All ye promoters of erratic sources of energy, come now, repent, and be forgiven.

All the diagrams below present data from a same archive, that can be found here.

In short, ‘decarbonization’ is unnecessary, economically harmful and socially destructive. It will do nothing for ‘the climate’ because the modes of variation in climate have nothing to do with carbon dioxide.

At issue is the question of what determines the surface temperature on planet Earth.

Understanding the waxing and waning of the mid latitude high pressure cells that traverse the southern hemisphere at 20-40° South latitude, is key to understanding the evolution of climate. These cells dominate the ocean. The ocean dominates the Southern Hemisphere. As the cells strengthen, cloud cover falls away and the surface of the sea warms. The relationship is loose in April but improves as the year goes on, being acceptably impressive between September and December as global cloud cover moves towards its annual peak in December. By February, although the relationship still holds in the long term its a bit irregular on a monthly basis. Anyone with the slightest gift for pattern recognition will see that this correlation between surface pressure and sea surface temperature is more impressive than the relationship between CO2 and temperature. CO2 is not the control knob. Let’s talk about the real control knobs. Let’s get the required understandings into the hands of teachers and students for the good of humanity. What is currently happening in schools and in the media is deplorable, nay ‘inhumane’.

Location 20-40° South Latitude globally. Left axis Sea Level Pressure in hPa. Right axis Sea surface Temperature °C

If you are a swimmer, you will be aware that in a quiet day, the water in the shallows and near the surface is always much warmer than the water out in the deep. Deep water that experiences the full force of the suns radiation warms almost imperceptibly. That’s because the benefit of the energy from the sun is absorbed throughout the zone that is illuminated. The ocean, unlike the land, is transparent.

The solar energy acquired by the ocean is retained for many months, perhaps years, whereas the land, being opaque loses the energy that it acquires within the twenty four hour cycle. There is little or no residual when the sun rises next morning.

The atmosphere, regardless of its composition is thin, radiative, convective and incapable of storing energy. If you think otherwise drill a hole in your vacuum flask and see how long it maintains the temperature of the fluid inside. Replace the air with carbon dioxide and see if it makes any difference. No gas is any better or worse and that’s why we use a vacuum and we call the device, a ‘vacuum flask’. And when the air gets in, the device is useless. A gas is actually the worst of possible choices if you want to keep the heat in, unless its kept completely immobile, as in a blanket. And no gas is any better than any other.

The agent of change in surface pressure at 20-40° South Latitude, is in the first instance the low pressure trough that surrounds the Antarctic Continent. Secondly there is the Aleutian Low and finally the Icelandic low, all located in high latitudes and all most energetic in winter. When the lows generate lower in barometric pressure, surface pressure rises elsewhere including at the equator. Pressure rises unequally because cool parts favour settlement while warm surfaces favour ascent. This changes the wind direction and the distribution of cloud and sunlight.

It is frequently asserted that the energy that drives the planetary winds is sourced in the tropics. That’s unphysical. Palpably, it’s the energy that drives the low pressure systems in high latitudes that is responsible for every twist and turn in weather and climate. A polar low has the same central pressure as a tropical cyclone but covers an area about ten times as large, develops in the interaction zone between the troposphere and the stratosphere, propagates to the surface like a vacuum cleaner and and convects air from the surface of the planet all the way to 50km in elevation.

8/7/2021 at the 10 hPa level directly over the Arctic Ocean, Aleutian Islands to the right. Small cells of warmer air emerge in a background of colder air directly over the Arctic Ocean. The 10 hPa pressure level is found at an elevation of 30 kilometers. At 10hPa, 99% of the atmosphere is below. At 100 hPa, or 15km 90% of the atmosphere is below. At 500 hPa or 5.5km, 50% of the atmosphere is below. A good walking pace is 6km per hour. The ascent is obviously relatively subdued in summer.
8/1/2021. Aleutian Low in full flood in winter is seen at 10hPa on the right. On the left is very cold mesospheric air descending over Siberia. Red is warm (-44C), Blue Cold (-64C). from :,86.42,661/loc=-4.884,66.336

In a high pressure cell, the air descends. It is warming under increasing compression, and is accordingly cloud free. The volume of air that is involved in the descent increases as the surface pressure increases, but more importantly, the area so affected increases, as the surface pressure increases. As afore mentioned, the volume of air that is descending depends on the activity of polar cyclones in the Antarctic trough, the Aleutian and the Icelandic lows. As atmospheric pressure falls in the lows, it increases in the highs.

Relating to Australia in particular, a high pressure cell that lodges in the Great Australian Bight in summer delivers dry, hot summer conditions because it prevents the inflow of cooler southerly air that occurs in the margin between high pressure cells as they move eastwards. When a large cell lodges in the Bight, or in the Tasman Sea the flow of air over the Australian continent is persistently east to west, hot and dry, with the possible exception of the north of Queensland. We must take cognizance of the everyday observation that the temperature of the air depends on where it comes from. Furthermore, because surface pressure changes over time so does the origin of the wind. The Earth is made up of warm to hot locations, generally favoured for human settlement, and inhospitably frigid locations like Antarctica and southern Chile, where, unlike Alaska and the Scandinavian countries, summer temperatures rise above freezing point for only a couple of months in the year.

But if there is a high pressure cell overhead the days will be sunny. You can rely in it.

PC, Polar Cyclone, AT Antarctic Trough, HIB High in Bight, AL Aleutian Low, IL Icelandic Low, AH Azores High, NPH North Pacific High, CH Chilean High, IOH Indian Ocean High, SH, Siberian and Tibetan High

So called greenhouse gases, and supposed back radiation, can not account for the patterns of change in climate that are observed by the month, by the region, from decade to decade and over centennial time scales. Those who assert that proposition disrespect the data. Their point of view is based on ignorance, superstition, hearsay and an unfortunate personal predilection to think the worst of their fellow man and read into every sort of change, confirmation that their dystopian diagnosis is correct. This is not a new problem. It’s just got way out of hand. Actually, it’s now being used as a means of social control, a distraction from concerns that could be embarrassing . It’s the old story, ‘give me your money’. Or, focus on the enemy without….. following up with ‘Hey, the problem is actually YOU’. Wow, your conscience cuts in. Give me your money and I’ll fix it for you.

Weather and climate have particular, distinctive modes of variation. It is these modes of variation that must be apprehended and secondly explained and understood. One can’t do that without examining the data. Theory and speculation will never suffice. A true scientist respects the data. The pretending type just run away. Most of those that I observe, including the bulk of academia, have their heads in a cloud of speculative theory. Radiative theory has been stretched to a conclusion that it is incapable of supporting. It’s part of the story but not the important part. No-where is it determinative.

See above. The relationship between surface pressure in the Antarctic trough and surface pressure in the mid latitudes is indicative of the relationship between lows and highs. We must understand the consequences of this to understand weather and climate.

When there there is a shift of atmospheric mass from high southern latitudes, about a third of the surface area of the globe, gives, yields, transfers, pushes, atmospheric mass to the other two thirds. The part that loses atmospheric mass in the Southern Hemisphere is located from about thirty five degrees of latitude to the Antarctic pole. The area affected is massive and the volume of air involved more than significant. Furthermore, because the shifting process involves convection to the upper limits of the atmosphere, the balancing settlement involves the stratosphere and troposphere, in favour of high pressure cells everywhere.

In Southern Summer, the Aleutian Low of the northern Hemisphere is a powerful shifter of atmospheric mass to the highs of the Southern Hemisphere and to the High over Siberia and Tibet, accentuating the outflow of the East and South Asian winter monsoon. Paradoxically, if the Aleutian Low is not available as a ‘sink’, a cold flow from the Arctic can bring a chill to Florida and New Orleans. But so far as the Earths energy budget is concerned, the shift that matters most is to the high pressure cells that lie over the Ocean in the Southern Hemisphere. That is the shift that is critical to cloud cover and the Earths energy budget.

Indian culture dictates that the birthday person gives presents to friends and acquaintances on his/her birthday. What a lovely way to celebrate the fortunate accident of life. This is a similar situation. The Lows give to the Highs and the benefit is an increase in sunshine at the surface. The Antarctic is dominant in setting the pattern of centennial change. The Aleutian is dominant in the Northern Hemisphere but lets the Icelandic trough run a sideshow in the Atlantic Ocean where it gives to the Azores High. These systems ‘have a go’ in winter, and work with one hand tied behind their back in summer. They shift atmospheric mass to seasonally weakened lows in the summer hemisphere, impairing their function (one hand already tied behind the back). This is all part of the rich texture that determines where the wind comes from and how much cloud there will be. Ninety percent of the mass of the atmosphere lies within 15 km of the surface. The thickness of the atmosphere should be compared to the cover that a person has were they to emerge from their bedroom wearing just a skin of paint. Just one coat please, and make it thin. That should keep me warm enough!

One needs to be aware that the Earth system is not a closed system. We know this because all these lows can lose atmospheric mass at the same time. They can improve their performance progressively over a period of one hundred years.

The change that is documented in the figure immediately above, is oscillatory in the short term, a matter of four or five years, in tune with ENSO, but oscillatory too on centennial and longer time scales. The figure documents the change over just 74.5 years. That’s all the data that we have. But, we know this process is reversible because the change directly affects the the strength of the North Westerly winds of the Southern Hemisphere.

