If one appreciates the way in which the planet has warmed in some places and not in others, the way it warms in winter rather than in summer, the way it warms in fits and starts then, the thesis that the warming relates to the steadily increasing proportion of so called ‘greenhouse gases’ in the atmosphere must be seen to be implausible. If one appreciates that the high latitudes of the southern hemisphere are cooler today than seven decades ago, then it is obvious that there are more influential factors at work. If one appreciates that the entire southern hemisphere is no warmer today in the month of December than it was in the nineteen fifties then a sensible person would have to conclude that something other than the ‘enhanced greenhouse effect’ is at work. The  change in surface temperature is plainly not due to enhanced back radiation alone, if at all.

Indeed there are natural factors at work that have nothing to do with the activities of man. THE FUNDAMENTAL modes of natural climate change have been termed the Northern Annular Mode and the Southern Annular Mode. These modes involve shifts in atmospheric mass from high to mid and low latitudes and across the hemispheres accompanied by change in surface pressure, the winds and surface temperature.

Surface pressure simply reflects the total ozone content of the atmospheric column, an identity that was discovered more than 100 years ago. Ozone is material to the presence of what we call the stratosphere. It is change in the ozone content of the stratosphere that is responsible for change in surface pressure, surface winds, sea surface and air temperature.

I abandoned this blog for months while engaged in a project that demanded my full attention. During this period the election of Trump to the presidency of the USA and the appointment of men who understand that cheap and reliable energy is a requirement for economic growth and sustained living standards has led climate realists to think that the tide of manipulation designed to promote the idea of  ‘renewables’ will been turned back and we can at last relax.

The last few days have been spent on the flat of my back. With little else to do I went to Google to discover whether any progress has been made in explaining the role of the annular modes …and indeed there has, but in Beijing, not in Washington or Colorado.

I direct the reader to this page:

It is a treasure trove of useful observation and deduction.

A paper published in December 2016 is of the first importance

Xie, F., J. Li*, W. S. Tian, Q. Fu, F. F. Jin, Y. Y. Hu, J. K. Zhang, W. K. Wang, C. Sun, J. Feng, Y. Yang and R. Q. Ding, 2016:A connection from Arctic stratospheric ozone to El Niño-Southern oscillation. Environ. Res. Lett., 11, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/11/12/124026.

The paper can be accessed here:

What is known as the El Nino Southern Oscillation represents the most spectacular manifestation of surface temperature change. This phenomenon has been described as an ‘oscillation’ that is said to be internal to the climate system. Not so. It has its origin in change in the stratosphere in high latitudes that is the subject of previous chapters in this blog. The most dramatic swings in the ozone content of the stratosphere occur in the northern hemisphere in winter.The poles are where climate change is initiated.

The authors conclude that: ‘understanding this kind of connection and potential feedback between the stratospheric tracer gases (such as ozone) and the climate system deserves more attention.’

I concur.

It’s one thing to identify the chain of causation and another to understand and explain the physical processes behind it. It’s yet another to explain how and why ozone varies in the polar stratosphere and to explain the drivers that operate in the upper atmosphere where the Earth system is a part of the interplanetary environment. This is the real frontier in climate science.

There is no great urgency to discover and describe the mechanisms involved, no pressing need for massive funding unless humanity is led astray by false prophets. We can expect that those who have a vested interest in continued funding of their ‘global warming’enterprise will put up vociferous arguments to try and justify their claims. End of the day, the voters decide how their taxes are spent and it appears that, when offered a clear alternative, voters can work out when they are being ‘had’ and adjust accordingly. It’s possible to fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.

Let’s hope the tide has turned.

Its a worry that ‘global warming’ hysteria got as far as it did and did as much damage as it did before people woke up to what has been happening.

31 thoughts on “Progress

  1. Here’s a description of the ideas I think make some sense, in parts. The atmosphere has really small heat capacity. Thats why we see large temperature changes from day to night compared to water. the ocean is also a massive storage bank compared to the relatively thin atmosphere column. Even land gives up heat faster than water.

