Where is Science?

Guest post by Erl Happ

The Southern Oscillation Index is a reference point for the strength of the Trade winds. It represents the difference in atmospheric pressure between Tahiti and Darwin. In figure 1 the SOI is the red line with its values on the right axis. A negative SOI reflects slack trade winds and a warming ocean. A positive index relates to a cooling globe. Note that the right axis in figure 1 is inverted.

How is it that change in surface atmospheric pressure is so closely associated with a change in the temperature of the tropical ocean? This is the major unsolved riddle in climate science. If temperature is so obviously associated with pressure on an inter-annual basis why not in the long-term? In this article I show that pressure and temperature are intimately related on all time scales. In other words, ENSO is not an ‘internal oscillation of the climate system‘ that can be considered to be climate neutral. ENSO is climate change in action. You can’t rule it out. You must rule it in. Once you do so, the IPCC assertion that the recent increase in surface temperature is more than likely due to the works of man is not just ‘in doubt’, it is insupportable.

If the IPPC can’t explain ENSO it can not explain climate change. It is not in a position to  predict surface temperature. Its efforts to quantify the rise in temperature must be seen to be nothing more than wild imaginings. Its prescriptions for ‘saving the planet’ must be viewed as ridiculous.

Surface pressure data: http://www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au/seasonalclimateoutlook/southernoscillationindex/soidatafiles/index.php. Monthly temperature data: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/cgi-bin/data/timeseries/timeseries1.pl

Temperature change is linked to change in surface atmospheric pressure

Figure 1 Left axis Temperature in °C. Right axis three month moving average of the monthly southern Oscillation Index

The Southern Oscillation Index leads surface temperature on the upswing and also on the downswing. Some factor associated with change in surface pressure is plainly responsible for temperature change.

How and why does atmospheric pressure change?

The evolution of surface pressure throughout the globe depends upon the activity of the coupled circulation of the stratosphere and the troposphere in Antarctica and in the Arctic. These circulations have become more aggressive over time resulting in a loss of atmospheric mass in high latitudes and gain at low latitudes. The gain at low latitudes reflects the seasonal pattern of increased intensity in the respective polar circulations. The stratosphere and the troposphere couple most intensely in February in the Arctic and in June through to September in the Antarctic. The pattern of enhanced activity at particular times of the year is reflected in the timing of the increase in sea surface pressure in equatorial latitudes, as seen in figure 2.

Figure 2 Gain in average monthly sea level pressure between the decade 1948-1957 and the decade 2001-2010. hPa

The coupled circulation in the southern hemisphere produces a deep zone of low pressure on the margins of Antarctica that encircles the entire globe as is clearly evident in figures 3 and 4. In previous posts I have documented the change in high latitude pressure since 1948 and the associated change in wind strength, sea surface temperature and by inference, since the atmosphere is warmed by the descent of ozone into the troposphere, a change in cloud cover.

Figure 3 Mean sea level pressure January

The pressure deficit on margins of Antarctica is deepest in July (winter).

Figure 4 Mean sea level pressure July

It is of interest therefore to look at the evolution of the pressure relationship between Tahiti and Darwin (that is the essence of the SOI) over time.

Bear in mind that as atmospheric mass moves from high latitudes to the equator atmospheric pressure increases at Darwin more than it does at Tahiti and the trade winds slacken. The increase in pressure at Darwin is well correlated with the increase in atmospheric pressure in equatorial latitudes globally. The plunge is atmospheric pressure at high latitudes that enables the increase in pressure at the equator is associated with cloud loss and increased sea surface temperature in mid and low latitudes. The most abbreviated explanation of mechanism behind the loss of cloud can be found here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/20/the-character-of-climate-change-part-3/

Figure 5 Thirty day moving average of the difference in daily sea level pressure between Tahiti and Darwin hPa.

The excess of pressure in Tahiti with respect to Darwin over the period 1999-2011 is shown in figure 5. The differential plainly evolves over time and an indication of the direction of change is given by the fitted polynomial curve.

Secondly, we can see that the pressure differential exhibits a pattern of seasonal variation. In general the pressure differential is high at the turn of the year and low in mid year.

The pattern of the average daily differential for the entire period for which daily data is available (1992 -2011) is shown in figure 6.

Figure 6 Average daily sea level pressure differential between Tahiti and Darwin over period 1992-2011. hPa

We observe that the pressure differential between Tahiti and Darwin:

• Reflects strong variability even when averaged over a period of twenty years.

• Is greatest between late December and the end of February (strong Trade winds)

• Is least between April and September (weak Trade winds).

• Shows a pattern of enhancement in February- March and also in September- October that plainly relates to the pattern of pressure increase in near equatorial latitudes evident in figure 2. The shift in the atmosphere away from Antarctica tends to enhance the pressure differential driving the trade winds all year, but in particular in September and October. So far as the Arctic is concerned the pressure loss is centered on February and March.

Why do the trades tend to fail in mid year?

Figure 7 Sea level pressure hPa. Seasonal pattern in Tahiti and Darwin.

The erosion of the pressure differential in southern winter relates to the establishment of a high pressure zone over the Australian continent. Compare figures 3 and 4 noting the difference in atmospheric pressure over Australia in summer and winter.

Change in the pressure differential (and the trade winds) over time.

In figures 8-11 the evolution of the pressure differential between 1997 and 2000 is compared with its evolution between the years 2009-2011.

Figure 8 Daily pressure differential. Tahiti less Darwin. hPa

The first and largest El Nino of solar cycle 23 began in early 1997. The first El Nino in Cycle 24 started in late 2009. The pattern of the differential is shown in figure 8. Plainly, the reduction in the pressure differential was more extreme in 1997 than in 2009.

Figure 9 Daily pressure differential. Tahiti less Darwin. hPa

The reduced differential persisted till March in 2010 and May in 1998. The last half of the year saw a strong recovery.

Figure 10 Daily pressure differential. Tahiti less Darwin. hPa

In 1999 and 2011 we see a strong pressure differential (La Nina) in the early part of the year, and in the case of 1999 this enhanced differential persisted through to the end of the year. The differential in early 2011 was much stronger than it had been in 1999.

It is noticeable that week to week variability is enhanced in 2011. I suggest that this relates to increased plasma density in an atmosphere due to reduced ionizing short wave radiation in solar cycle 24 by comparison with 23. Under these circumstances El Nino and La Nina produce  a relatively ‘wild ride’.

We note the extension of La Nina into a second year.

Figure 11 Daily pressure differential. Tahiti less Darwin. hPa

2000 was a La Nina year coinciding with solar maximum. A coincidence of La Nina with solar maximum is more usual than not. On that basis one expects the current La Nina to continue into 2012. However, given the relative deficiency in short wave ionizing radiation in cycle 24 with respect to cycle 23 this time around might be different. The likely lack of a well-defined peak in cycle 24 will make a difference. If the cycle goes in fits and starts, so to will the ENSO experience.

Is the climate swinging towards El Nino as it warms?

It is a favorite meme of those who suggest that the globe is warming ‘due to change in trace gas composition’ that the climate is likely to progress towards a more of less permanent El Nino existence. Does recent history support this assetion? Is a warming globe associated with increased incidence of El Nino?

Figure 12 Average daily pressure differential Tahiti less Darwin hPa

In the six year period 1992-1997 the average daily pressure differential reveals an El Nino bias in relation to average for the entire period 1992-2011. In this period the globe warmed, but the degree of warming was subdued by the eruption of Pinatub0 in 1991.

Figure 12 Average daily pressure differential Tahiti less Darwin hPa

A cooling bias is evident over the last seven years from 2005 through to 2011.

Figure 13 Average daily pressure differential. Tahiti less Darwin. hPa

Plainly there has been a progression away from an El Nino towards a La Nina state over the twenty years since 1992. In the period to 1998 the globe plainly warmed. In the period since 1998 warming seems to have ceased. There have been a suggestion that some heat that ‘should be there’ has gone missing. Can this be read as an admission that warming has either slowed down or has actually ceased?

Conclusion:

ENSO is not climate neutral. ENSO is the reality of climate change in action. The progression towards cooling that is evident in the increasing pressure differential between Tahiti and Darwin shows no sign of abating. The ENSO state changes not only on an inter-annual time scale but on very much longer time scales. ENSO is plainly not ‘climate neutral’.

If we look back at figure 1 we will see that the Southern Oscillation Index leads the change in tropical sea surface temperature on the upswing and the downswing. The SOI is more positive (cooling) in 2011 than it has been at any time over the last sixty years.

Until the IPPC can properly account for ENSO cycles they can not attribute climate change to ‘change in trace gas composition due to the works of man’. We see an excellent correlation between surface pressure and surface temperature and no correlation at all between trace gas concentration and surface temperature.

Where is Science?

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About erl happ

I am a winemaker and grape-grower with a strong interest in climate. I was interested enough to try and discover the common thermal characteristics that are seen in great vineyard locations and did a lot of work with hourly temperature data from around the world. Climate sets the limit on what can be achieved in the vineyard. I became interested in climate change when I noticed the growing season temperature falling in our part of the world, the south west of Western Australia. That set me on a quest to work out why. Soon, it became apparent that parts of the Southern Hemisphere like Antarctica and Southern Chile had been cooling for fifty years or more. My experience in analyzing temperature dynamics for vine sites and working out just how much heat these plants need to bring their fruit to maturity gave me a focus on sourcing data and figuring out what has been happening on a regional scale, both at the surface and in the upper atmosphere. I think there is room for a subject called historical climatology. We can learn a lot just by looking at what has happened over long periods of time. Good data sets are readily available on the net. All one needs is a little curiosity, a facility with spreadsheets and a lot of determination.
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146 Responses to Where is Science?

  1. Julian Braggins says:

    Well, this certainly gives support to those who think that lapse rate determines the temperature of a planet with an atmosphere, like Harry Dale Huffman,

    http://theendofthemystery.blogspot.com/2010/11/venus-no-greenhouse-effect.html#comments

    and why the average calculated temperature of Earth should be high in the atmosphere where there is a layer that does just that without a ‘greenhouse effect to be looked for to justify near ground temperatures, as in,
    Understanding the atmosphere, PDF by Postma

  2. John Peter says:

    I look forward to reading Bob Tisdale´s comments on this.

  3. Rick Bradford says:

    IPCC, surely (on 2 occasions)

    Don’t want to attack the folks at the International Plant Protection Convention …..

  4. Robert M says:

    Where is Science?

    The “Team” has gagged it, and locked it in a basement changed to a wall. When asked if they would ever release it, the teams answer was that they would destroy it first, before they let any of those darn skeptics set it free.

  5. Hoser says:

    And what does it all mean? Really? Nice analysis. Interesting correlations. Cause and effect? I doubt we are ready for that. It’s nice to see there isn’t a computer model involved. I guess we keep an eye on this behavior for the next 20 or 30 years and see if it hangs together.

    Any predictions?

    I’m not clear on a proposed mechanism other than wind shifts and pressure changes that vary with the seasons. How do these produce the temperature effects and other features of changing climate? Are these sufficient on their own? I don’t think so. It seems the seasonal pressure maps are a consequence of the average weather pattern, but I suppose that would be climate when averaged over some period of time we think is enough.

    Nothing wrong with collecting observations and performing some analysis sans hypothesis. Far, far better than lying with pretty pictures produced by computer models. It seems like we still have a bunch of puzzle pieces that need to be fit together. With this post, perhaps we can say a little more of the picture is emerging.

  6. jorgekafkazar says:

    I compare ENSO to a grandfather’s clock with a mouse running up and down the pendulum. It’s a cyclical device, but the period is variable and unpredictable, since we don’t know where the mouse is. If the mouse is most often near the bottom of the pendulum, the period is long (more ElNinos, increasing global T); if it’s staying near the top, the period is short (more LaNinas, decreasing global T). There is no reason to assume the mouse will, on average, be dead center on the pendulum!

    Dead right, Erl!

  7. Richard111 says:

    Hmm… International Planet Plonckers Crowd.

  8. Doug S says:

    Excellent post. If I got the gist of it correct:

    For some reason the kinetic energy of the circulating gas at the poles increases.
    As the energy of rotation increases, the atmosphere is shifted out to the equator zone by centrifugal force.
    This causes an increase in atmospheric pressure in the mid band of the globe and the heat transfer coefficient (some kind of generalized coeff.) is changed.
    Energy transfer for the earth is changed as temp. and pressure in the mid band of the globe changes.

  9. Ken Stewart says:

    Thank you Earl, that confirms what I have suspected for a while. Do you see any longer term (decadal) connection between SOI and temperature?

  10. Truthseeker says:

    Julian Braggins,

    I have also seen that analysis by Dr Huffman and agree that it shows that atmospheric temperature is driven by energy output from the sun, distance from the sun and air pressure. Also, I did a “back of the envelope” calculation of these factors for Titan and got a number (in K) that agreed with the NASA and Wikipedia information I found regarding Titan.

    Erl,

    If we accept this basic relationship between the energy output from the sun, distance from the sun and air pressure dictating temperature, then as far as seasonal variations go, the Earth is at the closest point to the Sun in January and the furthest point in July. The temperature difference at these times to the average distance at sea level is about +2.5K and -2.3K respectively.

  11. Philip Bradley says:

    How is it that change in surface atmospheric pressure is so closely associated with a change in the temperature of the tropical ocean?

    I assume you mean Sea Surface Temperature, not temperature of the tropical ocean.

    Similarly, when you say temperature, It’s not clear whether you are refering to atmospheric or sea surface temperatures.

    It is indeed interesting that surface pressure leads SSTs. Can you suggest a physical mechanism for this?

    And as for increased frequency of El Nino in a warming climate. The Forcing model predicts that the oceans will warm due to a warmer atmosphere impeding heat flow out of the oceans. I see no reason why it would predict El Nino frequency to increase except to the extent SSTs overall rise. IMO more El Ninos is just baseless alarmism on a par with Polar Bears drowning.

  12. eyesonu says:

    Erl, once again I find your discussion on atmospheric pressures and circulations very interesting.

    As always, I will reread a few times as you present interesting theories and topics for discussion. I look forward to greater minds than myself to weigh in on the topic.

  13. Roy Clark says:

    The oceans cool mainly by evaporation, which depends on surface temperature, humidity and wind speed. The ENSO oscillation is a dynamic balance between solar driven subsurface ocean heating and wind driven evaporation.
    There is a lot of information on ocean evaporation available at:

    http://oaflux.whoi.edu/publications.html

    The basic idea is that the total daily (‘cloud free’) solar flux in the tropics is about 25MJ.m-2. The wind driven evaporation (latent heat flux) in the warm pool can easily vary from 15 to 35 MJ.m-2 per day as the average wind speed goes from about 2 to 8 m.s-1. The tropical Pacific Ocean can heat or cool depending on the wind speed and this drives the ENSO oscillation. This is also part of the N. and S. Pacific Gyre circulation – the N. and S. equatorial currents. The wind speed also controls the transit time of the ocean flow across the Pacific. This also influences the ocean heating. The wind and evaporation may also change the cloud cover. This then changes the solar heating. The details get complicated and it becomes an interactive chicken and egg problem.
    However, the total daily increase in downward LWIR flux from a 100 ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration is only 0.15 MJ.m-2 per day – over 200 years. This flux is absorbed right at the surface. The wind can easily do +/- 10 MJ.m-2 per day.
    Sun, wind and water need no help from CO2 to change the Earth’s climate.

  14. petermue says:

    jorgekafkazar says:
    September 22, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    I compare ENSO to a grandfather’s clock with a mouse running up and down the pendulum. It’s a cyclical device, but the period is variable and unpredictable, since we don’t know where the mouse is.

    You can calculate, where the mouse is and where it will be in the near future.

    http://www.john-daly.com/sun-enso/sun-enso.htm

    There is more documentation referring to this. Just google for Theodor Landscheidt.

  15. Chris Korvin says:

    Trade winds this way, trade winds that way, altering pressures between Darwin and Tahiti,etc.,etc.,….I can see how this can alter prospects for anchovy fishing in Peru,etc., etc., but I cannot see how the planets total thermal budget can be influenced by this local blowing around of temperature changes in the Pacific. Surely what counts is how the planet as a whole warms or cools. I dont see how El Nino vs La Nina can affect the planets temperature AS A WHOLE. can some cleverer than me please explain.

  16. Truthseeker says:

    Philip Bradley,

    My theory with regard to air pressure and SST is that the closer the molecules are together, the more photon to air molecule interaction, the more air molecule collisions and the more molecules in a given area to hold that heat energy. Pardon me if anyone thinks I am stating the bleeding obvious, but I do not come from a physics background.

  17. Philip Bradley says:

    but I cannot see how the planets total thermal budget can be influenced by this local blowing around of temperature changes in the Pacific.

    Its not local, its global scale changes in winds.

    The Earth’s heat budget is in large part driven by how fast heat accumulating in the oceans is released to the atmosphere then transits the atmosphere and is lost to space. El Nino/La Nina and winds play important roles in the speed of this process.

    Truthseeker, I’m not sure what your point is, but if you compress a gas it gets warmer because energy is released. Not because it gains energy.

  18. erl happ says:

    Hoser says: September 22, 2011 at 11:39 pm
    I’m not clear on a proposed mechanism Did you read this?
    “Bear in mind that as atmospheric mass moves from high latitudes to the equator atmospheric pressure increases at Darwin more than it does at Tahiti and the trade winds slacken. The increase in pressure at Darwin is well correlated with the increase in atmospheric pressure in equatorial latitudes globally. The plunge is atmospheric pressure at high latitudes that enables the increase in pressure at the equator is associated with cloud loss and increased sea surface temperature in mid and low latitudes. The most abbreviated explanation of mechanism behind the loss of cloud can be found here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/20/the-character-of-climate-change-part-3/”

    It’s actually a complex phenomenon. The current post is one of the bricks in the wall. Rome was not built in a day. The point of this post is that ENSO is not climate neutral. The change in pressure relativities over time explains surface temperature change quite adequately thanks very much. No need to invoke AGW.

    Doug S says: September 22, 2011 at 11:47 pm
    Sorry Doug not even close.

    Ken Stewart says: September 22, 2011 at 11:49 pm
    Do you see any longer term (decadal) connection between SOI and temperature?
    Yep, it’s documented in figures 8-13

    Truthseeker says: September 23, 2011 at 12:01 am
    Do you realize that the Earth is cooler when it is closest to the sun in January?

