37 OZONE DRIVES ATMOSPHERIC DYNAMICS

In this post I give an account of the data provided in two papers from a group of authors who have described the the nature of the atmosphere and its dynamics in terms of its ozone content. The work creates a framework that advances our understanding of atmospheric processes and how they relate to external influences in an open system. In introducing the papers I provide an interpretation of atmospheric dynamics that goes beyond that of the authors and it will be best if readers go direct to the originals as a preliminary activity before reading what follows.

The Total Ozone Field Separated into Meteorological Regimes. Part I: Defining the Regimes ROBERT D. HUDSON, ALEXANDER D. FROLOV, MARCOS F. ANDRADE, AND MELANIE B. FOLLETTE  Published in 2003 and accessed here.

THE ABSTRACT

Traditionally, studies in the stratosphere using column ozone amount, ozone profiles, and dynamical variables at midlatitudes have centered on zonal averages of these quantities made over specific latitude bands. This is in sharp contrast to the studies made within the polar vortices where the average is made within regions defined by potential vorticity, a meteorological parameter. An analysis of the ozone field in the Northern Hemisphere outside of the polar vortex is presented in which it is shown that this field can also be separated into meteorological regimes. These regimes are defined as 1) the tropical regime, between the equator and the subtropical front; 2) the midlatitude regime, between the subtropical and polar fronts; 3) the polar regime, between the polar front and the polar vortex; and 4) the arctic regime, within the polar vortex. Within each regime the zonal daily mean total ozone value is relatively constant, with a clearly separate value for each regime. At the same time, the stratospheric ozone profiles are clearly distinguishable between regimes, each regime having a unique tropopause height. A midlatitude zonal average, whether of ozone profiles, total ozone, or dynamical variables, will depend on the relative mix of the respective values within each regime over the latitude range of the average. Because each regime has its own distinctive characteristic, these averages may not have physical significance.

Here is the  introduction to the work:

Dobson et al. (1927) reported ground-based measurements of the total column ozone using a spectrometer that observed the solar ultraviolet irradiance. They noted that when an upper-tropospheric front passed over the instrument, the total ozone value either dropped or rose sharply. Shalamyanskiy and Romanshkina (1980) and later Karol et al. (1987) divided ground-based total ozone measurements into three regions, separated by the polar and subtropical jet streams. They found that total ozone and temperature profiles had small variability within each region but changed sharply at the polar and subtropical fronts. The same change in ozone across a frontal boundary can be seen in the data from the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS; McPeters et al. 1996).

Now, the authors don’t go on to say that the  jet streams at the fronts are a product of a contrast in air density in part due to the heating activity of ozone. They must give due respect to the school of climate science that sees the Earth as a closed system. If they took account of their own observation that, when moving from equator to Pole, the tropopause steps down in elevation at the subtropical front and again at the polar front where, on the polar side of the front there is no tropopause at all, thereby giving rise to severe gradients in atmospheric density then perhaps they might hypothesise that ozone is THE critical factor giving rise to jet streams, determining the weather patterns in the troposphere and the evolution of climate over time. But we must bear in mind that the climate establishment would punish them if they ventured that viewpoint. It is safer to leave the question open to interpretation. Those who would maintain that the distribution of ozone is a product of atmospheric dynamics in the lower troposphere and the chlorine content of the polar atmosphere due to the escape of chlorofluorocarbons into the atmosphere from refrigerants etc etc, can then interpret matters as they prefer.

In establishment climate science there is no concept of ozone variation on an inter annual basis due to the activity of the mesospheric vortex at the pole or ozone production due to cosmic radiation. The atmosphere is not an electromagnetic medium capable of change in its rate of rotation due to change in the solar wind. In the conventional viewpoint the temperature of the stratosphere is not driven by the absorption of long wave radiation from the Earth by ozone but by the interception of short wave radiation from the sun. In other words the direct impact of short wave radiation from the sun as held to be the reason for the temperature of the stratosphere even on the night side and regardless of latitude. The planetary winds are held to be driven according to the energy absorbed in near equatorial latitudes. Adherents don’t know how the atmosphere is shifted from high latitudes to low latitudes and wont be drawn to speculate on that matter at all. The blinkers are very firmly in place. Grant money and ones livelihood is at stake. Privately, one may admit in a whisper, that the Emperor has no clothes but publicly he is beautifully arrayed in the most impressive garments that money can buy.

In spite of these niceties some very useful analytical work has been done that establishes the distribution of ozone in relation to the position of the subtropical and polar fronts and there are big surprises that have very important implications in furthering our understanding of atmospheric dynamics..

Dist of ozone
Fig 1

In terms of atmospheric dynamics in the northern hemisphere we can note that the situation is different to that in the southern hemisphere. The circumpolar trough in surface atmospheric pressure surrounding Antarctica is so deep, and persistent across all seasons as to act as a global sink, conditioning the movement of the atmosphere globally. By contrast, in the northern hemisphere a trough of sorts develops in the north Pacific in winter associated with regional ascent of ozone rich air to the top of the atmospheric column while high surface pressure that is associated with the Antarctic continent in winter is associated with the Eurasian continent during winter, in the same latitude as the North Pacific low pressure zone.

It should be emphasised at the outset that the data in this study relates to a single day, the 11th March 1990. I will explore the importance of this choice by way of a postscript. In now way is the legitimacy or the conclusions of this study adversely affected by the fact that the data represents a single day. In fact, it is only by concentrating ones effort on single day that one can discern the dynamics at work.

Of immediate interest is that the stretched Mercator’s projection of Fig 1 involves spatial distortion. The fingers of low ozone content air interlaced with fingers of high ozone content air would look different  in a polar stereo-graphic view and they are strictly an artefact of the circulation on a particular day. The configuration of the northern hemisphere circulation is complex and ever changing due to the distribution of land and sea. If we were looking at the very much simpler circulation in the southern hemisphere it would be immediately apparent that air of tropical origin is drawn into a super-rotating west to east circulation with its highest rate of rotation at the polar vortex. The vortex is a feature of the stratosphere linked to an ascending circulation  via a chain of polar cyclones that entrain air from the troposphere, air from the stratosphere and air from the polar cap that has descended  from the mesosphere. The vorticity of these polar cyclones and the stratospheric vortex depends upon contrasts in air density between one side of the vortex and the other.Note the  location of the blue area (high ozone) and the green area (low ozone) in relation to the  vortex.  The authors locate the vortex  in  this way:  The solid red line marks the position of the sharp gradient in the isentropic potential vorticity (IPV) contours on the 450- K isentropic surface, which traditionally is assumed to mark the edge of the polar vortex”.  

The 450-K  isentropic surface lies between 70 mb and 50 mb pressure surfaces. This is at the altitude where ozone is in greatest abundance in the vertical profile. It is unequivocally in the stratosphere. It will therefore be the location where the ozone density gradient  is steeper than anywhere else in the vertical profile giving rise to very strong winds. Notice that there are two gaps in the the blue-black zone of highest ozone content These are areas of downdraught of low ozone content mesospheric air associated with the high pressure cells over land. One lies over East Asia and the other in the vicinity of Iceland. It is no accident that the vortex follows the junction of high ozone content warm air to the south and low ozone content cold air to the north. Unequivocally, elevated vorticity is linked to differences in air density linked to the origin of the air, its trace gas content, including ozone and NOx (not shown but  always present in air from the troposphere),  the formation of polar cyclones and therefore the flux in surface pressure between high latitudes and elsewhere that varies on all time scales. This flux in the pressure differential between high and mid latitudes is measured as the Arctic Oscillation and the Antarctic Oscillation.

What is described as the polar front in this work is likely a near surface phenomenon, the outer interface of a chain of polar cyclones that feed air into the Polar Vortex. The zone between the polar font and the polar vortex has very high ozone values. It is a zone of intense convection that is generated at the elevation of the Polar Vortex, propagating down to the surface where its troposphere manifestation is called a ‘cold core’ polar cyclone. No cyclone can develop with a cold core. The warm core is aloft where ozone captures outgoing radiation from the Earth.

TRANSITIONS AND UNEXPECTED HOMOGENEITY

Hudson et al notes in respect of the ozone data: The average for all of the data slowly increases with latitude until the polar vortex is reached. On the other hand, the average for the tropical, mid latitude, and polar regimes is relatively constant over a wide range of overlapping latitudes. There is also a clear difference between the average total ozone amounts for each of these regimes.

The transition zone between these dissimilar regions  is referred to as a ‘front’. The Polar Front only exists in the winter months when mesospheric air descends  to jet stream altitudes its rate of flow and integration with the wider atmosphere  contributing to the flux in the ozone content of the atmosphere generally. But this is not a  dynamic that is mentioned in this work. In summer there is no descent of mesospheric air and its disappearance is described as the final warming of the stratosphere after which the air over the polar cap gently ascends. In summer a  high ozone values over the Arctic  Ocean contribute to generalised ascent and the jet stream structures are fragmented.

Hudson et al reports that the fronts between different ozone regimes exhibit the same ozone content around the entire globe at any particular time. However the values are different according to the month of the year.See figure 3 below: In winter the fronts have higher ozone values than in summer. This emphasises the basic cell like structure and the homogeneity found within cells.

At the polar front the ozone value is highest in February. Readers of earlier chapters in this work will know that surface temperature variability between 30° south and 90° north latitude is greatest in January and February. There is a causal connection. The year to year variability in ozone partial pressure at the polar front is greatest in winter when ozone partial pressure is highest. In the transition from autumn to winter surface pressure over the Arctic rises strongly in November as the Antarctic releases atmospheric mass as the final warming in the stratosphere takes place. The increase in mass in the Arctic in November is reflected in the Arctic Oscillation Index (low values). In December, as ozone builds giving rise to active polar cyclones, surface pressure in high latitudes falls just as strongly as it has risen in the transition from autumn to winter. In this way, as Gordon Dobson observed, surface pressure is linked to the ozone content of the air. More importantly, as surface pressure falls in the Arctic a warm wind from the south finds its way further north bringing clement conditions. The zone of Ascent in the North Pacific develops strongly taking ozone to the top of the column. The  return circulation brings ozone into the high pressure cells of the mid latitudes, warming the air, increasing geopotential height, reducing cloud cover and increasing surface temperature.

These points are worth repeating. Gordon Dobson pointed out that ozone maps surface pressure with high ozone values corresponding to low surface pressure. Low pressure in the Arctic brings a flood of warm air from the south. Cool air is replaced by warm air. This is the Arctic Oscillation in action. In more recent terminology the AO is called the ‘Northern Annular mode’. It is not in the interest of the authors of this study to link ozone dynamics to change in surface temperature wrought by a change in the origin of the air. The notion that surface temperature is a response to the presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has to be maintained if ones work is to appear in academic journals like ‘Science’ although the newly appointed editor of Science is reported to be saying that ‘science’ has lost integrity in the process of suppressing competing viewpoints. See here where it is reported that:  “Science editor-in-chief sounds alarm over falling public trust. Jeremy Berg warns scientists are straying into policy commentator roles.” Are the publishers of ‘Science’ reacting to falling circulation related to negative reader response? If so, this will be good for small ‘s’ science.

EVOLUTION OF OZONE PARTIAL PRESSURE AT THE FRONTS

Ozone values at the fronts
Fig 2. Evolution of ozone partial pressure at the subtropical and polar fronts. Readers should be aware that the front referred to is in the upper air, not at the surface. The material expression of the front is a change in the height of the tropopause so that warm ozone rich air is found adjacent to cold ozone deficient air.

It is  very interesting that the authors report that the ozone content of the air in the ‘Midlatitude Regime’ is invariable around the globe regardless of latitude or longitude. Apparently atmospheric mixing processes maintain this homogeneous state. This reinforces the long held view of a cellular structure in the atmosphere between the fronts. Inferentially, it supports the notion that elevated ozone in the ‘Midlatitude Regime’ is a product of in-situ ionisation of the polar atmosphere by cosmic rays during the polar night rather than transport from the tropics where the ozone content of the air is inferior. If one conceives the situation in this way  it is  obvious that the ozone content of the air in high and mid latitudes is driven by forces that are external to the system via polar dynamics rather than the interaction of short wave radiation with the atmosphere. The stratosphere warms in the winter hemisphere in the mid latitudes, obviously unrelated to the incidence of short wave radiation. This accentuates density differences across the fronts driving enhanced vorticity. External forces are capable of mediating the strength of the zonal wind in an electromagnetic medium such as the atmosphere, mediating the penetration of mesospheric air and the penetration of cosmic rays that very much depends on air temperature and density. Due to ionisation by cosmic rays it is possible for the synthesis of ozone to occur in the absence of short wave solar radiation.

EXTREME OZONE GRADIENTS, TROPOPAUSE STEPS, JET STREAMS ARE ALL LOCATED AT THE FRONTS

Hudson notes that using aircraft to measure ozone partial pressure  both Shapiro et al. (1987), and Uccellini et al. (1985), found a strong coincidence between large gradients in the total ozone measurements from TOMS and the position of upper-level jet streams, the frontal zones and  tropopause ‘foldings’ where there is a step up in the height of the tropopause.

Ozone field TOMS
Figure 3 Differentiation of the Polar, Midlatitude and Tropical Regimes
Rawinsonde profiles
Figure 4 Temperature profiles in the three regimes. Note that there is a step up in the temperature of the tropopause in moving from the tropical to the polar regime. Note the very different heights of the tropopause across the three regimes Bear in mind the impact on the atmosphere of the circulation that brings mid latitude and tropical air  to the poles to be mixed  and elevated per medium of polar cyclones and the stratospheric vortex.

Note the difference in the height of the tropopause across the three regimes for North America.on 11th March with Tropical (250 hPa), Midlatitude (300hPa) and Polar (400 hPa)   The fronts between these regimes consequently exhibit steps. At these steps marked differences in air temperature and density manifest in the horizontal plane. This is an unstable situation. From figure 4 (Hudsons Fig 9)  we see that in the tropical regime, the temperature of the air at the tropopause is -70°C, in the Midlatitude zone it is-60°C and in the Polar regime -50°C. In this circumstance, at the vortex, because temperature reflects density,  the vertical interval between 400 hPa and 300 hPa, a distance of some 2 kilometres will be marked by continuous upwards displacement of low density air  and as a result this displaced air will circulate about the globe as an ascending jet on the margins of the tongue of cold dense mesospheric air with occasional discontinuities (as noted above in relation to east Asia and Greenland) that will be marked by extreme turbulence. As this air ascends it must be replaced from below drawing in ozone rich, low density air from lower latitudes together with NOx rich air from the troposphere and some air from the region of the polar cap that is derived from the mesosphere via subsidence.

WHERE DOES THE ENERGY COME FROM TO DRIVE THIS SYSTEM

The energy is supplied via the Earth itself in the form of infrared radiation at twenty times the wave length of the energy originally derived from the sun. The agency for its transmission to the atmosphere is ozone that imparts energy with an efficiency that varies directly with surface pressure. It is here, at the polar vortex that the system exhibits the river of energy thus acquired, not in the tropics where the air is quiescent. The ascent does not respect a ‘tropopause’ because it goes to the top of the atmosphere giving rise to localised ozone ‘hot spots’ at 1 hPa.  These hot spots are likely found over the warmest part of the oceans in mid to high latitudes. When inspecting the temperature response in the upper stratosphere we see that temperature volatility increases with altitude, particularly above 30 hPa.

The system continuously elevates ozone to the top of the atmosphere from where it must return within the  Midlatitude cell. If there is appreciable loss of ozone via ionisation or chemical erosion in the upper upper levels of the Midlatitude cell there must be sufficient ozone created to  remedy the loss and so provide the means to energise the system on a continuous basis, day and night. The Earth obliges in terms of the energy requirement. But where does the ozone come from to replace that lost to chemical depletion and destruction by short wave energy from the sun?

A seasonal low in the incidence of short wave radiation from the sun means that the ozone necessary to sustain this system is not available from the solar source in the winter hemisphere. It’s unlikely that the requisite ozone could be sourced from the  subtropical zone in the summer hemisphere that is remote, across the equator where in any case ozone partial pressure is quite low and always so. So much for the Brewer Dobson Hypothesis! There is however another source of ionisation via cosmic rays.

Vert profile Arctic
Fig 5 illustrating the marked warming of the stratosphere in January and February bucking the winter cooling trend that manifests strongly after November, but very unevenly from year to year.

