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.





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

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

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

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

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


Lighthouse and houses

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

Fig 1

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Min 1910-39

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

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

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


Max 1940-1975

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

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

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

Group 1940-75

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

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



Max 1975-92

Min 75-92

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



Max 92-15


Min 75-92

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


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

Max 92-15.JPG  second

min 92-15.JPG second

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


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

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

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

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

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



When one looks at climate change by latitude there is diversity in the warming/cooling according to the time of year. The interest in this chapter is to ascertain if there is a generalised warming that is like a groundswell, underpinning the whole. That is what would be expected under the greenhouse scenario.

Surface air temperature data for the globe as a whole is available via reanalysis. We need data for the populated and the underpopulated parts of the globe and for all the parts where no man lives.It can be found here: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/cgi-bin/data/timeseries/timeseries1.pl

From chapter 8 we  are aware that inter-annual temperature variability is strongest in January and February between the Arctic and 30° south. South of that latitude temperature variability is strongest in July and August. That pulse is regular as a heartbeat and it moves surface temperature in both directions, both warming and cooling. The most extreme inter-annual variation exceeds the degree of change over the period of record.  It  plainly reflects non anthropogenic factors at work because the anthropogenic effect by its nature can only increase temperature, never reduce it.

In this chapter we look at temperature change by the decade. We have almost seven decades of data in the reanalysis record. Below is a summary  of change between the first (1948-56) and the last period (2007-15).

60-90°North: An increase in surface air temperature in December (2.72°C) that is six times the increase in June.

30-60°North:  An increase in November (0.75°C) that is more than six times the increase in February.

0-30°North:  An increase in October (0.84) that is 2.4 times the increase in January.

0-30°South: An increase in April (0.84°C) that is 1.6 times the increase in August.

30-60° South: An increase in April (0.8°C) that is 2.5 times the increase in December.

60-90° South: An increase in August of 3.4°C and a decline of 1.9°C in December.

Below is the data by latitude. All diagrams are drawn with a scale of 5°C on the left axis to make them comparable. There are two diagrams for each latitude band. The lower diagram shows the difference between the first and the last periods for each month of the year. Note that the first decade is not always the coolest decade. Note also that the first and last periods include nine years while the intervening periods are of 10 years duration.










Confounding all expectations we have  cooling in summer in the Antarctic. The Antarctic is characterized by temperatures below zero all year round. It contains the vast bulk of  the Earth’s frozen water. Plainly that ice is in no danger of melting.


There are some people who attribute the entire gamut of temperature variation at the surface of the Earth to the enhancement by man of the supposed ‘Greenhouse Effect’. But we know that temperature varies with the season of the year and for any season from one year to another. The enhanced greenhouse effect can not account for cooler seasons or cooler decades.The enhanced greenhouse effect causes warming, not cooling.

It is increasingly acknowledged that the calculated temperature of the globe has not advanced since 1998, a feature variously described as ‘The Pause’ or ‘The Hiatus’. This is attributed to ‘natural cycles of unknown origin’ that are temporarily hiding the anthropogenic effect that is expected to come roaring back with a vengeance.

If we assume that the atmosphere imposes an actual ‘greenhouse effect’ via back radiation, and that it is somehow responsible for the elevation of the temperature of the surface of the Earth to some degree above that due to the direct warming via solar radiation, then how much of the increase in temperature can we attribute to the anthropogenic enhancement of this supposed natural greenhouse effect?  Is there a background level of  warming in every month of the year?

Greenhouse gases of anthropogenic origin are well mixed and should promote a generalized warming at all latitudes in every month of the year.

By latitude we have the strongest warming :

60-90°north. In winter

30-60°north: In spring and autumn.

0-30°north: In summer and autumn.

0-30° south: In autumn.

30-60°south:  In winter.

60-90° south: In winter

If the greenhouse effect relies upon amplification via an increase in atmospheric water vapour at a particular time of the year it might be argued that the heating effect should appear at that time of the year when atmospheric moisture levels are most enhanced.  We know that atmospheric humidity and global cloud cover peaks in January. The Earth as a whole is coolest in January. It is very doubtful therefore that an increase in atmospheric moisture  could cause surface warming because its prime effect is to enhance cloud cover.

If the anthropogenic greenhouse effect is to promote warming then the back radiation effect would have to be more powerful than the ‘enhanced cloud cover effect’. Clouds can curtail solar radiation by as much as 90%. The clincher is that the Earth is at its coolest when atmospheric humidity (and cloud cover) peaks.

In low and mid latitudes we see warming in spring, autumn and summer but the change is tiny by comparison with high latitudes.