    Philip Bradley says: September 23, 2011 at 12:07 am
    At the bottom of figure 1 there is this notation SST 20°N-20°S.
    It is indeed interesting that surface pressure leads SSTs. Can you suggest a physical mechanism for this?

    Yes. It’s encapsulated in my reply to Hoser.

    eyesonu says: September 23, 2011 at 12:17 am
    Thank you. Your humility is engaging. But please don’t be backward if you have a question.

    Roy Clark says: September 23, 2011 at 12:22 am
    The tropical Pacific Ocean can heat or cool depending on the wind speed and this drives the ENSO oscillation.

    Sorry but just a bit too simplistic for me. What you have to ask is why the wind speed changes and how more energy gets into the system. It gets in because there is less cloud to reflect the energy from the sun. The cloud loss is incurred at the troposphere warms due to the descent of ozone from the stratosphere, the same thing responsible for the change in surface pressure relations that in turn drives the wind. The change in the wind is coincidental. It is the change in cloud cover that causes the rise and fall in sea surface temperature on inter-annual, decadal and centennial time scales.

    Chris Korvin says: September 23, 2011 at 12:41 am
    I cannot see how the planets total thermal budget can be influenced by this local blowing around of temperature changes in the Pacific. Surely what counts is how the planet as a whole warms or cools. I dont see how El Nino vs La Nina can affect the planets temperature AS A WHOLE. can some cleverer than me please explain.

    I am doing my best Chris. In short it is the coming and going of the cloud.Cloud reflects solar radiation and the surface cools. That is the reason why the Earth as a whole is coolest in January when it is 3% closer to the sun and has 7% more solar irradiance at it’s disposal.

  19. John Marshall says:

    The stronger the surface wind over the seas the greater the evaporation (latent heat required). This removes heat so lowers temperature. Cannot be the only thing though.

  20. Stephen Wilde says:

    Nice work by Erl and I agree with his conclusions overall.

    Just a few more steps to be taken to see if we can firm up on the mechanics of the atmospheric temperature changes that lead to the observed redistribution of surface pressure. There is a difference between me and Erl on that but I am relaxed about which of us is right.

    It seems to be agreed that it is that redistribution which is involved in altering total global cloudiness, albedo and thus the amount of solar energy getting into the oceans for a warming or cooling effect on the whole system.

    I would say that it is the net level of solar input to the oceans that skews the relative balance between El Nino and La Nina during successive same sign phases of the Pacific Multidecadal Oscillation (not PDO as Bob Tisdale keeps reminding us).

    That gives steps upward during warming spells such as LIA to date and presumably steps downward would have been observed from MWP to LIA.

    I think we are all zeroing in on the primary features of the global system. Features which the models do not reflect.

    It then only remains to find out how big the natural processes involving sun and ocean are compared to the human input.

    Overwhelming in my judgement.

  21. cal says:

    I found this very interesting but I am not convinced by the long term correlation. Since PV=RT for a given mass of gas I would expect average Pressure and Temperature to be correlated for the atmosphere as a whole. Locally and in the short term I can see that pressure differences could easily lead to temperature differences but in the long term I would tend to think that temperature differences would lead to pressure differences. This relationship would lead to an oscillation which is exactly what we see. This is not to disprove what you are suggesting only to raise some doubts.

  22. Philip Bradley says:

    Cloud reflects solar radiation and the surface cools. That is the reason why the Earth as a whole is coolest in January when it is 3% closer to the sun and has 7% more solar irradiance at it’s disposal.

    The Earth’s atmosphere’s global minimum temperature is in January because 80% of the world’s land mass is in the northern hemisphere. Land retains heat from solar irridiance for a much shorter period than the oceans. Overall in January NH atmosphere over land is losing more heat to space than SH oceans are releasing to the atmosphere.

    The Earth definitely has its maximum heat gain in January. The SH oceans gain more heat at this time than the NH land loses heat. The reverse is true in July and the Earth has its maximum heat loss at this time.

    Clouds may play a role in the atmospheric temperature changes between July and January, but that role is secondary to the land versus ocean effect.

  23. JP Miller says:

    Erl/ Steve, your data analyses and theories, when coupled with Svensmark, are quite intriguing and provocative. It’s fun to watch you work out/ explain your thinking here. However, if there is a real “‘there’ there,” then would it not be worthwhile to either try to get a paper published or hook up with a traditional academic researcher to put your thinking into the “mainstream” of science? Failing that, we have to wonder whether you guys are just clever or are onto something meaningful. “Peer review,” while it has its problems, is still the best way to get scientific ideas rigorously tested.

  24. wayne Job says:

    Where indeed is science, in the community of the hockey team it seems to be lacking, as they have had no new thoughts or ideas for twenty years. They remind me of an old 78 record with a scratch that repeats the same old mantra over and over again. Measuring stuff to prove your ideas seems to be beyond them, and the output of their million dollar play stations seems to be their idea of science.
    Thank you Mr Happ for some real thought and input into a very interactive and complex regulatory system that is our planet Earth air conditioning system.

  25. Tim Folkerts says:

    Just a quick pair of comment — hopefully more later.

    1) Why do your fit over a calendar year? The calendar year is an artifact of human society, not an intrinsic feature of the earth. You might argue that you are looking from winter to winter, or perihelion to perihelion, but there ought to be some physical reason.
    2) More importantly, why a polynomial fit? Over the course of several years, your fig 6 will look like a serrated knife, with pointy peaks every Jan, ie cusps pointing upward (and in fact, the cusps would show a sudden jump from 5 to 6 every January 1. If had happened to go from July to July instead of Jan, to Jan, the cusps would have pointed downward. This would give a very different appearance to your results based merely on the artificial start date.

    A sinusoidal curve with an adjustable phase angle would make much more sense to me.

  26. Claude Harvey says:

    Well, bugger AGW! Let’s get real here. What does all this mean in terms of wine production, Earl?

  27. Stephen Wilde says:

    JPM,

    A few more bits of data need to fall into place before I could consider my hypotheses clearly demonstrated but your suggestion is appreciated.

  28. Very interesting read, thank you.

  29. Roger Clague says:

    I agree with cal
    September 23, 2011 at 2:36 am
    who says that the the ideal gas law PV = RT explains how temperature and pressure of the atmosphere vary.
    There is no room for a theory considering the radiative effects of CO2, a trace gas. The AGW theory.

  30. Garacka says:

    Shouldn’t these discussions which significantly focus on pressure and velocity suggest that enthalpy is what we should really be measuring for measuring “climate” changes vice being so focused on temperature?

  31. Ric Werme says:

    Philip Bradley says:
    September 23, 2011 at 1:14 am

    Truthseeker, I’m not sure what your point is, but if you compress a gas it gets warmer because energy is released. Not because it gains energy.

    Energy is added to a gas when you compress it. (work = force x distance and all that.) If the container is poorly insulated, then more thermal energy is released from the warmed gas than would be had it not been compressed.

    Of course, the energy added to the gas had to be released by whatever drives the compressor. In that sense your statement is ambiguous.

    BTW, you seem to have misterminated a <i> and triggered a WordPress bug that leaves italics on to the end of the post. The proper termination is </i>.

  32. Tim Folkerts
    I am no expert, but measuring over a year seems right considering the axis of the earth is not perpendicular to the plane, and that land-mass is not evenly distributed around the planet.

  33. Alberta Slim says:

    More evidence to present to the IPCC.
    But, will they accept it? No!
    Impudent Pack of Condescending Clowns.

  34. Tim Folkerts says:

    Your first graph clearly shows a correlation. However, there is also a clear trend of the SST upward IN ADDITION to the correlation to the pressure data.

    Put another way, there is no long-term trend in the pressure data, but there is a long-term upward trend in the SST data. Thus it appears your approach shows what drives short term (monthly or annual) variations, but it does NOT show what drives long-term (decadal) changes. The long-term changes would need some OTHER explanation (like changes in the sun or changes in GHGs).

  35. Tim Folkerts says:

    @ Eternal Optimist

    Certainly a year is a reasonable period to choose; my point was more that Jan-Dec (summer-summer in the southern hemisphere) period is artificial. It would make just as much sense to fit the data from JUL-JUN (winter-winter). The fit as shown is a handy guide for the eye, but making any inferences from such an artificial fit seems to be asking too much from such a fit.

    And again, a sinusoidal fit makes more sense, because then the fit would repeat smoothly, rather than having a discontinuous cusp at the end of every year.

  36. Spector says:

    RE: Erl Happ: (September 22, 2011)

    “If the [IPCC] can’t explain ENSO it can not explain climate change.”

    I believe that the IPCC was founded on the general proposition that human behavior, especially that in modern western civilization, was adversely affecting the climate, thus the governments of the world must get together and control this adverse human behavior worldwide before our environment is damaged beyond amendment.

    If, as many now believe, the climate is largely beyond our control, then perhaps it should be replaced or augmented by an organization dedicated to dealing with the international aspects of human adaptation to gross climate changes.

    There seem to be increasing indications that our knowledge of climate science is much less mature than we had believed in the past.

  37. Jeremy says:

    Not sure this proves anything. Of course Pressure and Temperature are linked inherently everywhere in our atmosphere. It’s basic high school chemistry – look up Boyle’s and Charles law and the ideal gas law PV=nRT.

    Where is the science?

    In your basic high school text book.

  38. James Sexton says:

    Mods, I lost a comment to the nether worlds!

    [REPLY: I didn't find anything in Spam. If it did not appear, resubmit. -REP, mod]

  39. G. Karst says:

    It all reminds me of the parable of the blind man trying to discern an elephant by touch.

    We have been examining the tail of this beast, for some time, and we are still cannot identify the fundamental animal. Frustrating as hell.

    Btw: Add to this enigma, Cern’s neutrino faster than light speed results and one has to be amazed, by our apparent ignorance (see tips and notes) GK

  40. James Sexton says:

    Jeremy says:
    September 23, 2011 at 6:49 am

    Not sure this proves anything. Of course Pressure and Temperature are linked inherently everywhere in our atmosphere. It’s basic high school chemistry – look up Boyle’s and Charles law and the ideal gas law PV=nRT.

    Where is the science?

    In your basic high school text book.
    ================================================

    I wish I’d remember to refresh the page before I post. But, yes, it seems it might be appropriate to apply some gas laws. But, Jeremy, it’s been done before and, wow, you wouldn’t believe how many people oppose that type of application of such science laws.

    Mods…… italics seem to be stuck on!!!!

  41. Pamela Gray says:

    I now have a kink in my neck from reading italics. Someone forgot to “unitalic”.

    [REPLY: It's fixed! It's fixed! -REP, mod]

  42. gnomish says:

    nice work, Erl.
    nice comment by Roy, too.
    i submit that a ‘cloud’ need not be visible as condensed vapor, too – a volume of water vapor which is invisible is as effective an ir blocker/absorber as a visible cloud.

  43. erl happ says:

    Gentlemen,
    Thanks for your comments. It seems that you miss the thrust of the exposition. It is encapsulated in the last graph (figure 13) where we see the average differential for six then seven and another seven years that brings us up to the present time. That data shows that the excess of surface pressure (Tahiti less Darwin) has been increasing over the entire period. In other words the trade winds have been strengthening throughout.

    What this means is that, in the earliest years the climate regime was strongly El Nino dominant (weak Trades) and it has become less El Nino dominant over time. Since 2007 we have been in a La Nina state most of the time.

    ENSO is supposed to be climate neutral. If you think it climate neutral I ask you, over what period might it be considered climate neutral. Over the last twenty years it has been heading one way and is likely to keep going in that direction for a while yet. Was it even more El Nino dominant prior to 1992? When will it reach its peak in terms of the La Nina tendency that is now well established?

    We are plainly dealing with a very long cycle here. A cycle where the trade winds and the westerlies strengthen for perhaps 60 years and then weaken for another sixty years.

    Now, if you can see that this is the case, ask yourself why the pressure relativities that lie behind the change in wind speed change as they do. Is this change consistent with the idea of a climate system that oscillates about a mean state within the space of a decade? Plainly not.

    In other words ENSO changes surface temperature over sixty year time scales. Before we can attribute the temperature change that plainly worries some people to any particular factor we have to establish what the ENSO factor is contributing.

    Going back to figure 1. When I set that up I should have acknowledged a strong elevation of the SOI curve above the SST curve at the beginning to recognize the El Nino bias at that time. The curves should be fitted to match in 1997 when the Earth stopped warming. That is the pivot point. To recognize a state of El Nino dominance the red line should be well above the blue at the start. After 1997 the red line slips below the blue line. But if ENSO is the only factor changing temperature the blue line should follow it down. If there is some other factor driving temperature upwards the two will never meet. But my gut feeling says that they will. I know what is driving the shift in the atmosphere that changes the pressure relativities and therefore the winds. I know that as the westerlies increase in strength so do the trades and the ocean warms in a lock step fashion with the increase in the winds.I know what cause the winds to blow harder and the clouds to disappear. The mechanism is in the coupled circulation of the stratosphere and the troposphere at the poles.

  44. TomRude says:

    “The Southern Oscillation Index is a reference point for the strength of the Trade winds. It represents the difference in atmospheric pressure between Tahiti and Darwin.”

    Indeed that’s how it was defined and Leroux demonstrated why it is an aberration.eom.

  45. Edim says:

    Earl,

    Good analysis and a very important point – ENSO change IS climate change. It’s not climate neutral and it’s not noise.

  46. James Sexton says:

    Ok, trying again…..

    Erl, you are skirting on a very contentious issue by even daring to mention atmospheric pressure. You may not be aware of the history. A about a year & 1/2 ago a frequent contributor (Steve Goddard, who has gone on to run his own blog……http://www.real-science.com/) presented the thought of applying the Ideal Gas Law to the climate issue. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/06/hyperventilating-on-venus/ and http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/08/venus-envy/ .
    As you can see, the idea was quite controversial, and was met with much resistance from alarmist and skeptic alike. That said, Steve’s writing and response style is more provocative and elicits emotive responses rather than intellectual exploration.

    The law, PV=nRT, is apparently not very palatable to many that have considered the CAGW hypothesis. Now, I’m not familiar with all of the intricacies of atmospheric pressure. But, what I do know is that science laws don’t selectively apply. They always work or they are not laws. The laws of motion don’t cease to exist because we aren’t considering them, neither do the laws of energy transfer. Some, from conversations in the past, seem to think the Ideal Gas Law only applies when we consider the question.

    Perhaps its time for a more level-headed discussion regarding how the Ideal Gas Law applies to the earth’s temps.

    James

  47. Edim says:

    T = pV/nR = pv/Rspec = p/ρRspec

    That means that if pressure and volumen (or density) are given, the temperature is defined and depends only on these two. You can only change the temperature if you change the p/ρ ratio, assuming any change in specific gas constant is insignificant.

  48. dallas says:

    “ENSO is supposed to be climate neutral. ” Given a long enough period of time it is. That is why this climate science debate is so frustrating. There are natural frequencies in any dynamic system. 9.5 years and 15.3 years would seem to be the most applicable, but there are 40, 65 and 96 years cycles that should be considered in 100 years forecasts of climate change. Now that the bar for a trend is set at greater than 17 years, it is more of a challenge. Before, 14.7 years was a reasonable minimum period for a trend.

  49. erl happ says:

    James Sexton says: September 23, 2011 at 7:55 am
    The atmospheric pressure on Venus is greater than 9,000 kPa. At those pressures, we would expect Venus to be very hot. Much, much hotter than Death Valley.

    Sorry James, not going to buy it. It is once compressed and just as the heat is dissipated from a high pressure cells where the air is being compressed as it descends via the usual means i.e. long wave radiation, so too would the heat of compression be dissipated from Venus. When its gone its gone unless the atmosphere is compressed again.

    I believe Venus is actually a bit closer to the fire. Would that not make it warmer?

  50. erl happ says:

    James and Edim

    Let’s ground this discussion by clearly establishing what I refer to when I speak in terms of change in atmospheric pressure. See here:http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/12/earths-changing-atmosphere/

  51. RR Kampen says:

    “How is it that change in surface atmospheric pressure is so closely associated with a change in the temperature of the tropical ocean? This is the major unsolved riddle in climate science.”

    Yes, we have yet to discover the Gas Law. Until then, all is shrouded in mystery.

  52. Steve Oregon says:

    As I read WUWT pieces like this I find myself wondering what went wrong with science.

    Climate science has delivered the most inflated significance in human history. The miniscule human generated portion of trace atmospheric CO2 is only what it is. Essentially meaningless.

    Yet modern day science, with all it’s advantages and 1000s of colaborative participants, has been unable to avoid a fabrication of biblical proportions and a campaign using every modern day manipulation to impose it as truth and discovery.

    With it’s many layers of deceit throughout academia and governments several science generations are being tainted beyond recognition.

    With so many particpants entrenched in instituions and bureaucracies I can’t even imagine a full recovery as possible. In fact it is quite likely to get worse despite the tremendous work like Erl’s, WUWT et al.

    The many participants being so well insulated from the truth and consequences is a scary reality that may spawn even worse depratures from honest science.

    I like to presume science is in recovery.
    But is that true? Or is it in fact getting worse?
    How do we know?
    Can we know?

  53. erl happ says:

    Philip Bradley says: September 23, 2011 at 2:57 am
    Sorry, I should have replied to this earlier.
    The Earth definitely has its maximum heat gain in January. The SH oceans gain more heat at this time than the NH land loses heat. The reverse is true in July and the Earth has its maximum heat loss at this time.
    Clouds may play a role in the atmospheric temperature changes between July and January, but that role is secondary to the land versus ocean effect.

    Let’s distinguish between energy gain and the temperature status of air near the surface. It’s a fact of life that global air temperature falls to a minimum in January. It’s also plain that the northern hemisphere ejects rather than absorbs energy because it has most of the land and that energy heats the atmosphere reducing cloud cover.

    I don’t think anyone has quantified the energy gain by the Earth system in January versus July. You might be right but then again you may be wrong because the southern hemisphere loses a lot of cloud in the subtropics in winter.

    The lower global near surface air temperature in January relates to cloud cover increase of about 3%, perhaps the ability of the southern ocean to absorb energy without returning much at all to the atmosphere and perhaps also the rather severe chilling that occurs in a very cloudy northern hemisphere where there is so much land. The land does not store energy like the sea.

  54. Owen says:

    Actually, if you want to see the effects of the endpoints you could graph 14 month periods (or more – 18-24 may be better), repeating the last two months(or however many required to even the period) on the first two months of the next graph, say graph from Nov – Feb, so the first plot would be Nov91-Feb93, the next would be Nov92-Feb94, etc, It won’t change the results, but the curve fits might be more obvious if there is a sinusoidal overlay.