The waxing and waning of the polar jet stream will reflect atmospheric dynamics due to the changing ozone content of the air, inducing changes in density gradients  across the polar front that in turn affects the rate of intake of mesospheric air. Ionisation by cosmic rays depends upon air temperature almost certainly generating an ozone production dynamic that will amplify change according to the activity of the sun. These interactions affect vortex and polar cyclone activity that vary from week to week, year to year and across the decades according to the incidence of solar activity. Note the incidence of stratospheric ‘warmings’ in figure 5 from January through to April during which the muon count from cosmic ray activity, as measured at the surface and in ice cores is known to respond directly to the changing temperature of the stratosphere. The muon count is a direct proxy for the incidence of cosmic rays and indirectly a proxy for solar activity. See here for background or here for a lecture presentation.

INCIDENCE OF CHANGE IN THE CHARACTER OF THE AIR BETWEEN 400 HPA AND 40 HPA.

Ozonesonde profiles March
Fig 6 Ozone profiles. Note the variation in ozone content and the elevations at which these variations occur, an excellent indication  of the extent of ‘wandering’ across the latitude bands that is characteristic of  the fronts between regimes. When this ‘wandering’ is viewed from the perspective of a person on the ground, the passage of a front is perceived as a change in the origin of the upper winds that are either  cold and ozone poor, coming from low latitudes or ozone rich and warm when the upper air arrives from high latitudes. The change  in the upper air is accompanied by a change in surface air pressure

From figure 6 (Hudson 10) we can infer that the degree of variability in the source and ozone content of the air in the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere increases from the equator to the pole and is most marked in the polar regime that only manifests in winter.  We see that the largest variations in ozone partial pressure in the North American polar regime manifest between 400 hPa and 40 hPa. This interval carries 36% of the  mass of the atmospheric column. Because ozone maps surface pressure and it produces the lowest surface pressures in high latitudes this guarantees that the atmosphere must move from the equator towards the poles. Om the southern hemisphere this movement occurs in a gentle spiral with the air coming from west north west to east south east. Such is the strength of the Antarctic circumpolar vortex that the direction of movement is the same in the northern hemisphere. The vertical intervals where this movement is strongest can be inferred from fig 6. The region between 400 hPa and 40 hPa encompasses the upper troposphere and the lower stratosphere. That this region sees the greatest mobility has implications for the ozone content of the air over the polar cap when the final warming of the stratosphere occurs and mesospheric air is replaced by troposphere air rich in NOx giving rise to an ‘ozone hole’ and so ending the period where the Polar Front is in existence. This circumstance was not appreciated at the time when environmental activists succeeded in having many nations subscribe to the Montreal Protocol to limit emissions of certain halogens supposedly responsible for the ozone deficit. The dynamics behind the creation of the celebrated Ozone Hole are a mystery to climate science to this day.

ORIGIN OF THE DRIVER OF THE GLOBAL CIRCULATION

The surface pressure differential between low and high latitudes directly governs the circulation of the air near the surface and to first order determines the equator to pole temperature gradient. In addition, minor change in the ozone content of the air in the tropical and mid latitudes will drive change in geopotential height at all elevations and with it cloud cover and surface temperature. It should be born in mind that the circulation of the air at the 10 hPa level is equator-wards rather than pole-wards. Accordingly, ozone descends from the top of the atmosphere in mid and low latitudes within high pressure cells.Apart from the surface temperature effect due to change in the origin of the surface winds, the variability in the ozone content of the air in mid and low latitudes drives  a  change in cloud cover to further amplify the temperature effect due to the change in the origin of the wind. These are the central dynamics behind climate change on week to week through to inter-centennial time scales. Surface temperature varies directly with surface pressure and geopotential height. This is the nature of climate change.

The natural variation in sea surface temperature in the southern hemisphere is seen in Figure 7. In terms of causation that figure is instructive.

SH SST
Figure 7 Sea surface temperature in the southern hemisphere according to the Kalnay reconstruction.

Climate change in the southern hemisphere, considered as an entity, measured in terms of sea surface temperature, is largely a matter of temperature change in the winter months. The hemisphere is no warmer in December in the latest decade than it was seven decades ago. An inference as to the origins of climate change is not hard to draw. There is no room here to infer an anthropogenic effect via back radiation.

 

Temp and ozone dist
Fig  8 Ozone and the temperature of the air. Note the higher tropopause is in low latitudes where convection and NOx sculpts the ozone content of the air giving rise to a marked deficiency in ozone below 50 hPa by comparison withe mid and low latitudes. That is why the tropopause in low latitudes is as cold as the mesosphere over the poles and distinctly colder than the tropopause in the mid or high latitudes.

The relationship between the ozone content of the air and its temperature is provided in figure 8 ( Hudson 11). The lack of a 1/1 correspondence between the ozone content of the air and its temperature, given that ozone is an absorber of long wave radiation from the Earth and that this activity is the primarily cause for the unexpected warmth of the stratosphere, is due to the marked flux in the direction of the movement of the air in the stratosphere with warmer air of polar origin that has a lower temperature but a higher ozone content tending to move towards the equator above the 50 hPa pressure level while cold ozone deficient air from the mid latitudes and the tropics moves pole-wards between  the 400 hPa and 40 hPa pressure levels. The latter produces tongues of cold, relatively ozone deficient air showing up in daily and weekly data but obliterated in averaged data over longer time intervals. This phenomenon is reflected in figure 10 as a higher standard deviation in the partial pressure of ozone  between 400 hPa and 40 hPa in the mid latitude and polar regimes. This marked variability due to the origin of the air finds its ultimate expression in the Antarctic ozone hole that manifests below 50 hPa at the time of the final warming of the upper air in spring. Its absence in the northern hemisphere is due to the configuration of land and sea.

The acute reader will realise that there is no room in this circulatory regime for the Brewer Dobson  hypothesis generated in the 1950’s as a possible explanation for the elevated ozone content of the air in high latitudes. The air below 40 hPa moves in the direction of Antarctica or to the Arctic and is generally ozone deficient. The air above 40 hPa comprising just 4% of the atmospheric mass, moves equator-wards and as it does so is increasingly subject to ionisation of ozone by ultraviolet B from the sun.

THE FLUX IN OZONE ACROSS THE SEASONS

Average and STd Devn of TC ozone
Fig 9

Mean total ozone in Dobson units exhibits a different pattern of seasonality in each regime as seen in Fig 9, (Hudson’s figure 13).

Variability in total ozone in the tropics peaks in January and February with a subsidiary  volatility emanating from the Antarctic from August through to December that is associated with final warming dynamics.

Mid latitude and tropical regimes in both hemispheres exhibit strong variability in  northern winter driven from the Arctic. This translates directly to variability in surface temperature. This is natural climate change in action driven by the ozone content of the air in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. As noted above it operates by changing the origin of the wind and the extent of the Earths natural umbrella, cloud cover that on average shields 70% of the surface of the earth, less in northern summer and more in northern winter. Accordingly the greater amount of cloud is present when the Earth is closest to the sun in January and the greatest variability in surface temperature across the most of the surface of the earth including the all important southern oceans also occurs in that month. It is no accident that the Pacific Ocean tends to exhibit its largest swings in temperature in January and that marked variability in surface temperature in January  can be discerned in temperature data even in high southern latitudes.

The Arctic Polar regime shows a strong maximum and peak standard deviation in the middle of winter but also a marked amount of variability driven from Antarctica in northern autumn / southern spring at the time when surface pressure falls to its annual minimum at 60-70° south latitude. This is where polar cyclones  are generated on the margins of Antarctica and is the location of the absolutely dominant southern vortex..

CHANGE OVER TIME AND THE MANNER OF CHANGE

There is a second paper from these authors to be found here.:

The total ozone field separated into meteorological regimes – Part II: Northern Hemisphere mid-latitude total ozone trends R. D. Hudson1 , M. F. Andrade2 , M. B. Follette1 , and A. D. Frolov3  Published 2006.

ABSTRACT

Previous studies have presented clear evidence that the Northern Hemisphere total ozone field can be separated into distinct regimes (tropical, midlatitude, polar, and arctic) the boundaries of which are associated with the subtropical and polar upper troposphere fronts, and in the winter, the polar vortex. This paper presents a study of total ozone variability within these regimes, from 1979–2003, using data from the TOMS instruments. The change in ozone within each regime for the period January 1979–May 1991, a period of rapid total ozone change, was studied in detail. Previous studies had observed a zonal linear trend of −3.15% per decade for the latitude band 25°–60° N. When the ozone field is separated by regime, linear trends of −1.4%, 2.3%, and 3.0%, per decade for the tropical, midlatitude, and polar regimes, respectively, are observed. The changes in the relative areas of the regimes were also derived from the ozone data. The relative area of the polar regime decreased by about 20%; the tropical regime increased by about 10% over this period. No significant change was detected for the midlatitude regime. From the trends in the relative area and total ozone it is deduced that 35% of the trend between 25◦ and 60◦ N, from January 1979–May 1991 is due to movement of the upper troposphere fronts. The changes in the relative areas can be associated with a change in the mean latitude of the subtropical and polar fronts within the latitude interval 25◦ to 60◦ N. Over the period from January 1979 to May 1991, both fronts moved northward by 1.1±0.2 degrees per decade. Over the entire period of the study, 1979–2003, the subtropical front moved northward at a rate of 1.1±0.1 degrees per decade, while the polar front moved by 0.5±0.1 degrees per decade.

The subtropical and polar fronts are associated with the subtropical and polar jet streams, and have mean latitudes of about 30° and 60° N, respectively

The positions of the subtropical and polar fronts defined in Hudson et al. (2003) vary on a daily basis as the Rossby waves meander about their mean latitudes. These fronts  are not be confused with the cold and warm fronts associated with cyclonic flow close to the surface.

Note that: When the ozone field is separated by regime, linear trends of −1.4%, 2.3%, and 3.0%, per decade for the tropical, midlatitude, and polar regimes, respectively, are observed.  It is not possible that a linear trend of 3% per decade could be driven from the tropical regime where the trend is -1.4% per decade. To achieve this disparity the ozone trend has to be independently created in high latitudes, and likely more from one pole than the other. It is in fact the Antarctic that drives the multi-decadal and inter-centennial trend.

The authors note that: Between January 1979 and May 1991, the relative area of the Polar regime decreased by about 20%, while that of the Tropical regime increased by about 10%. There was no significant change in the relative area of the Midlatitude regime over this time period. These changes imply a net poleward movement of the subtropical and polar upper-troposphere fronts. That in itself warms the surface.

The fronts define the extent of the hemisphere occupied by masses of air of different temperature.  If the  northern hemsiphere fronts move north the hemisphere warms. The northward migration of the subtropical front implies an expansion of the relatively cloud free area and an increase in the energy absorbed by the oceans.

In this way, change in the ozone content of the air brings about a change in the surface temperature and the energy circulating within the Earth system. When one looks at the data as seen here, this mode of change is entirely consistent with the pattern of temperature change observed between 1948 and the present time.

CONCLUSION

The manner in which the top down generation of surface weather occurs, from stratosphere to troposphere, has been a matter of debate for almost twenty years in connection with what has been described as the ‘annular mode phenomenon’. The papers reviewed in this post are amongst the more significant works published in the field of climate science since the work of Gordon Dobson who devoted his life to the measurement of total column ozone. If we are to be critical, the shortcoming lies in failing to look at the historical record over a longer time interval, to examine the situation in the southern hemisphere and to speculate about mechanisms responsible for change. Simple questions like ‘Why is it so? and ‘What does this mean for the evolution of surface temperature?’ are of the greatest importance but it is precisely in this area that the politics of climate change get in the way.  Accordingly, the link between ozone and the formation of polar cyclones that relates to the evolution of surface pressure in high latitudes is not made. Nevertheless these papers ably support the most cogent explanation of the manner in which natural variations in weather and climate can occur on week to week through to centennial time scales.

Unfortunately, climate scientists are off with the fairies with their CO2 forcing hypothesis and show no sign of a desire to  research the manner in which the climate of the Earth responds to external influences. Work that suggests that the climate system is subject to external forcing is simply ignored… much to the detriment of humanity.

Postscript.

Variability in the distribution of ozone is a  feature of the northern hemisphere as the following diagrams reveal.

2014 850 hPa
Centres of polar cyclone development associated with elevated ozone content in the air.

 

2014 ozone
The circulation is moving west to east entraining ozone from centres of accumulation .

 

2014 N2O
N2O in trace quantities is associated descending air from the mesosphere that is largely devoid of ozone.

 

2014 500 hPa
Surface pressure and circulation of the air at 500 hPa
2014 1 hPa ozone
Accumulation of ozone over the north American continent at 1 hPa as a result of convection.
2015 TC
On 11th March 2015 the ozone concentrations are more dispersed.
2015 50 hPa Ozone
At 50 hPa the core of the circulation over the Arctic is relatively deficient in ozone
2015 50 hPa Ozone
At 50 hPa trace quantities of N2O are associated with air from the mesosphere and an ozone deficit. A wide band over the Eurasian continent also shows evidence of descent.
11th March 2016 TCO
On 11th March 2016 total column ozone is much enhanced over the Arctic Ocean and to a lesser extent over the north Pacific.

11 Mar 2016 50

At 50 hPa there is an ozone deficiency over the Eurasian continent.

At 50 hPa the distribution of ozone is similar with some contraction over the north Pacific and a clearer definition of the ozone deficient zone over the Eurasian continent.

2016 N2O
The ozone deficiency over the Antarctic continent is associated with low N2O content mesospheric air.

The circulation of the air in the stratosphere is about an elongated core of high surface pressure located over the Eurasian continent stretching from Scotland to Mongolia. Within this cell very cold air that has little ozone but tracers of N2O descends from the mesosphere. N2O is primarily derived from soils due to organic decomposition. It is abundant in low latitudes where it scalps ozone to produce an elevated tropopause.

20160311 SLP
An elongated band of high surface pressure is associated with the descent of mesospheric air entering the circulation tangentially.

 

20160311 10hPa
Mesospheric air enters the elongated core of a fast moving descending circulation at 10 hPa. At left is an ascending circulation that is rich in ozone.
2016-03-11 1 hPa ozone
The ascending circulation produces an ozone hot spot at 1 hPa. The descending circulation is associated with low ozone values at 1 hPa. In fact ozone rich air is spilling into this descending circulation changing its character as it descends. Pressure from short wave ionising radiation from the sun in high northern latitudes in March, at which time the sun is over the equator  will deplete  ozone at 1 hPa. The question arises: Where does the ozone come from that is required to energise this circulation?

 

 

 

36 THE JET STREAM

Pioneering work in establishing that the speed of the wind increased with elevation was  initiated in the first world war by people like Robert Millikan who worked for the US signal corps. He wrote

Within the past year approximately 5000 . . . [pilot balloon] observations have been taken by the Meteorological Service of the Signal Corps . . . the balloon is kept in sight up to distances as great as 60 miles and up to heights as great as 32,000 meters, or approximately 20 miles . . . observations show air currents increasing in intensity with increasing altitude and approaching the huge speed of 100 miles per hour. Such speeds are perhaps exceptional but not at all uncommon.

Gordon Dobson followed up this work in the 1920’s.

Wasaburo Ooishi in Japan amassed a total of 1288 observations between March 1923 and February 1925 and published a paper on the subject in Esperanto, to make it accessible to non-Japanese speakers.Here is Ooshi’s plot of wind speed as it varies with elevation  in the vicinity of his observatory at Tateno, twenty kilometres  north of Tokyo.

Wind speed Japan

The seasonal variation in the winds was analysed.

Upper air speed by season

Source: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/BAMS-84-3-357

So, what drives the air so that its velocity increases with altitude? Why is the velocity greater in winter? Is it all driven by warming at the surface? Is it driven  by the release of latent heat of condensation. Or is it differences in air density that manifest above the cloud layer in that confusing space that is shared by  the troposphere and the stratosphere?

When surface pressure is high, there is little ozone in the upper air, the troposphere is 2-3 km higher. When surface pressure is lower there is more ozone in the upper air and the tropopause is lower. In high latitudes we have the side by side conjunction of these two species of air at The Polar Front. The classical illustration  is in the southern hemisphere where a chain of low pressure cells sometimes described as the Circumpolar Trough constitutes the mixing zone for these different species of air with high surface pressure, ozone deficient air over the continent and low surface pressure, ozone rich air on the equatorial side of the trough.

This conjunction is an untenable situation.  The stratospheric resolution of this unstable conjunction of two species of air is the polar vortex, a stream of ozone rich air circulating roughly about a particular line of latitude taking air to the top of the atmosphere. At 250 hPa this stream of high velocity air manifests as the jet stream. As the stream ascends further into the stratosphere its velocity increases. This is a winter phenomenon due to the descent of cold mesospheric air inside the stratospheric vortex at that time of the year.

The above is my view on the matter. Now lets look at the conventional meteorological  viewpoint.

The explanation of the nature of the jet streams that appears below was, until recently, provided by the American Meteorological Society at:  http://www.ametsoc.org/amsedu/proj_atm/modules/JetStreams.pdf

It is no longer available at that address.

