Coralline Algae and the Case for Natural Climate Change

Guest post by Jim Steele
Director Sierra Nevada Field Campus, emeritus, San Francisco State University

There was a very revealing 2012 paper demonstrating the power and interconnections of natural ocean oscillations, “Marine proxy evidence linking decadal North Pacific and Atlantic Climate”. If you have ever played in the tide pools, you may have noticed the coralline algae: a pinkish‑red algae with holdfasts that encrust the rocks, as shown in the picture. Just as tropical coral allow scientists to reconstruct tropical ocean temperatures, a chemical analysis of the thick crusts of some coralline algae provides a record of temperatures in sub‑arctic oceans. Statistical correlations of the cyclic nature and connections between the Pacific Decadal Oscillation(PDO), the Aleutian Low and North Atlantic Oscillation(NAO) have been based on tree rings and other land proxies that fail to fully capture subsurface changes, so this is the first ocean proxy to provide a very coherent picture of recent climate change.

clip_image002A quick review of the PDO illustrates the value of this new re‑construction. From a biological point of view the PDO is a “regime shift” that totally alters currents, winds and marine life approximately every 20 years. Salmon abundance alternates between Oregon and Alaska, abundant sardines alternate with abundant anchovies, and a host of other related changes that would require a book to properly address(see Chavez 2003, 2011).

The PDO is driven in part by El Nino cycles and internal climate feedbacks.

In the PDO’s warm phase, ocean temperatures in the Pacific resemble an El Nino year with warmer temperatures in the eastern Pacific and cooler temperatures to the north and west. In the cool phase, the PDO resembles a La Nina. Not only does the PDO’s regime shift totally reorganize marine ecosystems, the changing currents redistribute the ocean’s heat. Because the upper 10 feet of the ocean contains more heat than the entire atmosphere, the PDO, like an EL Nino, can dramatically alter the climate.

As the PDO entered its warm phase beginning in the early 1900’s to the late 1940’s, global temperatures rose. The unadjusted maximum temperatures for the overwhelming majority of USHCN weather stations show a corresponding 1940’s warm peak that has yet to be surpassed. During that time the Arctic Ocean warmed similar to today(see Bengstonn, 2004), and ice cores on the Antarctic peninsula show a similar 1940’s warm peak that remains the warmest for the 20th century(see Schneider 2008). Between 1946 and 1976 the PDO reversed to its cool phase and global temperatures dropped. Then in 1976 the PDO reversed again to its warm phase and global temperatures rose igniting the global warming debate. In 1976, the temperature of the California Current suddenly jumped by 1 degree and there was a northward shift in warm water species that CO2 advocates argued was evidence of global warming. However there were alternative correlations.

The Aleutian Low strengthens during a PDO warm phase, which causes a circulation pattern that pumps more warm air and warm water northward. This caused Bering Sea Ice to retreat and Alaska and the Bering Sea were noted by the IPCC as one of the 3 fastest warming places on earth. Some climate scientist wrote that Alaska’s rapid warming could be explained completely by the warm phase of the PDO (see Hartman 2005) while others working in southern California predicted the warmer temperatures in the California Current would soon revert back to the 1970’s level(see Holbrook 1997). Thus there was a natural experiment to test the competing hypotheses. Natural variation predicted a reversal and CO2 predicted a continued and accelerating warming.

When the PDO began to enter its cool phase again in 1998, temperatures in the California Current from Washington to southern California dropped to the cooler 1970’s level as predicted by Holbrook (Peterson 2003). However, although the Aleutian Low began to weaken as expected during a cool phase of the PDO, temperatures in Alaska did not immediately change and the Bering Sea ice continued to retreat. Some advocates argued that this was proof that CO2 warming and not the PDO were driving those temperatures. They predicted the Bering Sea ice would continue to retreat with March ice extent dropping 25% by mid century.(Douglas 2010) However the PDO prediction has been vindicated again. After a 5 year lag, Alaska has become one of the most rapidly cooling regions on earth, as temperatures have been steadily cooling by 2.3°F over the past 10 years (see Wendler 2012) and beginning in 2003 Bering Sea ice began to recover reaching record extent in 2012. If we ignore that natural cycles and extend that trend into the future as advocates like to do, that means that Alaska will cool 23°F by the end of the century. But such futuristic trends, warm or cold, are just silly projections.