    I still think the feedbacks and the reaction time constants are going to be the key to understanding our continuously changing global climate. I haven’t read anything that seems to be close to a solution for those, and the climate models won’t shine any light on them at all, because they don’t even try to model them (they’d probably get it wrong anyway so maybe just as well).

  55. “How is it that change in surface atmospheric pressure is so closely associated with a change in the temperature of the tropical ocean? This is the major unsolved riddle in climate science.”

    lHow astounding this statement is to me. I would have to say that these “climate scientists” must never have taken a comprehensive course in chemistry in high school, let alone in college.

    Lower atmospheric pressure enhances evaporation of surface water, and the specific heat of vaporization (the change in state from liquid to vapor) of H2O is high . . . in older terms, 539 calories per gram of H2O evaporated, or 539 BTUs per pound, and that amount of heat is transfered from surface waters to the H20 molecules when those H2O molecules become entrained in the atmosphere. Of course, higher velocity surface winds also greatly enhance this evaporative process.

    Perhaps a high school course in chemistry followed by a college course in chemistry, say a couple of semesters of 5 unit courses, 3 lectures and 2 labs per week, would help signficantly.

  56. erl happ says:

    RR Kampen says: September 23, 2011 at 8:21 am
    Gas laws we have aplenty and they are not especially relevant. What we are talking about here is shifts in atmospheric mass from one place to the other and the persistence of the new arrangement over long periods of time like sixty years. Now that can occur when ozone descends into the troposphere resulting in localized heating and a loss in the weight of the atmospheric column in that place. To that extent the gas law is relevant.

    Steve Oregon says: September 23, 2011 at 8:26 am
    I like to presume science is in recovery.
    But is that true? Or is it in fact getting worse?
    How do we know?
    Can we know?

    In my experience over several years a practitioner in academia either likes to do something entirely different on his evenings and weekends (e.g. fishing) or else he has written his lecture notes a long time ago and doesn’t like the idea of having to revise them. Add this: He may depend for his continued employment on maintaining the lie and doesn’t fancy his chances of getting a job if the rationale for his employment were to suddenly disappear.

  57. pittzer says:

    Please bear with a layman’s questions.

    My take-away from this article is that:

    1. ENSO is a major factor in global climate change.
    2. Current “Team” models assume ENSO is neutral factor in global climate change.

    Obvious conclusions may be drawn from that. Am I missing anything?

  58. Tom in Florida says:

    Here is a nice tutorial for the average person to help in understanding atmospheric circulation. The beginning is general background so read it all the way to the end.

    http://rst.gsfc.nasa.gov/Sect14/Sect14_1c.html

  59. erl happ says:

    Owen says: September 23, 2011 at 8:49 am
    Actually, if you want to see the effects of the endpoints you could graph 14 month periods (or more – 18-24 may be better),

    Let’s not be too pedantic here. My point is that the pressure differential is greater at the end of the year than in the middle. I explain why that is so in terms of the establishment of a high pressure cell over Australia in southern winter. It has long been observed that most of the variability in ENSO is centered on the end of the year rather than the middle. It just so happens that global cloud cover is maximal about the end of the year. If you are looking to discover what changes pressure (shifts atmospheric mass) and cloud cover about the end of the year look to the Arctic Oscillation also known as the Northern Annular Mode.

    All these points relate to understanding the phenomenon. The type of curve that is fitted to summarize the progression of the pressure differential is not a big thing to worry about and will not enhance our understanding of the phenomena very much at all. The reason for the curve is to assist the eye to discover the shape and extent of the variability and so focus the mind on why things might be as they appear to be.

  60. erl happ says:

    pittzer says: September 23, 2011 at 9:00 am
    Got it in one. But I would like you to be able to explain to your mates at work how ENSO is forced in one direction or the other, becoming an agent for warming or an agent for cooling. You won’t be able to do this from this post alone. There are other posts and more to come.If you are impatient: http://www.happs.com.au/images/stories/PDFarticles/TheCommonSenseOfClimateChange.pdf

  61. James Sexton says:

    erl happ says:
    September 23, 2011 at 8:12 am

    …………..
    Sorry James, not going to buy it.
    ===============================================
    Erl, I’m not taking a position, but I’m simply stating we may benefit from exploring the thought. From your post, it is almost impossible not to consider the IGL or some of its variants(Boyles….etc). However, if it isn’t your desire to veer in that direction, so be it, it’s your post.

    I’ll simply leave you with this, Venus has a remarkably similar temps to earth where the bars are the same. Energy, heat transfer and work……. mysterious things, they are.

    Erl, thanks for the response,

    James

  62. Tim Folkerts says:

    Even more fundamental than the ideal gas law in this case is the simple definition of
    P = F/A
    For the atmosphere as a whole, the force = (mass of atmosphere) x (9.8 m/s^2) and area = (Surface area of the earth).

    To the extent that the surface area and mass of the atmosphere are constant, the global average pressure will stay the same, independent of the temperature.

    Or put another way,
    P = nRT/V
    If you raise the temperature of the atmosphere, the atmosphere will expand. The increase in T & V will offset, leaving P essentially unchanged.

    (Net changes in humidity will cause mass to change, which would change the global pressure. A net upward/downward acceleration of the atmosphere would also result in a net change in pressure (but that could not last long!). There must be a few other small, temporary affects that could come into play. And of course, mass movement of air due to uneven heating of the surface can have localized affects on pressure, which would drive winds and weather.)

  63. PB-in-AL says:

    OH. MY. GAWD!!! It’s worse than we thought!!!

    It’s man-made air pressure change. All those CO2s are heavier than regular air. Since we keep pumping them into the atmosphere, the atmosphere is getting heavier. We’ll soon be CRUSHED under the weight of it all…. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIEEEE!!! Where’s AlGore? Where’s the IPCC? Where’s the nearest steel building that will hold all that heavy air up off of me?!? There’s the connection that Al missed: as the atmosphere is compressed it heats up, so we’re not just going to broil ourselves and the poor polar bears off the face of the planet, we’re going to be smooshed… SMOOSHED… I tell you, into hot steaming piles of people and polar bear pudding! (/sarc)

    Well, I can guarantee that if this takes off in the warmist camp there will definitely be hot steaming piles, but not of people or bears… (as opposed to now?) ;)

  64. erl happ says:

    Tom in Florida says: September 23, 2011 at 9:06 am
    Great stuff Tom. Its the sort of stuff I got in High School. Unfortunately teaching it went out of fashion and that is partly why we are in the current pickle.

    James, Don’t get me wrong I am all for the universal gas laws. Absolutely vital. As a winemaker I am dealing with various gases, buying them in bottles, getting rid of one gas with another, suffering from solubility differences, the expansion and contraction with temperature and so on. In understanding climate one gets nowhere without an understanding of the ability of some gases to trap long wave radiation from the Earth.

  65. Owen says:

    Erl,
    My post wasn’t really meant as a detraction of your work. You are pointing out there is a pattern and eventually we have to get to the root of how to predict the specifics of this pattern in the future and develop a general mechanism to describe its causes. I like what you have here, but was addressing some of the complaints about endpoints from above posters. I am not even suggesting that you do the plots that way, because you only need to do the plots in a manner that illustrates the points you were making. Most of us can see the pattern wrap around to a nearly identical seasonal pattern year-to-year. Though the advantage of wrap around plots is you can see the effects a large pressure difference in one year can have on the pressure difference in the next more clearly. You weren’t discussing that so it makes sense that you didn’t graph it in that way. Didn’t mean to get pedantic.

  66. erl happ says:

    Tim Folkerts says: September 23, 2011 at 9:20 am
    I agree with everything you say but the most important dynamic is not mentioned.

    Atmospheric pressure varies from place to place about the Earth according to the distribution of land and sea, the season and latitude.

    I must point out that there is a steep latitudinal gradient in the presence of ozone in the winter hemisphere. Secondly, variability in the night jet over the pole, particularly in winter, due to the introduction of nitrogen oxides from the mesosphere either robs or enables an increase in the concentration of ozone. Ozone absorbs long wave radiation from the Earth.In winter the cold point in the polar atmosphere ascends into the middle stratosphere. A convectional circulation occurs coupling the stratosphere with the troposphere. Ozone is introduced into the troposphere resulting in localized heating, pressure loss and a cloud cover reduction the latter extending towards the equator as ozone is carried equator-wards by the upper atmosphere counter westerlies.

    The troposphere contains 70-80% of the weight of the atmosphere. When ozone is introduced into the troposphere it acts as a heat source because it absorbs outgoing radiation at 9.6 micrometres. In the process air pressure is changed globally. The variability in the week to week, month to month, season to season, year to year, decade to decade and lifetime addition of ozone to the troposphere in high latitudes is responsible for the variation in pressure and winds that we observe, a variation in cloud cover and a consequent variation in surface temperature.

  67. erl happ says:

    Larry Sheehan says: September 23, 2011 at 8:51 am
    Thanks Larry, we love chemists. They are really good at the micro stuff. But they should do a couple of units of geography so that they occasionally get to look at the big world outside the test tube. My last comment covers the point.

  68. James Sexton says:

    Tim Folkerts says:
    September 23, 2011 at 9:20 am

    “……….Net changes in humidity will cause mass to change, which would change the global pressure…….”
    ===============================================================

    So, are we back to discussing clouds?

  69. TomRude says:

    @ Doug S says:
    September 22, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    Before you rave about mr. Happ’s latest brew, may I suggest you read the first growth first?

    “Dynamic Analysis of Weather and Climate Atmospheric Circulation, Perturbations, Climatic Evolution”, Prof. Marcel Leroux, Springer-Praxis books in Environmental Sciences, 2nd ed., 2010, 440p., ISBN 978-3-642-04679-7

    Or start with this:

    http://ddata.over-blog.com/xxxyyy/2/32/25/79/Leroux-Global-and-Planetary-Change-1993.pdf

  70. Theo Goodwin says:

    Absolutely brilliant work. It is fascinating and fun natural history. (Climate science, when it comes into existence, will be recognized as part of Natural History.)

    I have not had time to absorb the science behind this work. But the direction of the work is excellent. Too bad, Happ is not tenured at Harvard because the Warmista will studiously ignore him.

    Happ writes:
    “There have been a suggestion that some heat that ‘should be there’ has gone missing. Can this be read as an admission that warming has either slowed down or has actually ceased?”

    Yes.
    It can also be read as an early glimmer of a recognition by Trenberth that on Earth there are natural processes other than radiation and that it can happen that radiation has to work its way through these natural process before its effects can be understood. Time to get out of the supercomputer lounge and into the world for empirical research on La Nina.

    I have been arguing for years that ENSO is a natural process that must be understood in its own terms and not dismissed by Warmista as an epiphenomenon of radiation.

  71. A. C. Osborn says:

    Erl, have you any idea why the switch in relative positions occurs around 1997.1998?

  72. Ian W says:

    Erl

    What you need to add in your explanation to Chris Korvin is that the clouds are manifestation of the latent heat being transported from the surface to high in the atmosphere where water vapor condenses.
    The condensation releases the heat forming clouds that reflect incoming heat from the sun.

    If the convection is strong enough the clouds continue to rise and the water freezes releasing yet more latent heat that was originally from the surface.

    At night the convection reduces and the clouds slowly evaporate or sublimate away the clearing skies allow more direct radiation from the surface.

    (I think that sums up Willis’ Hypothesis ;-) )

    Atmospheric shifts increase wind – leading to increased evaporation transporting heat from the surface – leading to increased cloud cover leading to less incoming heating.

    GCR may assist in providing cloud condensation nuclei in saturated air aiding the formation of clouds.

  73. Interstellar Bill says:

    If ‘Climate Science’ were not a PC Cargo-Cult,
    such trenchant scientific work would not have been left
    to a lone, self-funded oenophile (Bless his industrious heart!)

    Hansen would have done all this back in the ’70’s
    and then gone before Congress that fateful hot day in 1980
    to testify ‘Whew! No Problem!’
    (This has to be the most radical alternate history ever proposed.
    Imagine, the idea of an honest govt-scientist not being a quasi-oxymoron!)

  74. Neo says:

    Wasn’t all of this predicted by the work of Robert Brown (and used daily in the form of modern air conditioning) ?

  75. jorgekafkazar says:

    Sorry to rain (ha-ha!) on your parade, you who cite the Ideal Gas Law as if holy writ, but the Earth’s atmosphere is not an ideal gas. The ideal gas law does not apply when the system includes evaporation and condensation.

  76. Jeremy says:

    Jorgekafkazar,

    Of course we know that. How stupid do you think people are here. I was just pointing out that there necessarily must be a relationship between temperature and pressure. Of course the latent heat effects will modify things but it does not change the inherent strong interrelationship existing between temperature and pressure for a gas (even a non-ideal gas)

    Yawn!

  77. It is quite funny, as in funny peculiar and not funny ha, ha, but atmospheric pressure comes in two forms.
    1) We measure the weight of the (or a) column of air sitting statically above the earth’s surface with a “Barometer” and the pressure/weight of that air-column is around one bar, or 1Kg/m². That includes clouds, rain and the poxiest weather you can ever imagine.
    Even with tons of rain pelting down, your barometer will only record some 9 hundred + milli-bars, up to maybe 1 Bar of pressure at the surface. — Now then, if the rain, the clouds and all the heavy stuff has had enough and goes away – you would expect the pressure to decrease, but it does not, – it increases. – Why is that?
    You may very well ask and the answer is that as the energy from the Sun warms the “Earth’s Surface” which, in turn, warms the atmosphere (a point which is lost on today’s “Climate Scientists”)The air warms and clouds vanish and the Sun’s Rays have “free accsess” to the surface, warming it even more. Above this “Heated Surface” an air pocket is now created, inside which the pressure is bound to be greater than that at the outside as the, inside, warm air (never mind its temperature) is pushing against the cold air at the outside. So yes, Temperature and pressure are linked very closely. But what came first?

    My assumption is that the Sun Rules.

  78. Jeremy says:

    Is it really possible that those here can be surprised by the discovery that pressure and temperature are strongly related? Have some forgotten that the barometer is a time tested proven useful tool to predict weather.

    A “high pressure” system is indicative of good weather and higher temperatures. A “low pressure” system is associated with cooler air, higher moisture and often bringing precipitation.

  79. James Sexton says:

    jorgekafkazar says:
    September 23, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Sorry to rain (ha-ha!) on your parade, you who cite the Ideal Gas Law as if holy writ, ………
    ======================================================================
    jorge…….not as a holy writ, but as an ignored part of the climate discussion. I don’t recall seeing any scientific paper regard these gas laws relating to CAGW, yet, the central theme of CAGW is regarding a gas! And, whether Erl wants to venture down this path or not, his figure 1 clearly demonstrates the relationship, and he ties it quit nicely to how it effects ENSO. I don’t view it as the “end all” of the climate discussion, but I do view it as necessary to seriously address if the general knowledge of our climate is to progress.

    Indeed, it must be addressed, the ideal gas law, PV=nRT, or, PV=NkT where k is Boltzmann’s constant, and where do we see a derivative of Boltzmann’s constant? The Arrhenius equation.

    The IGL seems to be some crazy uncle to climatology that’s kept in the attic that no one wishes to talk about for fear that he’d start telling all of the family secrets. I simply see it as a different perspective. Seeing that climatology hasn’t made any significant advances in the last 20-30 years, I think it time to view it from a different angle.

    Just my thoughts,

    James

  80. Tom in Florida says:

    O H Dahlsveen says:
    September 23, 2011 at 2:35 pm
    “Now then, if the rain, the clouds and all the heavy stuff has had enough and goes away – you would expect the pressure to decrease, but it does not, – it increases. – Why is that?”

    Clear, calm weather is associated with high pressure because the air sinks suppressing cloud formation. Low pressure is associated with stormy weather because the heated air rises, clouds form, condensation occurs and rain falls.. When you say the bad weather “goes away” it has simply been displaced by a high pressure air mass and nice weather.

  81. jorgekafkazar says:

    James Sexton says regarding the Ideal Gas Law: “jorge…….not as a holy writ, but as an ignored part of the climate discussion. I don’t recall seeing any scientific paper regard these gas laws relating to CAGW, yet, the central theme of CAGW is regarding a gas!”

    True, there’s not a lot of “ideal gas” behavior discussion in CAGW. Why is this? (Beyond the obvious fact that the atmosphere is not an ideal gas) (1) As has been pointed out before, measurement of “Global Temperature” is problematic because it ignores heat flow, humidity change, etc. (2) The thermal mass of the ocean is about 1100 times the corresponding heat-carrying capability of the atmosphere.

    Thus there are many much more important issues than behavior of gases, ideal or not. If I was designing, say, a car, do you suppose I’d have reams and reams of calculations focusing on “F=mA?” No, despite the underlying relevance of Newton’s Second Law of Motion:to every machine, It’s not the scientific area of interest for automotive design. Similarly, the area of greatest relevance for CAGW is not ideal gas law, but Marxist dialectic materialism.

  82. 1DandyTroll says:

    There-science? O_0

  83. James Sexton says:

    jorgekafkazar says:
    September 23, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    James Sexton says regarding the Ideal Gas Law: “jorge…….not as a holy writ, but as an ignored part of the climate discussion. ………… a car, do you suppose I’d have reams and reams of calculations focusing on “F=mA?” No, despite the underlying relevance of Newton’s Second Law of Motion:to every machine, It’s not the scientific area of interest for automotive design. Similarly, the area of greatest relevance for CAGW is not ideal gas law, but Marxist dialectic materialism.
    ==============================================================
    And we wonder why we can’t get our MPG up. :-) …….. Kidding aside, Jorge, I don’t disagree with your last statement. Nor do I disagree with the general thrust and posits of your comment. It is just that I believe we are limiting our ability to respond to the alarmists by ignore established physical and chemical laws. For instance, much as been stated about the second law of thermodynamics and how the alarmism seems to contradict it……. but when we inspect the law, “The second law of thermodynamics is an expression of the tendency that over time, differences in temperature, pressure, and chemical potential equilibrate in an isolated physical system.” There’s those silly references to temps and pressure……….. again. And, no, the gases in the collective are not ideal. But, I’ve yet to see a credible argument as to how the principles won’t apply in this case.

    Well, if you want something done, ………. I’m working on tidal gauge measurements right now, after I’m done with that, I guess I’ll have to address this stuff……. BTW, other than viscosity, is there much difference in applying physical laws to space occupied by gas vs liquid?

