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.





The notion that the climate of the Earth is independent of external influences is a basic tenet of ‘climate science’ as promulgated by the UNIPCC. It is maintained that the only way in which the sun could influence surface temperature is via a variation in TSI  (total solar irradiance). Since TSI is invariable it is held that the sun can not be responsible for any variation in surface temperature. In consequence it is maintained that the flux in surface temperature is internally generated and  that surface temperature will increase  as a function of back radiation from so called ‘greenhouse gases’, the chief of which is carbon dioxide.

But the assumption that change is internally generated is unwarranted. The most cursory examination  of the climate record reveals that the Earth has natural modes of climate variation capable of increasing and decreasing surface temperature and to do so at different rates at different latitudes and also between the hemispheres.  In this post I will demonstrate that the Earth’s climate system is an open system, that responds to external influences so as to increase and decrease surface temperature. Furthermore, I will demonstrate that this is the only mode of climate variation that is in operation.

The Annular mode concept is described here.

The UNIPCC has a discussion of the Northern and Southern Annular modes here. Climate models are incapable of simulating these natural modes of change. Nor will models be able to simulate the change until the underlying mechanics are understood. Currently, the discussion is about ‘troposphere-stratosphere coupling processes’ jargon for the manner in which  change that originates in the stratosphere ‘propagates to the troposphere’. The argument as to whether change begins in the troposphere or the stratosphere is ongoing.

If we investigate the, by now  very well documented, ‘Northern and Southern Annular Modes’ of natural climate change we observe:

  1. At all points on the Earths surface temperature is most variable in winter being driven by Arctic processes that are most influential in January and February and Antarctic processes that are most influential in June and July.
  2. An interchange of atmospheric mass occurs in winter between high latitudes and the rest of the globe. This changes the balance in the pressure relationships that determine the strength and direction of the planetary winds. In consequence there is change in the equator to pole temperature gradient. In general, because surface pressure is lowest in the region of the circumpolar trough that surrounds the Antarctic continent air flows from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere and from equatorial regions towards  Antarctica producing warmer or cooler temperatures at each point along the route according to the origin and strength of the flow of air that emanates from warm or cold places.The natural state of the climate system involves a transition between these warm and cold regimes.
  3. As atmospheric mass shifts from high to mid and low latitudes surface pressure increases in the latter and it is observed that surface temperature increases in proportion to  surface pressure, geopotential height at 500 hPa and the temperature of the air above 500 hPa. Plainly, the surface temperature response is due to change in cloud cover. However, this point is not be made in the literature due to ideological fixation on the notion that surface temperature must be a product of downward radiation from radiating gases. So, the relationship between geopotential height and surface temperature may be acknowledged  but is never explained.
  4. The agent of shifts in atmospheric mass is the relative intensity of polar cyclones that collectively constitute the Antarctic Circumpolar Trough. The vorticity of these cyclones is driven by contrast in air density between 300 hPa and 50 hPa where the stratosphere overlaps with the troposphere and marked conjunctional disparities in tropopause height can be observed. This is where warm ozone rich air from the mid latitudes meets cold, ozone deficient air that occupies the the polar cap in winter. Here, the ozone content of the air is a strong driver of air density. It is observed that air masses characterised by low surface pressure are rich in ozone aloft while air masses that exhibit high surface pressure are relatively deficient in ozone aloft emanating from either the tropics or the Antarctic continent. All air streams meet at the Antarctic circumpolar trough and the contrast in the nature of these air streams is greatest in winter.
  5. It is observed that the ozone content of the air in high latitudes increases strongly in winter, providing the energy, via the absorption of long wave radiation from the Earth itself to drive convectional uplift to the limits of the atmosphere where ozone accumulates in localised ‘hot spots’ like the north Pacific or the western Pacific in the region of New Zealand.
  6. The exchange of atmospheric mass that occurs between the high altitudes of the southern hemisphere and the rest of the globe has a fulcrum approximately  at 45° -50° south latitude. That fulcrum moves marginally towards the equator when polar surface pressure is reduced and pole-wards when polar surface pressure increases.
Figure 1 Anomalies in surface atmospheric pressure with respect to the whole of period average. Reanalysis data Kalnay et al sourced here

Figure 1 documents the reciprocal relationship in atmospheric surface pressure either side of the 50° south parallel.   Enhanced  polar cyclone activity  lowers surface pressure south of 50° of latitude  and antithetically, relaxation of polar cyclone activity allows atmospheric mass to return to high southern latitudes.

The ozone content of mid to high latitude air is enhanced in winter. Logically the enhancement is not a product of reduced ionisation pressure due to low sun angle because enhancement is uneven and episodic in nature. The early months of the year when atmospheric mass tends to be drawn to the Arctic, depleting Antarctic surface pressure, is a period when the ozone content of the air on the equatorial side of the Antarctic circumpolar trough is seasonally low. On the other hand, the mid winter months are periods where surface pressure in the high latitudes of the southern hemisphere is high. It is in these mid and late winter months, when polar surface pressure is enhanced, that the ozone content of the air varies most dramatically, and with it polar cyclone activity. It is in these months, where the norm is high surface pressure, that the opportunity for  wholesale shifts in atmospheric mass is at its greatest.

It is uncontroversial that the ozone content of the stratosphere depends upon the the ionisation of the oxygen molecule by short wave radiation from the sun. Where this actually occurs and how the ozone content of the air gets to be most elevated at the time and in the locations where short wave radiation is seasonably unavailable should be a matter of  great scientific interest. It will no doubt become so when those who study climate open their minds to the possibility to external regulation of the climate system….an open rather than a closed system. Would it not be astoundingly remarkable if the  earth system were to be entirely free and independent of external influences? All our experience on Earth is that interdependence and adaptation are pervasive features of natural systems. Why should the Earth be free of influences emanating from its inter-terrestrial environment?

In high latitudes, cosmic rays, emanating not from the sun but from intergalactic space ionise the atmosphere. The neutron monitor that measures the incidence of these rays at the south Poles is pictured below.


"Neutron monitors of the Bartol Research Institute are supported by the National 
		Science Foundation."

Neutron data from the Bartol Research institute can be accessed here

The daily Antarctic Oscillation Index (AAO) can be accessed here

Figure 2

To interpret figure 2 one  mus be cognisant of the fact that the AAO index  can be taken to represent the reciprocal of high latitude surface pressure. When the AAO index rises it indicates a decline in surface pressure south of the 50° parallel of latitude.

Figure 2 indicates that as the neutron count increases surface pressure falls away in high southern latitudes. The surface pressure response appears to lag the neutron count by about a week. It is inferred that ionisation by cosmic rays enables the production of ozone  that in turn absorbs long wave radiation from the Earth, enhancing differences in the density of the air and driving polar cyclone activity that is responsible for shifts in atmospheric mass.

It is thought that the intensity of cosmic rays outside the Earth environment is relatively invariable. Within the environment of the Earth and its atmosphere the neutron count, a product of cosmic ray activity, is a function of solar activity. In this reversed out fashion the sun indirectly regulates the ozone content of the atmosphere in high latitudes, the distribution  of atmospheric mass and surface temperature. This is, in all likelihood, just one of a many ways that the sun influences the atmosphere of the Earth and surface temperature. The gravitational effect of the moon is a prime candidate so far as the modulation in the flux of atmospheric mass is concerned. The ionising effect of short wave radiation inflates the atmosphere and will condition its response to electromagnetic influences. It should be born in mind that the atmosphere super-rotates with respect to the rotation of the Earth itself and its rate of rotation very likely responds to the electromagnetic environment that is more powerful with elevation, and more so over the poles than at the equator.

Fig 3 Source here

Figure 3 indicates that 2015  represents a recent low point in the incidence of cosmic rays as sunspot activity peaks in solar cycle 24. Neutron counts have increased strongly at Thule during 2016.  Southern winter has seen a further steep fall in surface pressure in high southern latitudes as documented in figure 4.

Figure 4. Anomalies in sea level pressure with respect to the whole of period average since 1948 according to the Kalnay et al reanalysis. . Data source here.

Figure 4 indicates that in general sea level pressure varies in a reciprocal fashion either side of the 50° latitude band in the southern hemisphere while surface pressure at 40-50° south is relatively constant.


Surface temperature on Earth is a product of the planets dependence on the intergalactic environment in which it exists. Important aspects of that environment include emanations from the sun and also from beyond the solar system.

There is good reason to believe that the modes of natural climate change described here can account for the entire spectrum of climate change since 1848. Witness the fact that there has been no increase in surface temperature in the month of December since  1948-56 as documented in figure 5 below. If surface temperature were responding to the increased presence of CO2 one would expect to see a background level of warming in every month. Plainly this is not the case. Plainly, warming and cooling is regulated according to change that originates in high southern latitudes in winter.

Figure 5. Anomalies in sea surface temperature in the southern hemisphere from decade to decade. The anomaly is with respect to the divergence from the whole of period average  between 1948 and 2016. Data from Kalnay’s reanalysis here








Hemisphere surface temp
Fig. 1 Evolution of temperature at 1000 hPa in the Northern and Southern hemispheres of the Earth. DATA SOURCE:

According to Mark Twain, when it comes to numbers there are Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics.

Any form of manipulation to achieve simplification involves suppression of information.If one is to draw intelligent conclusions it is better to have all the original data. The less averaging the better.

Even the act of aggregating for a whole hemisphere, as is done in figure 1, is questionable. A sphere exhibits very different characteristics across its surface and so does  a half sphere. But, looked at in this way, its better to look at the two hemispheres seperately rather than together. The act of dividing the globe in half at the equator is a reasonable thing to do because the two are very different and we can learn in the process.

In figure 1  we have monthly data.  The peak in the cycle is the warmest month and the trough is the coolest month.Between the two are all the other months.

The two hemispheres are about as different as two planets. Temperature in the southern hemisphere (red line) exhibits a smaller annual range. Winter is marginally warmer than in the northern hemisphere. Summer is a lot cooler. In the Southern Hemisphere temperature is moderated by the extensive oceans.

In the Northern Hemisphere temperature is driven up due to the extensive areas of land. This  affects high more than low latitudes. The warming of the mid and high latitudes of the northern hemisphere in summer is due to atmospheric heating and loss of cloud cover. More solar radiation gets through the clouds to warm the surface. Paradoxically the Earth is furthest from the sun in July and accordingly solar radiation is 6% weaker by comparison with January. Straight away we see that atmospheric heating and cloud cover is the dominant influence on surface temperature while the degree of variation in surface very much depends on the ratio of sea to land. Who would have thought that? We have been told that it is the ‘greenhouse effect’ that makes surface temperatures what they are. In fact surface temperature depends on whether the Earths natural sunshade is in place or not and just how far a location is from the moderating influence of the sea. There is always less cloud over land than over the sea and particularly in those places where little rain falls.

In fact the ratio of land to water determines the extent of atmospheric warming and cloud cover on all time scales from daily through to annual. This is the strongest influence on surface temperature. Its due to the fact that the temperature of the air changes quickly and to a much greater extent than the amount of water vapour in the air that is required to form cloud. Water vapour content tends to be reduced by cold overnight temperatures giving us dew and cloud in the mornings and relatively clear sky at midday. The closer to the surface of the Earth, the more moisture can enter the atmosphere via evaporation from open water and plant transpiration. The more elevated the location, the colder is the air and , the lower is its moisture content. The higher the elevation, the less  the air is affected by warming and cooling at the surface. The higher the elevation the more the temperature of the air is determined by its ozone content.

When the ozone content of air increases and it warms via the interception of long wave radiation from the Earth, the response is measured as increased geopotential height. Surface temperature rises in proportion to geopotential height. That is due to the cloud cover response. Surface pressure, geopotential height and surface temperature all rise and fall together.This is the natural climate change dynamic driven by change in cloud cover.