High latitudes have uniformly dry air and water vapour is not available as an amplifier at any time of the year. And yet this is where we see the greatest warming. And this warming is in winter when both incoming solar radiation and outgoing long wave radiation are at a minimum. It is an anachronism that the poles have warmed in winter rather than in summer.This points strongly to another warming mode that is capable of warming the air in the absence of solar radiation. The temperature at the surface is a function of surface pressure that determines whether it is warm air from the mid latitudes that makes its way into high latitudes or not.  That’s a matter of simple atmospheric dynamics, which way the air is moving and where its coming from. That depends on the ozone content in the upper portion of the atmospheric column.

The warming of the poles in winter, the cooling in the Arctic in the middle decades, the marked cooling in Antarctic summer and ‘The Hiatus’ all separately and together indicate that some other mode of climate variation is very much more influential than the anthropogenic mode.

Unless we know what that ‘other mode of climate variation’ is and can account for it properly, we make an error in logic if we suggest that an average temperature for the globe as a whole is a statistic of interest or that change in that average should be a matter of concern.

Today’s climate scientists do not know what is behind the changes in temperature that are most obvious…the supposed natural climate variation.

If perchance there is someone out there  who thinks differently can I ask them what they think the anthropogenic contribution has been?

Other questions spring to mind:

  1. Is the anthropogenic contribution just that part (or perhaps the whole) of the temperature increase in the month where the temperature increase  has been least?
  2. Any ideas as to why surface temperature declined in Antarctica between November and February?
  3. Any reason for the three decade  collapse in surface temperature in summer in the 30-60°north latitude band after 1948-56?
  4. Any ideas as to why we have this hiatus in the advance of the average global temperature since 1998?
  5. If the Arctic began to cool in winter and drove down the global temperature statistic at a time when habitable latitudes began to warm strongly would the global temperature statistic be an appropriate metric to assess the suitability of surface temperature to the needs of future generations of humanity?

When quite plainly there are powerful non anthropogenic forces that drive change  differently according to latitude and time of year, should we have any interest at all in  calculating a global temperature statistic?

Given that parts of the globe are  undesirably and dangerously cold and warming is desirable, why not exclude these parts from the metric employed to indicate undesirable warming?

Could it be that the entire temperature record might be explained in terms of a natural cycle involving changes in ozone, shifts of atmospheric mass between high and other latitudes and the associated change in cloud cover?


Ninety nine percent of the atmosphere lies within the ambit of a vigorous day’s walk, just 30 kilometres!

The atmosphere efficiently conveys heat to space via convection (transport) and radiation.  This is apparent in the 24 hour cycle of temperature as a point on the Earth’s surface alternately faces the sun and enters the night zone and the more so in inland locations where the daily range of temperature is accordingly much greater.We call this increase in the daily range of temperature the ‘continental’ effect.

In the northern hemisphere where there is a relative abundance of land the seasonal extremes are wider we have another example of the ‘continental effect’. The strong maximum in outgoing radiation in summer should promote summer warming if the atmosphere were subject to a ‘greenhouse effect’. But, consult the graph below and see that in the mid latitudes of the northern hemisphere we find that the temperature has increased mainly in spring and autumn. In high latitudes the increase in temperature has been in winter when outgoing radiation plunges to a  minimum.

Change in T in NH according to month of the year

Under an imaginary greenhouse regime the atmosphere becomes an impediment to heat transfer and we should see an increase in temperature in all seasons and in all locations just as the ocean limits the variation in temperature of proximate locations. But in fact we observe that the temperature increase that has occurred is variable according to the month of the year. This temperature increase does not tally with the mechanism that is proposed by the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change that was set up to examines man’s influence on the climate of the globe.

In cold conditions humans make sure that the air close to their skin is contained and unable to move. But, the Earth’s atmosphere is not confined in this way. Consequently it acts as a river for energy transfer from the surface to space. As a river it is perhaps the most vigorous on the planet. The ‘supposed greenhouse effect’ is no impediment to this process. Common sense dictates that a static atmosphere is required if the rate of loss of energy is to be curtailed and back radiation is to return energy to the surface via a so-called greenhouse effect. The atmosphere is anything but static. We insulate to stop the air moving. The atmosphere is air.

Plainly we must look to other modes of causation to explain the temperature increase that has been observed.


The following observations demonstrate the primacy of cloud that acts to reflect solar radiation, so determining surface temperature:

  1.   For the globe as a whole the sea is always warmer than the land and the global average for both the land and the sea is greatest in July.Global sea and air
  2.  A maximum in June/July is an anachronism. Earth is farthest from the Sun on July 4. The quotient of energy available from the sun (above cloud level) is 6% less in July than in January.

Why is the Earth warmest when it is most distant from the sun?

In northern summer the sun heats the abundant land masses and the land being opaque the surface quickly warms and with it the atmosphere.  The supply of water vapour to the atmosphere lags behind the increase in the water holding capacity of the air. There is less ocean in the northern hemisphere. In any case water is transparent and it stores energy to depth releasing it slowly. The upshot is that the heating of the atmosphere by the land rich northern hemisphere directly and dramatically reduces cloud cover.  The July maximum in global temperature is due to an increase in the diminished total of solar energy that is available in July. The amount made available at the surface is so much greater in mid year as to result in a temperature peak in mid year.