    James

  84. erl happ says:

    TomRude says: September 23, 2011 at 10:52 am
    Some quotes from Leroux:
    It is obvious that the notion of “permanence” relative to action centers represents only a convenience for discussion, because in the meteorological reality nothing is “stable”, everything is always moving. To analyse the actual dynamics of climate, and particularly the actual processes of circulation, one must take into account that
    meridlonal air and energy exchanges are chiefly made under the form of large migratory airmasses.

    what physical process can clearly explain that low levels cold air outbreaks are stronger and more numerous in winter? In short, there is not yet an unanimity on the genesis of lows. Theories emphasize the intensification of an Initial low, but “they do not really explain the actual cyclogenesis process, namely the formation of the initial low” (Thepenier, 1983).

    The relationship, strong MPH/deep low (or inversely: weak MPH/less deep low), observed at the synoptic scale as at the seasonal scale (Leroux, 1986, 1990, 1991), has been verified (indirectly, through the SSTs) on a statlstical scale m the northern Atlantic Ocean by Kushnir (1991) who noted that “the years with warm SSTs were charactenzed
    by lower than normal pressure south of the mean position of the Icelandic low, while the opposite situation tended to prevail in the years with cold SSTs” Trenberth (1990) has also observed “pressures 7-9 mb lower in the Aleutian Low”, and “about 6 mb higher” in the Northern Atlantic at the place where is located the so-called Azores high, in January, on northern hemisphere pressure maps for the 1945-1977 and 1980-1986 periods, the latter period corresponding to a cooling trend. The analyse by Flohn et al. (1990) of the 1961/1962-1987/1988 period pressure trends over the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, highlights the “rise of kinetic energy” and for example In winter over the Atlantic area, shows that “the 26-year trend is remarkable”, with a large area of pressure fall up to -6 hPa at the SE coast of Greenland, which contrasts with a “rising pressure in the Atlantic south of 47°N.. “. This relationship is also observed in the Northern Pacific area where, “during the cold season, the Aleutian Low. deepens remarkably, by 9 hpa, during the 22-year period” (Flohn et al., 1990) This relationship has also been empirically revealed in China in the past 2200 years, from 250 BC to 1900 AD by Wang (1980) who, even if for him “the exact cause for this is not known”, remarked that “the high frequency of winter thunders tends to be associated with colder climates”. As a result, at the statistical scale, a deeper “Icelandic” or “Aleutian” low signifies that the MPHs, which governed the depth of the lows, were themselves stronger during the according period.

    In summary, high latitudes are still considerably more important than supposed by Weller (1990), and are undoubtedly the “key to world climate” (Abelson, 1989), if we consider the formation of cold airmasses, and their propagation as far as into the heart of the tropical zone. Such a process incite us to integrate the MPH in present and past troposphere circulation models.

    The polar latitudes appear as the key control of the earth climate, in the past as in the present: they observe the highest variations of insolation, they store the captured water potential, they give the MPHs their initial power, and thus they govern the Intensity of the general circulation, at the seasonal scale as at the palaeoclmatic scale The MPH concept, founded on the real observation of meteorological phenomena, offers a coherent and comprehensive explanation, on all space and time scales, from local weather to the general circulation, from the present climatic features to the global past climates. It appears therefore impossible to remain ignorant of the actual importance of the Mobile Polar High still, the key factor of climate and of its evolution.

    My comment: Great work for 1992. But while Leroux is aware of some aspects of the phenomena his work seems to take no advantage of the observations of Thompson, Dunkerton and others in relation to the annular modes that arise from the coupling of the stratosphere and the troposphere at high latitudes.Seems to me that you need to do some reading in that area.This is a great place to start: http://www.atmos.colostate.edu/ao/introduction.html

  85. Paul Milenkovic says:

    Here is how I understand the Harry Huffman PV=NRT hypothesis regarding atmospheric temperature.

    The Sun is some millions of degrees at its core, but how do we say that the Sun is at about 6000K? That temperature is of the radiating photosphere. Below the photosphere, the gas is more or less opaque; above the photosphere, more or less transparent, and the temperature of the Sun we “see” is of this region where the gases become transparent.

    The Earth too has a photosphere, or what I would like to call a “radiative thermosphere”, where below it the atmosphere is more or less opaque to infra-red and above is more or less transparent. Down on the ground, the average temperature is about 15 C, at the thermosphere it is about -15 C, which is the mean blackbody radiative temperature of the Earth, much as 6000K is the radiative temperature of the Sun — think of the outgoing blackbody radiation of the Earth as that of a really cool, dim star.

    The 30 C temperature difference between surface and radiative thermosphere has two complementary explanations — it is the baseline “greenhouse” atmospheric thermal blanket that keeps the oceans from freezing solid; it is the PV=NRT compression heating (more precisely, the adiabatic lapse rate) between surface and thermosphere.

    Now the lapse rate is a bit more complicated than that — it changes with humidity — and the atmospheric thermal transparency is wavelength dependent. Although perhaps an oversimplification, Harry Huffman has it right, that even after correcting for being closer to the Sun, Venus is hellishly hot because of compression heating of the atmospheric blanket below the thermosphere, which he claims to be at the same pressure level on Earth and Venus, which places it in mid-troposphere for Earth.

    This provides a simpler explanation of the Spencer and Braselton results. The surface temperature of the Earth is what it is, and it doesn’t matter how it gets to be that way with ENSO and albedo variation with cloud cover or whatever. If the surface changes .1 K, the atmosphere appears to reequilibrate after a 3 month lag, the thermosphere changes by .1 K, and (to quote John Madden) boom! The heat radiated by the thermosphere goes up by the Stefan-Boltzmann T^4 relation.

    Tropospheric clouds may change albedo and radiation incoming from the Sun, but tropospheric clouds are irrelevant to the “climate sensitivity parameter” because the troposphere is largely opaque to the long wavelengths the Earth radiates at. The climate sensitivity is essentially the Stefan-Boltzman law for radiation from the thermosphere, with the thermosphere linked to the surface through the lapse rate and the apparent 3-month equilibration time constant, and the Spencer-Brazelton data indicate that the lapse rate is not varying with changes in surface temperature, contradicting the climate-model assumption of positive feedback.

  86. erl happ says:

    A. C. Osborn says: September 23, 2011 at 11:32 am
    Erl, have you any idea why the switch in relative positions occurs around 1997.1998?

    I take it you are referring to figure 1. We see the SOI (inverted) rise faster than SST between 1976-8. Atmospheric pressure rose at the equator and fell at the southern pole. The trades fell away as the differential pressure driving the Trades between Tahiti and Darwin evaporated.

    Why did atmospheric pressure increase at the equator? A strong increase in the ozone concentration and the temperature of the stratosphere over Antarctica led to a big fall in surface pressure at 60-70°south latitude. The loss at high latitudes is balanced by gain elsewhere. Specific and relative humidity fell away as the upper troposphere warmed due to the addition of trace amounts of ozone. So, cloud evaporated. More sunlight reached the ocean. But the ocean absorbs energy to depth and warms only slowly.

    Why more ozone in the stratosphere? The night jet that brings NOx from the mesosphere is very sensitive to change in surface pressure. The distribution of the atmosphere between high and low latitudes is in the first instance sensitive to the solar wind as conditioned by the level of irradiance which in turn affects plasma density. 1976-8 saw the transition between the weak solar cycle 20 and the strong cycle 21. We have high plasma density and a sudden increase in geomagnetic activity. The atmosphere shifted equator-ward. The night jet collapsed. Over the period since 1978 the night jet has gradually recovered its influence, in part because the concentration of NOx in the mesosphere increases with solar activity, just one illustration of the checks and balances that keeps the Earth’s climate relatively stable.

  87. James Sexton says:

    Paul Milenkovic says:
    September 23, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Here is how I understand the Harry Huffman PV=NRT hypothesis regarding atmospheric temperature…….
    =========================================================
    Hmm……. I wasn’t aware Huffman was credited with the equation, but, you gave an excellent primer. So, I’m wondering, how does the addition of CO2 enter into the equation? Volume? Moles? At what ratio?
    As I alluded to earlier, I haven’t explored this thought as much as I would wish because I’m off on a different excursion, so I’m limited more to questions than I am answers.

  88. TomRude says:

    Earl Happ writes: “My comment: Great work for 1992. But while Leroux is aware of some aspects of the phenomena his work seems to take no advantage of the observations of Thompson, Dunkerton and others in relation to the annular modes that arise from the coupling of the stratosphere and the troposphere at high latitudes.”

    I suggested Doug S. start with this available, seminal paper of 1993, establishing the importance of lower tropospheric circulation and its geometry. I did also offer the reference to his final text book, finished in 2008 and published in 2010. In the latest, section 14.5 is dedicated to El Nino and the ENSO in relation to aerological dynamics, in particular that during EN, “Darwin is subject to the northern winter dynamic while Tahiti experiences the southern summer dynamic” and that “there is no direct physical link between them”. He then went on putting ENSO in a general circulation context and how these indexes are merely obsolete.

    Leroux’s work is extremely coherent and based on observations, hardly on models. His affirmations are demonstrated by data so following his reasoning is a very didactic process. Last but not least, he was quite a modest man and he would surely blush from knowing that Mr. Earl Happ gave him a nice pat on the back for 30 years of climatology, including a comprehensive meteorology and climate of Tropical Africa and the precise reconstruction of tropospheric circulation geometry and dynamics…

  89. erl happ says:

    TomRude says: September 23, 2011 at 8:54 pm
    If your tone were more civil and your offerings more generous in content it would help all of us. I do hate to be misleading in what I write. You don’t say enough to enable me to judge whether I am right or wrong or just plain silly….which is what you seem to be keen to assert.

    My edition of Leroux’s work is not to hand but I think it is three or four years old. I agree with you. He is an original thinker, a close observer and his work is great.

    I would appreciate it if you could expand on this comment: “Darwin is subject to the northern winter dynamic while Tahiti experiences the southern summer dynamic” and that “there is no direct physical link between them”. He then went on putting ENSO in a general circulation context and how these indexes are merely obsolete.

    Assertions are one thing. Convincing argument is another. So, lets know how Leroux reaches that conclusion.

  90. TomRude says:

    Earl I’ll indeed expand as it seems logical to me but probably obtuse to many who are not familiar with his work. Needless to say that if you have read one of his books, it ties logically with the description of circulation.
    Basically despite his geographical position below the geographical equator, during the boreal winter, Darwin is affected by the Australian monsoon, by definition an Ekman circulation that is an extension of the north hemisphere Asian/west Pacific aerological space, as it crosses the geographical equator. Thus its pressure evolution is consistent with this unit of circulation, in contrast with Tahiti, which pressure evolution is reflecting a different aerological space, separated by the meteorological equator, itself controlled by the austral summer during that season.
    Through pressure and temperature observations, he demonstrates that it is the dilatation of the northern hemisphere circulation that shifts the Inclined Meteorological Equator and its associated Australian Monsoon affecting Darwin and Vertical Meteorological Equator over the Pacific ocean to an eastward position, a consequence of which is the strengthening of the Equatorial Counter-Current and the generation of the El Nino current. To complicate matters, central Pacific high pressure agglutination and the North Atlantic circulation, through the Panamean isthmus, also have an influence on the southward shift of the VME along the south American coast. The variations of these different components account for the variability in time and space of the EN event.
    This dilatation is a sign that more powerful MPHs are created during a colder northern hemisphere winter.
    Therefore establishing the cause/effect link of the synoptic reality is much more important than the statistical entities (such as the Azores anticyclone for the NAO) that have been used to define these indexes when satellites did not exist.
    Hope I summed it up well.

  91. erl happ says:

    Thanks Tom,
    Erl is short for Erland, nothing to do with Earl.

    The fact that Darwin and Tahiti tend to belong to different circulations is no doubt part of the explanation as to why the SOI behaves as it does. Note however that strong gyrations happen on a daily/weekly basis in southern winter when these two locations are on the same side of the meteorological equator.

    What you describe is all valid stuff but my perception that Leroux and your own ideas of the origin of ENSO might be enhanced if you took into account the work that I pointed to is unchanged. I see nothing in the above that explains the rise and fall in sea surface temperature, the change in cloud cover and the shifts in the atmosphere between high and low latitudes that are all part of the ENSO variation.

  92. lgl says:

    How is it that change in surface atmospheric pressure is so closely associated with a change in the temperature of the tropical ocean?

    Erl,
    The answer my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
    The answer is blowin’ in the wind

  93. erl happ says:

    lgl the wind carries all sorts of stuff including BS. You have got to be a less enigmatic if you want to be persuasive.

  94. richjard verney says:

    Philip Bradley says:
    September 23, 2011 at 2:57 am
    ////////////////////////////////////
    In addition, there is also the change in albedo. In January (notwithstanding the mantra that snow will be a thing of the past rarely seen) there is a lot of snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere.

    I consider that the temperature of the Earth is almost exclusively governed by the energy in and out of the oceans (ocean currents and winds distrubute this energy around the globe).

  95. eyesonu says:

    Erl, please direct me to a knowledgeable source regarding the polar night jet. You have gotten my attention yet again. Maybe very elementary question, but I don’t want to miss anything.

    Your atmospheric theories are extremely thought provoking. Needs to be evaluated in depth by those without an axe to grind or an agenda.

    Thanks

  96. lgl says:

    Yes, how many links must we give Erl Happ
    Before he sees less wind > lower heat flux > higher SST?
    The answer my friend …

  97. Philip Bradley says:

    Energy is added to a gas when you compress it. (work = force x distance and all that.) If the container is poorly insulated, then more thermal energy is released from the warmed gas than would be had it not been compressed.

    Thanks. Eric.

    I realize I did a poor job of explaining.

    Atmospheric pressure changes in the Earth atmosphere do not add energy to the system because the mass of the atmosphere does not change nor is there an external force at the top of the atmosphere compressing it.

    All atmospheric pressure changes do is transfer energy around and release some of it as heat in high pressure areas.

    To get back to the main topic.

    I wouldn’t assume we are dealing with multi-decadal cycles here. Equally possible IMO is an external non-forcing driver, such as GCR fluctuations affecting clouds.

  98. erl happ says:

    eyesonu says: September 24, 2011 at 3:08 am

    The current orthodoxy via a recent paper, as yet unpublished but from the right place:

    http://www.columbia.edu/~lmp/paps/waugh+polvani-PlumbFestVolume-2010.pdf

    But you must also work it out for yourself because the orthodoxy takes no account of the dependency of the vortex on surface pressure. It does not tell you that surface pressure depends upon the solar wind. It does not tell you that the coupling of the stratosphere and the troposphere is responsible for surface pressure variations, change in the wind and the cloud.

    So:

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/strat-trop/

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/strat_a_f/

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/intraseasonal/temp10anim.shtml

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/intraseasonal/temp30anim.shtml

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/intraseasonal/z200anim.shtml

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/hgt.aao.shtml

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/ao.shtml

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/temperature/

    Take one excel spreadsheet. Copy diagrams and pictures. Compare GPG, Ozone and temperature at all levels between 1hPa and 100hPa.

    Ignore all talk of planetary waves, heat flux, zonal winds and Rossby waves.

  99. erl happ says:

    lgl says: September 24, 2011 at 3:19 am

    The faster the westerlies blow the more the ocean warms See:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/12/earths-changing-atmosphere/

  100. erl happ says:

    Philip Bradley says: September 24, 2011 at 3:27 am
    I wouldn’t assume we are dealing with multi-decadal cycles here.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/12/earths-changing-atmosphere/

  101. Bob Tisdale says:

    Erl Happ, you wrote in your post, “How is it that change in surface atmospheric pressure is so closely associated with a change in the temperature of the tropical ocean? This is the major unsolved riddle in climate science.”

    There’s no riddle at all. ENSO is a coupled ocean-atmosphere process. This has been known for decades.

    Under the heading of “Temperature change is linked to change in surface atmospheric pressure”, you provide a comparison of tropical (20S-20N) Sea Surface Temperature to the Southern Oscillation Index. Is the tropical SST data in your graph also smoothed? Because it looks more like anomaly data that’s been shifted up 26+ deg C. It does not contain the annual variations in tropical SST that one would expect:

    Under the same heading you wrote, “The Southern Oscillation Index leads surface temperature on the upswing and also on the downswing.”

    Your graph and your statement are misleading. ENSO leads variations in tropical SST anomalies. This has also been known for decades. You could have used any ENSO index in your graph. It takes 3 to 6 months for the tropics to respond to the changes in atmospheric circulation caused by ENSO. Here’s a graph of NINO3.4 versus tropical SST anomalies with both datasets standardized. NINO3.4 SST anomalies lead tropical SST anomalies. No surprise there at all: http://i54.tinypic.com/2le7a10.jpg

    So you’ve misled yourself and your readers by implying that the cause of the variations in tropical SST are based solely on sea level pressure variations, when clearly they are not.

    You finished the discussion under that heading with: “Some factor associated with change in surface pressure is plainly responsible for temperature change.”

    And that factor is the coupled ocean-atmosphere process called ENSO.

    That’s as far as I went in your post. Since your premise was misleading, I’ve assumed the rest of the post was misleading.

  102. LazyTeenager says:

    I am not keen in the stratosphere affecting the troposphere idea here. Assuming, that is, I have interpreted the hand waving correctly.

    There is a huge mismatch in both mass and energy between stratosphere and troposphere. To suggest that the troposphere strongly affects the troposphere therefore amounts to an ant pushing an elephant. Unless Erl can come up with some decent justification I am calling this as implausible.

    And another thing. A few of the climate models do reproduce ENSO like behavior. But I am ignorant of whether this is good enough to represent skill at prediction of ENSO. It would therefore appear that Erl’s last paragraph has a big hole in it’s argument.

  103. erl happ says:

    Bob Tisdale says: September 24, 2011 at 6:10 am
    Bob , Thanks for taking an interest and I hope you will pose further questions.

    There’s no riddle at all. ENSO is a coupled ocean-atmosphere process. This has been known for decades.

    That’s one interpretation. It’s not mine. If you read the rest of the post you might change your mind.

    I might ask you to explain how the “coupled ocean-atmosphere process in the Pacific” to give it the correct title, produces the twenty year increase in the pressure differential between Tahiti and Darwin that is apparent in figure 13. I’m sure the Pacific is influential but can it do that?

    Under the heading of “Temperature change is linked to change in surface atmospheric pressure”, you provide a comparison of tropical (20S-20N) Sea Surface Temperature to the Southern Oscillation Index. Is the tropical SST data in your graph also smoothed?

