Warm water, cold winters

From California Institute of Technology:

Warm water causes extra-cold winters in northeastern North America and northeastern Asia

This map shows sea‑surface temperatures averaged over eight days in September 2001, as measured by NASA's Terra satellite. Dark red represents warm water (32 degrees Celsius) and purple is cold (‑2 degrees Celsius). The Gulf Stream can be seen as the orange strip extending from the eastern U.S. toward the Atlantic. Credit: Ronald Vogel, SAIC for NASA GSFC

PASADENA, Calif.—If you’re sitting on a bench in New York City’s Central Park in winter, you’re probably freezing. After all, the average temperature in January is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. But if you were just across the pond in Porto, Portugal, which shares New York’s latitude, you’d be much warmer—the average temperature is a balmy 48 degrees Fahrenheit.

Throughout northern Europe, average winter temperatures are at least 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than similar latitudes on the northeastern coast of the United States and the eastern coast of Canada. The same phenomenon happens over the Pacific, where winters on the northeastern coast of Asia are colder than in the Pacific Northwest.

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have now found a mechanism that helps explain these chillier winters—and the culprit is warm water off the eastern coasts of these continents.

“These warm ocean waters off the eastern coast actually make it cold in winter—it’s counterintuitive,” says Tapio Schneider, the Frank J. Gilloon Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering.

Schneider and Yohai Kaspi, a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech, describe their work in a paper published in the March 31 issue of the journal Nature.

Using computer simulations of the atmosphere, the researchers found that the warm water off an eastern coast will heat the air above it and lead to the formation of atmospheric waves, drawing cold air from the northern polar region. The cold air forms a plume just to the west of the warm water. In the case of the Atlantic Ocean, this means the frigid air ends up right over the northeastern United States and eastern Canada.

For decades, the conventional explanation for the cross-oceanic temperature difference was that the Gulf Stream delivers warm water from the Gulf of Mexico to northern Europe. But in 2002, research showed that ocean currents aren’t capable of transporting that much heat, instead contributing only up to 10 percent of the warming.

This image, taken by NASA's Terra satellite in March 2003, shows a much colder North America than Europe‑‑even at equal latitudes. White represents areas with more than 50 percent snow cover. NASA's Aqua satellite also measured water temperatures. Water between 0 and ‑15 degrees Celsius is in pink, while water between ‑15 and ‑28 degrees Celsius is in purple. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio; George Riggs (NASA/SSAI).

Kaspi’s and Schneider’s work reveals a mechanism that helps create a temperature contrast not by warming Europe, but by cooling the eastern United States. Surprisingly, it’s the Gulf Stream that causes this cooling.

In the northern hemisphere, the subtropical ocean currents circulate in a clockwise direction, bringing an influx of warm water from low latitudes into the western part of the ocean. These warm waters heat the air above it.

“It’s not that the warm Gulf Stream waters substantially heat up Europe,” Kaspi says. “But the existence of the Gulf Stream near the U.S. coast is causing the cooling of the northeastern United States.”

The researchers’ computer model simulates a simplified, ocean-covered Earth with a warm region to mimic the coastal reservoir of warm water in the Gulf Stream. The simulations show that such a warm spot produces so-called Rossby waves.

Generally speaking, Rossby waves are large atmospheric waves—with wavelengths that stretch for more than 1,000 miles. They form when the path of moving air is deflected due to Earth’s rotation, a phenomenon known as the Coriolis effect. In a way similar to how gravity is the force that produces water waves on the surface of a pond, the Coriolis force is responsible for Rossby waves.

In the simulations, the warm water produces stationary Rossby waves, in which the peaks and valleys of the waves don’t move, but the waves still transfer energy. In the northern hemisphere, the stationary Rossby waves cause air to circulate in a clockwise direction just to the west of the warm region. To the east of the warm region, the air swirls in the counterclockwise direction. These motions draw in cold air from the north, balancing the heating over the warm ocean waters.

To gain insight into the mechanisms that control the atmospheric dynamics, the researchers speed up Earth’s rotation in the simulations. In those cases, the plume of cold air gets bigger—which is consistent with it being a stationary Rossby-wave plume. Most other atmospheric features would get smaller if the planet were to spin faster.

Although it’s long been known that a heat source could produce Rossby waves, which can then form plumes, this is the first time anyone has shown how the mechanism causes cooling that extends west of the heat source. According to the researchers, the cooling effect could account for 30 to 50 percent of the temperature difference across oceans.

This process also explains why the cold region is just as big for both North America and Asia, despite the continents being so different in topography and size. The Rossby-wave induced cooling depends on heating air over warm ocean water. Since the warm currents along western ocean boundaries in both the Pacific and Atlantic are similar, the resulting cold region to their west would be similar as well.

The next step, Schneider says, is to build simulations that more realistically reflect what happens on Earth. Future simulations would incorporate more complex features like continents and cloud feedbacks.

###

The research described in the Nature paper, “Winter cold of eastern continental boundaries induced by warm ocean waters,” was funded by the NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship, administrated by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research; a David and Lucille Packard Fellowship; and the National Science Foundation.

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97 Responses to Warm water, cold winters

  1. Mark_K says:

    That doesn’t really explain why Lincoln, Nebraska is also 10 degrees colder than Porto.

  2. Dave Wendt says:

    “Water between 0 and ‑15 degrees Celsius is in pink, while water between ‑15 and ‑28 degrees Celsius is in purple.”

    Water?

  3. terry says:

    This is not for the topic thread but is info I would like to bring to Anthony …This link might work well in the reference page ….peace terry http://www.ips.gov.au/Satellite/2/4/2

  4. coaldust says:

    “Using computer simulations of the atmosphere…”

    I stopped reading there.

  5. Jimbo says:

    But if you were just across the pond in Porto, Portugal, which shares New York’s latitude, you’d be much warmer—the average temperature is a balmy 48 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Balmy!

  6. Rob R says:

    Just when we thought the whole of climate science was settled, buttoned down and locked in a cage, some inconvenient person comes up with a new interpretation of regional scale weather and climate. So its back to the drawing board. What will happen when they incorporate the heating/cooling effects of El Nino-La Nina and the AMO? Enquiring minds want to know.

