UCAR on Blocking Highs, heat waves, and modeling limits

Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. writes:

Candid Admission By UCAR – “Blocking The Way – Predicting The Atmospheric Detours That Lead To Weather Troubles”

There was an interesting article in the Fall issue of the UCAR Magazine titled by Bob Henson titled

Blocking The Way – Predicting The Atmospheric Detours That Lead To Weather Troubles

Although embedded in the article are the usual claims by some that are quoted that future climate can be skillfully inferred from what the models already produce, this article includes text and quotes by several climate scientists who candidly discuss limitations in current climate models to skillfully predict a major aspect of the atmospheric circulation. The article focuses on what are called “blocks” and it is these restrictions to the east-west movement of weather systems that can persist for months that produces record weather such as the 2011 heat and drought in Texas.

Excerpts from text of the article read [highlight added]

The concept of atmospheric blocking might not be familiar to the general public, but millions have come face to face with the results of spectacular blocks over the last couple of years. Every so often, a dome of upper-level high pressure sits in place for a few days, sometimes as long as several weeks. A major block can produce seemingly endless stretches of blazing heat or bitter cold. It also blocks the typical eastward flow of the polar jet stream (thus the label “blocking”) and throws storm systems far from their usual tracks. Along those displaced paths, the storms can generate successive bouts of heavy rain or snow. By the time it dissipates, a major block may leave behind a whole stack of broken weather records and an array of disastrous consequences.

Relentless high pressure over Russia led to unprecedented summer heat in 2010, with estimates of more than 10,000 people killed either directly or indirectly. Toward the south side of the Russian block, unusually strong monsoonal flow sent vast amounts of moisture into Pakistan, leading to catastrophic flooding. And when huge bubbles of high pressure popped up in and near Greenland over the last two winters, cities from Washington, D.C., to London found themselves grappling with heavy snow even as parts of the Arctic experienced periods of record mildness.

The recent high-profile blocks have put questions of predictability on the front burner. There’s more than a touch of mystery in what makes a block form and dissipate. Phenomena such as El Niño tend to favor blocking in specific areas, but it’s still difficult for weather prediction models to peg the start and stop times of a particular block. And climate models tend to underestimate the frequency of blocking, which could have an influence on their seasonal-scale averaging of future climate.

“Blocking highs significantly influence climate events over large portions of the Northern Hemisphere,” notes James Hurrell, the new head of the NCAR Earth System Laboratory.

In the case of Russia, the team’s initial report pointed to a block that was unprecedentedly strong and unusually long-lasting, with a particularly intense stretch from early July into mid-August. On average, the region gets only about 10 blocking days during those two months. The strength and duration of the 2010 block allowed plants and soil to dry out, which helped send surface air temperatures into uncharted territory. Forest fires and long-burning fires in peat bogs poured smoke into the stagnant block, which degraded air quality and added to the heat wave’s deadly impact.

How much could global warming have contributed? Although the heat wave unfolded during one of the warmest years on record globally, the NOAA group found no evidence of a significant trend in blocking during July over western Russia in the last 60-plus years of upper-air records. And they noted that average July surface temperatures have not risen significantly over western Russia, unlike some other parts of the world and the world as a whole.

Climate models don’t yet have a firm enough handle on blocks to tell us exactly how they’ll change in coming decades. NCAR’s Neale is one of three co-chairs of the working group that oversees the atmospheric component of the NCAR Community Earth System Model (CESM) and its predecessor, the NCAR Community Climate System Model (CCSM4). By and large, he says, climate models do a good job depicting extratropical cyclones, the lows that regularly sweep across midlatitudes. Blocking is a different matter.

“The jury is still out on how blocks develop, how they become persistent, and how they break down,” says Neale.

According to NCAR’s Clara Deser, “The future state of the NAO is highly uncertain due to the large amount of internal variability, even on 50- to 100-year time scales, compared to the changes driven by increased levels of greenhouse gases.” Deser has carried out several model-based analyses of future ocean-atmosphere interactions in the North Atlantic and Pacific.

As climate models get a better handle on blocking and on Arctic sea ice, they may paint a more consistent and realistic picture of details in the Northern Hemisphere’s future climate. “There is not really a robust statement yet on the future of blocking,” says Scaife.

This article is an informative summary of this subject, and the entire article should be read.

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50 Responses to UCAR on Blocking Highs, heat waves, and modeling limits

  1. Casper says:

    OK, I agree with the argumentation, but where are the cold waves?

  2. Gareth Phillips says:

    It’s blocking highs to the west of Ireland that produce cold winters in the UK, and blocking highs to the east of the North Sea which produce mild winters and dry autumns. It what directs the daisy chain of low pressure areas kindly provided by the geography of Newfoundland north or south of the British isles.