    The SST data is a simple 12 month moving average of monthly data for the latitude 20°north to 20° south centered on the seventh month.

    Under the same heading you wrote, “The Southern Oscillation Index leads surface temperature on the upswing and also on the downswing.”
    Your graph and your statement are misleading. ENSO leads variations in tropical SST anomalies. This has also been known for decades. You could have used any ENSO index in your graph. It takes 3 to 6 months for the tropics to respond to the changes in atmospheric circulation caused by ENSO.

    I resent the you saying my statement is misleading. My intention is to inform accurately. The SOI leads sea surface temperature in the global tropics. There is absolutely nothing misleading about that statement.

    I did not use ‘any ENSO index’. I used a three month moving average of the SOI because I am interested in the pressure relationship. I am interested in why tropical sea surface temperature varies with equatorial sea surface pressure and inversely with pressure at high latitudes and in particular in the Arctic. I could have used Darwin pressure alone or pressure for equatorial latitudes if I could get daily data. I am not using ENSO 3.4 data because, while it is very similar to the SOI it is no more representative of the tropics generally than the SOI and while it may be of interest that a small part of the Pacific Ocean is a good precursor for change generally I know that ENSO 1+2 or SST in the south east Pacific or to the south west of Western Australia are usually better precursors. I am not interested in the precursor aspect. I am interested in cause and effect. I am interested in why surface temperature increases and decreases in the short and long term (inter-decadal and longer). I don’t want to focus on the Pacific. I want to focus on the global tropics.

    That’s as far as I went in your post. Since your premise was misleading, I’ve assumed the rest of the post was misleading.

    Inaccurate judgement no doubt based on a different perception of the nature of the phenomenon. Poor assumption.

    Please do me the courtesy of reading the rest of the post. If the material that precedes figure 5 offends you please ignore it for the moment and start at figure 5. Please take in the data from figure 8 onwards. It conveys the central message.

  104. TomRude says:

    Erl, sorry for the wrong spelling.
    “I see nothing in the above that explains the rise and fall in sea surface temperature, the change in cloud cover and the shifts in the atmosphere between high and low latitudes that are all part of the ENSO variation.”
    Then you keep thinking the tail wags the dog, unlike Leroux, of course. I’ll continue checking on the reference you provided, but this is a fundamental difference.

  105. erl happ says:

    Tom,
    No worries about the spelling. I thought Leroux was very forthright when he said that the change in insolation at high latitudes was the most influential factor. I wouldn’t call it insolation but changes in surface pressure wrought by the coupled circulation that brings about a change in insolation received at the surface. The ‘brief Introduction’ at http://www.atmos.colostate.edu/ao/introduction.html gives you the gist of the argument.

  106. Roger Taguchi says:

    Hi all!
    Congratulations to Erl for a fantastic Fig. 1, showing a correlation between atmospheric pressure
    leading surface air temperature! The correlation is obviously too strong to be considered random.
    Erl, please forgive me for not reading everything to date, including your references, as I have just stumbled onto this site. I don’t even know what ENSO stands for (SO= Southern Oscillation?).

    Having said this, please don’t bite my head off if I make a perhaps-irrelevant or stupid observation:
    adiabatic expansion of a gas explains why the temperature of the troposphere declines with altitude (I know there are complications when there is heat released by condensation) where the pressure is lower. This is the reverse of compressing a gas adiabatically (with no heat exchange to the surroundings): if you compress even an Ideal Gas, it takes energy because you are doing work (force times distance) against a spring. The work done shows up as an increase in temperature (since no heat is exchanged with the surroundings), The reverse occurs on adiabatic expansion. So increasing atmospheric pressure (explained nicely by Erl’s movement of air masses) couples with increased temperatures, with a slight lag as effect follows cause.

    This is intimately connected to a correct explanation of the greenhouse effect, and therefore the the AGW controversy, for the following reason: according to Chris Colose and Prof. Grant Petty, in the absence of greenhouse gases, the troposphere would be isothermal (i.e. the temperature decrease with increasing altitude is caused by infrared (IR) radiation leaking to outer space from excited state CO2 molecules and other greenhouse gas molecules at an altitude of 20 km or so, where the temperature is about 220 K). Some features of the IR spectra observed by a satellite
    looking down on a cloudless warm Earth are explained by a model using the real life temperature gradient (lapse rate), but my question to the smart contributors to this forum is this: are Colose and Petty right about an isothermal atmosphere? Their belief comes from siding with Boltzmann in the Boltzmann-Loschmidt paradox. Colose and Petty are among the most confident of radiation physicists whose computer models “explain” the spectra, and therefore they say they are right in backing the IPCC projections all the way. I’d be especially interested in views from those with a strong background in the physics behind meteorology, as I have not had time to take a course or read the relevant literature.

  107. eyesonu says:

    Erl, thank you for the links. Looks like a bit of my weekend may be occupied with this. This post, as well as your earlier 4 part post on WUWT, needs to be reviewed together as all are related to atmospheric pressure, mass transfer, heat/energy transfer, energy source, etc. phenomenon and you are tying a lot together. It taxes my brain! If your theory proves out, it will be a big piece in a much bigger chaotic puzzle. Like myself, I feel that you are looking at an overall picture and presenting a thought provoking summary/theory. Even if correct, others will try to deconstruct you with fine details. Those have their place and are necessary, but you need to keep your eye on the main topic and seem to have done well. All this is a new topic for many and I’m sure they have a lot of pondering to do, as I, to fully grasp what you are presenting. If a wine maker can solve a big riddle that ‘all the king’s scientists and all the king’s men’ can’t, you will certainly deserve a feather in your cap!

  108. Paul Vaughan says:

    Repeating advice I’ve given before in different words:

    Escape the comically-loopy chicken-egg circular-logic. As it is now, many folks here have put chalk marks on different points of the wheel to mark the part of the wheel they think is “driving” the other parts of wheel.

    The wheel is nothing more than the annual cycle …and that’s not what’s changing speed. LeMouel, Blanter, Shnirman, & Courtillot (2010) have shown that the wheel changes only in diameter (figuratively [amplitude literally]), not rotation rate. It’s changes in the solar-driven clustering of amplitude cycles that dial regional terrestrial climatologies (including SOI) multidecadally.

    The thing I’m finding most comical about the discussions here is that LeMouel, Blanter, Shnirman, & Courtillot (2010) have spelled it all out and yet commenters keep turning a blind eye. Perhaps many or most are only interested in the truth if it conforms to their preconceptions. Perhaps many or most aren’t even ABLE to recognize the the truth if it doesn’t conform to their preconceptions. No offense is intended, but people need to wake up and clue in to what’s sitting in plain view.


    Philip Bradley (September 23, 2011 at 2:57 am) wrote:
    “Clouds may play a role in the atmospheric temperature changes between July and January, but that role is secondary to the land versus ocean effect.”

    Encouraging to see someone here stressing land-ocean contrast …And land-ocean contrast is north-south asymmetric. (For NH, zonal summaries are particularly misleading.)


    lgl (September 24, 2011 at 12:55 am) wrote:
    “The answer my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
    The answer is blowin’ in the wind”

    Led Zeppelin:

    “Dear lady can you hear the wind blow? And did you know?
    Your stairway lies on the whisperin’ wind…

    …And it’s whispered that soon, if we all call the tune,
    ________ “
    (fill in the blank)…

    All that’s missing in the public domain is the interannual spatiotemporal piece. For bright human minds aware of LeMouel, Blanter, Shnirman, & Courtillot (2010) [ http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/vaughn_lod_fig1b.png , http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/vaughn_lod_fig1a.png ] and it’s implications [differential solar-pulse position modulation: http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/scl_0-90n.png , http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/scl_northpacificsst.png , http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/vaughn_lod_amo_sc.png , same pattern for whole-Pacific-basin, etc.], that’s not a very big step. The interannual spatiotemporal cat can’t necessarily be kept in the bag indefinitely, as the bag is becoming saturated with the rain of solar & lunisolar hints.


    erl happ (September 24, 2011 at 5:51 am) addressing lgl:
    “The faster the westerlies blow the more the ocean warms [...]“

    Careful there Erl. You just gave a textbook example (by accident presumably) of the dangers of anomaly-based conception. TomRude is correct to draw peoples’ attention to Leroux. Might help people “get off the anomalies” (like some junkie’s bad delusion-driving drug). The annual cycle isn’t something we can ignore. It is the key temporal cycle modulated by the sun, as shown by LeMouel, Blanter, Shnirman, & Courtillot (2010). Hydrology isN’T a function of anomalies …which demand 12 ever-changing freezing points [!], to highlight 1 key threshold among others that matter qualitatively.


    Erl, like clouds [ http://judithcurry.com/2011/09/21/cloud-wars/ ], ozone is just another part of the wheel. Any dog somewhere on the wheel chasing ozone, clouds, or whatever is just chasing its tail. This might be interesting – or perhaps more likely a contractual obligation – for micromodelers, but it’s not going to add anything to our macroview that we don’t ALREADY know from EOP (Earth Orientation Parameters).


    Bob Tisdale (September 24, 2011 at 6:10 am) wrote:
    “That’s as far as I went in your post. Since your premise was misleading, I’ve assumed the rest of the post was misleading.”

    Erl mixes needles into the haystack. I wouldn’t advise blanket-ignorance of everything he says, even if he hasn’t got the whole act organized as some of us might prefer.

    Erl deserves a lot of credit for pointing us at an excellent website that should remind everyone of the hazards of conceptualizing solely in anomalies (which many here – perhaps most it seems some days – clearly do).

    http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/gmd/jra/atlas/eng/atlas-tope.htm


    I suggest that everyone go through the temporally-windowed-AVERAGE annual cycle frame-by-frame for every variable in every available format.

    http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/gmd/jra/atlas/eng/atlas-tope.htm

    Priceless …and sure to eliminate some of the misconceptions we see INCORRECTLY asserted here day after day AFTER DAY. Finally, something that moves attention back towards where it NEEDS to be – i.e. the terrestrial year.

    Regards.

  109. Bob Tisdale says:

    In response to my statement, “There’s no riddle at all. ENSO is a coupled ocean-atmosphere process. This has been known for decades,” Erl Happ replied, “That’s one interpretation. It’s not mine.”

    Apparently.

    Erl Happ wrote, “I might ask you to explain how the ‘coupled ocean-atmosphere process in the Pacific’ to give it the correct title, produces the twenty year increase in the pressure differential between Tahiti and Darwin that is apparent in figure 13. I’m sure the Pacific is influential but can it do that?”

    The most significant ENSO-related variations in Sea Surface Temperatures occur along the equatorial Pacific. The track of the Kelvin waves that carry warm water east from the Pacific Warm Pool at the beginning of an El Nino is along the equatorial Pacific. During an El Nino, warm water is carried eastward by the Pacific Equatorial Countercurrent, and as its name implies, it is located along the equator. The significant upwelling that takes place during La Nina and ENSO-neutral periods occurs along the equatorial Pacific. In fact, if you go to the NOAA/CPC ENSO index web pages here…

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/data/indices/

    …and here…

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/MJO/enso.shtml

    …and to the NOAA TAO Project webpage…

    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/tao/elnino/wwv/

    …most of the ENSO indices are measured from single locations/grids (not as a difference) and they are measured at the equator. The exception is the Southern Oscillation Index. The SOI is measured as the Sea Level Pressure difference between two off-equatorial locations. Darwin is at 12S and Tahiti is at 17S. Therefore, the SOI should not be expected to be a perfect representation of the ENSO process. In fact, there are no individual ENSO indices that fully represent the ENSO process. Refer to the discussion here:

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/enso-indices-do-not-represent-the-process-of-enso-or-its-impact-on-global-temperature/

    Back to your question: You asked about the increasing pressure difference between Darwin and Tahiti. Assuming the graph you referred to and your interpretation of it are correct, then, apparently, since the ENSO process is primarily an equatorial process and the SOI is off equatorial, then the SOI data is picking up extraneous off-equatorial noise that is not associated with the process of ENSO.

    Erl Happ replied, “The SST data is a simple 12 month moving average of monthly data for the latitude 20°north to 20° south centered on the seventh month.”

    It would have been nice if you’d noted that on the graph or in the text of your post. Also, why did you mix filters? You used a 12-month filter centered on the 7th month for SST, but you used a 3-month filter, assumedly centered on the 2nd month, for the SOI. By centering your SST data on the 7th month, aren’t you introducing a one-month lag that is not present in your SOI filter?

    Erl Happ replied, “I resent the you saying my statement is misleading. My intention is to inform accurately. The SOI leads sea surface temperature in the global tropics. There is absolutely nothing misleading about that statement.”

    Sorry you’re upset with what I wrote, BUT, let’s drop back to what you wrote in your post. It was, “The Southern Oscillation Index leads surface temperature on the upswing and also on the downswing. Some factor associated with change in surface pressure is plainly responsible for temperature change.”

    What’s misleading is you imply that the SOI and only the SOI is responsible for the change in tropical Sea Surface Temperature. And that is not the case. The variations in tropical Sea Surface Temperature are lagged responses to the changes in atmospheric circulation caused by the ENSO process, not solely by the Southern Oscillation Index. The “Some factor” is ENSO.

    You wrote, ”Please do me the courtesy of reading the rest of the post.”

    Your “hypothesis” appears in part to be that the SOI is the driver of ENSO and, in turn, the driver of the variations in tropical SST. It is not. The SOI and its individual SLP components in Tahiti and Darwin represent the effects of ENSO on those variables, nothing more, nothing less.

    With respect to ENSO and the Solar Cycle, you make the following unsupported statement, “2000 was a La Nina year coinciding with solar maximum. A coincidence of La Nina with solar maximum is more usual than not.”

    If you were to plot the SOI and scaled Sunspot Numbers, you’d find that statement to be wrong:

    You continued with, “On that basis one expects the current La Nina to continue into 2012.”

    Since, as shown above, there is no relationship between ENSO and the Solar Cycle, how’d you make that leap?

    In your conclusion you state, “ENSO is not climate neutral. ENSO is the reality of climate change in action. The progression towards cooling that is evident in the increasing pressure differential between Tahiti and Darwin shows no sign of abating.”

    Yet you haven’t shown that global temperatures are cooling, only that the SOI is leaning toward La Nina events.

    This is similar to one of the statements you make in your opening. There you wrote, “In other words, ENSO is not an ‘internal oscillation of the climate system‘ that can be considered to be climate neutral. ENSO is climate change in action. You can’t rule it out. You must rule it in. Once you do so, the IPCC assertion that the recent increase in surface temperature is more than likely due to the works of man is not just ‘in doubt’, it is insupportable.”

    Yet you have done nothing to show that the decadal or multidecadal rises and falls in Global temperatures or tropical Sea Surface Temperatures are caused by ENSO.

  110. erl happ says:

    Roger Taguchi says: September 24, 2011 at 10:47 am
    Thanks for the query Roger. I can not do justice to the questions you raise in a couple of paragraphs but here goes.

    it takes energy because you are doing work (force times distance) against a spring. The work done shows up as an increase in temperature (since no heat is exchanged with the surroundings), The reverse occurs on adiabatic expansion. So increasing atmospheric pressure (explained nicely by Erl’s movement of air masses) couples with increased temperatures, with a slight lag as effect follows cause.

    The temperature increase from compression is good for a day. Overnight that energy will dissipate just as air in a compressor cools overnight.

    in the absence of greenhouse gases, the troposphere would be isothermal (i.e. the temperature decrease with increasing altitude is caused by infrared (IR) radiation leaking to outer space from excited state CO2 molecules and other greenhouse gas molecules at an altitude of 20 km or so

    In general, I would say that greenhouse theorists are weak in geography and tend to assume that heat is lost from the surface primarily by radiation. It’s not.

    Process matters: Surface loses heat by conduction, evaporation (change of state involving energy acquisition) and in the main convection involving simple decompression.

    Geography matters. Processes are ordered by latitude and hemisphere.

    Altitude matters. Process changes with elevation. The net of IR absorbers like CO2 and Ozone has wider spaces between molecules as the number of molecules per cubic meter falls away with elevation. Bear in mid that 80% of the atmosphere is within 12 km of the surface. You can walk that far in two hours.

    Land versus sea matters: Sea absorbs energy with little increase in surface temperature, land increases in temperature fast and radiates energy, but only if it is dry. If wet, evaporation absorbs energy. This is a watery planet.

    By Latitude:
    Near equatorial: air cools by decompression during convection. Very little radiation.

    10-20 south: Peak radiation from warm ocean and generally cloud free sky.

    20-40° lat both hemispheres: Air compresses in cells of descending air. Radiation occurs throughout the profile of the troposphere under generally clear skies but there is a very influential layer of cirrus at high altitude conditioning the degree of reflection of incoming energy. Particularly active in the winter hemisphere.

    40-65° lat radiation from land is fast especially in northern hemisphere summer. Greenhouse gases absorb energy warming the atmosphere reducing cloud cover resulting in the annual peak for global temperature in July even though solar irradiance is 7% less than in January. De-compressive cooling is associated with orographic and frontal rainfall.Is there any evidence that the lapse rate falls away over Russia in summer? If not, the greenhouse effect is not working.

    65-90° lat. The air is dry. Direct radiation is the most important process for heat removal. Ozone is the greenhouse gas of influence and the entire atmospheric column heaves. The coolest parts of the stratosphere descend into the troposphere causing warming and cloud loss

    An isothermal process is a change of a system, in which the temperature remains constant: ΔT = 0. This typically occurs when a system is in contact with an outside thermal reservoir (heat bath), and the change occurs slowly enough to allow the system to continually adjust to the temperature of the reservoir through heat exchange.

    The heat bath for the atmosphere is the surface of the Earth. It gets cooler with altitude because the troposphere is very effective in keeping the surface cool . Heat is removed by transport from the surface. It is lost by the troposphere ultimately by radiation and the most intense location for radiation is the high pressure cells at 20-40° of latitude in the winter hemisphere.

    Back radiation is opposed by convection. There is no evidence of effective transfer of heat from the stratosphere to the troposphere or any decline in the lapse rate of temperature with elevation over the great land masses of the northern hemisphere in July. If there is, and I am guessing, I am sure that the greenhouse theorists would have seized upon it as evidence that the greenhouse works.

    The gist of all this is that geography and an understanding of the manifold processes that are involved is absolutely vital.

  111. erl happ says:

    eyesonu says: September 24, 2011 at 11:00 am
    Thanks for that comment. I am as bald as a badger and frequently wear a cap to keep my head warm and I am sure that there is a spot in the cap for a feather.

