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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Climate model simulations show only relatively small wind speed changes

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

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

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

The linkage between cloud cover, surface pressure and temperature

For the albedo data in this presentation I am indebted to Zoe Phin at. As per usual the temperature data comes from:

Atmospheric albedo is due to particles that reflect visible wave lengths in the spectrum of light emitted by the Sun. This reduces the light that reaches the surface of the planet. Reflection in the atmosphere is due to cloud, and my gut feeling is that the strongest variability will be in the cloud that is in the form of multi branching crystals of ice that create a large surface area in relation to their mass. With a lapse rate of 6.5°C per kilometer, the elevation required to form ice cloud is no more than 3 km over the bulk of the planet and 5 km at the equator. Much ice cloud is seen to be stratified due to localized cooling at a high altitude. With 90% of the atmosphere below 10 km in elevation and ice cloud extending into the stratosphere, its obvious that albedo due to variation in ice cloud density might play a very important part in determining surface temperature. Orthodox climate science tells us that this cloud warms the surface by back radiation. I think differently. The higher the elevation of the cloud the more its density will vary according to the ozone and H2O content of the particular layer involved. And this type of cloud is always layered. It is estimated that about 90% of the albedo of the Earth is due to cloud. Surface features don’t get to play a big role due to the ubiquity of cloud. The question is, which sort of cloud plays what role.

Using satellite instruments that intercept light that is reflected, it has been possible, for more than twenty years, to document atmospheric albedo and chart its variation. So far as I am aware nobody has thought to juxtapose that data with surface temperature. Why? Because of the almost universal assumption that the temperature at the surface is determined by back radiation from the atmosphere, including from cloud, with ice cloud at a high altitude presumed to be partly responsible.

Albedo is measured as the proportion of solar radiation that is reflected towards space with no change in wave length. As we see above, there is a seasonal cycle.

Albedo is at its minimum in August and it peaks in December. The secondary hump in albedo between April and August is explained by the increase in cloud associated with the South and East Asian Monsoon. Eastern China receives about 60% of its rainfall between May and August. The Indian Monsoon is frequently initiated on 1st June. So there should be no doubt that albedo varies with cloud cover.

The data indicates that, between 28% and 31% of solar radiation fails to reach the surface according to the time of the year, due to reflection by atmospheric constituents.

Consider the following argument. As we see above, the temperature of the Earth peaks in July-August. This is coincident with albedo at minimum. The July-August peak in temperature is due to the evaporation of cloud as the land masses of the northern hemisphere heat the atmosphere, driving the dew point down and maintaining more water vapour in its invisible, non reflective, gaseous form. On a regional scale land returns energy to the atmosphere tending to clear the sky during the daylight hours but allowing cloud to return in the late afternoon and evening. Vegetation supplies moisture to maintain cloud so that a fence separating cleared land from native vegetation is frequently observed to be also a dividing line for cloud. So, we know that the supply of moisture and the extent of back radiation from the land surfaces play a big role in determining the presence of cloud. Globally, tropical rain forests in the Congo and the Amazon and across the ‘Maritime Continent’ are the chief sources of atmospheric moisture measured as Total Precipitable Water.

Solar irradiance is 6% weaker in July than in January due to orbital considerations. Now get this! Paradoxically, the temperature of the globe peaks when solar irradiance is weakest. A 5.7% decline in albedo between January and July compensates for the 6% deficit in solar radiation and on top of that, delivers the thumping 2.5°C benefit by comparison with the southern hemisphere. Obviously, this is a feedback driven process that relates to the distribution of land and sea.

This paradox is instructive. Take away the cloud and surface temperature increases. Put the cloud back, and the temperature plummets. Adding the cloud back negatively impacts the Southern Hemisphere in its summer giving rise to cooler temperatures at every latitude than is experienced in the same latitude in the northern hemisphere. The notion that cloud warms the surface via back radiation that is incorporated into the mathematical equations that constitute climate models is erroneous. Cloud normally comes in warm moist air from the equator. Perhaps that is the source of this error.

Over the sea, radiation goes straight into the receipts ledger of Earths energy budget because the sea is transparent. Radiation that falls on land tends to be returned to space with expedition. That is what a comparison of the temperature of the Northern versus the Southern Hemisphere demonstrates.

Its important to realise that any variation in albedo over the land starved Southern Hemisphere that occurs between July and April will be critical to the Earths energy budget.

We need to know what lies behind the variation in albedo including an answer to the ‘where and ‘why’ questions. We can begin with a study of variability by month of year.

The diagrams below are a simple method of assessing the nature of variability in albedo according to the month of the year.

Patently the variation in albedo is a cyclical phenomenon and we have to look for a mechanism to explain it. If we can not explain it and account for it properly we have no business attributing climate change to the works of man. or anything else for that matter.

The interpretation delivered below is based on the reality that the atmosphere of the Earth is in part ionized, especially so in winter and at solar minimum due to the impact of intergalactic cosmic rays. The atmosphere exists in a magnetic field that extends into Space that we call the Magnetosphere. The Earths magnetic field couples to the interplanetary magnetic field to the greatest extent in March and September when the axis of the Earths rotation is at right angles to the plane of it’s orbit.

First see diagram 3. Notice that the pattern in September is a mirror image of that in March. Its hard to make any sense of what’s happening as the Antarctic begins to dominate the evolution of the planetary winds, via its determination of the evolution of surface pressure, between April and August.

Close inspection reveals that the whole of period variation of albedo in October is greater than any other month. In figure 1 we see that the data for October is a mirror image of that in January.

September shifts the August pattern towards what it will become in October. In other words, October magnifies and exaggerates the nature of the variation in albedo that is initiated in September. In November and December, the October pattern is maintained but softened.

November is a very important month for climate. It is in November that the changeover occurs between the Antarctic and the Arctic in the phenomenon known as the final stratospheric warming. The high altitude circulation over the Antarctic changes from descent to ascent with a 180° swing in rotation from ‘west to east’, to ‘east to west’ with the summer rotation a pale version, in terms of the energy involved, of that in winter. With a cessation of descent associated with a fall in polar surface pressure, the temperature of the stratosphere warms to the point where, over Antarctica, it is commonly 20°C warmer at the stratopause than at the equator where the pressure of ionization is most severe. Patently, it is not ionization by solar energy that heats the stratosphere, it the absorption in the infrared by ozone. There is a less exaggerated variation of albedo in November. But, the pattern of variation in November is still like that in September. November albedo is a regular 9-10% increase on that in September. The Earth system is throwing up a cloud umbrella as the Earth gets closer to the sun and solar irradiance gets stronger.

The variation in January is a mirror image of that in December and the January pattern persists into February. The pattern in March is different to that in February, sometimes opposed. However, the disturbance seems to be temporary because the pattern in April reverts to the January-February type.

In September the organizing principle transitions to the form that persists between October and December.

March and September, the months where the Earths atmosphere couples most effectively with the Interplanetary magnetic field are diametrically opposed. It’s as if the atmosphere gets a jerk that temporarily disturbs its habits. The reversion from Arctic to Antarctic control of the global atmospheric circulation occurs in late March, muddying the impact of the coupling of the atmosphere with the interplanetary magnetic field at that time. The ionization of the Arctic atmosphere peaks in January rather than in March. In contrast, the September coupling occurs at a time of strong ionization, and a peak in ozone partial pressure. Ozone is not neutral, electrically speaking. The critical thing to remember is that, via this process the atmosphere is set up to rotate like an electric motor.

There has been a steep recovery in Albedo since 2019 in the months from September through to December. It’s plain that there is an organizing principle that lies behind the variability in albedo and it is very likely to be the response of the atmosphere to the interplanetary magnetic field. Just consider this. The atmosphere rotates in the same direction as the Earth, but faster. Those who are interested in this phenomenon talk about atmospheric angular momentum and a variation in ‘time of day’ that appears to correlate with changes in the planetary winds.

The connection with surface pressure

The flux of surface pressure in high latitudes. directly determines pressure in the mid latitudes in a manner described as the ‘Annular Modes’ phenomenon. Along the equator any increase in surface pressure in the south east of the Pacific Ocean is associated with a fall in temperature as cold water either upwells to the surface along the South American coast or upwells and is is transported westwards along the equator. Where waters are not affected by the mixing of cold with warm or warm with cold, surface temperature varies directly with surface pressure. Along the equator surface temperature rises as atmospheric pressure falls. Under a high pressure cell where the waters are not affected by mixing processes, as the surface pressure rises, so does the temperature of the water, due to a reduction in cloud albedo, exactly the opposite to what occurs at the equator. When this occurs over land, as in the northern hemisphere in summer the impact on surface temperature is immediate and strong. Over the sea, the impact is slight because the ocean absorbs energy to depth.

On a month by month basis surface pressure in the mid latitude high pressure cells of the southern hemisphere depends on pressure in the Aleutian Low and the Icelandic Low. When these cells are are active atmospheric mass accumulates in the high pressure cells of the mid latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere, especially that in the South East Pacific adjacent to Chile. Whereas the Antarctic trough is the background driver of surface pressure across the globe, the vigour of the Aleutian Low has a surprisingly generous impact on the high latitudes of the southern hemisphere between January and March. This directly impacts the ENSO phenomenon via a strengthening of the Trades.

Pressure is normally high in the southern high pressure cells in winter due to the pronounced heating of the northern hemisphere and enhanced polar cyclone activity in the Antarctic trough. This creates a wide zone in the mid latitudes where cloud albedo is naturally low. A strong Aleutian trough delivers strengthening trade winds in the Southern Hemisphere via a boost to the high surface pressure in the Chilean High. The loss of cloud albedo as these high pressure systems expand in surface area, creates a situation where temperature in the mid latitudes increases as it falls across the equator. The enhanced pressure differential between the Chilean High and the Maritime Continent, traditionally monitored by observing an increase in surface pressure in Tahiti against a relatively static pressure in Darwin drives the cooling along the equator. Paradoxically, La Nina is associated with almost invisible additions to the receipts ledger of the Earths energy budget, under the high pressure cells of the Southern Ocean, that is add odds with the evolution of tropical and global surface temperature.