Enough of these ramblings. Back to figure 1. The dotted lines in figure 1 are strictly horizontal. They have no slope. These lines assist the eye to  detect variations. There is a relatively small variability in temperature in the southern hemisphere in summer (upper limit of red series) over the last 69 years and no obvious trend. On this basis one can rule out carbon dioxide as a driver of surface temperature because the gas is well mixed. If there is a back radiation effect it needs to show its face here. Palpably it doesn’t. If the back radiation effect depends at all on enhancement by humid air and the presence of cloud we should see a continuous increase in the temperature of the air in the southern hemisphere from November through to March because this is the time of the year when cloud cover peaks. But, we see that there is no change in surface temperature in the warmest month of the year. However, we do see a gradual increase in coolest month temperature in the southern hemisphere from about 1970. This is the warming that needs to be explained.

Now, lets look at the northern hemisphere. Coolest month temperatures rise and fall over quite short time intervals. The 1970’s are the coolest decade in the northern hemisphere in terms of both the warmest summer month and the coolest winter month.   Northern Hemisphere temperature increased after 1998 in both coolest and warmest month and this too needs to be explained.


The raw data doesn’t inform us as to whether the climate cooled or warmed in spring or autumn. Does that matter?  Come to think of it, if the global average rises due to an increase in temperature in the winter months is that really a problem. Would we not actually prefer warmer winters? Can we make rational decisions on the basis of a global average? Not really! Under a regime of dramatically increased summer temperatures with thousands dying of heat stroke and and dramatically reduced winter temperatures with thousands freezing to death, the average may be unchanged. We may think the planet is warming if we see a rising global average. But that could simply represent some warming in the coldest, abominably cold month so that month is slightly less abominably cold. Quoting the global average is the sort of thing that Mark Twain was complaining about.

Having dispensed with the CO2 furphy and the global average furphy we can now concentrate our on why the temperature changes as it does!


What stands out most in figure 1 is the warming that occurs in the southern hemisphere in winter (red line) starting in the 197o’s.

Given that the temperature of the air is a chilly 11°C in mid winter, this warming, and even more so, the warming of the northern hemisphere in winter, is unequivocally beneficial. This is a matter for congratulation rather than concern. We live in fortunate times. But it would be nice to know why this is happening because winter warming inflates the average for the globe as the whole and gives rise to a lot of hysterical  nonsense that is swallowed by an uncritical media that take the point of view that the science of climate is a matter for ‘scientists’ and the average global temperature  is Gods Word. These people have no idea what Mark Twain was talking about.

Politicians don’t read science. They read the daily papers. We get the blind leading the blind and a cabal of irresponsible scare mongers beating the drum and clashing the cymbals while snapping at the politicians heels demanding ‘clean energy’ and an end to ‘carbon pollution’. This is the modern ‘left’ in action. Its the Democratic Party in the US, the moneyed elite in the UK and an unholy alliance of Labour, The Greens and the soft underbelly of the Liberals in Australia. Even the Chinese, who in many ways are very practical people, seem to have fallen in love with this idea. If you muzzle the press, put the intellectuals in prison and rule with an iron fist you can do whatever you bloody well like. Can we pretend that what is happening in the West is somehow preferable? Can we point to a more rational and beneficial result from our ‘democratic process’? Cast not the first stone.


The warming of the northern hemisphere in both winter and summer starts in about 1998. Bear in mind that the warming in southern winter occurs at a time when global cloud cover plummets as the large land surfaces of the northern hemisphere heat the atmosphere. Is that warming  due to an increasing ozone content of the air and a consequent decline in cloud cover?

Figure 2 confirms a step up in temperature at the 10 hPa pressure level after 1976. This is predominantly a southern hemisphere phenomenon.  The step up occurs in winter.The consequent much enhanced feed of ozone into the  high pressure zones of descending air over the global oceans would reduce cloud cover. Under normal circumstances 90% of global cloud cover is to be found over the oceans and this is where high pressure cells form, especially in summer. When ozone rich air descends in a high pressure cell, the air warms (geopotential height increases) and this is always, without exception, associated with warming at the surface.So, the warming is due to loss of cloud cover.

Raw 10 hPa T poles
Fig. 2.  10 hPa temperature near the poles

Now, I want you to sanction something quite unorthodox and shocking.

In figure 2 the hand drawn line that links the high points in the summer maximum in the northern hemisphere is copied and applied to the northern minimum and to both the minimum and the maximum in the southern hemisphere. This unsophisticated ‘sleight of hand’ is performed as a ‘seeing aid’ to discern the points of difference. I guess I am just a frustrated artist and the mathematical exactitude of Excel is humanised by this process.I was once told by a plant breeder that if you cannot see the difference in plant performance by eye that difference is not worth measuring. It’s somehow comforting to realise that we don’t always need mathematical manipulations in order to get to the nub of the question.

Some points to note:

  1. Winter minimums are more variable than summer maximums and particularly so in the northern hemisphere.
  2. Whole of period change at 10 hPa  is greatest in the Antarctic. Those who make a close study of the matter have worked out that this is where natural climate change begins. Here is the documentation: Antarctica is the source of natural climate change.
  3. At the surface, the widest range in temperature between summer and winter is seen in the northern hemisphere but that is not the case at 10 hPa.  It is the southern hemisphere that exhibits the big variations.

Now in the last point we have an anachronism and a clue.  See Figure 3.

The wide range in temperature at 10 hPa in the southern hemisphere is due to the variable intake of mesospheric air over Antarctica in winter. This intake of cold air cools the upper stratosphere. It does not affect the temperature of the air at elevations below 300 hPa. The deepest cooling occurs at the 30 hPa pressure level in July.  Why is it so?

In winter surface pressure in the Antarctic region reaches a resounding planetary high. Nowhere else, anywhere on the globe, in any season of the year does surface pressure approach that achieved over Antarctica in winter. Air from the mesosphere has a low ozone content and it dilutes the ozone content of the atmosphere generally.The enhanced flow of mesospheric air into the southern hemisphere causes a generalised deficit in the ozone content of the air in the entire southern hemisphere. Alternatively, when the flow is choked off (surface pressure rises) there is an increase in the temperature of the air and its ozone content.

It is easy to see how the ozone content of the air can change over time via an alteration in the mesospheric flow.

Polar column temperatures


See figure 4 below. The short term variability that is seen in Arctic is much enhanced after February. It is initiated  by a fall in polar surface pressure signalled by a rise in the Arctic Oscillation Index (the two are inversely related). This increase in 10 hPa temperature  is likely reinforced in amplitude and duration by an increase in ozone partial pressure due to enhanced penetration of ionising cosmic rays as the stratosphere warms. The build up in the temperature over the polar cap is avalanche like in its suddenness. It represents the displacement of cold mesospheric air. The heating effect,  observed to last for weeks at a time, requires amplification to persist in this way. Otherwise it would be gone in ten days. Without amplification the descent of mesospheric air should re-establish in short order . Patently it does not.

T strat and AO 10hPa

Figure 4. Mean temperature at 10 hPa compared with the Arctic Oscillation Index.

In Fig. 2 we observe little difference between the hemispheres in the evolution of 10 hPa temperature in summer. There is a slight step up in 1976. And, the step up in summer is greater in the south than the north.The change in the ozone content of the atmosphere is global, affecting the entire year  and it is related to a fundamental change in the atmospheric circumstances over Antarctica, most pronounced in the winter season.

The ozone content of the air is rapidly propagated across the globe as we will see in figures 6 and 7 below. This testifies to the strength of horizontal winds in the stratosphere and most particularly in the area of overlap where stratosphere and troposphere occupy common ground.

So, the standout anomaly in figure 2 is the step change in 10 hPa temperature in southern winter after 1976. This step change in 10 hPa temperature is reflected  in surface pressure data in figure 5 below.

In fact this step change in 1976 is  reflected surface temperature data at every latitude across the entire globe as documented here.

SLP 75-90S


As Gordon Dobson discovered in the 1920’s surface pressure  is a reflection of the ozone content of the air and vice versa. The fall in surface pressure at 75-90° south latitude documented in figure 5 is a direct consequence of the increase of the ozone content of the air. It is the ozone content of the air that affects its density, the weight of the entire column and hence surface pressure.

Wind strength in the atmosphere is intimately connected with the ozone content of the air. The air is relatively still near the surface of the planet and also at the highest elevations. Wind velocity is most enhanced in the overlap between the stratosphere and the troposphere between 300 hPa and 50 hPa where abrupt change in the height of the tropopause is associated with jet streams.

The 10 hPa level is virtually the top of the atmosphere because 99% of atmospheric mass is below that pressure level. The rapidly ascending circulation at the pole elevates ozone producing the greatest temperature response at the highest elevations as is evident in Fig 6. The strong temperature response at 10 hPa is due to convection of ozone rich air that increases ozone partial pressure at the highest elevations. That ozone mixes across the profile and affects the ozone content of the air in descending circulations in mid and low latitudes.

The pressure gradient (density differential) across the vortex in the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere where polar cyclones are initiated determines the strength of convection.  The density differential is increased seasonally as the ozone hole is established below 50 hPa when NOx rich air from the upper troposphere is drawn into the circulation over the polar cap during the final warming of the stratosphere.

The incidence of very much higher temperature at the 10 hPa pressure level after 1978 represents a step change in the fundamental parameters of the climate system.  There is not one climate system here but many, as many as there are days in the year. Changing the ozone content of the air in high latitudes alters surface pressure differentials and therefore it changes the planetary winds.

Fig. 6


In figure 7 below we chart the evolution of 10 hPa temperature  in selected months from the mid latitudes to the southern pole.

10 hPa T SH
Figure 7 The evolution of air temperature at the 10 hPa pressure level in high latitudes

10 hPa temperature over the pole is greater at 80-90° latitude than at lower latitudes in summer. This is when mesospheric air is excluded and ozone rich air gently ascends to the top of the atmosphere. This phenomenon occurs over Antarctica between October and February.

10 hPa temperature over the southern pole is inferior to that at lower latitudes when mesospheric air is drawn into the circulation between March and October.

After 1978 we see a change in the temperature profile in all months. This is particularly so from June through to November. The transition month for the final warming prior to 1978 was November. After 1978  the transition occurs  in October. Taken all-together this data indicates  a fundamental change in atmospheric dynamics that inevitably produces an increase in surface pressure, geopotential height and surface temperature in mid and low latitudes.

This is the source of the warming in southern winter. It has nothing to do with the works of man.

The change in the temperature of the air at the 10 hPa pressure surface in the Arctic is a product of the combined influence of atmospheric dynamics at both poles. The Arctic is  independently influential.  Its calling card is extreme temperature variability in January and February. This can be seen in Figure 1 in the surface temperature in the coolest months.

Climate change is a matter of observation and common sense. There is not much of it about. When it comes to numbers there are Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics. Undoubtedly the leading offender is the global average of surface temperature as disseminated by GISS, The NOAA  and the Hadley Centre, all dedicated to the dissemination of information in support of the nefarious activities of Global Green and the UNIPCC.



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

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


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

Here is the  introduction to the work:

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

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

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

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

Dist of ozone
Fig 1

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Average and STd Devn of TC ozone
Fig 9

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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


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


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

11 Mar 2016 50

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

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

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

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

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


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





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

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

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

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

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

ENSO 3.4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SST and Surface pressure 1
Fig. 4

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

Fig. 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Coffs long
Fig 11 Coffs Harbour 20 years minimum daily temperature

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

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

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



Fig. 1 Sea surface atmospheric pressure in January Source here

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

January pressure
Fig 2

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

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

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


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

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

AO and AAO
Fig 5 Source of data here.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

the ozone hole
Fig 8 Source of data here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fig 10 Source of data here

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

NOAA statement

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

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

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

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

Fig 11 Source of data here


SLP Antarctica
Fi 12 source of pressure data here

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


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

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

Polar SLP
Fig 13


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

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

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

SLP varn Antarctica
Fig 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fig. 15


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


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

Links to chapters 1-38

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


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

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

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

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

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

Change can be two way, both warming and cooling.