Co-lead author, palaeo-climate scientist Dr. Krystyna Saunders from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and the University of Bern says:

“This is an important discovery. Our new records of the Southern Hemisphere westerly winds suggest there have been large changes in wind intensity over the past 12,000 years. This is in marked contrast to climate model simulations that show only relatively small wind speed changes over the same period.”

Co-lead author, palaeo-climate scientist Dr. Steve Roberts from British Antarctic Survey says:

“We have now developed a new method for measuring winds from lake sediments on remote sub-Antarctic islands. These are the only land masses, except for South America where you can collect these data.”


Climate model simulations show only relatively small wind speed changes

There you have it. Useless, Out of touch with reality. Worthless. Disrespecting the data.

The diagram above shows climate model forecasts for the evolution of temperature in the Pacific Ocean as of June 2021. Take your pick. Back your horse. When it comes to the nitty gritty of forecasting what is to happen in the last half of this year, despite all the courses, all the training, all the seminars and correspondence, all the government funding of millions of experts in all the dedicated institutions, despite decades of effort, all over the world, and the technology at our command, there is no agreement.

Plainly, pretend as they may, these experts can’t agree. Are any of them right? Are all of them wrong?

Wet summers in Australia and the incidence of La Nina

In summer 2021 tropical cyclones brought rainfall to both the west and the East coasts of Australia.

The grape vine is a Mediterranean plant that leaf’s out in summer and matures its fruit in autumn. Enhanced summer rainfall is associated with disease that attacks the leaves and fruit. To counter this, fruit may be harvested ahead of the rain. Growers are caught between a rock and a hard place.

Summer rainfall is associated with stronger surface pressure in Tahiti and lower surface pressure in Darwin and across the north of the Australian continent. This is termed the La Nina phenomenon. This paper examines the origin of that phenomenon.

Pattern of surface pressure and wind on 11/4/2021 at 1800 local time

The location of Tahiti is shown within the green circle (SLP1013mb) and that of Darwin (SLP 1008mb) in the red circle. The date is April 11 2021.  Along the coast of Western Australia, air flows from north to south bringing torrential rainfall.  A tropical cyclone moves south to merge with an intense low-pressure zone centred near the Antarctic coast.

Air pressure reflects the number of molecules in the column at a particular location. A zone of extremely low surface pressure surrounds the Antarctic continent. High pressure cells (much lighter colour) are centered on about 35S latitude, notably in the Great Australian Bight and to the east of New Zealand and over the Antarctic continent itself. The air that rises in the ‘Antarctic trough’ descends in the adjacent high-pressure cells warming as it descends, engendering a cloud free atmosphere.

On a global basis this turnover is the most persistent and vigorous because the surface pressure difference between the mid latitude highs and the Antarctic Trough is extreme. What is happening at the equator is just a sideshow to this main event. This paper will outline how the tropical sideshow depends on the dynamics in the Antarctic and the North Pacific Trough, the former active all year round, the latter for a few months in northern winter. Along the way it will be established that the agents responsible for change in weather and climate are to be found in high, not low latitudes.


The Southern Oscillation Index is the simplest method of tracking the El Nino La Nina phenomenon. It is based on the difference in the surface pressure between Tahiti and Darwin. High index values relate to relatively high surface pressure in Tahiti and/or lower surface pressure in Darwin.

In the figure below the right-hand axis is inverted.  Superficially the temperature of the Ocean in the Eastern Pacific in the ENSO 3-4 zone appears to depend on the difference in surface pressure between Tahiti and Darwin. However, close observation indicates that in some instances the change in water temperature leads the change in pressure.

This diagram is based on the simple difference in sea level pressure between Tahiti and Darwin. It is different to the Southern Oscillation Index that is based on departures from the average pressure in each location. Later I examine the differences between these two indices in some detail.

The difference between sea level pressure between Tahiti and Darwin compared with the anomaly in the temperature of the surface of the ocean in the Nin3.4 region along the equator to the west of South America in the Pacific Ocean.
Data for the month of January. SLP from Nino 3.4 temperature data from:

On a global basis the Trade winds wax and wane with the Westerly winds in high southern latitudes, driving the West Wind Drift that is responsible for the anticlockwise circulation in the South Pacific. However, the wind in high latitudes is much stronger than it is in low latitudes and it peaks at a different time of the year. The circulation of water in the South Pacific Ocean moves like a swing that is attached to a post, like a Maypole, moving around the post, pushed from two extremities. The post is a high-pressure cell about which the air swings anticlockwise to all points of the compass with a greater attractor located in the south than the north. Surface pressure is much lower in the Antarctic Trough than it is at the equator. Accordingly, the surface of the Ocean is driven harder in high latitudes than in low latitudes.

The temperature of the surface of all tropical waters follows that in the Nino 3-4 region. Because the tropical latitudes have the widest circumference, the tropics amount to 40% of global surface area.  Accordingly global surface air temperature follows that in the Nino 3.4 region and the tropics generally. This evolution of surface temperature in low latitudes is due to a stop/start mixing process.

As wind intensity increases, very cold water from high latitudes is driven north towards the Galapagos Islands and westwards across the Pacific. The Antarctic Trough is the major sink generating a flow of air and water from the west to the East. So vigorous is the circulation within and above it, that the entire atmosphere rotates faster than, and in the same direction, as the Earth. But, the intensity of the circulation in the Antarctic trough changes on all time scales. The trough occupies a very large area, stretching from 40S latitude to 70S latitude. Change in atmospheric pressure in the trough manifests as a shift in atmospheric mass to other parts of the globe, modifying surface pressure relationships and the planetary winds globally.

Returning to the figure above its apparent that T_D declines between 1948 and 1978 and increases after 1978. The trend line in Nino 3.4 temperature declines with T-D until the decade of the 1960s, rises gently until the turn of the century and declines again after 2005 indicating warming in the Nino 3-4 region.

Why does the temperature of the waters in the trade wind zone not reflect the enhanced tendency for more cold water from high southern latitudes to cool the tropics as the difference between surface pressure between Tahiti and Darwin increases? The answer follows.

In the southern Hemisphere high- pressure cells dominate the expansive surface of the Southern Ocean in the mid latitudes. As surface pressure falls in the Antarctic trough it rises in the high-pressure zone in the mid latitudes where descending air is warmed by compression. Accordingly this zone tends to be cloud free. Increasing pressure widens the zone of influence of these cells directly reducing the Earths albedo, allowing more solar energy to reach the Ocean where it is absorbed to depth.

What is causing the current trend increase in the difference in surface pressure between Tahiti and Darwin? To answer this question, one needs to attend to the process of change in surface pressure. The situation is complex, and a methodical approach is required.

Blue line: Sea level pressure in Tahiti. Yellow line: Sea level pressure in Darwin. Both are average over the period 1948-2021 Dotted line: Difference between Sea level pressure in Tahiti and Darwin. Source:

We see above that surface pressure in Darwin falls away more than it does in Tahiti in the summer season. For this reason the difference in surface pressure between Tahiti and Darwin is greatest in January and least in July. The reduced surface pressure in summer  indicates reduced air density associated with enhanced kinetic energy as the land mass of the Australian continent heats the atmosphere.

The atmosphere is global. Like one big bathtub. Seasonally, there is a shift of atmospheric mass from the summer to the winter hemisphere. The shift from south to north peaks in January. This is  documented in the maps below. The cooling of the Eurasian continent assists the increase in atmospheric pressure in the northern hemisphere. The generation of low pressure zones over the north Atlantic and the North Pacific Oceans retards this process. These two low pressure cells, forming over the ocean, are the northern Hemisphere equivalent of the Antarctic trough.

The location of Tahiti is indicated with a white circle.

Distribution of surface pressure in July and January. Source Japanese 45 year Reanalysis atlas

In January, surface pressure falls away in the region of Australia.  Notice the low surface pressure in the Coral sea to the east of New Guinea, an area associated with the generation of tropical cyclones, as is the zone of low surface pressure to the south of Indonesia.  

Summer rainfall across the north, the west and the East of the Australian continent is associated with the monsoonal flow and in particular the incidence of tropical cyclones. Cyclone tracks are mapped in the figure above.  Some of these cyclones, particularly on the West Coast, travel far enough to merge with low pressure systems in the Antarctic trough. It is probable that as the trough has deepened, this merging occurs more frequently.

The incidence of tropical cyclone activity increases strongly from November reflecting the evolution towards low surface pressure in summer. Peak month for cyclone activity is January. But in the next two months, while the number of cyclones falls away slightly, the number of stronger category 5 cyclones increases.

If we want to understand the evolution of the planetary winds and all forms of cyclone activity, we must understand the dynamics driving surface pressure.

Surface pressure dynamics

Average surface pressure 1948-2021 as given at

The lowest surface pressure on the globe is found in Antarctica between November and January (yellow line). But on a year-round basis, the Antarctic Trough (grey line) generates the lowest surface pressure. The Antarctic Trough is where polar cyclones form.

