circulates weakly in an anticlockwise direction with anomalously cool water moving northwards along the East coast of Africa penetrating to the Persian Gulf and the coast of India. Perhaps it is the strength of the monsoonal influence in this part of the world that dictates this contrary circulation. Accordingly the relative backwater that is the Indian Ocean has produced the steepest increase in sea surface temperature over the last seven decades. There is an increase of 1.3°C between Africa and Australia in the 0-30° latitude band in the month of January. The Atlantic south of the equator, also exhibits a temperature increase of about 1°C with an increase of 1.3°C on the west coast of the African continent, again in the southern hemisphere.
The pattern of warming and cooling is of interest because it comes about via the joint influence of the change in cloud cover, change in the rate of admixing of cold waters from high latitudes and the up-welling of cold water from the ocean deep. Plainly the rate of temperature increase in the Pacific has been moderated and even reversed by comparison with the Indian and Atlantic Oceans.
As already noted, the increase in the temperature of waters south of the equator is greater than the increase in the temperature of the waters of the northern hemisphere in comparable latitudes. This increase has occurred despite the obvious cooling influence due to the West Wind Drift that is so apparent in the Pacific. This exaggerated surface temperature increase is consistent with the marked increase in surface pressure, geopotential height and upper air temperature in the low and mid latitudes of the southern hemisphere. A southward expansion of the zone of high surface pressure in the mid latitudes of the southern hemisphere can be described as an expansion of the Hadley Cell. So the heavy temperature increase in these latitudes is unequivocally due to a decline in cloud cover.
But there are large areas across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans that have experienced smaller increases in temperature and others zones where a decline in temperature has occurred due to the admixture of cold water with the intensification of the planetary winds that has occurred over time. In June there is significant cooling at 30-40° north probably due to enhanced interaction with the Arctic Ocean. The corollary is a decline in ice coverage in the Arctic. This cooling follows from the acceleration of the westerly winds in high latitudes, and especially so in the southern hemisphere.
SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE, ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE AND CLOUD
The relationship between surface pressure and sea surface temperature is documented in figure 4.
The root cause of the increase in surface pressure in the low and mid latitudes of the southern hemisphere is the decline in surface pressure in the region of the circumpolar trough that surrounds Antarctica. This is in turn related to the increase in the ozone content and the temperature of the stratosphere. As Gordon Dobson observed in the 1920s, following on from the work of the pioneering French meteorologist deBort in the last decade of the 19th century, surface pressure is a reflection of the ozone content of the upper portion of the atmospheric column. As surface pressure falls away the tropopause is found at ever lower elevations. Differences in air density between air masses rich and poor in their ozone content gives rise to jet streams that manifest as polar cyclones at the surface. As the vorticity of polar cyclones within the Antarctic circumpolar trough varies, so surface pressure changes across the rest of the globe via mass exchange. A fall in pressure in the Antarctic trough signals a shift in atmospheric mass to latitudes north of about 50° south. It is this shift in mass that is associated with the rising air temperature and diminishing cloud cover in the low and mid latitudes of both hemispheres. Declining cloud cover is associated with rising air temperatures in the cloud zone reflected in increasing geopotential height at 500 hPa. This particular association is frequently the subject of comment in meteorological circles. Ozone is ubiquitous; ozone gathers infrared energy from the Earth itself and heats the air, its efficiency in this respect increasing with surface pressure. It provides more energy to the troposphere than it does to the stratosphere. In this way the extent of cloud cover depends upon the changing flux of ozone in the air.
To understand the evolution of climate we must discard propositions that are devoid of value and re-learn that which was pioneered more than a century ago.
Of major importance to the evolution of surface temperature are ocean currents that depend upon the planetary winds for their motion.
The origin, temperature and humidity of moving air changes according to the flux in the ozone content of the air in centres of low surface pressure. Change is initiated in the stratosphere in high latitudes chiefly in winter. This is ultimately what drives climate change at the surface with a very different pattern of temperature change according to the month of the year. Man is a minnow of little consequence in the grand scheme of things.