In providing this paper I could not  resist highlighting  important statements in red, interspersing a few comments in blue (where the explanation can be improved) and I follow up with some comments at the end.

Introduction: Jet Streams

As World War II was approaching its conclusion, the United States introduced the first high-altitude bomber plane called the B-29. It could fly at altitudes well above 20,000 feet (6.1 kilometers). When the B-29s were being put into service from a Pacific island base, two air force meteorologists were assigned the task of producing a wind forecast for aircraft operations at such altitudes.

To make their prediction, the meteorologists used primarily surface observations and what is known in meteorology as the “thermal wind” relationship. In plain language, this relationship implies “that if you stand with your back to the wind, and the air is colder to the left and warmer to the right, the wind will get stronger on your back as you ascend in the atmosphere.” Using this relationship, the meteorologists then predicted a 168- knot wind from the west. Their commanding officer could not believe the estimate. However, on the next day, the B-29 pilots reported wind speeds of 170 knots from the west! The jet stream was discovered.

Actually atmospheric scientists had theorized the existence of jet streams at least as early as 1937. The bomber pilots just confirmed it. Now many television weathercasts mention the positions of jet streams and their impact on daily weather events.

Jet streams are relatively strong winds concentrated as narrow currents in the upper atmosphere. The polar-front jet stream is of special interest to meteorologists because of its association with the regions where warm and cold air masses come in contact and middle latitude storm systems evolve. The polar-front jet stream encircles the globe at altitudes between 6 and 8 miles (9 and 13 kilometers) above sea level in segments thousands of kilometers long, hundreds of kilometers wide, and several kilometers thick. It flows generally from west to east in great curving arcs. It is strongest in winter when core wind speeds are sometimes as high as 250 miles (400 kilometers) per hour.

Meteorologists study the polar-front jet stream as they forecast weather. Changes in it indicate changes in weather. The jet stream is also of importance to aviation, as the B- 29 pilots quickly found out. Westbound high-altitude flight routes are planned to avoid the jet-stream head winds. Eastbound flights welcome the time-saving tail winds. However, the jet stream produces strong wind shears in some locations because of large changes in wind speeds over short vertical and horizontal distances. The resulting air turbulence can be very hazardous to aircraft.

The polar-front jet stream’s location is one of the most influential factors on the daily weather pattern across the United States.

Characteristics of the Polar-Front Jet Stream

  1. Jet streams are relatively high speed west-to-east winds concentrated as narrow currents at altitudes of 6 to 9 miles (9 to 14 kilometers) above sea level. These meandering “rivers” of air can be traced around the globe in segments thousands of kilometers long, hundreds of kilometers wide and several kilometers thick.
  2. Two high-altitude jet streams affect the weather of middle latitudes; they are the subtropical jet stream and the polar-front jet stream.(Latter only present in winter)
  3. The subtropical jet stream is located between tropical and middle latitude atmospheric circulations. Although not clearly related to surface weather features, it sometimes reaches as far north as the southern United States. It is an important transporter of atmospheric moisture into storm systems.
  4. The polar-front jet stream is associated with the boundary between higher latitude cold and lower latitude warm air, called the polar front. Because of its link to surface weather systems and features, the polar-front jet stream is of special interest to weather forecasters.It defines the position of polar cyclones.
  5. The polar-front jet stream is embedded in the general upper-air circulation (including the stratosphere) in the middle latitudes where winds generally flow from west to east with broad north and south swings. As seen from above, these winds display a gigantic wavy pattern around the globe.
  6. The maximum wind speeds in the polar-front jet stream can reach speeds as high as 250 miles (400 kilometers) per hour.
  7. The average position of the polar-front jet stream changes seasonally. Its winter position tends to be at a lower altitude and at a lower latitude than during summer.
  8. Because north-south temperature contrasts are greater in winter than summer, the polar-front jet stream winds are faster in winter than in summer. (the presence of very cold mesospheric air above about 300 hPa, over the pole, increases density)
  9. Small segments of the polar-front jet stream where winds attain their highest speeds are known as jet streaks. Across the United States, one or two jet streaks are commonly present in the polar-front jet stream.

What Causes the Polar-Front Jet Stream?

  1. Fundamental to the formation of the polar-front jet stream is the physical property that warm air is less dense than cold air when both are at the same pressure. (Lets be very clear here: The term ‘pressure surface’. i.e. the 200 hPa pressure level is more appropriate than ‘pressure’. An alternative expression is: The geopotential height of a pressure surface is greater on the equatorial side of the polar front than the polar side OR  Air has lower density at  jet stream altitudes on the equatorial side of the polar front OR The tropopause does not exist on the polar side of the polar front and is very low on the equatorial side bringing warm ozone rich air in contact with very cold, dry, dense air of mesospheric origin.)
  2. 11.The polar-front represents the boundary between higher latitude cold air and lower latitude warm air. This temperature contrast extends from Earth’s surface up to the polar-front jet stream altitude.  (In fact  the temperature contrast is maintained to the top of the atmosphere but the mixed air interface  broadens with elevation .  At the surface the core of a polar cyclone is cold in relation to the surrounding air. At 250 hPa the core of a polar cyclone is warm in relation to the surrounding air and it is the contrast in density at this level that energises the wind. The Jet stream links polar cyclones giving rise at the 200 hPa level, but higher or lower depending on the season, to a relatively unified stream of rapidly rotating air that takes ozone rich air to the top of the atmosphere. It  might be compared to a chimney except that it is annular in shape with a hole of inactive air in the middle. That chimney is therefore like no other because it surrounds a core of cold mesospheric air. It is the conjunction of the core of relatively very cold air and the warmer and ozone rich air that surrounds it that gives rise to the most vigorous ascending circulation on the planet. This circulation ascends to the top of the atmosphere. It  originates in the vicinity of the tropopause on the equatorial side of the front and pulls in air from the troposphere. Cold air from the Antarctic side and warmer air from the tropical side is entrained in the ascending spirals that represent an amorphous ‘Front’, quite a different concept to what is referred to as a warm or cold front in the mid latitudes. It is from this zone of ascending  air that the global circulation is driven, not the tropics.)
  3. Air pressure is determined by the weight of overlying air. In the vicinity of the polar front, air pressure drops more rapidly with an increase in altitude in the more dense cold air than in the less dense warm air. ( very confusing statement. Reduced air density aloft applies not to the cold air from the mesosphere but the air that contains ozone on the tropical side of the front. This reduced density is due in part to the origin of the air (its from temperature regions)  and also to ozone heating of the air as it absorbs long wave radiation from the Earth and instantly and continually passes that energy on to adjacent molecules. The energy stream, unlike that from the sun, is available continuously day and night. The energy so acquired destabilises the atmosphere and this situation is resolved by movement.The polar front, that is properly considered as a stratospheric phenomenon because that is where the contrast manifests, is the strongest ascending air stream on the planet. Its importance in determining the distribution of atmospheric mass and therefore the planetary winds has yet to be realised by mainstream climate science.)
  4. The effect of temperature on air density results in air pressure at any given altitude being higher on the warm (equatorward) side of the polar front than on the cold (poleward) side. (This statement would be more meaningful if couched in terms of differences in air density in this form: The effect of temperature on air density results in air density at any given altitude being less on the warm, equator-ward side of the polar front than on the cold, pole-ward side.).
  5. When cold and warm air reside side by side, the higher the altitude the greater the pressure difference is between the cold and warm air at the same altitude. (This statement would be more meaningful if couched in terms of differences in air density as in:  At the polar front  the the temperature and density difference increases with altitude.).
  6. Across the polar front, at upper levels (including the jet stream altitude), horizontal pressure differences cause air to flow from the warm-air side of the front towards the cold-air side of the front. (Horrible. Rephrase as: Enduring horizontal density differences result in the ascent of air of lower density being driven upwards to the top of the atmosphere.)
  7. Once air is in motion, it is deflected by Earth’s rotation (called the Coriolis effect). Upper-level air flowing poleward from higher pressure towards lower pressure is deflected to the right in the Northern Hemisphere (or to the left in the Southern Hemisphere). The result is a jet stream flowing generally towards the east, parallel to, and above the polar front.(Deeply unsatisfying statement. The atmosphere super-rotates in the same direction as the Earth rotates on its axis but faster. The speed of its rotation increases in winter. The speed of rotation increases from the equator to the polar front. Its speed of rotation increases from the surface into the upper stratosphere but falls away at the highest elevations as the diameter of the cone of spinning air increases to take in the mid latitudes. There are discontinuities in this stream of ascending air due to locally enhanced ascent where sticky low pressure cells form on the lee of the continents where warm waters in the ocean promote the formation of low pressure cells of ascending ozone rich air. This results in pockets of ozone rich air at 1 hPa above these centres of local ascent. A collapse in the descent of atmospheric air over the pole (as in summer) allows these centres of local ascent to flood into the region of the polar cap or across it completely reversing the west to east flow so that it then flows weakly east to west, the summer pattern. This is perceived as a sudden stratospheric warming. It represents the replacement of one species of air with another.)

Relationships between the Polar-Front Jet Stream and Our Weather

  1. The polar-front jet stream exists where cold air and warm air masses are in contact. Hence, your weather is relatively cold when the polar-front jet stream is south of your location and relatively warm when the jet stream is north of your location.
  2. The polar-front jet stream can promote the development of storms. Storms are most likely to develop under a jet streak.
  3. As a component of the planetary-scale prevailing westerly circulation, the polar-front jet stream steers storms across the country. Hence, storms generally move from west to east.

Authors further remarks:  

There is a confusion in the AMS account  as to the location of warm and cold air and also due to the use of the term ‘pressure’ for air at altitude rather than ‘density’. There is also a loose use of the term ‘Polar Front’ that properly applies to the stratosphere rather than the troposphere where the front is actually a chain of massive polar cyclones that can occupy many parallels of latitude.  And most unfortunately there is a lack of appreciation of the origin of the phenomenon in the stratosphere where the energy to drive the circulation is acquired  in part via the agency of ozone.

The archetypal instance of this circulation lies not in the Arctic but the Antarctic where the patterns are much simpler than in the northern hemisphere and it is the latter circulation that I refer to in the comments below.

The annular nature of the zone of uplift that constitutes the polar arm of the jet stream  is due to the almost complete chain of polar cyclones that surround the Antarctic continent.  Ascent in this column of air that surrounds a tongue of mesospheric air  in the stratosphere is balanced by descent in the mid latitudes and also over the pole. Descent is a gentle affair because the areas available for descent are expansive by comparison with the zones of ascent. It is only by restricting the flow through a small orifice that one can increase the speed of the flow, a concept that many gardeners and fire-fighters will be familiar with.

The near surface feed that is the westerlies in the southern hemisphere is extremely vigorous reflecting a strong pressure differential between the rest of the globe and the circumpolar trough that extends from about 50° of latitude to about 70° of latitude. The air streams converge at higher latitudes speeding up as they do so, only by much increased wind speed at elevation.

The names that sailors used to describe the surface winds indicate the increase in wind speed at high latitudes. We have the Roaring Forties, The Furious Fifties and The Screaming Sixties. Convergence at high latitudes requires rapid modes of ascent (in this case to the top of the atmosphere) and an equally large return flow  at elevation but spread over a very wide surface area because it is returning to the wider circumference of the mid latitudes. How does the hypothetical Brewer Dobson circulation fit into this scenario: In short, it doesn’t. The flow to high latitudes is not in the stratosphere, it is in the troposphere and that air is cold, dense and ozone deficient.

The Brewer Dobson Circulation was proposed as a hypothesis, not an observation, in order to explain elevated ozone partial pressure and a descending tropopause in higher latitudes. Another hypothesis is that ozone persists due to reduced pressure of ionisation due to low sun angle. However ozone partial pressure continues to increase as the sun rises higher in the sky and the stratosphere begins to warm in spring suggesting that synthesis of ozone due to ionisation by cosmic rays is the most likely explanation for the elevated ozone content of the air in spring. In any case in my, admittedly limited, experience it is not possible for a flow of tepid water to produce a warm bath.

A positive pressure differential exists between the Rest of the World  and the area dominated by polar cyclones at 60-70° south. This gives rise to intermittent flows of warm moist air that move counter to the trade winds from strong centres of evaporation near the equator. This warm moist air has little ozone because it comes from below the elevated tropical tropopause. It is drawn into the polar circulation. It’s moisture content enhances the vorticity of polar cyclones but only on the external margins where small scale fronts form so that the core of a polar cyclone is dry. Tropical air from under the tropopause is  very cold, at a temperature of -80°C, as cold as air from the mesosphere. It has a very low ozone content and a high NOx content . At 100 to 50 hPa  tropical air is dense tending to settle rather than be drawn into ascent. At the time of the final warming of the stratosphere from August through to December this air enters the space formerly occupied by mesospheric air giving rise to a pronounced ‘ozone hole’ below 50 hPa. Other than during the period when this ozone hole manifests the air from the mesosphere, although relatively ozone deficient by comparison with the air on the other side of the vortex has more ozone due to ‘spill in’ mixing during descent.

The descent of mesospheric air over the pole in winter is relatively slow, tenuous and easily interrupted. It can be interrupted if  surface pressure falls away as it does in summer.  Surface pressure can fall away in winter if ozone is generated by cosmic ray activity or the electromagnetic activity of the solar wind slows the zonal wind. Hence the stratospheric sudden warming phenomenon where warm air replaces cold. 

Relatively low pressure is endemic in the Arctic inhibiting the entry of a tongue of mesospheric air. In Antarctica, by contrast the ice mound and the vigour of polar cyclone activity over the surrounding ocean ensures that there will always be descent in the mid latitudes and also over the Antarctic continent and the ice that prevails in winter. In winter, beginning in March and enduring till November there is to some extent a persistent tongue of mesospheric air that penetrates to the 300 hPa level.

There is no recognition in the (admittedly outdated) analysis from the American Meteorological society of the role of ozone in giving rise to  increasing contrasts in air density aloft. So the article, while it is rich in rules of thumb and observation of the nature of the Jet Stream actually fails to address the physical forces that are responsible for the Jet stream.

Without a realisation of the role of ozone in enhancing the density differences across the polar front that results in 1. polar cyclones and 2. shifts of atmospheric mass, the source of natural climate change must remain inexplicable. This is the current situation. The prevailing mindset is incapable or unwilling to conceive that the climate system may be subject to external influences. An item of faith is involved. Man is stained with original sin and atonement is required.  All interpretation is tuned to that end. We have been taken back to the middle ages. The only other interpretation is that men are weak and follow the money dished out by elites who have a warped view of nature and the place of humanity within nature.

Is ozone a greenhouse gas or is it not! Is it responsible for the warmth of the stratosphere? Does it collect energy and transmit that energy to adjacent molecules. If it does, then it must warm the air that accordingly loses density and that air is displaced at a rate that reflects the efficacy of the warming process. The observed phenomena reflect the mode of causation and amply indicates the energy that is required to drive the process. This process is continuous. It’s never exhausted. It requires continual input of energy to sustain it. That energy is applied to the atmosphere, not in low latitudes but in high latitudes per agency of ozone via its ability to pass on the energy that it acquires from the Earth itself.

Above 500 hPa the air circulates west to east in both hemispheres all year round. The stratosphere in the winter hemisphere is a very  vigorous medium. The source of its vigour relates to its unique atmospheric composition….the presence of ozone at a greater partial pressure than in summer time.  To account for this there is the relative absence of photolysis in winter and the possible involvement of cosmic rays in the generation of ozone in high latitudes. The increase in the density differential across the polar front in winter is in part due to the descent of cold mesospheric air over the polar cap. In spring the increase in the density differential is due to ozone synthesis and also the erosion of ozone below 50 hPa by NOx from the troposphere that is trapped in the lower atmosphere during the final warming of the stratosphere. Once accomplished the warming results in a complete reversal of rotation aloft.  At the time when the ozone hole appears surface pressure at 60-70° south latitude reaches its annual minimum. This is also the time of the year when a warming of the stratosphere will facilitate the penetration of cosmic rays. The solar cycle modulates the interplanetary environment in such a way as to preclude cosmic rays when solar activity is strong.

The failure of climate science to get to grips with the physics of the atmospheric circulation in high latitudes and in particular to realise that convection at the pole is driven from the upper atmosphere is a terminal fault that leaves the stage open for the AGW argument. Prevailing modes of thought lack focus on mixing processes that involve the entire atmospheric column that are initiated above 500 hPa in the winter season. At the root of the problem is an inability to observe, a fondness for dogma and a simple follow the leader mentality that reminds one of the Medieval Church. Today, the centres of scholarship are funded by governments and dependent on the opinions of the governing elites. Our elites are about as sensible as the Medieval Popes. Nobel winner Al Gore is the titular head of this church. Barack Obama is a very funny man, perhaps he is the Court Jester.