Ocean currents are much slower to respond to changing air currents due to their greater mass and greater inertia. Although the ocean temperatures had switched in the tropics and the Aleutian Low was weakening it was reasonable to expect ocean temperatures further north in the Bering Sea would lag by a few years, which is exactly what the coralline algae studied shows. Furthermore this studies shows that over the past centuries the algae in the North Atlantic will follow natural climate change in the Bering Sea with a ~5 year lag. This again corresponds to recent observations. In 2010 the Arctic Oscillation/NAO dropped into it negative phase and is continuing to parallel the PDO’s descent into a cool phase. As predicted a negative oscillation is hammering Great Britain and much of Europe with record cold and snow. However this new cooling trend contradicted CO2 predictions. Advocate scientist had not only predicted that snow would soon disappear from Great Britain, but that CO2 could control natural oscillations, and they predicted the Arctic Oscillation/NAO would continue to rise into its warm phase causing warmer European winters.

RealClimate’s moderator Gavin Schmidt co‑authored that prediction in 1999 writing although the warming appears through a naturally occurring mode of atmospheric variability, it may be anthropogenically induced and may continue to rise.”(Shindell 199) In 2001 scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research wrote, “The proposed response to increased greenhouse gas concentrations through forcing from warmer tropical SSTs or a strengthened stratospheric vortex implies, however, that the positive index phase might continue”. (see Visbeck 2001)

Clearly their CO2‑driven models failed to capture the earth’s natural variations such as the PDO and NAO and their theories were forced to adapt. When a blocking High formed in the north Atlantic, it forced a weak category 2 hurricane to turn inland, which then morphed into Superstorm Sandy as the warmer ocean winds collided with colder continental air. This blocking High was generated by cold Arctic winds that had pushed further south than in previous decades because the Arctic Oscillation was now in its cool phase.

So to capitalize on Sandy’s tragedy, within 5 days of Sandy’s peak damage, Mark Fischetti wrote for Scientific American on October 30, 2012 “Did Climate Change Cause Hurricane Sandy?” He interviewed the standard perpetrators of climate doom Jim Hansen and Kevin Trenberth. And to implicate global warming, the advocates flipped‑flopped on the Arctic Oscillation/NAO. Now they argue that the cool phase of that oscillation is also due to global warming and referenced another model to “prove” it. Fischetti goes onto say the Trenberth had predicted this megastorm and referenced Trenberth’s “Warmer Oceans, Stronger Hurricanes”. However in that paper Trenberth had argued that the lack of hurricanes that followed Katrina was due to the cooling effects of La Nina years. Sandy, on the other hand occurred after a La Nina year had brought drought to America. Other than predicting the given that the future will bring a big storm, Trenberth got everything else wrong.

As for predictions of accelerated warming even Jim Hansen recently admitted, “The 5-year running mean of global temperature has been flat for the past decade”. With such failed predictions, the CO2 advocates are now relegated to arguing CO2 has caused the climate to “go crazy”. There is no longer a testable hypothesis to disprove CO2 climate change, because omnipotent and omnipresent CO2 moves in strange and mysterious ways. Warm or cold, floods or droughts, rain or snow, its always CO2. Such arguments of crazy weather, appear more like excuses for their failed predictions. And their blatant flip‑flops expose their crass eagerness to hijack every human tragedy to implicate CO2.

On the other hand, climate theories based on natural variations show that the climate is behaving as has been predicted. A cool PDO phase is reversing the trends of the warm phase and as predicted global temperatures stopped rising. A cool NAO is now following a warm phase. The growing cold and ice in the Bering Sea has been followed by growing cold in the North Atlantic. The graph from the study shows how ocean temperatures, algae and the Aleutian Low are all related. Although the author made no such predictions the graph also suggests a trend toward colder weather as the natural oscillations trend deeper into their cool phase. This certainly seems to be the case as China has also suffered its coldest winters since the last PDO cool phase. If history repeats itself, we should also expect CO2 advocates to continue to flip‑flop as they repeatedly try to convince their faithful believers that global warming causes global cooling.