  7. Stephan says:

    OT but amazing I posted this yesterday on blackboard
    Stephan (Comment#72401) March 29th, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Kelly: please remove this graph from your site
    http://processtrends.com/image…..latest.png
    I am using it world wide to debunk your theory of AGW.

    The person changed it today to this
    http://chartsgraphs.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/enhanced-uah-channel-5-temperature-anomaly-trend-chart/

    because it did not show the warming he wants to show us over the past 10 years. I think it proves the point hahaha He fell for it completely and I certainly will not be looking at his data anymore. WE only look at unbiased data LOL

  8. glen martin says:

    Reminds me of an article which claimed the Rocky Mountains were to blame for the temperature contrast.

    http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/id.999,y.0,no.,content.true,page.1,css.print/issue.aspx

  9. Alan says:

    Another example of settled science that is further “dis-settled”. I was taught in school, several decades ago, that the Gulf Stream was keeping Europe warm. Now it seems, if I get it right (?), that it’s rather the North East coast of Canada and the United States that is cooler than it’s supposed to be.

    That’s what I call climate change, really.

  10. Jenny Sixpack says:

    I am confused.

    Does this mean that for us in UK global warming will make it

    a. hotter
    b. cooler
    c. wetter
    d. drier
    e. drownded
    f. dessicated
    g. None of the above
    h. All of the above?

    I am worrying myself stupid that I might be worrying about last year’s weather worry and that that has now been debunked. Because then I will have been worrying about the wrong thing and that will be even more worrying. I need to worry about this year’s worry otherwise I’ll be soooo out of touch and all my friends will laugh at me. Keeping in with the latest scary trends is very important to one’s social standing. And I don’t want to worry about that.

    Please can a real 100% Proof Genuine Gold Standard Verified Peer-Reviewed Climate Scientist – With All The Trimmings once and for all tell me exactly what I should worry about for the Spring/Summer season?

    Worried Jenny from Weybridge…………

  11. Jeff Carlson says:

    start with a conclusion and walk back from there to your data, throwing out the data that doesn’t “fit” …

    these are not scientists, they are adolescent fools looking for a government grant …

  12. Gary Pearse says:

    Doesn’t warm air just rise and cold air is pulled down to replace it?

  13. Robert L says:

    flows from the poles will always push up against eastern shores and flows from the tropics will push up against western shores, simple corriolis effects, exactly what is supposed to be the breakthrough?

  14. Lady Life Grows says:

    When anything relates to “global warming” mere theories and computer simulations get published.
    This notion could be falsified or verified by measuring changes in sea water temperatures at different dates or years and comparing to Noreasters or other storms and see whether real-world weather fits the pattern.
    In a scientific world, publication of this piece would not be possible until the actual research had been done.
    This is a good “introduction.” Now do the work.

  15. Doots says:

    Duh?

  16. Dodgy Geezer says:

    @ Jenny Sixpack

    “I am confused.

    Does this mean that for us in UK global warming will make it

    a. hotter
    b. cooler
    c. wetter
    d. drier
    e. drownded
    f. dessicated
    g. None of the above
    h. All of the above?….”

    The answer is h) – All of the above. But NOT NECESSARILY AT THE SAME TIME…

  17. mycroft says:

    So if the gulf stream is not the reason that the uk/north western europe warm in winter? what is!!
    Sounds as if it’s another stab at trying to keep up with the colder winters we’ve been getting these last few years. ie warmer means colder winters.Despite the alarmists
    telling us for 20years or more that a warming world would mean less cold winters and less snowfall
    And don’t forget this is yet another model simulation based study

  18. Paul Deacon says:

    coaldust says:
    March 30, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    “Using computer simulations of the atmosphere…”

    I stopped reading there.

    So did I.

  19. MarkW says:

    According to this article, shutting down the Gulf Stream would not cause Europe to cool, but rather would cause N. America to warm?

    Back to the drawing boards for the cause of Younger Dryas.

  20. DirkH says:

    The MSM and half the AGW scientists will be disappointed if this holds water… No more scare stories of “Gulf Stream about to stop”… What will they do to fill the blank pages?

  21. Tom in Florida says:

    If this is true (IF), then it would help explain two things from this winter. First, recall that two hurricanes actually ended up in the area east of Hudson Bay. That could mean tropical heat was transported there warming the waters. This could then be the cause of the slow ice creation there this winter and the very cold air that came down into the eastern U.S. Just wondering.

  22. John Phillips says:

    Well now wait a minute. Its just common sense. In the northern hemisphere the weather moves west to east, so the west side of continents get their weather from the oceans which are warmer than the land in winter. I think its that simple.

  23. Keith G says:

    Jenny Sixpack,

    “Please can a real 100% Proof Genuine Gold Standard Verified Peer-Reviewed Climate Scientist – With All The Trimmings once and for all tell me exactly what I should worry about for the Spring/Summer season?”

    Keith G, Self-Certified Climate Guy at your service.*

    Unless you are a farmer, your main concern during the Spring is rain when you are planning to do something outside like golf. For summer, you have several things to worry about; sunburn, insect bites, someone wearing the same swimsuit to a pool party. Oh, and sometimes the Spring problem of rain when you are planning to do something outside like golf.

    To protect yourself, 4 out of 5 Self-Certified Climate Guys recommend the following seasonal emergency kit be kept at the office, in the car, and at home.

    1) Sunscreen
    2) Insect repellent
    3) Umbrella
    4) Good summer romance novel
    5) Chewing gum (preferably minty)
    6) Pint of Vodka (preferably plastic travel bottle)
    7) An unusual tankini or monokini or something like that in case some cow shows up at the pool party with the same swimsuit. You can change quickly and no one will notice.

    *Self-Certified Climate Guy services provided free of charge at office gatherings, bars, family reunions, in line at Starbucks, to people next to me on the plane, and other situations where small chit-chat is appropriate.