  112. erl happ says:

    Paul Vaughan says: September 24, 2011 at 11:33 am
    Paul, it is the inter-annual variations that reveal the important processes at work. The evidence will be in the data for the atmosphere and the ocean in the form of anomalies. But since the base state changes all the time the concept of an anomaly has validity only in relation to the average for a selected period.

    To understand the inter-annual variations one must begin by understanding the annual variations and be careful not to confuse the two. So, as you say the JAL maps are very important.

    For inter-annual variations that have their origin in high latitude zones: http://www.atmos.colostate.edu/ao/introduction.html

    I don’t bury needles in haystacks. I find them.

  113. erl happ says:

    Bob Tisdale
    You are going to keep me busy for a while. I am going to give you a general response here and pick up the details that you identify later.

    From Wikipedia under ENSO “Mechanisms that cause the oscillation remain under study”.
    Let’s not pretend that this is not an open question.

    You say: The exception is the Southern Oscillation Index. The SOI is measured as the Sea Level Pressure difference between two off-equatorial locations. Darwin is at 12S and Tahiti is at 17S. Therefore, the SOI should not be expected to be a perfect representation of the ENSO process.

    I think the crux of the disagreement we have is in relation to the scope of what is to be referred to as THE ENSO PROCESS. In particular, what is the SO part of ENSO all about?
    So, I want to look at the big picture because it sets the base state for ENSO being responsible for the so-called ‘climate shifts’.

    The SOI was developed by Walker who was interested in the Indian Monsoon.

    The most influential climate dynamic so far as the globe is concerned is the Southern Annual mode. It can be shown that the NAM (Read Arctic Oscillation, North Atlantic Oscillation) depends upon the dynamic of the SAM in that it drives global pressure relations, wind strength and direction and cloud cover in high southern latitudes. It sets the background because it influences the dynamics in the Arctic and asists the Arctic in determining cloud cover in January across the biggest stretch of water in the entire globe, the Southern Ocean.

    That said, it’s the winter hemisphere that is chiefly responsible for the flux in ozone into the troposphere that modifies relative humidity and high cloud cover. And the Arctic stratosphere is the Gold Standard when it comes to ozone concentration so, when you look at SST data by latitude you see it is influential right through to 45° south in determining cloud cover in January.

    As you know, because we have crossed swords over this matter in the past, I use SST data from Kalnays reanalysis. It reflects skin temperature rather than SST beneath the surface and it is a lot more volatile than the data you access. The influence of the NAM produces a diminishing response in sea surface temperature to a given loss in surface pressure at 50-60° north (due to the influence of the coupled circulation of the stratosphere and the troposphere) as we observe the change from north to south. The response in the tropics tends to be smaller. Why? The waters of the tropics reflect merging trade winds. SST in close equatorial latitudes reflect influences from both hemispheres. And the two hemispheres experience a pattern of warming that is very different. Wind strength is very different in the hemispheres especially at 30-60° of latitude affecting the evaporative cooling and wind strength increases as the ocean warms. Then throw in the upwelling factor that is arguably driven by the strength of the westerlies.

    Did you read:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/15/the-character-of-climate-change-part-1/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/16/the-character-of-climate-change-part-2/

    The message in those posts relates to the diversity in the evolution of temperature by hemisphere and latitude. Essential observational stuff.

    ENSO in the Pacific is an oceanic case study within the larger picture of SST change globally and a lot of effort is directing change in a tiny latitudional band at the equator. As we see in figure 1 the change in SST in the global tropics is well enough defined by the SOI which is the SO in ENSO. El Nino Southern Oscillation.

    As I see it the tropical seas integrate influences from all latitudes. The SST response in the tropics is mixed, muted and dumbed down because of the integrating effects of the currents and the winds that are outside the latitudes 6°n to 6°south. These influences can cancel each other out.

    My figure 13 in this post reflects change in the base state that is due to the SAM. SAM influences ENSO, the SO and Nino 3.4 SST.

    Now a few comments in relation to your post: ENSO Indices Do Not Represent The Process Of ENSO Or Its Impact On Global Temperature:

    As noted above, the Southern Oscillation Index represents the difference in Sea Level Pressure between Tahiti and Darwin, Australia. Because ENSO is a coupled ocean-atmosphere process, the Southern Oscillation Index can be used to illustrate the timing and strength of El Niño and La Niña events. It is in a form, however, that is not easily associated with variations in global surface temperatures, so we’ll exclude it from the rest of the discussions in this post.

    You excluded the SOI, I included it. All you have to do is to invert it. It records the change in the base state so far as surface pressure is concerned. That change is not a product of the ENSO process in the Pacific. But to get at the base state you have to discard the standardized index and look at change in the raw data.That is what I do when I subtract Darwin from Tahiti surface pressure. It’s interesting to compare that simple statistic with the SOI. The process of standardizing makes assumptions that are perhaps not warranted.

    In this way, the warm waters in the Pacific Warm Pool in the Western Tropical Pacific are recharged by the La Niña for the next El Niño event.

    You put a lot of emphasis on this but have you done any calorific calculations to see whether the warmth that accumulates in the Pacific warm pool can account for the warming of those parts that warm during the subsequent El Nino. Or are you just suggesting that the stored heat makes a contribution….then how much of a contribution? Are we not dealing with a thimble and a saucepan here?

    the El Niño phase is the truly anomalous phase. Trade winds reverse direction, warm water is transported from west to east, etc., during the El Niño.

    But the trade winds come close to reversing every year in mid year when the pressure differential approaches zero and that is a seasonal thing. It’s not out of the question that the trades might reverse between November and March but the Tahiti minus Darwin differential is much higher at that time owing to the heating of the Australian land mass in summer.
    To see the trades actually reverse you need a SOI of about -10. And the reversal will be localized.

    During an El Niño, cloud cover and precipitation accompany the warm waters eastward from the West Pacific Warm Pool.

    So this naturally lowers surface pressure in the east, a Pacific dynamic that is reflected in the SOI. But the MJO tells us that convection is initiated in the warmest part of the Indian Ocean and it is with us to a greater or lesser extent all the time. Is it a net cooling of the atmosphere over the Indian Ocean that starts a cooling precipitation event and what is it that starts that cooling process. Any precipitation event will propagate eastwards. To see what starts that off I would have a close look at SAM and the ozone anomaly that exists between Australia and Antarctica. To account for the eastward shift of convection and rainfall in the Pacific I would look at the changing balance of surface pressure near Chile by comparison with the Pacific Ocean north of New Zealand.

    The changes in surface temperature outside of the tropical Pacific during an El Niño event that are shown in Figure 9 are caused by changes in atmospheric circulation, not due to a transfer of heat.

    I would have a close look at extratropical cloud cover as an independent source of change, particularly at zero lag and particularly in the South Atlantic and the South East Pacific.

    What strikes me in viewing the animations is the primacy of the upwelling effect in determining whether Pacific equatorial waters are warming or cooling. This is just an artifact of the distribution of land and sea and the response of the currents to the westerly winds that change pace in unison with the trades but at an amplified rate. And the westerlies respond to surface pressure at 60-70°south.

    The Sea Surface Temperature-based ENSO indices, the Sea Level Pressure-based ENSO index, and the Multivariate ENSO Index represent the impact of ENSO events on the measured variables, nothing more, nothing less. They are useful for determining the frequency and magnitude of ENSO events and for forecasting the short-term impacts of ENSO events on global weather. But ENSO Indices cannot be used to determine the impact of ENSO events on global surface temperatures, because ENSO indices do not represent the ENSO process or the impact of ENSO on the coupled ocean-atmospheric processes.

    A very good point to make. My take: Other factors determine the base state that conditions Pacific Ocean phenomena and in fact phenomena in all ocean basins. These factors determine whether the tropical ocean exhibits a warming or a cooling tendency on decadal and longer time scales. The Pacific is one case, albeit a case that exhibits more spectacular dynamics than elsewhere.

    In a reply to a query you say:
    We seem to have passed the epoch of the super El Nino and have entered a period when there are more La Nina events of reasonable strength. I just hope to be around long enough to watch what happens when there are a few climate shifts.

    What I am trying to do is reveal how the underlying state changes (climate shifts). Polar dynamics affect sea surface temperature via cloud cover and wind and change the base state. Change in the base state shifts the average of the ENSO indices up or down. They do not move on their own. They are little picture stuff, localized, spectacular but really just a sideshow to the main event.

  114. Paul Vaughan says:

    Hi Erl,

    You’ll find solar & lunisolar signals in EOP (Earth Orientation Parameters). I again encourage you to take the time to digest Tomas Milanovic’s message about regional interannual spatiotemporal variability. There’s no need to chase the relations of adjacent eddies; the system is constrained globally.

    Sincerely.

  115. Paul Vaughan says:

    No new physics is needed. Modelers will be able to do the job using conventional physics once they get a handle on the spatiotemporal framework and the implications for sampling & aggregation. Sincerely.

  116. erl happ says:

    Replying to Bob Tisdale Part 2.

    Back to your question: You asked about the increasing pressure difference between Darwin and Tahiti. Assuming the graph you referred to and your interpretation of it are correct, then, apparently, since the ENSO process is primarily an equatorial process and the SOI is off equatorial, then the SOI data is picking up extraneous off-equatorial noise that is not associated with the process of ENSO.

    It’s not extraneous and its not ‘noise’ whatever that means. It’s picking up change in the base state of the atmosphere.

    It would have been nice if you’d noted that on the graph or in the text of your post. Also, why did you mix filters? You used a 12-month filter centered on the 7th month for SST, but you used a 3-month filter, assumedly centered on the 2nd month, for the SOI. By centering your SST data on the 7th month, aren’t you introducing a one-month lag that is not present in your SOI filter?

    My error. I see than you occasionally fall into the same trap. If I center one series on the sixth month and the identical series on the seventh, reduce the line to 1 point in width and magnify to the extent that Excel allows I can select only the overlying series. The difference is undetectable at several times the size that the graph is presented in this post.

    Why mix filters.

    I prefer to show at an appropriate highest resolution for th purpose in mind. SST is much less variable than pressure and requires less filtering. The SOI on the other hand exhibits a great deal of short term variation.

    What’s misleading is you imply that the SOI and only the SOI is responsible for the change in tropical Sea Surface Temperature. And that is not the case. The variations in tropical Sea Surface Temperature are lagged responses to the changes in atmospheric circulation caused by the ENSO process, not solely by the Southern Oscillation Index. The “Some factor” is ENSO.

    Here we differ. As will be apparent from what I have written I see the coupled circulation at the poles (NAM and SAM) as responsible for change in the base state. Hence the progression towards an expanded pressure differential between Tahiti and Darwin over the entire period.

    Your “hypothesis” appears in part to be that the SOI is the driver of ENSO and, in turn, the driver of the variations in tropical SST. It is not. The SOI and its individual SLP components in Tahiti and Darwin represent the effects of ENSO on those variables, nothing more, nothing less.

    Disagree. The ENSO process is conditioned by factors external to the Pacific that are reflected in the SOI but in no other SST index associated with The El Nino/La Nina phenomenon.

    With respect to ENSO and the Solar Cycle, you make the following unsupported statement, “2000 was a La Nina year coinciding with solar maximum. A coincidence of La Nina with solar maximum is more usual than not.”
    If you were to plot the SOI and scaled Sunspot Numbers, you’d find that statement to be wrong:

    You continued with, “On that basis one expects the current La Nina to continue into 2012.”
    Since, as shown above, there is no relationship between ENSO and the Solar Cycle, how’d you make that leap?

    Figure 126 and associated text. Figure 164, http://www.happs.com.au/images/stories/PDFarticles/TheCommonSenseOfClimateChange.pdf

    In your conclusion you state, “ENSO is not climate neutral. ENSO is the reality of climate change in action. The progression towards cooling that is evident in the increasing pressure differential between Tahiti and Darwin shows no sign of abating.”
    Yet you haven’t shown that global temperatures are cooling, only that the SOI is leaning toward La Nina events.

    1. This post shows that ENSO has been retreating from a warming bias since 1991. But the SOI outran tropical SST on numerous occasions between 1948 and 1978 but not since 1978.
    2. It is apparent that El Nino events that have occurred since 1978 have not produced a temperature peak to compare with that year. It’s not strictly a fair comparison however because the strength of the increase in temperature in the late nineties had a lot to do with the drying of the atmosphere after Pinatubo in 1991. So, the temperature peak might have occurred about 2005 but for that accident. The underlying warming process was still there after 1978.
    3. Given that the entire period from 1948 has been associated with a decline in atmospheric precipitable water and that a full recovery has occurred only in the last seven years one would expect that cloud cover is now on the increase.
    4. There will be a lag in the oceans giving up warmth just as there was a lag in SST reflecting the El Nino bias in the SOI.
    5. The more habitable latitudes of the southern hemisphere increased in temperature up to 1978 but not since.
    6. The warming of the habitable latitudes of the northern hemisphere in winter started in 1976 and has come to an end.
    7. Tropical SST follows Darwin and equatorial sea surface pressure. It also follows the Tahiti less Darwin SLP statistic. SLP at 10°N -10°S peaked in 2005.
    8. No increase in ocean heat content has been reported since about 2005 or thereabouts?
    9. SST in the ENSO 3.4 region is showing a stronger cooling trend than the global tropics and does a pretty good job of following the SOI over the entire period since 1948.
    So, I am expecting that the T-D statistic will continue to rise, the La Nina tendency that has become pretty obvious from 2007 will continue to reflect the trend established over the last 20 years and in a year’s time, perhaps starting with the coming northern winter the globe will start to show signs that the ocean is giving up some of that accumulated heat.

    Patience is necessary.

  117. erl happ says:

    Paul Vaughan says: September 24, 2011 at 9:20 pm
    Paul I have just waded through the following:

    Trenberth, K.E.; Stepaniak, D.P.; & Smith, L. (2005). Interannual variability of patterns of atmospheric mass distribution. Journal of Climate 18, 2812-2825.

    At the end of it I muse that a facility with statistics is useful but it is no substitute for knowledge based on observation of cause and effect. I see no evidence whatsoever that Trenberth and Co have the slightest interest in, familiarity with, or aware of the importance of the operation of the coupled circulation of the stratosphere and the troposphere over Antarctica that is the essence of the Southern Annular Mode, a mode they identify as the prime mode of variance that seems to be associated with change globally.

    The physics behind the variation in the SAM is easy stuff. The interconnectedness of variables like surface pressure and surface temperature is easy to tease out of the climatic record. Without an understanding of cause and effect statistical analysis of spatial variations is a bit like trying to derive useful information via inspection of tealeaves in the bottom of a cup. The best we can infer from the paper is that people should try and work out the physics behind the coupling of the stratosphere and the troposphere that is the essence of SAM. That’s the focus of my next post.

  118. Bob Tisdale says:

    Erl Happ replied regarding the mixing of data filters and failing to identify them, “My error. I see than you occasionally fall into the same trap.”

    Please identify the post and the figure at my blog where I have mixed the filters used in smoothing and have not identified the reason for it.

    Erl Happ replied, “Here we differ. As will be apparent from what I have written I see the coupled circulation at the poles (NAM and SAM) as responsible for change in the base state. Hence the progression towards an expanded pressure differential between Tahiti and Darwin over the entire period.”

    And as you are aware based on past discussions, I have found no evidence of this. Are you still using the NCEP’s reanalysis website as your source for data? If so, does the NCEP still have problems with their land mask; that is, does it still produce Sea Surface Temperature data for the Sahara Desert? Have your confirmed your findings with another modeled reanalysis?

    You wrote, “I think the crux of the disagreement we have is in relation to the scope of what is to be referred to as THE ENSO PROCESS.”

    The ENSO process includes the interaction of all coupled ocean-atmosphere variables, including sea surface temperature, ocean heat content/ocean temperature and salinity at depth, trade wind strength and direction, sea level pressure, cloud cover, precipitation, etc., and cannot be explained with one index.

    You wrote, “So, I want to look at the big picture because it sets the base state for ENSO being responsible for the so-called ‘climate shifts’. “

    But the SOI does not represent the “big picture”; it represents only one off-equatorial aspect of it.

    You wrote, “The most influential climate dynamic so far as the globe is concerned is the Southern Annual mode…”

    Are there papers that support your hypothesis?

    You asked, “Did you read:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/15/the-character-of-climate-change-part-1/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/16/the-character-of-climate-change-part-2/”

    I found the first to be primarily a political discussion, and your politics do not interest me, and I found the second to be skewed by your use of absolute data. The AGW debate is over a few 10ths of the degree C, and the scale you’ve used for the absolute data masks the significance of this.

    In response to my comment about the SOI and the solar cycle, you replied, “Figure 126 and associated text. Figure 164, http://www.happs.com.au/images/stories/PDFarticles/TheCommonSenseOfClimateChange.pdf”

    I’ve marked up your Figure 126 to show the timing of all El Nino and La Nina events:

    This confirms my earlier thoughts that the statement in your post, “A coincidence of La Nina with solar maximum is more usual than not,” is incorrect. The first reference you sent me to, Erl, is erroneous. Not a good sign. I don’t have the time or inclination to investigate all of the others.

    You wrote, “As you know, because we have crossed swords over this matter in the past, I use SST data from Kalnays reanalysis. It reflects skin temperature rather than SST beneath the surface and it is a lot more volatile than the data you access.”

    Please provide a link to the paper that identifies the source of the SST data for the “Kalnays reanalysis” at the NCEP website, from which you can make that curious “and it is a lot more volatile than the data you access” statement. According to Kalnay et al (1996) “The NCEP/NCAR 40-Year Reanalysis Project”, which is identified at the NCEP website…

    http://dss.ucar.edu/datasets/ds090.0/docs/bams/bams1996mar/bamspapr-bm.pdf

    …their SST data is Reynolds OI (assumedly the current version OI.v2) from 1982 to present and the obsolete Hadley Centre GISST dataset from 1948 to 1981. Reynolds OI data uses a combination of satellite (skin) observations and in situ data from ships and buoys, while the GISST is in situ data only based on ICOADS readings. GISST has been replaced by HADISST by the Hadley Centre. Is the NCEP reanalysis using the obsolete GISST or the current HADISST data, Erl? And as you’re aware, I use Reynolds OI.v2 SST data for my satellite-era SST discussions and HADISST for long-term discussions, so our past differences regarding SST data do not appear to be based on your use of the NCEP (Kalnay) reanalysis.