 We need to see atmospheric processes in terms of cause and effect based on an appreciation of gas behaviour. Otherwise we are limited to correlative prediction based on primitive rules of thumb like the following:

  1. If you stand with your back to the wind, and the air is colder to the left and warmer to the right, the wind will get stronger on your back as you ascend in the atmosphere
  2. Storms are most likely to develop under a jet streak.
  3. The polar-front jet stream steers storms across the country. Hence, storms generally move from west to east.

The poverty of climate science when it comes to understanding cause and effect is abundantly evident.

It has long been known that there is an association between the Arctic Oscillation Index and geomagnetic activity that is the product of the interaction of the solar wind with the atmosphere. This is a no-go area in climate science.  Why?

A comment about the composition of the journal ‘Science’that appeared here is apt:

Willis back in the early 80’s when I first began to take an interest in Global Warming. I depended on “Science” to give me a picture of the development of the research. In those days, about one in three articles were about natural causes of warming. It seemed at the time that the natural trend articles tended toward the more serious considerations. I thought, well science will sort it out and over the next few decades, and I can sit back and watch it unfold. Well, that was back when Philip Abelson was the Editor, he lost that position which, according to an interview I read at the time, he said was primarily because of his changing position on Global Warming. As the portrait in Wikipedia says “Some have claimed him to be an early skeptic of the case for global warming on the basis of a lead editorial in the magazine dated March 31, 1990 in which he wrote, “[I]f the global warming situation is analyzed applying the customary standards of scientific inquiry one must conclude that there has been more hype than solid fact.” ”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Abelson Subsequent to his replacement “Science” no longer entertained contrarian views. He was the first scientist I knew who lost his position because of the Climate agenda.

 

Readers interested in the history of how the global warming scare came to be will be interested in Bernie Lewin’s analysis here.

There is also an excellent study by Michael Hart in his book Hubris: ‘The troubling science, economics and politics of climate change’.

35 CAPE LEEUWIN AS A PROXY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE

Matthew Flinders named Cape Leeuwin after the first known ship to have visited the area, the Leeuwin (“Lioness”), a Dutch vessel that charted some of the coastline in 1622. There are three Capes in the southern hemisphere that offer a landfall to sailors who take advantage of the westerly winds at this latitude.

Cape Leeuwin is surrounded by blue/green water. Its a long stretch from Cape Town to the south west corner of Australia and an even longer stretch to Cape Horn. There is very little land between 30° south and 70° south latitude. The wind blows vigorously from the west. When you gaze out to sea and and find yourself reaching for more clothing it is because the air is very fresh, it has the same temperature as a vast stretch of ocean.

This Ocean  is the Earths battery. It is the chief and only means of storing energy from the sun. Whatever energy gets through the cloud layer penetrates deeply into the water and is given up slowly. The ocean warms and cools in the same way that it develops a long swell on its surface. When riding across the swell you rise up slowly and fall down just as slowly regardless of the surface chop. If we are looking for ocean, the location of the Earths energy store, you find it here. It is for this reason that Cape Leeuwin lighthouse is a good proxy for what is happening to the globe as a whole.

If a steady 33 mph (30 knots) wind blows for 24 hours over a fetch of 340 miles there is a 5% chance of encountering a single wave higher than 35 ft (11 m) among every 200 waves that pass in about 30 minutes. At the latitude of Cape Leeuwin a 50 knot wind is frequently encountered. No trees can grow in the vicinity of the lighthouse, just grass and low scrub. There is a layer of salt on everything.

If one looks for consistent high variability in the temperature of the surface of the sea it is here, in the southern hemisphere that one finds it, and at the equator. Here the variability is due to change in cloud cover and the direction of the wind. At the equator there is little cloud, little wind but a big variation in the in-feed of cold water from high latitudes according to the speed of the ocean circulation that is driven by wind and wave in high southern latitudes. It is in high southern latitudes that one finds the strongest wind belts on the planet, the roaring Forties, the Furious Fifties and the Screaming sixties.

Lighthouse

Lighthouse and houses

The lighthouse at Cape Leeuwin dates from 1910 and so does the temperature record. A sample from 1915 to 1921 is presented below. There is a tiny diurnal and annual range  but strong cycles of warming and cooling. The daily range increases strongly in summer when hot winds from the continent tend to arrive on a ten day cycle associated with the passage of anticyclones. In winter, these winds off the land can be cold suppressing the maximum and reducing the diurnal range. There is considerable variability in the daily minimums in winter within and between years. Winter is the time of the year when the Antarctic dynamic associated with the ozone content of the polar atmosphere causes marked swings in the relationship between surface pressure in the mid latitudes and the Antarctic circumpolar trough affecting the rate of flow of the westerlies and at times bringing cold southerly wind from Antarctica. Frontal rainfall falls in winter. Summers are arid as cyclones  track well south. Autumn is a season of quiet air, and infrequent light showers when farmers clear up land for pasture and burn the native vegetation to reduce the risk of fire. With solid winter rainfall and deep soils the countryside supports the growth of large eucalyptus trees that drop leaves and twigs in summer, a worrying fire hazard but an essential store of nutrient for soil microflora and plants, tending to keep the soil cool and moist in the dry summers experienced on the western sides of the continents at this latitude. Not far away is a very large desert.

Swinger
Fig 1

The red ellipses in figure 1 are intended to take your eye to features of interest, in particular the shape of the variability in the curve when temperature is least and the extreme variability in the daily maximum in the height of summer.

Plainly, the climate is like the road that curls through the Karri forest as seen below.

Boranup

There is a conclusion that can be drawn from the data presented below: Between 1910 and 1992 the minimum daily temperature does not change. Between 1992 and 2015 it warmed slightly then cooled again, then warmed for about six years and cooled for another six and looks as if it will get back to the 1910 average of about 14.3°C in a few years time.

Straight up this tells us that either, there is no greenhouse effect due to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere or that some local influence is maintaining the status quo as the rest of the globe is warming. I believe that there is no greenhouse effect. I do know that there is a local factor enabling this place to retain the status quo as surface temperature increases elsewhere. Until we understand the latter influences we will not be free of fear of the former.

Carbon dioxide is plant food and it is greening the Earth and in particular the arid zones because a plant that is not starving for carbon dioxide does not have to open its breathing apparatus (stomata) as wide as an opera singer and it loses less moisture to evaporation in the process of acquiring its plant food. For godssake, plants are at the base of the food chain. We have the wherewithal to feed double the current population of the globe and yet global economies are in complete disarray, interest rates are negative, governments are printing money, nobody wants to invest,  commodity markets are reeling and the whole system is teetering on the edge of an abyss.  Something is very wrong in the way that we are ordering society. That something has a lot to do with climate scares.

In any case 14°C is too cool to support plant life properly. Photosynthesis is optimal at 25°C. The globe is too cold for comfort, too cold to support photosynthesis over the bulk of its area for too long in the annual cycle.

If the ‘climate sceptics’ could all read from the same hymn book there would be a much better chance of dismissing ‘climate change hysteria’ that is resulting in gross manipulation of energy markets and making it impossible for poor people in cold climates to keep warm in winter while denying many countries who are yet to industrialise the cheap energy that is required to fuel machines. That we have ‘luke warmers’ who consider that man is having some effect on the climate but can’t work out just ‘how much’ influence he is having plays into the hands of the so called ‘consensus’ claimed by the alarmists. This is like reaching down with a machete and cutting your legs off just below the knees. There is no need. Luke warmers…… forget about the theory and OBSERVE.

1910-39 THIRTY YEARS OF COOLING IN THE DAILY MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM

Min 1910-39

Max 1910-39
Fig 2 1910-1930, Daily maximum and Minimum temperatures. Solid line shows trend. Dotted line is a true horizontal.

Above we see that the annual range varies a lot. This is because in the height of summer the ozone content of the air is much affected by what is happening in the Arctic stratosphere. Less ozone means cooler temperature aloft and more cloud. In the depth of winter the ozone content of the air and hence its temperature, cloud cover and the entire global circulation is driven predominantly from Antarctica. If ozone partial pressure falls temperatures at all levels in the atmosphere respond, first in the stratosphere and next in the overlapping region where ozone exists in the upper troposphere and finally at the surface.

Gordon Dobson  put the matter in perspective when he calculated that if the entire atmosphere had the same density that it exhibits at the surface it would have a sharp top at 8 kilometres in elevation. I would remind you that  you can walk 8 km in an hour and if you are a walker in the Olympics you could be there in half an hour.

1940-75 THIRTY YEARS OF COOLING DAILY MINIMUMS AND WARMING DAILY MAXIMUMS

Max 1940-1975

MIn 40-75
Fig. 3 1940-1975  Dotted line is the horizontal

There are two possible reasons why the daily maximum could rise while the daily minimums fall.

  1. Cloud cover could fall away in summer as surface pressure rises in the mid latitudes (along with upper air temperature and geopotential height) while the winds that drive the circumpolar current accelerate due to the enhanced difference in the surface pressure between the mid latitudes and the poles. This would bring colder water from the poles to the western coasts of the southern continents reducing the winter minimum temperature and in fact the summer minimum because when the sun is not shining it matters little whether there is cloud or not.
  2. If the wind blows more consistently from the continent in summer that wind will be hot. That could occur if the core of anticyclones tracked further south. When surface pressure rises in the mid latitudes that is what happens. It has been observed that the so called Hadley cell that takes in the convection in the tropics and the descending air in the mid latitudes  has expanded in recent times. Notice the large fluctuation in the maximum temperature at Cape Leeuwin in summer. Notice that the pattern of extremes is quite different from year to year. This is what determines the level of success I have ias a wine maker in making wine from the early ripening Pinot Noir, a grape that is negatively affected by heat in the last month of ripening. Our ‘Three Hills’ vineyard is just 12 km north of the the lighthouse.On a hot day in February the temperature can climb to 42°C and the relative humidity drops from 60% to 30%. In just one day of this sort of treatment the grapes shrivel and sugar concentration rockets. Fortunately even if February is warm, most of the reds ripen in March and are picked in April. The chance of hot days is less in March, unheard of in April.

Group 1940-75

Above, we give a closer inspection of the temperature profile in the summer of 1958-59. It would not be possible to ripen grapes in such a year. Notice the low variability in the daily data in summer and the relatively high variability in spring. Quite atypical. The diminished area under the summer season temperature curve represents a reduced capacity for plant work.

Global data for the latitude band 30-40° south latitude is not  necessarily representative  of local conditions at Cape Leeuwin but neither of the summers of 1956-7 or 59-60 look particularly auspicious when we  examine the  geopotential height data for these years. Heights are likely to vary less with latitude than is sea surface temperature.  Sea surface temperature depends on the circulation of the ocean that exhibits a south to north and north to south component  whereas the movement of the atmosphere has a gently north east to south east movement that comes pretty close to following lines of latitude.

SST and GPH

1975-1992 COOLING DAILY MAXIMUMS AND COOLING DAILY MINIMUMS

Max 1975-92

Min 75-92

In this graph we have fewer years and the pattern of heightened variability in mid-summer and mid-winter is  more apparent to the eye. Year to year variability comes from the same source as long term variability, the winter pole with peak variability in January-February emanating from the Arctic and July-August from the Antarctic. This is what is behind the variation in the seasons that keeps the farmers guessing.Its also what lies behind the long term variability, decadal and longer.

1992-2015 A STRONG WARMING CYCLE FOR THE MAXIMUM AND LESS SO FOR THE MINIMUM….OR IS IT?

 

Max 92-15

 

Min 75-92

Again the dotted line is the horizontal. Its easy to see that the minimum has increased at about half the rate of the maximum. There is nothing in the Earth system that takes away carbon dioxide overnight and puts it back in the daytime.

sculpt

Magnification drives home the point that variability in temperature is strongest in mid winter and mid summer. Extreme summer variability is due the fact that Cape Leeuwin occasionally experiences hot winds from the East in summer but it is also due to a flux in the ozone content of the air above and with it, cloud cover. Autumn is a time of low variability, balmy pleasant weather with light winds. The coldest months of winter are not always cold and nothing in the shape of the curves  in the bridging seasons provides any sort of an indication of what will happen in June, July, August and September. That depends on whats happening at the Antarctic circumpolar front.

Max 92-15.JPG  second

min 92-15.JPG second

Above is a different way of looking at the same data for the last 23 years. The trend curves are polynomials and they fit better the pattern exhibited by the extremes. The cooling trend of the last five years is given the weight it deserves. So far as the minimum is concerned we will soon be back at where we started in 1910.

THE VIRTUE OF DIS-AGGREGATION OF TEMPERATURE DATA

In the figure below we have data for the entire globe in the 30-40° south latitude band drawn from here.

30-40S glabally Feb and July
Fig 5.  Sea Surface Temperature 30-40° south. Average monthly data.

Average monthly data conceals the interesting complexities that are only revealed in daily maximums and minimums. Is the temperature increasing during the day or at night? We are at a loss to explain anything and we are at the mercy of witch doctors who rush in to provide us with a global average.

At Cape Leeuwin the  daily maximum is the chief driver of variations in the average temperature.  Without a shadow of a doubt part of that daytime summer warming is associated with loss of cloud as the increase in geopotential height and air temperature aloft suggests. Part will be due to a more easterly component in the air in the summer that brings warm air from the warming continent during the day. In any case, its readily apparent that the direction of the wind can be critical to surface temperature in coastal locations. That applies, not only in coastal locations, but everywhere, when the wind comes more consistently from either the equator or the pole. Change the wind and you change the local temperature. For this reason we need to get a grip on what changes the global circulation if we wish to understand surface temperature change. Just quietly, we also need to get a grip on the degree of mixing of cold deep water with warm surface water due to the currents and the waves. We are measuring the temperature of our patient not in his anus or his mouth or ear-hole but at the extremities.

Some of the change in temperature at Cape Leeuwin may well be due to a change in the amount of cold water from the Southern Ocean being driven up the coast due to an increase in the speed of the southern ocean circulation. In that case, the enhanced current will tend to limit the increase in the temperature of the air as measured at Cape Leeuwin. The enhanced pressure differential between the mid and high latitudes has undoubtedly enhanced the circumpolar circulation and assisted to stabilise the temperature at Cape Leeuwin, a built in countervailing force limiting the rate of temperature increase due to loss of cloud cover and a generally enhanced flow of warm air from the tropics as the Antarctic circumpolar trough in surface pressure has deepened.

 

34 LOCAL WEATHER

My impression is that  winter of 2016 has been unusually cold. But rather than trust my senses I went looking for data.

Cape Leeuwin is the closest station in the Australian ACORN network. The stated purpose of the network is to maximise the length of record and the breadth  of the coverage across the country.

The Cape Leeuwin lighthouse sits on a granite rock where the Southern Ocean meets the Indian Ocean at 34° 34′ south latitude. When the wind blows from the west it is the Indian Ocean temperature that is being sampled and when it blows from the north east its the air coming off the Australian continent. Three lighthouse keepers cottages made of local limestone sit in the lee of the lighthouse and the wind blows day and night.  At the rear of each house stands an external wash house with an old fashioned twin basin concrete trough and a wood fire heated ‘copper’ for boiling water. Its a lonely spot but the fishing is good. The nearest centre of population to the west is Cape Town.

Leeuwin position
Fig 1 South West of Western Australia, weather data stations on the Acorn network.
Cape Leeuwin
Fig. 2 Temperature at Cape Leeuwin lighthouse.

Black lines record the linear trend as calculated by Excel and indicate cooling. Red dotted lines track the highest summer maximums and the lowest winter minimums and they have a very similar slope to the black trend lines. Horizontal lines enable us to see that the minimum has declined by 0.7°C and the maximum by about 1°C. We know that over the last  five years there has been warming in the tropics that compares in its intensity to that seen prior to 1998. The trend at Cape Leeuwin is directly opposed to that.

ENSO 3.4

Notice the deformation of the curves in mid summer and the skinny little peak in 2014-15, not a good year to be trying to ripen a crop of grapes.

When the air blows off the continent in a warm year the temperature can reach 40°C but that is rare. By contrast there is very little variation in the minimum temperature but it does vary more in winter than summer.

The deformation of the winter minimums looks like ‘shark attack’. This is driven from the Antarctic. It works this way: A change in the intensity of polar cyclone activity in high latitudes modifies the differential pressure between the mid latitudes and the poles and also cloud cover. But for this influence we would see something like a smooth sine wave at the turning points in summer and winter. The beauty of having data for the minimum and the maximum temperatures is that you see the patterns of variability. When you average you lose information. The bits you lose are vital.When you average the temperature for the whole globe you are either a fool or a knave and I would immediately expect that you have an agenda to push.