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



It is an article of faith in climate science that the temperature of the stratosphere is due to the impact of short wave radiation. This is incorrect. In fact the temperature of the stratosphere is due to the interception of long wave radiation from the Earth by ozone. It is another article of faith that the circulation of the air is driven from the tropics. This is also incorrect.

The temperature of the atmosphere  reflects many forces at work but the most important of these so far as the circulation of the air is concerned is ozone. The ozonosphere can be considered to extend from the surface of the planet through to the mesopause. The shape of the ozonosphere is a product of  a number of forces:

  • The interaction of short wave solar radiation with the atmosphere that supplies oxygen in atomic form to combine with O2 to form O3.  This occurs in the mesosphere down to about 60 km in elevation and also it seems at the poles where cosmic rays ionise the atmosphere allowing the formation of ozone.
  • The tropical atmosphere below about 40  kilometres in elevation exhibits an increase in its ozone content in daylight hours and may be considered a relatively safe zone where ozone can accumulate in trace amounts.
  • Relief from the pressure of ionisation at low sun angles. Ozone is  ionised by  UVB and shorter  wave lengths that are used up in the process. Because the atmospheric path is long very little ultraviolet B reaches the polar regions to destroy ozone and none at all during the period of the polar night.
  • The lower profile of the stratosphere is sculpted by the erosive activity of NOx  that is influential in establishing the height of the tropopause and in the process determines the elevation where the maximum in ozone partial pressure occurs.
  • At the poles the intake of mesospheric air varies on all time scales and regulates ozone partial pressure accordingly.

The ozone content of the air and the height of the troposphere so established are influential in determining surface pressure and therefore the flow of the air, in fact the location and intensity of the planetary winds that regulate the equator to pole temperature gradient and the extent and location of cloud cover that limits the incidence of solar radiation at the surface.

To examine the profile of the stratosphere at all latitudes would be a worthy but onerous task that I will leave to others.  But it is instructive to study the temperature of the atmosphere in a  particular latitude band to try and discern the forces at work because they are different according to hemisphere and latitude. I look in particular at the temperature of the air in the latitude band 30-40° south at selected levels  starting  at the planets skin, then 2 metres above the surface, at 700 hPa,  at 500 hPa where half the atmosphere is below and half  above, 300 hPa where something quite strange begins to happen,  at 200 hPa and 100 hPa  where paradoxically the air is warmer in winter than in summer. Then we look at the temperature of the air at 30 Mb and at 10 Mb therefore spanning 99% of the depth of the atmosphere. This site is the starting point:  http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/time_plot/


SST map

The map above shows the latitude band under investigation. It is mostly sea.

The hovmoller diagram below shows the average temperature at the surface across the 30-40° south latitude band as it evolves  in the interval of the single year 2014. There is nothing special about this year. Any year would do.


The skin temperature exhibits a pattern of summer warming influenced by the location of the land masses of South Africa, Australia-New Zealand and South America. There is marked warming of the Pacific Ocean from November through to June. There are southward moving warm currents on the west of the ocean basins and up welling of cold waters on the east of the basins particularly to the west of South America. Also seen is the remarkably episodic pattern in the cooling of the Australian continent in winter that relates to an intermittent flow of cold air that traverses the continent from north west to south east. The Pacific maintains a zone of relative warmth to the east of the Australian continent perhaps by virtue of the relative width of the ocean and the strength of the southerly trending circulation of warm waters from the tropics.The land masses warm strongly in summer.Notice the strong cooling of the Indian Ocean to the west of Australia in winter-spring that tends to promote the formation of a sticky zone of high atmospheric pressure. In contrast the warmth of the Pacific in the vicinity of New Zealand creates s sticky zone of low surface pressure.

Air 2m

The proposition advanced in climate science is that the temperature of the air predominantly reflects the temperature of the skin. Above we see that even at 2 metres of elevation this is not the case. Already  warming and cooling is intermittent within a season by comparison with skin temperature. The scale necessary to span the variation in the temperature of the skin spans 48°C. The scale required at 2 metres is only 4o° C. The land masses cool the air in winter while air over the sea remains warmer. Texture in the temperature data is produced  by moving air bodies that originate in the north west (called the westerlies) that locate towards the south east at a later date reflecting the fact that the atmosphere rotates faster than the Earth itself and propagates towards the south east carrying tropical warmth to higher latitudes but in an intermittent fashion.The warm air is also wet and arrives with cloud. The presence of cloud can be erroneously considered to be the source of the warmth via back radiation whereas the air is actually warm because of its origin. In fact any particular location on the Earths surface will be warm or cool according to the origin of the air. If the air changes in either its speed or direction this alters the equator to pole temperature gradient. 

The ultimate  fate of the air in these latitudes is to be drawn into a low pressure cyclone located at 50-70° south latitude. We see that the pattern made by the north westerlies is more defined in winter and spring than in summer and autumn. Autumn is a pleasant time of the year in some of the windiest latitudes on the planet. By latitude as we move southwards from the thirties we have the Roaring Forties, the Furious Fifties and the Screaming Sixties. In winter the Thirties assume some of the character of the Forties.

Warmer air manifests in shorter strings with less persistence probably because it is rising and leaving the cold air at the surface in long remnant streamers. Cold air, locally chilled as it travels over cold water pools into the valleys of Andes mountains in winter.  There is a clearer definition of summer and winter in the temperature at 2 metres than in skin temperature.  We see that the atmosphere heavily influences near surface air temperature regardless of the status of skin temperature. Temperature is not simply a function of the angle of the sun. Cloud cover plays a part in determining local air temperature. Not shown is precipitation rates and relative humidity that exhibit the same north west to south east streaming. The Pacific sector to the East of 150° east longitude is wetter than the Indian ocean sector. The temperature pattern indicates a slowing or a blocking of the the atmospheric flow in the Western Pacific when compared to the other oceans. We have blobs rather than streaks and reduced contrast.


At 700 Mb (above) there is a a thicker, broader structure in the pattern of temperature variability in summer and thinner more linear elements in winter. This indicates a faster air flow in winter. In summer and autumn the air is relatively still. There is more seasonal definition at 700 mb than at 2 metre elevation emphasising that the movement of the atmosphere is influential in  creating seasonal contrasts. It is the movement of the atmosphere that defines the equator to pole temperature gradient. If the wind blows alternately from a warm place and then a cold place we call it an oscillation, such as the Arctic Oscillation or the Antarctic Oscillation.

There is a much stronger graininess  in temperature at 700 Mb than at the surface emphasising the dependence of surface conditions on the state of the atmosphere as it varies on short time scales. The degree of graininess is different according to longitude with the appearance of persistent linear elements in winter that propagate south eastwards more strongly in some parts than others.


At  500 Mb (above) there is a similar pattern to that at 700 Mb but the winter season is shorter.  In the vicinity of Africa the air is warmer  across the year . This likely represents a consistent flow of warm tropical air southwards in that vicinity.


At 300 Mb there appears to be a marked extension of the winter season and reduced contrast between the seasons.


At 200 Mb (above) we see that the months June to October are  warmer than the summer months.  In particular this is the case between longitudes 60° East and 120° West. This relates to the pattern of the increase in atmospheric ozone in winter. We have entered a realm in the upper troposphere where the temperature of the air is markedly influenced by the presence of ozone. There  can be no active photolysis of  any atmospheric gas at the 200 mb to  drive the warming of the air. Rather, heating is due to  energy gain from infrared radiation that is emanating from the Earth itself. The ozone molecule absorbs at 9-10 um. This is a phenomenon unrecognised and unremarked in climate science even though ozone is recognised as a ‘greenhouse gas? The 200 mb pressure level is the altitude where jet streams manifest. Each small yellow-orange streak in the diagram above represents a stream of ozone warmed air that is rapidly ascending. There is a strong linearity and persistence in the patterns in this diagram. The pattern is quite different to that  seen at lower altitudes. The difference  relates to the marked change in density differentials between different air masses. Notice the concentration of warming  between longitudes 120-180°  East. due to the tendency of ozone to accumulate in low pressure cells in the southern ocean to the south of Australia and New Zealand. This is  verified in the diagrams below that represent ozone at 1 hPa on the 16th day of the month, each diagram a month apart.

polar 1hPa

Above we have a polar stereographic view of Antarctica at the 1 hPa pressure level. These diagrams show the manner of the descent of ozone deficient mesospheric air over the pole and also the episodic tendency for ozone to accumulate over the Southern Ocean south of Australia and New Zealand at longitude 120 to 180° east of the Greenwich meridian. This tendency is reflected in the hovmoller diagrams both above and below. The heating process due to the increase in ozone partial pressure in winter  delivers an even stronger contrast at the 100 Mb pressure level. In fact the 100 Mb pressure level is where the movement of the bulk of the atmosphere is determined. The temperature of the air and its movement has little to do with surface conditions and a lot to do with the ozone content of the atmosphere that increases strongly in winter.


The diagram above shows air temperature at 100 mb. Winter is warmer than summer at 100 hPa due to ozone heating of the air. The air is warmest in the Australia New Zealand sector due to the tendency for ozone to proliferate over the warm waters of the western Pacific Ocean that tend to promote the formation of zones of low surface pressure.

100 polar

Above we see the distribution of ozone at 100 hPa over the southern hemisphere in winter. At this elevation the atmosphere shows the texture that would might expect at the interface of two different fluids moving at a slightly different rate but in the same anticlockwise direction. Tracers of ozone rich air emanate from nodes rich in ozone and are left behind in air that moves less rapidly. The nodes of ozone rich air tend to form in the lee of the continents where the waters are warmer and in particular in the Australian, New Zealand western Pacific sector.

The anticlockwise circulation of the air moves faster than the Earth itself and faster in the polar regions than at the equator. This gives rise to some very interesting questions: Is the force that causes the Earth to rotate on its axis also responsible for the faster rotating atmosphere, a disengaged fluid element that is free to reflect the forces of the interplanetary environment acting on the atmosphere? Are these forces responsible for the minute variations that are observed in the Length of the Day that are seen to be related to changes in climate as we measure it at the surface of the Earth? Is this rotation of the Earth and its atmosphere driven by the same sort of force that drives an electric motor.  Does the atmosphere simply exhibit an amplified variation of the length of day type that could be  measured in terms of the speed and direction of the high altitude winds. Does the rotation of the air speed up and slow down as the electromagnetic field changes under the influence of the sun and the solar wind?

Notice the generalised depletion of ozone that starts in August. This is due to the activity of NOx reaching the pole as surface pressure rises, the flow of mesospheric air is cut off and the final warming begins. In springtime as atmospheric pressure falls over Antarctica the stratosphere over the pole warms, the circulation of the air slows and by December it actually reverses its rotation at the 10 Mb level.

In particular we should be interested in whether the zonal wind slows as the stratosphere heats, not only on the annual scale, but also on the synoptic scale of days and weeks. If it does, perhaps the atmosphere is responding to the electromagnetic environment of which it is part.


At 50 hPa (above) the pattern of ozone accumulation in the Australian New Zealand sector is more clearly defined. The pattern is less episodic, more linear and  persistent. In fact the movement of the air even at 30° -40° south begins to reflect the linearity and the stop-go nature of the high altitude zonal wind that reaches its apogee in the structure of the polar vortex.Notice the difference in linearity between summer and winter. Notice the extension of winter warming until November that is the transition month between winter and summer conditions at this latitude. We are here looking at part of the driver for surface conditions in the southern hemisphere and indeed globally on all time scales.In a later chapter we will see that November is the ‘snap to attention’ month when the dominant role of driving the ozone content of the air is passed over short time intervals is passed, baton like, to the Arctic.