In general the pattern of evolution in surface temperature in the near coastal areas of those parts of the Earth favourable to human settlement is dictated by the interception and storage of solar energy by the oceans as mediated by cloud cover. Temperature change at particular locations is mediated by the movement in the waters of the oceans that represent most of the surface of the planet. The oceans are the chief organ for energy storage by virtue of transparency to solar radiation. Energy storage occurs below the surface. Our ability to monitor the temperature of the ocean below the surface is limited. Until we can assess temperatures below the surface there is no valid way to monitor the energy relationships that determine the evolution of temperature above the surface. One should not put too much reliance on surface temperature as an indication of the state of the system over intervals shorter than a decade.
The anthropogenic argument is not a product of observation or deduction but a form of hysteria. Its origin is in the dis-tempered gut of modern man, reeling from the pace of change and the pressures of urban living. Perhaps it is due to a feeling of helplessness in a world in which there is more regulation, more complexity, greater inter-dependence and perhaps a feeling of chronic uncertainty due to the fact that ever increasing numbers enjoy less of the fruits of their toil, governments are piling up debt and seem to be out of touch with the needs of the common man.
In a planet that is too cool for both comfort and productivity man should not worry when the surface warms slightly, a frequent and highly beneficial circumstance in the evolution of the Earth. When we start shedding clothes in winter because we need to cool down, that will be the time to worry.
Worry induces a search for remedies and mankind becomes susceptible to the wiles of multitudes of carpetbagging rent seekers, keen to exploit the situation. That, unfortunately is the situation. Too many carpetbaggers have staked a claim on the general revenue. Central banks fund ever increasing deficits creating spending power where none is earned. This is irresponsibility on a grand scale. The economic system appears to be lurching towards a catastrophic collapse.
The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
This post revises key concepts that relate to the evolution of climate. Good teaching is about saying it again in slightly different ways until it sinks in. This caters for the students who can’t tune in at a particular time and many others whose perceptual frameworks are sort of ‘frozen’. Its also possible that the message can be delivered without the necessary flair.
Knock-knock. New idea. Fundamental to the nature of Earth is the difference between the warmth of low latitudes and the cold of high latitudes. Without the redistribution of energy by wind and water the extent of the habitable latitudes would be tiny. In the tropics there is little variation in the nature of the air from day to day. But in the mid and high latitudes change is the rule. When the wind changes in a systematic fashion to establish new states, we have climate change. The further we depart from the equator, the greater is the change that is experienced.
The air moves from zones of high to zones of low surface pressure. Pre-eminent in terms of low surface pressure is the Antarctic Circumpolar Trough. It is the zone coloured orange in figure 1.
Kalnay et al’s reanalysis of 1996 to be found here. shows the evolution of surface pressure by latitude over time and is presented in a graphical format in figures 2 and 3.
Plainly, the work that is done in redistributing energy across the latitudes is dependent on the evolution of surface pressure in the Antarctic Circumpolar trough and to a lesser extent the latitudes north of 50-60° north.
Figure 4 plots the temperature of the air as it evolved in the year 2015 at 500 hPa at 40-60° of latitude in the northern hemisphere at left and the southern at right. Plainly there is a north-west to south-east orientation in the movement of the air masses as the atmosphere super-rotates about the Earth in the same direction that the Earth rotates, but faster. The speed of rotation increases in the southern hemisphere where the angle of attack is more aligned with the parallels of latitude. The air spirals from north to south at all latitudes.Warmer parcels will have an ascending tendency while colder parcels will be descending.
THE IMPORTANCE OF POLAR CYCLONES
New Concept: It is polar cyclones that are responsible for the intensity and evolution of the circumpolar trough.
A core theme of this work is that Polar Cyclones are energised by warm, low density cores in that space where the troposphere overlaps with the stratosphere. Differences in the ozone content of the air gives rise to differences in air density. A chain of cyclones on the margins of Antarctica give rise to a rapidly circulating polar vortex in the stratosphere. There are no limits to convection in the stratosphere.