From Hetzinger abstract, “Here we present an annually-resolved record (1818–1967) of Mg/Ca variations from a North Pacific/ Bering Sea coralline alga that extends our knowledge in this region beyond available data. It shows for the first time a statistically significant link between decadal fluctuations in sea-level pressure in the North Pacific and North Atlantic. The record is a lagged proxy for decadal-scale variations of the Aleutian Low. It is significantly related to regional sea surface temperature and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index in late boreal winter on these time scales. Our data show that on decadal time scales a weaker Aleutian Low precedes a negative NAO by several years. This atmospheric link can explain the coherence of decadal North Pacific and Atlantic Multidecadal Variability, as suggested by earlier studies using climate models and limited instrumental data.”

clip_image004

References:

  1. Chavez,F.P., et al.(2003) From Anchovies to Sardines and Back: Multidecadal Change in the Pacific Ocean. Science 299, 217.
  2. Chavez,. F., et al., (2011) Marine Primary Production in Relation to Climate Variability and Change. Annual Revie of Marine Science, vol. 3, p. 227–260.
  3. Douglas,(2010) Arctic Sea Ice Decline: Projected Changes in Timing and Extent of Sea Ice in the Bering and Chukchi Seas. USGS Open-File Report 2010–1176
  4. Fischetti, M. (2012) Did Climate Change Cause Hurricane Sandy? Scientific American, October 30,2012.
  5. Hartman, B., & Wendler, G., (2005) The Significance of the 1976 Pacific Climate Shift in the Climatology of Alaska. Journal of Climate, vol. 18, p. 4821-4838.
  6. Holbrook, S., et al., (1997) Changes in an Assemblage of Temperate Reef Fishes associated with a Climate Shift. Ecological Applications, vol. 7, pp. 1299-1310.
  7. Hetzinger, S., et al. (2012) Marine proxy evidence linking decadal North Pacific and Atlantic Climate. Climate Dynamics, vol. 39, p.1447–1455, DOI 10.1007/s00382-011-1229-4.
  8. Peterson, W., and Schwing, F., (2003) A new climate regime in northeast pacific ecosystems. Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 30, doi:10.1029/2003GL017528.
  9. Schneider, D., and Steig, E., (2008) Ice cores record significant 1940s Antarctic warmth related to tropical climate variability. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 105, 12154–12158.
  10. Shindell,D., and Schmidt,G., (1999) Simulation of recent northern winter climate trends by greenhouse-gas forcing. Nature, vol. 399, p.452-455.
  11. Wendler,G., et al. (2012) The First Decade of the New Century: A Cooling Trend for Most of Alaska. The Open Atmospheric Science Journal, 2012, 6, 111-116
  12. Visbeck, M., et al., (2001) The North Atlantic Oscillation: Past, present, and future. PNAS, vol. 98, p.12876–12877.
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64 thoughts on “Coralline Algae and the Case for Natural Climate Change

  1. It has long been my belief that scientists who did not believe in the cagw scare chose to stay quiet on the matter because they knew that mother nature would sort it out in her own good time.

  2. As I said back in May 2008:

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=1302&linkbox=true&position=9

    “Before it is safe to attribute a global warming or a global cooling effect to any other factor (CO2 in particular) it is necessary to disentangle the simultaneous overlapping positive and negative effects of solar variation, PDO/ENSO and the other oceanic cycles. Sometimes they work in unison, sometimes they work against each other and until a formula has been developed to work in a majority of situations all our guesses about climate change must come to nought.”

    and:

    “Global temperature is controlled quite precisely (although it is difficult to calculate) by solar energy modulated by a number of overlapping and interlinked oceanic cycles each operating on different time scales and being of varying intensities, sometimes offsetting one another and sometimes complementing one another.”

  3. “Here we present an annually-resolved record (1818–1967) of Mg/Ca variations from a North Pacific/ Bering Sea coralline alga that extends our knowledge in this region beyond available data.
    Why does the data stop in 1967?

  4. Stephen Wilde says:
    January 28, 2013 at 6:55 am
    As I said back in May 2008:
    all our guesses about climate change must come to nought.”

    Including yours, of course, with no ‘formula’

  5. I saw places destroyed by man waste. I was part of a team that burned million of gallons in the water in Iraq war one. There was no life on land or water. The gas that was spilled into the gulf. If they did not burn the diesel it went to the bottom. I live in Detroit. We get hot days in December. Weather changing. Water levels going up. Look at Greenland. Not the same Winters as in the past. liars say nothing had changed. Why does one plant or animal become lost forever daily.