  3. M.A.Vukcevic says:

    According to NCAR’s Clara Deser, “The future state of the NAO is highly uncertain due to the large amount of internal variability, even on 50- to 100-year time scales, compared to the changes driven by increased levels of greenhouse gases.”
    I don’t think these people are realy well versed into what the NAO is about.
    I have looked into the NAO-AMO relationship in some details. If you have enough patience (just ignore all the correlation numbers) to get through the article you will find number important relationships between atmospheric pressure and the Sea surface temperature.
    If you follow the initial link

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/theAMO-NAO.htm

  4. Dave D says:

    Does that mean if you detonate high explosives at this high altitude, in the areas of these blocks, you could create low pressure spots that might dissipate or minimize the block? Maybe just fly a fleet of airplanes through, re-route the closest commercial flight lane? I think some experimentation with weather needs to take place. AGW is crap, but someday, we may want to know how to bleed off rain from a large storm, bust hurricanes over the oceans, break heat waves or even warm up glaciers, when they start forming for the next ice age. It may be 20 years or 500 years away, or more, but another ice age is inevitable, without this type of capability. I’d rather see UN (or US) studies, limited experimenting and money spent on something active, than on activism and trying to raise money.

  5. Trev says:

    Note that Richard Attenburgh in his final programme in the Frozen planet series is down to cheer lead for global warming.

  6. Interstellar Bill says:

    If the money wasted on Great Society and its massive social destruction
    had been spent on a space program with the scale of 2001, Space Odyssey,
    we would have huge solar-power sats beaming at the water frequency
    to locally inject gigawatts per square kilometer at key ‘butterfly-effect’ spots.

    With enough 24-hour model-ahead capability,
    a dozen such sats could control all large-scale weather systems.

  7. WAM says:

    A theory of Mobile Polar Highs by prof. M. Leroux becomes vindicated, slowly.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel_Leroux

    Not a modeller, but observer and thinker.

  8. John F. Hultquist says:

    Casper says:
    December 8, 2011 at 9:09 am
    OK, I agree with the argumentation, but where are the cold waves?

    I’m not real sure of your question, however: About 15 years ago (at this very time of year) our temps went to 17 F below and didn’t get above zero for 2 weeks. Location is central Washington State. Such episodes are sufficiently rare that folks are not prepared. Students at the local University have come from all over the warmer world without cold weather gear. Anyone have a coat they can lend out? This was before local wind turbines so no issue there but the lack of wind causes air stagnation and the State Dept. of Ecology invokes burn bans. Just when extra heat is needed, using your ‘stand-by’ wood stove can bring a knock on the door. For outside animals these are tough times – especially for those whose owners never expected such cold and don’t have structures and heated water tanks.

    If this is what you mean by a cold wave – I know a bit. Not world record breaking but problems occur because they are rare and memories are short.

  9. cui bono says:

    In 1976 the UK and much of Western Europe had a drought lasting 6 months. The whole country turned brown. Reservoirs turned to dry mud and water standpipes were set up in the streets. Instead of rain we had little particles of windblown Saharan sand falling from the sky.

    This was all down to a blocking high off the Iberian peninsular. Wet Atlantic weather was blocked, and a continuous hot, dry stream came up from Africa.

    Of course, there was no talk of global warming then, especially as Newsweek was reporting the next Ice Age.

    Years later, I saw a scientist telling Congress that the heatwave in the US was down to CO2 (it must have been 1988) and thinking “typical – the Brits just take the weather, the Yanks have to make it into a crisis’. Apologies for the racism:-)

    Now if only the UK had come up with the global warming scam in 1976 we could have been world leaders before anyone had even heard of Phil Jones…

  10. Ralph says:

    >>Gareth Phillips says: December 8, 2011 at 9:17 am
    >>It’s blocking highs to the west of Ireland that produce cold winters in the
    >>UK, and blocking highs to the east of the North Sea which produce mild winters

    Not quite. If you can imagine a high pressure over Scandinavia and the northern North Sea, you will end up with strong easterly flows over the UK. Now during the summer, that is a warm wind. But in the winter, this situation will bring the UKs coldest weather. And if you have a short sea-track, there will be light snow, but if you get s longsea-track more from the NE, you can get heavy snow.

    It is this type of blocking high that caused the UKs very cold winters over the last two years – with easterly rather than northerly winds.

    .

  11. Ged says:

    @Casper,

    You mean things like this? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_wave

    “Winter of 2010–2011 in Great Britain and Ireland – It was referred to as The Big Freeze by national medias in both United Kingdom and Ireland and it was the coldest winter in Britain for 31 years with an average temperature of 1.51C. The UK had its coldest December ever, since records began in 1910, with a mean temperature of -1°C. It easily broke the previous record of 0.1°C, set in December 1981.”
    ” A cold wave affected much of the Deep South in the United States and well into Florida in January and February 2010.”
    ” 2009-2010 European Cold Wave – At least 90 are confirmed dead after record low temperatures and heavy snowfall across Europe causes travel disruption to much of the continent including the British Isles, France, the Low Countries, Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland, the Baltic States, the Balkans, Ukraine and Russia. Coldest winter for 30 years in the UK with the longest sustained cold spell since 1981. Temperatures in the Italian Alpine peaks have reached low to an extreme of -47 °C.”