I will describe the warming cycle that applies to the mid latitudes in the southern hemisphere but before I do let me suggest that these latitudes are very important to the global heat budget because water absorbs energy and acts like a battery and these latitudes are almost an uninterrupted sweep of water: When surface pressure falls at the pole it is accompanied by a warming of the stratosphere due to a build up in ozone. The falling pressure at the pole induces an enhanced flow of warm air from the equator.  Cape Leeuwin then warms in the middle of winter because the air comes from a warm place. At the same time more ozone descends in the mid latitude high pressure cells. Ozone warms by absorbing infrared. The warming of the air reduces cloud cover allowing extra solar radiation to reach the surface. In meteorological terms there is an increase in geopotential height as the atmospheric column warms, a reduction in cloud cover, that you could never directly measure, but you can infer the fact due to the fact that the surface warms. The cooling cycle is the reverse. It starts with a reduction in the ozone content of the air in high latitudes and rising surface pressure in the mid latitudes as polar cyclone activity falls away. Increased cloud cover cools the mid latitudes and cold air from the south finds its way more frequently into the mid altitudes.

The last seventy years has brought a secular decline in surface pressure in high latitudes and an increase in surface pressure in the mid and low latitudes as is apparent in figure 3. Nowhere is surface pressure higher than in the 30-40°  south latitude. The latitude of Cape Leeuwin  is 34° 34′ south. This latitude is home territory for a travelling band of enormous high  pressure cells of relatively cloud free air. When pressure increases cloud cover falls away.

pressure
Fig. 3 Evolution of sea level atmospheric pressure in the southern hemisphere since 1948.

The seventy year increase in surface pressure and the parallel increase in sea surface temperature in the low and mid latitudes of the southern hemisphere is documented in figure 4

SST and Surface pressure 1
Fig. 4

Figure 5 reveals that surface pressure at 40-50° south has risen very little while surface pressure at 50-60° and 60-70° south latitude has declined strongly. That is a function of relative area. Not shown is surface pressure over the polar cap that closely follows the trends at 60-70° south.

SST and SLP
Fig. 5

Notice that sea surface temperature rises and falls with  surface pressure throughout. This relationship is good for change in both directions in both the short and the long term. Notice the marked discontinuity in surface temperature at 60-70° south after 1976.

Naturally, the temperature increase across the latitude bands is uneven. The largest whole of period variation of 2°C is seen at 60-70° of latitude due to the increased incidence of warm north westerly winds with an abrupt shift between 1976 and 1978. The more or less parallel behaviour in the curves since that time is what we observe in mid and high altitudes, a classic cloud cover/wind direction response that occurs on short term like daily and monthly time scales, and also long term, annual, decadal and longer time scales. This response to the ozone content of the atmosphere drives short term change like that observed in figure 2 and long term change that I will document in the next post that will be devoted to one hundred and six years of data from Cape Leeuwin a treasure trove of  temperature information due to the diligence of lighthouse keepers in patiently recording the minimum and the maximum temperature every day, except on those few days where, unaccountably, they didn’t.

The next largest variation in temperature  is seen in the tropics where variation in the intake of cold waters from high altitudes gives rise to big variations in sea surface temperature that are unrelated to cloud (very little anytime) or winds (very light). The next largest variation is in the latitude of Cape Leeuwin at 30-40° south where the  variation is 0.97°C. This core region for travelling anticyclones of descending air. These HIGHS are greatly susceptible to variations in geopotential height that proceed in concert with surface temperature. This is documented in figures 6 and 7.  Increased geopotential height always brings warming.  The contrast in temperature according to wind direction is less here than in high latitudes adjacent to the Antarctic ice cap. It is safe to conclude that the response of surface temperature to increased geopotential height in low and mid latitudes is chiefly due to a change in cloud cover.

SST and GPH low
Fig 6
SST and GPH high
Fig 7

In examining this data one must remember that geopotential height is simply the height of a pressure surface. For example the 500 hPa  pressure level is found on the average at 5500 metres above sea level. When the air below that pressure level is warmer, geopotential heights will exceed 5500 metres and the warmer the atmospheric column the higher one has to go to get to the pressure surface. Heights change on daily and weekly time scales and are clearly associated with change in surface temperature and cloud cover. High heights are associated with high pressure anticyclones that bring fine sunny weather. At Cape Leeuwin low heights are associated with polar cyclones, high winds, cloud streaming in from the north west and frontal rainfall. The latter is the winter pattern and the former is the summer pattern.

There is also a close relationship between air temperature and the geopotential height at particular pressure levels as we see in Fig 9 and 10. In these figures we are looking at  heights at the 200 hPa level where the presence of ozone is associated with Jet stream activity. When heights vary at 200 hPa they  vary in the same direction at 500 hPa and 700 hPa because in these high pressure cells the air constantly descends. Cloud can be found at all levels, especially in the early part of the day. Clouds that exist as multi branching crystals of ice  have a relatively large surface area are highly reflective.

Temp and GPH low
Fig 9
Temp and GPH 2
Fig 10

Notice the overt expression of the 1976 climate shift between 15° south and 40° south where anticyclones circulate. This change is expressed as the jump in sea surface temperatures in the tropics as seen across the latitude bands in figure 6 and even more so at 60-70° of latitude in figure 7 where change in the wind direction is associated with a large change in surface temperature.

Notice also the strong drop in surface pressure at 50-60° south in the 1990’s that is associated with a fall in geopotential heights and also sea surface temperature.

What is described here is not new to ‘climate science’ as it existed fifty years ago. But most of the cohort of scientists that learned their trade in the satellite age will be unfamiliar with this train of thought.

Edward N Lorenz of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology back in 1950 published an article entitled  ‘The Northern Hemisphere Sea-level Pressure Profile’ and the abstract reads as follows:

The variations of five-day mean sea-level pressure, averaged about selected latitude circles in the northern hemisphere, and the variations of differences between five-day mean pressures at selected pairs of latitudes are examined statistically. The northern hemisphere is found to contain two homogeneous zones, one in the polar regions and one in the subtropics, such that pressures in one zone tend to be correlated positively with other pressures in the same zone and negatively with pressures in the other zone. Considerable difference is found between the seasonal and the irregular pressure-variations which result from mass transport across the equator, but the seasonal and the irregular variations of pressure differences resemble each other closely, as do the seasonal and the irregular pressure-variations which result from rearrangements of mass within the northern hemisphere. The most important rearrangements appear to consist of shifts of mass from one homogeneous zone to the other. These shifts seem to be essentially the same as fluctuations between high-index and low-index patterns. The study thus supports previous conclusions that such fluctuations form the principal variations of the general circulation, and also shows that, except at low latitudes, the seasonal pressure-variations are essentially fluctuations of this sort. The possibility that the seasonal and the irregular variations have similar ultimate or immediate causes is considered. 

Prior to 1979 when satellites were used to obtain data for the entire globe very little was known about the Southern Hemisphere where the most powerful driver of the atmospheric circulation is to be found. Although the Arctic Oscillation had been well documented the Antarctic Oscillation had not. Lorenz did not have the data at his disposal. Today we do. But, nobody is looking!

At one time people were aware that the surface pressure relationship between the mid and the high latitudes changed over time. Nobody knew why. Some canny researchers documented a correlation with geomagnetic activity implicating  the solar wind but the  actual mechanism  eluded them.

Gordon Dobson’s students explored this issue as soon as they had a single years data for total column ozone as he recalled in 1968 in his lecture ‘Forty Years Research on Atmospheric Ozone at Oxford: a History’, in these words:

Chree, using the first year’s results at Oxford had shown that there appeared to be a connection between magnetic activity and the amount of ozone, the amount of ozone being greater on magnetically disturbed days. Lawrence used the Oxford ozone values for 1926 and 1927 and in each year found the same relation as Chree had done. 

Early observers of ‘sudden stratospheric warmings’ had a suspicion that the phenomena were somehow connected with the sun. Researchers like Van Loon and Labiske pointed out that the solar cycle was clearly associated with aspects of the behaviour of the stratosphere.

But these lines of investigation became matters for the fringe dwellers in the atmsopheric sciences, the sort of people who don’t get invited to dinner parties, when Houghton took over from Dobson at Oxford , a mathematician and a physicist and a devotee of the notion that the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere governed near surface temperature. At that point climate science fell into a hole of superstition and conviction based not on observation but ‘belief’. Climate science morphed into a religion. Houghton went on to chair the IPCCC body responsible for linking the activities of man with climbing surface temperature. Naturally at that point climate science then began to attract a lot of interest and funding, particularly in the United States where NASA under James Hansen saw the opportunity to create a role for itself in keeping an eye on what was happening. The time of the self funded gentleman scholar, like Dobson was over the time for proselytisers had arrived and the gravy train was immense. Even Australia’s CSIRO had a cohort of more than a hundred scientists working on the problem.

To this day there is no appreciation of the origin of the circumpolar trough of very low surface pressure that surrounds Antarctica.  There is no appreciation of the role of ozone in creating that trough or its role in driving high wind speeds in that part of the upper troposphere that overlaps with the lower stratosphere, the origin of upper air troughs, no appreciation of how these troughs propagate to to surface to initiate a ‘cold core’ polar cyclone. Where ignorance and superstition rule the day there can be no appreciation of the role of the polar atmosphere in driving the entire circulation, the atmosphere super-rotating about the planet in the same direction as the planet spins but faster at higher latitudes and altitudes, fastest at the point where the atmosphere begins to conduct electricity (although it does so all the way to the surface) where it dances to the tune of the solar wind. The notion that the Earth exists in an interplanetary environment held in ordered embrace by  electromagnetic fields where the atmosphere is the outer mobile skin that is first  affected by those forces and so driven to rotate and thereby to some extent dragging the Earth with it, the whole apparatus working like clockwork that is forever wound up by the thermonuclear furnace at its very core….all thoughts of this nature are now anathema.

One could give most of the climate scientists trained since the start of the satellite age free membership of the Flat Earth Society. They would fit in very nicely.

IF CAPE LEEUWIN HAS BEEN COOLING WHILE AN EL NINO EVENT HAS BEEN BUILDING IN THE TROPICS WHAT HAS  BEEN HAPPENING ON THE EAST COAST OF AUSTRALIA?

Coffs long
Fig 11 Coffs Harbour 20 years minimum daily temperature

Coffs Harbour is 3° of latitude closer to the equator than Cape Leeuwin. This coastal town is subtropical and is the home of the Big Banana. It experiences a 12°C range in its minimum  as against 8°C at Cape Leeuwin. Cold air flows off the continent in winter driving the minimum lower. The other main driver of local temperature is the temperature of the  ocean waters flowing southwards down the coast. Warm water is present in winter in El Nino years due to the build up of warmth across the tropics and the anticlockwise rotation of the Pacific Ocean. It is in winter that the differential pressure driving the westerlies of the southern hemisphere is  at its maximum speeding the flow of the Antarctic circumpolar current that flows northwards towards the equator on the eastern sides of the Ocean basins and southwards on the western sides of the ocean basin. In this circumstance one would expect change in the winter minimum at Coffs simply because the winds that drive the currents blow harder in winter. I refer of course to the roaring forties the furious fifties and the screaming sixties.

The dotted lines at  the limits of the range are horizontal. Judged by eye, they indicate no warming or cooling.  The trend calculated by XL descends.

Nowhere in the course of this analysis have I referred to carbon dioxide in the air, a matter  that is irrelevant to atmospheric dynamics and the course of change in surface temperature. In the next chapter I look at 106 years of data from Cape Leeuwin that is as representative of conditions in the Southern Indian Ocean, as you are likely to find in the data from a single weather station..

 

33 SURFACE PRESSURE AND SUNSPOT CYCLES

SLP Jan
Fig. 1 Sea surface atmospheric pressure in January Source here

Even in the height of summer we see a marked trough in surface pressure on the margins of Antarctica, a product of polar cyclone activity driven by differences in the ozone content of the air and resulting differences in air density. Of course, the contrast  between the coldness of the ice bound continent and air from the mid latitudes also helps but at 200 hPa where these cyclones are generated the contrasts seen at the surface are less apparent. Surface contrasts probably assist in allowing the upper air troughs to propagate to the surface but where these contrasts don’t exist as in Arctic summer the propagation from upper air troughs to the surface to create a polar cyclone still occurs.

January pressure
Fig 2

In winter atmospheric pressure increases in the mid latitudes of the southern hemisphere increasing the differential pressure between the mid latitudes and 60-70° south. Surface pressure over Antarctica hits a planetary maximum.

July pressure
Fig. 3  Source of data for FIgs 2 and 3  here:

Figures 2 and 3 show the swings in pressure that are part of the annual cycle and the evolution of pressure over time. Mainstream climate science (is there any other) has yet to realise the importance, let alone account for the cause of that massive deficit in surface pressure in the ocean about the margins of Antarctica. ‘Climate science’ is yet to become aware  of the cumulative effect of the decadal slips in surface pressure and is incapable of making the connection with the ‘annular modes phenomenon’ or working out that the atmosphere is driven from the poles rather than the equator, let alone working out the mechanisms involved.in change. Perhaps this is because the bulk of the land mass and the population of the globe together with most of the money is in the northern hemisphere and perhaps because the Earth is round the incumbents can not see over the equatorial horizon?

WHATS HAPPENING WITH SURFACE PRESSURE IN ANTARCTICA?

SLP 80-90S by month
Fig. 4 Source of data here.

In FIG 4 the year to year variability is perhaps due to change in the rate of intake of mesospheric air into the stratosphere as it modulates the partial pressure of ozone above the 300 hPa pressure level.  The change in surface pressure  is greatest in Antarctica but it  impacts the global atmosphere from pole to pole. The southern hemisphere vortex is most influential in determining the ozone content of the air between June and November and the northern vortex between November and April.

AO and AAO
Fig 5 Source of data here.

The Arctic Oscillation and the Antarctic Oscillation indices are proxies for surface pressure over the pole. As they fall, we know that surface pressure rises over the pole. We see in fig. 5 above that a rise in the AAO, signalling a fall in surface pressure in the Antarctic forces an increase in surface pressure in the Arctic between June and November whereas the weaker, poorly structured and migratory northern vortex seems to be incapable of the same performance when it is active in northern winter. Perhaps our measurement  settings are not capturing it adequately.

The replacement of low ozone content air with high ozone content air consequent on a stalling of the intake of mesospheric air brings an increase in the temperature of the stratosphere. The greater the elevation the greater is the increase in temperature, a natural product of the fact that ozone is the agent of convection and it is ozone rich air that is lifted to the limits of the atmosphere.   This amplified response is documented at 80-90° south latitude in figure 6 below.

T of Sth Strat at 80-90S Lat
Fig 6 Source of data here.

Plainly, the largest response to an increasing presence of ozone is at the highest elevations. There has been a fundamental change in the temperature profile over the polar cap with a massive shift  from 1976 to 1978. Note that prior to this date the temperature at 10 hPa was little different to that at 200 hPa. The 200 hPa level is Jet stream altitude.What happens at 200 hPa determines the synoptic situation and is reflected at lower altitudes albeit, softened and smoothed due to the fact that not all activity at 250 hPa propagates all the way to the surface. Upper level troughs are cyclones that are insufficiently strong to  propagate all the way to the surface.But the point to be aware of is that the temperature profile between 200 hPa and 10 hPa is fundamental to the dynamics determining the movement of the atmosphere over the pole that relates to the timing of the final warming.

VARIABILITY AT DIFFERENT TIMES OF THE YEAR

Another way to assess the impact on the Antarctic stratosphere is via a whole of period assessment of temperature variability at 10 hPa according to the month of the year. To examine this each months temperature is ordered from highest to lowest regardless of the year attached to the data and the difference between the highest and lowest is derived. That difference is graphed In Fig. 7

Variability in 10hPa temp by latitude
Fig 7 Source of data here.

It is plain from  Fig 7 that in the period between 1948 and 2015 temperature variability in high southern latitudes is greatest between July and October. At lower latitudes variability is strongest in June or at the start of the year. The skew towards October reflects the impact of a developing ozone hole below 50 hPa that is forced by the intake of troposphere air containing the ozone destroyer, NOx that is drawn in laterally between 100 hPa  and 50 hPa like a gradually tightening hangman’s noose that by September occupies the entire polar cap. Very cold air drawn in from the equatorial upper stratosphere is as cold as air from the mesosphere but it has more NOx, a catalyst for the destruction of ozone. This produces a severe contrast in ozone partial pressure and air density across the vortex, generates intense polar cyclone activity and drives surface pressure at 60-70° south to its annual minimum when the hole is fully established.

the ozone hole
Fig 8 Source of data here

Fig. 8 shows NOx at 50 hPa . By 15th October 2015 NOx has destroyed all ozone between 100 hPa and 50 hPa as we see at left in Fig 9 below in terms of the distribution of ozone. The light blue line defines the position of the vortex at 50 hPa.

