Solar UV linkage to earth’s atmosphere confirmed

From the “you don’t know everything about the sun and earth yet so stop telling us the sun doesn’t matter” department and National Science Foundation: Shrinking atmospheric layer linked to low levels of solar radiation

Large changes in the sun’s energy output may drive unexpectedly dramatic fluctuations in Earth’s outer atmosphere.

“This research makes a compelling case for the need to study the coupled sun-Earth system…”

Large changes in the sun's energy output may drive fluctuations in Earth's outer atmosphere. Results of a study link a recent, temporary shrinking of a high atmospheric layer with a sharp drop in the sun's ultraviolet radiation levels. Credit: NASA

Results of a study published today link a recent, temporary shrinking of a high atmospheric layer with a sharp drop in the sun’s ultraviolet radiation levels.

The research, led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., and the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU), indicates that the sun’s magnetic cycle, which produces differing numbers of sunspots over an approximately 11-year cycle, may vary more than previously thought.

The results, published this week in the American Geophysical Union journal Geophysical Research Letters, are funded by NASA and by the National Science Foundation (NSF), NCAR’s sponsor.

“This research makes a compelling case for the need to study the coupled sun-Earth system,” says Farzad Kamalabadi, program director in NSF’s Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, “and to illustrate the importance of solar influences on our terrestrial environment with both fundamental scientific implications and societal consequences.”

The findings may have implications for orbiting satellites, as well as for the International Space Station.

“Our work demonstrates that the solar cycle not only varies on the typical 11-year time scale, but also can vary from one solar minimum to another,” says lead author Stanley Solomon, a scientist at NCAR’s High Altitude Observatory. “All solar minima are not equal.”

The fact that the layer in the upper atmosphere known as the thermosphere is shrunken and dense means that satellites can more easily maintain their orbits.

But it also indicates that space debris and other objects that pose hazards may persist longer in the thermosphere.

“With lower thermospheric density, our satellites will have a longer life in orbit,” says CU professor Thomas Woods, a co-author.

“This is good news for those satellites that are actually operating, but it is also bad because of the thousands of non-operating objects remaining in space that could potentially have collisions with our working satellites.”

The sun’s energy output declined to unusually low levels from 2007 to 2009, a particularly prolonged solar minimum during which there were virtually no sunspots or solar storms.

During that same period of low solar activity, Earth’s thermosphere shrank more than at any time in the 43-year era of space exploration.

The thermosphere, which ranges in altitude from about 55 to more than 300 miles (90 to 500 kilometers), is a rarified layer of gas at the edge of space where the sun’s radiation first makes contact with Earth’s atmosphere.

It typically cools and becomes less dense during low solar activity.

But the magnitude of the density change during the recent solar minimum appeared to be about 30 percent greater than would have been expected by low solar activity.

The study team used computer modeling to analyze two possible factors implicated in the mystery of the shrinking thermosphere.

They simulated both the impacts of solar output and the role of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas that, according to past estimates, is reducing the density of the outer atmosphere by about 2 percent to 5 percent per decade.

Their work built on several recent studies.

Earlier this year, a team of scientists from the Naval Research Laboratory and George Mason University, measuring changes in satellite drag, estimated that the density of the thermosphere declined in 2007-09 to about 30 percent less than during the previous solar minimum in 1996.

Other studies by scientists at the University of Southern California and CU, using measurements from sub-orbital rocket flights and space-based instruments, have estimated that levels of extreme-ultraviolet radiation-a class of photons with extremely short wavelengths-dropped about 15 percent during the same period.

However, scientists remained uncertain whether the decline in extreme-ultraviolet radiation would be sufficient to have such a dramatic impact on the thermosphere, even when combined with the effects of carbon dioxide.

To answer this question, Solomon and his colleagues turned to an NCAR computer tool, known as the Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Electrodynamics General Circulation Model.

They used the model to simulate how the sun’s output during 1996 and 2008 would affect the temperature and density of the thermosphere.

They also created two simulations of thermospheric conditions in 2008-one with a level that approximated actual carbon dioxide emissions and one with a fixed, lower level.

The results showed the thermosphere cooling in 2008 by 41 kelvins, or K (about 74 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to 1996, with just 2 K attributable to the carbon dioxide increase.

The results also showed the thermosphere’s density decreasing by 31 percent, with just 3 percent attributable to carbon dioxide, and closely approximated the 30 percent reduction in density indicated by measurements of satellite drag.

“It is now clear that the record low temperature and density were primarily caused by unusually low levels of solar radiation at the extreme-ultraviolet level,” Solomon says.

Woods says the research indicates that the sun could be going through a period of relatively low activity, similar to periods in the early 19th and 20th centuries.

This could mean that solar output may remain at a low level for the near future.

“If it is indeed similar to certain patterns in the past, then we expect to have low solar cycles for the next 10 to 30 years,” Woods says.

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104 thoughts on “Solar UV linkage to earth’s atmosphere confirmed

  1. I’m more interested in the effect of variation of the thermosphere on incident radiation. The thermospher is very diffuse, but it’s also very, very hot, and may function as a sort of analog to the grid in a vacuum tube, very loosely speaking.

  2. This is very interesting. I wonder if this variation of the flux of ‘extreme-ultraviolet’ solar radiation might impact cloud formation or other processes in the atmosphere, either by direct action or indirect effect…

  3. One of my favourite headlines I collected while doing historical research on Toronto-area is for a story about lecture given by an astronomer about the sun. The headline read: “Sun affects Earth’s climate.” I’d always filed it in the “Bloody Obvious” category.

  4. I wonder how long it’s going to take Real Climate to denigrate Dr.’s Solomon and Woods as nothing more then Big Oil shills, for we all know Natural Varibility is nothing compared to Anthropogenic CO2 emmissions. How dare them for even thinking that the Sun can swamp the power of CO2! Off with the heretics heads!

  5. I also am curious as to what effect, if any, it has on heat transfer overall away from the surface of the earth. A ‘thinner’ blanket (of atmosphere) could mean somewhat slightly quicker cooling from the surface of the earth. Or is there also a change in density that would negate the reduction in ‘thickness’ .

    Either way, the statement , ” “This research makes a compelling case for the need to study the coupled sun-Earth system,” needs only the response of , ” . . NO KIDDING . . ! ! ! “

  6. Interesting but poorly worded: –all quotes from the text:

    “The fact that the layer in the upper atmosphere known as the thermosphere is shrunken and dense”

    “It typically cools and becomes less dense during low solar activity.”

    And I am SICK of this one:

    “more than previously thought.”

    There is more. The point is the writers of this stuff need to read it out loud to others to improve their wordsmithing.

  7. Actually, 2/74’s is 2.71 %… not 3%, for the carbon dioxide
    contribution to the thermosphere’s density decreasing by 31 percent.

    “They simulated both the impacts of solar output and the role of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas that, according to past estimates, is reducing the density of the outer atmosphere by about 2 percent to 5 percent per decade.”

    It appears the earlier studies have been superceded by the bite
    of reality the current solar cycle has given the modelers.

    This seems to be another one of those “everything you know is
    wrong” moments for AGW advocates.

  8. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 26, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Whew, for a minute there I thought you were going to say that the climate has nothing to do with the thermosphere.

  9. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 26, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    The thermosphere is so high up and so thin [a trillionth of the density at sea level] that it has nothing to do with the climate.

    They’ll find some way to say it’s human emissions.

