CHANGE IN THE STRATOSPHERE
The strength of the meridional flow (north-south and south-north) in mid to high latitudes depends upon the distribution of atmospheric mass between the poles and the mid latitudes. That in turn rests on the strength of polar cyclone activity between 50 and 70 degrees of latitude in both hemispheres. Because these cyclones lift ozone rich air to the top of the atmosphere and will do so according to density differences wrought by ozone between 300 hPa and 50 hPa it follows that 10 hPa temperature over the pole is a proxy for the strength of polar cyclone activity. Another good proxy is surface atmospheric pressure. A third would be geopotential height, a fourth would be the strength of the zonal wind. In this chapter, for simplicity, we look at 10 hPa temperature over the poles.
We are looking at temperature at the top of the stratosphere as one product of the change in atmospheric processes.When this indicator changes we a seeing a change in the parameters of the climate system. We have not one climate system but many across a continuum. If you can’t chart the continuum or predict the course of the climate system within the continuum you can’t mathematically model it.
- 10 hPa temperature varies more in winter and particularly so in the Arctic.
- The Antarctic is slightly warmer in summer and about 20°C cooler in winter.
- The discontinuity in Antarctic temperature in winter prior to and after 1976
This data suggests that the two poles are very different environments in terms of their atmospheric processes. If you live in the northern hemisphere welcome to the reality of what drives your weather in the very long term. Broadly speaking, the multi-decadal changes in the global atmosphere are driven from Antarctica while the inter-annual variations are a product of violent swings that occur in the Arctic winter. The long term evolution of northern hemisphere climate can not be understood without reference to Antarctic processes. In polar regions, in winter, the air is highly mobile.Change in the temperature at 10 hPa indicates a change in the temperature profile due to change in atmospheric processes.
THE WINTER POLAR VORTEX
There is a lot of nonsense written about the polar vortex in standard issue climate science. What follows is a common sense interpretation. It describes the archetypal situation in the Antarctic, not the flim-flam phenomenon that manifests in the Arctic.
After 1948 the temperature of the stratosphere over both poles gradually increased in both summer and winter. The greatest increase incurred in winter indicating a change tied to atmospheric dynamics at the winter pole at a time when high surface pressure results in the intake of cold, ozone deficient air from the mesosphere.
The inflow of mesospheric air is associated with and strictly dependent on the seasonal advance in surface pressure. It is associated with the establishment of what is very confusingly called the ‘polar vortex’.
There is a cone or funnel shaped interface between two very different types of air in high latitudes in winter. Think of a funnel with the tube like extension at its bottom removed. This funnel is wide at the top of the atmosphere (50 km in elevation) where it sits at about 40° of latitude and narrow at 200 hPa (10 km in elevation) where it lies at 60-70° of latitude. So, it has an annular or ring like shape about the pole but wider at the top than at the bottom. Ozone warmed low density air from the mid latitudes rises to the top of the atmosphere on the outside of this funnel and cold dense mesospheric air descends within ##the funnel. But there is no actual funnel. There is just an interface between two types of air. Mixing occurs at the bottom, up the sides and down through the top of the funnel. The depth of the funnel takes in a 40 kilometre extent of the atmosphere and it involves the upper 20% of its mass including most of the part that contains ozone. The funnel tends to be discontinuous. Cold air escapes the interior on daily time scales. By means of the addition of mesospheric air we see change in the ozone content of the global ozonosphere that takes in the upper troposphere where marked differences in air density at 60-70° of latitude are responsible for the formation of polar cyclones. These cyclones move about the Earth in the same direction of rotation as the Earth itself but faster. Within the cyclone the air ascends. That ascent continues to the top of the atmosphere (outside of the funnel) and it sucks in air from the surface. In winter when this phenomenon is strongest, wind speed reaches 400 km per hour at the 200 hPa pressure level and accelerates further as it ascends to the top of the atmosphere. Below 200 hPa wind speed falls away towards the surface by about half. Wind speed is a good guide to the location of extreme gradients in the density of the air.