In this way, the Southern Hemisphere is set up to either receive or to reject solar radiation as cloud cover is rapidly growing after the August minimum through to the December maximum. The Southern Hemisphere is mostly ocean and is known to transport energy to the northern Hemisphere, via the diversion of tropical waters northwards due to the arrangement of the land masses.

The diagram below indicates very little change in surface temperature in the southern hemisphere in December when the northern hemisphere is at its coldest and global albedo peaks. The consistent warmth of northern summer in the highest northern latitudes, is due to the invariable surface area of the continents that are responsible for reduction in albedo in mid year. But it is the Southern Hemisphere, picking up energy as the northern hemisphere cools in the last half of the year. that provides the warmth that lengthens the growing season in the northern hemisphere by elongating Summer and Autumn and rendering northern winter warmer than it otherwise would be. The ocean currents that provide this benefit are well known but the source of their variability has long been a matter of speculation.

It’s important to realize that this is a reversible process. Its entirely possible that an increase in albedo affecting the mid latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere will cut off the flow of energy from the southern to the northern hemisphere. Unless there is warming in Southern Hemisphere winter the Northern Hemisphere will see its supply of energy from the south cut off. The gain in temperature seen above, should not be taken for granted. It will not necessarily continue.

Polar regions have lost atmospheric mass over the last seven decades, piling it up most strongly in the mid latitudes. This is assisted by increased convection at the equator. Nothing that is inherent in the Earth system, defined to exclude the influence of the Interplanetary magnetic field, can explain this. The increase in pressure in the mid latitudes affects the differential pressure that drives the South East Trade winds initiated from May through to December and either building or falling away in Arctic winter according to the activity in the Aleutian Trough.

The differential pressure driving the North Westerly winds of the Southern Hemisphere is superior to that driving the Trades and has been increasing apace, over the last seventy years. The differential pressure driving the Westerlies peaks in the middle of winter as surface pressure is enhanced in the mid latitudes against a relatively invariable Circumpolar Antarctic Trough that maintains a resounding planetary low in surface pressure all year round. The increase in surface pressure in the mid latitudes opens an atmospheric window according to the area that exhibits high surface pressure and relatively clear skies. The Trades and the Westerlies come from the same source, the share going to east is unstable a possible subject for another post.

The initiator of variation in ENSO is the high latitude troughs in surface pressure in both hemispheres especially attached to the vigour of the Aleutian trough from October onwards through Southern Hemisphere summer. ENSO is not albedo neutral but the change occurs, not at the equator, but in the mid latitudes.

The movement on the center of convection across the Pacific is a consequence of an increase in the temperature of waters in the East of the Pacific ocean and of no great significance in itself. This is a booster rather than an initiator of the ENSO event. There is little variation in albedo attached to the movement in the centre of convection. The process is started and driven from high latitudes, background condition determined by the Antarctic trough and the month to month swings by the Aleutian Low.

The obvious thing to ask is: How does the variation albedo relate to global temperature?

In the diagrams below the albedo axis on the right, is inverted. As albedo falls away, temperature increases. The relationship is watertight. No other influence needs to be invoked other than ENSO which throws a spanner in the works unrelated to the underlying change in the Earths energy budget.

The relationship between global albedo and surface temperature is less disturbed by ENSO at 20-30S Latitude, the latitudes where the variation in albedo is likely to be directly related to change in surface pressure.

The tropics distort the evolution of global surface in a manner that is unrelated to albedo. Temperature increase in the tropics is important to the global statistic because the circumference of the Earth is greatest in low latitudes. However, tropical variability relates to a mixing phenomenon of cold with warm water that has little to do with albedo and the Earths energy budget. The temperature of the Eastern Pacific that is normally about 8°C degrees cooler than the waters in the West increases in the El Nino phase. But essentially the increase in the East brings temperature to the point where the difference between the East and the West is, for a brief interval, reduced, or eliminated. The result is a leap in global temperature when the high pressure cells in the mid latitudes are contracting and albedo is increasing.

See below

It follows that average global temperature is a not a good guide to the status of the Earths energy budget.

In high latitudes temperature is dependent, not on the ENSO phenomenon or even albedo, but rather the degree of penetration of flows of cold air originating from the Arctic and the Antarctic and that of warm air travelling pole-wards from the mid latitude highs towards the Polar Lows that bring these air masses together. The chief variable here is the surface area occupied by LOW PRESSURE cells (polar cyclones, extratropical cyclones) in high latitudes and the balance of pressure between source and sink with reversals a fact of life. The cooling of high latitudes in the southern hemisphere relates to this phenomenon. Variability in the polar lows occurs on very long time scales. Surface pressure on the margins of Antarctica has been falling for seventy years and the area affected by reduced surface pressure has expanded northwards, especially in winter.

At times when the interplanetary field is less disturbed by solar activity, as we have seen in the most recent solar cycle, large swings in albedo should be expected.


Land and sea surface temperature is very sensitive to albedo on all time scales. Variation in albedo, accounts for the change in surface temperature over the last 20 years, to the exclusion of any other mechanism.

This is a lesson in the the desirability of observation, measuring what is observed and making an effort to understand the mechanism responsible for change. The Arctic Oscillation is well correlated with geomagnetic activity. Shifts in atmospheric mass between the high and mid latitudes change the planetary winds and this is the prime source of change in weather and climate on inter-annual, and longer and decadal time scales. What has been lacking is a close observation of the mechanics of the circulation of the atmosphere in high latitudes in winter and its evolution over time, that is primarily determined in the stratosphere.

Ozone is a greenhouse gas too. There is less ozone than carbon dioxide. But there is enough ozone in the air to impart sufficient kinetic energy to all atmospheric constituents to reverse the lapse rate at the tropopause. The partial pressure of ozone increases in winter when the sun is low in the sky and the short wave radiation that splits the ozone molecule is attenuated. The Antarctic circumpolar trough, the Aleutian Low and the Icelandic Low are made up of one or more polar cyclones. These cyclones can elevate ozone to to the 1hPa pressure level. A polar cyclone that is due to absurdly steep density gradients in the lower stratosphere/upper troposphere, can propagate to the surface because, the surface is simply not very far away. It is in the stratosphere, at Jet stream altitudes, and in the vicinity of polar cyclones, that the climate engine can be found, driving the circulation of the atmosphere. If you are looking to find the engine of climate change at the equator or via ENSO it won’t be there.

What goes up must come down. It (ozone) comes down in the mid latitude high pressure cells that pay scant respect to mans conceptual differentiation between ‘troposphere’ and ‘stratosphere’. The importance of ozone is derived from the fact that it is the only greenhouse gas that is not uniformly distributed and secondly, the virtual absence of ozone in the very cold air descending over the Antarctic, and the Arctic when polar pressure is sufficiently high. The volume of descent of this very cold air is not as important as the maintenance of a steep gradient of temperature and density where the two air masses converge. The notion of a ‘Front’ where these air masses meet, is unphysical. The air rotates in what might be deceptively described as a ‘cold core’ polar cyclone’. In fact the warm core starts at about 500 hPa. There is no ‘troposphere’ at high latitudes. Tropospheric air re-enters high latitudes to establish an ‘ozone hole at Jet stream altitudes in spring. The air that is of tropospheric origin has a high NOx content. Its not there during the winter season.

The descent of ozone into the troposphere has implications for atmospheric albedo. The climate shift of 1978, evident in the evolution of tropical surface temperature in the diagram above, was due to a breakdown of the Antarctic circulation that delivered a steep increase in the temperature of the stratosphere and upper troposphere globally, a subject for another day.

It can be observed that a map of total column ozone is also a map of surface pressure. It is the kinetic energy acquired by ozone aloft that is responsible for low surface pressure. It is difference in near surface pressure that appears to drive the winds. But in a polar cyclone, air density gradients are at their steepest between 500 and 50 hPa, not at the surface. The driver is aloft, not at the surface.

Notions couched in terms of ‘forcings’ of surface temperature based on radiation theory pay no respect to the complexity of the atmosphere and cannot explain the evolution of surface temperature. CO2 has nothing to do with it whatsoever. There is virtue in the study of geography even though its very old fashioned. A study of the geography of the atmosphere is good to combine with a knowledge of the manner in which the temperature and density of the atmosphere has evolved over time, at each pressure level in all latitudes. The temperature of air depends upon where it comes from. That changes systematically over time and with it, albedo.

The parameters that are important to the determination of surface temperature evolve, as does everything in the natural world. The Earth is not an Island unto itself. Unless we identify the correct parameters and study the linkages, the climate system can’t be modelled. When humans pursue ideological objectives its quite common the see them rewrite science to suit their purpose. But, who in their right mind could ignore the importance of cloud as a determinant of surface temperature.

The immediate future

This data above indicates that the change each months data from one year to the next is systematic and progressive, even in the space of 20 years. The ‘clumping’ of several months together all moving in the same direction occurs in the low points of solar cycles. We can see that over the last twenty years the tendency for the variation in albedo between months to be self cancelling, is diminishing. The recent tendency for more grouping in the last half of the year has produced wide swings in surface temperature that are independent of the ENSO phenomenon, affecting the mid and high latitudes rather than the tropics. This week Melbourne experienced its coldest, temperature on record. Some parts of Victoria received half their annual rainfall in two days. Swings to extremes are to be expected when the interplanetary magnetic field is least disturbed during solar minimum and during low magnitude solar cycles that are less disturbing of the interplanetary magnetic field.