Polar cyclones dominate the latitude band 40 to 70 degrees south. They have their genesis at jet stream altitudes where the strongest winds occur. Above the tropopause ozone reduces the number of molecules in the column of air by transferring energy to oxygen and nitrogen that has been acquired from the Earths own infrared emissions, by day and by night. In low pressure cells the upper two thirds of the atmospheric column is less dense and the tropopause, where the lapse rate of temperature with increasing altitude falls to zero, is two to three kilometers lower in elevation, than in high pressure cells. The uplift is intense, extending to the top of the atmospheric column at 1hPa or 45 kilometers in elevation, to the stratopause. The corresponding downdraft in the mid latitude high pressure cells introduces ozone into the troposphere to such an extent that at 200 hPa, the temperature of the air peaks in winter. That indicates the heating power of ozone as it is energized by infrared radiation from the Earth itself.

Relating to figure immediately above:

  • Black line: Northern hemisphere surface pressure peaks in northern winter, falling away as the air warms in summer.  
  • Dashed blue line. There is a small increase in atmospheric mass between 0-15S latitude in the winter months.
  • The difference between Tahiti (dotted green line) and Darwin (dotted blue line) is greatest in January.
  • Orange Line. This is where high pressure cells are located at 15 to 40 degrees of latitude. Atmospheric pressure builds strongly in the winter season, peaking in August. Elevated atmospheric pressure is related to cloud free skies and therefore reduced albedo. Pulses of higher atmospheric pressure (and geopotential height) are associated with an increase in surface temperature. The presence of ozone elevates the amplitude of swings in temperature above 500 hPa by comparison with the contemporaneous swings below 500 hPa and at the surface. In very cold air this strongly affects ice cloud density, opacity and reflectivity. It changes the Earth’s albedo.
  • Yellow line. There is strong increase in atmospheric pressure in Antarctica in winter, absorbing some of the movement of atmospheric mass from the northern hemisphere. High surface pressure over the Antarctic continent is associated with the descent of relatively ozone deficient, mesospheric air inside the polar vortex, deeper contrasts in air density across the vortex and enhanced polar cyclone activity. In this way, the Antarctic Trough, despite its proximity to the continent, avoids the increase in air density and surface pressure that manifests over the continent in winter.
  • Grey line. The activity of polar cyclones keeps surface pressure in the Antarctic Trough to a planetary minimum all year round.
  • Green line. Tahiti sees peak pressure in September at a time when ozone partial pressure peaks in the high latitude southern stratosphere.  

The evolution of ENSO since 1992

Source: Daily Sea Level Pressure data for Tahiti and Darwin and the SOI index:

In this diagram the 61day smoothed SOI (left axis) is compared with the simple 61day smoothed difference in surface pressure between Tahiti and Darwin (right axis). The year marked on the y axis indicates the first day of January in that year. The columns are inserted as an aid to judging the incidence of peaks and troughs in the data.

To remove the Madden Julian Oscillation from surface pressure data a 61day average is required, centred on the 30th day.

From Wikipedia: The Madden–Julian oscillation is characterized by an eastward progression of large regions of both enhanced and suppressed tropical rainfall, observed mainly over the Indian and Pacific Ocean. The anomalous rainfall is usually first evident over the western Indian Ocean and remains evident as it propagates over the very warm ocean waters of the western and central tropical Pacific. This pattern of tropical rainfall generally becomes nondescript as it moves over the primarily cooler ocean waters of the eastern Pacific but reappears when passing over the warmer waters over the Pacific Coast of Central America. The pattern may also occasionally reappear at low amplitude over the tropical Atlantic and higher amplitude over the Indian Ocean. The wet phase of enhanced convection and precipitation is followed by a dry phase where thunderstorm activity is suppressed. Each cycle lasts approximately 30–60 days. Because of this pattern, the Madden–Julian oscillation is also known as the 30- to 60-day oscillation, 30- to 60-day wave, or intraseasonal oscillation.

Relating to figure above

  • T-D (orange) is the simple difference between atmospheric pressure between Tahiti and Darwin). This statistic is rarely negative, unlike the SOI (Blue). The default arrangement is for winds to blow east to west driving cold surface waters westwards. This relates to a positive value for T-D except briefly, in the winter season, manifesting in only 9 of the 29 winters.
  • T-D exhibits an annual cycle, not always evident in the SOI, with a consistent peak in December-January-February. Because the SOI (left axis) is computed to reveal anomalies in relation to the average, this peak is suppressed, a January peak occurring only when the anomaly is abnormally large. Another difficulty with this statistical treatment (departure from the average) is that trends are distorted as the average changes. The average is always changing because the climate of the Earth changes over time naturally. ENSO has been present for thousands of years.
  • The peak in T-D rarely strays from early January.
  • The timing of the trough in T-D, that occurs in the winter season, is irregular.
  • The year-to-year variation in T-D in January is much larger than the variation in the trough in winter. This points towards a dominant Northern Hemisphere influence driving change in surface pressure in January because shifts of atmospheric mass primarily emanate from the winter hemisphere. In the winter season the Antarctic trough dominates.
  • The SOI is noisy by comparison with T-D. It conceals rather than reveals the surface pressure dynamic that drives the winds.
  • Because T-D is positive almost all the time, the circulation of the Pacific Ocean in the Southern Hemisphere is always anti-clockwise. The warmest water is always in the Western Pacific located in South East Asia and the Indonesian archipelago. This is the case even when the trade winds falter, because the trades reverse for only a tiny fraction of the time and it is the constant north westerlies that are the dominant driver of the circulation of the waters of the Pacific Ocean. There are parts of the Pacific Ocean that have not warmed with the tropics. In fact they are cooler today than when records began.
  • Negative T-D implies a reversal of the trades to blow West to East. This is the El Nino condition when the centre of convection moves from the western to the Eastern Pacific. This is facilitated by the eastward movement of local centres of convection that originate in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean documented as the Madden Julian Oscillation that has a frequency of 30-60 days. In addition, the Earth’s atmosphere moves from West to East, rotating faster than the Earth itself with the speed of travel increasing with latitude. This opposes the east to west movement of the trade winds. The MJ oscillation and the generalized movement of the atmosphere to the east, tends to move the centre of convection over cooler waters in the eastern Pacific regardless of the T-D surface pressure differential. Convection, once started, is self-reinforcing via the release of latent heat. To the extent that the movement of cold surface waters to the west is slowed as the Trades and the Westerlies weaken, the waters of the Eastern Pacific will warm up, assisting the movement of the centre of convection to the east.
  • There is a 10-13year long wave in T-D.  The peaks in T-D are punctuated by anomalous deep troughs.  These anomalous troughs occurred in (1997, 1998) and (2009,2010), by far and away the years with the strongest El Nino tendency. The abrupt reversal from cold to warm is associated with a build up of warmer waters in the mid latitudes that spill into the tropics to the exclusion of colder waters from higher latitudes. Energy gain in the mid latitudes relates to elevated surface pressure there, driven by low surface pressure in the Antarctic trough. So far as the ocean is concerned, energy is absorbed to depth and its distribution is affected by mixing processes. It follows as a matter of logic that one cannot assume that an average of global surface temperature actually reflects the process of energy acquisition and emission by the Earth as a whole. To assess the energy balance, one should endeavour to measure the energy stored in the atmosphere and in the ocean, at least to the depth of the ocean that light penetrates. To speak of the hottest year since records began, while it adequately describes surface conditions tells us nothing about the underlying process of energy acquisition and emission.
  • The trough in the 10-12year long wave in T-D rarely manifests negative values. But this occurred notably in (1993,1994), (2002,2004,2006) and 2015.
  • Any weakness in the Antarctic trough will manifest as a slowing in the anticlockwise movement of the Pacific Ocean in the southern hemisphere. Weakness in the trough is associated with a decline in atmospheric pressure in the high-pressure cells of the mid latitudes and a consequent increase in cloud cover reducing the uptake of solar energy in the mid latitudes. It follows that the energy balance in the climate system will turn to the negative (emission exceeding acquisition) when surface pressure in the Antarctic trough begins to increase.
  • The surface temperature dynamic was much affected by a marked increase in the temperature of the stratosphere in the late 1970s, a reflection of its ozone content, the origin being a relative collapse in the intake of mesospheric air due to a fall in atmospheric pressure over the Antarctic continent at that time. The temperature change propagated globally affecting temperatures in the upper troposphere, reducing the Earths albedo.

Dynamics affecting the evolution of the system.

The data in the figure immediately above suggests that the annual cycle in the differential pressure between Tahiti and Darwin is part of a longer 10-12year cycle, cause unknown.

The annual cycle involves change in cloud cover related to the central pressure within and the change in the area occupied by high pressure cells.

The strongest zone of uplift on the planet is not located at the equator. It is located on the margins of Antarctica. The change in cloud cover in the mid latitudes is directly related to the vorticity and volume of air uplifted within the Antarctic trough. This should focus our attention away from the Hadley cell, that is characterized by weak and fluctuating trade winds towards high latitudes.