  119. erl happ says:

    Bob Tisdale says: September 25, 2011 at 5:26 am
    Bob, your tone is harassing. If I provoke that response I must apologize.

    Please identify the post and the figure at my blog where I have mixed the filters used in smoothing and have not identified the reason for it.

    My point related not to mixing but simply to the identification of the smoothing. I see no reference to the smoothing or lack of it in figures 2 and 3 of the post that I was directed to. You were right to pull me up on not mentioning the degree of smoothing in figure 1. That I acknowledged.

    Have your confirmed your findings with another modeled reanalysis?

    No, and I do not consider it necessary. What I am concerned with is not degrees of accuracy but the linkage between variables. The magnitude of change is not as important as the direction and whether one variable is related to the other.

    You wrote, “The most influential climate dynamic so far as the globe is concerned is the Southern Annual mode…”

    Are there papers that support your hypothesis?
    Trenberth, K.E.; Stepaniak, D.P.; & Smith, L. (2005). Interannual variability of patterns of atmospheric mass distribution. Journal of Climate 18, 2812-2825.

    The AGW debate is over a few 10ths of the degree C, and the scale you’ve used for the absolute data masks the significance of this.

    All data streams involve smoothing and in monthly data its already massive. I used the NCEP generated graphs because they give more information and they enable people to keep a sense of perspective. Its the figures they see on the TV each night, not some statistical abstraction. Is it not of interest that the thermal experience of the habitable zones of both hemispheres is so diverse? Is it not of interest to discover the time of the year where the major fluctuations occur? Is it not of interest to see minima behaving differently to maxima? Is it not perfectly plain that the forcing responsible for surface temperature change is not singular and tends to be hemispheric in its impact? Is that scenario consistent with forcing from the tropics or the Pacific in particular? Is it consistent with greenhouse forcing? Plainly its neither.

    I’ve marked up your Figure 126 to show the timing of all El Nino and La Nina events:

    This confirms my earlier thoughts that the statement in your post, “A coincidence of La Nina with solar maximum is more usual than not,” is incorrect.

    You choose to misinterpret what I said. I did not say that La Nina events are confined to solar maximum or that El Nino events are confined to solar minimum.

    The first reference you sent me to, Erl, is erroneous. Not a good sign.

    Which was that? I would like to check it out. In what respect was it erroneous?

    Please provide a link to the paper that identifies the source of the SST data for the “Kalnays reanalysis” at the NCEP website, from which you can make that curious “and it is a lot more volatile than the data you access” statement.

    My observation in relation to ‘the volatility of the SST data in the NCEP reanalysis’ relates to what you told me in that earlier discussion where you were saying, if I took it onboard correctly, that the problem of increased volatility in the reanalysis data related in particular to SST in latitudes outside the tropics.

    As I said at that time I am responsible for the validity or lack of it in the reanalysis data. I am not in a position to assess the matter. In a matter as complex as deriving a record of a many variables from limited sources to provide a best estimate for the entire globe and its atmosphere up to 30km in elevation going back to 1947 I choose to trust the people who have put in the effort and so do a lot of others.

    The interpolation effort is massive. The checks and balances used are impressive. No doubt we will have better data sets in the future and I am sure we both look forward to that.
    Meantime I stick to what I said above: “What I am concerned with is not degrees of accuracy but the linkage between variables. The magnitude of change is not as important as the direction and whether one variable is related to the other.”

    There is no doubt in my mind that surface temperature is primarily determined by cloud cover. Its not as simple as the clouds disappearing as the trades strengthen. To discover whether clouds are rsponsible I need to relate atmospheric phenomena at all altitudes to the change in surface temperature. In that respect there is a lot to be learned from figure 2 in my next post that shows a seasonal maximum in the stratosphere and the upper troposphere in the middle of winter at 20-30° south when the surface is at its seasonal minimum. That tells me that ozone is playing a strong role in the upper troposphere where cirrus cloud is important.

    It is important to know that the stratosphere at 10hPa over Antarctica warmed so strongly between 1948 and 1978 and has been slowly cooling since. It is important to know that south of 50° south latitude atmospheric pressure has fallen away for the last sixty years.
    It is of no interest to me to get into a nit picking exercise as to who uses which SST data series. The beauty of reanalysis is the checks and balances that can be applied by relating one variable to another. That imposes a constraint that guides the interpolation that may not be available when one is trying to fix a value for a single variable like sea surface temperature over vast areas where there are few actual observations available.

    In this post I have relied upon atmospheric pressure data for just two stations and the only smoothing that is involved is that necessary to derive a value for each day. There should be little argument about the degree of precision that is achieved in this exercise. Using daily data can be tedious but it is infinitely preferable to monthly data. Do I get any brownie points for that?

  120. Paul Vaughan says:

    Erl, you really need to pay attention to Tomas Milanovic.
    For example, see his response to my comments here:

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/03/07/phase-locked-states/#comment-54749

    You’re effectively chasing relations between eddies & back-eddies. I’m suggesting you look OUTSIDE the box (which is constrained at a GLOBAL scale). Without a handle on the spatiotemporal framework, the physical micromodelers (who will be subordinately tied up at committee for MANY decades at any rate) can’t constrain their models properly.

    It’s not only a physics problem. It’s a sampling & aggregation problem. This is absolutely fundamental. NO discipline is immune to sampling & aggregation issues.

    You underestimate how deeply fundamental this is and you haven’t understood Milanovic’s primary reason for entering the climate discussion. I sternly advise you to understand Milanovic’s primary point. Otherwise you will continue confusing spatial phase reversals with temporal evolution.

    If you think the problem is some mysterious missing physics, it’s clear you haven’t taken the time to understand the nature of terrestrial spatiotemporal integration & aliasing as indicated by EOP OBSERVATIONS. Ignorance & misconception are routes backward, not forward.

    Understand that my intention is not to argue with you, but rather to help you. Ultimately, if you won’t acknowledge base fundamentals, then trust is going to break down, just as it would if you stubbornly insisted 1+1=3.

  121. Stephen Wilde says:

    “It is important to know that the stratosphere at 10hPa over Antarctica warmed so strongly between 1948 and 1978 and has been slowly cooling since.”

    Yes indeed because in my opinion based on observations a cooler stratosphere pulls the air circulation poleward and a warming stratosphere pushes it equatorward.

    BUT from the above data the bulk of the warming in the stratosphere occurred when the sun was becoming less active after the high peak of cycle 19, through the less active cycle 20 and before the resumed high level of activity of cycle 21.

    Then the stratosphere cooled through active cycles 21 to 23 and apparently has now stopped cooling and may be warming a little after the peak of cycle 23 and as we move into the less active cycle 24.

    So the evidence there is of a reverse sign solar effect on the stratosphere namely cooling when the sun is active and warming when it is less active.

    Admittedly the match is not perfect but then there are lots of other internal system variables that could confound the solar signal especially variable energy release from the oceans. However the longer the period we look at the clearer the reverse sign solar signal becomes.

    If we take the latitudinal position of the jets as a proxy for the level of solar activity over centennial timescales AND for the temperature of the stratosphere then there is a good match for surface air pressure distribution changes from LIA to date and also by extrapolation from MWP to LIA.

    There is good anecdotal evidence for poleward jets in the MWP and today with much more equatorward jets in the LIA.

    So, Erl, what does it do for your ideas if one reverses the sign of the solar effect on the stratosphere?

    It should help them shouldn’t it ? Might need a bit of reworking of the narrative though.

  122. erl happ says:

    Paul Vaughan says:September 25, 2011 at 9:22 am
    Yes I have read the mans comments and yours and have the impression that you are coming from a point of view that says that the right sort of mathematical analysis will reveal what is going on. But sorry, it means nothing to me.

    Phenomena that are seen to be linked in some sort of consistent relationship as determined by sophisticated mathematical analysis ….uninformed by a theory as to cause and effect are as about as useful as wallpaper in my view.

    The phenomena under investigation are eternally twisted anew by slow but consistent change in the basic parameters determining cause and effect. That change is centered in the Antarctic. Are you aware of that?

  123. erl happ says:

    Stephen Wilde says: September 25, 2011 at 9:44 am
    Stephen, I must have numbers. Graphs. Can you learn how to use Excel?

  124. Stephen Wilde says:

    Sorry Erl, my day job is still too demanding for me to get stuck into the data handling techniques of the rest of the contributors here.

    I’m fine with the interpreting of data processing outcomes and comparing them with real world observations but not the processing itself.

  125. Paul Vaughan says:

    Erl, since you misinterpret my comments and [more importantly] choose to ignore fundamentals, we have nothing further to discuss. Best Regards.

  126. erl happ says:

    Paul,
    Can you be less abstract. You might as well be talking in tongues. What for instance does this mean?

    “It’s a sampling & aggregation problem.” What is ‘its”

    and

    “You’re effectively chasing relations between eddies & back-eddies.” What is a back eddy. Where is the main stream?
    and

    “I’m suggesting you look OUTSIDE the box (which is constrained at a GLOBAL scale).”
    What is the box? How is it constrained?

    “I sternly advise you to understand Milanovic’s primary point.”

    Be as stern as you like but if you can not tell me what his primary point is in a fashion that is meaningful to me you are wasting your time.

    Rest assured I that I respect the skills that you bring to the discussion and I am anxious to comprehend what you are saying. I do not willingly misinterpret or ignore fundamentals. I am simply unable to identify what these fundamentals are.

    I know what sampling is and I know what aggregation is but of what?

  127. Paul Vaughan says:

    Erl, once a back-&-forth gets to 3 rounds in a single thread, I’ve had enough (resolution or not). There will be other threads. Thanks.

  128. Bob Tisdale says:

    Erl Happ: In response to my comment in which I asked you to document your claim that I have failed to identify the filters used, and have mixed filters, in my graphs, you replied, “My point related not to mixing but simply to the identification of the smoothing. I see no reference to the smoothing or lack of it in figures 2 and 3 of the post that I was directed to.”

    There was no smoothing in Figures 2 and 3 in my post:

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/enso-indices-do-not-represent-the-process-of-enso-or-its-impact-on-global-temperature/

    And there’s no reason for me to identify a lack of filtering.

    You said, “What I am concerned with is not degrees of accuracy but the linkage between variables. The magnitude of change is not as important as the direction and whether one variable is related to the other.”

    I understand. But IMHO the modeled portions of the NCEP reanalysis should be verified with other reanalysis to determine if there is a consistency between how the modelers represent those variables. In other words, you’re putting all of your research into model outputs that may or may not represent reality.

    Thanks for the link to Trenberth et al (2005).

    In response to my comment about your use of absolute data and it masking the magnitude of the rise in temperature, you replied, “All data streams involve smoothing and in monthly data its already massive. I used the NCEP generated graphs because they give more information and they enable people to keep a sense of perspective…”

    You apparently missed the point of my comment. For those following this discussion, it pertained to this post…

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/16/the-character-of-climate-change-part-2/

    …and this graph, as the first example…

    …and this text from that post, “In 2008 and 2011 winter minima are almost as cool as those experienced during the period of cooling between 1948 and 1976.”

    I duplicated your surface temperature graph from 0-60N at the NCEP website:

    But I also downloaded the data so that I could plot the annual minima for that dataset. And as you can see, the 2008 and 2011 are nowhere near the levels reached between 1948 and 1976:

    Returning to your graph, it was very obvious that you did not center the ellipse you used to highlight the last few years of minima. You extended it well below the data points for those years. That sleight of hand was a very obvious attempt to force the illusion that the recent minima were near the levels of 1948 to 1976. They are not.

    Now let’s look at your Southern Hemisphere graph:

    I again duplicated your results:

    To your graph, you’ve added those misleading flat lines from 1978 to present, and about it, you’ve written, “A plateau was maintained between 1978 and 2011 as temperature in the northern hemisphere increased strongly.”

    There was no plateau in the annual maximum and minimum for the Southern Hemisphere Surface Temperatures from 1978 to present, Erl. Anyone who looked past the flat lines you added can see that. To help illustrate this fact, I again downloaded the data associated with the NCEP reanalysis graph. Here are the annual maxima…

    …and annual minima…

    …plotted separately, with the linear trends from 1978 to 2011 added to both. During the periods that you identify as a plateau and highlighted with flat lines, the annual maxima data rose are at rate of 0.051 deg C per decade and the annual minima rose are a rate of 0.049 deg C per decade. Those trends are not insignificant.

    Again, as I wrote in my earlier comment: The AGW debate is over a few 10ths of the degree C, and the scale you’ve used for the absolute data masks the significance of this.

    By using the absolute data and adding your circles and flat lines, you’re misleading yourself and you’re misleading your readers.

    Regarding my mark-up of and comment about your Figure 126…

    …you rep lied, “You choose to misinterpret what I said. I did not say that La Nina events are confined to solar maximum or that El Nino events are confined to solar minimum.”

    What you did write in the post was, “2000 was a La Nina year coinciding with solar maximum. A coincidence of La Nina with solar maximum is more usual than not.” But in reality, there is no coincidence of La Niña with solar maximum. You are again attempting to mislead yourself and your readers.

    In response to my comment, ”The first reference you sent me to, Erl, is erroneous. Not a good sign,” you replied, “Which was that? I would like to check it out. In what respect was it erroneous?”

    It was your representation of La Niña events coinciding with solar maxima “is more usual than not,” and the link you provided to your Figure 126 from your pdf. But we can add the graphs from your “The character of climate change part 2” post discussed above in this comment if you like.

    I wrote earlier, “Please provide a link to the paper that identifies the source of the SST data for the ‘Kalnays reanalysis’ at the NCEP website, from which you can make that curious ‘and it is a lot more volatile than the data you access’ statement,” since I had identified the NCEP uses the same SST datasets that I use, but you chose to provide an explanation that had nothing to do with that request. In other words you cannot document your earlier comment that the “Kalnay” SST data provided by the NCEP “reflects skin temperature rather than SST beneath the surface and it is a lot more volatile than the data [I] access”. It’s the same data, Erl.

    You started your comment with, “Bob, your tone is harassing. If I provoke that response I must apologize”

    It is not intended to be harassing. I’m simply presenting my findings and adding commentary as I feel necessary.

  129. Paul Vaughan says:

    Getting ready for the next thread — this is a test:
    Erl or anyone else:
    Can you access the following links?
    1. http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/21705507/or/2144438090/name/AnimPolarWind200hPa.png
    2. http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/21705507/or/1600750484/name/AnimWind200hPa.png

  130. Paul Vaughan says:

    Bob, in my last comment I posted links to APNGs. Do those animations play properly for you? Thanks.

  131. Bob Tisdale says:

    Paul, the links to the animations provide a “HTTP 403 Forbidden” response.

  132. erl happ says:

    Bob, I applaud you for the level of precision you achieve. But I think you are missing the wood for the trees. There is a very obvious difference in the thermal experience of the two hemsipheres. I don’t want to trade blows with you on minutae. It will be never-ending. I too could plot the maxima and minima and magnify the scale so that the changes look mind bogglingly large.

    The coincidence of solar max with a La Nina orientation has been noticed by others. First Harry Van Loon and after him Meehl. If you insist on pinpoint accuracy how do you deal with a sunspot cycle like 23 with two maxima or 24 that according to Leif will have about four.

    And I guess the chief point from those two posts is that both hemsipheres, and in particular the southern have a temperature regime that is sub optimal for plant growth……and human welfare and that we would all be better off if the temperature were several degrees warmer and growing seasons were longer. So, I think that if the global warming debate is all about a few tenths of a degree we are misplacing our priorities. That we are concerning ourselves with this nonsense represents a tragic waste of time. Would that it were unnecessary.

    Having looked at the Trenberth paper is it not apparent that the Southern Annular Mode is the chief source of variation in climate? Is it conceivable that it is affecting the strength of the trade winds and affecting the base state in the tropics? Since its all about change in surface pressure is it not of interest that tropical SST follows the SOI, a pressure based statistic. What is it about pressure that delivers this relationship with surface temperature. These are the questions worth worrying about.

    Alternatively hows your share portfolio or your super fund looking?

  133. erl happ says:

    Bob, I applaud you for the level of precision you achieve. But I think you are missing the wood for the trees. There is a very obvious difference in the thermal experience of the two hemsipheres. I don’t want to trade blows with you on minutae. It will be never-ending. I too could plot the maxima and minima and magnify the scale so that the changes look mind bogglingly large.

    The coincidence of solar max with a La Nina orientation has been noticed by others. First Harry Van Loon and after him Meehl. If you insist on pinpoint accuracy how do you deal with a sunspot cycle like 23 with two maxima or 24 that according to Leif will have about four.

    And I guess the chief point from those two posts is that both hemsipheres, and in particular the southern have a temperature regime that is sub optimal for plant growth……and human welfare and that we would all be better off if the temperature were several degrees warmer and growing seasons were longer. So, I think that if the global warming debate is all about a few tenths of a degree we are misplacing our priorities. That we are concerning ourselves with this nonsense represents a tragic waste of time. Would that it were unnecessary.

    Having looked at the Trenberth paper is it not apparent that the Southern Annular Mode is the chief source of variation in climate? Is it conceivable that it is affecting the strength of the trade winds and affecting the base state in the tropics? Since its all about change in surface pressure is it not of interest that tropical SST follows the SOI, a pressure based statistic. What is it about pressure that delivers this relationship with surface temperature. These are the questions worth worrying about.

    Alternatively hows your share portfolio or your super fund looking?

  134. Bob Tisdale says:

    erl happ: You wrote, “Bob, I applaud you for the level of precision you achieve. But I think you are missing the wood for the trees. There is a very obvious difference in the thermal experience of the two hemsipheres. I don’t want to trade blows with you on minutae. It will be never-ending. I too could plot the maxima and minima and magnify the scale so that the changes look mind bogglingly large.”

    I’ve illustrated to you that your presentations of the data in those two surface temperature graphs (from the post you asked me to look at) are fatally flawed, and you call it minutia and somehow think the scaling I’ve used makes a difference. The facts are, the Northern Hemisphere Minimum Surface Temperatures in 2008 and 2011 are not close to the levels they were at during the cooling period from 1948 to 1976, as you had represented, and the Southern Hemisphere Minima and Maxima are not flat since 1978, as you had represented. Linear trends of 0.05 deg C over 30 plus years are not flat.

    Your statement that there “…is a very obvious difference in the thermal experience of the two hemsipheres…” is irrelevant to our discussion. It’s widely understood that the Northern Hemisphere surface temperatures have had greater variations over the term of the instrument temperature record than the Southern Hemisphere. This doesn’t change or justify how you’ve misrepresented the data with those graphs.

