Questions

I want to thank the resourceful Zoe Phin for the data presented below. You can download the data here. If that doesn’t work try here: https://phzoe.com/2021/06/01/on-albedo/

This figure shows the average atmospheric albedo by month of year from March in the year 2000 through to March 2021. Atmospheric albedo is the extent to which solar radiation is reflected by particles in the atmosphere back to space where they are sensed by an instrument on a satellite. The data indicates that more than 30% of the energy of the sun fails to reach the surface of the Earth in December while in August only 28% is lost to space.

Question 1. What are the particles in the atmosphere that could be responsible for reflection of solar radiation and where are they likely to be located?

Question 2. What’s the origin of the anomalous bump in the descent of albedo between February and July?

Question 3. The Earth is closest to the Sun in January and furthest away in July. This makes for a 6% difference in the intensity of solar radiation. What wins out do you think. Would a 3% increase in the proportion of radiation reaching the surface due to less reflection in July compensate for a 6% reduction in the intensity of solar radiation at that time? The Earth as a whole is about 2.5 degrees warmer in one or the other month. Which month? July or January? Why?

Question 4. How does this dynamic relate to Greenhouse theory?

The diagram above traces the evolution of albedo by month over the last two decades.

Question 5 Which month exhibits the biggest short and long term variability?

Question 6. What’s the average interval between peaks in that month?

Question 7. Why is the evolution of albedo in January a mirror image of that in October?

Question 8. Why is September a consistent 91-92% of the figure in November and the evolution of albedo so different in these two months by comparison with adjacent months?

Question 9. Is September setting up for October, November and December or does its pattern indicate an anomalous jerk away from a prevailing pattern? If the latter, what could be causing that jerk?

Question 10. Is this change in albedo, that is different from month to month, likely to be part of the reason for variations in the temperature in a particular season or are there other things that come into play. If so, what are they?

Question 11. Could anything in the Earth system be responsible for the change in albedo that we see here? Is the Earth an Island unto itself or could its atmosphere be influenced by circumstances external to the Earth considering the atmosphere as part of the Earth system? If influenced from the outside environment what part of the Earth is likely to be impacted and in which season?

The diagram above traces the evolution of departures from the monthly average atmospheric albedo and average monthly global temperature for the period 2000 through to 2021. Temperature data is from here

Please note that Albedo is on the right hand axis which is inverted. So, an upward movement in the albedo trace represents a decline in the amount of radiation that reaches the surface of the Earth.

Question 12. Is there a relationship between the two? Could the change in albedo be related to the change in temperature in terms of causation? Is there any factor that could reverse the relationship in the short term, i.e temperature rising as albedo increases and vice versa?

Question 13. The temperature curve departs from the albedo curve strongly on at least two occasions. What could be responsible?

Question 14. In what latitude, hemisphere and location is this variation in albedo likely to be most evident?

Feel free to speculate. Don’t feel bad if there are some questions that simply stump you. Just pass them by. I’m going to send a bottle of very nice red wine to the person that, in my opinion, makes the most sense.

3 HOW THE EARTH WARMS AND COOLS-NATURALLY

From the outset let me say that my investigations suggest that the ‘Greenhouse Effect’ is not something that we have to contend with in atmospheric reality. There is another mode of climate change that appears to be responsible for the change in the temperature of the globe over the period of record. That mode of change is capable of explaining variations in both the short and long term in both directions,  both warming and cooling. It can explain warming in one place and simultaneous cooling in another. In short it is very well adapted to explain the climate changes that we observe from daily through to centennial time scales ……. and to do so, exclusively and completely.

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN OZONE, SURFACE PRESSURE AND GEOPOTENTIAL HEIGHT

Geopotential height is a measure of the elevation of a pressure level in the atmosphere. Low heights indicate low pressure zones where the lower atmosphere is dense and cool. High heights indicate a high pressure zone where the lower atmosphere is warm and relatively rarefied.

At a surface pressure of 1000 hectopascals (hPa) the 500  pressure level is located at 5 kilometres in elevation. The upper half of the column (above the 500 hPa level) runs from 5 km through to the limits of the atmosphere at about 350 km. But 98% of the upper portion is located between 500 hPa and the 10 hPa pressure level that is found at an elevation of just 30 kilometres. You can walk 30 km in six hours, jog there in three or get there by bicycle in an hour and a half. From a good vantage point in clean air you can see objects that are 30 km away. As surface dwellers we tend to imagine that the atmosphere is vast. Its not.

Below, we have a representation of the temperature of the atmosphere above the equator in 2015. Notice the location of the 500 hPa and the 10 hPa pressure levels, the gradual decline in temperature from the surface to the 100 hPa pressure level and the very gradual increase above that level. That temperature increase is due to the presence of ozone that, as a greenhouse gas, is excited by long wave radiation from the Earth. Importantly, the change in the temperature in the upper levels is not smooth, its perturbed, and if we were to look at the data across the years and decades we would see strong variability.