  24. peakbear says:

    glen martin says: March 30, 2011 at 1:13 pm
    “Reminds me of an article which claimed the Rocky Mountains were to blame for the temperature contrast.”

    Glen, I would say it is the Rocky mountains that are the main driver of this Rossby wave effect, though Heating has a significant effect too. I actually studied this back in the early nineties.. There are quite a few papers from the late eighties, early nineties describing this kind of thing. It is in fact something that Richard Lindzen was studying back then also.

    The European warmer than average effect is best described by 1) The air comes off the ocean genrerally due to weather on average coming from the West and 2) The Rossby waves cause large scale disturbances which mean for somewhere like the UK the waves tend to cause weather to come from a SW direction on average (check the average pressure chart for winter (DJF) December-Jan-Feb and you should see for most years the isobars angling down to the SW implying that is where the wind is coming from typically.

    Here is an earlier paper from ’89 describing a similar effect. Though I’m sure the computers are much,much faster now and the models much higher resolution ;-) – Other studies were done about then too..
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1989JAtS…46.2509V

  25. Curiousgeorge says:

    Well, duh. anybody that has ever spent a year or 2 on various coasts, east and west, on different continents knows this. Try the Korean DMZ in Feb. for cold.

  26. Scott B says:

    Wow. Really makes you wonder what we do know about weather/climate.

  27. John Kehr says:

    This one is interesting. A deeper understanding of why the climate behaves the way it does is always interesting. I was not aware that the gulf stream had been diminished as the source of the warmer European climate.

    This scale of effect is also the same scale that causes hurricanes in the Northern Hemisphere to rotate counter-clockwise and the clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. It is not an especially intuitive effect, but real none-the-less.

    It would seem that this ties into the jet stream and the high pressures systems the nudge the direction of storms.

    Nebraska is colder because those pressure effects pull much colder air from the north south. The reverse would happen in Europe where warmer air would be pulled northward.

    So if the cooler effect caused 30% of the difference and the warming effect in Europe caused 30% of the difference and the Gulf Stream caused a portion (likely larger than 10%), then most of the temperature difference is explained.

    Certainly not a the end word, but an interesting possibility.

  28. Allanj says:

    Air masses in the Northern Hemisphere tend to travel west to east. Large continents tend to be hotter in the summer and colder in the winter than oceans. Lands to the east of large continents get more extreme temperatures than land to the east of oceans.

    It is not surprising that rising warm air from oceans that are east of continents would add to the eastward flow of continental air (in the Northern Hemisphere). None of the above required reference to the Gulf Stream.

    I think I learned this in Meteorology class in 1953. It’s nice the models agree.

  29. Sean says:

    Isn’t this kind of old news. At the high lattitudes, winds blow from west to east and near to the tropics the winds blow from east to west. Wasn’t that the early explores trick for traveling from the old world to the new world and back?

  30. TonyK says:

    Jenny Sixpack says:
    March 30, 2011 at 1:37 pm
    I am confused.

    Does this mean that for us in UK global warming will make it

    a. hotter
    b. cooler
    c. wetter
    d. drier
    e. drownded
    f. dessicated
    g. None of the above
    h. All of the above?

    The answer is yes. Now what was the question?

  31. David L says:

    coaldust says:
    March 30, 2011 at 12:49 pm
    “Using computer simulations of the atmosphere…”

    I stopped reading there.”

    Me too. As I read I was wondering when that phrase would show up. And when it did… I quit.

  32. David L says:

    Jenny Sixpack says:
    March 30, 2011 at 1:37 pm
    I am confused.”

    It’s simple. Global warming never affects weather. It only affects climate. Weather is unpredictable. But climate can be accurately predicted over decades and millennia to within 0.01 degrees Celsius using massive computers and massive amounts of tax dollars.

  33. E.M.Smith says:

    Nice theory they have, except it looks to me like the water off the cost of N.America is cold right now:

    http://chiefio.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/sst_anom-29-mar-2011.gif
    from the live chart at:
    http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sfc_daily.php?plot=ssa&inv=0&t=cur

    that I look at here:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/wheres-the-heat/

    So that image up top is nice and warm, but now it’s nice and cold, and The East Coast is still nice and cold?…

  34. TomRude says:

    “The next step, Schneider says, is to build simulations that more realistically reflect what happens on Earth.”

    How about starting from observations of the reality?

    Another atmospheric model based paper utterly debunked in “Dynamic Analysis of Weather and Climate” 2nd edition 2010, Springer by Marcel Leroux. Only Nature could publish such rubbish!

    “In the simulations, the warm water produces stationary Rossby waves, in which the peaks and valleys of the waves don’t move, but the waves still transfer energy. In the northern hemisphere, the stationary Rossby waves cause air to circulate in a clockwise direction just to the west of the warm region. To the east of the warm region, the air swirls in the counterclockwise direction. These motions draw in cold air from the north, balancing the heating over the warm ocean waters.”

    Utterly debunked by observation…

    “Although it’s long been known that a heat source could produce Rossby waves, which can then form plumes, this is the first time anyone has shown how the mechanism causes cooling that extends west of the heat source.”

    Here we are: the only purpose of this exercise was to link cold weather to hot SST which is in the Global Warming Rhetoric is always linked to GHG induced global warming. QED.

  35. Tenuc says:

    Jenny Sixpack says:
    March 30, 2011 at 1:37 pm
    “…Please can a real 100% Proof Genuine Gold Standard Verified Peer-Reviewed Climate Scientist – With All The Trimmings once and for all tell me exactly what I should worry about for the Spring/Summer season?

    Worried Jenny from Weybridge…………”

    Luckily, Jenny, because climate is driven by deterministic chaos linear trends have no meaning. As the IPCC brand of climate pseudo-science fails to recognise this fact, they don’t have a clue what weather/climate will manifest beyond a few days forward in time.

    So no need to worry about what the future will bring, just have a good laugh at your friends needless fears :-))

  36. TomRude says:

    Also: “The research described in the Nature paper, “Winter cold of eastern continental boundaries induced by warm ocean waters,” was funded by the NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship, administrated by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research; a David and Lucille Packard Fellowship; and the National Science Foundation.”