Evolution of surface pressure in Tahiti and Darwin by month of year

Evolution of sea level pressure in Tahiti and Darwin for each month of the year since 1948
  • Surface pressure has increased most strongly in September pointing towards enhanced cyclone activity in the Antarctic Trough.
  • Trends in sea level pressure in Tahiti and Darwin tends to converge in the middle of the period but with a secular increase in all months over time.
  • Between November and March, the amplitude of the individual swings in surface pressure increases.
  • The T-D Negative status (westerly winds) manifests most strongly in January, February and March.
  • From October through to March the variability in Darwin is generally greater than in Tahiti.
  • Surface pressure in Darwin and Tahiti tend to be anti-correlated at all times of the year, but not strictly so. This lack of strict correlation indicates that the migration of the zone of convection is influenced by conditions unrelated to the process of convection itself. This invalidates the notion that the ENSO phenomenon is solely due to an interaction between the atmosphere and the ocean in tropical waters.
  • Year to year volatility is strongest in September-October, falls away in November then ramping up in December-March.
  • In January the thirty years between 1969 and 1999 had the greatest potential for pressure reversals between Tahiti and Darwin.
  • From 1980 to 1999 conditions in March favoured El Nino.

The origins of shifts in atmospheric mass

The figure above shows the evolution of the Antarctic and the Pacific troughs over time, its relative depression in relation to the North Pacific trough and the competition for influence on southern hemisphere atmospheric pressure from the North Pacific Trough in December, January, and February. To be more complete this analysis should be extended to compare the evolution of surface pressure in North Pacific, to that in the North Atlantic perhaps a subject for another day.

We see in the figure above that, in January, the shifts in atmospheric mass consequent on changes in the intensity of the North Pacific trough are much more substantial than those emanating from the Antarctic Trough. In the main, a depression in pressure in the Pacific trough coincides with an increase in surface pressure in the Antarctic Trough and vice versa. However, its not a simple case of atmospheric exchange within a closed system. The red arrows mark occasions when both troughs move in the same direction emanating from a global change in the partial pressure of ozone in the upper air or perhaps an electromagnetic jerk affecting the rotation of the atmosphere. Either way, the agent of change is external to the Earth, not the product of an internally generated change within a closed climate system. This system is open to external influences. If we don’t acknowledge this dynamic that affects the planetary winds, the Earths Albedo and ENSO, we have our heads buried in the sand. When I survey the climate science literature and the work of the United Nations all I see is bums in the air.


Due to the complexity of the origins of shifts in atmospheric mass from the high-pressure troughs in both hemispheres, the fact that the troughs vary in their influence according to the month of the year and according to external influences that are currently unrecognized, and currently unpredictable, it is not possible to anticipate the likely evolution of climate from year to year or in the decade to come. Modelers should acknowledge this and back off.

However, given that cloud cover in the mid latitudes is undoubtedly a function of the evolution of the high latitude troughs, we can say that, when the troughs weaken, the beneficial warming trend that commenced in the late 1970s will reverse.

It is well to remember that the temperature of the Earth peaks in July when, due to orbital considerations, solar radiation is 6% weaker than in January. Global cloud cover reaches its minimum in July, its maximum in January. This demonstrates the importance of albedo in determining how much solar energy reaches the ocean, the only medium that can absorb solar energy to depth and retain it for long periods of time. The atmosphere is incapable of retaining energy. Any energy gain is strictly temporary, swiftly countered by convection and decompressive cooling with a compensatory compression in the mid latitudes where most of the radiative energy emitted by the Earth system emanates from high altitudes. Radiation theorists need to acknowledge this geometry and back off.

It is stupid to suggest that there is ‘a climate or any other sort of emergency’ when something bad is expected to happen if we as humans are powerless to influence the course of events.

It’s comforting to remember that warming has been highly beneficial. The bulk of the globe is too cold for comfort, especially in winter. This is what the green tremolos need to fully absorb, and admit. Then back off for the good of humanity.

As for the grapes, the great years have dry summers, frequently associated with an upswing in the solar cycle like the one that is now underway, albeit weakly.

The Absurdity of Climate Hysteria

The author is a grape farmer and wine maker, and a close observer of climate.

It is widely asserted that grape vintages are nowadays earlier, due to hotter summers. I reject that assertion.  Winters are warmer than in the past. Not summers. The earlier start to a longer growing season and enhanced availability of CO2 enhances photosynthetic capacity. It improves efficiency in the use of scarce water by the grape vine. This very likely accounts for the earlier time of ripening. In addition, when the ripening month has been in February, the warmest month, and it occurs in January, the maturation period is cooler than hitherto, an advantage.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s maintains that Australia’s climate has warmed on average by 1.44 ± 0.24 °C since national records began in 1910.  But this statistic is the result of averaging monthly data that gives equal weight to autumn, winter, spring, and summer months. The inference is that temperature is rising in summer, in daytime when the sun is shining and this is considered a dangerous development.

To establish whether there has been warming in summer we should examine the average daily maximum temperature in locations that are already, or likely to become, unsuitably warm from the plant productivity/fruit quality point of view.

The bulk of the continent, including the major fruit growing and cropping areas, is described as hot dry summer, cold winter. Surprisingly, only a few towns in this zone have temperature records for a century or more. But, this is indeed the case for Mildura, Kalgoorlie, Adelaide, Alice Springs and Bourke. Their locations are indicated on the map below.

Data above and below from:

Mildura is close to the junction of the Murray and the Darling Rivers, where most of Australia’s grapes, citrus, almonds, pistachios, olives, carrots, and asparagus are grown. Mildura prides itself on four hundred more sunlight hours per annum than the Queensland’s Gold Coast where people go in their retirement, to live out their remaining years in a warm environment close to the sea. Mildura has rich red, energy absorbing soils that radiate strongly.

We have data for the post office up to 1950 and for the airport, that is about 4Km away, after that date.

First let us look at the monthly average daily minimum temperature in February, the warmest month.

The minimum, both prior to and after 1950, is close to 16.5C. No change. Contrary to expectations based on greenhouse theory, all the energy that is picked up during the day is dissipated overnight. There is no inhibition of the cooling process in the eight hours of darkness in mid-summer. Quick and complete. There is no ‘greenhouse effect’ in Mildura.

The average daily maximum in February is shown below.

In the 70 years prior to 1950 the average maximum reached or exceeded 35C on ten occasions. In the seventy years post 1950 it reached 35C on two occasions and exceeded it once. In the most recent seventy years the mean maximum is cooler by about a degree. If we rule out the data for the years prior to 1910, as being perhaps inflated due to the use of ‘non standard equipment’, no change.

Periods of sustained heat occurred between 1890 and 1905 and more recently, between 2011 and 2019. In these years there were wide fluctuations in temperature over short intervals. What can account for these gyrations?

Even the drovers dog knows that the temperature of the air is driven by the origin of the travelling airmass arriving from different points of the compass every day of the year. That is what a weather map shows. The direction of flow depends on the distribution of surface pressure. The sustained heat of the odd warm year and the early decades is plainly due to something other than trace gas composition. It is fair to suggest that the recent warmth is likely due to the same influences that brought warmer air in the earlier years.

In the instance of Kalgoorlie, as for Mildura, we must have regard to records for locations that are just a few kilometers apart. However, bear in mind that due to the lack of vegetation, airports tend to be warmer than well watered regional towns with their long established and proudly maintained gardens, lawn and trees.

The data for the airport runs from 1954. The situation in Kalgoorlie is like Mildura. The warmest years occur in the earliest decades, in this instance, persisting until the 1930s. If we consider only the data post 1910 is reliable, we still have 20 years of sustained warmth from 1910 to 1930, warmer than recent decades.

Looking at Adelaide we see sustained warmth until about 1930 and cooling in the maximum temperature over time. The long gap in the data is unfortunate. However the data for Adelaide Airport, that is 7km closer to Spencer’s Gulf, is instructive.

The warmest years at the airport were during a brief interval about the year 2000. Since then, the maximum has fallen away. Plainly, warmth comes and goes with change in the winds.

In the case of Alice Springs and Bourke the story is similar. The maximum falls away in mid period. Recent decades are no warmer than in the past.

Feel free to draw your own conclusions.

When the minimum temperature varies in a manner that is out of concert with the maximum, logic suggests that something other than a ‘greenhouse effect is involved.

In my estimation there appears to be a cycle about 100 years in length, which is likely solar driven, influencing the distribution of atmospheric pressure, cloud cover and the planetary winds. This changes the ocean currents and the pole to equator temperature gradient.

Remember that greenhouse gases are well mixed. If warming is produced by burgeoning levels of greenhouse gases, it should be evident in all seasons, in both the minimum and maximum temperature, everywhere, without exception. Warming should be a one-way affair, constantly up. The Greenhouse mechanism can’t take a holiday.

Notice that, over a century or more, the change in the central tendency in the maximum temperature is a fraction of the change that occurs in the space of a few years. Logically, this small degree of change could be due to the same, regular, everyday mode of causation, a change in the origin of the wind. We observe that the temperature of an air mass depends upon where its coming from. A falling maximum and rising minimum, in the case of Adelaide, and even Alice Springs, is likely due to an enhancement of air flow from the Southern Ocean. When this occurs in Perth people refer to the ‘Fremantle Doctor’. In Kalgoorlie, much further inland, the ‘Albany Doctor’ may or may not arrive to relieve the heat.

The natural factors that change temperature from one year to the next, to do with the way the wind blows, are unstable, in both the short and the long term. Why is this? For over seventy years surface pressure has been falling on the margins of the Antarctic and rising at 20 to 40 degrees south latitude.  The resulting enhancement of air flows from the warmer north of the Australian continent is accompanied by a loss of cloud cover and enhanced blue sky. This is predominantly a winter phenomenon. So, it aligns with the seasonal bias to the warming that has occurred. Greenhouse theory doesn’t cut it as an explanation for this phenomena.