    You wrote, “The coincidence of solar max with a La Nina orientation has been noticed by others. First Harry Van Loon and after him Meehl.”

    Are your referring to van Loon and Meehl (2008), “The response in the Pacific to the sun’s decadal peaks and contrasts to cold events in the Southern Oscillation”?

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/ccr/publications/vanloon_meehl_2008.pdf

    That paper discusses how the responses of numerous Pacific Ocean variables to Solar Maxima are similar in some respects to La Niña events, but different in others. It does not conclude that La Niña events coincide with Solar Maxima.

    Hmm. I believe you are referring to that paper. You referenced it at the end of your 196-page discussion titled “The Origin of Climate Change.”

    http://www.happs.com.au/images/stories/PDFarticles/TheCommonSenseOfClimateChange.pdf

    You wrote, “Having looked at the Trenberth paper is it not apparent that the Southern Annular Mode is the chief source of variation in climate?”

    I believe your overstating the conclusions of Trenberth et al (2005) “Interannual Variability of Patterns of Atmospheric Mass Distribution.”

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/massEteleconnJC.pdf

    Their conclusions are based on multiple types of EOF analyses of the ERA40 reanalysis data. You could discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these EOF analyses with Paul Vaughan. But in opposition to your emphasis on the SAM. Trenberth et al also note, ending their paper with, “For monthly data, ENSO comes in as the second mode, and it is global in extent. However, it also exhibits more coherent evolution with time and projects strongest onto the interannual variability where it stands out as the dominant mode in the CSEOF analysis. As shown, it is coherent with Niño-3.4 SSTs and thus is a coupled mode. This analysis establishes these modes and their ranked importance in more rigorous ways than has been done in the past.”

    In some respects, to me, this means that ENSO is the dominant mode of year-to-year Global climate variability, no surprise there, and if I wanted to look for a source of the month-to-month noise, I should look to the Southern Annular Mode. But that, of course exhibits my confirmation bias, since one of my areas of research is ENSO. Are you expressing your confirmation bias with respect to SAM?

  135. erl happ says:

    Bob you got the Van Loon paper in one.In sending me the paper Harry commented: “The funny thing, which disturbs many colleagues, is that at the PEAKS in the 11-year cycle the equatorial Pacific cools, though not to the extreme values of the low SSTs in the Southern Oscillation.”

    You say
    “Your statement that there “…is a very obvious difference in the thermal experience of the two hemispheres…” is irrelevant to our discussion. It’s widely understood that the Northern Hemisphere surface temperatures have had greater variations over the term of the instrument temperature record than the Southern Hemisphere. This doesn’t change or justify how you’ve misrepresented the data with those graphs.”

    Not irrelevant at all. I don’t think it is good physics to suggest that the thermal experience in the tropics drives the very different thermal experience in both hemispheres. So the question is: what drives it. We have just one tropics, just one Pacific ocean but two poles . I suggest that you have a close look at the dynamics of the coupled circulation of the stratosphere and the troposphere at the poles. That in Antarctica drives the distribution of the atmosphere globally. So it is directly responsible for surface pressure change.

    SST in the mid latitudes of both hemispheres rises and falls with the differential pressure driving the westerly winds. The differential pressure driving the winds changes according to change in Antarctica and the Arctic.

    The matter under discussion in this post is why does temperature change as it does, and what has atmospheric pressure got to do with it. You began by asserting that the change in the SOI was a result of ENSO processes. My post pointed to the underlying upward trend in figure 13. At issue is what is causing the upward trend.

    You ask: “Are you expressing your confirmation bias with respect to SAM?”

    I know how important SAM is in determining the winds globally. And I cannot agree that tropical processes could cause the massive loss of surface atmospheric pressure that we have seen in Antarctica over the last sixty years. That loss of pressure is at the root of the increase in surface pressure in the global tropics and in Darwin. But, the pressure differential between Tahiti and Darwin has increased over the last twenty years indicating a change in the base state. As pressure falls south of 50° south it rises strongly between the equator and 40° south with a bias to the south. So, the increase in the differential between Tahiti and Darwin is to be expected. So I would look specifically at the high pressure cell in the south east Pacific east of Chile (figure 3 and 4 above) that takes in Tahiti on its margins and look at the historical trend. It is not ENSO that changes surface pressure in the South East Pacific it is SAM.

    Thank you for participating Bob. Discussion helps to clarify the mind, it makes us re-examine our assumptions and refine our methods and presentations. It’s all good.

  136. Stephen Wilde says:

    Erl, I found this towards he end of your 196 page pdf:

    “Cloud cover will increase as the stratosphere cools. There is a lot of cooling to be
    accomplished before the southern stratosphere returns to the temperature of 1948, or
    perhaps even 1812 when Napoleons troops evacuated a frozen Russia. This process will be
    driven by rising polar pressure reinvigorating the night jet bringing erosive compounds from
    the mesosphere to deplete stratospheric ozone.”

    However in fact cloud cover has been seen to INCREASE as the stratosphere WARMED since about 2000 and seen to DECREASE as the stratosphere COOLS as during the late 20th century warming spell.

    I think the reason is revealed by the effect of short term events such as sudden stratospheric warmings. Such events drive the air circulation pattern equatorward and/or make the jets more meridional which gives more cloudiness rather than less.

    I think you are on the right track overall but that you have to go to a lot of convolutions that might be unnecessary if you acknowledge that point and work it into your narrative.

    That is also why the consensus view of a warming stratosphere with an active sun and cooling stratosphere for an inactive sun cannot be right IMHO.

    My view is supported by the Joanna Haigh announcement that above 45km ozone actually INCREASED from 2004 to 2007 DESPITE the less active sun and the fact that the cooling of the stratosphere ceased in the late 90s with signs now of a slight warming.

    I do support your general contention that there is a top down polar effect on surface air pressure distribution which the ENSO phenomenon cannot be responsible for driving and which I agree must be influenced by the level of solar activity.

    As for Bob’s points about a couple of your graphs being ‘misleading’ or ‘flawed’ I wonder whether you would need them at all if you were to rejig your proposals to accord with the reversed sign effect that I mention.

    Of course, if the stratosphere suddenly starts cooling again whilst the sun stays inactive then I will be proved wrong but I wouldn’t recommend anyone holding their breath in the meantime :)

  137. erl happ says:

    Stephen Wilde says: September 26, 2011 at 7:17 pm
    Congratulations on your persistence with my PDF.

    You say: However in fact cloud cover has been seen to INCREASE as the stratosphere WARMED since about 2000 and seen to DECREASE as the stratosphere COOLS as during the late 20th century warming spell.

    We must be careful to define which part of the stratosphere we are talking about. We have to distinguish the pressure level and the hemisphere and whether we are talking low, middle or high latitudes.

    Some of the forces involved as I understand them:
    1. The equatorial lower and middle stratosphere warms as the upwards flow of water from the troposphere diminishes.
    2. The upper stratosphere warms and cools with solar activity if we speak in a general fashion as short wave radiation splits ozone producing more free oxygen molecules to combine to form ozone.
    3. The upper stratosphere at the poles warms or cools according to night jet activity.
    4. The temperature of the southern stratosphere and its ozone content depend upon the Antarctic circulation that wastes it into the troposphere.
    5. The temperature of the mid latitude stratosphere depends upon how much ozone is wasted into the troposphere by air descending into high pressure cells. These cells have become more active over time.
    6. see below.

    You can work out what has happened to the temperature of each part of the stratosphere without downloading data by choosing the graphing option here:http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/cgi-bin/data/timeseries/timeseries1.pl If you can’t work it call me on skype and I will talk you through it.

    The most influential force determining cloud cover is polar atmospheric pressure. As pressure increases the night jet is more active and ozone is destroyed. The temperature of the upper stratosphere at the poles declines, less ozone is bled into the troposphere by the coupled circulation at the poles, upper troposphere temperature declines and as it does so cloud cover in the troposphere increases.

    Re: Joanna Haigh announcement that above 45km ozone actually INCREASED from 2004 to 2007

    6. from above. At the interaction zone of stratosphere and mesosphere the concentration of NOx in the mesosphere affects ozone concentration. NOx concentration declines with solar geomagnetic activity thus allowing ozone to build up and temperature to increase.

    So, its much more complex than you think.

  138. Stephen Wilde says:

    Actually Erl, I think it may be less complex than one might think.

    However the stratospheric temperature changes are distributed what counts is the relative tropospheric heights between poles and equator.

    If the polar regions cool above 45km from a more active sun more than the equatorial regions warm below 45km from a more active sun then the gradient from equator to poles will change and the surface air pressure systems will drift poleward.

    I agree that the key level is at or near the stratopause where Haigh seems to suggest that the solar effect reverses and in light of that I propose that the thermal effect in the mesosphere dominates over the thermal effect on the stratosphere for a reverse sign effect in the stratosphere too.

    So the variable net solar effect between mesosphere and stratosphere operates a sort of see saw with the fulcrum at about 45 degrees latitude in eacxh hemisphere and as the thermal effects vary between active or inactive sun the balance of the atmosphere in each hemisphere moves poleward or equatorward as necessary to maintain the overall global energy budget by altering the rate of the net energy flow from surface to space.

    From the surface we see the permanent climate zones drift first one way and then the other and that is pretty much all that climate change is.

  139. erl happ says:

    Stephen,
    “From the surface we see the permanent climate zones drift first one way and then the other and that is pretty much all that climate change is.”

    That is the annual cycle.

    Over decades the pressure belts move in response to:
    1. The energy going into the Hadley cell at the equator
    2. The waxing and waning of the coupled circulation in Antarctica.

    Sorry, I can not see the thing you are describing.

  140. Stephen Wilde says:

    During the LIA the mid latitude jets were south of their present positions and presumably during the MWP similar to now or possibly even more poleward.

    So I am looking at a 1000 year cycle peak to peak or trough to trough. A multicentennial variability but no doubt also affected on shorter timescales by individual solar cycles and the Pacific Multidecadal Oscillation of 60 years or so. The shorter the timescale the more the multicentennial underlying trend is masked by those other variations and by chaotic variability.

    I think it is driven from above by solar effects on the atmosphere due to the correlation with solar changes observed from around 1600 to date.

    As regards items 1 and 2 that you mention I think that they respond to the interplay between top down solar and bottom up oceanic variations but for the purpose of your work we are currently discussing the top down solar component.

    Ask yourself this:

    Why would sudden stratospheric warming events cause polar air to surge towards the equator if a warm stratosphere at a time of an active sun is supposed to allow the jets to move more poleward ?

    Why, now that the stratosphere has stopped cooling and may now be warming at a time of relatively quiet sun, are we seeing more meridional/equatorward jets ?

    The observation of what happens during sudden stratospheric warmings and at a time of quiet sun is inconsistent with the standard theory.

  141. Bob Tisdale says:

    erl happ says: “Bob you got the Van Loon paper in one.In sending me the paper Harry commented: ‘The funny thing, which disturbs many colleagues, is that at the PEAKS in the 11-year cycle the equatorial Pacific cools, though not to the extreme values of the low SSTs in the Southern Oscillation.’”

    And the comment from Harry (van Loon) does not confirm your statement from the post that La Nina events coincide with Solar Maximums.

    In response to my comment “Your statement that there ‘…is a very obvious difference in the thermal experience of the two hemispheres…’ is irrelevant to our discussion…” you replied, “Not irrelevant at all…”

    My comments on this topic pertain primarily to your misrepresentation of data in the two graphs. The additional topics you elect to interject appear to simply be a smoke screen to hide that fact.

    You replied, “The matter under discussion in this post is why does temperature change as it does, and what has atmospheric pressure got to do with it. You began by asserting that the change in the SOI was a result of ENSO processes. My post pointed to the underlying upward trend in figure 13. At issue is what is causing the upward trend.”

    What’s causing the upward trend? The answer is very obvious, you’ve actually answered that in your post, but you obscured it by plotting 12 months of average daily SOI values for those three periods. By doing so, you’ve complicated a very basic analysis. All you have to do is pick an ENSO index of your choice and plot the times series from 1992 to 2011, breaking the data up into the three periods you elected to use, (without explaining why you selected them). Here’s NINO3.4 SST anomalies for example:

    The period of 1992 to 1997 was dominated by El Nino events, the period of 1998 to 2004 was a mix of El Nino and La Nina events with the average NINO3.4 SST anomaly being close to zero, and the period of 2005 to 2011 was dominated by La Nina events. Simple as that, Erl. And if you were to do a similar analysis from 1973 to 1997, breaking that into three periods, you’d find that the NINO3.4 SST anomalies trended upwards (or SOI trended downwards). There’s a decadal/multidecadal component to ENSO, Erl. You know that.

    Why complicate something so simple? And on that question, I will bid you a fond farewell on this thread.

  142. Stephen Wilde says:

    Here I agree with Bob Tisdale as regards the ENSO effect on periods up to about 60 years. I really do not see any tendency for La Nina to be dominant when the solar cycles are at maximum.

    There is a reason why Erl might think it necessary. La Nina represents a witholding of energy by the oceans so ocean heat content should increase and indeed ocean heat content did increase whilst the sun was active in the late 20th century. However we also had a run of strong El Ninos during that period so another explanation is needed.

    I prefer the view that the poleward shift of the surface air pressure systems allowed more solar energy into the oceans than was lost even by that strong run of El Ninos.

    In addition it remains necessary to explain the upward stepping from one positive phase of the Pacific Multidecadal Oscillation (not PDO) to the next and it is there that Erl’s work could be useful.

    Unfortunately neither Bob nor Erl seems to be looking at the global climate cycling from MWP to LIA to date let alone the Roman Warm Period and the Dark Ages.

    If one were to integrate Erl’s work on the upper atmosphere with Bob’s work on ENSO variability but extend both to a peak to peak timescale of 1000 years then that could be progress but to produce the stratospheric temperature changes actually observed plus the observed effect on the surface air pressure distribution Erl (IMHO) would need to abandon the consensus view and embrace a reversed sign temperature effect in the atmosphere above the tropopause.

    The two main problems for Erl are as foillows:

    i) The stratosphere cooled when the sun was more active.

    ii) The ocean heat content increased despite strong El Ninos whilst the sun was more active.

    A workable hypothesis must deal with both those problems AND fit all other observations including the observed latitudinal jet stream shifting, the declining cloudiness and albedo during the late 20th century and the subsequent recovery, the stalling of the rise in global tropospheric temperatures to point up just a few.

  143. Bob Tisdale says:

    Stephen Wilde says: “Unfortunately neither Bob nor Erl seems to be looking at the global climate cycling from MWP to LIA to date let alone the Roman Warm Period and the Dark Ages.”

    And you continued, “If one were to integrate Erl’s work on the upper atmosphere with Bob’s work on ENSO variability but extend both to a peak to peak timescale of 1000 years then that could be progress but to produce the stratospheric temperature changes actually observed plus the observed effect on the surface air pressure distribution Erl (IMHO) would need to abandon the consensus view and embrace a reversed sign temperature effect in the atmosphere above the tropopause.”

    You well aware that there’s no reliable data to use, so there’s no reason that you should continue to raise this topic and attempt to make Erl and I appear to be negligent in our research..

  144. erl happ says:

    Bob Tisdale says: September 27, 2011 at 3:57 am
    Bob, I am not into smoke screens.
    You say:
    What’s causing the upward trend? The answer is very obvious, you’ve actually answered that in your post, but you obscured it by plotting 12 months of average daily SOI values for those three periods. By doing so, you’ve complicated a very basic analysis. All you have to do is pick an ENSO index of your choice and plot the times series from 1992 to 2011, breaking the data up into the three periods you elected to use, (without explaining why you selected them). Here’s NINO3.4 SST anomalies for example:

    The period of 1992 to 1997 was dominated by El Nino events, the period of 1998 to 2004 was a mix of El Nino and La Nina events with the average NINO3.4 SST anomaly being close to zero, and the period of 2005 to 2011 was dominated by La Nina events. Simple as that, Erl. And if you were to do a similar analysis from 1973 to 1997, breaking that into three periods, you’d find that the NINO3.4 SST anomalies trended upwards (or SOI trended downwards). There’s a decadal/multidecadal component to ENSO, Erl. You know that.

    What is the decadal/ multidecadal component in ENSO due to Bob? A lot of people would deny that it exists. The literature won’t help you.

    I don’t think I obscured anything by pointing out the annual cycle in the pressure differential between Tahiti and Darwin. It’s worth knowing that the pressure differential peaks at the end of the year and it is the failure to reach a peak at that time that is the essence of an El Nino. I think it is worth knowing that the pressure differential is rarely actually negative and if it is so it tends to be negative in the middle of the year. I think it helps to know the structure that we see at the moment and to actually go back and compare today’s structure with that of the early years, and they ARE different. The literature suggests that April is a difficult time for forecasting and you can see in this annual structure that it is a frequent transition point between one phase and another. I think its worth using daily data because it shows the extent of the swings in the pressure differential, something that you don’t see in the SST indexes.

    Another point about the annual structure. The global surface temperature is least in January and it is at this time that global cloud cover reaches its peak. The time at which sea surface temperature sees its greatest fluctuations is in January. That strongly suggests that change in cloud cover is involved. If it is, one should go look for the parts of the ocean that show this variability in January.

    That leads to another question: What known climate oscillation sees its greatest inter-annual variation in November to March? Could that mode be forcing ENSO? Research at NOAA a year ago pointed towards just that possibility. Sorry, I have lost the reference. It wasn’t worth keeping because they couldn’t make up their minds whether ENSO was forcing the AO or it was the other way round. This is the problem with statistical analysis when unenlightened by an appreciation of atmospheric dynamics, cause and effect.

    I am not interested in smoke screens Bob. The reverse is the case.

  145. katesisco says:

    What does it mean? It means that we (Earth) and all the sun heliosphere are experiening a condensed version. Like you take spun cotton candy and squeeze it, it becomes more compact. Taking that a little further this condensed version of Sol’s heliosphere would mean that the compact form is just this little ball surrounding Sol, baring Jupiter, etc., to the cosmic (truly cosmic) wind.
    It means this happens periodically as we humans ‘discover’ things like quasicrystals (already long discovered but ‘forgotten’ as to meaning), the ‘discovery’ of Mars supersaturated atmosphere due to this pressurizing event (not to the lack of dust particles for the water vapor to settle out on), and other endless ‘discoveries’ that are not discoveries at all, just repeating events which our past selves may have witnessed with more understanding than we are evidencing.
    A clearer eye is needed to avoid hubris.

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