    And more.

  12. Stephen Wilde says:

    Blocking occurs more often when the sun is less active.

    The polar vortices, instead of descending in a single intense high pressure cell over each pole are diverted and split up as the flow of air descends so that instead we see two or three seperate high pressure cells around the poles with the poles themselves covered by areas of relatively low pressure.

    I have described a possible mechanism previously here and elsewhere. An active sun cools the stratosphere at the poles to facilitate a single descending high pressure cell. A less active sun allows the stratosphere at the poles to warm a little and that warming in the stratosphere above the poles obstructs, diverts and breaks up the downward flow.

    Those 2 or 3 high pressure cells are then free to migrate equatorward as observed by Marcel Leroux (mentioned above) and it is those high pressure cells that divert the mid latitude jets and distort them into loops across much larger areas. Often those loops are persistent for indeterminate periods of time but can migrate around the globe as it spins giving individual regions a succession of anomalous weather types.

    That greater meridionality exerts a net cooling effect on the globe as follows:

    i) Air flows from equator to pole and back again become more direct facilitating an increased rate of energy flow through the climate system from surface to space (via faster equator to pole energy transfer).

    ii) The length of the lines of air mass mixing become much longer producing greater global cloudiness and albedo to reduce solar energy input to the oceans. I prefer this explanation for increased cloudiness when the sun is inactive to the Svensmark cosmic ray hypothesis.

    Furthermore I think that the albedo changes from such changes in cloudiness are actually larger than, and occur before, any albedo changes that might be induced by increased snow and ice around the poles. I think that the focus on polar snow and ice as a primary driver of global albedo is incorrect. It is global cloudiness that changes first and the polar ice cover merely follows the lead of the cloudiness changes.

  13. son of mulder says:

    The article

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorenz_attractor

    contains the phrase “In addition to its interest to the field of non-linear mathematics, the Lorenz model has important implications for climate and weather prediction. The model is an explicit statement that planetary and stellar atmospheres may exhibit a variety of quasi-periodic regimes that are, although fully deterministic, subject to abrupt and seemingly random change.”

    I what way has anthropogenic CO2 made our climate experience worse than it would have been?

  14. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Worth mentioning that blocking increases during solar minima – and we’re in a big one right now.

    Lockwood et al 2010 says it is a northern Europe regional effect, but given the blocking events in both northern and southern hemispheres lately it seems to me to be pretty much global in scope.

    If so then the GCM’s won’t correctly model blocking events until they include solar magnetic effects. And if they do that properly it will drop the modelled climate sensitivity right down to Prof Lindzen’s value. Which would be inconvenient for the CAGW establishment to say the least.

  15. TomRude says:

    @ WAM,

    Right on! Leroux has been describing these since his 1993 Global and Planetary Change paper on Mobile Polar Highs.
    All what Leroux has been explaining is happening.

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

  16. u.k.(us) says:

    Dave D says:
    December 8, 2011 at 9:28 am
    Does that mean if you detonate high explosives at this high altitude, in the areas of these blocks, you could create low pressure spots that might dissipate or minimize the block? Maybe just fly a fleet of airplanes through, re-route the closest commercial flight lane? I think some experimentation with weather needs to take place. AGW is crap, but someday, we may want to know how to bleed off rain from a large storm, bust hurricanes over the oceans, break heat waves or even warm up glaciers, when they start forming for the next ice age. It may be 20 years or 500 years away, or more, but another ice age is inevitable, without this type of capability. I’d rather see UN (or US) studies, limited experimenting and money spent on something active, than on activism and trying to raise money.
    ==========
    From:

    http://webphysics.iupui.edu/warmup/iupui_archive/hurricanes.html

    “Hurricanes are among the most powerful of all natural phenomena, and by far the most powerful storms. At its peak, a severe storm may have a total power near to 1015 Watts: about 3,000 times the total electrical power generated in the world. This is equivalent to exploding 500,000 atomic bombs per day (the little ones that were used at the end of WWII).”

  17. Philip Bradley says:

    The length of the lines of air mass mixing become much longer producing greater global cloudiness and albedo to reduce solar energy input to the oceans.

    Stephen, interesting hypothesis. Is there any empirical data to support it?

  18. Caleb says:

    What I want top see them model is: A blocking pattern that sends a big loop in the jet stream up to Greenland for three hundred years, pushing warm water into the coastal areas so you can swim without hypothermia, as the Vikings did, and melting the permafrost so you can grow grain, as the Vikings did. Meanwhile it must remain cold, or even colder, over the rest of the world.