This is the situation at the equator where the influence of ozone cuts in at about 15 kilometres in elevation.At the poles it cuts in at half that elevation.

atmosphere over equator

Gordon Dobson who first used a spectrophotometer to measure Total Column Ozone noticed that the distribution of ozone varies with surface pressure. Specifically, the atmospheric column where surface pressure is low is composed of a lower portion that is cold and dense. Low pressure cells originate in high latitudes where the near surface air is cold and dense.  But, the upper portion is rich in ozone to the extent that the number of molecules in the entire column is reduced giving rise to low surface pressure. The paradox is that cold dense air in the lower part of the atmospheric column is accompanied by warmer, relatively less dense air aloft. It is the inflation of the upper half of the atmospheric column, due to its ozone content, that is responsible  for low surface pressure.

Based on Dobson’s observations we can suggest a rule of thumb. It is this: The variation in the density of the upper half of the atmospheric column, due to its ozone content, accounts for variations in surface atmospheric pressure. You might not realise it at this point but this observation turns climatology, as we know it today, precisely on its head. Let me reiterate the point in a different form of words. The ozone content of the upper air drives surface winds. Here is another formulation: The character of the troposphere is determined in the stratosphere.

This was the interpretation of the atmosphere that was gaining ground prior to the 1950’s. But the world of climate science turned from observation towards mathematical abstraction in the 1960’s and has never looked back to take into account observational realities.

THE MID LATITUDES

High pressure cells are found mainly over the oceans in the mid latitudes. They create clear sky windows. The surface warms because more sunlight reaches the surface rather than being reflected by clouds. Surface pressure is high because of a deficiency in ozone in the more extensive upper half of the atmospheric column that is accordingly relatively dense. Despite relatively low density in the lower part of the column, the enhanced density of the upper half of the column renders the weight of the entire column, and therefore surface pressure, superior.

Surface pressure is intimately associated with surface weather and climate. Surface pressure governs the planetary winds. It follows that the planetary winds evolve according to change in the ozone content of the upper half of the atmospheric column. Yes, in the terms that we are fond of employing, the stratosphere is the troposphere. The stratosphere is where weather and climate is determined. As Gordon Dobson observed back in 1924, weather   evolves according to the ozone content of the air. But the significance of his observation  was lost on those who replaced him. His successors were not observers but ideologues. The account of climate science became a servant of people with a social agenda is told here.

Indeed, the relationship between geopotential height,  surface pressure and surface temperature is intimate. In 2002 Polanski  found that he could accurately reconstruct 500 hPa heights using just sea level pressure and surface air temperature data. He noted that the reconstruction  was more accurate in winter and in mid to high latitudes where variability in both surface temperature and pressure is greater. The reconstruction was less accurate in low latitudes and indeed wherever variability in surface temperature and pressure is low. You can see an account of Polanski’s research here:(http://research.jisao.washington.edu/wallace/polansky_thesis.pdf). This is an excellent instance of deduction from result back to cause. At this point, just remember that surface pressure, geopotential height and surface temperature are linked with surface temperature a product of pressure and geopotential height.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Now to the nitty-gritty of surface temperature variation….climate change:

The three maps below show:

  1. The spatial distribution of geopotential height anomalies in January 2015
  2. Anomalies in the temperature in the lower troposphere in January 2015
  3. Surface temperature anomalies in January 2015500hPa heightsLT Jan 2015

GISS Surface temperature January 2015Map Sources: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/maps/    http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/sotc/drought/2015/01/hgtanomaly-global-201501.gif, http://nsstc.uah.edu/climate/  http://nsstc.uah.edu/climate/

The first map shows geopotential height anomalies. The second map indicates that the lower troposphere is indeed anomalously warm where 500 hPa heights are anomalously elevated.  The third map indicates that the surface is anomalously warm where heights are anomalously elevated. Remember that high heights indicate a high pressure zone where the lower atmosphere is warm and relatively rarefied.This gives rise to a rule of thumb that accords with common sense and daily observation. The surface warms when atmospheric pressure increases, the air warms and cloud cover falls away. 

The question arises: What causes atmospheric pressure to increase in the mid latitudes. The short answer is a persistent shift in atmospheric mass from high latitudes, especially from the winter hemisphere where ozone proliferates reducing the density of the upper part of the atmospheric column and  so reducing surface atmospheric pressure. For those of you familiar with the notion of the ‘Annular Modes’ or its northern hemisphere manifestation, the ‘Arctic Oscillation’ or perhaps the North Atlantic Oscillation I am here describing the causation of all these phenomena. All involve a change in the relationship between surface pressure in the mid latitudes and that in high latitudes. These are recognised as the dominant modes of natural climate change on all time scales…..cause unknown!