The progression of change in March and September is worth examination:

The trend is for albedo to increase in October and for the swings to be wider since 2017. The situation in March is the opposite. The swing in October is more capable of changing the course of global temperatures than that in March. The trend in September-October has, in the past, been maintained through to December. These are important months for both hemispheres.

The big unknown is how the impact of a change in polarity of the Interplanetary Magnetic field, currently underway, impacts the system. Perhaps a person who knows more about electricity and magnetism than I do, can answer that question. Will the next solar cycle be stronger or weaker. If its the former, the Interplanetary magnetic field will be thrown into disarray and its impact on the atmosphere will not have a strong central tendency, to drive albedo either one way or the other.

My gut feeling is that the tendency for albedo to increase will not be turned around for a couple of solar cycles.


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 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.



Dr Tony Phillips of NASA maintains that “Understanding the sun-climate connection requires a breadth of expertise in fields such as plasma physics, solar activity, atmospheric chemistry and fluid dynamics, energetic particle physics, and even terrestrial history. No single researcher has the full range of knowledge required to solve the problem”

In fact it requires the efforts of a generalist, a synthesiser, like a bird that gathers a diversity of material to make its nest, to put this story together.


Nitrogen and Oxygen together represent 99% of the volume of the atmosphere.  Neither ozone at up to 30 ppm nor CO2 at 400 part per million are in the list of the top eight atmospheric gases.From Wikipedia we have:


The wave lengths emitted by the Earth are centred about the 9-10 um where ozone absorbs.  It also absorbs at 5um. Because ozone, like water vapour is not uniformly distributed it gives rise to differences in air temperature and density. We are familiar with the manner in which the release of latent heat energises tropical cyclones. Climate science is blind to the manner in which ozone energises the atmosphere despite the realisation more than 100 years ago that total column ozone maps surface pressure. Carbon dioxide is another potent absorber of long wave radiation from the Earth but it is almost uniformly distributed. As such it plays no part in generating winds. It is differences in air density in the horizontal domain that drives the winds. The strongest winds are to be  found above the tropopause due to marked differences in the ozone content of the air in the horizontal domain between the 300 hPa and the 50 hPa pressure levels.

The movement of the air is influential in determining the equator to pole temperature gradient and cloud cover. High pressure cells are relatively cloud free environments. Anything that increases surface pressure in the mid latitudes expands the relatively cloud free zone and warms the planet.

In all latitude bands surface temperature variation is greatest in the winter and the range of variation increases from the equator to the poles. This points to a polar dynamic as being  responsible for natural climate variation. In the waxing and waning of polar cyclone strength according to the ozone content of the air we have a dynamic that can produce shifts in atmospheric mass. Shifts in mass are responsible for change in the planetary winds. This alone will change surface temperature.

It is vital therefore that we have a good understanding of how ozone comes to be, its distribution and the circumstances that will change its distribution and partial pressure.


Ionization, photolysis, photo-dissociation and photo-decomposition and are all terms that are used to indicate a chemical reaction where electrons are dislodged from molecules by photons. How far this process extends into the lower atmosphere is a matter of interest.

A photon is a hypothetical unit of radiant energy.  Photolysis is defined as the interaction of one or more photons with one target molecule. Any photon with sufficient energy can affect the bonds of a chemical compound.  A photon’s energy relates to its wave length. Only the shorter wave lengths have the necessary energy to decompose the smallest atmospheric molecules.


Because larger atomic weight molecules are more susceptible to photolysis than smaller atomic weight molecules only the smaller atomic weight entities can maintain their integrity at the highest altitudes.

In order of increasing atomic weight we have:    Hydrogen = 2.016,    Helium = 4.002602, Methane = 16.044,   Steam = 18.02,  Nitrogen = 28.0134,  Nitric Oxide = 30.006,  Oxygen = 31.9988,  Ozone= 47.998

Since short wave radiation is progressively ‘used up’ in its passage though the atmosphere it might be expected that the ozone content of the air would increase as the rays that disassociate ozone were used up. The ozone content of the air would then increase all the way to the surface of the planet. Part 2 will explain why that is not the case. This chapter explains where ozone is to be found above the tropopause and why that is so. An understanding of this question is vital if we want to comprehend the movement of the air and the origins of natural climate change. More than 100 years ago it was observed that ozone maps surface pressure. Surface pressure variation is the essence of weather on all time scales.

UV spectrum

The ultraviolet spectrum includes wavelengths shorter than 400nm. These wave lengths can account for 8% of the energy that comes from the sun but only a fraction of that under quiet sun conditions. The power in the EUV spectrum varies tenfold over the course of a solar cycle.

It is only the very short wave radiation in the EUV spectrum, x-rays and gamma rays that is capable of disassociating nitrogen.  EUV is wholly absorbed in photolyzing oxygen and nitrogen above 80km in elevation in the ionosphere.

A wave length shorter than 240 nm is required to disassociate oxygen.

Ozone is susceptible to ultraviolet waves shorter than 320 nm.  This includes UV-C (220-290 nm) and UV-B (290-320 nm).

Wave lengths longer than 320 nm have relatively free passage through the atmosphere.  There is insufficient ozone in the southern hemisphere to screen out wave lengths in the UVB and perhaps part of the UVC.  This has important consequences for plants and animals because this radiation penetrates deeply into the cells of an organism. Human skin containing low levels of melatonin is particularly susceptible. If ones sees blood vessels below the skin, so too does UVB.

It is change in atmospheric ozone that determines the degree of penetration of short wave radiation to the surface. Cold air from high latitudes comes with more ozone aloft producing low surface pressure. When surface pressure is lower the risk of UV exposure is also lower because of the superior ozone content of the upper air. Climate change has involved a southward movement of the high pressure belts in the southern hemisphere, reduced rainfall in southern Australia and also an increase in the UV risk factor.

The UV risk factor at the surface is time of day and time of year specific and it also depends upon cloud cover. The processes of atmospheric ionisation are similarly focused on just part of the atmosphere and the intensity of the process varies according to the time of the year and the stage of the solar cycle. The diagram below is instructive in this respect.

UV risk


Australian researchers contribute to the global effort in the field of radio astronomy. The diagram reproduced below appeared in a presentation delivered in 2012 to a CAASTRO EoR Radio Astronomy workshop in Sydney by  Dr Mike Terkildsen of IPS Radio and Space Services as reported here:


Note that the fall off in the electron concentration above 300km in elevation relates to the decline in the number of particles that are candidates for ionization.

I quote:  The ionosphere is what we term a weak plasma, as only one percent of the neutral atoms in the upper atmosphere are ionised. Traces of ionisation exist from about 80 km to 1000 km in altitude, with the peak ionisation occurring around an altitude of 300 km. The maximum ionisation can vary from about 1010 to 1013 electrons per cubic metre.

Ionospheric ionisation is controlled by extreme ultraviolet and soft x-ray flux emitted by the Sun. The lower regions of the ionosphere show almost exclusive solar control in that the ionisation at any time is proportional to some function of the solar zenith angle at each point as is seen below.

Vertical total electron count

Mileura is a radio observatory located in the Murchison district in Western Australia at 26° south latitude where radio wave interference is light due to remoteness from centres of population. We see the dependence of VTEC (Vertical Total Electron Count) at the Mileura observatory on time of day and the state of the solar cycle. Notice the dramatic difference between daylight and dark.  The difference between the maximum in the solar cycle and the minimum is as much as between day and night. There is a very strong impact of the angle of the sun that is reflected in the VTEC for the month of June.

This diagram helps us to understand that latitude impacts the degree of ionization of the atmosphere. Accordingly, at latitudes greater than 23° north or south the winter season will see a marked reduction in the vertical total electron count. We know that ozone partial pressure peaks in the high latitudes of the winter hemisphere. The availability of building blocks in terms of free atoms of oxygen to form ozone is least in winter. Ozone is not built in high latitudes via the dissociation of the oxygen molecule by UV light. It is transported there. The increase in the ozone content of the air in high latitudes in winter is not due to transport phenomena because the act of transport can not increase the concentration of any particular constituent. That increase in winter is due to low disassociation rates.

The altitudes where ionization maxima occur are referred to as the D, E and F regions.  The D region sees strong ionization only in daylight hours.


Some researchers refer to a lower C layer created by galactic cosmic radiation, a force that is independently capable of ionising the atmosphere that is particularly active over the poles. This activity can be monitored as a muon count. Precipitating muons penetrate to the surface and to deep underground, their incidence increasing with the temperature of the polar atmosphere.  It follows that the muon count creates a proxy record of the incidence of stratospheric warmings. Stratospheric warmings and in general the variability of the temperature of the stratosphere over the pole occur in winter where they build on a low base temperature established due to the descent of cold mesospheric air. The stratosphere warms from this low base as the tongue of very cold mesospheric air either withdraws or is displaced by ozone rich warmer air that circulates on the margins of the tongue outside what is referred to as ‘the polar vortex’. The vortex, is a rapidly circulating cone of air energised by the conjunction of cold dense air inside the vortex and ozone rich low density air outside the vortex.

Paradoxically, in the world of climate science the term ‘strong vortex’ relates to the situation where the flow of mesospheric air towards the surface is weak due to low surface pressure in the polar regions. In the Arctic, weak atmospheric pressure ensures that cold air is retained at high latitudes.  This is the positive phase of the ‘Arctic Oscillation’.