    Five years ago I would bring up the Greenland Vikings and the MWP to Alarmists, and I was always told it was merely a “local” event.

    I always thought to myself, “Wow! That must have been one heck of a blocking pattern! We are lucky it didn’t flip the whole planet upside down!”

    It’s odd they didn’t tweak the computer models to recreate the event. They’ve modeled everything else. But maybe there are some things even models can’t do.

  19. The blocking highs are the result of the lunar declinational tidal effects, when the solar and lunar declination at culmination are about the same angle. Yes Leroux had the MPH movement and timings mechanism down, but did not see the cause as the lunar declinational tides in the atmosphere. Including the lunar atmospheric tidal effects will explain most of the problems they still have in predicting the locations and timing of their occurrences.

    http://research.aerology.com/supporting-research/leroux-marcel-lunar-declinational-tides/

  20. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Stephen, interesting hypothesis. Is there any empirical data to support it?”

    No one has ever tried measuring it so far but common sense and a look at a pressure chart of the globe when it has strongly meridional jets makes it look pretty obvious to me.

    You need a longer piece of rope to join two points if it loops about along the way and there is more material in a longer rope after all.

  21. Stephen Wilde says:

    Richard Holle says:
    December 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    “The blocking highs are the result of the lunar declinational tidal effects, when the solar and lunar declination at culmination are about the same angle”

    I think that could work in the short term but it doesn’t deal with the millennium scale shifting from MWP to LIA to date.

    I have proposed a bottom up oceanic effect operating in conjunction with the top down solar effect sometimes supplementing it and sometimes offsetting it because I couldn’t see Leroux’s top down effect as accounting for the wide range of variability that we actually observe or for the number of short term failures of correlation with solar activity.The correlations with solar activity are very good on the millennial timescale but the shorter the timescale the worse it gets as Leif never tires of telling us.

    I don’t have a problem with lunar/solar effects helping to drive the bottom up effect by creating ocean cycles, or even planetary alignments doing so, but in the latter case I would have thought that any such planetary effects would have to operate via the solar cycles otherwise they would be swamped.

    Anyway, whatever forces are in play, it is the shifting of the entire climate zone network that operates as a negative system response to whatever is thrown at it. By that means the rate of energy flow through the system is modulated as necessary to limit changes to the system energy content (energy distribution is another matter).

  22. Spector says:

    In the Pacific Northwest, a winter stationary low-pressure area in the Gulf of Alaska is usually indicative of warm wet weather, often called ‘The Pineapple Express,’ coming up from the South West. On the other hand, a winter stationary high in the Gulf of Alaska sets up the Pacific Northwest for invasion by cold, dry, Arctic air. Significant snow events in the Seattle area may occur if a mobile low-pressure center moves east across Oregon while this Arctic air is in place. In each case, the high or low-pressure region in the Gulf is often described as part of an ‘Omega’ blocking pair.

  23. Pamela Gray says:

    Once again Stephen proposes a cause and effect without any actual measurements or maths. We are all aware of the glancing Solar IR at the poles. It begs the question, does the tiny CHANGE in active Sun, sleepy Sun IR have what it takes to create the affect Stephen talks about? For sure, Stephen does not know. And he isn’t going to come up with a plausible mechanism or the maths to go along with his theory either. He is waiting for someone (anyone?) else to do that. But doen’t ask me. I’m clueless.

  24. Pamela Gray says:

    Can’t spell either. …don’t…

  25. Pamela Gray says:

    By the way, I’m home sick with a migrain. Snark has been fueled by medicine downed with hot spiced wine. Word to the wise.

  26. u.k.(us) says:

    Stephen Wilde says:
    December 8, 2011 at 3:01 pm
    ==========
    Good to see you back here.
    If not the cause, i think you have a case for the effect.

  27. The lunar tidal atmospheric effects in regard to the declinational components are in phase with the rotation of the magnetic poles of the sun, the output of the solar wind polarity shifts both short and long term, are coupled with the changes in the strength and density of the solar wind, which in turn drives the ionic behavior of the global circulation patterns, which in turn affect the precipitation rates on the localized scales.

    My hypothesis is based on empirical data analysis and pattern generation, seen in the resultant mapping of the weather data, past and present cycles. Then surmising the dynamics that are doing the driving by watching the global circulation patterns seen in the GOES satellite photos.

    What I have been doing has been to evaluate the real RAW weather data base to determine a mechanism of action, to explain the natural variability cyclic patterns, that are well known to other scientist and researchers outside the CAGW team. I do not see the problem as a “top down or bottom up” process but a homogenized whole set of interactions that play against and with each other to yield what results in the daily weather, when looked back on the long term trends is climate.