    Click to access gray2010_heartland.pdf

    Dr. Gray focuses too much on CO2, but I guess that is somewhat forgivable.
    Another here, even though I know you do not like Wuwt..

    So, yes, ozone can / is be the driver of pressure and that Moves energy around via wind, but the source of the heat carried by that wind is surely from the oceans – a storage system. climate is really just weather that repeats in a predictable manner. Ie tropical, arid, temperate, cold, etc.


    1. Thanks, I had already followed the links to the full version. Back to pressures, over the past month or so I have observed about 4-5 days which are singularly 10-15C hotter or colder than the several-day trend either side. Like today, rain and blowing its box off. Nullschoolearth always shows a finger or ripple of high winfs sticking out of the southern vortex. The speed increases from 30 to 250km/ hr as hieght increases right up to 70hPa. The ring also seems larger…. Ie reaches us on the southern tips of Oz.


  2. Hi Erl

    Nice to see you back.

    So far over here on the West Coast of the South Island the current “so called” summer is the wettest and cloudiest I can recall in the last 30 years. Lingering after-effects of the big El Nino? I hope its been better for you over in WA.


  3. Here in Margaret River it appears that the vines are 2-3 weeks later than normal. Could be a vintage like 2006 where we struggled to get flavour ripeness.

    Last week we had a front move through yielding an inch of rain….very rare for summer. Surface pressures for December in the near Indian Ocean rate amongst the lowest half a dozen years in the last seventy. Intensified polar cyclone activity in both hemispheres gives rise to wide swiings in the jet stream.


    1. We sure have had a very long line-up of rain-bearing fronts being dragged along in an almost continuous westerly to southwesterly wind flow. I can’t count the number of times people have said to me that they really do want a bit of global warming to kick in. Its been fairly cold here as well. Temp struggling to break through 18C and commonly down around 14 to 15C.


  4. Happy New Year to all. .I have been following Caleb’s arctic weather blog “Sunrises Swansong”, and noting how the wild jetstream etc. has been at both ends of the Earth this season. Or so it seems. SSW over NH, and some thing similar here in the SH, but in summer ( I think I see warm high Ozone over the Antarctic too). Any thoughts on this?

    I also think the Modoki/Blob northern higher pressures may be nearly gone at least, and things more back to as expected in a quiet sun period. Brett Keane


  5. Hi Brett,
    Had a bit of a look at Calebs delightful blog and intend to go back to earlier posts and see where he is coming from. He writes with a nice light entertaining touch.

    I checked out the incidence of sudden stratospheric warmings here:

    It shows you the elevation where the warming is occurring and you can also check its latitudinal extent and the extent of the opposite response in the tropics. It can also show up in the opposite hemisphere at 25-65 south at the highest elevation testifying to the speed and extent of air transfer in the upper stratosphere.

    For ozone I go here:

    To check the impact of ozone on geopotential height, air temperature and circulation I go here: focussing in particular on that section at the bottom called NCEP/GFS analyses and Forecasts . I see that since I last visited they have extended the ozone analysis down to the 400 hPa level. The temperature and GPH at 100 hPa gives a good idea of whats forcing the circulation between 100 hPa and the surface.

    For the direction of the wind and air temperature nothing better than,85.33,410

    Look at Null School particularly between 200hPa and 70hPa. Thats where its all driven from. The Chinese have discovered a parallel between what happens in that part of the stratosphere between 150hPa and 50 hPa and the ENSO pattern that manifests 20 months later. That 150 hPa to 50 hPa is jet stream territory. The polar cyclones are a product of density differences at these altitudes. Once established they propagate to the surface but weaken as they do so. At 500 hPa however their influence is very extensive. Caleb is examining the surface patterns. Those patterns are a product of the generator at Jet stream altitudes. Nobody is yet properly aware of this or of its importance. The atmospheric theorists cant imagine that the atmosphere can be driven from anywhere else but in the tropics. WRONG. Lowest surface pressures manifest in high latitudes and much more so off Antarctica than the Arctic. So the entire circulation has a north to south trajectory across the equator towards high southern latitudes.