In climate science a ‘weak vortex’ refers to the situation where the AO index is negative, polar surface atmospheric pressure is high, the downdraught of mesospheric air is strong and cold air migrates into the mid latitudes. In this situation the jet stream that marks the edge of the polar vortex that in turn relates to the position of a chain of intense polar cyclones, wanders equator-wards taking with it very cold air. Is it any wonder that there is confusion about matters polar?

The notion of strong and weak vortex as described above is at odds with the circulation of the air in the stratosphere. In the stratosphere a faster zonal wind corresponds with deeper penetration of mesospheric air and weaker polar cyclone activity due to the  erosion of ozone. The result is a return of atmospheric mass to the pole from the mid latitudes and an accelerated flow of  of cold polar air to the mid latitudes. So a strong stratospheric flow is associated with coldness, not warmness. At the root of this problem is the notion that the vortex is some sort of impenetrable wall across which little mixing can occur. The reverse is actually the case because between the surface and 50 hPa polar cyclones violently mix very different atmospheric constituents from both sides of the ‘vortex’. The problem is a lack of appreciation of the motive force behind this circulation and a complete misinterpretation of its geometry. Behind that problem is the  notion that the circulation of the atmosphere is just problem in fluid dynamics where the energy to drive the system is assumed to be heating at the equator. In all other respects  it is assumed that the system is closed to external influences. Primitive thought patterns. Well, in fact that is not the case at all. All change begins in the Antarctic stratosphere. It is no accident that the entire southern hemisphere is something of an ‘ozone hole’.

Recent research (abstract below) suggests that ionisation due to cosmic rays in polar latitudes may be a pathway for the generation of ozone down to jet stream altitudes. If this is the case stratospheric warmings will be associated with the generation of ozone and the intensification of polar cyclone activity that lowers surface pressure across the entire polar cap impeding the flow of mesospheric air into the ozonosphere and, via the impact of enhanced ozone in columns of descending air in the mid latitudes, evaporating cloud and warming the surface of the planet. However, the solar wind conditions the ionosphere in such a way as to inhibit the flux of cosmic rays that reach the upper atmosphere. According to this construct the response to cosmic rays will tend to be greater at the low point of the solar cycle as the fluctuations in the solar wind are diminished at this time. There is in fact evidence in the incidence of the El Nino Southern Oscillation phenomenon that the climate system is particularly variable in terms of the distribution of atmospheric mass during solar minimums and it could be the cosmic ray mechanism that is responsible.

Cosmic rays ozone

At this point it is important to note that the cosmic ray effect is dependent upon warming of the stratosphere that is in turn dependent on surface pressure over the polar cap. It is high surface pressure in winter that drives the zonal wind in the upper stratosphere bringing that tongue of cold mesospheric air into the polar stratosphere. A change in surface pressure results in an immediate change in the temperature of the air over the polar cap conditioning the process of ionisation by cosmic rays.


The wave lengths that are capable of ionising atmospheric gases represent a tiny part of the electromagnetic spectrum emitted by the sun. The EUV itself contributes an insignificant amount to TSI, only a few mW m−2 , as compared to 1360 W m−2 , or a few parts in a million. Inevitably these very short wave lengths are exhausted in the process and largely so above 80km in elevation. But these wave lengths vary tenfold in terms of their power over the solar cycle. It follows that the state of inflation of the ionised region is a direct function of solar activity within the eleven year cycle and over the longer 100 and 200 year intervals between individual solar cycles of very low strength of the sort that the Earth is currently experiencing.

During the satellite age we have seen a marked reduction in the incidence of EUV radiation in line with reduced sunspot activity. In consequence the elevation that is required to reduce atmospheric drag on satellites is reduced and satellite life has been extended well beyond design expectations. This is a direct consequence of a reduction in the output of EUV by the sun. Over this period the concentration of ozone in the stratosphere shows no such variation. It is plain that the ozone content of the stratosphere is independent of the output of short wave radiation from the sun that is responsible for the inflation of the ionosphere.

The diagram below is included to give a sense of scale. We see that the temperature of the upper atmosphere peaks at the 1 hPa level (50 km) with 99.9% of the atmosphere below. This is just below the level where the D region of the ionosphere manifests during daylight hours (60- 75km).

The temperature of the upper air from about 7km in elevation at the poles and 15km at the equator, is conditioned by the presence of ozone that absorbs in the infrared spectrum emitted by the Earth and its atmosphere.  The decline in the temperature of the air in the mesosphere that lies between 45 and 80 kilometres in altitude relates to the declining partial pressure of ozone. The increase in the temperature of the air beyond the mesosphere relates to energy gain in the process of ionisation. But remember that only one percent of the neutral atoms in the upper atmosphere are ionised. That is 1% of the 0.01% that is present above 1 hPa. It does not take a lot of atmosphere to exhaust the incident EUV wave lengths.

T Atmos over equator


Given that the ionic population in the D region exists in the main above 50 km in elevation we can infer that ozone is created in the main in the mesosphere that represents the transient tail end of the ionosphere.  Below the mesopause the population of ions is adequate to support chance encounters between atoms and molecules of oxygen to enable the synthesis of ozone, at least in daylight hours. Here the intensity of destructive radiation is so diminished (particularly at night and at low sun angles) as to allow the large ozone molecule a life. It is then diffused or carried to lower elevations in areas of descent. It follows that the ozone content of the atmosphere below the levels where ionisation is possible is a function of atmospheric dynamics, day length, chemical interactions and the seasonal existence of relatively ‘safe zones’ in high latitudes where the atmospheric path is long and the wave lengths in the UVB and UVC spectrum are so eroded that the atmosphere offers a safe haven for ozone.

The upshot is that the stratosphere in general represents a relatively ‘safe zone’ for ozone, and particularly so in the winter hemisphere. This interpretation is consistent with the observation that the ozone content of the atmosphere varies little across the solar cycle even though EUV varies tenfold. In trying to understand the Earth system one must always remember that the Earth is an orb that rotates about the sun taking 365.25 days and spins on an axis that is inclined 23.5° off a vertical that is at right angle off the plane of its orbit. At the top of the atmosphere irradiance varies by 6% across the year due to the elliptical nature of this orbit and is greatest in January when the Earth as a whole is coolest due to increased cloud cover. This is very different situation to a plane surface that is uniformly lit from vertically above.

Between 1 hPa and the upper limits of the mesosphere at about 80 km in elevation, the temperature of the air and its ozone content descends to a minimum. This minimum is called the mesopause. Beyond the mesopause, atmospheric temperature increases in line with the excitation of the atmospheric constituents by extreme ultraviolet radiation.

It should be borne in mind that the temperature of the atmosphere that contains ozone (between the mesopause and the surface of the planet) is in part a function of the energy absorbed by ozone in the infra-red and secondly due to the energy released by the disassociation of the ozone molecule as it is ionised. However there is in practice a more  influential factor at work. The temperature of the air in the stratosphere is mostly a function of the origin of the air as it moves vertically and laterally within the stratosphere. On a spherical surface that is not uniformly lit the temperature of the air very much depends upon its origin.

The notion that the stratosphere is a relatively safe place for ozone is supported by the following observations:


It appears that 40km in elevation over India is the point at which the atmospheric profile changes. Above 40km the night time partial pressure of ozone is greater than the day time  as one would expect if the pressure of ionization during daylight hours actively depleted ozone faster than it forms up. Below 40km in elevation, daytime values are higher than night time values indicating a relatively safe environment so far as ionisation is concerned.


In the diagram below we see that at the 1 hPa pressure level there is a cyclical accumulation and dissipation of ozone over centres where surface pressure tends to be low in winter (the oceans). This convective phenomenon occurs in the lee of   the continents and in particular, in 2016, over New Zealand in winter.  This particular cycle comes and goes in the space of 9-11 days and is convective in origin.  It is erroneously attributed to ‘Planetary waves’. In fact, the annular ring of high ozone values that surrounds the pole, strengthening in winter represents air of low density that is ascending to the top of the atmosphere, or at least to a level where 99.9% of the atmospheric mass is beneath.

Planetary wave 1

In the northern hemisphere the Pacific Ocean tends to be the zone where low surface pressure promotes the accumulation and ascent of ozone rich air. The distribution of ozone at 1 hPa is seen below, across a similar cycle of convection in the northern hemisphere.

NH Ozone at 1hPa


It is suggested that the existence and persistence of ozone in the stratosphere is in the main a response to the reduced pressure of ionisation below an elevation of about 40 kilometres over the equator. In the winter hemisphere ionisation via short wave radiation from the sun is not a factor of importance allowing ozone partial pressure to build. The influence of cosmic rays may be to build ozone levels at high latitudes and particularly so during stratospheric warmings. The distribution of ozone responds also to convective processes. The temperature of the air in the stratosphere will depend in the main on its response to radiation from the Earth itself rather than the process of ionisation. Air  from the mesosphere is cooler regardless of its ozone content.  It is well observed that air moving from low to high latitudes at the 100 hPa pressure level is cooler due to its lower ozone content. The stratosphere is warmer at the poles than at the equator due to enhanced ozone content even though the amount of infrared radiation that is available to energise ozone is much reduced. This tells us that the amount of radiation available to  energise ozone is never limiting, even at night. The air at the tropical tropopause, markedly deficient in ozone, is at a similar temperature to the air in the mesosphere, about minus 85°C.

It is the exhaustion of ionising radiation above the mesopause that allows ozone partial pressure to build at lower elevations. The partial pressure of ozone can only build when the ozone molecule is free from disassociation via wave lengths that are longer than the EUV wave lengths responsible for the ionosphere. In low latitudes this may be the case at about forty kilometres in elevation and it will be higher in mid and high latitudes. The atmospheric path is long enough to filter out the wave lengths that can disassociate ozone when the sun is low in the sky. During the polar night the atmospheric path is …….. somewhere else.