    The Packard are know warmists supporting many groups…

    “In the northern hemisphere, the stationary Rossby waves cause air to circulate in a clockwise direction just to the west of the warm region. To the east of the warm region, the air swirls in the counterclockwise direction. ”

    Just watch a satellite animation of a cold air advection and one can clearly see their description is false.

  37. JRR Canada says:

    So this explains the warm/cold theory? Besides the computer fiddling do they use any actual data? For example eastcoast sea temperatures over, say a decade and eastcoast land temperature at same period? Or are there no east coast sea temperatures to compare?

  38. ShrNfr says:

    @Jenny Sixpack:

    I worry,
    I worry why,
    I worry why I worry,
    I worry why I worry why,
    I worry why I worry

    After Feynman “I wonder”

  39. Dave Springer says:

    I’d always presumed there were separate rotating air masses over North America, North Atlantic, Eurasia, and North Pacific. All clockwise of course. The eastern boundaries are colder than the western in all of them. Differential heating (land vs. water) is what causes the separation into four distinct circulation regions and Coriolis force determines the direction of rotation. The inner part of the land regions is colder because land doesn’t absorb as much sunlight as water and the outer regions of the continents get a lot of warmth in the winter from being adjacent to the considerably warmer ocean.

  40. Doubting Thomas says:

    Is this really new news? Or did these guys just spend a bunch of tax dollars to model what we mostly already knew. I doubt that any serious climatologist believed that the Gulf Stream was the primary cause of warmer winters on continents that border the east sides of the northern hemisphere oceans. In the eastern U.S. we’ve know since we arrived in America that it got much colder than Europe and that the cold air comes from the north. I’m sure the indigenous people knew it before we came. We’ve also known for a long time that hot air rises and that the air that rose has to be replaced by air from somewhere else. I think we’ve also know about ocean circulation for quite awhile.

    The warmers are probably going to cite this research as new evidence that CO2 warming causes cooling. But CO2-caused global warming occurs mostly at the poles, which is where the colder air comes from. Even if CO2 warming caused hotter warm pools in the oceans, it should cause even more warming at the poles so the winters should get warmer.

    It’s disturbing that the recent trend in climate research is to to conduct climate “experiments” by manipulating non-real computer models. Are researchers too lazy to look at actual weather trends to show the effect? I’d sure like to see more work on explaining these grand cycles in our climate and, more importantly, how they interact. In fine detail the climate approaches chaos but the effects of big ocean driven cycles like ENSO are very easy to see.

    I’m skeptical that this new research is really new but I do like the direction. We need to understand the big climate cycles and how they interact before we can say we know much at all about how and why the climate changes over decades. I think much of the warming over the recent past might be due to climate cycles that caused the oceans to release accumulated heat and maybe reduced mixing between the air at the cold poles and the warm equator.

    The AGW scare is based on (1) rapid heating from about 1980 to about 2000 and (2) the claim that “there is no other explanation.” The latter claim (2) is meaningless without a deep understanding of the grand cycles in the climate system. Obviously cycles like ENSO can have huge impacts on global temperature. Looking at Wikipedia global temperature charts, the 1998 el Nino caused about a 0.7°C spike in global temperatures. That spike is more than the total warming since about 1940, and it seems possible that much of the heat released in the 1998 el Nino is still lingering in the system.

    The ocean driven climate cycles almost certainly affect both the amount of heat released from the oceans and amount of cold released from the poles. If cold air is trapped at the poles, it gets even colder and the rest of the world gets warmer. Mixing between polar air and equatorial air is probably highly variable and could have a big affect on global temperatures.

    The two primary arguments in favor of recent warming being caused by man are models, which don’t capture climate cycle detail — we know the models are wrong we just don’t know how wrong they are — and “the lack of a better explanation.”

    I think the better explanation argument hasn’t been sufficiently investigated. Links between solar activity and cloud cover may also exist but I think most if not all of the recent warming might be explained by the big climate cycles that probably fall in and out of phase over decade time spans.

    – dT

  41. Steve R says:

    This seems like an excessively complicated explaination of why the east coasts of continents are colder than the west coasts. Doesn’t it suffice to state that the east coasts have a continent upwind and west coasts have an ocean upwind?

  42. agimarc says:

    Re: Jenny from Weybridge: “Does this mean that for us in UK global warming will make it …. ”

    Answer: Yes.

    Sorry. Couldn’t help myself. Cheers -

  43. Gary D. says:

    Jenny Sixpack – well said.

  44. Hector Pascal says:

    That is a reasonable approximation of the winter weather pattern we get here in northern Japan (Tohoku).

    There is typically a blocking high stationary over central northern Asia, and a series of low pressure systems migrating north east off the Pacific coast of northern Japan. That draws in a north westerly (Arctic) air stream across the Sea of Japan, where it loads with moisture and warms. The result is a mega- lake effect and lots&lots&lots of snow. On average about 12 metres per winter in my town. Normally it starts snowing in late December, and tapers off by early April. This year the winter pattern has persisted late, and we had snow this morning.

  45. Dave Springer says:

    This chart of actual US coastline water temperature at this very moment is quite interesting:

    http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/dsdt/wtg12.html

    The northwest coastal waters are considerably warmer than the northeast coastal waters by about 10 degrees. Compare Eastport, Maine (45 degrees north latitude, 38F ocean temp) with Newport, Oregon (45 degrees north latitude, 51F ocean temp).

    This would certainly explain the air temperature delta between the US left and right coasts – it follows coastal water temperature. The OP would have me believe the northwest coast water is colder than the northeast coast water which just isn’t true. At least not right now it isn’t.

  46. Hector Pascal says:

    Rats: “….tapers off by early March”.

  47. The mechanism is not warm water off the eastern coasts, however this study does show how warm and cold waters interact in the variable climate system of the Earth.

    One of the problems with some in climate science is the tendency to see one or the other, cold or warm, as separate entities when the reality is that warm and cold interact from causes that begin in space and appear as effects on Earth. So this study may be useful to clear up the confusion.