    Remember than in winter the oceans have have a comparatively warm surface that tends to promote uplift and that’s where ozone is drawn into the circulation, collected from all about, and at higher altitudes it drifts from the centres of ocean accumulation towards the East with the central downward vortex between these centres of uplift (polar cyclone derived) tending to descend over northern Eurasia, Siberia and Mongolia/Lake Baikal and only occasionally drifting towards Europe and down to Turkey or inside the Rockies across the Great Plains down as far as New Orleans. The conjunction of this Arctic air and warm moist air out of the Gulf of Mexico brings precipitation/snow/blizzards up the east coast of the USA.

    The early winter pattern has been intense. This severity can also been seen as the circulation re-establishes after a sudden stratospheric warming that simply represents the choking off of the normal stratospheric descent of very cold ozone deficient air. The pattern of descent and a wide swinging arc of the jet stream that brings polar cyclone activity to the mid latitudes and very cold conditions can then re-assert itself.

    I believe that low solar activity is associated with heavy ionisation of the air in high latitudes due to cosmic ray activity. Ozone levels build gradually from November and more hot air means growing instability with big swings between temperature extremes at the surface. Wind from the south is warm. Wind from the north or higher elevation is exceedingly cold.

    The Brewer Dobson circulation is bullshit. Dominant circulation at Jet stream altitude and above is upwards and outwards towards the equator.

    The long term trend however is for a cooler stratosphere with diminished UV from a quiet sun and that means a changed based state. Cosmic ray activity can play havoc with this changed base state. The AO index and the AAO index show the long term trends. Long term means many decades.

    That’s as I understand it. Others will have a different point of view. BUT, it is now well established that the Northern and Southern Annular modes are the prime modes of natural climate change. We lack a long term focus on whats happening in terms of these modes.


    1. Interesting times TL Mango. The ozone and the global warming scares emanated from the US. There is no need for a ‘green’ party in the US. They have taken over the Democratic Party. Now with Trump as president there is a re-assertion of common sense and the greens are outraged. The press is floundering. There is an avalanche of protest on the way. In fact the true public debate has just begun.


    Okay it is modelling, but maybe……some use there?

    Was away for 9 days recently, and came home to find nullschool showing a c.20C loss of cold air over all Antarctica. Sure enough, 4-5 days later, we had snowm and frigid winds over much of NZ. Some massive katabatics from the north? I missed the action, sadly, so remain ignorant.


    1. Thanks Brett, good to see people taking an interest in the determinants of the distribution of ozone. I have posted this comment:

      The troposphere contains both moisture and oxides of Nitrogen (NOx), both potent destroyers of ozone. In planets where there is no life in the soil the partial pressure of ozone increases all the way to the surface. The higher summer troposphere in the northern than the southern hemisphere is probably due to the relative abundance of land in the northern hemisphere.

      The ozone hole in Antarctica is a product of the local circulation. It is most severe at 50 hPa where the origin and nature of the air in the circulation changes as part of the annual cycle. In Antarctic spring descent of very cold mesospheric air is curtailed and ozone poor NOx rich troposphere air. replaces the cold air over the polar cap. The process is gradual, takes place over several months as the troposphere air on the outside of the vortex contacts like the aperture on a camera. This can be verified by comparing the distribution of ozone with that of NOx here:

      The ozone hole manifests, naturally. It was first observed using a Dobson Spectrometer in the 1950s, long before the emission of CFCs used in refrigeration became an issue.