Due to the minute partial pressure of ozone that rarely exceeds 30 ppm, and only in very protective environments near the poles,  the surface of the planet is never completely free of radiation at the wave lengths that can disassociate ozone. It is the paucity of ozone in the southern hemisphere that is responsible for the pressure of damaging short wave radiation at the surface. The Andes Mountains experience particularly large amounts of energetic ultraviolet radiation due to their elevation.

The dilution of ozone via the descent of mesospheric air pre-conditions the entire southern hemisphere to an ozone deficit and is responsible for the weathered, leathery, ‘Australian skin’ and by contrast the extreme levels of melatonin in the skin of Australia’s very well adapted native peoples.

Part 2 describes the forces responsible for the erosion of ozone near the surface of the planet, the highly variable height of the tropopause and its lack of clear definition when observed on short time scales. It is seen that ozone partial pressure is greatest where ozone is free from erosive influences emanating from the surface of the planet.



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

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

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

Change in T in NH according to month of the year

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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


From we have direct measurements of solar radiation at the surface.

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

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


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



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


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

At  we have a paper documenting change in cloud cover and establishing correlations between cloud cover over Europe and the North Atlantic Oscillation, a local manifestation of the the northern annular mode.

Survey of cloud cover change


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


The Arctic stratosphere, so cold today

Reference frame

The diagram above serves as a reference frame. The middle stratosphere at 30 hPa has been off the scale cold since the end of November as the Arctic began to experience Polar night.




The great bulk of the northern landmasses are experiencing sub zero temperatures. The winds streaming out of the Arctic are warm by comparison with the air near Lake Baikal and the interior of Iceland. Reputedly China is experiencing its coldest winter for thirty years. The diagram below shows the circulation of the air and its temperature at 10hPa or 30 km in elevation.


The cold is due to the descent of mesospheric air in the circulation at left centred over Russia and spiralling in to the surface in the proximity of Lake Baikal. The warm ascending circulation on the right that is centred on the north Pacific is due to the persistent presence of high concentrations of ozone that gives rise to low surface pressure. By contrast, the Siberian high pressure zone centred on lake Baikal has an elevated surface pressure as seen below.


The diagrams below show the evolution of temperature at elevations between 10hPa (30 km) and 70 hPa (17 km) in the area of the polar cap that takes in only that part north of 65° north, where the polar night prevails. It is important to realize that Lake Baikal, where the descent of very cold air is centred is at latitude 53° north. We are in fact sampling the temperature of the air outside the zone where the cold air originates.

10 T

A sudden stratospheric warming affecting the lower stratosphere has materialized in the last few days.


The warming is more apparent at 30 hPa than at 70 hPa.


Just a few days ago on the 24 th January we had this distribution of ozone at 10 hPa. Notice that there is an increasing deficit in ozone from the equator towards the pole at this elevation with up to 20 ppm on the perimeter and down to 6 ppm in the core. This reflects the fact that the air that is descending is low in its ozone content and high in NOx, compounds based on nitrogen that destroy ozone. There is an ascending circulation located over the ozone rich north Pacific that  was apparent above. That ascending circulation drags in air from the core and the entire ozone rich mass of air rotates about the core in a clockwise ascending spiral.

10 ozone

Observe the bulking up of the ozone driven circulation over the last three days. By the 28th there is an increase in the volume of ozone deficient air from the core inside the dashed oval that serves as a marking of the zone of ascent.

10hPa ozone 27

Latest available data is for the 28th January.

10 ozone 28

It is of the greatest importance that you understand that the inflow of NOX modulates the ozone content of the wider stratosphere. Just because climate science as embodied in the works of the IPCC is ignorant in this respect (wilfully so, I imagine, because they can’t be that unobservant). So, I will run down through the atmosphere to show you the process in detail.

At 20hPa background levels of ozone in low latitudes are distinctly lower than at 10hPa so there is less contrast between the ozone rich ascending circulation over the north Pacific and the background. We observe an extensive lateral mixing process in action. We have no means of judging the extent of vertical mixing in a diagram of this sort. There is a secondary exchange region, much smaller in scope at about 2 o’clock over the Middle East. The ozone deficient core is centred on Siberia and elongated towards Greenland. The ozone deficient core is weaker and less extensive than it is at 10hPa.

20 ozone

Below, the zone where ozone accumulation drives the ascending circulation is evident at 30hPa, an elevation of 23 kilometres.

30 ozone

At 30hPa ozone peaks over the North Pacific at 10ppm. On the periphery we have as low as 5ppm and in the core as low as 3ppm.

40 Oz

At 40 hPa the contrast between the ozone rich north Pacific at 9 ppm and the background at 3 ppm is still marked but the core is much reduced in area. There is less lateral mixing implying a steeper rate of vertical ascent in the ozone enhanced zone.

50hPa ozo

At 50hpa core ozone values in the north Pacific zone are in the region of 9ppm but ozone values fall away strongly towards lower latitudes implying fast ascent over the north Pacific. Notice the extent of the penetration of the Arctic circle by ozone rich air. The temperature of the air at 60-90° north reflects the varying penetration of the night zone by ozone rich air that circulates on its periphery. ‘Planetary waves’ reflect the pattern of ozone variability in the atmosphere that drives surface pressure. Cold core polar cyclones are warm core aloft. Without a warm core there can be no ascent.

70 oz

At 70 hPa the descent of cold vortex air is the dominant feature of the atmospheric circulation. This air has changed very little in its temperature in its descent from 10 hPa at 30 km to the 70 hPa level at 17 km and nor would we expect it to. Although it may have run a perimeter course and suffered some admixture of ozone rich air in the process it has moved only 13 km in the vertical and it has essentially retained the character that it did at source.  We don’t have any indication of the vertical vector in this plot but common sense dictates that the air can not pass through an ozone rich zone without having its temperature altered considerably. The implication is that the vertical vector at 9 0’clock is probably more important than the horizontal vector.  The question is, How far does this mesospheric air descend and what is its effect on the circulation of the lower atmosphere.

70 T Circ

The last observation of the temperature of the stratosphere that is available is at 100hPa.

100 oz

In low latitudes through to about 30hPa there is no ozone. The uplift of tropospheric air containing NOx destroys ozone at the 100hPa level. The north Pacific still rejoices in up to 4ppm ozone while vortex air at 1.5 to 2.ppm ozone occupies an extensive zone from 30° of latitude northwards.


At 250hPa (9km) very cold mesospheric air is being mixed with warmer stratospheric air. Areas of low surface pressure on the periphery give rise to cyclones( cold below, warm at 250hPa). The Jet stream manifests at the edge of the circulation as a wave like formation.

250hPa T Global

Globally, we see that polar cyclones are warm core circulations aloft, especially evident in the southern hemisphere at this time of the year.

Some take home messages:

  • Surface temperature in the winter is driven by a dramatic change in the source of the air, being driven from aloft. Notice the very cold air at 250 hPa over Lake Baikal.
  • According to the rate of delivery of mesospheric air into the polar atmosphere the ozone content of the air will change and with it surface pressure polewards of about 50° of latitude. This pattern of surface pressure change shifts atmospheric mass between high and low latitudes as the ozone content of the air increases driving surface pressure ever lower. This (unknown t the IPCC) is the origin of the annular mode phenomenon.
  • The winter polar circulation is highly energetic and is subject to ascent and descent. It is not stratified.
  • According to the ozone content of the air and the contrast in density that arises polar cyclones are generated on the margins of descending mesospheric air.
  • Planetary waves reflect the ozone content of the air.
  • Polar temperatures aloft reflect the pattern of distribution of warm and cold air. There is nothing mysterious about sudden stratospheric warmings.

Last but not least lets see this:

1 hPa Jan 8

1hPa 29th

Between the 8th and the 28th of January the ratios have changed implying that ozone has built up in the Pacific sector and is there is more ozone in the core than there was, perhaps via an exchange between the two. Or perhaps it represents a reduction of the inflow of mesospheric air heralding a major warming of which the one that we are seeing today is just a precursor?






9 Mankind in a cloud of confusion

The last chapter ended with these words: If we want to understand climate change we need to come to grips with the processes that are responsible for the change in the partial pressure of ozone in the polar atmosphere. This is the parameter that drives surface pressure, the planetary winds, cloud cover and surface temperature.  We will see that ozone levels climb to a peak in the polar atmosphere in spring but to a variable extent between the years and across the decades. We will see that this process is independent of man’s activities. Furthermore, it is a sufficient explanation of the change in surface temperature that has occurred. But this is a long story that is rich in evidence and will take time in the telling.

The basic parameters of the climate system are forever changing in a fashion that precludes effective modelling, unless we properly apprehend the forces involved.

This chapter is intended to be a brief general introduction to the nature of the atmosphere. It is informed by an unconventional view of climatic processes. I hope that the chapters that precede this chapter have prepared you for this!

Two very different accounts of the nature of the atmosphere are presented, first my own and then what might be describes as the orthodox version.  The latter emanates from a private company in the UK, not the Met Office. It can be found at:

In the latter there are a number of jolting errors: Nitrogen represents 78%, not 70% of the Earth’s atmosphere. Secondly, there is in fact pervasive horizontal and vertical motion in the stratosphere. The stratosphere is anything but homogeneous in its composition.  Thirdly, the ozone content in the stratosphere is in a state of constant flux. Fourthly, the concept of a tropopause, if by ‘tropopause’ we mean a notional boundary separating ozone affected and ozone free air, that is coincident with a ‘cold point’  can not be found outside near equatorial latitudes.