    However, in the search for “mechanisms” via far too much reliance on computer simulations – the causes are not on Earth but are in space. So attempts to find mechanisms in treating “effects” as “causes” that are solely earth-based is a view that continues to chase its own tail.

    The Sun drives the oceans of our planet and its cosmic rays are modulated by the movements of the planets, including the Earth, which some, unbelievably, continue to treat as if it were not a planet, but also flat at that.

    “The next step, Schneider says, is to build simulations that more realistically reflect what happens on Earth. Future simulations would incorporate more complex features like continents and cloud feedbacks.”

    It is very difficult, if not impossible, to construct future computer simulations that accurately reflects what really happens climate-wise on Earth.

    Climate researcher Gerhard Gerlich ~

    “It cannot be overemphasized that even if the equations are simplified considerably, one cannot determine numerical solutions, even for small space regions and even for small time intervals.

    This situation will not change in the next 1,000 years regardless of progress made in computer hardware.

    Therefore, global climatologists may continue to write updated research grant proposals demanding next-generation supercomputers ad infinitum.

    As the extremely simplified one-fluid equations are unsolvable, the many-fluid equations would be more unsolvable, the equations that include the averaged equations describing the turbulence would be yet more unsolvable, if “unsolvable” had a comparative.

    Regardless of the chosen level of complexity, these equations are supposed to be the backbone of climate simulations, or, in other words, the foundation of models of nature.

    But even this is not true:

    In computer simulations, heat conduction and friction are completely neglected, since they are mathematically described by second order partial derivatives that cannot be represented on grids with wide meshes.”

    “There are so many unsolved and unsolvable problems in non-linearity.

    And for climatologists to believe they’ve solved them with crude approximations leading to unphysical results that have to be corrected afterward by mystical methods — flux control in the past, obscure ensemble averages over different climate institutes today, excluding incidental global cooling data by hand — merely perpetuates the greenhouse-inspired climatologic tradition of physically meaningless averages and physically meaningless statistical applications.

    In short, generating statements on CO2-induced anthropogenic global warming from computer simulations lies outside of any science.”

    In my work as an astrometeorologist, I know that computer simulations on global climatology simply are not based on the astrophysical laws I used to forecast ENSO several years in advance of the 2009-2011 ENSO climate event.

    It is also important to mind the words of theoretical physicist Freeman J Dyson:

    “The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand. It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models, than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That is why the climate model experts end up believing in their own models.”

  48. jack morrow says:

    First sloth crap now this.

  49. Steve from Rockwood says:

    The authors of this paper should visit the Eastern Coast of Canada during the summer months – lets say Newfoundland – where the water is so cold only the tourists try going in. Such as +12-14 oC in the summer for water temperature.
    Now head over over to France, similar latitude (46-47o).
    http://www.surf-forecast.com/breaks/Le-Lizay-Ilede-Re/seatemp
    +22 oC in the summer or 8-20 oC warmer.
    Hmmm….
    Internet 1, Caltech 0

  50. R. Gates says:

    Jenny Sixpack says:
    March 30, 2011 at 1:37 pm
    I am confused.

    Does this mean that for us in UK global warming will make it

    a. hotter
    b. cooler
    c. wetter
    d. drier
    e. drownded
    f. dessicated
    g. None of the above
    h. All of the above
    ___

    Yes, that’s what it mean.

  51. J. Knight says:

    Jenny Sixpack,

    Uh…is that beer or abs? Which is what you should really worry about! What is the best beer, and how can I keep these great abs? Or maybe cutting down on the beer will save the abs, or if you work out more you can save the abs but drink more beer, or….hell, just get drunk and don’t worry about any of it.

  52. Steve from Rockwood says:

    I think Tom in Florida is on to something.
    Add to that the fact that NASA managed to turn water purple at -28 oC and you have a paper IMHO.

  53. Ian W says:

    Have these people not read of Hadley and Ferrel cells?
    See http://cmmap.colostate.edu/images/learn/climate/ferrel.jpg
    (google/bing “Ferrel Cells” and you will obtain more)

    However, the diagram referenced above shows the effect of the Ferrel Cell circulation is to provide a westerly wind. Now given that you have a relatively strong westerly, show how a marginally warmer ocean off the coast will provide sufficient convection to counter the existing Ferrel Cell circulation in a way that leads to new winds.
    Sorry I think they have come up with another hypothesis for Ferrel Cell circulation when it has already been shown to exist purely due to heat exchange between the poles and the tropics. Whoever ‘peer reviewed’ this paper was probably on-side with ‘the team’ or was not a meteorologist.

  54. R. de Haan says:

    So much for the warm water bottle effect

  55. Arno Arrak says:

    Using computer simulations for something other than dangerous anthropogenic warming is a welcome innovation. At least we get something meaningful out of the money spent on all those supercomputers. That said, I am not quite sure if they actually determined the physical existence of these Rossby waves. They are known from the oceans too but can only be detected by satellites. The Topex/Poseidon satellite tracked one of them created by the 1983 El Nino. Its wave height was about 5 cm and wavelength was hundreds of kilometers. It crossed the ocean from South America to Japan in ten years and collided with the warm Kuroshio current. And then it pushed the Kuroshio north which caused water temperatures in the Northern Pacific to rise. Just one of the strange weather phenomena we usually cannot easily explain.

  56. Ulric Lyons says:

    I have been watching this all winter, and I would say the warmer water in the N.W Pacific was at times splitting the jet stream and a narrow atmospheric river passed over Alaska and then headed towards the N.E. bringing the Arctic air with it. You can see this effect here: http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_alt.cgi?a=glob_250
    So I think they are looking at the wrong area of warm water as far as the colder N.E. is concerned.

  57. TomRude says:

    Ian W, the Tri Cellular circulation model and its Ferrel, Polar and Hadley cells is obsolete and does not correspond to the reality. Only half of the Hadley has been observed. Read: http://ddata.over-blog.com/xxxyyy/2/32/25/79/Leroux-Global-and-Planetary-Change-1993.pdf

  58. Dave Springer says:

    The OP implies the water off the US west coast is colder than the water off the east coast at the same latitude. I just looked at the actual temperatures and the northwest coastal waters are, right at this moment, about 10F warmer than the northeast coastal waters at the same latitude.