There is one other thing worth noticing. Its actually extremely important because it confounds what we read in Climate Science texts. The 50 hPa pressure level  is in the lower stratosphere at an elevation of 20 km. The stratosphere is supposedly stratified, non convective and irrelevant so far as surface weather is concerned. In fact the stratosphere in winter is a very active part of the atmosphere in terms of air temperature, density and wind. Inspect the scale on this diagram. The range required to represent the data at 50 Mb is 22°C. At 100 hPa the range is 30°C. At 500 hPa the range required is 28°C, at 700 hPa 26°C and at 2 metres 40° C. What does that tell us about the forces responsible for the movement of the atmosphere? The atmosphere is a medium that tends to minimise temperature differences in the horizontal plane. The range at 100 Mb, though flattened by winter warming, indicates that the forces that are involved in generating air temperature and density contrasts aloft are more influential in driving the movement of the air than the forces that are active at the surface. The range required at 100 Mb  is diminished by the reversal of the temperature relationship between summer and winter, a range reducing phenomenon that  acts to conceal rather than reveal the forces at work . Perhaps a  superior proxy for the  strength of the disparities in density at 100 Mb is wind strength. Wind strength is least at the surface and increases with elevation peaking at Jet Stream altitudes. The inevitable conclusion is that the movement of the bulk of the atmosphere at 30-40° south latitude is driven at the  100 hPa pressure level or thereabouts by differences in the partial pressure of ozone as it effects atmospheric temperature and density.


Above we see air temperature at the 30 Mb pressure level.The difference between summer and winter is greatly reduced. The range of variation is still greater in winter than summer. Only in winter do we see the characteristic north west to south east flow of the winter stratosphere. The patterns that are generated indicate strong  variations in the temperature and density of the air related to the changing composition of the air itself. However, it appears that this is a zone where air tends to either descend or ascend (blobs rather than streaks) rather than travel laterally except in the winter where the circulation is more typical of that which prevails all the way to the surface.


At the 10 hPa pressure level (above) the air is comparatively still. Only the strongest elements of the ozone driven winter circulation show up. Notice the south west to north east drift in summer as ozone rich air travels towards the zone of high surface pressure in the mid latitudes. The flow is north west to south east in winter. Here the temperature of the air relates to surface temperature in a manner that is not evident between 700 mb and 30 mb. The winter is cold and the summer warm as we would expect it to be. The land masses are especially warm. So, most surprisingly we see the signature of surface temperature at 10 hPa,  an elevation where 99% of the mass of the atmosphere lies beneath.The warmth of the air plainly relates to the interception of infrared radiation by ozone. Because the air is relatively still at this altitude the pattern of long wave emission from the surface shows up. If short wave radiation from the sun were a big influence on the ozone content and the temperature of the air at this altitude this pattern would be obliterated in daylight hours. We cant tell from this diagram whether this happens or not.

There could be no better demonstration of the response of the stratosphere to the infrared radiation emitted by the Earth than this phenomenon. We see it because the air is relatively still. The temperature of the ozonosphere that stretches from the surface through to the mesopause  is set, not by ionising  radiation from the sun but radiation from the Earth itself. There is little variation in the ozone content of the air or its temperature at 10 mb that we can link to the tenfold variation in EUV across the solar cycle. Plainly, it is incorrect to maintain that the temperature of the stratosphere is a function of ionisation by short wave radiation from the sun. This statement, to be found universally in climate texts and the works of the UNIPCC and in Wikipedia does not square with observation.

We must look for other modes of causation for the potent variations in the ozone content of the air in winter than variations in the quantum of short wave energy from the sun. Indeed, only one percent of the air above 80 km in elevation, the zone called the ‘ionosphere’, is actually ionised. This zone contains less than 1% of the mass of the atmosphere. There is no problem in supply and no problem in persistence of ozone below the 10 Mb pressure level. The ozone content of the atmosphere is relatively invariable and seems to be assured, but not so at the poles in winter where we see big variations in ozone partial pressure from year to year.

If we look for zones where atmospheric dynamics involve a dilution of the ozone content of the air that can account for the paucity of ozone over the polar caps, the marked variations in the ozone content of the air from week to week and year to year and the relative paucity of ozone in the southern hemisphere in general we need look no further than the polar vortex in the winter season.


The zonal wind is that which is measured as rate of travel a along a line of latitude and is called the ‘u’ wind while the meridional wind is that measured along a line of longitude and is designated as the ‘v’ wind. At a point on the Earths surface a wind can be described in terms of both u and v. It is weak in both u and v it is probably descending or ascending.

u wind

If we inspect the last several diagrams they all indicate a strong stream of warm air travelling around the globe in a south easterly direction after 2014-09-17. The timing of this warming air flow is associated with a collapse of the ‘u’ component, a symptom of warming over the polar cap associated with an increase in the ozone content of the air  that is further associated with a collapse of surface pressure over the pole. This is a  taste of that which happens in the transition between winter and summer. It is also closely associated with the appearance of the ozone hole over Antarctica when NOx rich air of tropical origin circles in to occupy the entirety of the polar cap between 100 hPa and 50 hPa.

v wind

As we see above the ‘v’ component of the wind at 10 Mb is seasonally the mirror image of the ‘u’ wind. The meridional component falls away as the zonal wind component increases and vice versa.This is true on a seasonal as well as an episodic short term basis.

It is apparent that the movements of the atmosphere are tied to the partial pressure of ozone in the stratosphere. This is readily apparent when we study the movement of the air over the polar cap at 200 Mb as represented below. The first diagram shows the distribution of ozone over the Arctic on the 18th June 2016 as shown  here. The second diagram shows the temperature of the air and its circulation over the Arctic on the 18th June 2016 as shown here.  The third diagram simply shows the speed of the wind and locates the jet streams in relation to the distribution of ozone.

Ozone 18 June 2016

Temp June 18 2016

There is a core of cold air over the Antarctic within which pockets of ozone rich air are almost 20° C warmer. The conjunction of the two gives rise to the jet streams as we see below.

Jet stream


  • The movement of the air is intimately associated with contrasts in ozone density.  Speed of movement  is greatest at jet stream altitudes where contrasts in air temperature and density are most extreme.
  • Change in the intensity of the zonal wind that is associated with warming and cooling at the surface occur in response to the impact of ozone on atmospheric motions. In the northern hemisphere this phenomenon can be expressed in terms of the Arctic Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation or the Northern Annular mode.In the southern hemisphere we talk of the Southern Annular mode. These are all recognised as prime modes of climate variation on annual and inter-decadal time scales. Climate science has no rationale for any of them and is unable to differentiate between climate change due to these entirely natural phenomena and that supposedly due to the activities of man.
  • Climate change is associated with change in the ozone content of the air that drives the intensity of polar cyclone activity, shifts in atmospheric mass, change in the zonal wind and the equator to pole temperature gradient.
  • Winter is the season where weather variability is greatest and this is clearly associated with change in the ozone content of the air. This is backed up by the observation that across all latitudes the month of greatest variability in surface temperature is either January or July as described here.
  • The circulation of the atmosphere is not driven from the equator but from the winter pole. There is evidence that the ozone content of the air at the poles depends upon solar activity via several different modes.

Unless we can separate out and properly account for the change in climate that is due to the fluctuating ozone content of the air we are in no position to quantify the change that many attribute to the works of man.  Green activists  are clearly ‘jumping the gun’. When we come to look at the manner in which the climate changes according to latitude it will be plain that all change, I repeat ALL change, is very likely attributable to natural modes of causation rather than the works of man and we will be able to say, ‘hand on heart’, or on a ‘stack of bibles’ and ‘with a very high level of confidence’ that we are speaking the truth.












Recent research suggests that there is a pathway for the generation of ozone at the poles via ionisation of the atmosphere by cosmic rays.

Cosmic rays ozone

From the conclusion: recent modelling shows that the O3 distribution in the extra-tropics is formed mainly from the local production, while the impact of the tropical ozone, transported by stratospheric dynamics, is substantially smaller. During winter conditions, when the amount of solar UV radiation at middle and high latitudes is strongly reduced, the only alternative source of O3 at these latitudes are highly energetic galactic cosmic rays (GCR) capable of penetrating into the lower stratosphere and troposphere.
However, the influence of GCR on the lower stratosphere has been ignored for a
long time, thought to be negligible at these levels. Through reassessment of the efficiency of main atmospheric constituents’ ion-ization by GCR and the ion-molecular reactions between the most abundant ions and neutrals, we have shown an existence of an autocatalytic cycle for continuous O3 production in the lower stratosphere and upper troposphere (near the level of maximal absorption of GCR, known as Pfotzer maximum). The quantity of O3, produced by the positive ion chemistry, has the same order of magnitude as the mid-latitude steady-state ozone profile. This is an indication that the lowermost ozone profile could be substantially distorted by the highly energetic particles.

If Cosmic Rays can result in ozone production at the poles it links solar activity and climate in a direct and powerful fashion. Ozone drives of the evolution of planetary winds and cloud cover from the winter hemisphere. The signature of its activity is written into the surface temperature record.

Don’t hold your breath while you wait for climate scientists to adopt these ideas. The current generation of climate scientists  have no interest in discovering the origins of natural modes of climate variation even though these modes have been in operation since the dawn of time. Some proponents of the anthropocentric global warming argument now maintain that all climate change (of whatever description) is due to the impact of man on the planet. For others the origin of natural modes of climate variation must remain mysterious and unknowable. If it seems that something out of the ordinary happens it must be ‘an internal oscillation’ or the result of ‘an exchange of energy between the ocean and the atmosphere’, neither of long term consequence unless it can be suggested that these internal modes are getting out of whack due to the influence of man.

This seems to be the current point of view. Mans responsibility, for the good of succeeding generations, is to avoid warming, cooling, drought, flood, damaging radiation, big tides, big waves and typhoons by reducing carbon emissions. Carbon dioxide, the raw material for plant photosynthesis, the original building block for life on the planet, is nasty. The imperative is to stop emitting carbon dioxide wherever we can in order to stop ‘climate change’.  The words ‘climate change’ now equates to ‘the addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere due to the activities of man in burning fossil fuels’. If its not scarce, we must nevertheless avoid burning it. We must reduce our energy use to that which is sustainable, not in terms of the amount of the resource available but in terms of the desired state of the atmosphere. If we have this resource we must keep it in the ground even though others are crying out for electric light and the means to do things other than by the sweat of their brow. We will deny them the use of coal for their own good.

Originally, the notion was that the planet warmed when CO2 levels increased. Now, in the absence of warming,  carbon dioxide is responsible for change in the status quo. Where have we heard this sort of argument before?

It is in the nature of those who hold strong ideas that they will seek to reward and give preferment to those who agree with them.

It is those who can capture our imaginations who will be paid from the public purse to do so again and again. Adolph Hitler and Tim Flannery. ‘Mein Kampf’ and ‘The Weather Makers’.  The free lunch. Give the man a Beer. Let’s recommend him for a Nobel. Al Gore, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. Do something for the planet. Stop breathing.


Wikipedia: Cosmic rays are immensely high-energy radiation, mainly originating outside the Solar System.They may produce showers of secondary particles that penetrate and impact the Earth’s atmosphere and sometimes even reach the surface. Composed primarily of high-energy protons and atomic nuclei, they are of mysterious origin. Data from the Fermi space telescope (2013) have been interpreted as evidence that a significant fraction of primary cosmic rays originate from the supernovae of massive stars. However, this is not thought to be their only source. Active galactic nuclei probably also produce cosmic rays.