12th Oct
Fig 9 Source of data at left and right 

In  Fig 9,  above at right, the dotted black line represents  ozone prior to the establishment of the hole while the purple line shows the temperature profile at that time. The red line shows that temperature increases as the hole establishes in stark contrast with the narrative of those who promote the story that man is responsible for the hole, a natural feature of the polar atmosphere in spring. Big Green prefers ‘unnatural’ and it would muddy the narrative if they had to admit that the hole is a natural consequence of atmospheric dynamics.

The contrast between cold air devoid of ozone and warm air from the mid latitudes that is rich in ozone at 60° south seen in figure 9 at left drives intense polar cyclone activity giving rise to a springtime minimum in surface atmospheric pressure as seen in figure 10. It was there in 1948 but more so in November. As surface pressure has fallen and ozone partial pressure has increased the minimum is a month earlier.

SLP 60-70°S
Fig. 10 Source of data here.

The winter maximum in surface pressure seen in Fig 10 now occurs earlier than it did in 1948.

Below we see that the climate shift of 1976-8 shows up in the comparison between sea surface temperature and the temperature of the air 200 hPa (where ozone warms the air) at 25-35° south latitude. This represents enhanced ozone propagating across the latitude bands at the time of the 1976-8 climate shift, a shift that simultaneously intensified the Aleutian low in the North Pacific, the dominant low pressure, ozone rich area in the northern hemisphere with knock on effects across the Pacific and North America.

25-35°S
Fig 10 Source of data here

The increase in the temperature at 200 hPa produces an increase in geopotential height. There is a well established relationship between GPH and surface temperature as acknowledged and demonstrated in the paragraph below from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under the heading ‘Temperatures’. What a title!

NOAA statement

In this way the ozone content of the atmosphere is linked to the synoptic situation, the generation of the jet stream, upper level troughs and polar cyclones. Polar cyclones are the most vigorous and influential elements in the circulation of the atmosphere and the prime determinant of the rate of energy transfer from torrid equatorial to frigid high latitudes because they determine the pressure gradient between the equator and the pole. The warm moist westerly winds emanating from tropical rain forests pass by the high pressure systems of the mid altitudes and drive pole-wards warming the surface and giving rise to precipitation in ‘fronts’.

If the jet stream loops towards the equator cold dry polar winds sweeps equator-wards bringing near freezing conditions to mid and even low latitudes. Orange Orchards in subtropical Florida can be frosted. Cold Antarctic Air has been known to sweep northwards into Brazil. If polar atmospheric pressure increases the mid latitudes cool due to this influence and also due to increased cloud cover under high pressure systems as geopotential heights fall away with the ozone content of the air.

The progressive loss of atmospheric mass in high southern latitudes over the last seventy years has added mass to the mid altitudes and enhanced the westerly wind flow while opening up the sky to admit more solar radiation thereby warming the oceans. The result has been a marked warming of the air in high southern latitudes centred on those months where this natural variability occurs, primarily between Jun and the ozone hole months of the Antarctic springtime. See Fig 11 below.

A peculiarity  in the Antarctic record is the cooling experienced in summer over the last seventy years. The Arctic forces atmospheric mass into  high southern latitudes as it becomes ozone-active in the months November through to February keeping the westerlies at bay in the summer season giving rise to cooling in high southern latitudes.

60-90S
Fig 11 Source of data here

THE EVOLUTION OF SURFACE PRESSURE OVER THE LAST SEVENTY YEARS AND ITS POSSIBLE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SUNSPOT CYCLE

SLP Antarctica
Fi 12 source of pressure data here

Sunspot numbers: Source: WDC-SILSO, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels

 

The decline of surface pressure at 80-90° south latitude is punctuated with oscillations between regimes of relatively high surface pressure that are on average about 3.5 years apart with twenty such occurrences in the last sixty nine years and an equivalent number of periods of low surface pressure. The amplitude of the swings varies little within a solar cycle but secular change seems to occur between solar cycles. Change points seem to be associated with solar minimum.

If we now superimpose the data for surface pressure  in the high Arctic we have Fig. 13:

Polar SLP
Fig 13

Remarks:

  • Over time we see a shift of atmospheric mass from the poles and a gain of mass in the region of the East Asian High pressure zone. In fact atmospheric mass is likely to accrue everywhere except in high latitudes above 50° where polar cyclones, energised by increase in the partial pressure of ozone force pressure reductions. This process has fundamentally changed the parameters of the climate system. Changed, not ‘warped’ because warping suggests something unnatural and change is a natural and ongoing process. The change in 1976-8 involved a marked drop in Antarctic surface pressure that forced an increase in Arctic surface pressure regardless of the increase in global ozone at that time. The change in surface pressure has been continuous and  frequently abrupt and in particular either side of the relatively spotless cycle 20. There is a change of slope between 21 and 22 that is common to both hemispheres.
  • The evolution of surface pressure is characteristically different in different solar cycles
  • In solar cycle 18 Antarctic atmospheric pressure is superior to that in the Arctic. This superiority disappears in solar cycle 19, the strongest of recent times.
  • The very strong solar cycle 19 saw a steep fall in atmospheric pressure over Antarctica and also over East Asia but a compensating increase in pressure in the Arctic.
  •  The weak solar cycle 20 that nevertheless exhibited strong solar wind activity, saw a fall in atmospheric pressure at the poles that proceeded ‘hand in hand’  and a strong compensatory increase in surface pressure over the Eurasian continent.
  • The climate shift of 1976-8 involved a departure from the norm of the previous solar cycle 19 in that extreme falls in atmospheric pressure over Antarctica produced short term mirror image increases in Arctic surface pressure. Antarctic pressure still declined at much the same rate as it had over cycle 20 prior to the climate shift of 1976-8 .
  • Cycle 22 sees a recovery in Antarctic pressure and a compensatory collapse in Arctic pressure now establishing at the lowest level seen in the entire 69 year period bringing on the period of strong  advance  in Arctic temperature and loss of sea ice.
  • The onset of further declines in Antarctic pressure in cycle 23 allowed a recovery in Arctic pressure that, despite stepping to a higher level at the start of the cycle, declined over the period. Mirror image effects are again apparent.
  • Cycle 24 brings a brief recovery in Antarctic pressure at the expense of the Arctic where the peaks decline quickly as successive minimums in Antarctic  pressure (except the last) are higher than the previous minimum.
  •  After solar maximum in cycle 24 the decline in surface pressure in Antarctica is spectacular involving  greatly enhanced polar cyclone activity  perhaps due to enhanced ozone production due to  increased  cosmic ray activity as solar cycle 24  enters the decline phase. Reduced sunspot and flare activity  is responsible for a very compact atmosphere that may react more vigorously to the solar wind.
  • The peak in Eurasian surface pressure occurred about 1998 and a slow decline appears to have set in.

Generalising we can say that surface pressure and surface temperature appears to be linked to solar activity but in a fashion that is completely different to the narrative that insists that ‘total solar irradiance’ is the the only factor of importance. Rather, the driver of natural change in climate  works by changing the planetary winds and cloud cover via polar atmospheric dynamics that are closely linked to the flux in the ozone content of the air. Since 1978 the swings in surface pressure in Antarctica have been vigorous suggesting that a more compact atmosphere reacts more strongly to change in the solar wind and that cosmic rays that are enhanced in a regime of low solar activity may be more influential in ionising the polar atmosphere allowing the generation of ozone and especially so  during periods where the intake of mesospheric air is disrupted and the polar stratosphere warms. It is apparent that the ozone content of the air in high latitudes peaks in late winter/spring  even though the lifetime of ozone in the atmosphere is progressively shortened due to the increase in the incidence of destructive UVB radiation as the sun rises higher in the sky and the earths orbit takes it closer to the sun. Something has to account for that extra ozone. Climate science does not even pose the question, let alone answer it.

The ‘canary in the coalmine’ that indicates the change in the forces at work can be seen in extreme surface temperature variability in February and July. These months exhibit the greatest differences in terms of the whole of period  minimum and whole of period maximum in surface pressure as seen below. It is the months of January and July that exhibit the greatest variability in surface temperature. We see that in the sphere of natural climate change, surface pressure and surface temperature are inextricably linked. But, then again we always knew that by looking at the weather from week to week.

SLP varn Antarctica
Fig 14

The evolution of Antarctic surface pressure by the month is explored in the third diagram in this chapter. It appears that the system is at a turning point. Eight of the twelve months of the year, including the critical months under the control of the Antarctic and later the Arctic, from August through to February  show signs of a rise in surface atmospheric pressure. If this continues and the  ozone content of the global atmosphere continues to fall, and with it the temperature of the upper stratosphere we might sometime witness a reversal of the climate shift of 1976-8.

TEST QUESTIONS related to Fig.15: Have you understood this chapter?

Why is it that the Antarctic stratosphere above 150 hPa warms faster than the  atmosphere below 150 hPa in spring?

Why do we see the abrupt change in slope in the temperature of the air above 70 hPa in November?

Why does temperature between the surface  and 400 hPa decline at an invariable rate between April and August while the atmosphere above becomes increasingly colder?

What is the temperature at the tropopause in August and at what elevation is it located?

Query
Fig. 15

 

POSTSCRIPT:   For the convenience of the reader I list the chapters in this treatise in order to provide an idea of the scope of the work and the manner of its development. At the end is a list of chapters currently in preparation.

Reality

How the Earth warms and cools in the short term….200 years or so…the De Vries cycle

Links to chapters 1-38

  1. HOW DO WE KNOW THINGS Surface temperature is intimately tied to the global circulation of the air and the distribution of cloud.Ozone is inextricably linked to surface pressure and cloud. The key to unlocking the cause of climate change lies in observation.
  2. ASSESSING CLIMATE CHANGE IN YOUR OWN HABITAT On accessing and manipulating data to trace the way climate changes regionally. It is essential to understand the manner in which the globe warms and cools if one is to correctly diagnose the cause.
  3. HOW THE EARTH WARMS AND COOLS NATURALLY It is observed that the surface warms when geopotential height increases. This chapter answers the question why geopotential height increases.
  4. THE GEOGRAPHY OF THE STRATOSPHERE  Answers the question ‘at what elevation does the incidence of ozone cut in as a means for heating the atmosphere thereby creating what has been erroneously described the ‘stratosphere’. In winter its anything but stratified. It should be renamed ‘The Startosphere’.
  5. THE ENIGMA OF THE COLD CORE POLAR CYCLONE High latitude cyclones are the most vigorous circulations on the planet. At the surface they have a cold core. Their warm core is in the upper troposphere where the ozone impinges. No cyclone can form without a warm core.
  6. THE POVERTY OF CLIMATOLOGY Geopotential height at 200 and 500 hPa vary together in the extra-tropical latitudes. Furthermore, the increase in geopotential height that accompanies the surface pressure change is accompanied by a loss of cloud cover. All ultimately relate to the changing flux of ozone in the upper half of the atmospheric column in high latitudes.
  7. SURFACE TEMPERATURE EVOLVES DIFFERENTLY ACCORDING TO LATITUDE Surface temperature change is a two way process that occurs at particular times of the year.
  8. VOLATILITY IN TEMPERATURE. Temperature change is a winter phenomenon, increasing in amplitude towards the poles
  9. MANKIND IN A CLOUD OF CONFUSION Our understanding of the atmosphere is primitive.
  10. MANKIND ENCOUNTERS THE STRATOSPHERE. The origin of the stratosphere was a mystery back in 1890 and we still haven’t got it right.
  11. POPULATION, SCARCITY AND THE ORGANISATION OF SOCIETY. A dispassionate view of the Earth, considering its ability to promote plant life, sees the planet as distinctly cooler than is desirable.
  12. VARIATION IN ENERGY INPUT DUE TO CLOUD COVER. The atmosphere mediates the flow of solar energy to the surface of the planet via change in cloud cover. How could this be overlooked?
  13. THE PROCESSES BEHIND FLUX IN CLOUD COVER. A discussion of some of the intricacies involved in the relationship between surface pressure, cloud cover and the uptake of energy by the Earth system.
  14. ORGANIC CLIMATE CHANGE A discussion of the big picture that focuses on the natural sources of climate change.
  15. SCIENCE VERSUS PROPAGANDA The scare campaign about ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change’ is not based on science. Science demands observation and logic.  There is a ‘disconnect’ between observed change and the hypothesis put forward to explain it. One cannot ‘do science’ in the absence of accurate observation. What is being promoted as ‘Climate Science’ by the UNIPCC fails at the most basic level.
  16. ON BEING RELEVANT AND LOGICAL Climate scientists freely admit they do not know what lies behind surface temperature change that is natural in origin that expresses itself regionally and with large differences according to latitude i.e. the annular modes (Arctic and Antarctic Oscillations). In that circumstance it is nonsense to attribute change to the influence of man. There is an error in logic. But, its wilful.
  17. WHY IS THE STRATOSPHERE WARM Is the warmth of the stratosphere due to the interception of ultraviolet radiation or heating due to the interception of long wave radiation from the Earth? This issue is fundamental. Observation provides the answer.
  18. THE OZONE PULSE, SURFACE PRESSURE AND WIND The direction and intensity of the wind and the distribution of ozone is closely related. This chapter gives an introduction to the nature and origin of the annular modes phenomenon.
  19. SHIFT IN ATMOSPHERIC MASS AS A RESULT OF POLAR CYCLONE ACTIVITY The distribution of ozone maps surface pressure. When the partial pressure of ozone builds pressure falls locally and is enhanced elsewhere.
  20. THE DISTRIBUTION OF ATMOSPHERIC MASS CHANGES IN A SYSTEMATIC FASHION OVER TIME Surface pressure changes on long time schedules. UNIPCC climate science is oblivious to these changes and the consequences attached to the change.
  21. THE WEATHER SPHERE-POWERING THE WINDS. The strongest winds can be found at the overlapping interface of the troposphere and the stratosphere and we haven’t yet worked out why or what it means when change occurs at that interface.
  22. ANTARCTICA: THE CIRCULATION OF THE AIR IN AUGUST An introduction to the structure and dynamics of the atmosphere in high latitudes
  23. THE DEARLY BELOVED ANTARCTIC OZONE HOLE, A FUNCTION OF ATMOSPHERIC DYNAMICS. The celebrated ‘hole’ is actually a natural feature of the Antarctic atmosphere in spring and has always been so. It’s dictated by geography and process during the final warming.
  24. SPRINGTIME IN THE STRATOSPHERE More detail on the natural processes responsible for the ozone hole.
  25. WHERE IS OZONE? PART 1 IONISATION. The structure of the upper atmosphere is dictated by process. Hand waving is no substitute for observation.
  26. WHERE IS OZONE PART 2 EROSION More on the processes responsible for the structure of the atmosphere in high latitudes and in particular the manner in which tongues of air of tropical origin are drawn into the polar circulation.
  27. COSMIC RAYS, OZONE AND THE GEOPOTENTIAL HEIGHT RESPONSE Observation and logic suggest that both the solar wind and cosmic rays are independently influential in determining the partial pressure of ozone in high latitudes. No other possibility is remotely plausible.
  28. MISREPRESENTING THE TRUTH Ozone, not UV radiation warms the upper air in winter
  29. THE PURPOSE OF SCIENTISTS History is re-interpreted continuously to suit the purposes of elites. Science is moulded in that same way by virtue of the fact that the elites hold the purse strings. All is ‘spin’.
  30. THE CLIMATE SHIFT OF 1976-1980. The nitty gritty of how climate changes together with the basics of a theory that can explain the natural modes of variation. Observation and theory brought together in a manner that stands the test of common sense.
  31. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE HEMISPHERES: THE ORIGIN OF STRATOSPHERIC WARMINGS. Unfortunately climate science has a lot to learn. It has to begin with observation rather than mathematical abstractions. In fact, it’s best to keep the mathematicians at arms length.
  32. THE CLIMATE ENGINE THAT IS THE OZONOSPHERE . The atmosphere re-defined to take account of the critical processes that determine its movements and thereby the equator to pole temperature gradient. Takes a close look at processes inside and outside the winter time polar vortex. The system is the product of the distribution of ozone.
  33. SURFACE PRESSURE AND SUNSPOT CYCLES .  This chapter looks at the evolution of surface pressure and how it relates to solar activity. It explores the nature of the interaction between the atmosphere at the northern and southern poles.
  34. WEATHER ORIGINATES IN THE OZONOSPHERE Takes the focus to a regional and local perspective to answer the question as to why the mid latitudes of the southern hemisphere have been colder in winter of 2016.
  35. JET STREAMS Compares and contrasts two quite different explanations for the strong winds that manifest where the troposphere and the stratosphere overlap.
  36. JET STREAMS AND CLIMATE CHANGE Looks at some great work that measures the ozone content of the air across the northern hemisphere and sets up a classification in a novel fashion, by zone of commonality rather than latitude. Relates the distribution of ozone to the occurrence of the subtropical and polar jet streams.  Zones of surprisingly uniform ozone content lie between the jets, and both pole-wards and equator-wards of the jets. Tropopause height steps down at the latitude of the jets creating marked contrasts in atmospheric density. This is a very useful and rock solid survey of great importance given the relationship between ozone and surface pressure.
  37. THE HISTORY OF THE ATMOSPHERE IN TERMS OF UPPER AIR TEMPERATURE An examination of temperature dynamics at the 10 hPa pressure surface over the poles.Critical to understanding the evolution of climate over the period of record.
  38. E.N.S.O. RE-INTERPRETED. The origin of the El Nino Southern Oscillation phenomenon and why the matter is of little consequence.