There is however, an elemental truth in the orthodox description of the atmosphere relating to its importance to humans dwelling at the surface and it is encapsulated in the following words: “The atmosphere protects surface dwellers from the high energy short wave radiation from the sun and the frigid vacuum of space”.  Let me hasten to add that these points  should be qualified. The southern hemisphere is in fact, due to the relative deficiency of ozone’ much less protected from short wave radiation than is the northern hemisphere, a curiosity that needs to be accounted for. On the other hand, the northern hemisphere that is land rich and therefore develops large areas of high surface pressure in the winter,  regularly gets a taste of the frigid vacuum of space. That’s why Santa Clause lives in the relatively salubrious climate of the north Pole rather than in Siberia.  The relative warmth of the Arctic Ocean is infinitely preferable to the blizzards of Antarctica or the gut freezing grip of Oymyakon in Siberia. In 1924 a temperature of −71.2 °C was reported for Oymyakon  indicating that the air gained only  15°C in its passage from the mesosphere to the surface. This is no place for reindeer. At about -60°C the snow and ice loses its slipperiness and sleigh travel is no longer practical. Santa would be locked up for Christmas.


 Over a short vertical interval of about a thousand metres the atmosphere has a temperature that is close enough to surface temperature to be comfortable to humans but only over a restricted range of near tropical latitudes and a larger portion of the summer hemisphere. Fortunately the atmosphere and the waters of the oceans actively transfer energy tending to make cold places warmer and warm places cooler. This relates to storage and transport phenomena and simple conductivity rather than any supposed ‘greenhouse effect’. The oceans are a great moderating influence. By virtue of their transparency the oceans store energy to depth. Maritime locations have a relatively invariable temperature regime while landlocked places are subject to inconvenient diurnal and seasonal fluctuations in temperature. Accordingly the ocean rich southern hemisphere is warmer in winter and cooler in summer than the land rich northern hemisphere.



It is somewhat inconvenient that due to the tilt of the Earth on its axis, the winter sun falls low in the sky near the poles actually disappears below the horizon. The land surfaces do not store energy at all well.  In the land rich northern hemisphere surface temperature falls precipitously. The map above shows the extent of the inconvenience attached to the combination of low temperatures and dry moving air calculated as a ‘misery index’. This map relates to the early part of winter on January 18th 2016. The combination of cold dry air and the movement of the air induces a chilling effect.  the temperature ‘feels like’ the figures recorded above. The transition between black and blue takes one into the freezing zone.  Freeze drying chambers intended to freeze animal tissue operate at a temperature of -50 to -80°C , the latter being close to the temperature of the mesosphere and the middle stratosphere over the pole in winter.

On the dark side ozone proliferates intensifying the production of polar cyclones that collectively lower surface pressure between  50° of latitude and the pole. The transfer of atmospheric mass to lower latitudes and the summer hemisphere that is due to enhanced polar cyclone activity is recognized as the major mode of inter-annual climate change. It depends upon the amount of ozone in the air in high latitudes, the agent for the generation of polar cyclones. That depends in turn upon the extent of incursions of cold mesospheric air from above and tropospheric air from below. Both contain oxides of nitrogen that are involved with the destruction of ozone.

The transfer of mass engendered by waxing and waning polar cyclone activity engenders change in processes responsible for cloud cover and surface temperature. Northern landmasses in winter can suffer from accelerated descent of cold upper air as surface pressure rises in the mid latitudes. The extent of cloud cover in the mid latitudes is reduced as surface pressure increases over those parts of the oceans occupied by high pressure cells.  Cloud can reflect up to 80% of incident solar radiation. The energy stored in the oceans represents a buffer that, via the movement of the sea makes maritime locations more tolerable than inland locations and offers a store of energy that tends to maintain planetary temperatures above inconvenient minima, especially in spring and autumn. This buffer is sore needed in the northern hemisphere in winter.

The temperature of the surface of the Earth varies with change in the amount of energy  that finds its way into the ocean according to variations in cloud cover rather than any supposed inefficiency in the process of  transferring energy to space.  The atmosphere is invariably efficient in transporting energy from the surface of the planet to space. There can be no inhibition due to back radiation in an atmosphere characterised by constant movement. The properties of a thin envelope of gas surrounding a planet spinning in space that is warm at its equatorial region and cold elsewhere, where the gas envelope loses density with elevation at a very fast clip, all together, ensure that the celebrated ‘greenhouse’ mechanism is simply  a work of the imagination rather than an atmospheric reality. If the atmosphere was static, like a jelly, then perhaps, yes. But in an atmosphere that is characterised by uplift of any parcel of air that becomes slightly warmer…no, definitely not.


The atmosphere contains a very large molecule much subject to destruction via photolysis by short wave radiation from the sun, a molecule that is distributed quite unequally, a molecule that is energised by radiation from the Earth itself, that becomes the dominant influence on the circulation of the atmosphere at the surface and the temperature of the cloud bearing layer. The concentration of that molecule in the atmosphere  is affected by  interaction with the very much rarefied upper portion of the atmosphere that is hungry for oxygen and ozone and equally he Nox rich troposphere below. Ozone is subject to destruction via the impact of  Nox metered into the stratosphere over the poles at a faster rate in the southern than the northern hemisphere.  It is also affected by the uplift of NOx from the troposphere and particularly so over the equator. To a slight extent the atmosphere responds to changes in the Earth’s magnetic field forced by the solar wind due to the diamagnetic properties of ozone and the presence of particles carrying an electric charge in turn due to the activity of cosmic rays.  Once initiated a reduction in high latitude surface pressure is  magnified by the increase in the ozone content content of the polar atmosphere that immediately occurs. These factors combine to ensure that climate at the surface must inevitably change over time according to the concentration of ozone in the atmosphere and clouds in the sky.


Man makes sense of his environment and promotes communication, cooperation and order by classifying things according to their character and giving them names. He draws maps and puts up fences to suit his own convenience. He builds houses on the sea shore, on slopes subject to slippage, in terrain subject to earthquakes and valleys subject to flooding. This is not wise.

In his notions of what constitutes the atmosphere man is less wise than the birds who rise upon the thermals and wing their way across the hemispheres in vast annual migrations. In particular the notions of a troposphere and a stratosphere with a notional boundary between the two have hampered man’s understanding of his atmospheric environment. Earth is an orb spinning about the sun rather than a flat surface uniformly illuminated from above and the implications of this are difficult to grasp. This ‘orbital character’ fundamentally shapes the character of the atmosphere ensuring that in almost every respect the atmosphere is very different in its summer and winter modes. Climate Science of the official academic variety has yet to come properly to grips with this reality.


The first mistake made in the description of the atmosphere that is provided below comes in the very first sentence. The atmosphere has none of the properties of a blanket. The second mistake is in the second sentence. For practical purposes, so far as atmospheric energetics is concerned, the atmosphere is not 200 kilometres in thickness but somewhere between 20 and about 30 kilometres in thickness, encompassing 97% and 99% of its total mass respectively … a mere skin.

Within  that skin like layer the atmosphere  has charged particles subject to electromagnetic influences and chemical interactions but less so at the equator and more so at the poles. The behaviour of these changed particles when the Earth’s electric and magnetic field is affected by the solar wind is a matter of conjecture but of fundamental importance to the climate system that can be nudged one way or the other  according to tendencies that are maintained over long periods of time. The Earth system itself tells us that this must be happening. There is a consistent date stamp in the surface temperature record indicating that polar processes govern the  inter-annual variation in  surface climate and that same date stamp appears in the historical evolution of surface temperature across the decades. The date stamp is applied to the pulse of extremes associated with those months of the year when polar atmospheric processes engineer the strongest shifts in atmospheric mass. And to top this off the movements in mass change high latitude surface pressure over long time cycles, of the order of perhaps 200 years so far as the Antarctic is concerned and shorter intervals for the Arctic.

The two hemispheres are very different kettles of fish. The change in surface pressure over time should not be swept under the table as a matter of little consequence because the distribution of atmospheric mass and surface pressure determines the temperature of the air that we perceive as we emerge from under the blankets each morning. Our first interest is to work out what to wear to keep ourselves warm.


Wind is air in movement travelling from a high to a low pressure zone. Low pressure is produced by heating of the atmosphere reducing its density. The three major modes of heating are via contact with a warm surface, via the release of latent heat associated with condensation and sublimation  (as in a tropical cyclone) and via the absorption of infra-red energy by ozone utilizing the energy emanating from the earth itself. The proportion of the atmospheric column that contains ozone increases with latitude and more so in winter. Lowest surface pressures are produced in high latitudes where the air is cold and dense. One can with difficulty imagine the extent of the influence of ozone that is required to produce this phenomenon. It is this latter source of heating that drives shifts in atmospheric mass from high latitudes on inter-annual and longer time scales. In fact it drives Hadley cell dynamics and the change in the velocity of the winds that accounts for the relative share of the tropics inhabited by cold waters up-welling from the deep. One can perhaps appreciate the shift in thinking that is required to accommodate this reality.


When one emerges from ones cosy bed in the morning and steps outside the air is observed to be warm or cold, moist or dry according to the point in the compass from which it blows. between the frigid zones surface temperature is dictated by the origin of the air mass present at the time. The temperature of the air is influenced by the surface over which it blows. The sea is much windier at the surface than the land and it more strongly reflects the surface pressure regime that varies with latitude. The surface pressure regime is a function of the distribution of atmospheric mass that depends upon the ozone content of the air.

In the Frigid zones the origin of the air alternates between the warmer surface that is always more equatorial in origin and the very much colder air aloft. If surface pressure is high the air will be descending.