The kinetic mass-energy of massive particles can increase drastically due to relativistic effects. Through this process, the particles can acquire tremendously high energies, significantly higher than those of even the highest-energy photons detected to date (whose energy depends solely on frequency and not on speed, as photons always travel at the same speed). The Oh-My-God particle, the highest-energy fermionic cosmic ray detected to date, had an energy of about 3×1020 eV, while the highest-energy gamma rays to be observed, very-high-energy gamma rays, are photons with energies of up to 1014 eV. Hence, the highest-energy detected fermionic cosmic ray was around 3×106 times more energetic than the highest-energy detected cosmic photons.

Of primary cosmic rays, which originate outside of Earth’s atmosphere, about 99% are the nuclei (stripped of their electron shells) of well-known atoms, and about 1% are solitary electrons (similar to beta particles). Of the nuclei, about 90% are simple protons, i. e. hydrogen nuclei; 9% are alpha particles, identical to helium nuclei, and 1% are the nuclei of heavier elements, called HZE ions. A very small fraction are stable particles of antimatter, such as positrons or antiprotons. The precise nature of this remaining fraction is an area of active research. An active search from Earth orbit for anti-alpha particles has failed to detect them.

Ultra-high-energy cosmic rays have energies comparable to the kinetic energy of a 90-kilometre-per-hour (56 mph) baseball.

When cosmic rays enter the Earth’s atmosphere they collide with atoms and molecules, mainly oxygen and nitrogen. The interaction produces a cascade of lighter particles, a so-called air shower secondary radiation that rains down, including x-rays, muons, protons, alpha particles, pions, electrons, and neutrons. 

Typical particles produced in such collisions are neutrons and charged mesons such as positive or negative pions and kaons. Some of these subsequently decay into muons, which are able to reach the surface of the Earth, and even penetrate for some distance into shallow mines. The muons can be easily detected by many types of particle detectors, such as cloud chambers, bubble chambers or scintillation detectors.


Wikipedia:  In 1912, Victor Hess carried three enhanced-accuracy Wulf electrometers to an altitude of 5300 meters in a free balloon flight. He found the ionization rate increased approximately fourfold over the rate at ground level. Hess ruled out the Sun as the radiation’s source by making a balloon ascent during a near-total eclipse. With the moon blocking much of the Sun’s visible radiation, Hess still measured rising radiation at rising altitudes. He concluded “The results of my observation are best explained by the assumption that a radiation of very great penetrating power enters our atmosphere from above.” In 1913–1914, Werner Kolhörster confirmed Victor Hess’ earlier results by measuring the increased ionization rate at an altitude of 9 km.

Hess received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1936 for his discovery.

Flying 12 kilometres (39,000 ft) high, passengers and crews of jet airliners are exposed to at least 10 times the cosmic ray dose that people at sea level receive. Aircraft flying polar routes near the geomagnetic poles are at particular risk.


The flux of incoming cosmic rays at the upper atmosphere is dependent on the solar wind, the Earth’s magnetic field, and the energy of the cosmic rays. At distances of ~94 AU from the Sun, the solar wind undergoes a transition, called the termination shock, from supersonic to subsonic speeds. The region between the termination shock and the heliopause acts as a barrier to cosmic rays, decreasing the flux at lower energies (≤ 1 GeV) by about 90%. However, the strength of the solar wind is not constant, and hence it has been observed that cosmic ray flux is correlated with solar activity.

In addition, the Earth’s magnetic field acts to deflect cosmic rays from its surface, giving rise to the observation that the flux is apparently dependent on latitude, longitude, and azimuth angle. The magnetic field lines deflect the cosmic rays towards the poles, giving rise to the aurorae.

GCR and sunspot no


Citation: Osprey, S., et al. (2009), Sudden stratospheric warmings seen in MINOS deep underground muon data as reported here:  http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/148293/1/2008GL036359.pdf

The rate of high energy cosmic ray muons as measured underground is shown to be strongly correlated with upper air temperatures during short-term atmospheric (10-day) events. The effects are seen by correlating data from the MINOS underground detector and temperatures from the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts during the winter periods from 2003– 2007. This effect provides an independent technique for the measurement of meteorological conditions and presents a unique opportunity to measure both short and long-term changes in this important part of the atmosphere. 

Do you think you could explain all that to your grandmother while its still fresh in your mind?


In winter the upper atmosphere is colder due to the descent of very cold ozone deficient air from the mesosphere. Temperature of the atmosphere in the Arctic

The displacement of this core of cold air by a mushrooming ascent of ozone rich air results in much higher temperatures over the polar cap. The mushrooming effect  centres on about 50° of latitude  as ozone is gathered in zones of low surface pressure associated with warm ocean surfaces initiating wholesale ascent. When the ascending air reaches 30 hPa, 10 hPa and 1 hPa it spreads laterally to occupy the region of the polar cap. This has been a ‘mystery’ for climate science for a generation of more. It appears that warming air is not connected with the presence of ozone in the minds of many observers. Are they turning a blind eye? Are they incapable of rigorous inquiry? Do they simply assume that the temperature of the air is  the result of the absorption of short wave radiation from the sun? Is this commonly seen assertion a required article of faith? Who knows?

The warming of the stratosphere is tracked via the increase in geopotential height between 50 and 80 degrees of latitude as seen in the diagram below. For the purposes of comparison I have lined up data for cosmic rays and geopotential height anomalies across a common time interval.The question is this: are these two data streams related?


Neutron count and GPH anomaly

The period extends from January to mid June in 2016. On the face of it, galactic cosmic rays could be making a contribution to the periodic proliferation of ozone resulting in episodic increases in geopotential height.There are enough coincidences to suggest that this might be the case. The fact that these increases are much greater in winter is consistent with the ease of disturbance of the polar atmosphere at a time of the year when temperature is at a low base, the connection to the mesosphere is tenuous and dependent on atmospheric pressure. Winter is the time of the year where ozone proliferates. But, we  must note that there are warming events that are not associated with the incidence of galactic cosmic rays and that peaks in GCR activity do occur without an obvious atmospheric response. Plainly there is another factor involved that may compete with or perhaps complement the activity of GCR.


The loss of surface pressure over Antarctica over the last seventy years represents a one way transfer of atmospheric mass from high southern latitudes that requires an external driver capable of retaining atmospheric mass against the force of gravity. The only force capable of retaining new states of this sort is electromagnetic. If there is indeed a response to electromagnetic effects it should be seen at times when geomagnetic activity is high.

In the diagram below that relates to the southern pole we can see that peaks in the solar wind, as indicated by the Kp Index (lowest series) are not necessarily conjunctional with peaks in neutron counts. In fact in many instances, neutron counts are in a trough as the kP index peaks.

GA and Cosmic rays and GPH

The green lines in the diagram locate instances where there is an atmospheric response that is conjunctional with geomagnetic activity in the absence of cosmic  ray activity. If we combine the incidences where cosmic ray indices peak in conjunction with increased GPH with the instances where the kP index peaks in conjunction with increases in GPH we can account for each and every heating episode.


This analysis is consistent with the notion that both the solar wind and cosmic rays can be independently influential in determining  the partial pressure of ozone engendering an increase in geopotential height. If geomagnetic activity slows the zonal wind that acts to reduce the influx of mesospheric air, then ozone partial pressure will increase and the geopotential height response will appear. If  cosmic rays enhance ionisation and ozone is produced this will have the same effect.If the atmosphere warms due to the slowing of the zonal wind then the the galactic cosmic ray enhancement of ozone cuts in in every instance regardless of whether there is a conjunctional peak in galactic cosmic ray activity. So, these conditioning influences do tend to work hand in hand in a complementary fashion and equally, they can conflict.

The limit to the shifts in atmospheric mass, however engineered, is set by gravity. The extent to which this process is capable of establishing different states,so far as surface pressure is concerned,  depends  upon the pressure of the solar wind, known to vary on 100 and 200 year time scales. The existence of the phenomenon whereby atmospheric mass shifts over long time scales tells us that external influences are involved.

All fluctuations in climate on all time scales from the very short to the very long,  whether we see them as internal fluctuations or externally imposed, can be described in terms of surface atmospheric pressure, wind and cloud cover. It is the circulation at the poles in winter that drives these changes, not the relatively invariable rate of heating in near equatorial latitudes. Climate science is turned on its head.


Chapter 25 established that, in low latitudes, the stratosphere below about 40 kilometres in elevation is a relatively safe environment for ozone. All the extreme ultra-violet and X ray radiation that is responsible for the ionosphere  is used up above 60 km in elevation.  Below 40 kilometres in elevation ozone partial pressure builds during daylight hours indicating a relatively safe environment for what is admittedly a tiny amount of ozone in air that is in any case extremely rarefied.

To resist photolysis in the stratosphere the ozone molecule must avoid radiation in the UVB and shorter spectrum. At any other than near vertical sun angles the atmospheric path is too long to allow much UVB to reach the surface but the small amount of ozone in the stratosphere creates what is in fact just a very coarse sieve. If you had such a sieve in the kitchen some of the spaghetti would leak through with the water when you drain the water off. The population of runners (ionising radiation)  is small and the obstacles (ozone) are widely spaced.

As the sun sinks towards the horizon in winter, ozone proliferates.This, and the ability of the ozone molecule to absorb infra-red emanating from the Earth is the reason why the upper stratosphere at 1 hPa is warmer over the poles than at the equator in summer despite the very low angle of the sun and very little cooler in winter when the sun is below the horizon. It is not ionising radiation that heats the stratosphere, it is ozone absorbing long wave infrared from the Earth.

The existence of a tropopause in high latitudes during the polar night when there is patently no short wave radiation to be had, testifies to the importance of the status of ozone as a  agent for heating the air via absorption of outgoing infrared.  The notion that the temperature of the stratosphere is determined by the absorption of short wave radiation from the sun is universally accepted and promoted  because it suits a certain narrative but it is nonetheless false. Above the mesopause yes, below the mesopause no. The mesopause marks the point where the ionosphere begins.

In the southern hemisphere the polar night prevails between March and September. See the sonde data below. Note the inflection in the temperature curve at the elevation where the partial pressure of ozone increases, at some 9 kilometres above the surface, plainly due to ozone heating. The fall in the temperature of the air above 12 kilometres in elevation is due to the descent of very cold air from the mesosphere. That air is relatively ozone rich by comparison with air that arrives laterally from the region of the very cold tropical tropopause that is always ozone poor. Some intruding tongues of ozone poor air are evident, especially at 15 kilometres in elevation.There is a great deal of horizontal movement of the air in the stratosphere, in fact just above the tropopause, more than anywhere else. The failure to recognise the importance of that movement and its origins has been fatal for climate science. The ‘annular modes phenomenon’ is inexplicable without an understanding of the dynamics at work in the stratosphere.

Antarctica 3d June

In this stratospheric ‘safe environment’ for ozone one might expect that the ozone content of the atmosphere would increase in direct response to the length of the atmospheric path.In the absence of any other control mechanism ozone partial pressure should  peak at the surface of the planet and attain its highest partial pressure over the poles. Alas, there are, at a minimum, two other control mechanisms at work. One is NOx emanating from the surface of the planet. The second is via the influx of ozone starved mesospheric air  at the winter pole. The rate of influx at the pole depends upon surface pressure that is in turn dependent non the collective activity of polar cyclones that surround the pole.

Ozone partial pressure in high latitudes may  build under the impact of cosmic radiation. This activity is modulated by the temperature of the air over the pole and the incidence of cosmic rays is modulated by the solar cycle and the solar wind that is to some extent independent of the sunspot cycle.  Since there is no apparent cycle in atmospheric pressure over the Antarctic pole that is in tune with the solar cycle the cosmic ray effect must be small, at least at solar cycle intervals. Nevertheless cosmic rays are much more in evidence at solar minimum and it is possible that their ozone production capacity becomes a factor of increasing importance in promoting short term shifts in atmospheric mass during periods of very low solar activity.