  6. Of course climate change is natural. Driven by solar heat, insolation, and there is no other heat input. Forget GHG’s as that little theory not only violates 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics, but was drempt up to cover confused thinking over the energy flows in the atmosphere leading to the unrealistic proposition that there is no night only day with 1/4 of the actual insolation that can be measured, not modeled.

  7. Steveta_uk says:
    January 28, 2013 at 7:22 am
    Just curious – are “lsvalgaard” and “Leif Svalgaard” the same poster?
    Yes. I don’t know why WordPress can’t get their story right.

    [Any chance you're logging in from different PC with a different "cookie" in memory? Mod]

  8. Leif Svalgaard says:
    January 28, 2013 at 7:03 am
    Why does the data stop in 1967?
    =============================

    DESCRIPTION:
    150 year Mg/Ca data from coralline alga collected near Amchitka Island,
    Aleutian Islands, Alaska. C. nereostratum is a long-lived, shallow-marine
    crustose coralline algae.

    Specimen AM-KR-80 8-69-14B
    collected in August 1969, 25 water depth,
    coralline algae, species: Clathromorphum nereostratum

    Sampling location:
    Kirlof Point, Amchitka Island, Alaska, 51�24.936’N, 179�17.976’E.

    …….one

  9. johncoyote,

    What color is the sky on your planet?

    Because on Earth, it’s blue — and diesel oil doesn’t sink to the bottom of the ocean here, either.

    I suggest you return to your wild-eyed alarmist blog, where they believe nonsense like that.

  10. johncoyote says:
    January 28, 2013 at 7:24 am

    I saw places destroyed by man waste. I was part of a team that burned million of gallons in the water in Iraq war one. There was no life on land or water. The gas that was spilled into the gulf. If they did not burn the diesel it went to the bottom. I live in Detroit. We get hot days in December. Weather changing. Water levels going up. Look at Greenland. Not the same Winters as in the past. liars say nothing had changed. Why does one plant or animal become lost forever daily.
    ===========
    …we have lift off Houston

  11. lsvalgaard says:
    January 28, 2013 at 7:31 am
    [Any chance you're logging in from different PC with a different "cookie" in memory? Mod]
    No, same PC, but I delete old cookies…

  12. It is great to see these studies surfacing. I had the feeling they were either drowned out or repressed, this past decade or two. Howevert it is understanding these cycles that gives us a chance to make a rough guess, (and it admittedly would be rough,) of what to expect in terms of weather trends.

  13. I don’t think there is time to let Mother Nature sort it out. Too many billions of taxpayer and untaxed foundation money are going to corrupt the hard sciences and make social sciences models dominant. They are being used to change the nature of education globally and centrally plan economies. I have written about the planned Future Earth Alliance. Here’s a link from this weekend of the kind of expensive planning going on in the name of the Earth System.

    http://www.igbp.net/news/features/features/earthsystemscienceatacrossroads.5.19b40be31390c033ede80001358.html

    And the January 2013 National Science Foundation (along with the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research) financed copy of Human Dimensions magazine has an article by the Ehrlichs saying they are working with the UN and FEA affiliated International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP) to reorient global society. Using education and social science research primarily.

    These schemers living at our expense are in too much of a hurry to wait.

  14. “With such failed predictions, the CO2 advocates are now relegated to arguing CO2 has caused the climate to “go crazy”. There is no longer a testable hypothesis to disprove CO2 climate change, because omnipotent and omnipresent CO2 moves in strange and mysterious ways.”

    I have a prediction: The hard core CO2 troops will be unrelenting in the face of even total falsification.

    A friend of mine had a friend who was a rabid, perennial activist who protested over the plight of the polar bears, human rights in East Timor, the excessive force of the Australian army who freed the East Timorese, conditions at Guantanamo Bay detention center, over zealousness of police guards at a G10 summit in Toronto, ….I threw out an off-the-cuff idea that jumped into my head: She’s really protesting against her father. My friend gulped and confided that her father was an, authoritarian, cold fish, SOB who left his family decades ago and only saw his daughter twice since. Hmm… this may have only been a lucky guess, but I think I may be onto something.

  15. A very good question why dhe data stops. Perhaps they form hard parts slowly in the cold water?

    I am very glad to see proper focus return to PDO. There was a strange trend to thinking that ENSO was the cahuna and PDO just a derivative. PDO was discovered by fisheries biologists, not statisticians.