The descent of mesospheric air within the funnel constitutes a sort of tongue. The extremely low temperature within the tongue is unrelated to surface conditions. It is due to the origin of the air in the mesosphere. An enhanced intake of mesospheric air dilutes the ozone content of the stratosphere globally. However, to counteract this erosive force, ozone proliferates in the winter hemisphere due to reduced photolysis due to the absorption of UVB at low sun angles. Secondly, it may well be that ionisation due to cosmic ray activity can produce ozone over the poles. The balance of these competing activities determines whether the partial pressure of ozone increases or decreases. In springtime, as part of the final warming, air from the troposphere is dragged across the polar cap destroying ozone (creating the ‘hole’) and enhancing the density gradient between ozone rich and ozone poor air driving enhanced polar cyclone activity and forcing surface pressure at 60-70° south to its annual minimum.
Ultraviolet radiation from the sun plays no part in this process because it happens during and following the polar night.
The most extreme temperature response to an increase in the ozone content of the atmosphere occurs over the polar cap at 10 hPa that is virtually the top of the atmosphere. This is due to the highly convective nature of the stratosphere in high latitudes, a concept that is unknown to ‘blinkered standard issue climate science’. At the top of the atmosphere ozone is perhaps being actively photolyised by short wave UVB. But it is also being dragged into the descending cone of mesospheric air that contains mesospheric species like N2O that destroy ozone.
From the shape of the curves in the diagram above we can infer that mesospheric air descends to the 200 hPa pressure level. The curves represents the temperature of the air on a particular day. On a different set of days the level may be higher or lower. At the 200 hPa pressure level 80% of the mass of the atmosphere is below and 20% above.
Why did 10 hPa temperature increase after 1948 and particularly after 1976? I suggest that extra-planetary influences slowed the east west super-rotation of the atmosphere about the pole reducing the intake of mesospheric air. Alternatively, an enhancement of cosmic ray activity resulted in ozone production that in itself, via polar cyclone enhancement is capable of lowering surface pressure in high altitudes. At any rate, surface pressure has fallen by about 10 hPa at the Antarctic pole over the last 70 years as the temperature of the stratosphere over the pole increased as shown in the graphs above.
Standard issue climate science conceives that warming in the stratosphere in high latitudes is generated by activity in the troposphere that propagates upwards as ‘planetary waves’. However, recent work by those who discuss the issue in terms of the ‘annular modes’ phenomenon identifies a top down mode of causation. It is irrational to conceive that shifts in atmospheric mass (decline in polar surface pressure and increase in mid latitude pressure) and upper air temperature that are other than simply oscillatory in nature can be a product of activity in the troposphere. There is nothing internal to the troposphere that could cause the temperature of the stratosphere to rise so precipitately between 1976 and 1980 and then to decline quite slowly as we see in the graphs above.
Neither is it plausible to suggest than an increase in ionising radiation from the sun could cause this phenomenon in the middle of winter. The only source of energy to warm the atmosphere in winter is infrared from the Earth via the activity of ozone. This is another concept that is foreign to standard issue climate science that comprehensively fails to get to grips with the behaviour of the atmosphere in high latitudes where the global circulation of the air is determined. Climate science and its mathematical modellers are obsessed with the idea that it is the energy that is absorbed in the tropics that drives the system and that the system is self contained. However, it is plain that the atmosphere super rotates in the same direction as the Earth and the closer to the winter pole, and the higher the elevation, the faster it moves. As a rule of thumb in physical systems, the biggest impact is always seen closest to where the force is applied.
The concept of the Earth’s atmosphere as an electromagnetic medium super-rotating in winter in high latitudes and susceptible in its rate of rotation to the solar wind is anathema to climate science. The concept of cosmic rays ionising the air over the poles resulting in the production of ozone is not new to science in central and Soviet Europe. But it is very new to standard issue western climate science. That version of climate science is agenda driven and it does not see what it does not wish to see.