NOx is produced by fossil fuel combustion, biomass burning, decomposition in soils and lightning. NOx is a generic term for the mono oxides of nitrogen NO and N2O. Both are active in the catalytic destruction of ozone. The  lifetime of these compounds increases with elevation so that they are more potent at 10 km elevation than at the surface.

Below we compare the global distribution of NOx with that of ozone at 100 hPa. Source:http://macc.aeronomie.be/4_NRT_products/5_Browse_plots/1_Snapshot_maps/index.php?src=MACC_o-suite&l=TC

Relationship between NOx and Ozone at 100hPa

It is evident that in equatorial latitudes, where NOx is most abundant, ozone is almost completely depleted. The patterns created by air of different NOx concentration reveal the movement of the atmosphere at 100 hPa. For the purpose of comparing the two diagrams a white line traces the edge of apparent NOx presence and this line is applied to the ozone diagram taking care to match the latitudes correctly. The two fit like a glove. Notice that it takes  only trace levels of NOx in the ozone deficient southern hemisphere to produce a marked depletion in the ozone content of the air in the mid latitudes. Although it is not apparent in the NOx content of higher latitudes in the southern hemisphere the pattern of depletion of ozone  in the southern hemisphere suggests that the influence of NOx extends all the way to the southern pole. This should be no surprise given the role of NOx in producing the Antarctic ‘ozone hole’ at the time of the final warming of the Antarctic stratosphere between September and November as described in chapter 23. Here we are  seeing the precursor environment for the Antarctic ozone hole in spring.

Below, at the 50 hPa pressure level, an elevation of 20 kilometres, is mapped the distribution of NOx in the southern hemisphere on the 12th day of the month between February and October 2015.

Notice the camera iris like structure of the developing Antarctic Ozone hole.

50hPa SH

Below, and again from a polar cap perspective, this time centred on the month of April, we have nine months of single day data for NOx in the northern hemisphere at 50 hPa. Notice the strong presence of NOx at 50 hPa, much stronger than in the southern hemisphere. Notice the camera iris structure that appears on 12th March and its displacement off the pole a month later. Yes, there is an ozone hole in the northern hemisphere an artefact of the final warming when the descent of mesospheric air rapidly falls away due to swiftly rising surface pressure over the pole.

50hPa NH

Below we see the distribution of NOx at 100 hPa in the northern hemisphere. The increase in atmospheric NOx  that presses in from low latitudes to flood across the entire hemisphere is plainly a summer phenomenon. Notice the wave like structures representing a flow of cold NOx rich air towards higher latitudes.

NOx at 100hPa NH

Below  we have the distribution of NOx in the southern hemisphere at 100 hPa from a polar cap perspective.

NOx SH 100hPaThe ocean dominant southern hemisphere is plainly  less influenced by the presence of NOx at 100 hPa  than is the northern hemisphere. Nevertheless there is NOx present at this level in October contributing to the Antarctic ozone hole in that year.

T Atmos over equator

The distribution of NOx relates to the pattern of surface pressure because it arrives with very cold tropical air characterised by relatively high surface pressure. The wave like pattern of intrusions of  NOx rich air from the tropics show up in ozone profiles as an ‘ozone hole’ above the point where we have a tropopause in high latitudes, about 8 kilometres in elevation. The diagram above reminds us that the air between 150 hPa and 50 hPa in the tropics is cooler than -70°C. It is cooler because of its low ozone content due to erosion by NOx.

On the basis of the diagrams above we can note:

  • There is an appreciable presence of NOx at 50 hPa across the northern hemisphere from February through to August. This enhanced presence in the summer season is consistent with biomass burning and the processes of soil decomposition that are more active in summer.
  • There is no parallel presence of NOx at 50hPa in the relatively land deficient southern hemisphere from July onward but there is the appearance of anomalously  high concentrations of NOx around the entire globe at about 70° south latitude expanding inwards to occupy the entirety of the polar cap in September and October. This is the Antarctic Ozone hole, a natural feature of the Antarctic atmosphere, not a creation of man via the release of chlorofluorocarbons. That hole will wax and wane with change in atmospheric dynamics related to changing ozone partial pressure over time.
  • It is not NOx emanating from below that is the root cause of the generalised ozone deficiency in the southern hemisphere. The only other source of ozone depletion in the southern hemisphere is via straight dilution by a very active polar vortex.
  • High levels of NOx in the Arctic atmosphere manifest in March and April  giving rise to the northern hemisphere equivalent of the Antarctic Ozone hole, briefly  manifesting as part of the ‘final warming’ process but rapidly dissipated. It simply does not hold position due to the geography of land and sea. If the Arctic was a land mass surrounded by sea things would be different.



Summit Station is located on the Greenland Ice Shelf at 70° north latitude where the partial pressure of ozone attains a strong peak in winter.  This location experiences wide fluctuations in the ozone content of the air according to the origin of the air travelling overhead. Incursions of mid latitude air can produce gaps in the ozone profile as seen below. Notice that the tropopause at this relatively high latitude is located at about 7 kilometres in elevation. The decline of temperature with altitude is reversed at 7 km where the ozone content of the air is a mere 3- 4 parts per million. The ability of ozone to transfer energy acquired by absorption in the infra-red is dependant on the ‘density of the molecular pack’ in a pass the parcel type situation. Notice that an increase in ozone partial pressure at the 50 hPa level is responsible for another small temperature advance. The atmosphere in  high latitudes is never still in winter. The temperature of the air in the stratosphere is much influenced by the descent of mesospheric air  from above that is being actively mixed into the profile as well as the air that arrives from lower latitudes. This pattern of movement is reflected in the meandering of the jet stream that is itself a product of steep gradients in ozone partial pressure, air temperature and density.

Summit station

Below we have sonde data for ozone partial pressure at Summit Station between late January and September.Summit Stn Ozone profiles

This diagram indicates what a localised, non polar, ozone hole can look like in terms of reduced ozone partial pressure. By September, as a product of the increase in the NOx content of the air in summer the ozone profile is extensively eroded below the 50 hPa pressure level (20 km in elevation) so as to establish an ozone maximum at 50 hPa rather than at 100 hPa (15 km) the level that prevails in winter.The green line that shows ozone partial pressure on 22nd April shows a twin peaks in ozone partial pressure due to a deep incursion of mid latitude air centred at an elevation of 15 km.

In the absence of incursions of mid and low latitude air, peak ozone partial pressure is established at 100 hPa or 15 kilometres in elevation.When NOx rich air arrives from low latitudes it is active in reducing ozone partial pressure primarily at and below the 50 hPa  pressure level.

Notice the relative  similarities in the ozone profile below about 7.5 km in elevation. The marked increase in the partial pressure of ozone above this level reverses the decline in atmospheric temperature with elevation creating the ‘tropopause’. Notice that the ‘tropopause’ in no sense marks a boundary between air that has ozone and air that does not. The tropopause is the interface between two types of air, one with NOx and one without NOx. It moves up and down with the seasons according to the presence or absence different sorts of air. The tropopause is a function of the chemistry that is introduced via different parcels of air with very different characteristics. Movement is induced by density differences in line with different ozone partial pressures. The patterns in the juxtaposition of different sorts of air masses is imposed by the west to east rotation of the atmosphere that is most active at the poles.

The diagram below  shows the ozone profile at a number of different latitudes including near equatorial situations where the thickness of the near surface NOx rich layer is greatest.


Pago Pago and Suva exhibit peak ozone partial pressure at  33 kilometres in elevation. That is the thickness of the NOx rich layer.  The thickness of the layer relates to the extent of convection in the tropical atmosphere. Water vapour is also antagonistic to the presence of ozone.

In general ozone is present throughout the atmospheric column even in the near surface atmosphere and is capable of warming the air via the absorption of infra-red radiation at any and all levels.  In higher latitudes where the NOx carrying layer is thin ozone partial pressure rises from about 7 km in elevation strongly influencing the temperature of the air and its density. The lateral contrast  in ozone and air density across the ‘vortex’ gives rise to the strongest winds except those seen in the upper stratosphere in the polar vortex itself. These winds are much stronger than anything that manifests at the surface of the planet except for tropical cyclones of the stronger variety. It should be plain that it the severe gradients in ozone partial pressure in the vicinity of the ‘tropopauses’ (and there can be many) that can establish at any elevation between 7 and 20 km that drives the circulation of the air rather than surface heating in the tropics.That is a ‘primitive’ notion that appears to be plausible. We only need to observe the jet streams to see that reality is otherwise.


We can conceive of an ‘ozonosphere’ that begins at the mesopause and extends to the surface of the planet. The upper limit of the ozonosphere is the mesopause. At that point the pressure of ionisation of the ozone molecule eases to the degree necessary to allow a sufficient population of ozone molecules to amass so as to warm the atmosphere via the absorption of infra-red. Heating due to the ionisation process itself increases with elevation. It is for this reason that air temperature increases in the ionosphere and the thermosphere. The contribution to atmospheric heating due to the photolysis of ozone  falls away as the atmospheric path lengthens and may be considered to be negligible at the tropopause and in higher elevations at higher latitudes.

Below the mesopause ozone partial pressure increases as the surface is approached and the pressure of ionisation falls away.  It falls away due to the depletion of wave lengths shorter than 315 nm at the upper limit of the UVB part of the spectrum. The ozone content of the atmosphere is therefore in the fist instance  a function of sun angle and the corresponding length of the atmospheric path to absorb short wave lengths a function of latitude markedly increasing in winter. Over the polar cap other dynamics come into play. Closer to the surface, yet other dynamics involving NOx come into play according to latitude. Then in springtime at the poles all three influences produce the curiosity of the ozone hole, an entirely natural circumstance associated with the collapse of the winter circulation as surface pressure at the poles rapidly falls away.

UV spectrum

The descent of mesospheric air over the polar cap is required for geostrophic balance due to the continuous ascent of ozone warmed air via the ‘polar vortex’ a high speed cone like circulation that manifests from 100 hPa through to the 1 hPa on the margins of descending cold mesospheric air. There is the associated phenomenon whereby ozone tends to accumulate in zones of low surface pressure over the oceans in mid and high latitudes mushrooming towards the limits of the stratosphere on a periodic basis (a 9-10 day cycle) and at times displacing the vortex from its position of centrality over the pole. The northern vortex in early winter finds a conducive home over Siberia and East Asia rather than over the Arctic Ocean. These phenomena elevate ozone partial pressure at 10 hPa and higher giving rise to amplified variations in temperature over time. The temperature swings increase with increasing altitude as a consequence of convection. Meteorologists map this phenomenon as increased Geopotential Height. Climate theorists have become fond of the notion of ‘planetary waves’, 1, 2 and 3 that relate to the pattern of increase in geopotential height.That particular theory is  gains credibility due to the inability to observe that ozone absorbs infrared and that this is the source of heating in the stratosphere.  If one maintains that the stratosphere is heated by short wave radiation from the sun on an exclusive basis it is difficult to  conceive  that differences in ozone partial pressure could  drive the global circulation of the air from high latitudes in the winter hemisphere.


The current conceptions as to the nature of the troposphere and the stratosphere are at the root of our inability to understand the ongoing changes in surface climate.

It is the stability and strength of the southern vortex that accounts for the relatively low ozone content of the southern ozonosphere.

Mixing occurs across the vortex and in particular at upper and lower elevations modulating the ozone content of the air across the entire ozonosphere from the active winter pole but with greatest effect in the southern hemisphere.This is simply a matter of the distribution of land and sea.