  10. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 26, 2010 at 9:14 pm
    The thermosphere is so high up and so thin [a trillionth of the density at sea level] that it has nothing to do with the climate.
    —–
    REPLY: Leif, I didn’t read any climate implications into this article. However, those can always be drawn by certain type of catastrophists!

    The sun has been very quiet, are we still in a minimum? She starts up, blows off energy, and then quiets down again. Rather odd.

  11. Thanks leif

    i was going to point out

    “The study team used computer modeling to analyze two possible factors implicated in the mystery of the shrinking thermosphere.”

    And then say it cant be true because models tell us nothing.

    or, we discovered something we didnt know, therefore something we know (ghgs cause warming) cant be true.

  12. “However, scientists remained uncertain whether the decline in extreme-ultraviolet radiation would be sufficient to have such a dramatic impact on the thermosphere, even when combined with the effects of carbon dioxide.

    To answer this question, Solomon and his colleagues turned to an NCAR computer tool,”

    The conclusions reached by the researchers are tenuous at best since they are based entirely on computer models. The thermosphere has shrunk; that is a scientifically measure observation. In my opinion, the output of their computer models merely suggests a hypothesis as to the cause.

  13. Of course, Leif is right about the height and thinness of the thermosphere, but….

    The thermosphere cools and shrinks when the sun is less active and that has clearly been happening since the late 90s.

    However over the same period the stratosphere has ceased cooling and is now warming a little:

    http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/sola/5/0/53/_pdf

    “The evidence for the cooling trend in the stratosphere may need to be
    revisited. This study presents evidence that the stratosphere has been
    slightly warming since 1996.”

    So it seems that when the sun is less active and the thermosphere is cooling the stratosphere actually begins to accumu;ate energy content.

    In contrast, the late 20th century saw a more active sun, an expanding and warming thermosphere but a cooling stratosphere.

    Now we have jets shifting equatorward with a cooling troposphere and falling SSTs (only a few patches of still warm ocean surfaces are causing a bit of a lag and combined with the recent El Nino gave a recent short term spike)). Then, we had jets shifting poleward with a warming troposhere and high SSTs.

    Explanations invited :)

  14. Stephen Wilde says:
    August 26, 2010 at 10:27 pm
    The thermosphere cools and shrinks when the sun is less active and that has clearly been happening since the late 90s.
    However over the same period the stratosphere has ceased cooling and is now warming a little

    And the Thermosphere is also warming up as solar activity is on the upswing:

  15. Stephen Wilde says:
    August 26, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Explanations invited :)

    Less distance for escaping IR, less density way up there.
    It also means incoming gets in easier, provided there isn’t increased cloudiness to reflect it out.
    Oh drat, right back to the darn clouds. Hurry up, Svensmark.

  16. Someone needs to make a parody of this song, “How can we sleep while La Nina is freezing us”?

  17. Levels of solar activity also seem to affect the specific humidity at the tropopause.

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/interesting-correlation-sunspots-vs-specific-humidity/

    This will have an effect on outgoing long wave radiation.
    So it’s a reasonable supposition that solar activity levels affect temperature in the stratosphere, which is between the tropopause and the thermosphere.

    Do we have a reliable time series of UV levels as opposed to whole spectrum TSI over the satellite record?

  18. But to use humans (an assumption I know) the thermosphere would feel very, very cold. At least for that fraction of a second that our fragile little bodies would survive. This tells us something about temperature. The way we humans sense the temperature of a gas (or mixture) depends very much on the pressure of the gas.

    dT

  19. rbateman says:
    August 26, 2010 at 10:41 pm
    Less distance for escaping IR, less density way up there.
    It also means incoming gets in easier, provided there isn’t increased cloudiness to reflect it out.

    Cloud albedo increased after the ’98 el nino. I don’t have a graph link to hand, but the outgoing IR at the equatorial latitudes fell dramatically during the ’98 el nino, due to a huge increase in humidity. Maybe this step change caused the reversal in stratospheric temperature trend noted by Stephen, because the solar activity level didn’t really drop off until 2002-3.

    Yet OHC allegedly carried on rising quite steeply up to 2003 (Unless there is a big splice problem between XBT and ARGO, or an agenda driven determination on the part of certain oceanologists) . Did the big increase in water vapour caused by the ’98 el nino have a cleansing effect on the upper troposphere, allowing in more of the TSI from the top of the atmosphere despite increased cloud?

  20. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 26, 2010 at 9:14 pm
    The thermosphere is so high up and so thin [a trillionth of the density at sea level] that it has nothing to do with the climate.

    The atmosphere accounts for 0.0005% of the mass of the earth. So the atmosphere has nothing to do with the climate.

  21. phlogiston says:
    August 26, 2010 at 11:38 pm
    The atmosphere accounts for 0.0005% of the mass of the earth. So the atmosphere has nothing to do with the climate.
    More to the point, the thermosphere account for some 0.000,000,000,01% of the atmosphere, that is why it has nothing to do with the climate.

  22. phlogiston says:
    August 26, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    The atmosphere accounts for 0.0005% of the mass of the earth. So the atmosphere has nothing to do with the climate.
    —————————————————-
    That’s right, and since the earth is so small it has nothing to do with the universe. Just common sense. I found an interesting article on a site hidden deep within the internets, which reads, an excerpt:

    “Earth is an electrically charged body that interacts with ions permeating space. Electricity from space is also injected into the thermosphere from charged particles emitted by the Sun, speeding along massive Birkeland currents through a closed circuit. When solar winds are at a minimum, the electric currents decline in amperage, thereby decreasing the strength of our planet’s magnetosphere. As the magnetosphere declines in strength, it is less able to deflect energetic ions arriving from deep space known as cosmic rays. Cosmic rays are charge carriers, and those ions are able to reach the troposphere. Collisions between charged and neutral particles drag air molecules along with them influencing low level cloud cover. More clouds reflect more radiation from the Sun back to space—clouds are white because they are acting like mirrors to all forms of visible light. More reflection means less solar energy, more cloud cover, and so on.”

    http://www.thunderbolts.info/tpod/2010/arch10/100707timed.htm

  23. Oh dear! They’ve been simulating something in their pooter models again! I seriously worry when these guys use computers & write programmes using parameters they do not fully understand, make assumpions about (I fully understand the assumption principle!) things they do not understand, make guesstimates about the behaviour of other elements & parameters, & conclude that the output is 100% correct give or take!
    Every time a graduate tells me they ran the sum thro’ the puter I quiver with fear! I drum into them, “do a quick back of a fag packet hand calc first just to see of the numbers are in the right order!” (BTW Fag is UK slang for cigarrette). However I am sure they do something similar for climate studies, although how they believe their numbers are correct one wonders considering the amount they do not know!
    They have a very low to low level scientific understanding of how element A affects element B, but they know element C overpowers element A! Gr8 science (sorry my daughter often texts me!!!)

  24. Weird Naked Indian says:
    August 27, 2010 at 12:16 am
    I found an interesting article on a site hidden deep within the internets
    The article is full of half-truths combined with outright nonsense.

  25. “Temporary shrinkage”? Since the don’t know why it started, or how often it happens, or how long it lasts, how in heck can they say it’s “temporary”? It’s just as likely that the thicker air for the last few decades was the “temporary” part.

    I’m beginning to think we need to start over and require a study of formal logic before anyone can re-new their degree.