  28. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Once again Stephen proposes a cause and effect without any actual measurements or maths”

    No maths, yes because the data isn’t available.
    No actual measurement, well not quite because we have observations albeit not yet adequately measured by anyone.

    Someone else here said it isn’t necessary to know what causes a cycle merely that it is present and I agree.

    If two events occur regularly in conjunction with one another such as a cooling stratosphere for poleward jets and/or a warming stratosphere for equatorward jets then valid conclusions can be drawn as to the actual mechanics involved. And increased cloudiness with increased albedo. And increased cloudiness with more meridional jet and so on and so forth. I have pointed out a variety of such repeating relationships.

    I note from observations what the interactions are between different variables. Quantities don’t matter much because we can work from changes in direction of trend.

    If we then see repeated such interactions then we can make assumptions as to how the system is working.

    The next step is to decide by a process of elimination how the processes must operate to avoid offending the basic laws of physics.

    Once that is done (the stage I have now reached) a basic hypothesis can be set out to await verification or trebuttal from the right data.

    That last stage can either be done for me by someone or I can just sit back and await the data which will no doubt arrive in due course.

    I am becoming increasingly confident that the new data will validate rather than rebut my various hypotheses.

  29. Stephen Wilde says:

    “I do not see the problem as a “top down or bottom up” process but a homogenized whole set of interactions that play against and with each other to yield what results in the daily weather, when looked back on the long term trends is climate.”

    I see it as a homogenized result of independently variable top down and bottom up processes because sun and oceans, though linked do not act in unison.

    I don’t see that as a significant difference between us. I can accommodate any forcing process that acts via sun and oceans and yours is one of several under consideration.

  30. Larry in Texas says:

    Having lived in two places known for their blocking highs (North Texas and Milwaukee, Wisconsin), I can tell you the phenomenon is not all that unusual or uncommon. In Texas, we seem to have a blocking high (I also refer to it as “the dome”) every summer, and the variability is usually in the length of time the dome stays put. Last summer, it was all summer, just about. Sometimes, fronts will move in (in the past few years before 2011, it seems to have happened around June or July) and will nudge the dome out of the way and bring us a few needed thunderstorms. But it usually doesn’t last long. The dome builds right back up. Milwaukee isn’t as bad as Texas in terms of length of time, but they get theirs generally in the winter (I do remember a spring or two, back in the mid 70s, where we would get a high pressure block for about two weeks and man, did it bring us some nice spring weather – I don’t mind those kinds of blocks).

  31. M.A.Vukcevic says:

    Pamela Gray says: I’m home sick with a migrain.
    Migraine attacks in some (not all) sufferers are thought to be triggered by geomagnetic disturbances (look up google ). You can build your own statistics, daily Apmax log http://www.solen.info/solar/indices.html , if positive the Space weather gives couple of days warning. I am not convinced, but I know someone who is.

  32. Peter Taylor says:

    Is the jetstream shifted south and into loopy mode by the generation of mobile polar highs – by whatever means? Or are the mobile polar highs generated by a shifting jetstream? Leroux didn’t know the answer, so I shouldn’t hazard a guess…but I will. I think that a dense cold mass of air below 2000m is unlikely to feed back and affect the high altitude jets,,,especially as that mass of air is spiralling downwards. It is always paired with a cyclonic mass of air spiralling upwards – and generating much cloud, (and increased albedo). Could it be that the jetstream itself creates the opposite spiralling pairs?

    Theory has it that the jet is shifted south by a drop in UV light affecting the heat system that controls the polar vortex and thus the system is sensitive to the solar cycle and UV output. UV is low during solar minima. The shifts since the recent drop in solar magnetic fields (since 2006) and UV output data (Leif?) should now coincide with more mobile polar highs, greater meridional winds, more extreme weather and a gradual cooling (notwithstanding the odd El Nino).

  33. M.A.Vukcevic says:

    Peter Taylor says:
    December 9, 2011 at 3:30 am
    …..
    Jet stream is shifted by release of heat (several hundred W/m sq) in the Irminger sea in the winter time and Nordic seas in the summer time. Heat release is the generator of the Icelandic Low which moves the jet stream about. Nothing to do with UV. To find out more how this inter-connects with the AMO and NAO see:

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/theAMO-NAO.htm

  34. Bora says:

    Leroux and the MPHs in Global and Planetary Change, in… 1993.
    Have a look to the 2nd edition of his handbook “Dynamic Analysis of Weather and Climate Atmospheric Circulation, Perturbations, Climatic Evolution” —> 2010 !!!

  35. Stephen Wilde says:

    I think most contributors here are on the right track.

    However, there is a problem in that more meridional jets are associated with stratospheric warming above the poles yet the active sun gave stratospheric cooling which was interpreted as having been caused by human emissions because it was contrary to the consensus view of a warming stratosphere (and all other levels) when the sun is more active.