In summer the air rises to the limits of the atmosphere directly over the continent of Antarctica but in winter there is descent. A rising cone of air surrounds the zone of descent. This cone is sometimes described as a polar vortex. The cone begins at 300 hPa over the circumpolar trough and widens to take in the mid latitudes at the highest levels.
The upper troposphere/Lower stratosphere in the region of the circumpolar trough is characterised by intense mixing of air from diverse origins, the troposphere, the stratosphere and the mesosphere.
Between October and March the cone of ascending air below 50 hPa tightens like a hangman’s noose bringing air from the troposphere to the pole, creating an ozone hole, the falling away of surface pressure at this time of the year associated with generalised ascent over the Antarctic continent and so excluding the flow of air from the mesosphere that descends throughout winter.
That the circumpolar trough is due to differences in the ozone content of the upper air should be non-controversial.
THE DENSITY OPACITY OF THE GREEN BLOB
The circumpolar trough is an unremarkable aspect of the atmosphere in the view of UNIPCC. The significance of its presence is unappreciated. This is not an unusual state of affairs in the annals of humanity. In fact, ‘Climate Science’ has not leaned a lot about atmospheric dynamics since the time of the pioneer Bjerknes who published a work on the near surface characteristics of polar cyclones in 1922.
It is realised, at least in meteorological circles, that a trigger is required for the formation of low pressure cells of rotating air in the region of the circumpolar trough. That trigger is an upper level trough, a mass of warmer, low density ozone rich air.
In 1922 it was not apparent that the most vigorous winds are located in the overlap between the stratosphere and the troposphere. Neither was it apparent that cold ozone deficient air from both the mesosphere and the tropical troposphere are drawn towards the circumpolar front in the space shared by the upper troposphere and the lower stratosphere.
In fact the concept of a ‘stratosphere’ was pretty new in 1922. In many respects we have not moved on from that position despite the passage of 100 years. Indeed much that was known prior to the 1970’s has since been forgotten in parallel with the increasing concern that man and the environment in which he lives are incompatible entities. Educators went off in socially responsible directions. A fabulous gravy train was created for scientists and space agencies and all those who aspire to gain their daily bread by looking after the environment, painstakingly monitoring the activities of a an every increasing panoply of despoilers, at one end mighty global corporations and at the other the humble cow that provides the milk for your morning cereal irresponsibly farting in its field of green. Such is the work of the modern missionary.
The intensification of polar cyclones in winter, and the consequent lower surface pressure at that time of the year is due to the proliferation of ozone. Gordon Dobson observed in the 1920’s that, in high and mid latitudes low surface pressure identifies areas with high total column ozone. Dobson measured wind velocity and discovered that the strongest winds were not at the surface but in the region of the tropopause. The tropopause is kilometres lower when surface pressure is low than when surface pressure is high. This circumstance may be described as an upper level ‘trough’, a zone of reduced air density that shows up in elevated geopotential height contours. Had Bjerknes apprehended the structure of the upper air we would not now be worrying about carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We would be aware that the source of long term climate change, the source of decadal variations, the source of inter-annual variations and indeed our daily weather lies in variations in the ozone content of the stratosphere. We would be at peace with the notion that our ‘rather too cool for comfort’ planet gains and loses energy according to change in the extent of its cloud cover.
The notion that the climate of the Earth is independent of external influences is a basic tenet of ‘climate science’ as promulgated by the UNIPCC. It is maintained that the only way in which the sun could influence surface temperature is via a variation in TSI (total solar irradiance). Since TSI is invariable it is held that the sun can not be responsible for any variation in surface temperature. In consequence it is maintained that the flux in surface temperature is internally generated and that surface temperature will increase as a function of back radiation from so called ‘greenhouse gases’, the chief of which is carbon dioxide.