    BTW, I would point out that the vertical turbulence seems to be more like it was many decades ago (that is, there is more of it). There is a more ‘gusty’ character to the wind when it does blow. Also, after very few such reports in the late 1990s, we’ve had a significant uptick in folks injured by in-flight turbulence and had a few airlines crash after a couple of years without any commercial fatalities. (All anecdotal from observed news reports. It would be an interesting thing to get recorded data and plot). So the vertical transport of heat ought to be changed as well.

  26. So that’s why CO2 causes everything. It’s obvious!

    After following the comments, which sent my mind flying off in many directions, envisioning all sorts of fascinating interactions and interrelationships, it could keep top notch scientists busy for decades exploring all the linkages. Much too messy for the third-rate mind; just ascribe everything to CO2 and tie it all up in a neat and simple (empasis on the simple) package. Then, no matter what happens, it’s all laid at CO2’s doorstep. And, more importantly, no thinking involved. Thinking is so much hard work.

    +++++++++++++

    John F. Hultquist says:
    August 26, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    E.M.Smith says:
    August 27, 2010 at 1:16 am

    Yes, a healthy dose of logic is called for as well as some serious writing skills.

    OTOH, is this a mistake on the part of WUWT or did NSF revise their piece:

    WUWT:

    The fact that the layer in the upper atmosphere known as the thermosphere is shrunken and dense means that satellites can more easily maintain their orbits.

    NSF:

    The fact that the layer in the upper atmosphere known as the thermosphere is shrunken and less dense means that satellites can more easily maintain their orbits.

    The power of a simple four letter word.

    And the dangers of trying to oversimplify a complex matter.

  27. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 26, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    The thermosphere is so high up and so thin [a trillionth of the density at sea level] that it has nothing to do with the climate.

    Can a statement like this be said with absolute certainty? Isn’t there just a tweeny weeny bit of uncertainty?

  28. I have to ask this question to this group in light of this “revelation” on the thermoshere. There is a guy named Earl Happ and he has a web site called “climate science” http://climatechange1.wordpress.com/ where he discusses how the cyclic changes to the solar cycle can affect the polar vortexes and the weather. Considering that the upper atmospher at poles are subjecte to the solar wind continuously whereas its blocked by the earth at night at lower latitudes could he be onto a mechanism for solar influence on weather and climate that is not well recognized?

  29. Anthony,
    Thanks for the laugh!
    There is so much science missing in this study!
    I give Leif nightmares by just using the word rotation.

  30. Steven Mosher says:
    August 26, 2010 at 9:53 pm
    [--snip--]
    or, we discovered something we didnt know, therefore something we know (ghgs cause warming) cant be true.

    Why do you persist in making patently false statements?

    Since when do gasses –of whatever type– ’cause warming’ to happen?

    Without the sun, the only energy that would warm this globe would be geothermal in nature.

    If anything the various component gasses of the Earth’s atmosphere moderate the level of heat energy loss from –or transmission to– the Earth’s surfaces.

    Otherwise, they are not the cause of any warming, period.

  31. And during the hottest year on record our snow fields near Melbourne have the largest snow fall in 30 years according the the MSM. Also there have been many intense low pressure systems twisting the jet stream straight from the south as can be seen here:
    http://squall.sfsu.edu/gif/jetstream_sohem_00.gif if you are quick enough.

    The last few weeks have been icy cold in Melbourne.

    The Northern Hemisphere winter could be big this year.

  32. Leif Svalgaard said:

    “And the Thermosphere is also warming up as solar activity is on the upswing:
    http://www.leif.org/research/Active%20Region%20Count.png

    Sure it has, a bit.

    But I’m looking at longer term trends than individual solar cycles.

    It appears that when a run of solar cycles is more active than the long term average level of solar activity then the stratosphere cools gradually whilst the thermosphere heats up and the jets move poleward.

    When a run of solar cycles is less active than the long term average level of solar activity then the stratosphere warms gradually whilst the thermosphere cools down and the jets move equatorward.

    The thermosphere and the stratosphere are supposed to warm and cool in tandem in response to solar variability. The thermosphere from direct impact on the molecules present and the stratosphere from solar impacts on ozone mainly.

    But they don’t.

    It can’t be down to CFCs or CO2 as usually proposed because the shift in the jets tells us what happened in the past well before we put significant CO2 or CFCs out there.

    The MWP would have had a cooler stratosphere and poleward jets in a response to a more active sun just as in the late 20th century.

    The LIA would have had a warmer stratosphere and equatorward jets in a response to a less active sun. We see that effect on a much smaller scale now.

    I can only be wrong if a cooler stratosphere can be accompanied by more equatorward jets or a warmer stratosphere accompanied by more poleward jets but that doesn’t happen.

    Only a warmer stratosphere can intensify the inversion at the tropopause to send the jets equatorward via an enhanced set of polar high pressure cells. A weaker inversion from a cooling stratosphere can only ever send the jets poleward via a weaker set of polar high pressure cells.

    Unfortunately for established climatology that observation does not fit the accepted nostrums.

    The giveaway is that latitudinal movement of the jets. The stratosphere must always have cooled when the sun was more active and warmed when the sun was less active because the jets moved poleward in the MWP and equatorward in the LIA.

    However it does fit my New Climate Model.

    The shift of the jets moves the cloud bands accordingly for a change in global albedo and a change in solar input to the oceans.

  33. “But the magnitude of the density change during the recent solar minimum appeared to be about 30 percent greater than would have been expected by low solar activity.

    The study team used computer modeling to analyze two possible factors implicated in the mystery of the shrinking thermosphere.”

    How about trying to adjust the models to match observation ??

  34. Stephen Wilde says:
    August 27, 2010 at 5:17 am

    However it does fit my New Climate Model.

    Good to see your new climate model includes the Sun Steve, the .1% TSI modulation not being the whole show getting through. Erl Happ has a new article on pressure differential that is well worth reading.

    http://climatechange1.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/is-enso-rather-than-a-%E2%80%98greenhouse-effect%E2%80%99-the-origin-of-%E2%80%98climate-change%E2%80%99-by-erl-happ/

  35. I liked the way the desperately tried to link it to CO2. Finally the Sun wun!

    How about some more real research, guys, instead of playing with computer models.

  36. 899 says:
    August 27, 2010 at 4:44 am

    I just can’t figure it out: I lit the stove, left the door open so that the house filled with C02, and in the morning the place was still smoky but very cold.

  37. E.M.Smith says:
    August 27, 2010 at 1:16 am

    I’m beginning to think we need to start over and require a study of formal logic before anyone can re-new their degree.

    This goes right along with the lack of critical thinking capabilities that infect all forms of our education system. Kids have been taught how to memorize, not how to think. They have been taught to follow a process rather than understand the details of the subject at hand. As a result you get adults that cannot come close to thinking a problem through. All they can do is repeat what they read from others.

  38. sandyinderby says:
    August 27, 2010 at 3:07 am
    Can a statement like this be said with absolute certainty? Isn’t there just a tweeny weeny bit of uncertainty?
    There is almost always uncertainty [even in this statement], but if there is a relation it is likely to be of the nature: A causes B and A causes C, so it looks like B and C are connected and people might wrongly think that B causes C.

    Stephen Wilde says:
    August 27, 2010 at 5:17 am
    It appears that when a run of solar cycles is more active than the long term average level of solar activity then the stratosphere cools gradually whilst the thermosphere heats up and the jets move poleward.

    When a run of solar cycles is less active than the long term average level of solar activity then the stratosphere warms gradually whilst the thermosphere cools down and the jets move equatorward.