    Now with a less active sun the stratosphere has stopped cooling so that suggests that in reality the thermal response of the stratosphere to variations in solar activity is the opposite of that expected in the consensus view.

    It has to be that way round otherwise one cannot physically achieve zonal jets with an active sun and meridional jets with an inactive sun.

    I explained my reasoning in full and provided evidence here:

    http://climaterealists.com/attachments/ftp/How%20The%20Sun%20Could%20Control%20Earths%20Temperature.pdf

    What other solution could account for the facts ?

  36. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Theory has it that the jet is shifted south by a drop in UV light affecting the heat system that controls the polar vortex and thus the system is sensitive to the solar cycle and UV output. UV is low during solar minima. The shifts since the recent drop in solar magnetic fields (since 2006) and UV output data (Leif?) should now coincide with more mobile polar highs, greater meridional winds, more extreme weather and a gradual cooling (notwithstanding the odd El Nino).”

    Yes indeed. But that requires a warming stratosphere above the poles when the sun is quiet which is counter to the consensus view.

    The polar vortex and the vertical temperature profile within it must be the key hence my suggestion above;

    Stephen Wilde says:
    December 8, 2011 at 11:44 am

    “An active sun cools the stratosphere at the poles to facilitate a single descending high pressure cell. A less active sun allows the stratosphere at the poles to warm a little and that warming in the stratosphere above the poles obstructs, diverts and breaks up the downward flow.

    Those 2 or 3 high pressure cells are then free to migrate equatorward as observed by Marcel Leroux (mentioned above) and it is those high pressure cells that divert the mid latitude jets and distort them into loops across much larger areas. Often those loops are persistent for indeterminate periods of time but can migrate around the globe as it spins giving individual regions a succession of anomalous weather types.

    That greater meridionality exerts a net cooling effect on the globe”

    I’d be happy to hear any alternative suggestion that fits the observations. I don’t think the idea from Vuk holds up on longer timescales because of the close link with solar activity levels on the millennial timescales but of course the oceans could well have an effect on shorter timescales which could fit the ideas of Vuk and Richard Holle.

  37. Gail Combs says:

    Peter Taylor says:
    December 9, 2011 at 3:30 am

    Is the jetstream shifted south and into loopy mode by the generation of mobile polar highs – by whatever means? Or are the mobile polar highs generated by a shifting jetstream? Leroux didn’t know the answer, so I shouldn’t hazard a guess…but I will. I think that a dense cold mass of air below 2000m is unlikely to feed back and affect the high altitude jets,,,especially as that mass of air is spiralling downwards. It is always paired with a cyclonic mass of air spiralling upwards – and generating much cloud, (and increased albedo). Could it be that the jetstream itself creates the opposite spiralling pairs?

    Theory has it that the jet is shifted south by a drop in UV light affecting the heat system that controls the polar vortex and thus the system is sensitive to the solar cycle and UV output…..
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    New Paper: Relationship of Lower Tropospheric Cloud Cover and Cosmic Rays discussed over at Judith Curry: http://judithcurry.com/2011/09/26/relationship-of-lower-tropospheric-cloud-cover-and-cosmic-rays/

    An older (March 2000) paper:
    Ultraviolet Spectroscopy of Polar Coronal Jets (SUN)
    Deals with solar wind, coronal mass ejections,

    The interesting part is “the observable properties of the jets from 1997 August 5….We found that the jet had to leave the Sun at an electron temperature below 2.5 × 106 K and that a heating rate of the same order as the average coronal hole heating is required. Such low initial temperatures are consistent with the idea that the jets observed by LASCO, EIT, and UVCS are different than previously observed coronal X-ray jets.” http://iopscience.iop.org/0004-637X/538/2/922/fulltext/50998.text.html

    ABSTRACTS of two Papers listed at:http://www.staff.science.uu.nl/~rutte101/solar_abstracts/solabs_gurman.html

    Recent STEREO Observations of Coronal Mass Ejections

    Over 400 CMEs have been observed by STEREO SECCHI COR1 during the mission’s three year duration (2006-2009). Many of the solar activity indicators have been at minimal values over this period, and the Carrington rotation-averaged CME rate has been comparable to that measured during the minima between Cycle 21-22 (SMM C/P) and Cycle 22-23 (SOHO LASCO). That rate is about 0.5 CMEs/day. During the current solar minimum (leading to Cycle 24), there have been entire Carrington rotations where no sunspots were detected and the daily values of the 2800 MHz solar flux remained below 70 sfu. CMEs continued to be detected during these exceptionally quiet periods, indicating that active regions are not necessary to the generation of at least a portion of the CME population. In the past, researchers were limited to a single view of the Sun and could conclude that activity on the unseen portion of the disk might be associated with CMEs. But as the STEREO mission has progressed we have been able to observe an increasing fraction of the Sun’s corona with STEREO SECCHI EUVI and were able to eliminate this possibility. Here we report on the nature of CMEs detected during these exceptionally-quiet periods, and we speculate on how the corona remains dynamic during such conditions.