A Caution

Regrettably, the temperature record from the BOM is sparse and discontinuous. Recording stations open and close. There have been changes in the type of housing that shield thermometers from direct sunlight. There have been changes in the amount of vegetation that cools the air in the vicinity of the recording station. One cannot assume that data from our BOM, possibly no better or worse than that of any other country, is capable of supporting an assertion that the background air temperature has changed from one decade to the next, let alone over a period of one hundred years.  In the case of lighthouses and islands the data may be less corrupted by change in the local vegetation. Central city areas have warmed by 6C or more due to the loss of vegetation and enhancement in the amount of material that absorbs and stores energy including a vast expansion of window glass to trap heat in buildings and dense materials that are rock like in their capacity to store energy. Many sources of uncertainty are attached to the measurement of air temperature. In my view the BOM and the CSIRO should recognize the uncertainties, pay a lot more attention to seasonal data, up their game so far as logic and observation is concerned and practice the precept that ‘honesty is the best policy’.

The future of Western Civilization…a question of human welfare.

Self described ‘climate scientists’ who rely upon numerical models, built on airy-fairy assumptions, predicting warming, have a vested interest in the climate scare. The concern with fossil fuels used to be that they would run out. These fuels have never been as cheap as they are today, especially oil and gas. So, another rationale has been developed to take us back to a simpler life style, presumably less exploitative, more in tune with the ‘nature’ of Prince Charles and David Attenborough.

There is an ideological component, city, income, and wealth based, not grounded in observation, that is free of any concern about loss of employment as energy becomes expensive and unreliable. The cost of energy to Australian households at $US0.26 /kW hour is more than three times the $US0.08 in China and the gap is widening. Cheap energy is the foundation of human progress and material welfare. Our pattern of expansive urban development (new suburbs on the outer margin) depends for its viability on cheap personal transport. If energy is expensive and unreliable, the result will be inconvenience and impoverishment. But not necessarily for those with inherited wealth, or those supported out of the public purse including the British aristocracy, of whom we Australian’s are very fond, the public service, the CSIRO, the BOM, the ABC, the teachers who educate our children and that ever-expanding class we refer to as ‘academics’….all of whom could be described as ‘protected species’.

Tellingly, according to the ‘United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’ the total of direct foreign investment in China exceeded that in the USA for the first time in pre Covid 2019. There was a substantial fall in investment in climate obsessed Europe. The inflow to China increased by 4% as the inflow to the USA halved. This should be a wake up call.

We are witnessing the decline of Western Civilization, hamstrung by ideological commitment to the “Green New Deal’, ‘The Great Reset’ and ‘zero carbon by 2050’, all recipes for economic and social stagnation. We are being ‘led up the garden path’ by those who should know better. This is like the Dardanelles all over again. The hubris that is exhibited by the leaders of the ‘free world’ was also evident prior to the debacle of World War 1. John Kerry, the White House’s special envoy on climate, warned last week that the U.S. has less than a decade left to avoid the worst of a climate catastrophe instancing the cooling affecting Texas. Cooling, warming, its all the same to John. Its incredible that we have got to the stage that people who mouth this nonsense are given credence by the daily press.

Unless society is prepared to arrange for a massive transfer of wealth from those who are alarmed at changes in the climate, to those who have their noses closer to the grindstone, as has occurred to a limited extent during the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia, that could produce the worlds cheapest energy, via utilization of its coal reserves, is destined to suffer a collapse in the living standards, first for its non-public service employee division, and later, everyone.  There are limits to what can be achieved by expanding the public debt and ‘quantitative easing’ of the money supply.

There is no substitute for independent thinking, grounded in observation.  Is there a politician brave enough to tell the story as it is and risk condemnation by those obsessed with the ‘climate emergency’? The last federal election surprised us. A clear message came from rural and coal mining areas in Queensland and NSW. Will Her Majesty’s opposition continue to put forward policies that disadvantage traditional supporters to please the chatterati at the ABC (Invasion Day) and the Australian Financial Review (Green Finance). Will the opposition continue to lend credibility to the notion that the planet is endangered or can/will it come to its senses.

The conjunction of the words ‘climate’ and ‘science’ is insupportable and this has been the case for more than thirty years. So called ‘scientists’ that select data to support an agenda, are either naïve, or corrupt. This gives science a bad name. What happened to ‘impartiality’. We cant trust these people. There is a direct comparison with Lysenkoism in the Soviet Union.

The northern Hemisphere is currently experiencing the coldest winter in many decades. Tragically, when people most need electricity, they find that it is not available. Yes, the climate changes. Get used to it. Warming is not forever. Adapt. Listen to the engineers.

We should acknowledge that the last fifty years of ‘Climate Change’ has been beneficial. Warming in autumn, winter and spring is a great advantage. It lengthens the growing season. More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is favourable to plant life. Necessarily, we must expect more fires in the dry season. Plants become fuel. The planet is greening.

Let us rid ourselves of this absurd notion that the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a problem.

It is time for a ‘Reset’. We can either manage the situation intelligently or wait for the inevitable explosion and then, with extreme difficulty, endeavor to pick up the pieces.

This post is dedicated to Philip Adams, one of the cleverest minds around, who should know better.

There is no Carbon Pollution Effect: The Proof

The table shows the average temperature at the 1000 millibar pressure level (sea level) for the Southern Hemisphere for the last seven decades. The warmest decade is marked in red and the coolest in blue.

The warmest decade in January occurred in 1979-1988.  The failure to warm indicates that the much celebrated hypothetical link between carbon dioxide and atmospheric temperature is absent. Carbon dioxide is well mixed. It’s supposed effects on the temperature of the atmosphere, via ‘back radiation’ should be present in all locations, at all times, continuously. Plainly, if it skips the entire southern hemisphere, in January, for thirty years, its a furphy. A ‘furphy’ is an Australian term for an erroneous or improbable story that is claimed to be factual.

The data is from the NCEP reanalysis accessible here:

NCEP reanalysis provides a record of the characteristics of the atmosphere at seventeen pressure levels from the surface of the globe to the 10 millibar pressure level’. The NCEP record begins in 1948. From the 1960”s accuracy and reliability has been enhanced via access to observations from orbiting satellites.

Reanalysis data-sets are used in climate diagnostics and attribution.
The are created by assimilating (“inputting”) climate observations using the same climate model throughout the entire reanalysis period in order to reduce the affects of modeling changes on climate statistics. Observations are from many different sources including ships, satellites, ground stations, RAOBS, and radar.

Via reanalysis the inconsistency due to constant adjustment of the surface temperature record is avoided. Sampling error is reduced. Localized ‘urban warming’ in human settlements on land is less likely to affect the record.

Students of the change that has occurred in the Earths atmosphere should be aware that it is not at the surface, but in the region where the troposphere interacts with the stratosphere that surface wind and climate is driven.

The next post will explore the factors responsible for change. One can not begin to explain the causes of change unless one is familiar with the characteristics of change. Fortunately, change comes with a time signature that provides the vital clue as to its origin.




Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics

Volumes 90–91, December 2012, Pages 9-14
  • National Institute of Geophysics, Geodesy and Geography, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 3 G. Bonchev, Sofia, Bulgaria

The strong sensitivity of the Earth’s radiation balance to variations in the lower stratospheric ozone—reported previously—is analysed here by the use of non-linear statistical methods. Our non-linear model of the land air temperature (T)—driven by the measured Arosa total ozone (TOZ)—explains 75% of total variability of Earth’s T variations during the period 1926–2011. We have analysed also the factors which could influence the TOZ variability and found that the strongest impact belongs to the multi-decadal variations of galactic cosmic rays. Constructing a statistical model of the ozone variability, we have been able to predict the tendency in the land air T evolution till the end of the current decade. Results show that Earth is facing a weak cooling of the surface T by 0.05–0.25 K (depending on the ozone model) until the end of the current solar cycle. A new mechanism for O3 influence on climate is proposed.



I disagree with the authors interpretation of the mechanism involved that is described in part as:  increase or decrease of the greenhouse effect, depending on the sign of the humidity changes. 

More simply, the Earths radiation balance is much affected by the degree to which incoming radiation is reflected by cloud cover.

I maintain (suggest is too weak a word) that ozone as an absorber of outgoing radiation by the Earth, radiation continuously, day and night,  impacting the temperature and relative humidity of the highly reflective ice-cloud-zone that is found from a couple of kilometres above the surface of the Earth unto the limits of the ‘weather-sphere’. The weather-sphere, I would describe as the zone that contains sufficient water vapour to promote the appearance and disappearance of  minute, highly reflective, multi-branching  (like the international space station) crystals of ice.

Ice crystals reflect and scatter incoming radiation,

There is no need to invoke carbon dioxide or its increasing presence in the atmosphere, or the notion of a greenhouse effect, to explain surface temperature variations. Insofar as carbon dioxide promotes the growth of vegetation and increases the mass of water in the hydro logic cycle it will promote humidity and the formation of more cloud.