    Some comment here.
    As the climate changes my heating bill will change as well, but that does not mean that my bill is causing climate change.

  39. Leif Svalgaard said;

    “As the climate changes my heating bill will change as well, but that does not mean that my bill is causing climate change.”

    Then it’s a good thing that I do NOT say that the bill (the thermosphere) causes climate change.

    What do say is that the solar effect on different layers of the atmosphere cannot be as current theory asserts. The evidence of the shifting jets shows us that the stratosphere must cool when the sun is more active and warm when the sun is less active.

    For whatever reason the stratosphere appears to go in the opposite direction to the thermosphere.

    I have proposed two possibilities as follows;

    i) The net effect of more solar activity is to enhance ozone destruction more than ozone creation. The observed ozone changes are consistent with that. Ozone declined whilst the sun was more active and is now recovering.

    ii) The atmosphere being comprised of layers then more solar activity might disturb the layer boundaries to affect surface areas and so change the upward energy flux rather like the evaporative effect of wind across water.

    It doesn’t really matter to me HOW the effect is achieved. What matters to me is the climate response.

    The jets clearly go poleward when the sun is more active if one looks at the longer timescales. They could not do so if the stratosphere were warming because one needs to reduce the intensity of the inversion at the tropopause to see such an effect. Thus a cooler stratosphere is required during a time of active sun and that is just what we observe, contrary to current theory.

  40. Geoff Sharp says:
    August 27, 2010 at 6:32 am :

    Hello Geoff,

    I have a lot of time for Erl who is doing a lot of good work trying to sort out the plethora of detail as regards ozone, clouds and more recently pressure.

    In conclusion he says this:

    “it appears that the cause of recent warming and cooling relates to long-term swings in atmospheric pressure that changes the relations between mid and low latitudes thereby affecting the trade winds that in turn determine the temperature of the Earth’s solar array, its tropical ocean, and ultimately the globe as a whole.”

    I think that is absolutely right (except that it’s ALL the winds not just the Trades) but I’m not sure that Erl has yet nailed the correct sequence of events and so has not yet put his findings into a coherent overall climate description.

    I have tried to do just that and on the basis of continuing observations of the real world I think I’m pretty close but there are missing mechanisms needed to complete the picture.

  41. 899.

    Ghgs, ( like water vapor) do cause the temperature to increase.

    Yes, the sun is the source, Just ask yourself what the temperature on earth would be in the following two cases:

    A. Current sun and no atmosphere
    B. Current sun and an atmosphere of gases, say pick H02,

    I suppose you are arguing that those two planets would have the same temperature.
    Same sun, same earth, just add an atmosphere with water in it.

    let me know when you show there is no difference, I’ll alert the nobel prize committee.

  42. Abstract of the paper is as follows:

    Anomalously low solar extreme‐ultraviolet irradiance
    and thermospheric density during solar minimum

    Stanley C. Solomon,1 Thomas N. Woods,2 Leonid V. Didkovsky,3 John T. Emmert,4
    and Liying Qian1
    Received 23 June 2010; accepted 1 July 2010; published 25 August 2010.

    [1] Solar activity during 2007–2009 was very low, and during
    this protracted solar minimum period, the terrestrial
    thermosphere was cooler and lower in density than expected.
    Measurements from instruments on the SOHO and TIMED
    spacecraft, and by suborbital rocket flights, indicate that solar
    extreme‐ultraviolet irradiance levels were lower than they
    were during the previous solar minimum. Analysis of
    atmospheric drag on satellite orbits indicate that the
    thermosphere was lower in density, and therefore cooler, and
    than at any time since the beginning of the space age.
    However, secular change due to increasing levels of carbon
    dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which cool the upper
    atmosphere, also plays a role in thermospheric climate.
    Simulations by the NCAR Thermosphere‐Ionosphere‐
    Electrodynamics General Circulation Model are compared to
    thermospheric density measurements, yielding evidence that
    the primary cause of the low thermospheric density was the
    unusually low level of solar extreme‐ultraviolet irradiance.
    Citation: Solomon, S. C., T. N. Woods, L. V. Didkovsky, J. T.
    Emmert, and L. Qian (2010), Anomalously low solar extremeultraviolet
    irradiance and thermospheric density during solar minimum,
    Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L16103, doi:10.1029/2010GL044468.

  43. I’m confused. The above posting and NASA statement are saying that a cooling thermosphere shrinks and becomes less dense. Did I read that right? I must be missing some vital piece of CO2-related info, because I was taught in school that if a gas cools and its volume decreases, the density increases. But if NASA says otherwise, well, I’ll have another slice of humble CO2 pie.

  44. Stephen Wilde says:
    August 26, 2010 at 10:27 pm
    Of course, Leif is right about the height and thinness of the thermosphere, but….

    The thermosphere cools and shrinks when the sun is less active and that has clearly been happening since the late 90s.

    However over the same period the stratosphere has ceased cooling and is now warming a little:

    http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/sola/5/0/53/_pdf

    I suggest that you take a careful look at Fig 4.

  45. I would be very interested to hear Leif’s explanation (if any) for the change in sea surface atmospheric pressure that I report at :http://climatechange1.wordpress.com/

    The change in surface atmospheric pressure drives ENSO via its effect on the trade winds. There is a change in the base state from La Nina(pre1978) to El Nino dominance (1978-2007) and back again. And that is most definitely climate change.

    But, what is it that changes the surface atmospheric pressure?

  46. jorgekafkazar says:
    August 26, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Effect of thermosphere on solar transmission: Good question! Feynman notes that with glass(analogous to atmospheric layers) linear thickness increase causes an oscillation in the percentage transmission(QED, Princeton, 1985).

    Query, on average 20% of TSI UV, if this segment has suffered a 15% reduction in upper range why hasn’t SORCE uncovered the fact?

  47. Well regardless of what goson in the thermosphere; or irregardless as the case may be; whether solar extreme UV caused, or solar core neutrinos; we can report; computer models notwithstanding, that as of today; the Physical and Chemical properties of the H2O molecule have survived unscathed, and still have their former values operatng at full functionality; so we can predict; excuse me; that’s project, that there’s nothing to worry about Mates. She’ll be right, and it will all come out in the wash (there’s that WATER again) !

    So nothing more to see here folks; move along now.

    Any chance I could get some of that grant money to study all this ?

  48. Someone really thought this was an insignificant matter? Life on this planet has been assailed by myriad nasty and devestating events over the millenia, but the sun is the absolute precursor to EVERYTHING on this planet (which is about the most obvious statement ever), including THE planet. Really an incredible statement from the science community.

    “This research makes a compelling case for the need to study the coupled sun-Earth system…”

  49. erlhapp says:
    August 27, 2010 at 9:07 am
    But, what is it that changes the surface atmospheric pressure?
    Pressure is the weight of the overlying molecules and therefore does not change. The distribution of pressure over the globe changes all the time.

  50. Re: Steven Mosher says:
    August 27, 2010 at 8:26 am

    [...Yes, the sun is the source, Just ask yourself what the temperature on earth would be in the following two cases:

    A. Current sun and no atmosphere
    B. Current sun and an atmosphere of gases, say pick H02,...]

    Mosher, you left out an option:
    C. Current sun and an IR transparent atmosphere.

    Which is the warmer planet?