But the assumption that change is internally generated is unwarranted. The most cursory examination of the climate record reveals that the Earth has natural modes of climate variation capable of increasing and decreasing surface temperature and to do so at different rates at different latitudes and also between the hemispheres. In this post I will demonstrate that the Earth’s climate system is an open system, that responds to external influences so as to increase and decrease surface temperature. Furthermore, I will demonstrate that this is the only mode of climate variation that is in operation.
The UNIPCC has a discussion of the Northern and Southern Annular modes here. Climate models are incapable of simulating these natural modes of change. Nor will models be able to simulate the change until the underlying mechanics are understood. Currently, the discussion is about ‘troposphere-stratosphere coupling processes’ jargon for the manner in which change that originates in the stratosphere ‘propagates to the troposphere’. The argument as to whether change begins in the troposphere or the stratosphere is ongoing.
If we investigate the, by now very well documented, ‘Northern and Southern Annular Modes’ of natural climate change we observe:
At all points on the Earths surface temperature is most variable in winter being driven by Arctic processes that are most influential in January and February and Antarctic processes that are most influential in June and July.
An interchange of atmospheric mass occurs in winter between high latitudes and the rest of the globe. This changes the balance in the pressure relationships that determine the strength and direction of the planetary winds. In consequence there is change in the equator to pole temperature gradient. In general, because surface pressure is lowest in the region of the circumpolar trough that surrounds the Antarctic continent air flows from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere and from equatorial regions towards Antarctica producing warmer or cooler temperatures at each point along the route according to the origin and strength of the flow of air that emanates from warm or cold places.The natural state of the climate system involves a transition between these warm and cold regimes.
As atmospheric mass shifts from high to mid and low latitudes surface pressure increases in the latter and it is observed that surface temperature increases in proportion to surface pressure, geopotential height at 500 hPa and the temperature of the air above 500 hPa. Plainly, the surface temperature response is due to change in cloud cover. However, this point is not be made in the literature due to ideological fixation on the notion that surface temperature must be a product of downward radiation from radiating gases. So, the relationship between geopotential height and surface temperature may be acknowledged but is never explained.
The agent of shifts in atmospheric mass is the relative intensity of polar cyclones that collectively constitute the Antarctic Circumpolar Trough. The vorticity of these cyclones is driven by contrast in air density between 300 hPa and 50 hPa where the stratosphere overlaps with the troposphere and marked conjunctional disparities in tropopause height can be observed. This is where warm ozone rich air from the mid latitudes meets cold, ozone deficient air that occupies the the polar cap in winter. Here, the ozone content of the air is a strong driver of air density. It is observed that air masses characterised by low surface pressure are rich in ozone aloft while air masses that exhibit high surface pressure are relatively deficient in ozone aloft emanating from either the tropics or the Antarctic continent. All air streams meet at the Antarctic circumpolar trough and the contrast in the nature of these air streams is greatest in winter.
It is observed that the ozone content of the air in high latitudes increases strongly in winter, providing the energy, via the absorption of long wave radiation from the Earth itself to drive convectional uplift to the limits of the atmosphere where ozone accumulates in localised ‘hot spots’ like the north Pacific or the western Pacific in the region of New Zealand.
The exchange of atmospheric mass that occurs between the high altitudes of the southern hemisphere and the rest of the globe has a fulcrum approximately at 45° -50° south latitude. That fulcrum moves marginally towards the equator when polar surface pressure is reduced and pole-wards when polar surface pressure increases.
Figure 1 documents the reciprocal relationship in atmospheric surface pressure either side of the 50° south parallel. Enhanced polar cyclone activity lowers surface pressure south of 50° of latitude and antithetically, relaxation of polar cyclone activity allows atmospheric mass to return to high southern latitudes.