The most limiting nutrient  so far as plant growth is concerned is carbon dioxide. The increase in the carbon dioxide content of the air enables plants to survive with less water. The increase from near starvation levels to levels that will continue to be well short of optimal is enabling a well documented greening of the arid lands and will increase the carrying capacity of the globe. If man exhausts sources of energy that involve the emission of carbon dioxide plants will have to survive on the carbon dioxide breathed out by warm blooded animals. Then perhaps it will be a question of the survival of the fittest.



atmsophere a


In George Bernard Shaw’s play ‘Pygmalion’ that gave rise to the Lerner and Loewe musical ‘My Fair Lady’, Henry Higgins declares that he can tell where a person comes from according to the accent in their speech. Equally, it may be possible to detect the origin of temperature change, natural or otherwise, via a close study of the evolution of temperature over time.

Departures from the 1948-2015 average monthly air temperature are presented below.  The spread on the axes has been adjusted to a common interval of +4 to -4°C to facilitate  comparison.

We are looking for the month that shows the greatest variability over time. We are also interested in the course of temperature change over the entire sixty seven year period.

For economy of effort, we look at two months at a time starting with January and February in the Arctic.

Air T 60-90n

Ait T MA

Air T MJ

Air T JA

Air T SO

Air T ND

Air T 60-90n

We see that January and February are the months when surface air temperature is most volatile , followed by November and December.

The year to year variation in surface air temperature in January and February is almost as great as the whole of period variation. It is possible that the agent responsible for the inter-annual variation is also responsible for the whole of period variation.  Greenhouse gases that are well mixed never decline from one year to the next. The agent of change on the inter-annual scale produces change in both directions, both positive and negative. Unless we want to throw logic out the window we must look to other modes of causation than the gradual increase in the proportion of well mixed greenhouse gases in the atmosphere for much of and perhaps the entire variation that we observe.

Moreover, the pattern of temperature evolution over time is very different in January and February to the rest of the year. In January and February, the trend is steep and the slope uniform.  In other months, and particularly September and October, temperature falls away in the middle of the period and then rises again. We see also that the difference between beginning and end of the period in September and October is much less than in January and February. There is in fact  very little warming between May and August.

In the same manner we could examine the evolution of temperature by month in the other latitude bands. That would be a slow process.  So, I move directly to show the temperature trace for the particular months where change is most volatile. If you doubt that I have the matter  in hand please check for yourself using the data here:

We work systematically southwards from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Again, the scales on the following graphs are standardized so as to facilitate comparison between latitude bands. The following are the months when temperature is most volatile.

Air T 60-90n

Air T 30-60N

Air T0-30N

Air T0-30S

Air T JA

Air T 60-90 S

It is plain that variability falls away with distance from the poles. However least variability is experienced not in the tropics but at 30-60° south latitude. Extreme variability is consistently time specific. January and February are the months of highest variability from the Arctic to 30° south latitude.  The mid and high latitudes of the southern hemisphere  experience strongest variability in July and August.

The time signature for temperature variability suggests an Arctic origin over the bulk of the globe and an Antarctic origin southwards of 30° south latitude. In general, in most interdependent systems the largest disturbances are found close to the source of those disturbances.


When I was young I played golf and drank beer. The golf course was frequented by kangaroos. Males kangaroos are apt to fight. Kangaroos grazed the grass in front of the tees and generally led a charmed life with golf balls harmlessly curving through the air overhead. But on one particular occasion a wayward ball skipped across the ground and a male kangaroo took a hit. Instantly he turned and ‘biffed’ his mate. We humans leaned on our clubs and rolled around laughing.

In the normal course of events one can look for the origin of an impact and it will be close by. The kangaroos response was based on observation of the frequency at which blows are received from ones rivals by comparison with the rate at which other forms of misadventure disturbed his life. The energetic ‘biffing’ response was based on experience. The retribution was delivered while the sting of the blow was still fresh.

The extreme variability seen in surface temperature  in mid winter closest to the poles is most likely a response to polar atmospheric processes, not ENSO and definitely not a reaction to the flutter of a butterfly’s wing in the deepest Amazon. So, how does it work?

It is established knowledge that the phenomenon known as the ‘annular modes’ represent the major mode of climate variation that is observed in the atmosphere of the Earth. This annular mode phenomenon involves an interchange of atmospheric mass between latitudes pole-wards of 50° (mostly in winter) and the rest of the globe.  What is not yet appreciated is that the transfer of atmospheric mass is tied to the relative intensity of polar cyclones driven by the ozone content of the atmospheric column above 500 hPa in high latitudes.

Many people are unaware of the enhancement of ozone partial pressure in high latitudes in winter.  To catch up study of the column climatologies here:

If you don’t go to the JRA 25 Atlas to look at the annual cycle on ozone partial pressure in high latitudes much of what follows may be incomprehensible.

It is very likely that the increase in the length of the atmospheric path taken by short wave radiation of the particular wave lengths that destroy ozone so depletes the wave lengths responsible for that depletion that ozone partial pressure naturally increases with latitude and more particularly so in the winter hemisphere in the vicinity of the polar night zone. In any event the increase occurs. It is these same wave lengths that reach the surface in  damaging intensity when ozone partial pressure is insufficient as it is throughout the entire southern hemisphere by comparison with the northern hemisphere. Here I am referring to the UV Index that increases in summer, and particularly so in the southern hemisphere.


Ozone partial pressure varies in that annular ring of high ozone content air that develops between about 55 and 70° of latitude in both hemispheres. I call it the ‘donut’.In describing the manner of its variation I will no doubt dismay and disgust many people who are happy with current modes of thinking about the stratosphere, people who believe that the stratosphere is  a relatively static medium little prone to convection and is not at all influenced by mixing processes of the sort that we see in the troposphere. These people may believe that the major mode of variation in the ozone content of the stratosphere is perhaps via the flux in UV radiation from the sun or perhaps the the uplift of water vapour from the troposphere, planetary waves that arise from the surface……or perhaps even the butterfly in the Amazon. In fact that variation is due to the variable rate of flow of NOx rich air from the mesosphere initiated by the solar wind and greatly amplified by natural atmospheric processes that are probably  common to all planets having nitrogen, oxygen and ozone in their atmosphere.


As Gordon Dobson observed, total column ozone maps surface pressure. On the margin of the Antarctic continent in winter there is a well developed ring of ozone rich air (the donut) surrounding a core of ozone deficient air (the hole in the donut), especially prominent in winter. In the Arctic the donut tends to be poorly formed  and very lopsided due to the distribution of land and sea and the dominance of the Pacific Ocean as the major stretch of water that is contiguous to the Arctic. The donut  drives the density of the air and circulation of the entire atmospheric column in high latitudes with particular impact above 500 hPa or five kilometres in elevation. See chapter 4 on the geography of the stratosphere and chapter 5 on the origin of polar cyclones.

The easiest way to see this process in action is to observe the flux in the ozone content of the air in high latitudes at this site:

On December 26th 2015, in terms of total column ozone (measured in Dobson units)  as  seen by satellites viewing the Arctic from above we had:

TCO Arctic 26Dec 2015

We see ozone poor mesospheric air escaping the very loose containment of an annular ring of ozone rich air (the donut) that is anchored to the endemically low pressure area (rich in ozone) located over the north Pacific. The result is a warming of the polar cap as the warmer ozone rich air on the perimeter migrates inwards and the coldest air migrates outwards leaving only warmer air behind. This is documented below as a sudden stratospheric warming of the type commonly experienced in the Arctic between November and April.

Day 360

As warmings go this has been brief. We see that the Arctic stratosphere had recently been at the cooler end of the post 1979 range for some months. A warming event manifested about day 357 and peaked on day 360 (December 26th).

See below: By December 28th the tongue of mesospheric air is reasserting its presence inside the vortex as the annular ring of ozone rich air closes the gate through which the mesospheric air escaped. By the 28th the air in the core has marginally less very ozone deficient air (less deep blue) than before and is accordingly warmer. The escaped mesospheric air has already dissolved into the background as it erodes ozone on the periphery of the ozone rich annular ring on the margins of the polar cap. But there are masses of relatively ozone deficient air at lower latitudes, evidence that the horse has bolted on more than one occasion.

TCO 28th Dec 2015

At 10 hPa (30 kilometres) on the 26th December ozone partial pressure looked like this:

10hPa 26th

By the 28th (as seen below) there is a depression of ozone partial pressure in the cell like structure on the left  where the mesospheric air has been sucked into a column of rising air. The central core that is located over the Arctic is somewhat depleted of its ozone deficient (deep blue) content.

10hPa ozone

Now look below. On the 26th December the circulation of the atmosphere at 10 hPa shows upward convection of slightly warmer air over the Pacific and descent in the core. Another zone of ascent is seen over the south Atlantic near Africa.

10hPa wind and temperature

By the 28th (below) the vortex of cold descending air from the mesosphere is intensified and more centred over the Arctic while the temperature of the cell of rising air at 9 o’clock is lower reflecting the absorption of the much colder  mesospheric air that has taken place in that cell of ozone rich rising air. Another cell of rising, relatively warm, ozone rich air  emerges over the Tibetan plateau. The temperature of the mesospheric air in the core is unchanged, as one would expect. These are spot temperatures taken as close as possible to the core of each circulation.

winds and T 28th

Now, lets transfer our attention to the diagram below. At 30 hPa (23 km) on the 26th of December the donut is much better developed with high ozone values over northern Canada stretching across the North Pacific through to the Eastern Mediterranean.But there is plainly an escape of mesospheric air in process from the cold, ozone deficient polar cap region at five o’clock.

30hPa ozone 26th escape

By the 28th (below) the gate is closing and the tongue of mesospheric air is reasserting its presence over the polar cap region. Parcels of relatively ozone deficient air, evidence of previous outflows of mesospheric air circulate in near equatorial latitudes, evidence of vigorous lateral movement on short time scales at this pressure level:

30hPa oxone 28th closure

Now we transfer our attention to the figure below representing ozone at 50 hpa (20km). The escape dynamics are consistent with those at 30 hPa (23 km) and 10 hPa (30km) as observed above

50hPa 26th escape

On the 26th the gate opens and on the 28th it closes:

50hPa 28th ozone enclosure

Plainly, despite a twist in the column, there is continuity of interaction and process between 10 hPa and 50 hPa, over a vertical interval of about 10 km in the heart of what is described, for the want of a better term as the ‘lower stratosphere’.