  51. Re: Phil says:
    August 27, 2010 at 8:33 am

    [I’m confused. The above posting and NASA statement are saying that a cooling thermosphere shrinks and becomes less dense. Did I read that right? I must be missing some vital piece of CO2-related info, because I was taught in school that if a gas cools and its volume decreases, the density increases. But if NASA says otherwise, well, I’ll have another slice of humble CO2 pie.]

    They aren’t referring to the density of the entire thermosphere. What they are referring to is the density at a fixed altitude in the high thermosphere. The density there declined because the thermosphere contracted beneath that altitude.

  52. Simply speaking,

    An example of how this works

    If you were to step into your kitchen.

    Put a pot of water on the stove.

    Put the oven up to 500 degrees.

    Open or close the oven door.

    Did the pot boil?

    Probably close, but no cigar.

    That is the Sun.

    Turn on the burner under the pot to 1/4th. This is your sunspot activity. What happens? That is the present sunspot minimum.

    Turn it up half.

    This is a cool/warm sunspot cycle. This is about 400 total mean for a cycle.

    What happens?

    Turn it up to 3/4s. This is a cycle at 600 to 700 total mean for a cycle.

    Now, raise it up to high and this is 900 plus sunspot cycle mean. How does it feel?

    The oven at 500 degrees and the pot boiling. This is the accumulated affect of the Sun from 1996 to 2007.

    You should feel a lot of humidity. How many hurricanes were there and how much ACE was there? In 11 years, 170 storms and 1600 ACE

    Now turn down the heat to 3/4s.that small moment where boiling out of control to calm is 2003 to 2006. 2006 was 26 tropical storms and two major hurricanes.

    Now turn it down to half; 2007 to 2009.

    Now turn it to 1/4 th. 2010.

    Did you notice the humidity drop off from the pot and the dry oven heat taking over.

    What is missing?

    Direct flare heat from sunspots and humidity. The probable missing ingredient in this hurricane season is the mechanism of sunspot activity that causes

    HUMIDITY!

    As I said to the good CSU and earlier in this blog, the missing formula for hurricane seasons (not El Ninos or La Ninas) is humidity. There is very little now.

    This why I believe the season would be 4 to 7 named storms of 50/50 mix of tropical storms and hurricanes and several tropical depressions.

    I think CSU and HTC were at 22 named storms and about 10 were major hurricanes.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    Paul

  53. “http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/sola/5/0/53/_pdf

    I suggest that you take a careful look at Fig 4.”

    Fig 4 indicates a rise in stratospheric temperatures since the 90s.

    Were you supporting me or suggesting that I had missed something ?

  54. This study seems to imply that the thermosphere is affected in a way independent of simple TSI. I wonder what else in the atmosphere is affected as well.

  55. There’s bound to be some gravitational link between the sun and earth’s atmosphere too; it helps us keep our atmosphere because it is made to go around the sun in pretty much the same orbit as the earth; so that is a very useful linkage.

  56. Direct flare heat from sunspots and humidity. The probable missing ingredient in this hurricane season is the mechanism of sunspot activity that causes HUMIDITY!

    Problem is the relationship is inverse ie humidity decreases as solar forcing increases (and surface t) this is clearly seen in the annular cycle eg chatham station

  57. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 27, 2010 at 12:58 am

    The article is full of half-truths combined with outright nonsense.
    ———————————————
    You’re not an electrical engineer, and thus not qualified, but thanks for your emotional opinion.

    “The electromotive power is deposited mostly in the upper atmosphere at mid to low latitudes and gives rise to fast upper atmosphere winds and even “super rotation.” That is, the wind races around the planet faster than the planet turns. It is a phenomenon observed on Venus and Titan and remains unexplained by atmospheric physics, which relies on solar heating. It is the cause of the extraordinary winds on the gas giant planets in the outer solar system, where solar heating is weak. It has implications for the jet streams and weather patterns on Earth as well. Notably, the polar current streams take the form of twin Birkeland current filaments, which give rise to the enigmatic “double vortexes” seen at the poles of Venus. It is apparent that electrical energy from space doesn’t merely light up auroras. It has a profound influence on upper atmosphere winds and storms. An expert on the dynamics of planetary atmospheres, F. W. Taylor, has admitted, “the absence of viable theories which can be tested, or in this case [Venusian polar vortex] any theory at all, leaves us uncomfortably in doubt as to our basic ability to understand even gross features of planetary atmospheric circulations.” Meanwhile, electrical energy appears nowhere in any climate model.”

    http://www.holoscience.com/news.php?article=aapprbh6

  58. The fact that the layer in the upper atmosphere known as the thermosphere is shrunken and dense means…

    … that the sky is falling?

  59. An old chum and friend from high school days saw another article about this topic and asked me how the sun could cause the atmosphere to expand and contract like that. This is the ‘back of the envelope’ explanation I came up with. There are a lot of inadequacies to this explanation but it paints a picture of the basic interactions that are understandable to folks struggling to remember their high school algebra and physical science.

    Scientists recently noted that the radius of the earth’s atmosphere (thermosphere and every thing under it) has contracted over the last few years. The contraction correlates with our sun entering a relatively extended solar minimum, a period of reduced solar activity. When this happens, the earth is exposed to somewhat less total solar emissions. The lowered solar emissions (particularly about 6% lower UV radiation) apparently produce less heating effects in the thermosphere (the upper part of our atmosphere), causing it to contract.
    Thermosphere: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermosphere

    Remember Boyles Natural Gas Law, from our high school Chemistry/Physics classes? PV=nrT where P = pressure, T = temperature, V = volume, and ‘n’ and ‘r’ are constants. It described the relationships of pressure, temperature, and volume for ‘natural gases’ such as those found in our atmosphere.

    Initial Gas Condition: P1V1 = nrT1 or nr = P1V1/T1
    Changed Gas Condition: P2V2 = nrT2 or nr = P2V2/T2

    Canceling the constants (nr) and rearranging…

    P1V1/T1 = P2V2/T2

    If we assume the total mass of the atmosphere is relatively constant, we can set P1 = P2 for Pressure (P) at the earths surface, but allow atmospheric Temperature (T) and Volume (V) to vary for the atmosphere. Since the vacuum of space presents no barrier to constrain volume and our heat source (old Sol..) is somewhat variable, these are reasonable 1st order assumptions. (Yes, gravity does provide a ‘soft’ constraint to the atmosphere maximum diameter, the surface (land and water) of the earth provides a ‘floor’ for the minimum atmosphere diameter, and atmospheric pressure varies from ‘zero’ to 1 standard atmosphere respectively. I chose to keep it a simple illustration, for folks struggling to remember their high school algebra and physics.)

    Since P1 = P2, we can cancel and rearrange….

    V1/T1 = V2/T2

    If the atmospheric temperature T2 drops lower that some initial state T1, the atmospheric volume V2 must get proportionately smaller to maintain the same ratio as V1/T1.

    Volume for a sphere is V = [4 Pi (r)exp3]/3 so the radius contracts as the cube root of the volume contraction. (Caveat: Although the earth’s atmosphere is not a full ‘sphere’, just a spherical shell of r2-r1, where r2 is the top of the thermosphere and r1 is the earth’s surface, it provides a general illustration.)

    When our global atmosphere contracts, it presents less atmospheric drag on all of that space junk in low earth orbit. When it expands, the low orbit hardware sees more atmospheric drag, slowing the orbital speed and causing eventual re-entry into our atmosphere!

    Sooooooo…. a ‘quiet’ sun means a cooler and smaller radius earth atmosphere which means space junk stays in orbit longer. And when the sun gets real active again, we will see the atmospheric volume expand again and cause a lot of low earth orbit space junk to make a “Viking Pyre” return to the planet!