The atmosphere ejects heat by virtue of convection. It lacks any of the properties of a greenhouse. The tragic failure of climate science, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, is to misunderstand the physics of the atmosphere.

The wilfulness of ignorance and the determination to hang on to old dogma is astounding: this paper appeared in 2012.

Reflection of sunlight from cloud at 5-8km in elevation (Cirrus).


The EPIC data also helped confirm that the flashes are coming from a high altitude, not simply water on the ground. Two channels on the instrument are designed to measure the height of clouds. According to the observations, high cirrus clouds—5 to 8 kilometers (3 to 5 miles) up in the atmosphere—appeared wherever the glints were located.

“The source of the flashes is definitely not on the ground,” Marshak said. “It is definitely ice, and most likely solar reflection off of horizontally oriented particles.”

Marshak is now investigating how common these horizontal ice particles are, and whether they are common enough to have a measurable impact on how much sunlight passes through the atmosphere. If so, it is a feature that would need to be incorporated into computer models of how much heat is reaching and leaving Earth.

Perhaps we should admit that it will take time to get ‘the science’ properly settled.

There is a notion in IPCC  ‘climate science’ that high altitude cloud has a warming influence on the surface.    A manurial notion if ever there was one.

As to whether there will be ice cloud at elevation or not….then the ozone content of the air will be a factor of importance because ozone absorption of infrared from the Earth itself determines air temperature and therefore relative humidity and the degree and extent of precipitation.


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.



In general the planet warms as surface pressure increases in low and mid latitudes.

The chain of causation runs like this: Increased surface pressure is associated with increased geopotential height, extra warmth in the atmospheric column and a consequent reduction in the quotient of moisture held in the very expansive ice crystal form. As cloud cover diminishes more solar radiation reaches the surface of the planet. When energy is absorbed by the ocean it is stored to depth and, by virtue of ocean currents, re-distributed, fortuitously warming those parts that receive little solar energy.

In contrast, when solar energy falls on land it is swiftly, in the main overnight, returned to the atmosphere. The warming of the atmosphere that is occasioned in northern summer, due to the extensive land masses of that hemisphere,  results in a global deficit of cloud cover in the middle of the year producing the annual maximum in planetary temperature when the Earth is furthest from the sun and solar irradiance 6% diminished by comparison with January.  It should be obvious (how did climate scientists miss this?) that the primary dynamic determining surface temperature is the temperature of the atmosphere in relation to the moisture that it contains.


Please inspect the map below. The planetary winds drive ocean currents that mix cold waters from high latitudes and the ocean deep into the warm waters of the tropics. This is evident on the eastern margins of the oceans and particularly so in the southern hemisphere. The Indian Ocean is the odd man out with a weak cold current on its western margins and a warm, southward travelling, current on its eastern margin. The consequence is a relative backwater that is less  affected by the mixing of cold with warm water.


It follows that the circulation of the oceans results in a very different thermal regime in each basin according to the  the ocean currents that are primarily driven by the winds. As the winds evolve, so do the currents.

The table below documents the extent of the temperature increase  over the last 68 years according to latitude and longitude in the three major ocean basins. For economy I focus on those latitudes that are warm enough to be relatively hospitable  to man.


It is obvious that the bulk of the Pacific Ocean has not warmed to the same extent as the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. In terms of basin averages, in January the Indian Ocean has warmed by 0.87°C, The Pacific by 0.42°C and the Atlantic by 0.46°C. In July the Indian has warmed by 0.84°C the Pacific by 0.12°C and the Atlantic by 0.6°C. It is in July that the contrast between the oceans is strongest.It is the Indian Ocean that has warmed to the greatest extent.



If we are to understand the differences in the rate of warming of the Ocean basins we need to comprehend to role of polar cyclones in high latitudes. Enhanced polar cyclone activity in the Antarctic circumpolar trough (red and orange in the map above) has, over the period of record, shifted atmospheric mass into low and mid latitudes from latitudes south of the 50° parallel. In consequence the high latitude west wind drift that is coextensive with the circumpolar trough, that drives cold water into the tropics, has accelerated. The flow is restricted at the Drake Passage between the Pacific and the Atlantic. Accordingly the Pacific Ocean cooled in parts and generally warmed at a much reduced rate when compared to the Indian and Atlantic Oceans.


The Indian Ocean is like the canary in the coalmine, a companion to the miner to warn him of a change in the quality of the air. The evolution of surface temperature in the Indian Ocean offers a glimpse of unfettered reality in terms of the march of surface temperature across the globe as it is forced by change in cloud cover associated with shifts in atmospheric mass and the change in the planetary winds.

The remainder of this chapter explores the shift in atmospheric mass from high southern latitudes and its relationship to surface pressure in the rest of the globe and the Indian Ocean in particular.

The discussion is is not based on the hypothetical constructs of a climate model or the abstruse mysteries of so called ‘planetary forcings’.  Rather it is grounded in observation and measurement based on data as  presented in the reanalysis work of Kalnay et al accessible here.

The graph below represents the evolution of surface pressure in the Indian Ocean south of the equator.We must to answer the question: Why is it so?



The entire southern hemisphere has not warmed in the month of December in the last 68 years. If surface temperature were being forced by increased back radiation from the atmosphere the southern hemisphere should warm in all months.  There is no reason to expect the degree of warming due to a hypothetical increase in back radiation to be different in one month to another.  We therefore discard the hypothesis that temperature at the surface is driven by the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere.  We look for other mechanisms to explain the flux in surface temperature. Radiation theory is all very well but in the real world, inoperable. The concept of anthropogenic warming is a distraction from fairyland. We can, to advantage, be more discriminating in what we choose to believe.


Figure 1 Sea level pressure in the region of the Antarctic circumpolar trough compared to sea level pressure in the entire region south of 50° south latitude.

Figure 1 compares the evolution of sea level atmospheric pressure in the Antarctic circumpolar trough to all latitudes south of 50° south. It is plain that the relatively short term fluctuations in surface pressure in the larger entity are greater than in the ‘trough’. In point of fact the trough expands and contracts across the parallels affecting surface pressure in adjacent latitudes and in particular across the Antarctic continent. The agent of change is polar cyclone activity that is energised by differences in atmospheric density between very different parcels of air that meet in the region of the trough in the very broad interface between the stratosphere and the troposphere between about 400 hPa and 50 hPa. It is in this region that the strongest winds are to be found. Polar cyclones are generated aloft. This is the nature of the ‘coupling of the troposphere with the stratosphere’, a concept that is a postulate of conventional climate science but remains a mystery so far as its modes of causation is concerned. If one is wedded to radiation theory it limits the mind.

Figure 2 twelve month moving averages of sea level pressure either side of the 50° south latitude band encompassing the globe as a whole.

In figure 2 we compare the evolution of surface pressure south of the 50° south  parallel of latitude with surface pressure north of that same parallel. If the total mass of the atmosphere were to be invariable we would expect a strictly reciprocal relationship. As pressure falls on one side of the 50th parallel it should rise on the other. Plainly, the increase, decrease and subsequent increase in surface pressure in concert, between 1948 and 1964, is evidence of a planetary evolution in the quantum of atmospheric mass perhaps associated with enhanced loss in very active solar cycles and incremental gain in quiet cycles. That is a subject for another day.

Plainly, since 1964 it is the reciprocal transfer relationship that dominates. When atmospheric mass is lost south of the 50th parallel it moves north the 50th parallel and vice versa.This process of exchange is referred to as the Antarctic Oscillation.

Figure 3

In figure 3 we compare the evolution of surface pressure in the Indian Ocean south of the equator through to 30°of latitude with that north of the 50th parallel.

Figure 4

Figure 4 presents the same information as in figure 3 but on two axes with independent scales. It’s plain that broadly speaking the Indian Ocean south of the equator gains and loses atmospheric mass in parallel with all points north of the 50th south parallel but there are short term differences. These discrepancies are likely due to complex interactions between the southern and the northern hemispheres where, depending on the time of the year the Arctic Oscillation imposes change in the southern hemisphere or in the reverse, the Antarctic Oscillation imposes change on the northern hemisphere, tending to produce ‘mirror image’ results. Short term variations in these two data series  can be in opposite directions.


Figure 5

In figure 5 we compare the evolution of sea surface temperature in the Indian Ocean north of the equator  with that south of the equator.  The data is a twelve month moving average of monthly  means so as to remove the seasonal influence. It is plain that the more extreme variations occur north of the equator. Nevertheless the series are very similar in their evolution with generally coincident peaks.

Figure 6

In figure 6 we compare the evolution of sea level pressure in the Indian Ocean to the south of the equator with the evolution of sea surface temperature in the Indian Ocean north of the equator. Sea surface temperature tends to lag surface pressure by a few months. Plainly the Antarctic Oscillation affects sea surface temperature via coincident heating of the atmospheric column as reflected in increased geopotential height driving a reduction in cloud cover.

Figure 7

Figure 7 looks at the relationship between geopotential height and sea surface temperature. Note that geopotential height is strongly related to sea surface temperature but the relationship is  not proportional. It is not the increase in sea surface temperature that drives the increase in geopotential height but warming of the air column due to the increase in the ozone content of the air within descending columns of air. These air columns reflect in their temperature the increased surface pressure, the increased warming at the surface and the increase in the ozone content of the descending air. At 200 hPa the air is warmer in winter than in summer due to enhanced ozone content in winter. The temperature of the air is independent of the temperature of the surface over which it lies.