    The OP appears to be unadulterated trash. The colder northeast winters are because the friggin ocean is colder. The friggin ocean is colder because of the oceanic conveyor belt which runs counterclockwise in both the pacific and atlantic oceans with the warm side on the west coasts of North America and Eurasia.

    http://icons-ecast.wxug.com/data/climate_images/conveyor.jpg

  59. Pamela Gray says:

    So, this means that we are back to “The Day After Tomorrow”. Unless we are not. So if we warm up our oceans, we will either be covered in snow, or covered in rain, or covered in heat, or covered in cold. That about wraps up the consensus, yes?

  60. John F. Hultquist says:

    Most images of the North Atlantic showing the Gulf Stream, such as the one at the top, show that it does not reach across to Northwest Europe. Here are two:
    http://www.water-well.net/images/gulf-stream.gif

    Or here:
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_EHb1D5Z-k4o/SSr3eXVyDiI/AAAAAAAAcIw/vudpqsJ1sLM/s400/sst.gif

    Once the concept gets expressed and displayed by a graphic artist, things change:
    http://www.macmillanmh.com/tlxnews/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/GulfStream_Map.jpg

    There is a large volume of high saline warm water flowing out of the Mediterranean Sea and being in the Northern Hemisphere tends to turn to the right (North).

  61. rbateman says:

    So shutting down the Gulf Stream will stop drawing the Canadian Arctic air across the NE USA, and that cold air mass will sit there and grow and Ice Sheet. Ditto for much of N. Asia/N. Europe. It’s the osmosis of atmospherics that keeps us in the Interglacial, and when that shuts down it’s Laurentide time.
    Food for thought.
    So why did the system shut down in the Younger Dryas?

  62. Bill Illis says:

    I haven’t seen the paper but I am now using the Gulf Stream in my reconstructions (or I’m using the location where the Gulf Stream turns west and provides its biggest impact on temperatures).

    I see the complete opposite effect for the US.

    The Gulf Stream has a very unusual peak in (you guessed it, 1937, the hottest year in the US in the actual measurements – nice peaks in 1988 and 1998 as well, two other hot years – a big decline in the last few years as the US cooled of – warmer this winter again but has dropped sharply in the last few months).

    I am forced to call bulloney on this one. It is more likely that US temperatures influence the temperatures in the Gulf Stream than the other way around – which way does the wind blow and the weather systems move – from the US to the Gulf Stream.

    http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/7135/gulfstream.png

    You can see the full Gulf Stream (which actually starts at the equator and ends at about 30W,40N in the Atlantic) in this animation of the last 30 days ocean currents.

    http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/global_nlom32/navo/WHOSP1_nlomw12930doper.gif

  63. LarryT says:

    Does this mean that for us in UK global warming will make it

    a. hotter
    b. cooler
    c. wetter
    d. drier
    e. drownded
    f. dessicated
    g. None of the above
    h. All of the above?….”
    _______________
    you missed
    i. any of the above

  64. Ed Fix says:

    Coaldust, et al.–
    You say you stopped reading after seeing the words, “computer simulation”. I understand your skepticism, because computer simulation has been so egregiously abused in climate science. However, computer simulations do have their uses–even in atmospheric science. They can give us insight into things that might be going on.

    It’s just that predicting the future a century out isn’t one of those uses.

  65. monroe56 says:

    Wow: Here they taught me in 5th grade geography that prevailing weather moved from west to east in NH and east to west in SH. Therefore the west coast of S.A. and Africa were colder and the east coast of N.A. and Asia were colder in winter than the opposite coasts of all these continents. The reason: oceans can retain enormously more heat energy than land areas in winter.

  66. Dennis Dunton says:

    John Phillips says:
    March 30, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Well now wait a minute. Its just common sense. In the northern hemisphere the weather moves west to east, so the west side of continents get their weather from the oceans which are warmer than the land in winter. I think its that simple.
    ————————————————————

    John…..I think you’re right

    ————————————————————
    Steve R says:
    March 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    This seems like an excessively complicated explaination of why the east coasts of continents are colder than the west coasts. Doesn’t it suffice to state that the east coasts have a continent upwind and west coasts have an ocean upwind?
    ————————————————————

    Yes Steve, one would think it would suffice. Or as we would say where I come from….Yep that oughta do it.

    Congratulations gentlemen….I do believe that you have proven yourselves a good deal brighter than the lads at Caltech.

  67. Kip says:

    Having lived in both NY and Porto, Portugal, I can assure you at least that Porto is a warm water port and NY is a cold water port.

    Whatever causes the difference, Porto is a beautiful, old world city. For the sailors out there, it makes a great stop on the way to the Med.

  68. Paul Vaughan says:

    “These warm ocean waters off the eastern coast actually make it cold in winter—it’s counterintuitive” / “Surprisingly, it’s the Gulf Stream that causes this cooling.”

    “Surprising” & “counterintuitive” are not words used in such contexts by competent, sensible researchers.

    Aren’t these new claims at least partly related to the following?

    Leroux, Marcel (1993). The Mobile Polar High: a new concept explaining present mechanisms of meridional air-mass and energy exchanges and global propagation of palaeoclimatic changes. Global and Planetary Change 7, 69-93.
    http://ddata.over-blog.com/xxxyyy/2/32/25/79/Leroux-Global-and-Planetary-Change-1993.pdf

  69. DR says:

    Hmm. Seems like in 1929 there was at least one person who made a connection between the gulf stream and weather, and they didn’t have climate models.

    http://tinyurl.com/5wvwddu

  70. IF you look up into the sky most days, you will see a rather large Moon, the computer models don’t have a knob to adjust the effects of the lunar tides in the atmosphere and oceans. So they just ignore it all together, like in this basic model study where the topography was not considered either.

    The builders of Stonehenge studied how the declinational effects of the sun and moon were causing the halting retreat of the Ice age as the ENSO effects at the time were more pronounced than now.