    It’s as natural as sunshine and as predictable as sunrise…..

  60. Leif
    “The distribution of pressure over the globe changes all the time.”

    Well, I am enlightened.

    And what causes the loss of the pressure differential between the poles and the equator and the mid latitudes and the equator then its recovery over a sixty year time period?

    But, I sense the wall has gone up already and there will be little to be gained in pursuing the matter.

    For anyone who wants to follow the argument, I have documented the change in the pressure differential here: http://climatechange1.wordpress.com/

    Much can be achieved when men of goodwill bring their diverse talents to a problem solving activity. I like that sort of thing.

  61. • Weird Naked Indian
    That’s an excellent contribution. ‘Electromotive power’. I imagine that could have a lot to do with pressure differentials at the surface, especially if it tended to move the atmosphere away from the poles and towards the equator. And that, plainly, is what happens.

    • Mac the Knife
    Is it just the thermosphere that expands and contracts according to the energy input from the sun? It actually begins in the stratosphere, albeit the upper stratosphere with the splitting of the oxygen molecule. Then there is a knock on effect. Some atmospheric heating (in both stratosphere and troposphere) is due to the absorption of long wave infrared from the Earth by ozone. So, increase the ozone content and the atmosphere will expand. So, the heating is much more extensive than if it were confined to that which is called the ‘thermosphere’.

    And the narrow mindedness of Leif’s position on the matter is apparent. His statement is not physical, it’s political.

  62. Weird Naked Indian says:
    August 27, 2010 at 2:31 pm
    “The electromotive power is deposited mostly in the upper atmosphere at mid to low latitudes
    If anything that would be at high latitudes.

    Meanwhile, electrical energy appears nowhere in any climate model.
    As it shouldn’t because it is not a driving force. There is no electricity coming from ‘space’. What happens is that plasma moves across magnetic field lines and induce electric currents in the upper atmosphere and inner magnetosphere.

    erlhapp says:
    August 27, 2010 at 4:25 pm
    And what causes the loss of the pressure differential between the poles and the equator and the mid latitudes and the equator then its recovery over a sixty year time period?
    No indications that that has anything to do with solar activity. The ‘mechanisms’ you have pushed are not viable, and are based on muddled physics.

  63. erlhapp says:
    August 27, 2010 at 5:22 pm
    And the narrow mindedness of Leif’s position on the matter is apparent.
    Yes, I’m very narrow-minded when it comes to making sense of something. And your stuff [as you know] does not pass the [science] filter. To think that it is political is unfounded and offensive.

  64. Leif,
    Once again I pose the question: “And what causes the loss of the pressure differential between the poles and the equator and the mid latitudes and the equator then its recovery over a sixty year time period?”

    The change in the pressure differential drives sea surface temperature in the tropics. It’s plainly a reversible process.

    I suggest you dig in hard and address the question. I have my own ‘science filter’, my own BS filter and I am not happy with your response. In this circumstance I am apt to be offensive. I am provoked.

  65. erlhapp says:
    August 27, 2010 at 8:20 pm
    The change in the pressure differential drives sea surface temperature in the tropics. It’s plainly a reversible process.
    So? What has that to do with solar activity? If you have not changed your story since a year or two ago, then there is nothing new to dig into. So, explain what is new and exciting.

  66. Leif,
    Have you an answer to the question?

    “And what causes the loss of the pressure differential between the poles and the equator and the mid latitudes and the equator then its recovery over a sixty year time period?”

    See the data for the all important mid latitudes at:

    The differential between the mid latitudes and the equator drives the trades. Slack trades means a warm ocean because there is less evaporation and less upwelling of cool waters, but you knew that.

    The question is:

    “And what causes the loss of the pressure differential between the poles and the equator and the mid latitudes and the equator then its recovery over a sixty year time period?”

  67. erlhapp says:
    August 27, 2010 at 8:59 pm
    Have you an answer to the question?
    Of course not. Nobody has one that is believable. Including you. But why beat around the bush? Just explain in plain language [250 words is what you will be allotted in the abstract of your paper if you were to submit one.] what you think the mechanism is.

  68. Leif,
    Thanks for that.

    Let’s admit that the change is very likely externally modulated. So, let’s cross planetary waves off the list. What candidates do we have?

    The atmosphere consists of electrically neutral particles that will not align to the Earths magnetic field. But there are sufficient non neutrals, including, it has been suggested, plain old water that will align themselves with the Earths magnetic field. Oxygen, ozone and nitrogen contribute a wealth of particles that owe their presence to the ionizing ability of short wave radiation. The location and movement of non neutrals and neutrals, via the force of collision and entrainment, depends upon the stability of that field. And, as we know, its very unstable. That field depends upon earthly and solar processes.

    At: http://climatechange1.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/6-80-90s-10n-10s.jpg

    you see that episodic increases of sea level atmospheric pressure in the equatorial zone are associated with simultaneous depletion of atmospheric pressure in high latitudes, especially in the southern hemisphere.

    Above, you made this comment:
    Weird Naked Indian says:
    August 27, 2010 at 2:31 pm
    “The electromotive power is deposited mostly in the upper atmosphere at mid to low latitudes”
    Your reply: “If anything that would be at high latitudes.”

    Now, just exactly what did you have in mind?

  69. erlhapp says:
    August 27, 2010 at 10:00 pm
    Let’s admit that the change is very likely externally modulated. So, let’s cross planetary waves off the list. What candidates do we have?
    I see no reason to think the change is external, planetary waves will do just fine.

    depends upon the stability of that field. And, as we know, its very unstable. That field depends upon earthly and solar processes.
    No, the Earth’s magnetic field is very stable, only very rarely varies more than 1% on relevant time scales. Your idea that water aligns it with the Earth’s magnetic field is silly.

    you see that episodic increases of sea level atmospheric pressure in the equatorial zone are associated with simultaneous depletion of atmospheric pressure in high latitudes, especially in the southern hemisphere.
    but what has that to do with the Sun? sounds like some interval variation to me.

    Your reply: “If anything that would be at high latitudes.”
    Now, just exactly what did you have in mind?

    Here is a plot of the power input [in GigaWatt] to the hemispheres: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/pmap/

  70. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 27, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    There is no electricity coming from ‘space’.
    ———————————————
    That’s a valid statement. Electricity does not come out of empty nothing.

  71. Leif,
    Re your comment. “I see no reason to think the change is external, planetary waves will do just fine.”

    Well, please yourself but, based on observation, a pressure collapse at the poles is contemporaneous with an increase in the temperature of the polar stratosphere. The pressure collapse is responsible for vortex collapse (cuts off the sir supply from above) that ALLOWS the migration of the planetary wave towards the pole. It is the vortex collapse that is directly responsible for an increase in ozone content in the ‘surf zone’ and it is the increase in ozone that causes the temperature increase in the stratosphere that we know as a sudden stratospheric warming. That temperature increase is a top-down affair. The control of ozone via the vortex, and its dependence upon solar geomagnetic activity and transport phenomena (via the vortex) is described here: http://www.agci.org/dB/PPTs/10S1_0614_CRandall.pdf See slide 12.

    It seems that the ozone concentration of the stratosphere is driven in large part by change in vortex strength (itself directly relating to surface pressure change) determining the transport of erosive compounds from the mesosphere.