The ozone content of mid to high latitude air is enhanced in winter. Logically the enhancement is not a product of reduced ionisation pressure due to low sun angle because enhancement is uneven and episodic in nature. The early months of the year when atmospheric mass tends to be drawn to the Arctic, depleting Antarctic surface pressure, is a period when the ozone content of the air on the equatorial side of the Antarctic circumpolar trough is seasonally low. On the other hand, the mid winter months are periods where surface pressure in the high latitudes of the southern hemisphere is high. It is in these mid and late winter months, when polar surface pressure is enhanced, that the ozone content of the air varies most dramatically, and with it polar cyclone activity. It is in these months, where the norm is high surface pressure, that the opportunity for wholesale shifts in atmospheric mass is at its greatest.
It is uncontroversial that the ozone content of the stratosphere depends upon the the ionisation of the oxygen molecule by short wave radiation from the sun. Where this actually occurs and how the ozone content of the air gets to be most elevated at the time and in the locations where short wave radiation is seasonably unavailable should be a matter of great scientific interest. It will no doubt become so when those who study climate open their minds to the possibility to external regulation of the climate system….an open rather than a closed system. Would it not be astoundingly remarkable if the earth system were to be entirely free and independent of external influences? All our experience on Earth is that interdependence and adaptation are pervasive features of natural systems. Why should the Earth be free of influences emanating from its inter-terrestrial environment?
In high latitudes, cosmic rays, emanating not from the sun but from intergalactic space ionise the atmosphere. The neutron monitor that measures the incidence of these rays at the south Poles is pictured below.
"Neutron monitors of the Bartol Research Institute are supported by the National
Neutron data from the Bartol Research institute can be accessed here
The daily Antarctic Oscillation Index (AAO) can be accessed here
To interpret figure 2 one mus be cognisant of the fact that the AAO index can be taken to represent the reciprocal of high latitude surface pressure. When the AAO index rises it indicates a decline in surface pressure south of the 50° parallel of latitude.
Figure 2 indicates that as the neutron count increases surface pressure falls away in high southern latitudes. The surface pressure response appears to lag the neutron count by about a week. It is inferred that ionisation by cosmic rays enables the production of ozone that in turn absorbs long wave radiation from the Earth, enhancing differences in the density of the air and driving polar cyclone activity that is responsible for shifts in atmospheric mass.
It is thought that the intensity of cosmic rays outside the Earth environment is relatively invariable. Within the environment of the Earth and its atmosphere the neutron count, a product of cosmic ray activity, is a function of solar activity. In this reversed out fashion the sun indirectly regulates the ozone content of the atmosphere in high latitudes, the distribution of atmospheric mass and surface temperature. This is, in all likelihood, just one of a many ways that the sun influences the atmosphere of the Earth and surface temperature. The gravitational effect of the moon is a prime candidate so far as the modulation in the flux of atmospheric mass is concerned. The ionising effect of short wave radiation inflates the atmosphere and will condition its response to electromagnetic influences. It should be born in mind that the atmosphere super-rotates with respect to the rotation of the Earth itself and its rate of rotation very likely responds to the electromagnetic environment that is more powerful with elevation, and more so over the poles than at the equator.
Figure 3 indicates that 2015 represents a recent low point in the incidence of cosmic rays as sunspot activity peaks in solar cycle 24. Neutron counts have increased strongly at Thule during 2016. Southern winter has seen a further steep fall in surface pressure in high southern latitudes as documented in figure 4.
Figure 4 indicates that in general sea level pressure varies in a reciprocal fashion either side of the 50° latitude band in the southern hemisphere while surface pressure at 40-50° south is relatively constant.
Surface temperature on Earth is a product of the planets dependence on the intergalactic environment in which it exists. Important aspects of that environment include emanations from the sun and also from beyond the solar system.
There is good reason to believe that the modes of natural climate change described here can account for the entire spectrum of climate change since 1848. Witness the fact that there has been no increase in surface temperature in the month of December since 1948-56 as documented in figure 5 below. If surface temperature were responding to the increased presence of CO2 one would expect to see a background level of warming in every month. Plainly this is not the case. Plainly, warming and cooling is regulated according to change that originates in high southern latitudes in winter.