    The Highest Cosmic Ray Fluxes Ever Recorded:

    The summer of 2009 saw the largest cosmic ray flux ever measured at Earth. Cosmic ray intensities in the 270-450 MeV/nucleon range were nearly 20% larger than anything previously recorded. Clearly, something dramatically affected the cosmic ray ‘deflector shield’ of the Earth during the most recent solar activity minimum. We explore the cause of this marked increase by examining properties of the global solar magnetic field and conditions in the solar wind during the previous solar minimum and compare these to previous solar cycles using in-situ and remote sensing observations.

  38. M.A.Vukcevic says:

    Stephen Wilde says:
    December 9, 2011 at 7:40 am
    ……………….
    Mr. Wilde
    but that is not whole story, take look at these and make a step by step logical follow up:

    NAP – NAO (moved along time scale) then the AMO in real time
    When you understood want is going on there :

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/SST-NAP.htm

    then see here how the said NAP fits with the solar cycles and the CET

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CDr.htm

    It is not sunspot number in particular that matters, it is the magnetic output (flares, CMEs) which is similar to the sunspot count but not identical.
    Notice here (the second graph)

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/SSN-T.htm

    how the temperature picks up not only the11 year cycle, but very strongly the 22.2 year magnetic cycle, which in sunspot number isn’t so prominent (no polarity in the SSN numbers). The Hale cycle for 11 years is of the same orientation as the Earth’s field and the following 11 is opposite to it.
    I suggest spend some time studying above carefully, it may help with the overall picture.

  39. Stephen Wilde says:

    Thanks Vuk, I’ll have a look at those.

  40. Stephen Wilde says:

    Ok, Vuk, I think your point is that there is a link between solar variability and the ocean surface temperatures that then in your view then drive the surface air pressure distribution from below. I’m happy with that aspect.

    Do you exclude a top down effect altogether ?

    I can’t envisage a solution that doesn’t incorporate both top down and bottom up influences. One of the factors that influences me is the observation that the mesosphere cools when the sun is active and warms when it is inactive.

    Also the tendency for there to be a single high pressure cell at the poles when the sun is active but multiple high pressure cells circulating around relatively low pressure at the poles when the sun is inactive.

    I don’t see how your data could account for such phenomena.

  41. Stephen Wilde says:

    Gail,

    I think it is simply a coincidence that cosmic rays are at the maximum when the sun is at its weakest.

    It just so happens that the low level of solar activity allows more cosmic rays in and alters the vertical temperature profile of the atmosphere (via different rates of ozone reactions at different levels) at the same time.

    I think the real reason for more clouds when the sun is less active is more meridional jets looping about with longer lines of air mass mixing causing more global cloudiness and higher albedo for less energy entering the oceans to produce overall system cooling.

    If you prefer the Svensmark hypothesis to that, please could you explain why ?

  42. M.A.Vukcevic says:

    Stephen Wilde says:
    …………
    I think you got that wrong way around. The SST (AMO) is the last in the queue: The NAP is leading the way, regulates the amount of warm water getting into Arctic, then follows the heat release (two different localities one for winter and one for summer), this is source of Icelandic low pressure system (NAO) which deviates the polar jet. Polar jet control westerly winds in the N. Atlantic, which finally controls (cools the surface, and affects surface current velocity) SST, see time line on :http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NorthAtlantic.gif
    The big boy here is the NAP which is synchronised with solar magnetic output.
    You can see here correspondence between the NAP and CET reconstruction from its 3 spectral components: http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET-NVa.htm You could understand some of my ideas by reading article linked here: http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/theAMO-NAO.htm
    Do you exclude a top down effect altogether ?
    I would not exclude minor things like GCR, UV effect on phytoplankton CO2 absorption etc, but I think one has to follow the energy, which is in the TSI (but mostly constant) and the big wobbly oceanic storage container, energy absorbed in the equatorial region (below 30-45 degrees latitude, depending on the seasons), moved pole-ward and released.

  43. Stephen Wilde says:

    Yes Vuk, I said agreed with you over the bottom up oceanic aspect which includes The NAP and AMO and NAO.

    The NAP might be solar induced and would alter the amount of solar energy getting into the oceans by altering cloudiness. That provides the energy for AMO which in turn affects the surface pressure distribution from below.

    But that doesn’t deal with the other phenomena that I mentioned to you.

    Somehow the sun has to change the vertical temperature profile of the atmosphere from above to result in those other observations (and the NAP).