    It seems that the increase in ozone in the polar stratosphere propagates speedily throughout the stratosphere and is closely associated with an increase in sea surface temperature in the summer hemisphere. I know this to be controversial but the evidence is there, having covered it in my blog.

    So, I think your explanation is unphysical. At the root of these phenomena is a change in transport dynamics. In other words, it is the strength of the vortex that matters. And vortex strength depends directly upon atmospheric pressure.

    Are you really suggesting that planetary waves are causing the collapse in sea level atmospheric pressure? Pull the other leg.

    I think you have a typo or a syntax problem in the following sentence because it doesn’t relate to what I wrote at all.

    “Your idea that water aligns it with the Earth’s magnetic field is silly.”

    Is the changing power input to the hemispheres that you diagrammatically illustrate capable of changing upper atmosphere winds? Will it slow the migration of air from the summer to the winter pole in the mesosphere? If it does, you have a reason for the change in surface pressure at the winter pole.

    Google search yields plenty of evidence of the dependence of mesospheric wind upon geomagnetic activity suggesting that the meridional component of the winds becomes more equator-ward with geomagnetic activity. So, the chain of causation is there. The result, in terms of a change in atmospheric pressure at the poles and mid latitudes vis a vis the equator is there for all to see.

    The mesosphere is the interaction zone between neutrals and non neutrals. The two move together. But the non neutrals are also present in the stratosphere. So, we are talking about 25% of the atmosphere that may be affected by solar activity in this way.

    Much of the current thinking in climate science represents a determined effort to see the Earth and its atmosphere as a closed system. I reckon this represents a religious belief. No amount of argument or observation will change this.

  72. Erl Happ said:
    “So, increase the ozone content and the atmosphere will expand.”

    Well yes but…

    During the period of HIGH solar activity during the late 20th century ozone FELL and the stratosphere cooled whilst both thermosphere and troposphere warmed and the thermosphere expanded. Now all that has reversed if we look at the whole period since the late 90s and ignore shorter term chaotic variability. We now see recovering ozone, a cooling troposphere (El Nino events apart), a cooling and shrinking thermosphere and a warming stratosphere.

    The only change would appear to be declining solar activity.

    Now add in first the poleward (late 20th century) and now equatorward shifts in the jets and one can see that what we are looking at is the sort of shift (on a small scale) that led to the changes from MWP to LIA and then to date. So scrub CO2 and CFCs as a potential cause of the cooling stratosphere (when it should have been warming) and falling ozone while the sun was more active since CO2 emissions were insignificant and CFCs were non existent back then.

    What we are left with is a wholly natural cycle whereby the stratospheric temperature trend somehow goes in the opposite direction to the thermosphere and troposphere when solar activity changes with a consequent effect on the latitudinal positioning of all the air circulation systems (hence climate changes) which has a knock on effect on albedo and the direction of trend of the entire global energy budget (especially the rate of energy input to the oceans).

    Then referring to Leif’s position I note that he is content with an internal forcing but not an external forcing, a bottom up forcing but not a top down forcing.

    So where does an external top down (solar) forcing translate into an internal bottom up forcing ?

    In the oceans of course.

    So that squares the circle. All the solar effects need to do is alter the relative energy fluxes between layers in the atmosphere in order for the surface pressure distribution to change so that the energy flux into the oceans changes and then we have an external solar forcing disguised as an internal oceanic forcing.

    All that follows from the simple observations that:

    i) The stratosphere cools when the sun is more active and warms when the sun is less active.

    ii) The surface air pressure distribution shifts latitudinally to alter energy input to the oceans via a change in global albedo.

    I see that as a perfectly adequate energy balancing mechanism but I know it will initially seem bizarre to many.

  73. @ Geoff Sharp says:

    “The last few weeks have been icy cold in Melbourne.”

    So it should have been with the lower solar wind speed from mid August, it made it very wet here too, as predicted. ( As I am the only forecaster employing an empirical method of predicting short term temperature change, this forecast was unique to myself)

    “The Northern Hemisphere winter could be big this year.”

    Planetary Ordered Solar Theory suggests otherwise.

  74. Stephen,
    I said:
    “It seems that the ozone concentration of the stratosphere is driven in large part by change in vortex strength”

    There is another contributor and that is water vapour. As the Earth cools the flux of water vapour from the troposphere is diminished. Ozone is soluble in water. So, it is natural that as the Earth cools the stratosphere will dry, ozone will increase and its temperature will rise.

  75. erlhapp said:

    ” a pressure collapse at the poles is contemporaneous with an increase in the temperature of the polar stratosphere. ”

    Hi, Erl.

    I would also say that when there is a pressure collapse AT the poles then simultaneously the polar high pressure cells grow, intensify and move equatorward across the mid latitudes.

    The thing I am not sure about is whether it is the movement of the high pressure cells away from the poles that leaves room for low pressure to develop at the poles or whether the development of low pressure at the poles pushes the high pressure cells equatorward. Either way it seems to be induced from above as you say. The strength of the inversion at the tropopause dictates what happens to the pressure distribution beneath, all else being equal.

    Any idea ?

    I like your suggestion about the ozone mechanisms. We need an explanation though as to why this all happens when the sun is quiet rather than when it is active.

    We shouldn’t be getting a warming stratosphere and more ozone when the sun is quiet. Instead we should be seeing a cooler stratosphere because supposedly there would be less solar input to warm the available ozone.

    Likewise we shouldn’t have seen a cooling stratosphere and less ozone when the sun was more active. Instead we should have seen a warmer stratosphere because supposedly there would be more solar input to warm the available ozone.

    If we can get the sequence of events right so as to fit those contrary observations then I would call that a result.

    Although you are talking about ‘sudden stratospheric warming events’ I think we can extend that to longer term stratospheric temperature trends

  76. Ulric Lyons says:
    August 28, 2010 at 5:59 am

    So it should have been with the lower solar wind speed from mid August, it made it very wet here too, as predicted. ( As I am the only forecaster employing an empirical method of predicting short term temperature change, this forecast was unique to myself)

    Planetary Ordered Solar Theory suggests otherwise.

    1. The big weather was during 600 km/s plus solar wind. Other periods of cold during low solar wind. You have the data, both temp and solar wind speed. Plot it and show the correlation instead of making general statements. (second request)

    2. Solar wind speed does not vary on a big scale over the cycle, can you provide the mechanism for solar wind induced short term weather patterns.

    3. A mechanism/explanation of Planet Ordered Solar Theory would also be appreciated.

  77. erlhapp says:
    August 28, 2010 at 12:45 am
    I think you have a typo or a syntax problem in the following sentence because it doesn’t relate to what I wrote at all.
    “Your idea that water aligns it with the Earth’s magnetic field is silly.”

    This is what you wrote:
    erlhapp says:
    August 27, 2010 at 10:00 pm
    including [...] plain old water that will align themselves with the Earths magnetic field.

    Is the changing power input to the hemispheres that you diagrammatically illustrate capable of changing upper atmosphere winds?
    Yes, the zonal winds, of course.

    So, we are talking about 25% of the atmosphere that may be affected by solar activity in this way.
    no, we are not. We are talking about 0.000,000…01 %.

    Much of the current thinking in climate science represents a determined effort to see the Earth and its atmosphere as a closed system. I reckon this represents a religious belief. No amount of argument or observation will change this.
    This is just nonsense, based on ignorance of basic climate science.