Without the erosive activity of NOx e in the near surface atmosphere peak ozone partial pressure would be established at the surface of the planet. The ozone maximum at any pressure level is not a function of photolysis and recombination phenomena within an ‘ozone layer’ that establishes at some level within what we have come to call the ‘stratosphere’. Significant ionisation only manifests in the D layer of the ionosphere during daytime hours above 60 km in elevation. Below  60 km , the chief molecule that is ionised is ozone itself via the activity of UVB that is almost entirely used  up in the process. It follows that the ozone content of the air increases with the length of the atmospheric path. The concept of an ‘ozone layer’ is a work of an imagination  that is uninformed by observation.

In the near surface atmosphere NOx proliferates most strongly over land in the northern hemisphere. It actively depletes ozone and especially so in lower latitudes as a function of surface heating  and the rate of evaporation near the equator.

The relatively high ozone content of the atmosphere in the northern hemisphere is due to the weakness and instability of the  northern polar vortex. This in turn gives rise to marked variations in air temperature over the polar cap in winter (and only in winter). NOx actively sculpts ozone from below  in the northern hemisphere but the weakness of the northern vortex ensures that ozone partial pressure is maintained at much higher levels in the northern hemisphere than prevails in the south.

In high latitudes, a very much lower ‘tropopause’ and  therefore much enhanced ozone partial pressure aloft gives rise to very low surface pressure. The reverse is the case in low latitudes. Continuous heating of the atmospheric column in the tropics creates a very light low pressure zone of ascending air but this pales into insignificance when it is compared to the situation at 60-70° south latitude where Polar Cyclones propagate downwards from upper air troughs. The circulation of the lower atmosphere proceeds according to the pressure differentials that are so established. That circulation is the primary determinant of surface temperature impacting the equator to pole temperature gradient.

The most severe differences in local air density manifest across the vortex near the poles. Changes in this domain are more vigorous than elsewhere.  Over extended time scales change in the Antarctic is enormous by comparison with the Arctic.

At any point on the Earths surface the synoptic situation changes on all time scales. The synoptic situation relates to the shape of the ozonosphere. Its shape is the product of influences from above, from below and also sideways. As the shape of the ozonosphere changes so does surface weather and climate.

thin laminae stratospheric intrusions

Source http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/1520-0469(1967)024%3C0569:COTVDO%3E2.0.CO%3B2

Above we see ozone profiles at Albuquerque New Mexico at 35° north latitude reflecting day by day changes in the height of the tropopause and the ozone profile as air masses of tropical and polar origins pass by. It is apparent that change occurs predominantly in the medium that we have assumed to be be both stratified and quiescent. These changes that are the essence of the ‘synoptic situation’ gives rise to the nature of weather and climate on all time scales. Accordingly, the greatest changes in surface temperature occur in the middle of winter  in line with the extreme flux in the ozone content of the air in that season.

Climatology has much to learn and unfortunately a lot to unlearn including the notion that the temperature at the surface is a matter of ‘radiative forcing’ by greenhouse gases. This notion is too simple by far.


This chapter explores the characteristics of the atmosphere in spring.  It relates the distribution of ozone and NOx  to ozonesonde data  and the temperature and movement of the air. My data sources are  here for maps showing ozone and NOx profiles and here for ozonesonde data and here for maps showing temperature, pressure and wind.

The objective is to investigate the factors responsible for the composition, temperature, density and movement of the air. The discussion pertains to the origin of  the planetary winds, cloud cover and surface temperature, in short climate change.

Ozone 50hPa 6 hr

Above: Ozone at 50 hPa 11th to 13th September at six hourly intervals.

The diagrams above show ozone at the 50 hPa pressure level (20km) in the southern hemisphere at 6 hourly intervals. Observe that the rotation of the atmosphere  above the Antarctic continent over 54 hours amounts to about half a circle. A full rotation at this rate would take 4.5 days.

It takes about 10 days for a mid latitude anticyclone to pass a point on the Earth’s surface at the latitude of southern Australia. It takes about five days for a polar cyclone to pass from one side of the continent to the other.

As the Earth spins on its axis the morning sun appears on the eastern horizon. The atmosphere moves from the west to the east rotating faster than the Earth itself. The rate of rotation of the atmosphere increases with latitude. In winter, in high latitudes,  the rate of rotation also increases with height. This is counter-intuitive. It is commonly asserted that the heat that is absorbed in the tropics is providing the energy to drive the circulation of the air. In general, wherever energy is applied to a system, that is where the most vigorous response is to be found. The  movement of the atmosphere, more exaggerated at the poles than at the equator, suggests that the force driving the circulation is being applied at or near the poles. In fact, the greatest depression of surface pressure and the greatest peak in atmospheric pressure on a global scale is to be found in the region of the Antarctic continent in winter. The strongest winds at the surface of the planet merge at 60-70° south latitude. The variation in the temperature of the Earth at every particular latitude is greatest in the middle of winter when the flux in the ozone content of the air is most extreme.

The distribution of ozone at 50 hPa might be described as annular or ring like in shape surrounding the pole. Tracers of ozone fan out towards low latitudes from nodes of relatively high ozone partial pressure. Such a node is located between Antarctica and Australia/New Zealand as seen in the diagram above.

The tracer pattern of ozone distribution is similar to what we observe when a broad bladed paddle is applied to a can of paint. As we stir, a vortex is created in the middle where the centre of the circulation is depressed in relation to the perimeter. Intuitively, the Antarctic circulation is driven  in a similar fashion. There is obviously no broad bladed paddle at work. The differences in air density on either side of latitude 60-70° south that give rise to polar cyclones increase as the ozone content of the air is enhanced in winter. The seasonal descent of very cold mesospheric air over the pole chills the interior as the ozone content of the air increases outside the margins of that very cold mesospheric air. These developments together create a situation of atmospheric stress related to extreme differences in air density that is entirely local in origin.  We know that the ‘zonal wind’ (east west) varies in conformity with geomagnetic activity. So it is likely that the driving force of this system is in part compositional (density related) and in part electromagnetic in origin.

This description of the forces responsible for the winds in high latitudes is very different to that given in the ‘climate science’ of this day. In fact climate science can not enlighten us as to the origins of the zone of extremely low surface pressure on the margins of Antarctica or the indeed the historical decline in surface pressure in high latitudes let alone the reversal in that process of decline that is currently under-way.None of these features rate a mention. Climate science is dominated by radiative theory and the notion that back radiation from ‘radiation absorbers’ like CO2 and water vapour drives surface temperature. Geographers are out of fashion. Mathematicians and Physicists who know little of the geography of climate hold sway.

Ozone from 26Aug at 50hpa

Above: Ozone at 50 hPa at daily intervals.

The diagrams above show the state of the atmosphere at daily intervals. Every particular feature changes in shape over the 24 hour interval between one diagram and the next. There are locations centred on latitude 30° south where ozone partial pressure is low and atmospheric pressure tends to be persistently high. One such lies in the Indian Ocean to the west of Australia a second in the Pacific to the west of the South American continent. A third is located in the South Atlantic to the west of Africa

We can relate the distribution of ozone to that of the  chemical family referred to as NOx as seen below. This family catalytically destroys ozone at any temperature. Like any reaction the higher the temperature the faster it will proceed. A catalyst is a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change.

NOx from 26Aug at 50hpa

Above: NOx at 50 hPa

The NOx that manifests in this ring like fashion originates in the troposphere and enters the Antarctic circulation from the north in a lateral fsashion. See the charts of NOx at 100 hPa below that indicates little or no NOx in high latitudes at this level. There is NOx in low latitudes but none near the poles.

The core of low NOx values at 50 hPa seen above contracts in diameter like the aperture of a camera over the ten days prior to August 30th. As it does so, day by day ozone is eroded.

NOX at 100 hPa from 26 Aug

Above: Nox at 100 hPa.

The distribution of NOx at 50 hPa on the 30th August can be compared to the distribution of ozone and the position of both in relation to the the zone of very low surface pressure that surrounds Antarctica.

NOx 30th Aug

I have traced the main features of the distribution of NOx in the diagram above and applied the resulting figure as an overlay on the figure below.  NOx manifests in greatest concentration inside the annular ring of ozone rich air. That is as expected, given the ability of NOx to catalytically destroy ozone. The distribution of ozone is therefore a product of the movement of the air and is modulated by the presence or absence of NOx

Ozone at 50hPa

In the same fashion, the figure indicating the distribution of NOx is overlaid on the map of surface pressure and wind at 250 hPa that is below. It is apparent that NOx is drawn into the ascending circulation created by polar cyclones. Air enters the circulation horizontally above 100 hPa and this air shows high concentrations of NOx and very little ozone. In the process it progressively floods the entire area over the Antarctic continent at the 50 hPa level. NOx closes in on the pole like the aperture of a camera. Bear in mind that the distance between the surface where pressure is measured and the 50 hPa level is 20 kilometres. At the surface the distribution of surface pressure is somewhat irregular. At altitude the circulation becomes increasingly smooth and ring like. This is the character of what is called the polar vortex. The vortex does not respect our notions of what is troposphere and stratosphere. It is not particular at all.

SLP August 30th

An ozonesonde consists of a small piston pump that bubbles ambient air into a cell containing 3 milliliters of 1% potassium iodide solution. The reaction of ozone and iodide produces a small electrical current in the cell, which is proportional to the amount of ozone. The ozonesonde is also interfaced with a radiosonde, which measures air temperature, pressure, relative humidity and transmits all of the data back to a ground receiving station. Total column ozone is calculated by integrating the ozone partial pressure profile up to the balloon burst altitude and adding a residual amount, based on climatological ozone tables, to account for ozone above the balloon burst altitude.

The  ozonesonde data below was gathered at the US Amundsen Scott base at the south pole. The distribution of ozone in the diagrams below left relates to the 50 hPa level. Both diagrams relate to the 20th August 2015. Together they give us  information about a vertical and a horizontal slice of the atmosphere.26 Aug

AUGUST: On 26th August the partial pressure of ozone at 50 hPa at the pole is unaffected by the gradual ingress of NOx that is already in evidence on the 7th June at left because it begins only at the outer margins of the continent. The pole is as yet unaffected.

Nox to 26th Aug

Above: Nox at 50 hPa. NOx occupies more and more of the space over the polar cap from June through to August. The seeds of the ozone hole are planted early. But on the 26th August the polar region is still NOx free.

12 Sep

KEY to diagram on the right:    Fine black line: ozone on 26th August (see above). Green line: Generic indicator of pre-ozone hole extent, origin unknown. Blue line: Ozone partial pressure as measured 12 September. Red line: Temperature as measured on 12th September. Fine purple line: Temperature as measured on 26th August.

SEPTEMBER: By 12th September NOx is certainly beginning to erode the partial pressure of ozone over the pole but the extent of erosion depends not on the local temperature (-85°C at 70hPa) or the presence of sunlight (none), or the presence of noctilucent clouds, even though all may be favourable to chlorine chemistry but simply according to the patterns of movement in the air that progressively floods the polar cap with NOx. There are different air masses over the pole, different in their trace gas composition according to the presence or absence of NOx and this is the determining influence so far as total column ozone is concerned.

Notice that the seasonal minimum in total column ozone at the pole manifests between 50 and 100 hPa. There is a marked contrast between this deficit and the high ozone content of the air on the outside of the chain of polar cyclones. The formation of the hole exaggerates the contrast.

We see below that between 12th September and 15th October NOx floods the polar cap between 100 hPa and 50 hPa and the ozone simply disappears. The outer perimeter of the chain of polar cyclones marks an abrupt transition between high ozone values and virtually none at all. This is the month when surface pressure falls to its annual minimum at 60-70° south. This is not a coincidence. Surface pressure is a function of the vorticity of polar cyclones in turn a function of differences in air density between the northern and southern perimeter of this chain of polar cyclones. With zero ozone on one side of the vortex and a variable amount of ozone on the other side the stage is set for variability that arises entirely according to change in the partial pressure of ozone.