    Below is a link to how the lunar declinational tides create and move the jet streams and Rossby waves around.

    http://research.aerology.com/supporting-research/four-fold-pattern-rossby-wave-generation/

    Feel free to browse the site and read a few of the captured lead ins to threads of interest, it’s all free.

  71. savethesharks says:

    Paul Vaughan says:
    March 30, 2011 at 7:54 pm
    “These warm ocean waters off the eastern coast actually make it cold in winter—it’s counterintuitive” / “Surprisingly, it’s the Gulf Stream that causes this cooling.”

    “Surprising” & “counterintuitive” are not words used in such contexts by competent, sensible researchers.

    ==========================

    Exactly! Its like “duh.”

    There is nothing counterintuitive about it.

    At least they did not make the funding-required “global warming” plug.

    Maybe it is getting so foolish to do so that is going away.

    Unfortunately, not so fast.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  72. Phil says:

    Ummm, then why is the eastern US/Europe supposedly cold when the GS shuts down? That was shown by AGW models as well…guess they were wrong all along?

    I think its more of the weather patterns, and topoography. The Cascades in the PNW keep cold air out, Cold air from Canada is more accessible to the Eastern US than the West.

    In the Eastern US, when a storm cuts to the Lakes, the temperature warms more than it would to a storm cutting west of the PNW/over the pacific. Vosa-versa for cold airmasses.

  73. Jim Steele says:

    All this does is confirm that changes in surface temperatures are not always an indication of heat input, but often is just an indication of changes in winds such as foehn winds and chinooks. It is like warming real greenhouses. The glass is not preventing heat from radiating back into space, as much as it is blocking winds and preventing the redistribution of heat.

  74. Tom C says:

    I think the lesson learn here, boys and girls, is this you can make a computer model do just about anything.

    We’ve known the mechanism that keeps the east side of continents colder now for a very long time now in the mid-latitudes, it’s called the Coriolis Effect.

    This is all about trying to turn science on its head by introducing these nutty theories that can yield desired results because mathematicians can manipulate numbers to make them say what they want them to.

    Sure, the model works out in the constraints and parameters applied to the model but as we often realize those aren’t the same conditions in which the real world operates.

  75. stumpy says:

    So global warming now causes cooling, so cooling is also our fault right?

  76. Thomas Pauli says:

    If nobody else does it – I will: Why not consider the MPHs of the late Marcel Leroux?

  77. vukcevic says:

    Ulric Lyons says:
    March 30, 2011 at 5:35 pm
    I have been watching this all winter, and I would say the warmer water in the N.W Pacific was at times splitting the jet stream and a narrow atmospheric river passed over Alaska and then headed towards the N.E. bringing the Arctic air with it.

    Hi Ulric
    I agree about N.W. Pacific’s role. As an exercise I wrote an article considering the Kamchatka’s volcanoes critical role on the sudden stratospheric warming and consequently the jet stream interruptions:
    http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/56/34/77/PDF/SSW.pdf
    The effect is an essential component of the North hemispheres winter’s temperatures trends.

  78. Mr Green Genes says:

    @ Jenny Sixpack

    It doesn’t matter which one it is, the unholy trinity of Camoron, (Buff)huhne and Millipede will conspire to devise some more taxes “to pay for it”.

  79. Stephen Wilde says:

    Isn’t it more likely that the landmasses influence the position of the Rossby waves, which then affects air pressure distribution and then the prevailing winds on the Eastern side of large continents drive warm water currents poleward and eastward by interacting with a combination of equator to pole thermal gradient and the Earth’s rotation?

    That produces exactly the same observed outcome, fits a wider range of observations, fits in with established physics and represents what I learned about the Earth’s climate some 50 years ago.

    Apart from all that isn’t it pretty obvious that, given that the Earth’s rotation sets the prevailing wind direction, warmer air will always be found downwind (to the east) of warm water with colder air upwind (to the west) of warm water.

  80. Julian Braggins says:

    Dublin, Ireland, and Stanley, Falklands Isles, are both ~52deg from the Equator, Ave Annual temp is 6 degF higher for Dublin, so perhaps we can allocate that at least for the Gulf Stream ? ;)

  81. John Marshall says:

    I learned about continental climates compared to west coastal climates when in school aged 15. I am 70 now so this is not new science.

  82. Alex says:

    Just a naive question.

    If warmer water causes colder winters then possibly we should look out for colder then average winters as a proof of global warming? That would mean that the warm winters of the ninties contradict AGW?

    Now that would be “surprising and non-intuitive” indeed.

    Or is it (much as I suspect) that cold winters are a proof of AGW only when the winter is colder then average, otherwise warm winters are proofs of the AGW?

  83. Bob Tisdale says:

    Dave Wendt quoted the figure: “Water between 0 and ‑15 degrees Celsius is in pink, while water between ‑15 and ‑28 degrees Celsius is in purple.”

    I believe they missed some decimal points. The values are probably 0 and -1.5 degrees Celsius and -1.5 and -2.8 degrees Celsius.

  84. Jimbo says:

    “Using computer simulations of the atmosphere…”

    What’s wrong with a bit of leg work and go out and measure? Maybe they did but the simulations put me right off.

  85. Ulric Lyons says:

    @vukcevic says:
    March 31, 2011 at 1:31 am

    The warmer sea in the NW Atlantic through winter initially pushed the jet stream south, but once beyond the warm region, the jet stream then compensated by moving in a more northerly direction, heading for the Arctic west of the British Isles, bumped into the Arctic high pressure, and created the anti-cyclonic loops that brought the cold air to W Europe in December. The same loops could be seen early in winter west of Alasksa when the SST anomaly in the NW Pacific was further north, and occurred simultaneously in both regions, driven by short term solar factors.
    I have noted that if the AO and NAO are already negative in early Autumn, a solar driven warm blast in November will drive them even more negative, and suspect that such solar driven temperature profiles are responsible for the accumulation of warm sea water in the said regions in the first place.