 

Here is how would I explain the Earth’s natural modes of climate change to a child!

Let us consider the Earth as a car. We are at some latitude (like being in the back or the front seat of a car). Let’s imagine we have the heater in the front of the car and a vent over the back seat. You can open and close the vent and turn it to the front to scoop in air or to the back and suck air out of the car. So, the cold air from the vent can blow straight down the back of your neck or you can turn the vent around so that it sucks air out of the car so that the warm air from the engine travels to the back of the car.

Ozone heats the air in winter creating polar cyclones that lower surface pressure at the pole attracting a flow of air from the equator. More ozone = lower surface pressure in high latitudes = wind blows more often from the equator. Less ozone= higher surface pressure at the pole= wind from equator does not come. Instead, a cold wind comes from the pole similar to what would happen if you turned the vent in the car roof so it faced forwards.

The second way in which ozone changes surface temperature is by changing cloud cover. Because ozone is mainly present in the upper air and it ascends strongly at the poles in winter it has to come down somewhere else. Where it  descends it warms the air and evaporates cloud letting the sun shine through to be absorbed by the ocean that acts like a battery because it stores energy.  Full dense cloud  curtails solar radiation by as much as 90%.

The climate varies by warming and cooling  in winter. It is in winter that we see the big changes in 1. Polar surface pressure, 2. The ozone content of the air 3. The direction of the wind and hence  the temperature at the surface.

Change can be two way, both warming and cooling.

Ozone is inextricably linked to surface pressure. The key to unlocking the cause of climate change lies in working out what can change the ozone content of the air near the poles in winter.

 

32 THE CLIMATE ENGINE THAT IS THE OZONOSPHERE

The ozonosphere could be regarded as stretching from the mesopause on the lower margins of the ionosphere to the surface of the globe. Within the ozonosphere the partial pressure of ozone is conditioned by numerous processes including  diffusion downwards from the ionosphere, transport from areas of local production, destruction by ionisation and via chemical means and just plain mixing of ozone rich with ozone poor air.

Beyond the equatorial latitudes, at lower altitudes and at low sun angles ozone is safe from the pressure of ionisation. EUV is used up in the ionosphere above the mesopause. The ionisation of oxygen demands wave lengths shorter than 240 nm. Ozone, being a large molecule is ionised by UVB. The longer the atmospheric path, the less there will be of these destructive wavelengths because they are used up in the process. Recent work suggests that the complement of ozone in high latitudes is increased via cosmic ray activity. The safest zone for ozone is the winter hemisphere where the atmospheric path is long. Where the atmosphere is in the shadow of the Earth ionisation of ozone is not possible.

UV spectrumOn that basis we would expect that ozone partial pressure should increase all the way to the surface of the planet. In practice, erosion from below by NOx prevents the increase in ozone partial pressure at lower elevations. This erosive process gives rise to a higher tropopause in the tropics where atmospheric uplift is most vigorous.Both chemical destruction and transport processes are instrumental in  elevating the tropopause in low latitudes.

The polar vortex is another zone of ozone erosion and in this instance from above. This  could be the most important source of change in the system. Inside the vortex  a variable amount of ozone deficient air is introduced in winter. The feed rate depends upon surface pressure. As surface pressure declines so does the velocity of the zonal wind in high latitudes and the penetration of this mesospheric air.

This chapter looks specifically at aspects of vortex rotation and the mixing processes that are involved in determining ozone partial pressure in the wider ozonosphere.

PROCESSES WITHIN THE ANTARCTIC POLAR VORTEX

At 1 hPa  the rotation of the atmosphere is west to east in the same direction as the Earth itself but at a faster rate. Zones of high ozone partial pressure (low surface pressure) form over the warmer waters in the lee of the continents and in particular in the western Pacific Ocean and to the south of Australia. These are zones of enhanced convection where ozone accumulates at the highest elevation. The data below is reported here:

1hPa global

Looking now from the polar perspective we can observe the ingress of ozone rich air into the vortex structure (circled) and using snapshots at six hourly intervals we can see the rate of rotation inside the vortex. Observe the structure that looks like a plant sprouting from soil.  Follow the black circle to observe the rotation rate as this structure is carried about within the vortex.

seed 1

seed 2

seed 3

seed 4seed 5

Some features of the circulation worthy of note:

  • The vortex at 1 hPa is not uni-cellar in structure but exhibits multiple cells of descent that drag in ozone rich air from the ozone rich periphery.
  • The ‘periphery’ at 1 hPa represents an ‘annular’ or ring like structure, albeit quite asymmetrical in its ozone content.
  • The diagrams span the time between zero hour on the 13th June to 6 am 15th June with plots at six hourly intervals.It takes 2.5 days for one full rotation to occur within the vortex.
  • The zone of high ozone partial pressure outside the vortex does not rotate about the pole in 2.5 days. It is sticky, hanging in the East Indian- West Pacific sector. Here, ozone partial pressure is maintained in spite of the influence of erosive activity emanating from the lower mesosphere and perhaps some ionising radiation impacting from above (but likely very little). This node of enhanced ozone is fed from lower levels per agency of low pressure anticyclones that form near the tropopause, propagate to the surface and lift ozone rich air to the top of the atmosphere. These low pressure cells are ozone collectors.  The air circulating within them morphs together to create the vortex upwards of  50 hPa. There is a very wide zone of low surface pressure between the Antarctic continent and the latitude of New Zealand to promote the sticky presence of low pressure cells.Juane SLP
  • Ozone is continuously drawn into the multi vortex structure within the generally ozone deficient core of mesospheric air. This has the effect of raising the ozone partial pressure within the core as it descends thereby actively reducing the ozone differential  between core and perimeter air. Mini vortex structures of elevated ozone partial pressure persist but only so long as they are supplied from the incomplete annular ring of ozone rich air. When cut off from a source of ozone rich air these  mini vortexes lose ozone partial pressure and become invisible until they re-connect with the source of ozone rich air.
  • New feeds of ozone rich air are created and drawn into the cone of descending mesospheric air from the ozone rich sector on a continuous basis.
  • Only traces of virginal mesospheric air that is relatively deficient in ozone can be seen within the vortex. The rate of mixing ensures that there will be much less difference between the ozone content of the air inside and outside the vortex at the 50 hPa level. Nevertheless there will always be a substantial difference in air temperature across the vortex between internal air of mainly mesospheric origin and stratospheric air outside the vortex warmer in part because it derives from the mid latitudes. As we see below, there is a marked difference in the temperature of the air above the 250 hPa level in winter by comparison with summer. This shows us the extent of the descent of mesospheric air and its involvement in the evolution of the polar arm of the Jet Stream.Temp pole

IMPLICATIONS FOR SURFACE CLIMATE

  • An increase in the intake of mesospheric air will dilute the ozone content of the ozonosphere generally. As the ozone content of the air above the polar cap is diluted the temperature of the air will fall. Large variations in the temperature of polar cap air occur on inter-annual and longer time scales. As the ozone content of the air rises and falls so too does polar cyclone activity and with it there is a change in the distribution of atmospheric mass between high and other latitudes.This is the essence of the most significant modes of climate variability observed on the planet. These modes are well documented as the Arctic and the Antarctic Oscillations.These modes involve a change in the pressure differentials driving the planetary winds and therefore change in the equator to pole temperature gradient.
  • The area to the east of the Antarctic peninsula tends to be ozone deficient and therefore the natural home for a high pressure cell of descending air. Another natural home for a zone of high surface pressure lies to the west of Chile where the ocean is very cool. A third is the Australian continent in winter. The strength of the pressure differential across the Pacific Ocean that drives the trade winds will depend on surface pressure in the broad ozone deficient zone to the west of Chile.  This is part of the ENSO dynamic in the southern hemisphere because it determines the pressure differential that drives the trade winds across the Pacific. This differential changes on decadal and longer time scales. There is a similar dynamic driving change in the planetary winds in the North Atlantic and North Pacific.
  • The strength of the west wind drift that is driven by the westerly winds in the Southern Ocean and the temperature of the waters streaming northwards on the western margins of South America depends upon the pressure differential  between the mid latitudes and the margins of Antarctica. That depends in turn on the ozone content of the air in high latitudes that is responsible for the strength of polar cyclone activity. Polar cyclone activity determines the balance of surface pressure between mid and high latitudes.

THE CIRCULATION IN THE LOWER STRATOSPHERE

Data here. http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/time_plot/

250 hPa 30-40S

 

In the hovmoller diagram above we see a depiction of air temperature at 250 hPa. The diagram covers the year 2014 for the latitude band 30-40° south. A northwest to southeast pattern manifests  strongly in winter. This is produced when cold ozone deficient air from the equator is drawn pole-wards. That air comes from under the high tropopause that prevails in near equatorial latitudes and it is ozone deficient, NOx rich and  very cold, as cold in fact as the air that descends from the mesosphere over the pole.  It must enter the circulation in the mid latitudes obliquely rather than directly because it must push into and under warmer ozone rich air present at the same elevation due to the low tropopause that prevails in high latitudes.  The high latitude circulation is driven by polar cyclones on the margins of Antarctica. Here the air ascends and rotates faster as it ascends.  The speed of the circulation depends in part on the strength of the zonal wind that is  dependent on electromagnetic influences. It depends also on polar surface pressure that conditions the intake of mesospheric air. The polar cyclones are formed in the region between the low tropopause (8 km) that prevails in high latitudes and 100 hPa (18 km). In this zone there are marked differences in the density of the air according to its origin.  These density differences are material to the development of polar cyclones that propagate downwards to the surface and send ozone rich air to the top of the atmosphere where it accumulates at 1 hPa and spreads out towards low latitudes, This ozone rich air is entrained in the descending vortex as described above.

The polar circulation ascends to the top of the atmosphere. The tropical circulation is limited to a high tropopause. What goes up must come down and the dominant zone of descent from the stratosphere is the high pressure cells of the mid latitudes. A smaller zone of descent is via the inside of the polar vortex.

Source of map below here

descent

Notice that in this description of the way in which the wind blows I do not refer to a ‘coriolis force’. There is no such force. This is a meteorologist’s rule of thumb. Nor do I refer to ‘tropopause folding’ or ‘surf zones’  The circulation of the atmosphere is set  in high latitudes where its rate of rotation is fastest and it is a product of circumstances that manifest most strongly in winter. Its engine is located between the 300 hPa and the 50 hPa pressure levels. That engine is the difference in air density across the vortex.

Now let us look at this circulation in terms of the distribution of NOx and ozone near the tropopause.

NOX and Ozone

We are looking at a polar stereo-graphic view of the southern hemisphere with Antarctica central. The light grey line overlaid on the diagram at left traces the feathery edge of air with an appreciable NOx content. That line is duplicated, rendered in black and  overlaid on the ozone diagram at right. It is apparent that the distribution of ozone south of about 30° south latitude is entirely the product of the distribution of NOx. NOx catalytically destroys ozone. NOx is not apparent in the yellow areas but these are interaction zones where NOx has already done some work in reducing the ozone content of the air.

Let us now examine the circulation at 50 hPa and 100 hPa by tracking the passage of NOx rich cold air of tropical origin into the ozone rich warmer, less dense air at high latitudes. Let us remember that surface pressure is determined by the ozone content of the air. Surface pressure is much lower on the margins of Antarctica. That requires that cold, dense ozone deficient air must flow from the low and mid latitudes to high latitudes where the air is ascending to the top of the atmosphere as in a chimney. The return flow is from the top of the atmosphere.  We should be able to track the ingress of NOx rich air anywhere between the 300 hPa and 50 hPa pressure levels. Data is available for the 50 hPa and 100 hPa pressure levels here and is reproduced below.

89

101112

131415

161718

192021

22

It is apparent that the air from mid and low latitudes is drawn into the circulation on the margins of Antarctica and progressively loses its separate identity in the process. At the 100 hPa level, the level of the tropical tropopause, that the great contrasts in atmospheric temperature and density are to be found. This is approximately the level where polar cyclones are formed and jet streams generated. According to the contrasts in the ozone partial pressure, temperature and air density polar cyclones wax and wane in activity, shifting atmospheric mass to and from high latitudes.

Here we are looking at the origin of the inter-annual modes of natural climate variation. But it is more than that. We are looking at the engine that drives weather on all time scales. The beating heart of this engine is ozone. The distribution of ozone is not the product of the system. The system is the product of the distribution of ozone.

 

31 DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE HEMISPHERES: THE ORIGINS OF SUDDEN STRATOSPHERIC WARMINGS

Some weird and wonderful ideas have been put forward to explain ‘sudden stratospheric warmings’ and the relative abundance of ozone in the northern hemisphere by comparison with the southern hemisphere. Consider the following passages:

From the UK Met Office:

Sometimes the usual westerly flow can be disrupted by natural weather patterns or disturbances in the lower part of the atmosphere, such as a large area of high pressure in the northern hemisphere. This causes the Polar Jet to wobble and these wobbles, or waves, break just like waves on the beach. When they break they can be strong enough to weaken or even reverse the westerly winds and swing them to easterlies. As this happens, air in the stratosphere starts to collapse in to the polar cap and compress. As it compresses it warms, hence the stratospheric warming.

And a somewhat more academic approach from:  ‘Dynamics, Stratospheric Ozone, and Climate Change’. Theodore G. Shepherd* Department of Physics, University of Toronto 60 St. George St., Toronto ON M5S 1A7 2007

Accessed at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.3137/ao.460106

 Between early fall and late spring, when stratospheric winds are westerly (reflecting, through thermal-wind balance, the low temperatures found in polar regions due to the lack of solar heating), planetary-scale Rossby waves generated in the troposphere by topography and land-ocean thermal contrasts can propagate up into the stratosphere where they grow in amplitude, break, and dissipate. In this process the waves transfer negative angular momentum from the troposphere to the stratosphere and the resulting negative torque, known as wave drag, drives a poleward circulation in the stratosphere. Mass continuity and the relaxational nature of infrared radiative cooling then leads to upwelling in the tropics and downwelling in the extratropics. The effect on ozone is to bring ozone down from its production region in the tropical upper stratosphere into the extratropical lower stratosphere, where its lifetime is long. Although transport in itself cannot change ozone abundance, the rapid chemical replenishment of ozone in the upper stratosphere together with the poleward transport implies a net increase in extratropical column ozone during the winter-spring season.  

We have in this extract references to:

  • The cooling of the atmosphere in high latitudes due to lack of solar heating in winter.
  • Planetary scale Rossby waves (i.e. the polar front) that is ‘different’ in the northern hemisphere driving the Brewer Dobson pole-ward circulation bringing ozone into the extra-tropics of the northern hemisphere supposedly pumping up the ozone content of the northern hemisphere with less activity in the southern hemisphere where there is accordingly less ozone.
  • These waves being more active in winter implies a net increase in extratropical column ozone during the winter-spring season.  

Thereby contriving to  persuade us that all change begins in the lower troposphere, or in other words ‘it is the tail that wags the dog’.

There is some resemblance to poetry   “growing in amplitude, propagating, breaking out and disappating while wave drag, known as negative torque that is associated with mass continuity considerations involving upwelling in low latitudes and downwelling in the extratropics conveys ozone into a sweet spot where its chemical  lifetime is long.”

No, its gibberish. The imagination is a wonderful thing but lets start with things that can be observed.