    Now Joanna Haigh found that contrary to expectations ozone increased above 45km at a time of inactive sun. Above 45km is the mesosphere and if ozone increased up there then the temperature rose up there because ozone holds on to solar energy. We also know that the opposite happened up there when the sun was more active because then the mesosphere cooled.

    What is happening is differential variations in ozone reactions at different levels to alter the vertical temperature profile for a top down effect.

    Your ideas may well be part of the story but I don’t think they are enough unless you can extend them to cover the variations in mesosphere temperatures.

  44. M.A.Vukcevic says:

    Temperatures above the jet stream level (8-9km altitude) are totally irrelevant, but even if they do matter, due to drop in the air density (not to mention the air’s tiny heat capacity compared with the water below) the energy content is miniscule. Temperatures of individual gas molecules are not much to do with the temperature of an actual volume of air, since it is mostly an empty space. You should start with some calculations (and look up the general gas laws).

    I shall leave it to that.

  45. Peter Taylor says:

    Vuk and Stephen….thanks for an interesting discussion. We seem to have both top down – the downwelling spiral of dry air that constitutes an anticyclone (in 3D) and bottom-up, the upwelling spiral of moist air that creates clouds – and they are usually paired. And the tracking follows the jetstream. I have studied endless maps – the loops are often so abrupt that I simply cannot believe that anything happening 8km below has looped the jetstream at that altitude. It looks to me that something else creates the loop and the loop spins the vortices that grow into cyclones. I need to talk to a meteorologist, probably a Russian one where they take Earths’ magnetic phenomena more seriously than here in the West.

  46. Peter Taylor says:
    December 9, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    What you are seeing is the lunar declinational tides in the atmosphere, if you will just keep track of the North/South movement of the moon relative to the equator it all becomes clear, as you watch the GOES photos loops. I am having a movie made of the three 27.3 day cycles of lunar declination cycles from December, January and February winter NH of 2009 – 2010 made this week will post asap I get it out of production, (has been promised next week.)

  47. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Temperatures above the jet stream level (8-9km altitude) are totally irrelevant”

    Not so, because the temperature of the stratosphere fixes the height of the tropopause which is fundamental to the surface air pressure distribution in the troposphere.

  48. Paul Vaughan says:

    Vukcevic, once again: Could you please define your “NAP” invention? We need specifics; otherwise, we cannot sensibly judge.

    Stephen Wilde, the pieces I suggest you incorporate into your narrative next:
    1. Seasonality, keeping clearly in mind north-south terrestrial asymmetry and solar cycle temporal nonstationarity. The data indicate clearly (there’s no ambiguity) that this IS relevant at multidecadal timescales.
    2. Time rate of change of terrestrial equator-pole temperature contrast. (Vukcevic take note.)

    A few other suggestions:
    a. Be careful to not overplay global clouds and underplay equator-pole & day-night circulation. (The narrative has to match observational data. Does the variable-pumping-rate radiator really depend so much on clouds?)
    b. As an alternative to appearing mildly offended by mention of neutron count rates (which most assume represent cosmic ray flux), consider the possibility that others are misinterpreting the temporal evolution of the metric, which conveys info about changing solar & terrestrial spatiotemporal patterns (including changing terrestrial atmospheric shape).
    c. Metrics of zonality vs. meridionality have long existed – e.g. ACI.

    Vukcevic: Beware the effect of spatial phase reversals (which manifest differently across terrestrial seasons) when looking for the ~22a Hale signature. For example, it exists in geomagnetic aa index & sunspot numbers but it’s counterthreaded as a pair of variably-compressed (depends on changing solar cycle length) double-helices interrupted by both phase reversals & interannual variability. A careful data explorer will be able to isolate the patterns, but folks who treat intermediate level stat textbook table of contents as shopping menus will never find metrics that will isolate the patterns …until, perhaps, they have thousands of years worth of quality data to compensate for inability to independently devise new metrics to summarize simple geometric patterns now.

    One of the more serious problems the mainstream is having has to do with scale. They’re aware of the need to adjust microscope magnification, but almost all of them (there are a few brilliant exceptions) completely ignore the focal length knob.

    Richard Holle: I share your interest in lunisolar influence on terrestrial phenomena. The main multidecadal effect on LOD & broad-scale regional temperatures is solar. For example, it can be found in sunspot numbers if one knows what signals to look for.

    I strongly recommend that nature appreciators regularly archive geophysical time series as a safeguard against ongoing data vandalism by maliciously deceptive &/or hopelessly naively ignorant forces.

    Regards.

  49. Stephen Wilde says:

    Paul, thanks for your suggestions.

    We have to get the basic mechanisms right and then all the issues you mention should slot into place.

  50. Paul Vaughan says:

    Thanks for your comments Stephen.

    Mechanical abstraction accomplishes nothing if the primacy of observed patterns will not be acknowledged by the mainstream.

    Best Regards.

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