In northern autumn gathering cloud reflects more solar radiation and the globe therefore cools as its orbit takes it closer to the sun. That’s a pity because as I explained in the last post the globe as a whole is cooler than is desirable from a plant productivity point of view and all life ultimately depends on plants.


From:http://www.iac.es/adjuntos/cups/CUps2015-1.pdf we have direct measurements for Izana observatory in the Canary Islands of  the number of days where cloudiness (red and yellow) is recorded and conversely the number of days where the sky is sufficiently devoid of clouds to achieve a clear sky rating (green).  The attenuation of cloud cover in northern summer is evident.
Cloud cover Teide Observatory, Spain


From http://www.ccfg.org.uk/conferences/downloads/P_Burgess.pdf we have direct measurements of solar radiation at the surface.

Radiation as a function of time of year and cloud cover in Bedordshire

At this site in the UK cloud is responsible for the attenuation of solar radiation by a minimum of 26%  and a maximum of 90%.


Surface temperature is directly modulated by cloud cover as demonstrated in the following satellite photograph.Temp varies with cloud cover



It should be abundantly clear that it is the mediation of energy input by clouds that is the most influential determinant of surface temperature. Zones that experience high surface pressure are relatively cloud free. The essence of change in the ‘annular modes’ lies in a shift of mass from high latitudes due to ozone heating that drives down surface pressure. High southern latitudes have lost atmospheric mass for seventy years on the run. Lost mass has been distributed across the globe adding to surface pressure in those parts of the globe where increased surface pressure  is allied with relatively cloud free skies. In chapter 3 we observed that the globe warms when geopotential height increases. Geopotential height increases when surface pressure increases as the core of a high pressure cells entrains ozone from the stratosphere.


Cloud comes in all shapes, types, sizes altitudes and density and is notoriously difficult to measure.

At http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~sgw/PAPERS/2007_Land_Cloud_JClim.pdf  we have a paper documenting change in cloud cover and establishing correlations between cloud cover over Europe and the North Atlantic Oscillation, a local manifestation of the the northern annular mode.

Survey of cloud cover change


Note that in the mid latitudes in winter, cloudiness is associated with incursions of warm, moist air from the tropics promoting a positive correlation between the presence of clouds and surface temperature. The band of cloudiness formed by frontal activity occurs in the interaction zone between cold dry air of polar origin and warm air of tropical origin. People  might observe that ‘its too cold to rain’ when the air is coming from high latitudes. Alternatively they might say, they can ‘smell’ the rain coming when the air is humid and it comes from lower latitudes. Or they might say, ‘the temperature will increase when it starts to rain’.

To suggest that the positive correlation between cloud cover and temperature in winter is due to back radiation from clouds or that there is a positive causal relationship between the presence of cloud and surface temperature due to back radiation involves an error in logic. Its warmer in winter when there is cloud about  because the cloud arrives with a warmer, moister body of air that originates in tropical latitudes.  Cloud does not cause warming in winter and an opposite effect in summer. Cloud always involves an attenuation of solar radiation.


There should be no confusion as to the effect of cloud on surface temperature. To suggest that the climate is warming due to back radiation indicates a lack of appreciation of the reality of the way in which the atmosphere mediates the flow of solar energy to the surface of the planet and a lack of appreciation of the manner in which the atmosphere actively cools the surface.

To suggest that back radiation is causing warming without first ascertaining that cloud cover has not fallen away indicates an appalling lack of common sense and responsibility.  This brand of ‘science’ is unworthy of the name.

Many sceptics of the AGW argument wrestle with the notion that there is some sense in the idea of ‘back radiation’ from clouds and a CO2 rich atmosphere and try and assess whether the ‘feedbacks’ built into IPCC climate models are an exaggeration of reality. Most unfortunately this belief in cloud radiation feedback and the primacy of a ‘back radiation effect’ has given the ‘anthropogenic’ argument legitimacy.

Back radiation is no defence against a wind chill effect! You wear clothes to combat conduction and convection. To think otherwise is to be muddle headed.

The manner in which the Earth warms and cools indicates that there is another mechanism at work. This other mechanism has primacy and a study of the manner in which the globe has warmed and cooled suggests that it is also a sufficient explanation of the change that has occurred. It is a two way process, capable of warming and cooling as we observe on an inter-annual basis. The mechanism that is responsible for inter-annual variations is also responsible for the decadal and longer trends. When you understand the mechanism you will see that cooling has already begun and more cooling is the immediate prospect.

If you can not explain the inter-annual variations you fail climate 101. UNIPPC, you fail climate 101.