  86. alan says:

    bla,bla,bla,bla”computer simulations of the atmosphere”bla,bla,bla,bla

  87. Mike says:

    @Dave Wendt says:
    March 30, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    “Water between 0 and ‑15 degrees Celsius is in pink, while water between ‑15 and ‑28 degrees Celsius is in purple.”

    Water?
    —————————

    That is pretty funny. But water need not mean liquid water, it just means H2O. Ice is solid water. But they probably should say that if they want to better communicate with the public.

    “Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. Its molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state (water vapor or steam). Water also exists in a liquid crystal state near hydrophilic surfaces.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water

  88. Jon says:

    I wonder if they have ever heard of the Labrador Current … lol

  89. cedarhill says:

    Finally the reason for Ice Ages. Boiling oceans.

  90. Stephen Wilde says:

    Most of us seem to be agreed that topography and the land/sea distribution set up the basic air flow patterns in the atmosphere. In the absence of any land there would be very little in the way of jetstream excursions latitudinally as they ran around the planet along the lines of latitude.

    There also seems to be much support for bottom up oceanic effects and top down solar effects both competing to disturb those basic air flow patterns. The details of both mechanisms yet to be resolved.

    Add to that the concept that more meridional or more equatorward jets produce more clouds which change global albedo and the rate of energy input to the oceans (to fuel internal ocean variability/ ocean cycles) and there we pretty much have a complete workable scenario for climate changes large enough to get us from MWP to LIA to date without any other forcing factor required.

  91. TomRude says:

    Paul Vaughan… except they are putting the cart before the horses…

  92. phlogiston says:

    Bill Illis says:
    March 30, 2011 at 6:34 pm
    I haven’t seen the paper but I am now using the Gulf Stream in my reconstructions (or I’m using the location where the Gulf Stream turns west and provides its biggest impact on temperatures).

    I see the complete opposite effect for the US.

    The Gulf Stream has a very unusual peak in (you guessed it, 1937, the hottest year in the US in the actual measurements – nice peaks in 1988 and 1998 as well, two other hot years – a big decline in the last few years as the US cooled of – warmer this winter again but has dropped sharply in the last few months).

    Your graphic of the gulf stream strength over the last century

    http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/7135/gulfstream.png

    is interesting, it seems in agreement with measured Barents sea 100-150 m water temperatures in the last 100 years:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/10/08/new-paper-barents-sea-temperature-correlated-to-the-amo-as-much-as-4%C2%B0c/

    and also I guess with the AMO. I have interpreted the Barents sea data by Levitus et al as meaning that the Barents gets the tail end of the north Atlantic drift. (The fact that radioisotopes from Sellafield, UK are found in the Barents suggests this is true.)

  93. TomRude says:

    cedarhill: “Finally the reason for Ice Ages. Boiling oceans.”

    IMO the best comment prize!

  94. Vince Causey says:

    mycroft says:
    March 30, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    “So if the gulf stream is not the reason that the uk/north western europe warm in winter? what is!”

    The gulf stream warming Western Europe is one of those urban myths that is taken as true simply because it is repeated so often – the same meme is recycled over and over and nobody has any idea where it came from.

    The reason Western Europe is warmer than Eastern USA is because both areas have predominately Westerly or South Westerly winds. In the case of Europe, that takes air masses from the Atlantic, which because it is made of water, never drops below zero degrees. It’s as simple as that.

  95. Matt G says:

    “It’s not that the warm Gulf Stream waters substantially heat up Europe,” Kaspi says. “But the existence of the Gulf Stream near the U.S. coast is causing the cooling of the northeastern United States.”

    This should had been posted on April 1st, science doesn’t get spun much worse than this. I can see why they have gone down this route with the awful science of warm causing cool, as the new thing in climate non science at this moment. Increasing the energy doesn’t lower the energy as warm causing cool implies.

    The NE cooling is substantial (called a continental Winter), so the warm Gulf Stream waters can’t substantially heat up Europe, yet they can substantially cool the NE. (talk about cherry picking)

    The cooling North Atlantic ocean keeps Europe relative mild because it warms the atmosphere of very cold air coming down from the Arctic very quickly. This is why the UK can often get rain in Winter from a NWly, yet anywhere in the USA apart from the West coast is snow. Siberia and Canada are so cold because this warm water from the oceans almost never reach them during Winter. (Southerns areas can have exceptions of course)

    (There must be some even hotter water going up in those areas to cause even colder Winters then the NE of USA. -sarc)

    The NE USA gets these colder Winters because this cooling body of water that warms the atmosphere rarely is blown West, thanks to the spinning direction of the globe.(Coriolis effect) Weather systems move West to East because of this and are modified by the oceans as they pass over them. Cold Arctic air moving South over the USA can’t be modifed by the warm oceans so it is freezing cold. Over Western Europe the same very cold Arctic air is modified greatly over relatively warm North Atlantic ocean and North sea. Why are they trying to invent the wheel again, but getting it awfully wrong?

  96. anorak2 says:

    The warming effect of the Gulf Stream on Europe is evident. You just have to look at an temperature map, e.g.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Annual_Average_Temperature_Map.jpg

    Nowhere else do the isothermals swing as far north as over Western Europe and its coastal waters. They are bent to the point that they run north-south instead of east west over much of Europe. In some regions they’re even inverted, meaning they go northeast to southwest, i.e. it gets warmer when you go north, such as over western Norway. That can only be explained by a heat source just west of it.

  97. beng says:

    ****
    Stephen Wilde says:
    March 31, 2011 at 6:12 am

    Add to that the concept that more meridional or more equatorward jets produce more clouds which change global albedo and the rate of energy input to the oceans (to fuel internal ocean variability/ ocean cycles) and there we pretty much have a complete workable scenario for climate changes large enough to get us from MWP to LIA to date without any other forcing factor required.
    ****

    Interesting. An equatorward movement of the mid-latitude jetstreams producing more clouds (area-wise) would be a regional positive-feedback — colder temps producing more clouds, making it alittle colder, etc. That could cause an inherent cyclic action of larger magnitude than the original forcing. Of course, a regional positive-feedback doesn’t mean the overall feedback is positive — plenty of evidence to show that the global, long-term feedback is negative.

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