A TOP DOWN MODE OF CAUSATION FOR SURFACE TEMPERATURE CHANGE

The figure below shows the evolution of temperature at the surface, 600 hPa, 300 hPa and 200 hPa over the Indian Ocean between Africa and Australia at latitude 30-40° south over the period 1976 through till December 1990. In order to facilitate comparison at very different temperatures the data is shown as anomalies with respect to the 1948-2015 average.

Air T in a column

Source for both graphs, above and below: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/cgi-bin/data/timeseries/timeseries1.pl

It is plain that the higher the elevation the more wildly does the temperature gyrate and not always in concert with the air at the surface.This is also apparent when we compare anomalies in temperature near the surface and at 600 hPa as seen below.Indian Ocean surface and 600hPa T

Plainly, the variation of the temperature at the surface does not explain the variations at 600 hPa. Temperature at 600 hPa is affected by the ozone content in the upper half of the atmospheric column. The ozone content of the stratosphere is determined in the upper atmosphere in interaction with the mesosphere (where the ozone content and the temperature of the air diminishes with increasing altitude) and the ionosphere where short wave solar radiation ionises the atmosphere making possible the formation of ozone and other compounds injurious to ozone).

Indeed, it is un-physical (an impossibility) that a small temperature increase at the surface could be responsible for a greater temperature increase aloft. The upper air is independently warmed by ozone that absorbs long wave radiation from the Earth. Warming and cooling of the air aloft is independent of change in the temperature of the air at the surface and the prime determinant of surface atmospheric pressure (our first rule of thumb) and surface temperature.

To reiterate: High pressure cells are characterised by down-draft.  Air can hold water vapour according to its temperature. Descending air is warming due to increasing compression. Descending air will not produce cloud. To the extent that the  atmospheric column has  cloud it will thin as the air warms.This is why our second rule of thumb works so well. To remind you here it is again: The surface warms when atmospheric pressure increases and cloud cover falls away. 

It follows that surface temperature in the mid latitudes,  a zone inhabited by high pressure cells, much subject to minute variations in surface pressure as atmosphere shifts to and from the poles , very much depends on the ozone content of the air aloft.

WARMING IN HIGH LATITUDES IN WINTER

The explanation given for the origin of warming in the mid latitudes via loss of cloud cover does not explain warming in the total darkness of the polar night that is pretty obvious in the third diagram above. Why is it so? The mode of causation follows from the minute increase of pressure in mid latitudes and a dramatic fall in high latitudes. It involves the replacement of  cold with warm air. Lower surface pressure in higher latitudes and higher in the mid latitudes involves a change in the origin of the air that always flows from high to low pressure. The solar energy that accrues in low latitudes is constantly being redistributed to higher latitudes via the movement of the air. Exaggerate the movement from the equator to the pole by changing the surface pressure relationship and the pole warms.

The variation in the ozone content of the air in high latitudes, occurring in winter time is the source of change in cloud cover in the mid latitudes. It is also the origin of changes in the winds according to change in the pressure gradient between the equator and the pole. All we need to do to change the average temperature of the surface of the Earth is re-distribute the warmer air.

THE TASK AHEAD

Dobson’s observation that surface weather varies with total column ozone is a vital clue that leads us to an explanation of the origins of the natural variation in climate. Accordingly we should look carefully at the influence of ozone on the temperature and density of the upper air. Specifically, we must ascertain the particular altitude at which the presence of trace amounts of ozone begins to affect the temperature of the air (and therefore cloud cover) and whether and to what extent that altitude varies with latitude? The answer will lead, in time, because nothing happens as quickly as we might like it to happen, to a revolution in our understanding of the Earth system upon which man depends for his sustenance.

If an increase in the ozone content of the upper air can cause the temperature of the air to increase at the surface of the planet on a month to month basis then we must examine the long term evolution of the ozone content of the air to explain surface temperature change on annual, decade and longer time scales. Equally, we can study the evolution of surface pressure over time that tells us where the wind is coming from. Or indeed, we can simply study the change that occurs in the speed of the wind because that is related to its ability to convey energy from warm to cool locations.These are the central concerns of this work.

Quantifying change due to natural causes is an essential pre-requisite  to the determination of whether in fact, as is widely believed, man is spoiling his nest via the emission of so called ‘greenhouse gases’.

It appears to me, via a close examination of the surface temperature record across the globe that there is no background level of temperature increase that is underpinning the temperature increase (and decrease) that varies so widely (and so naturally) according to hemisphere, latitude, location and season. That natural mode of change is what we need to explain.If we don’t, we will be at the mercy of of  those who want to attribute any and every change to the works of man in order to promote their own, in many instances, expensive and damaging agendas.