How did the build up of ozone in the stratosphere prior to an after 1976 affect surface temperature? We will now investigate that question systematically. We start in the Arctic, move to the mid latitudes of the northern hemisphere, the low latitudes of both hemispheres, the mid latitudes of the southern hemisphere and finally to the Antarctic continent.
We will see that the manner in which the climate has changed identifies the natural factors at work linking surface temperature change to the properties of the evolving nature of the atmosphere of the winter hemisphere. All data is sourced here (http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/cgi-bin/data/timeseries/timeseries1.pl).
CHANGE AT THE SURFACE IN THE ARCTIC
First off we examine the Arctic. The graph above indicates the average temperature across the year. This is the sort of data that holiday destinations provide to people thinking of going on vacation. There is a very good reason why the Arctic is virtually uninhabited by man and nobody goes there on vacation. Even if the Arctic were a little warmer there would be no rush to populate it.
The axes of the graphs below are standardised to facilitate comparison. They trace the evolution of temperature according to the month of the year between 1948 and 2015. Each month is presented successively in an anticlockwise rotation starting with January and February and ending with November and December. We are interested only in the big picture, the differences in the evolution of surface temperature in each month of the year. The differences are enormous. Whether there is an error in the data that of the order of a fraction of a degree is of no interest whatsoever.
In winter, between November and April there is enormous variability in surface temperature from one year to the next. This is not the case in summer.
After 1976 winters were warmer. Yes, the Arctic warmed in the dead of winter at a time when the sun does not shine and outgoing radiation reaches its seasonal minimum. Plainly this sort of warming is not due to back radiation from carbon dioxide that should warm in both summer and winter, and given the extra radiation in summer more warming would be expected in summer than in winter.
All months exhibit cooling prior to 1976. After 1976 all months exhibit warming but to varying degrees and with different patterns and slopes. Temperature changes differently according to the month of the year as does the ozone content of the air in high latitudes and the direction of the surface winds. The temperature of the near surface air is determined according to its origin. The atmosphere above the icy surface in winter is warmer than the surface. Generalised warmth in winter is associated with an intake of warm moist air from the mid latitudes. Whether the air is flowing in or out of the Arctic is a function of local surface pressure in relation to that in the mid and low latitudes. The latter vary very little but polar pressure varies a lot. An inflow of warm air from the mid latitudes is the essence of the warm phase of the ‘Arctic Oscillation’. Napoleon, impulsively chose to invade Russia during a cold phase of the Arctic Oscillation in in 1812. Hitler ran into another cold phase in his invasion of Russia in 1941. The cold phase in the mid latitudes is associated with a deficiency of ozone over the polar cap, low temperatures in the stratosphere, weak polar cyclone activity at 50-70° north, high surface pressure over the pole and the jet stream looping southwards to bring icy conditions to the mid latitudes.
In the very long term, over hundreds of years, the ozone content of the global stratosphere is modulated by the relatively steady state the southern polar vortex with enhanced variability in winter and spring. Along with the final warming in Antarctica there is ‘the hole’ that is part and parcel of the warming and has always been so. The increase in the temperature of the Arctic stratosphere in summer after 1976 is due to to influence of the Antarctic. Notice the static surface temperature in November, December, January and February since the turn of the century. It seems we had a ‘change point’ about the end of the century where the warming ceased.
The month of greatest temperature variability in the Arctic is January and February when the stratospheric vortex is at its height of activity but establishing either weakly or strongly from year to year. In fact, the ozone charged nature of the northern stratosphere forces the most extreme variability in surface temperature in the months of January and February all the way between the northern pole and 30° south latitude.
In standard issue climate science there is no explanation for this marked variability in the surface temperature in the middle of winter. The ‘amplification’ of temperature swings in the middle of winter is not simply a function of latitude. As we will see it extends across latitude bands and is tied to January and February even in the tropics. The ‘polar amplification’ proposition that purports to explain the enhanced temperature variability in high latitudes is implausible, first because the warming is confined to just the winter months and secondly because it is not confined to polar latitudes. This AGW story does not add up.