  78. erlhapp said:

    “There is another contributor and that is water vapour. As the Earth cools the flux of water vapour from the troposphere is diminished. Ozone is soluble in water. So, it is natural that as the Earth cools the stratosphere will dry, ozone will increase and its temperature will rise.”

    Yes, Erl. That would equate to what I’ve been saying about the speed of the hydrological cycle.

    However that could occur from bottom up by means of the oceans releasing energy more slowly to air or from the top down by means of the level of solar activity altering the upward energy flux differentially from layer to layer so as to alter the rate at which energy leaves the stratosphere upward.

    I think that really one needs to change stratospheric temperatures first by one or both of those methods and then the rest falls into place. The strength of the inversion at the tropopause is the critical factor affecting pressure distribution from above and all the signs are that the solar effect on the stratosphere is opposite to what convention suggests and we have to find the mechanism that does that and at the same time affects ozone quantities in the right direction.

  79. @ Geoff Sharp says:
    August 28, 2010 at 9:21 am
    “1. The big weather was during 600 km/s plus solar wind. Other periods of cold during low solar wind. You have the data, both temp and solar wind speed. Plot it and show the correlation instead of making general statements. (second request)”

    Max/min (daily) anomalies, apart from the S.E corner of Australia on the 27th August have been lifting since the recent uplift in solar wind velocity;

    http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/awap/temp/index.jsp

    I assume you mean cold by `big weather`?
    I am not sure what you mean by `general statements`?, I have given precise dates for falls and rises in solar activity, eg. down mid month and back up again around the 27th, it all looks good to me.
    Solar data, use the archive for from mid month;

    http://www.lmsal.com/solarsoft/latest_events/

    “2. Solar wind speed does not vary on a big scale over the cycle…”

    Neither does temperature, but they move together in the short term.. Bingo!

  80. @ Geoff Sharp says:
    August 28, 2010 at 9:21 am

    “2. …can you provide the mechanism for solar wind induced short term weather patterns.”

    A change in temperature forces a change in weather patterns, the temperature change being driven by a change in the solar wind. The recent series of `Modern Winters` (N.H.) that have been re-branded as Global Warming, all have remarkably high solar wind velocities compared to colder winters, as does any particularly hot summer month, so I have no doubt the solar wind speed/density is instrumental in temperature variation. As to how this works, I would be interested in the possibility of increased IR from enhanced plasma heat at the Earth`s bowshock , as it it does get as hot as the corona of the Sun there at times. The correlation is sound, and it avoids all those nasty TSI variability problems.

  81. Leif,
    Thanks for the SORCE papers. I appreciate the sharing. I will peruse with interest.

    If I might make a suggestion, the perturbations of the Earths climate are on ENSO timescales and these perturbations are plainly linked to changes in the differential sea level atmospheric pressure between 30° to 50° of latitude and the near equatorial zone as can be seen here for the southern hemisphere:

    and here for the northern hemisphere:

    ENSO also changes on multi decadal and longer timescales as can be seen here:

    So, sea surface temperature in the tropics is plainly driven by changes in atmospheric pressure. I see no evidence that solar scientists are at all interested in explaining the short and long term change in sea level pressure. Rather, they seem to be engaged in a top down investigation that relates what they see coming from the sun to change in the chemical constituents of the upper atmosphere.

    If they refuse to look at the Earths climate systems in the broad, understanding will be a long time coming.

    Nowhere is the blindness more apparent than in discussion of the cause of ozone variations at the poles. One looks in vain for any mention of changes in atmospheric pressure in connection with change in the temperature of the stratosphere at the pole. The role of transport mechanisms (sometimes called dynamical mechanisms) is recognized by some, denied by most, and change in the vortex is almost universally ascribed to the influence of planetary waves rather than variations in air supply linked to changes in pressure.

    My prescription: Solar scientists should abandon the shower and develop a bathing habit. They should sit in the bath and observe the water as it disappears down the plug hole. Then, simulate a planetary wave and see if the water suddenly heats up and stops going down the plug hole.

  82. erlhapp says:
    August 28, 2010 at 6:36 pm
    I see no evidence that solar scientists are at all interested in explaining the short and long term change in sea level pressure.
    Perhaps it is that they see no evidence for these changes being caused by the Sun. Solar scientists also are not too interested in explaining the mating habits of the Giant Snow Frog.

  83. Leif,
    Unlike the mating habits of the giant Snow Frog the short and long term change in sea level pressure is at the heart of the phenomena we call natural climate variation.

  84. erlhapp says:
    August 28, 2010 at 9:34 pm
    Unlike the mating habits of the giant Snow Frog the short and long term change in sea level pressure is at the heart of the phenomena we call natural climate variation.
    And, again, this has as much to do with solar activity as the Giant Snow Frog.

  85. Leif. You say:
    “You can learn more about what causes ENSO here:
    http://iri.columbia.edu/climate/ENSO/theory/index.html

    Unfortunately, the theory espoused at that link is quite inadequate.

    Consider,
    1. The warming of the tropical ocean is a global affair, not just the Pacific.
    2. The Pacific (and ENSO 3.4) frequently lags behind the global tropics. The SOI frequently lags behind the change in the pressure band differential for the globe as a whole.
    3. The motive force that determines the strength of the Trades (determining whether the ocean will warm up or cool down) depends upon surface atmospheric pressure differentials. This gets no mention in the ‘theory’ at all.
    4. The ‘theory’ can not explain the swing from El Nino to La Nina dominance over decades.

    Those who espouse this theory are either fools or knaves. If I am to be charitable, I must suggest it is the former. But I can not believe that they are that simple, so I will go with the latter.

    The explanation is plainly driven by a political agenda of the sort where the ends are supposed to justify the means.

  86. @ erlhapp says:
    August 28, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Maybe the facetiousness of the Minotaur is a proxy for a pressure differential?

  87. This comment is addressed, not to Leif, but to anyone curious about atmospheric shifts that lie behind sudden stratospheric warming and the change in the pressure differentials driving the trade winds.

    Observe the warming of the Antarctic stratosphere in August 2010 here:

    and similarly here:

    Observe the simultaneous cooling of the tropical stratosphere here:

    and also here:

    The degree of cooling at 1hPa at 25°N to 25°S Lat. in late July exceeded anything experienced between 1979 and 2008.

    Why did this happen?

    A marked fall in sea level atmospheric pressure occurred in the deep south and an accompanying rise at the equator. The atmosphere shifted away from the pole. I suspect that the cooling at 1 hPa at the equator represents an upward shift in the zone experiencing the ionizing impact of short wave radiation. I say this because the fall in temperature diminishes with altitude and is not apparent at 30hPa and below.

    Peak impact seems to occur in the last days of July.

    This is a picture of the atmosphere awash, with depletion in one place and accretion elsewhere. It is inconsistent with the notion that planetary waves somehow deposit energy in the stratosphere above the pole. That explanation falls far short of explaining the phenomena of atmospheric shifts. In fact it suggests a result is actually the primary cause.

    The atmosphere is a plastic and mobile entity and this is nowhere more obvious than when a photograph is taken in the EUV spectrum from space. See for instance:

  88. erlhapp says:
    August 29, 2010 at 3:28 am
    Those who espouse this theory are either fools or knaves. If I am to be charitable, I must suggest it is the former. But I can not believe that they are that simple, so I will go with the latter.
    The explanation is plainly driven by a political agenda of the sort where the ends are supposed to justify the means.

    Apart from the fact that the theory stems from before global warming became political. I cannot follow you into paranoia land on this.

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