The thing to note is that it is the flow of ozone deficient mesospheric air through, within (vertically) and beyond the donut that governs the ozone content and the temperature of the air across the hemisphere. We are looking at the beating heart of the polar atmosphere that regulates the flow of erosive mesospheric air into the wider stratosphere. Unlike the human heart that pumps oxygen rich plasma to sustain life, the polar heart pumps a plasma that represents death to ozone in the stratosphere. If the flow of mesospheric air is sustained it will reduce ozone partial pressure, inhibit the formation of polar cyclones and allow atmospheric mass to return to high latitudes. Polar surface atmospheric pressure increases driving very cold air into the mid and low latitudes. Geopotential height falls away in the mid latitudes along with surface pressure and cloud albedo increases. The globe cools.


Lets consider the case of the Antarctic. In late October there is a central core of cold mesospheric air inside the Antarctic vortex as we see below.

30hPa Oct 24th

By November 6th the core of mesospheric air is slipping away into the wider atmosphere, its rate of replacement so slow as to allow the polar atmosphere to warm to the point where the temperature differential between the core and the donut falls away. The pressure of short wave ionising radiation that destroys ozone increases due to the ever shortening atmospheric path through which that radiation must travel as the sun rises higher in the sky. As ozone partial pressure falls away in the donut and also lower latitudes, the entire southern hemisphere begins to suffer from enhanced levels of damaging ultraviolet light that is a danger to plants and animals.

30hPa Nov 6th

By December 10th the warmest air lies directly over the  Antarctic continent reversing the  temperature gradient  that existed in October.

30hPa Dec 10th


At 10hPa on the 24th Oct the circulation has a core temperature at 10 hPa of -49°C. There is a healthy tongue of mesospheric air situated over the most southerly continent and the circulation is clockwise. Air descends in the core and rises in the low pressure donut.

24 Oct 10hPa

By 6th November the core temperature at 10hPa has risen to -33°C. The intake of mesospheric air is diminishing.

6 Nov SLP and T 10 hPa

By the 10th December (below) core temperature has risen to -20°C. Ozone partial pressure has fallen away in the donut. the intensity of polar cyclones is  therefore depleted. With that, the vorticity of the overturning circulation that involves a rising donut and a falling core has fallen away. Accordingly the flow of mesospheric air is curtailed and the temperature of the stratosphere no longer fluctuates. There can be little in the way of atmospheric shifts from high to low latitudes if the polar cyclones are starved of the energy that directly reduces atmospheric density in the donut.

Dec 10 SLP 10 T

By 30th December (below) there is little differentiation in the temperature of low and high latitudes, a core of warm air has set up over Antarctica, the air ascends slowly and the entire circulation is now anticlockwise. The warmest air at 10 hPa is directly over the pole and surface atmospheric pressure falls to its annual minimum. There is no high pressure zone over the Antarctic continent.  Accordingly there can be little variation in the ozone content of the donut in summer. This is the reason why the most extreme surface temperature variation is date stamped either ARCTIC -January-February  or ANTARCTIC- July -August.

Dec 30th SLP T


‘Climate science’ as reflected in the works of the IPCC has no explanation to offer for the interchange of atmospheric mass between high and mid latitudes or the surface temperature swings that are associated with it. Over the Antarctic, as the atmosphere warmed in winter between 1948 and 1978, with peak warming in October, surface pressure fell and has continued to fall, due to ozone enhancement in the donut until recently. Change in the temperature of the globe in all latitudes is intimately associated with this process. I repeat, the IPCC has no explanation for this process. If they did, logic would demand that the AGW thesis would be abandoned.

An uplift that engages the entire atmospheric column of the high latitudes in winter must be balanced by the descent of air from the stratosphere into the troposphere where geopotential heights increase and cloud cover falls away. This increases the amount of solar radiation that reaches the surface of the Earth.  This phenomenon is well observed in that geopotential height increases as surface pressure increases and with it surface temperature but not at all understood. If it were understood the discipline of meteorology could be informed by an understanding of the forces involved rather than having to depend upon rules of thumb based on scattered observation of all sorts of apparently unrelated phenomena. We could then attempt to incorporate the drivers of surface climate in mathematical models on the basis of cause and effect rather than a study of fluid dynamics that takes no cognizance of the fact that we are here dealing with an ‘open system’ subject to influences from the upper atmosphere where the movement of different parcels of air, photolysis and chemical interaction determines atmospheric composition and gives rise to structure.

Climate science is currently built on the assumption that we are dealing with a closed system with all change originating at the surface. It behaves like the male kangaroo that took the impact of the golf ball. If the kangaroo had closely examined the dent in his hide he may have reached a different conclusion as to the cause of the injury. If the I.P.C.C. had a closer look at climate processes it to might change its collective mind and revise its ‘summary for policy makers’. But that wont happen because the science simply does not matter.

If we want to understand climate change we need to come to grips with the processes that are responsible for the change in the partial pressure of ozone in the polar atmosphere. This is the parameter that drives surface pressure, the planetary winds, cloud cover and surface temperature.  We will see that ozone levels climb to a peak in the polar atmosphere in spring but to a variable extent between the years and across the decades. We will see that this process is independent of man’s activities. Furthermore, it is a sufficient explanation of the change in surface temperature that has occurred. But this is a long story that is rich in evidence and will take time in the telling.

The basic parameters of the climate system are forever changing in a fashion that precludes effective modelling, unless we properly apprehend the forces involved.





Surface atmospheric temperature varies strongly month to month and year to year. The broad brush view is obtained by looking at variations across the decades. SAT by decade

In the broad we can say that in terms of the decadal variations:

  • Temperature in high latitudes is much more variable than in low latitudes.
  • Temperature is much more variable between 30°north latitude and the Arctic than elsewhere.
  • Cooling manifested in the early decades other than in near equatorial latitudes where the extent of temperature change is least.
  • It is clear that temperature change is a two way process.
  • Cooling occurred in the decade after 1986 in the tropics as greenhouse gases accumulated. We have no explanation for this cooling, and that which affected the highest latitudes and the latitude band 30-60° north from 1956 through to 1976 and are unable therefore to be certain that it will not recur.
  • Both the Arctic and the Antarctic began a warming phase starting with the decade 1977-86. The warming in the Antarctic is faster in the early phase but slower in the latter. The Arctic warmed particularly strongly after the turn of the century as the rate of warming in the Antarctic fell away. Greenhouse gases other than ozone are well mixed and vary very little according to latitude. Something other than greenhouse gases must be responsible for the variation in the rate of temperature change according to latitude.
  • In general the temperature of the mid latitudes of the northern hemisphere cooled and warmed with the Arctic but to a lesser extent.
  • The evolution of temperature in the tropics and the mid latitudes of the southern hemisphere is similar. These latitudes cooled slightly as the warming in high latitudes accelerated after 1977-86.


Here we look simply at the difference between the first and the last decade in each month of the year.

change in t by lat

  • The Antarctic warmed in winter and cooled in summer showing more change than the Arctic.
  • The Arctic warmed slightly in summer but a great deal in winter.
  • The mid latitudes of the northern hemisphere at 30-60° north warmed in autumn and spring. This lengthened the growing season in a part of the globe that includes the heartlands of Western Civilization, Western Europe and North America where winters are cold but can sometimes be severely cold. Industrialization and the ready availability of cheap energy have made it possible for these parts of the planet that experience very cold winters and a short growing season to support a greater population. Warming in autumn and spring has assisted this process.
  • We see that warming is in no sense ‘global’. Neither is it consistent  between one month and another.
  • In those places that suffer from cold, warming is temporarily constrained to the cooler winter months. Where winters are unfavourably cold, in fact most of the planet, this is beneficial.
  • Plainly the major dynamic here has nothing at all to do with the concentration of a greenhouse gas that is well mixed. If it were, the warming would vary little between the seasons and there is no reason to expect that it should vary with latitude.
  • If there is a background level of warming due to increasing greenhouse gases that provides a plateau upon which ‘other forces’ superimpose change then we would see that background warming manifest at that time and in that place where the ‘other forces’ are least active. Unless we can decide what those other forces are and be truly cognizant of the mechanism that is behind them we are unable to estimate the change that they are responsible for and can have no idea whether man is having an influence on he climate or not. If we go ahead and suggest/maintain that man is responsible for the warming of the globe as a whole we make an error in logic. We can not be sure of anything. To suggest that man is likely to be responsible and to assert that we can do this with a high level of confidence  is clearly overstepping the mark.

In this circumstance how are we to proceed? Plainly the bulk of the warming that has a seasonal component is not connected with greenhouse gases. We must ask what causes this warming. In particular what is it that causes warming in winter in high latitudes?

In the next chapter we look at the extent of variability in temperature according to the month of the year. We find that there is a consistent pulse attached to warming that indicates its source. At first glance the process of change is apparently  hemispheric in its incidence. However, when we look closer we see a unifying signal emanating from the Antarctic stratosphere that governs all. The degree of warming is very different according to latitude even though it bears a consistent time signature. There is a pacemaker that orders its heartbeat. The closer one approaches the poles the more impressive is the beat of that pulse. That pulse is strictly seasonal. The mechanism is fascinating. It represents a new frontier for climate science. Get out your stethoscope, gather round, here is a curiosity, here is a case that is entirely unfamiliar.