The anthropogenic mode of surface temperature increase in standard issue climate science should have no seasonality. In the real world we observe a natural mode of climate change driven from the poles in winter. It emanates from the stratosphere as it responds to external stimuli. It’s mode of operation involves shifts in atmospheric mass wrought by change in the ozone content of the air. There is a waxing and a waning of the zonal and meridional components in the movement of the air affecting the equator to pole temperature gradient. That is the true nature of climate change. This mode of climate change has nothing to do with the activities of man.
CHANGE IN THE MID LATITUDES OF THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE
The unfortunate thing about the mid latitudes in the northern hemisphere is the severe winters. The nice thing about the change in the climate that has occurred since 1976 is that, following a period of cooling up to 1976, winter temperatures became less severe while summer temperatures remained virtually unchanged. But all good things come to an end and since the turn of the century winter temperatures are no longer increasing.
The scale on these graphs is the same as used for the Arctic with 8°C on the vertical axis. We needed that much to cater for change in the Arctic. Notice the much reduced variability at 30-60° north by comparison with the Arctic.
Again, we see that winter is the season of change. Again we see cooling prior to 1976.
The silly thing about the calculation of the global temperature statistic is that it can never be an index of human welfare or the suitability of the planet for human habitation. The bulk of the Earths population lives in the northern hemisphere and the truth of the matter is that winter is inconveniently cold. The warming that occurred has been wholly beneficial. Why would the proponents of standard issue climate science complain about that? In truth, these people live in a world of their own where apples and oranges are aggregated as if they grew on the same tree and tasted exactly the same.
CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE NEAR EQUATORIAL LATITUDES OF THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE
The northern tropics are a truly favourable zone for agriculture with temperature hovering about the 25°C optimum for photosynthesis across the entire year.
Temperature variability is greatest in January and February. There has been little change in these months over the last seventy years except for an uptick of about half a degree from the mid 1990’s probably reflecting the process of warming in higher latitudes. The temperature of the tropics very much depends on the intake of cold waters on the eastern sides of the ocean basins. The ocean currents respond to wind and surface pressure. Surface pressure depends on the ozone content of the upper half of the atmospheric column. A step increase in the temperature of the tropics occurred after 1976 in January and February. That step change is reversible.
CHANGE BETWEEN THE EQUATOR AND 30° SOUTH LATITUDE
Between the equator and 30° south air temperature from October to March moved to a plateau at a slightly elevated level in relation to the gradually warming regime that existed prior to 1976. Enhanced variability is driven primarily from the Arctic between November and April. This continues the theme that prevails across the northern hemisphere.
CHANGE IN THE MID LATITUDES OF THE SOUTHERN HEMSIPHERE
The temperature of the mid latitudes of the southern hemisphere reflects the the dominance of sea over land in terms of surface area. Winter temperatures are far less extreme than in the northern hemisphere but cool enough to strongly inhibit photosynthesis in winter. Summer temperatures are about 10°C short of the optimum for photosynthesis. Plants are at the base of the food chain. Humanity depends upon plant growth for its sustenance.These latitudes are a tough gig for humanity especially on the west coasts and continental interiors that tend to be very dry.In inland areas winters are distinctly chilly. This latitude band is a bit cool for both personal comfort and plant productivity.
Surface temperature at 30-60° south is much less variable than in the mid altitudes of the northern hemisphere. There is a slight tendency for variability to be stronger in July and August. Some months show warming after 1976 and other months no warming.
The years prior to 1976 showed a relatively steep increase in surface temperature but in most months the rate of increase falls away after 1976.
CHANGE IN ANTARCTICA
The Antarctic is unremittingly cold all year round. No plants can grow. This is a place of scientific interest only. Hardy souls come here in search of adventure. Many pay with their lives. The interest in the climate of Antarctica resides in whether it will ever warm sufficiently to release the ice that depresses the continent into the Earths crust. The area of solid ice that forms about the margins of the continent in winter is as large as the continent itself. Antarctica has the same area as Australia. Ice mass has been increasing in spring and summer as Arctic ice has been retreating. While the temperature of the air remains below zero all year round this situation is unlikely to change very much.