The polar circulation is now changing quickly as the stratosphere undergoes its final warming. See below. There is a strong  increase in the temperature of the air above 50 hPa between mid September and mid October.

Notice the warmer air above 25km. Over the polar cap there is insufficient ozone in the air and insufficient air density to allow ozone to make a strong contribution to the temperature of the air above about 25 km in elevation. The increase in the temperature of the air that we observe in this month reflects a reduced influx of very cold mesospheric air and is due entirely  to atmospheric dynamics. Warmer air from lower latitudes begins to occupy the polar cap as the polar vortex contracts in diameter and its degree of penetration. The two are actively mixed in the rapidly rotating cross currents of cold descending and warm ascending air across the polar vortex. As we will see the very cold air from the mesosphere enters laterally rather than vertically.12th Oct

OCTOBER: A reminder: Surface pressure at 60° to 70° south falls to its annual minimum in October when the contrast between the ozone content of the ‘hole’ and its margins is greatest. There should be no doubt as to the motive forces behind this circulation and it has nothing to do with heating in the tropics or any of the circuitous arguments of those who theorise in the world of fluid dynamics who assume that  all atmospheric motions can ultimately be put down to heating at the equator and the movements of air masses on a spinning circular orb.  A pennyworth of observation is more valuable than a pounds worth of theory.

Below we see that 15th October marks the climax in terms of the presence of NOx over the continent. Unfortunately there is no data for NOx after the 25th November and we have to rely on the distribution of ozone as the sole indicator of the air flow. This is no real hardship because we know that one is always the mirror image of the other. Notice however that NOx declines in concentration after 15th October.

NOx to 25 Oct

Above: NOx at 50 hPa.

Between the 15th October and the 18th November the air over the pole warms strongly as we see below and the vortex of cold air that descended over the pole is no more.  The air in the core of the circulation has a temperature of -53°C on 10th October, and is surrounded by warmer air that is at -15.7°C at its warmest with much colder air on the perimeter and the core of the circulation ends up at -17°C a month later. The air outside the vortex remains at the same temperature.

10hPa 15.10.2015

10hPa 18.11.2015

18 Nov

NOVEMBER: The increase in the temperature of the air at 10 hPa (30 km) is reflected in the ozonesonde data for the 18th November. Total column ozone has increased but there is still a marked deficit between 100 hPa and 50 hPa that would be described as an ‘ozone hole’. This deficit can not be accounted for in terms of chlorine chemistry because the air at 50 hPa is now too warm for this to occur. The distribution of ozone simply reflects circulatory phenomena. The diagram at left shows that the greatest deficit in ozone is not above the pole but in the core of the now wandering circulation of swiftly warming air that is no longer locked into its winter position over the pole. 16 Dec

DECEMBER: It is plain from the diagram at left that the presence or absence of ozone is a product of the movement of the air masses. The ozonesonde data shows that at the 100 hPa level ozone is still heavily depleted by comparison with the  August pattern indicating that disparate winds in the horizontal domain account for the presence or absence of ozone in the air. The blue ozone curve indicates fluctuating levels of ozone between 10 and 15 km in elevation and certainly a deficit by comparison with the month of August.

The red temperature line shows that a very definite tropopause is established at 9km (250hPa) in elevation associated with an increase in the ozone content of the air to only 4ppm  that is sufficient at this pressure level to cause an increase in the temperature of the air. This indicates a reduced exchange of air in a north south direction and the establishment of relatively calm conditions. The surface pressure gradient between the continent and southern ocean is now  falling away from its October extreme. Atmospheric pressure at 60-70° south latitude is now rising steeply as is seen below.SLP 60-70°S

20 Jan

JANUARY: Features of the atmosphere include a very definite tropopause at about 9km in elevation. The top of the atmospheric column is cooling from its December peak as the upper circulation receives a marginally increased contribution of cold air from the mesosphere. We see at left that the bulk of the  air at 50 hPa over the Antarctic continent is little differentiated in terms of its ozone content. Between the equator and 30° south the ozone content of the air at 50 hPa  is much affected by the elevation of NOx and water from the troposphere that occurs in summer. We see that  the interaction of the troposphere and the stratosphere is important in modulating the ozone content of the air above about 8 km in elevation at the poles and double that elevation at the equator. It is not the so called Brewer Dobson circulation that is responsible for the increase in ozone partial pressure in higher latitudes but the freedom from erosion by NOx from the troposphere and the low ionisation pressure in winter.


1 Greenland

Sonde greenland

Summit Station at latitude 72° north is located on the highest part of the Greenland ice sheet. Land in high latitudes promotes high surface pressure in winter and low pressure in summer. In winter low pressure zones tend to locate over the ocean. The absence of a stabilising land mass in what is the Arctic Ocean means that the pattern of polar cyclone activity is much less annular than it is about the Antarctic pole.  Apart from a persisting low pressure zone that establishes over the north Pacific most locations at 50-70° north experience low surface pressure on an intermittent basis.


Above: Ozone at 50 hPa between the 6th and the 14th March 2016.

There is a well established relationship between the ozone content of the air and surface pressure that goes back to the observations of Gordon Dobson and others prior to the 1920s. On the 6th March at Summit station Greenland, cold, ozone deficient air manifests in a lateral flow between 10 and 25 km in altitude and surface pressure is accordingly high. It is the elevated ozone content of the air on the 12th March that is responsible for low surface pressure.

Referring again to the sonde data, note the variation in the height of the tropopause between the 6th and the 12th March, the much cooler denser stratosphere  at and about 50 hPa on the 6th and the strong response to the presence of ozone at 7 km in elevation  on the 12th March and again at 20km of elevation. This illustrates the fact that the temperature of the stratosphere is a response to two influences. The first is the presence of ozone and the second, regardless of ozone content, the very different temperature of the air  according to its origin.

Let us note that the high latitude stratosphere in both Antarctica and the Arctic is far from a quiescent medium. There are strong lateral flows beginning from as low as 7km of elevation in some locations but higher in others. It is the ozone content of the air above 7km in elevation that determines surface pressure and not the other way round.

Secondly, let us note that from one year to the next there is a large variation in the concentration of ozone in the atmosphere as is evident by comparing the diagrams above and below.

Greenland 6-14

Above: Ozone at 50 hPa between the 6th and the 14th March 2015

Thirdly, let us note that the ozone structure at 50 hPa is very different in comparable spring months between the Arctic and the Antarctic. The Arctic is relatively supercharged with ozone and the vortex is both highly variable in terms of the its shape and also its location. The Antarctic works at more moderate levels of ozone but it maintains a stable vortex with an extreme gradient in ozone partial pressure and hence surface atmospheric pressure between the inside and outside of the vortex. The vortex plays a much stronger role in modulating the ozone content of the southern hemisphere than it does in the northern hemisphere and drives down the ozone content of the entire southern hemisphere. In fact it can be demonstrated that the southern vortex modulates the ozone content of the global atmosphere on inter-centennial time scales and in doing so modulates the distribution of atmospheric mass and hence the planetary winds, cloud cover and surface temperature. Ozone therefore modulates the distribution of energy and the temperature gradient between the equator and the poles.

2. Suva, Fiji


Suva is the capital city of Fiji located at 18° south latitude on the margin of a very large area of high surface pressure that spreads eastward to South America. We see that total column ozone values at this latitude are comparable to the Antarctic in summer and there is a marked deficit in ozone between about 7 and 17 km in elevation, not greatly different to the circumstance in the Antarctic in October.There is a similar ‘hole’ to that in Antarctica but the Suva hole is invariable. If air of this nature travels to Antarctica (and it does) it will be seen to be NOx rich and ozone poor.

An interesting variation in the ozone content of the air occurs in the troposphere. It is clearly related to the shape of the temperature profile. As ozone dissipates from these stratified layers into the air above and below it will affect cloud cover. In October and November average rainfall in Suva is in excess of 200 mm per month. Surface temperature varies between 23 and 26°C across the year peaking in February. As the air warms it has the capacity to absorb more moisture. In a warming regime clouds will disappear resulting in a warmer surface on land or increased absorption of energy by the sea. We call this weather on daily time scales, seasonal variation on inter-annual time scales and climate change on longer time scales and its all entirely natural in origin.

The tropopause is well marked and much elevated at all times of the year. The temperature profile above about 18 km in elevation indicates a strong response to the presence of ozone that is only possible in relatively still air. The temperature of the air increases at elevations above 27km (20hPa) despite the falling away of ozone partial pressure indicating a strong contribution from ionising short wave radiation from the sun in the very exposed latitudes close to the equator. Above 20 hPa there is only 2% of the atmosphere to intercept short wave energy from the sun.

Pago Pago

3. Pago Pago

Pago Pago is situated at 14° south latitude in the south west Pacific. The ozone regime is very similar to that at Suva. Notice the temperature response to the presence of 5-6ppm ozone quite close to the surface on 9th December. As Gordon Dobson observed, it is not uncommon to find parcels of very dry air from the stratosphere in places where they are least expected.

Huntsville 2

Huntsville 1

4. Huntsville Alabama.

Huntsville Alabama experiences  a great deal of diversity in the nature of the air masses, the ozone content of the air, the ozone profile, the speed and ozone content of the wind at different elevations and therefore the height of the tropopause. Note that on the 12th March there is a minor temperature response despite the presence of 10 ppm ozone at 13-15 km of elevation. This suggests that an influx of relatively ozone rich air from higher cooler latitudes  is responsible for the low temperature, apparently a relatively frequent phenomenon. On the 2nd March at 10 km in elevation we have 10 ppm ozone and no temperature response at all.

5 Trinidad Head, Humbolt County, Northern California 40° north latitude

TRinidad Head 1

TRinidad Head 2

Trinidad Head is much subject to a rising and falling tropopause as the ozone content of the air changes with the origin of the travelling air masses. The stated total column ozone value for the 20th January of 99999 Dobson Units  illustrates the magnitude of the error that is possible when using ‘climatological tables’ to infer total column ozone when the helium balloon carrying the ozonesonde bursts at a low altitude.


  1. Ozone maps surface pressure. The primary driver of change in surface pressure globally is the variation in the ozone content of the air between the surface and 50 hPa.
  2. The variability in the ozone content of the air manifests in both the troposphere and the stratosphere in the main between between about 7 km in elevation through to 20 km in elevation (350 hPa to 50 hPa).
  3. The vigorous lateral circulation of the air at and above  250 hPa is a prime driver of the ozone content of the air at particular locations on a day to day basis. The lateral movement of the air in the upper troposphere-lower stratosphere is associated with changes in surface pressure and weather on day to day  time scales.
  4. Ozone at 4 ppm in the lower troposphere can drive an increase in the temperature of the air. This will affect cloud cover and in a regime of changing ozone partial pressure that will drive change in climate. This appears to be the mechanism behind the observed relationship between geopotential height and the temperature at the surface of the planet.
  5. Change in the ozone content of the air is responsible for change in the weather on day to day intervals and the climate on longer time scales. As Gordon Dobson discovered in the 1920’s Total Column ozone maps surface atmospheric pressure. Unfortunately ‘climate science’ went on a mathematical picnic in the 1960’s and has yet to return to the task of coming to grips with the nature of weather and climate, as it is observed and as it evolves. Dobson was first and foremost an observer and secondly an enormously resourceful inventor of instruments to gather the data necessary to describe the nature of the atmosphere and its modes of change. He left little in the way of written work but his ‘Exploring the Atmosphere’ of 1963 is seminal.
  6. The atmosphere has a history that is indissolubly linked to the evolution of surface atmospheric pressure at 60-70° south latitude.




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

Links to chapters 1-23