  7. SSW effects have become bankable as we learn more. That is a start. Top-down effect. The bottom-up IR? Any progress?
    The Quiet Sun’s lower flux and magnetic shield, but more solar energy bursts, also seems to be performing as predicted. With concommitant cooling – looks like it, but jury still out I think.
    Ozone hole – reckon you are right for various reasons, still cogitating….. Lower T and solar should complicate signals re ozone making and destroying? Cheers from Brett


  8. Hi Brett,
    I haven’t been actively looking of late but two papers I have come across seem to be relevant to the question as to why ozone levels peak in high latitudes of the winter hemisphere far from any source of ionisation by short wave spectra in sunlight. One confirms that ionisation by cosmic rays reaches a peak at tropopause level. The second notes the production of ozone in oxygen rich ices as a product of ionisation.

    You can see these at:



  9. Thanks Erl ( though the 2nd seems same as the 1st Paper). Ren noted the other day that the lines of force pull cosmic rays to the dark pole no trouble………..


  10. Hi Brett, thanks for keeping me informed. Looking at the new data provided and reading the explanation of why its being provided I see a close focus on ozone as a pollutant. Its the concern with the risks to human health that is the rationale for providing the data that Ren is referring to.

    Nevertheless, its very interesting to see the distribution of ozone mapped against the height of the tropopause. It’s hardly new thinking to observe and map this phenomena though. This curious reality was first apprehended by the Frenchman DeBort in the 1890s who used balloons to discover where the tropopause is located. He it was that pointed out that the tropopause is 2-3km lower in a low pressure system than in a high pressure system. Today the fact that ozone is found 2-3 km lower is described as a ‘stratospheric intrusion’. It seems that meteorology and climatology still very much on the wrong track.

    Dobson confirmed what deBort had discovered and was able to quantify total column ozone by inference by measuring the amount of radiation reaching the surface of the Earth that is in the wave lengths intercepted by ozone.

    The right track involves a recognition of such things as:
    1. Polar cyclones are generated at jet stream levels where these stratospheric intrusion create discontinuities in air stream composition in the horizontal domain.
    2. the strongest winds are aloft, at and about the level of the tropopause and the cyclonic circulations propagate downwards with a continuous reduction in wind velocity at ever lower levels until the surface is reached where the lowest wind speeds are to be found.
    3. Ozone partial pressure in high latitudes is highly variable on all time scales.
    4. Ozone heats the atmosphere by absorbing long wave radiation from the Earth, not short wave radiation from the sun. This is true at all levels from the surface out into the mesosphere. In the mesosphere it is the decline in ozone partial pressure that is at the source of the cooler atmosphere. It is only in the ionosphere and the thermosphere that short wave radiation from the sun is the major source of atmospheric heating. Long wave radiation from the earth can not spit up molecules to create ions. Only short wave radiation from the sun can do that.
    5. The stratosphere has high ozone levels because its relatively free from the short wave radiation that can destroy ozone and the more so at higher latitudes and especially in winter.
    6. Cosmic rays also ionise the atmosphere and may be involved in the generation of ozone in high latitudes. That’s the pathway whereby the sun via the solar wind can modulate the ozone composition of the atmosphere.

    I suggest that our understanding of the atmosphere above the tropopause is infantile. We wont understand anything about the origin of Jet streams or polar cyclones or the planetary winds until we understand the factors governing the ozone composition of the atmosphere.

    Weather and climate is driven by surface pressure relativities that are a function of the amount of ozone in the polar and sub polar stratosphere.


    1. Dear Brett. Thanks for pointing towards that article. I can’t make much of it. But let’s remember that the presence of charged particles in the upper half of the atmosphere leads to those particles responding to magnetic fields. In other words we can say that the magnetic fields create a situation where these charged particles behave as plasma. As such they are subject to acceleration and their motion is determined by the structure of the magnetic fields that are enhanced pole-wards. Neutral molecules are carried along with the charged particles via collisions. So, we are talking about upper atmosphere winds.