Temperature variability is extreme all year round but particularly so in winter from March through to November. Between November and February when the ice mass might be under threat if the temperature of the air were to rise above freezing point, the continent has cooled continuously over the period of record. In autumn, winter and spring the air warmed strongly after 1976. Strongest warming occurred at the coolest time of the year in July and August. A warming of the air by 2°C when that air is 30°C below zero in a location where nobody lives is not a threat to the existence of humanity. It is not the result of selfish consumption by the few scientists that keep their lonely vigil at the expense of succeeding generations. Why would we think it appropriate to include statistics for Antarctica in an index that is supposed to relate the the welfare of succeeding generations unless the intent were to deceive?
THE WARMING MECHANISM
Warming in high latitudes in winter is the product of a process set in train by an increase in the ozone content of the air. An increase in the ozone content of the air can result from a reduced intake of mesospheric air or an increase in cosmic ray ionisation. The former depends on the rate of super-rotation of the atmosphere that is dependent on the electromagnetic character of the near Earth environment as it reacts to the solar wind and the radiant output of the sun. Once set in train an increase in the ozone content of the air enhances polar cyclone activity that shifts atmospheric mass to the mid latitudes with knock on effects on the polar vortex via the loss of atmospheric pressure over the polar cap.
The impacts of the increase in the ozone content of the air are multiple. The westerlies blow harder in winter bringing warm air from tropical latitudes to high latitudes.This changes the equator to pole temperature gradient. It is one of two mechanisms involved in high latitude warming. The second involves a loss of cloud cover in the mid latitudes where the westerlies originate. As surface pressure increases in the mid latitudes the area occupied by high pressure cells increases. The increase in the ozone content of the air gives rise to warming of the atmospheric column, increased geopotential height and surface warming. The relationship between geopotential height and surface temperature is observed and acknowledged. The result of an increase in the ozone content of the air is an increase in geopotential height.
THE ‘DANGERS’ OF WARMING
Warming in cold climates in the depth of winter should not be a matter for concern but congratulation. It beneficially extends the growing season on a planet that tends to be unfavourably cool in winter. This good news is turned into bad news when incorporated in an average for the temperature of the globe as a whole. That perceived increase then becomes as excuse for a social agenda involving widespread interference in markets to favour producers of particular forms of energy. These forms of energy are only available intermittently. These intermittent systems must be backed up with plants that are capable of running continuously. All plants are most efficient when run at close to capacity. All plants are more expensive to run when ramped up and down or stopped altogether to cater for the input of energy from variable sources like wind and solar. This idiocy comes with a big price tag when we factor in the capital costs to enhance energy efficiency in buildings. We pay for energy three or four times over when all the adaptations are factored in.
There is no virtue in a precautionary principle unless we are sure that the works of man are changing the climate system in such a way as to promote warming in summer. Plainly other forces are involved.
Here are some polite reminders:
- The pattern of temperature change that is observed is very different to that expected from back radiation by uniformly distributed absorbers of long wave radiation.
- For many people (activists) this notion of anthropogenic climate change is a matter not of knowledge and observation but of belief. Actions based on belief are non adaptive. These actions can be very costly.
- The globe has not warmed for sixteen or more years while the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere has continued to increase.
- Carbon dioxide is plant food and has beneficial effects for plant life and photosynthesising organisms in the sea. These forms of life are at the base of the food chain.
- The use of a global temperature as a metric of human welfare is insupportable.
- Science that is funded out of the public purse always becomes a servant to those in control of the public purse.
- The poor people of the world require the least expensive sources of energy and it is selfish and inhumane to deny them supply.
The green agenda on ‘climate change’ is not humane. It is an agenda for social change involving impoverishment and deprivation. We need a new breed of politician who can take advantage of the support that is waiting in the wings for a rallying cry. The bulk of humanity is waiting in a state of increasing frustration and dismay. How many ratbags will we have to put up while waiting for a person with a modicum of common sense to turn up?