THE WORLD OF ‘CLIMATE SCIENCE’

In winter as surface atmospheric pressure increases a tongue of very cold, ozone deficient mesospheric air penetrates the stratosphere over the poles to about the 300 hPa pressure level. The upper third of the atmosphere is affected by the influx of this air. If one admits this phenomenon and nevertheless wishes to deny any effect on the wider atmosphere one must  conceive of an impenetrable wall between the mesospheric air and the wider stratosphere stopping any interaction. That is common. It is embodied in the term ‘Strong vortex’. One must conceive of cyclones of ascending air with a cold core that ‘just happen’, perhaps made up of just ‘air’ in which case it is easy to imagine  that the particular sort of air that is uplifted is in inexhaustible supply and will have no consequences for the distribution of ozone, the temperature of the air at elevation or geopotential height that is so carefully monitored here.  One can then remain blissfully ignorant of the fact that the massive uplift that occurs via the vortex (not at the equator) proceeds to the top of the atmosphere (not just to the tropopause) at 1 hPa inflating upper air temperature (need another reason for that rather than replacement of cold air with warm air). One must never ask the question what happens to the air so uplifted; is there a balancing descent anywhere else? Does  the upper air spin out  towards the equator? Is it entrained in the descending air of the mid latitudes? One must never admit that the air so uplifted is ozone rich producing pockets of ozone rich air above sticky low pressure systems that tend to establish over warm waters in the lee of the continents. One must remain blissfully unaware that it is uplift by polar cyclones that is responsible for low surface pressure in high latitudes attracting  NOx rich  and ozone starved air from tropics between the 300 hPa and the 50 hPa pressure levels  giving rise to severe contrasts in atmospheric density that  is responsible for the continuous regeneration  of these polar cyclones, and in spring at the time of the final warming trapped below 50 hPa to constitute the ‘ozone hole’.

REALITY

There is cold air on one side of the Polar Front and much warmer air on the other side. The green line on the map below traces the front.

Mesospheric air 250hPa

Below we see the  wind speed response to the differences in the character of the air across the front.

250hPa wind

There is a very large difference between the hemispheres in terms of the temperature of the air in the atmospheric column above the winter pole as documented below.

Polar column temperatures

We can notice that:

  • The Arctic is warmer at the surface than the Antarctic for most months of the year.
  • There is  not much difference in the temperature of the air at 300 hPa between the two polar caps in summer but in winter the Antarctic air is colder and the higher the elevation the colder it is.
  • The Antarctic air is warmer at the highest elevations in summer due in part to 6% greater solar irradiance in January due in turn to orbital considerations (proximity of the sun in January) despite the fact that the surface is much colder than the Arctic.
  • The surface of both polar regions is colder in winter than the air above it. The near surface air is warmer because it has come from lower latitudes and to some extent it may be warmer than the surface due to the presence of ozone.
  • The temperature of the air above the 300 hPa pressure level is unrelated to the temperature of the surface, or cooling processes during the polar night or the lack of irradiance during the polar night. Very cold air arrives in winter. It arrives from above. Because its ozone content is light and the flow in Antarctica is enhanced by comparison with the Arctic this mesospheric air dilutes the ozone content of the air in the southern hemisphere and indeed globally. Its flow rate is a major influence on the ozone content of the air in the southern hemisphere on all time scales. There may be other influences, equally important like ozone production at the poles due to ionisation by cosmic rays but the influence of this mesospheric flow differentiates the hemispheres.

If the flow of mesospheric is curtailed, as it is in summer and periodically  in winter, especially in the Arctic, the temperature of the polar atmosphere is seen to increase by as much as 40°C and we have a phenomenon called a ‘sudden stratospheric warming’. At this time  the tropical stratosphere is seen to cool, reflecting an increase in atmospheric mass in the tropics perhaps due to a shift of cold mesospheric air from the mid latitudes equator-ward.

The shift in the atmosphere from the poles towards the equator can be due to enhanced polar cyclone activity as the ozone content of the air on the outer margins of the polar front increases. Increased polar cyclone activity is associated with a decline in atmospheric pressure over the pole. In play we have the electromagnetic nature of the atmosphere and the possibility that the zonal wind is enhanced due to a change in the solar wind. An enhanced zonal wind indicates increased descent within the vortex. An increase in the ozone content of the air due to cosmic ray activity can not be ruled out as part of the interactive processes involved in promoting shifts in the atmosphere to and from high latitudes.

THE SURFACE PRESSURE DYNAMIC

The Arctic Oscillation index represents the ratio between surface pressure in the mid latitudes and the high Arctic. Because mid latitude surface pressure is relatively invariable while Arctic surface pressure varies a lot the AO  is a good proxy for Arctic surface pressure. But one must be aware that the relationship is inverse because mid latitude pressure is the numerator. In the equation that defines the index mid latitude pressure is above the line and Arctic pressure is below the line. Mid latitude/Arctic pressure = AO index. If polar pressure falls the AO index rises. See the relationship depicted below, note that surface pressure in the right hand axis is inverted.

AO and SLP 80-90N Lat

The graph above effectively records the ever changing surface pressure over the Arctic Ocean. There is a fine balance between surface pressure in the northern hemisphere between the mid latitudes and the Arctic. If Arctic pressure rises cold air flows southwards from the Arctic to the mid latitudes. If it falls, warm mid latitude air floods into the Arctic.

Changes in Arctic surface pressure is closely associated with change in the distribution of the air at all elevations and this is reflected in the temperature of the air. Below, the first of a number of diagrams looks at the response to a change in Arctic surface pressure at 100 hPa.

10mb zonal and AO

 

We see that, at the 100 hPa level, when Arctic surface pressure falls (a taste of summer in winter) warm air invades the polar cap.  In each instance, there is an increase in the extent of the warm zone and this is at the expense of the cold zone.

Also  we can observe the intensity, duration and latitudinal extent of the zone of very cold air that is present in the Antarctic in winter and also its relative stability and freedom from warming events. The anomaly in the Antarctic is the cooling that can occur over the polar cap that can extend through till November. Shortly we will see that change in the Antarctic in winter can drive change in the Arctic on all time scales and not just during the period of Antarctic winter.

REVERSE RESPONSE IN THE TROPICS

pole and tropics

We see above that, at 10 hPa, an increase in the temperature of the air in the tropics is associated with cooling in the Arctic. Similarly, warming in high latitudes is accompanied by cooling over the equator. These phenomena are due to shifts in atmospheric mass signalled by change in the Arctic Oscillation Index. When surface pressure falls in high latitudes the Arctic stratosphere warms and the equatorial stratosphere cools. As suggested above, this is very likely associated with a change in the composition of the air at elevation in the tropics.

RESPONSE TO CHANGE IN SURFACE PRESSURE IN THE ARCTIC AT 50 hPa 50hPa

At 50 hPa a fall in Arctic surface pressure initiates warming via the replacement of mesospheric air with warmer stratospheric air (shrinkage of the cold zone) but the warming continues and is heavily amplified, and more particularly so as the temperature of the air increases towards its summer maximum. As Arctic surface pressure rises from mid winter on-wards, the flow of mesospheric air is weakened and the temperature of the air over the polar cap warms. In this circumstance even a minor  reduction in surface pressure can initiate a major and long sustained warming episode where the temperature of the air rises to the level  that it attains in summer or even warmer. The relative enhancement of ozone partial pressure in the air in winter and spring can achieve this feat via excitation by infrared radiation. Apparently the life of ozone is enhanced at low sun angles even at the top of the atmosphere.

The Arctic at the 50 hPa pressure level is susceptible to large variations in the temperature of the air (the ozone content of the air and its distribution) between November and June. When we look at temperature data we need to remember this spread of activity. The greatest variability may be experienced in January and February but there is a long tail of sustained activity.

RESPONSE AT 10 hPa

T strat and AO 10hPa

At 10 hPa we see a similar relationship between Arctic surface pressure and the temperature of the air. Again we see that the temperature of the stratosphere over the Arctic polar cap can be highly variable between November and May and can rise to levels not seen even in the height of summer.  This is apparent before and after the period of the equinox when it is known that the solar wind couples most effectively with the atmosphere producing a regular peak in geomagnetic indices at this time of the year.

THE GEOPOTENTIAL HEIGHT RESPONSE AT 50-80° NORTH LATITUDE.TO A CHANGE IN ARCTIC SURFACE PRESSURE

Wave 1

Above, is charted what is described by meteorologists as Wave 1 episodes measured as episodic increases in geopotential height between 50° and 80° of latitude encompassing that part of the northern hemisphere outside the polar cap where the inflated presence of ozone becomes the driver of atmospheric dynamics in the winter season. There is a 1/1 relationship between the ozone content of the air, its temperature and geopotential height. The aberrations in geopotential height seen in this diagram are a response to the increase in the ozone content of the air, and the extent to which ozone rich air is present in the profile. The diagram shows us the depth of the atmospheric column that is affected. Notice the zones between five and fifteen kilometres in elevation that have an apparent life of their own, independent of what is happening at higher altitudes. This is the ‘hot zone’ where marked differences in the density of the air drive the initiation of polar cyclones. Here the geopotential height response to changes in atmospheric pressure aligns well with change in the AO index that is consistent with that seen at the 100 hPa pressure level, representing a direct warming in the zone where polar cyclones originate. This could be a signature of cosmic ray activity.

The lagged response in GPH may be due to ozone creation facilitated by cosmic ray activity that is facilitated as the temperature of the air increases. The penetration of cosmic rays is temperature dependent. It is due to this  dependence on temperature that the muon count at the surface provides a direct proxy for the incidence of ‘sudden stratospheric warmings’.

The lagged response is likely also due to the effect of declines in surface pressure on the mesospheric flow, that takes time to re-establish after disturbance, perhaps due to ozone creation via cosmic ray activity.

It is apparent that the increases in geopotential height follow the episodes where Arctic surface pressure falls away. This is also in part a natural consequence of the impact of polar cyclone activity in lowering surface pressure across high latitudes that curtails the intake of mesospheric air and in consequence advances the ozone content of the air outside the region of the polar cap.The impact is seen outside the polar cap region as a result of the change in rate of flow of mesospheric air. The so-called vortex is profoundly leaky. Its not a barrier but an interaction zone. At its base, in the Antarctic in particular, is a chain  of intense polar cyclones acting like  a collection of turbocharged cake-mixers arrayed outside the perimeter of the polar cap, the mixers swinging equator-wards into the mid latitudes as if they were suspended from an annular shaped support structure high in the atmosphere and free to walk along it while swinging longitudinally towards the mid latitudes where they lose momentum and torque but  are active in introducing very cold air into the subtropics and promoting frontal rainfall as they do so.

TWO VERY DIFFERENT HEMISPHERES

In the broadest context  the difference in the ozone content of the northern and the southern hemisphere is a response to the distribution of land and sea.  The large land masses of the northern hemisphere promote the formation of competing high pressure cells in winter robbing the Arctic of the opportunity to develop a strong descending anti-cyclonic circulation over the pole. The distribution of ozone rich centres of uplift in the northern hemisphere is discontinuous because of the interruption of the sea by the expansive continents.  At best, in early winter, the Arctic exhibits a more limited and confined descent of mesospheric air in the upper stratosphere, that can be centred on the East Asian high, Scandinavia or Greenland instead of the Arctic and much subject to shrinkage and displacement.  This escapes detection by those whose habits of mind are hypothetical, abstract and mathematical rather than observational. As the Eurasian continent warms after mid winter, the centre for the development of high surface pressure shifts to the Arctic. The inherent changeability that is built in when there are competing centres of activity and a limited stretch of ocean to support the development of sticky areas of uplift creates a situation that is inherently unstable. The establishment of a strong core of descending air from the mesosphere requires stability. The Antarctic with its central core of land surmounted by a massive mound of ice in turn surrounded by an almost uninterrupted stretch of relatively warm  water in high latitudes provides the required stability.

The weakness in the flow of mesospheric air in the northern hemisphere yields an ozone partial pressure that is much greater in the northern than the southern hemisphere.  The dilution effect of mesospheric air is smaller. As a corollary, the Arctic, lacking the annular ring of polar cyclones that we see on the margins of Antarctica is not capable of generating the massive shifts in atmospheric mass due to polar cyclone activity that are achieved in the southern hemisphere. As a driver of climate change the Arctic is potent in the short term. In the long term it is a client state of the Antarctic.

THE ARCTIC IS A CLIENT STATE OF THE ANTARCTIC

AO and AAO

Above we have the Arctic Oscillation and the Antarctic Oscillation indices.Notice that when the Antarctic is most heavily active between June and December a rise in the AAO is associated with a fall in the AO and vice versa. In other words, high surface pressure in the Arctic is associated with low surface pressure in the Antarctic and vice versa.  In the remainder of the year the two move together indicating that the same external circumstances (not atmospherically bound ‘planetary waves’ originating in the troposphere) drive the flux in surface pressure at the poles and with it weather and climate on all time scales. It  is necessary to remember that the flux in surface pressure across the globe is the result of interactive activity in the high latitudes of both hemispheres.

Notice the difference in the AAO between winter 2015 and winter 2016. This represents   much reduced atmospheric pressure over Antarctica in the latter year. Very large variations in surface pressure from year to year are the norm. But change can also be unidirectional over long periods of time. The decline in surface pressure in the Antarctic in the last seven decades is mapped below.

SLP 80-90°S

The change in sea level pressure over time is documented below in a more useful fashion, according to the month of the year.

SLP 80-90S by month

These changes  reflect the joint impact of both polar circulations on Antarctic surface pressure. Notable is the ongoing decline in Antarctic surface pressure in May against a background of low inter annual variability and the recovery of surface pressure in Antarctica from August through to March. High variability in the months of July through to November is driven from the Antarctic and from December through to March by Arctic processes.

THINKING: EXTERNAL VERSUS INTERNAL MODES OF CAUSATION

Re-visit the description of the origin of sudden stratospheric warming and the abundance of ozone in the northern hemisphere that is provided at the head of this chapter.

There is no process that is inherent in the dynamics of the near surface atmosphere that we designate ‘troposphere’ that can pull atmospheric mass from both poles simultaneously. There is no internal force that can  drive down atmospheric pressure in the region of Antarctica  over seventy years.  That mechanism has to be externally initiated and continually forced.

The troposphere delivers weather  only by virtue of its ability to generate polar cyclones in high latitudes, the most variable circumstances in the global pattern of daily weather. It is the ozone content of the upper troposphere from about the 300 hPa pressure level that is responsible for the generation of polar cyclones that are described as ‘cold core’ due to the character of the air within them at the surface. There is no warm land mass to initiate these cyclones. There is no warm moist atmosphere.  But, from 300 hPa through to 50 hPa  there are large differences in the ozone content of the air between the pole and the equator. Air that has a very different composition, in terms of its ozone and moisture content merges at the polar front. Differences in the nature of the air that merges at the polar front (simply a chain of polar cyclones) drives polar cyclones, the jet stream and surface wind patterns via the impact  of polar cyclones on surface pressure across the globe.

INTER-ANNUAL VARIABILITY

The ozone content of the air varies in a systematic fashion over time and very strongly from year to year. The following diagrams for the same time and day for three consecutive years serve to illustrate the differences between the hemispheres as they manifest at the 1 hPa pressure level. Ozone, because it reduces air density  gathers in sticky zones of low surface pressure of its own creation and is carried by convection to the top of the atmosphere where it persists apparently immune to ionisation by Ultra Violet B. Perhaps the rate of supply from below is sufficient to maintain the anomaly? If it is, it can come only from Cosmic Ray activity.

Notice the wandering nature of the vortex of low ozone content air that is frequently located outside the polar circle in the Arctic. Its  plainly vagrant, of no fixed abode, with no visible means of support. But even in the Antarctic where the intake of mesospheric air is strong, mixing processes within the vortex, normally located over the polar cap, are apparently very strong.

sticky 2014

sticky 2015sticky 3

Plainly in evidence is the consistent vigour of the uplift in the Southern hemisphere by comparison with the Northern hemisphere. Variations in vortex activity drive changes in the ozone content of the upper air in the Southern hemisphere. The bleed of ozone rich air towards the inside of the vortex is plainly in evidence in the vigorous southern vortex, much less so in the northern. Accordingly the contrasts between air that has little ozone and air that has a lot is much richer in the southern hemisphere. The data above can be accessed at the following address. Unfortunately it begins only in 2014.

http://macc.aeronomie.be/4_NRT_products/5_Browse_plots/1_Snapshot_maps/index.php?src=MACC_o-suite&l=TC

This data is of enormous importance to our rapidly developing understanding of atmospheric processes.

CONCLUSION

The primary mode of ozone control is via the intake of mesospheric air in winter. Ozone abundance is well correlated with surface pressure that in turn determines the direction and intensity of the planetary winds that determine the equator to pole temperature gradient, a first order influence on surface temperature. The abundance of ozone is also related to geopotential height variations that are well correlated with surface temperature variations that appears to be due to change in cloud albedo.

A secondary mode of ozone control appears to be linked to cosmic ray activity. This, and a well documented correlation between the zonal wind and geomagnetic activity affecting the mesospheric flow, are  capable of driving change on all time scales.