Figure 8 Sea level pressure in the Indian Ocean south of the equator compared to sea surface temperature north of the equator. Temperature lags several months. There is pronounced warming in southern hemisphere winter months and occasional warming cycles in the summer months, notably in 2009-2010 and 2012- 2013. This warming is tied to the ozone content of the air in high latitudes.

In figure 8 we focus on monthly data.  Shown is the departure of a particular month’s data from the whole of period average for that month.

This graph reveals a climate system that is capable of swinging between a sea surface temperature anomaly of about -0.3°C and +1.2°C in an interval of between one and six years. The amplitude of this variation is almost double the increase in temperature that has occurred in the Indian Ocean over the last 68 years.  In this circumstance we should simply move on. There is nothing exceptional about this increase in temperature. There is no need to invoke new modes of causation to explain this phenomenon.


Why has surface pressure and sea surface temperature in the Indian Ocean increased almost continuously since 2011? The answer lies in the forces that determine polar cyclone activity in the Antarctic circumpolar trough. Those circumstances relate to the  changing nature of the atmosphere in the area of overlap between the stratosphere and the troposphere in high southern latitudes.

As Gordon Dobson observed back in 1925, surface pressure is a by-product of total column ozone. Low pressure cells have more ozone aloft and exhibit a lower tropopause than high pressure cells.

Ultimately polar cyclone activity and surface temperature together with wind direction and intensity and the extent of mixing in the ocean  are a function of the ozone content of the air in high latitudes.


This post addresses questions of interest namely:

  1. To what extent is the temperature of the surface of the sea simply a reflection of a variable rate of mixing of the volumes of cold water from high latitudes and the deep ocean into the warmer waters of low and mid latitudes?
  2. To what extent is the variation in surface temperature due to a change in cloud cover?
  3. To what extent is the variation in surface temperature due to a ‘greenhouse effect’ as the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere increases?

At the outset we can dismiss the notion that a greenhouse effect drives surface temperature.  The Southern Hemisphere has not warmed in December for seven decades.  In logic (science) one instance of failure is  sufficient to reject a hypothesis. If one persists with a failed hypothesis one is engaged in a religious observance rather than science.

Figures 1 a,b,c and d are tendered in support of this observation


Hemisphere surface temp



Figure 1 a, b, c and d. data source Kalnay et al reanalysis here. The arrow in 1d is horizontal.

It is plain from the data in figure 1 c that temperature evolves differently according to the month of the year, that it increases and decreases and the rate of change is highly variable.

If we are to understand climate change, it is the highly variable evolution of surface temperature from month to month that we need to explain.


To investigate the mixing of cold with warm water and temperature change due to cloud effects, it is useful to look at raw data that describes the surface temperature of the ocean at a moment in time.

The Earth can be divided into discrete zones according to latitude and longitude. Figure 2 represents one of these zones at 30-40° north latitude. Plainly, there are zones in the North Pacific Ocean where temperature has declined over the last seventy years.

Figure 2

For this analysis the globe can be divided into twelve zones according to longitude in each of four latitude bands namely 30-40° south, 0-30° south, 0-30° north and 30-40° north. In zones dominated by land data is not reported. The upshot is that there are twenty nine zones with large bodies of water to consider.

Figure 3 shows sea surface temperature on the 17th of September 2016.  Superimposed are numbers indicating whole of period change for both January and July, the two months that are known to exhibit the greatest variability. Note that it is the change in the Excel calculated trend line that is reported here rather than simply the difference in the temperature between the first and last month.

Figure 3

For clarity the data is presented again in table 1.


Table 1

If we consider increases of 0.9° C and more as notably extreme, it is in the southern hemisphere in the 0-30° latitude band and the 30-40° south latitude bands that  extreme warming  is observed. Look for the numbers in white on the map and the cells in yellow  in in table 1..  Change smaller than 0.2°C is marked in green and enclosed with a border.

Generalising we can say that temperature advance is more a southern than a northern hemisphere phenomenon. Between the equator and 30° south the increase in January is notable. At 30-40° south the increase in June is notable. The Pacific is both peaceful and more stable in its temperature than the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Some areas of the Pacific are cooler today than they were seventy years ago.

Why does temperature change exhibit such diversity?


The lowest surface atmospheric pressure  occurs in the Antarctic circumpolar trough that is located over the Southern Ocean on the margins of the Antarctic continent. There is no counterpart to this extreme trough in surface pressure in the northern hemisphere where moderately low surface pressure is found over the continents in summer and the sea in winter. Accordingly, across the entire globe, including the tropics, air moves towards the south east, spiralling towards the Antarctic circumpolar trough. Locally, counter currents exist with the movement of the air in other directions but this north- west to south- east flow is the dominant pattern. Part of the counter flow is moist air that moves from the equator into mid and high latitudes, especially in the northern hemisphere, bringing moisture and warmth to cold locations far from the equator. This is a counter flow to the trade winds and without this flow high latitudes would be both colder and drier. Counter flows are in part monsoonal in nature but they also derive from the fact that on a local scale, air circulates about cells of low and high surface pressure.

The strongest winds on the planet are the westerlies of the southern hemisphere. These are also the most variable winds due to the ever changing relationship between surface atmospheric pressure in the mid latitudes and the Antarctic circumpolar trough. This westerly flow has become progressively more extreme over the last seventy years. Oscillations in the flow are consistent with change in the ‘Antarctic Oscillation index’. This change, that is globally influential, is driven by the changing intensity of cyclonic activity in the Antarctic circumpolar trough.

With the notable exception of the Indian Ocean, currents circulate in a clockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere and anticlockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. Currents are forced by the planetary winds. Since the strongest of these winds are the westerlies of the Southern Ocean, this is where the movement of the ocean is most vigorous. The West Wind Drift of the southern ocean is interrupted by the near conjunction of the South American land mass and the Antarctic Peninsula. A certain amount of up-welling occurs in coastal waters promoting strong fisheries on the Eastern margins of the Oceans, particularly off the coast of Chile. A failure in this up-welling involves a collapse in the fishery. The intensity of up-welling changes the pattern of surface temperature and as we see in table 1 the effect is very much greater in the Pacific.

Notable is the northward extension of warm waters to provide a more equable climate to the western margins of the ocean basins in the northern hemisphere. Because these flows  are anomalously warm as they reach the eastern margins of the ocean basins, so the western margins of both North America and Europe are warmer than they would be in the absence of these warm waters. The Gulf Stream is an instance but the Eastern Pacific is equally an example. There is no comparable situation in the southern hemisphere because the northward flow of cold Antarctic waters on the western margins of the southern continents is deterministic.

Limiting this tendency to equable temperatures on the eastern margins of the major oceans, cold water from high latitudes is driven towards the tropics. This is particularly the case in the Pacific (the largest basin) and more particularly in the southern hemisphere. Anomalously cold water is therefore found in the region of the Galapagos Islands and also from Cape Town to Sierra Leonie. Cold water coursing along the coast towards the equator tends to promote precipitation over the ocean rather than the land,and the desertification of adjacent land.

In complete contrast, the Western coast of Western Australia is warmed by a southerly flowing current.  The Indian Ocean is atypical in that it circulates weakly in an anticlockwise direction with anomalously cool water moving northwards along the East coast of Africa penetrating to the Persian Gulf and the coast of India. Perhaps it is the strength of the monsoonal influence in this part of the world that dictates this contrary circulation.  Accordingly the relative backwater that is the Indian Ocean has produced the steepest increase in sea surface temperature over the last seven decades. There is an increase of 1.3°C between Africa and Australia in the 0-30° latitude band in the month of January.  The Atlantic south of the equator, also exhibits a temperature increase of about 1°C with an increase of 1.3°C on the west coast of the African continent, again in the southern hemisphere.

The pattern of warming and cooling is of interest because it comes about via the joint influence of the change in cloud cover, change in the rate of admixing of cold waters from high latitudes and the up-welling of cold water from the ocean deep. Plainly the rate of temperature increase in the Pacific has been  moderated and even reversed by comparison with the Indian and Atlantic Oceans.

As already noted, the increase in the temperature of waters south of the equator is greater than the increase in the temperature of the waters of the northern hemisphere in comparable latitudes. This increase has occurred despite the obvious cooling influence due to the West Wind Drift that is so apparent in the Pacific. This exaggerated surface temperature increase is consistent with the marked increase in surface pressure, geopotential height and upper air temperature in the low and mid latitudes of the southern hemisphere. A southward expansion of the zone of high surface pressure in the mid latitudes of the southern hemisphere can be described as an expansion of the Hadley Cell. So the heavy temperature increase in these latitudes is unequivocally due to a decline in cloud cover.

But there are large areas across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans that have experienced smaller increases in temperature and others zones where a decline in temperature has occurred due to the admixture of cold water with the intensification of the planetary winds that has occurred over time. In June there is significant cooling at 30-40° north probably due to enhanced interaction with the Arctic Ocean. The corollary is a decline in ice coverage in the Arctic. This cooling follows from the acceleration of the westerly winds in high latitudes, and especially so in the southern hemisphere.


The relationship between surface pressure and sea surface temperature is documented in figure 4.