      We can observe that the atmosphere spins about the Earth in exactly the same west to east direction that the Earth spins, but faster. The rate of ionisation increases with latitude due to the influence of cosmic rays. Its known that the rate of ionisation by cosmic rays increases as the atmosphere warms during a sudden stratospheric warming. The penetration of the earth by muons, one of the products of this ionisation reflects the incidence and is therefore a marker for sudden stratospheric warmings. The Earth and its atmosphere spins because it is like the armature of an electric motor.

      So, I see the primary forces that determine the state of ionisation of the atmosphere as due to external rather than internal influences. So, I will have no truck with the notion that the state of the plasmasphere can be altered by so called planetary waves rising up from the troposphere.

      The sudden stratospheric warming is conjunctional and not causative. I haven’t seen the entire paper. just that part available via the link provided in the journalists report but I note that the authors of the paper suggest a downward mode of causation in these words: ‘We discuss variations in electric field and F‐region dynamics as possible drivers of this behavior, and suggest that thermospheric winds play a much larger role than previously thought.’ I concur.

      It’s more plausible to me to suggest that the sudden stratospheric warming, rather than being due to ‘planetary waves’, is due to a marked deceleration in the spinning of the atmosphere about the Earth perhaps related to a decline in the population of charged particles, the plasma, perhaps conditioned by a simultaneous change in the electric field in which the plasma lies.

      Some observers suggest that the partial pressure of ozone is reduced for a short interval due to the impact of cosmic rays (cosmic rays are enhanced when the solar wind falls away) but is enhanced in a sustained fashion thereafter.

      We know, or should know that a sudden stratospheric warming is a whole of atmosphere event because simultaneously as the atmosphere above the pole warms that above the equator cools. The article you pointed me to makes a similar point by stressing the marked decline in the plasma population in low and mid latitudes that accompanies a sudden stratospheric warming.

      A coherent explanation of the impact of the external environment on the spinning of the Earth and its atmosphere and variations therein is probably a fair way off.


  11. Erl, Yep, In seeking physical mechanisms, that downflow of plasma had to catch my little eye…… Now for the warming from below. Herr Allmendinger’s Swiss experiments finding many things including how CO2 and Argon have similar sensitivity to NIR showed me what a skilled Industrial Gas Physicist can do when he realises the CAGW story needs looking at. What I am trying to learn at 71, he has done for decades. Brett


  12. Thanks for pointing me towards the work of Her Allmendinger. I find:

    ‘Thus it is high time to realize that each day on which the climate greenhouse theory is maintained, in spite of its here alleged refutation, and hindering any appropriate and effective measures at the Earth surface–particularly in cities, is a lost day.’

    I am all for light coloured roofs in Australia but if I were living in Dunedin the roof would be dark like the roofs in Stockholm.

    There are so many lost days, so much destruction all to appease the rent seekers and carpet-baggers who promote alternative energy sources. Never mind, shares in oil exploration companies are on the rise. Perhaps soon, coal companies.


  13. Erl, thanks for your commentary and analyses. At this point, planetary waves look shaky as SSW causers, to us at least. Plasma means ‘shape’ and only ionisation gives gases shape when they are unconfined as in atmospheres and stars.

    I guess that ozone could be tested for IR absorption, by the likes of Herr Allmendinger……..


  14. Hi Brett,
    Your are dead right. Ionisation plays a big part in determining which way the air moves. Density obviosly plays a big role at the surface as we observe with land and sea breezes. But air density variation increases with elevation to tropopause height in the mid latitudes. These differences in density manifest as variations in the height of the tropopause. Indeed meteorologists refer to tropopause ‘folding’ at junction points. Here we find jet streams. Between 400 hPa and 50 hPa the density of the air is a function of where it comes from (latitude) and its ozone content. At these elevations there is no increase in the temperature of the air in daylight hours indicating that solar radiation plays little part in determining air temperature.

    But above the tropopause ionisation plays an increasing role in determining which way the wind blows. The degree of ionisation increases towards the poles and it is here that the circulation responds most strongly to electromagnetic fields and we see laminar flows about the pole, particularly in winter.

    See it at Null School:,-46.46,410


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