SST and Surface pressure 1
Figure 4

The root cause of the increase in surface pressure in the low and mid latitudes of the southern hemisphere is the decline in surface pressure in the region of the circumpolar trough that surrounds Antarctica. This is in turn related to the increase in the ozone content and the temperature of the stratosphere. As Gordon Dobson observed in the 1920s, following on from the work of  the pioneering French meteorologist deBort in the last decade of the 19th century, surface pressure is a reflection of the ozone content of the upper portion of the atmospheric column. As surface pressure falls away the tropopause is found at ever lower elevations. Differences in air density between air masses rich and poor in their ozone content gives rise to jet streams that manifest as polar cyclones at the surface.  As the vorticity of polar cyclones within the Antarctic circumpolar trough varies, so surface pressure changes across the rest of the globe via mass exchange. A fall in pressure in the Antarctic trough signals a shift in atmospheric mass to latitudes north of about 50° south. It is this shift in mass that is associated with the rising air temperature and diminishing cloud cover in the low and mid latitudes of both hemispheres.  Declining cloud cover is associated with rising air temperatures in the cloud zone reflected in increasing geopotential height at 500 hPa. This particular association is frequently the subject of comment in meteorological circles. Ozone is ubiquitous; ozone gathers infrared energy from the Earth itself and heats the air, its efficiency in this respect increasing with surface pressure. It provides more energy to the troposphere than it does to the stratosphere. In this way the extent of cloud cover depends upon the changing flux of ozone in the air.

To understand the evolution of climate we must discard propositions that are devoid of value and re-learn that which was pioneered more than a century ago.


Of major importance to the evolution of surface temperature are ocean currents that depend upon the planetary winds for their motion.

The origin, temperature and humidity of moving air changes according to the flux in the ozone content of the air in centres of low surface pressure. Change is initiated in the stratosphere in high latitudes chiefly in winter. This is ultimately what drives climate change at the surface with a very different pattern of temperature change according to the month of the year. Man is a minnow of little consequence in the grand scheme of things.

In general the pattern of evolution in surface temperature in the near coastal areas of those parts of the Earth favourable to human settlement is dictated by the interception and storage of solar energy by the oceans as mediated by cloud cover.  Temperature change at particular locations is mediated by the movement in the waters of the oceans that represent most of the surface of the planet. The oceans are the chief organ for energy storage by virtue of transparency to solar radiation.  Energy storage occurs below the surface. Our ability to monitor the temperature of the ocean below the surface is limited. Until we can assess temperatures below the surface there is no valid way to monitor the energy relationships that determine the evolution of temperature above the surface. One should not put too much reliance on surface temperature as an indication of the state of the system over intervals shorter than a decade.

The anthropogenic argument is not a product of observation or deduction but a form of hysteria. Its origin is in the dis-tempered gut of modern man, reeling from the pace of change and the pressures of urban living. Perhaps it is due to a feeling of helplessness in a world in which there is more regulation, more complexity, greater inter-dependence and perhaps a feeling of chronic uncertainty due to the fact that ever increasing numbers enjoy less of the fruits of their toil, governments are piling up debt and seem to be out of touch with the needs of the common man.

In a planet that is too cool for both comfort and productivity man should not worry when the surface warms slightly, a frequent and highly beneficial circumstance in the evolution of the Earth. When we start shedding clothes in winter because we need to cool down, that will be the time to worry.

Worry induces a search for remedies and mankind becomes susceptible to the wiles of multitudes of carpetbagging rent seekers, keen to exploit the situation. That, unfortunately is the situation.  Too many carpetbaggers have staked a claim on the general revenue. Central banks fund ever increasing deficits creating spending power where none is earned. This is irresponsibility on a grand scale. The economic system appears to be lurching towards a catastrophic collapse.





Ecclesiastes 1:6
The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.

This post revises key concepts that relate to the evolution of climate. Good teaching is about saying it again in slightly different ways until it sinks in. This caters for the students who can’t tune in at a particular time and many others whose perceptual frameworks are sort of ‘frozen’. Its also possible that the message can be delivered without the  necessary flair.

Knock-knock.  New idea. Fundamental to the nature of Earth is the difference between  the warmth of low latitudes and the cold of high latitudes.  Without the redistribution of energy by wind and water the extent of the habitable latitudes would be tiny. In the tropics there is little variation in the nature of the air from day to day. But in the mid and high latitudes change is the rule.  When the wind changes in a systematic fashion  to establish new states, we have climate change. The further we depart from the equator, the greater is the change that is experienced.

The air moves from zones of high to zones of low surface pressure. Pre-eminent in terms of low surface pressure is the Antarctic Circumpolar Trough. It is the zone coloured orange in figure 1.

Annual SLP
Figure 1

Kalnay et al’s reanalysis of 1996 to be found here. shows the evolution of surface pressure by latitude over time and is presented in a graphical format in figures 2 and 3.

July pressure
Figure 2.

January pressure
Figure 3

Plainly, the work that is done in redistributing energy across the latitudes is dependent on the evolution of surface pressure in the Antarctic Circumpolar trough and to a lesser extent the latitudes north of 50-60° north.


Figure 4

Figure 4 plots the temperature of the air as it evolved in the year 2015 at  500 hPa at 40-60° of latitude in the northern hemisphere at left and the southern at right. Plainly there is a north-west to south-east orientation in the movement of the air masses as  the atmosphere super-rotates about the Earth in the same direction that the Earth rotates, but faster. The speed of rotation increases in the southern hemisphere where the angle of attack is more aligned with the parallels of latitude. The air spirals from north to south at all latitudes.Warmer parcels will have an ascending  tendency while colder parcels will be descending.


New Concept: It is polar cyclones that are responsible for the intensity and evolution of the circumpolar trough.

A core theme of this work is that Polar Cyclones are energised by warm, low density cores in that space where the troposphere overlaps with the stratosphere. Differences in the ozone content of the air gives rise to differences in air density. A chain of cyclones on the margins of Antarctica   give rise to a rapidly circulating polar vortex in the stratosphere. There are no limits to convection in the stratosphere.

In summer the air rises to the limits of the atmosphere directly over the continent of Antarctica but in winter there is descent. A rising cone of air surrounds the zone of descent. This cone is sometimes described as a polar vortex. The cone begins at 300 hPa over the circumpolar trough and widens to take in the mid latitudes at the highest levels.

The upper troposphere/Lower stratosphere in the region of the circumpolar trough is characterised by intense mixing of air from diverse origins, the troposphere, the stratosphere and the mesosphere.

Between October and March the cone of ascending air below 50 hPa tightens like a hangman’s noose bringing air from the troposphere to the pole, creating an ozone hole, the falling away of surface pressure at this time of the year associated with generalised ascent over the Antarctic continent and so excluding the flow of air from the mesosphere that descends throughout winter.

That the circumpolar trough is due to differences in the ozone content of the upper air should be non-controversial.


The circumpolar trough is an unremarkable aspect of the atmosphere in the view of UNIPCC. The significance of its presence is  unappreciated. This is not an unusual state of affairs in the annals of humanity. In fact,  ‘Climate Science’ has not leaned a lot about atmospheric dynamics since the time of the pioneer Bjerknes who published a work on the near surface characteristics of polar cyclones in 1922.


It is realised, at least in meteorological circles, that a trigger is required for the formation of low pressure cells of rotating air  in the region of the circumpolar trough. That trigger  is an upper level trough, a mass of warmer, low density ozone rich air.

In  1922 it was not apparent that the most vigorous winds are located in the overlap between the stratosphere and the troposphere. Neither was it apparent that cold ozone deficient air  from both the mesosphere and the tropical troposphere are drawn towards the circumpolar front in the space shared by the upper troposphere and the lower stratosphere.

In fact the concept of a ‘stratosphere’ was pretty new in 1922. In many respects we have not moved on from that position despite the passage of 100 years. Indeed much that was known prior to the 1970’s has since been forgotten in parallel with the increasing concern that man and the environment in which he lives are  incompatible entities. Educators went off in socially responsible directions. A fabulous gravy train  was created for scientists and space agencies and all those who aspire to gain their daily bread by looking after the environment, painstakingly monitoring the activities of a an every increasing panoply  of despoilers, at one end mighty global corporations and at the other the humble cow that provides the milk for your morning cereal irresponsibly farting in  its field of green. Such is the work of the modern missionary.

The intensification of polar cyclones in winter, and the consequent lower surface pressure at that time of the year is due to the proliferation of ozone. Gordon Dobson observed in the 1920’s that, in high and mid latitudes low surface pressure identifies areas with high total column ozone. Dobson measured wind velocity and discovered that the strongest winds were not at the surface but in the region of the tropopause. The tropopause is kilometres lower when surface pressure is low than when surface pressure is high. This circumstance may be described as an upper level ‘trough’, a zone of  reduced air density that shows up in elevated geopotential height contours. Had Bjerknes apprehended the structure of the upper air we would not now be worrying about carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We would be aware that the source of long term climate change, the source of decadal variations, the source of inter-annual variations and indeed our daily weather lies in variations in the ozone content of the stratosphere. We would  be at peace with the notion that our ‘rather too cool for comfort’ planet gains and loses energy according to change in the extent of its cloud cover.

There is so much to learn.