    By chance I published two days ago a vernacular hypothesis linking PDO to the thermohaline circulation.

    http://geosciencebigpicture.com/2013/01/26/loose-fire-hos…e-aborted-nino/

  16. I think that the quote in this sentence needs a closing quotation mark:
    As for predictions of accelerated warming even Jim Hansen recently admitted, “The 5-year running mean of global temperature has been flat for the past decade.(“?) With such failed predictions, the CO2 advocates are now relegated to arguing CO2 has caused the climate to “go crazy”. There is no longer a testable hypothesis to disprove CO2 climate change, because omnipotent and omnipresent CO2 moves in strange and mysterious ways. Warm or cold, floods or droughts, rain or snow, its always CO2. Such arguments of crazy weather, appear more like excuses for their failed predictions. And their blatant flip‑flops expose their crass eagerness to hijack every human tragedy to implicate CO2.

    Jim Hansen may have admitted that the temperatures are flat, but he sure wouldn’t have admitted the rest of the paragraph!

  17. @johncoyote says:
    January 28, 2013 at 7:24 am

    Diesel floats on water – it’s a hydrocabon liquid with a specific gravity of ~0.8 – i.e. less dense than sea water.

  18. Leif Svalgaard says:
    January 28, 2013 at 7:03 am

    “Here we present an annually-resolved record (1818–1967) of Mg/Ca variations from a North Pacific/ Bering Sea coralline alga that extends our knowledge in this region beyond available data.
    Why does the data stop in 1967?
    ###

    Cause that’s all the data that they have, and unlike the Marxist propagandist who pretend to be scientists, they are not willing to infill and extrapolate in order to create a graphic that “Tells A Story”. They appear to be real scientist, like you. BTW, coralline algae grows very slow. A decades growth can amount to little more then a film (0.1mm).

  19. Joanie says:
    January 28, 2013 at 8:24 am

    I think that the quote in this sentence needs a closing quotation mark:
    [,...]
    Jim Hansen may have admitted that the temperatures are flat, but he sure wouldn’t have admitted the rest of the paragraph!
    ——————————————————————-

    I thought the same, but wouldn’t it be nice if…… :D

    Nature will resolve AGW in the end, and scientists will increasingly listen to what she’s saying.. Sadly it will be too late for a whole generation (or two) by the time anything really changes because extraordinary tax opportunities require extraordinary falsification. Even once the science is settled (by nature) the meme will continue as long as the public allow it to.

  20. All good, except the PDO is a temperature so it’s a response, not a driver. The driver is the NPI and -NPI roughly equals the derivative of temperature

    There’s a ‘problem’ around 1920, but AO comes to rescue so summing the integrals of AO and -NPI gives the NH-temp

  21. Leif Svalgaard says: Why does the data stop in 1967?

    The study was simply looking for proxies that faithfully captured extra-tropical marine temperatures. They used data from extensive studies of the algae that were conducted up to 1967. The author used electron microprobe to claims “the first marine proxy evidence for a
    statistically significant linkage between decadal variations in atmospheric circulation over the extra-tropical North Pacific and Atlantic, with a weaker Aleutian Low tending to precede a negative NAO.” Although the proxy data stops in 1967, it correlates well with 150 years of temperature and pressure data and simply predicts a teleconnection that shortly after the Aleutian Low weakens so will the NAO/AO.

    My argument is simply that the weakening of the Aleutian Low and the subsequent weakening of the NAO/AO is a continuation of natural ocean cycles that the algae recorded from 1818 to 1967.
    What is more relevant to the climate change debate is rising temperatures in the Bering Sea and Alaska stopped after 2003 and after the predicted lag the warming and drying of Great Britain stopped and severe winters have now increased.

    What is more relevant to the climate debate is CO2 advocates like Gavin Schmidt had been claiming greenhouse gases and ozone would keep the NAO/AO in the warm phase. When these natural cycles switched to the cool phase, i order to capitalize on the tragedy of Superstorm Sandy or brutal winters in Great Britain, Alaska, Russia and China advocates are again claiming control by flipping their argument that CO2 causes the cool phase. The relevant question is not why did the proxies stop in 1967. What does it tell us about the integrity of CO2 theory when advocates claim CO2 drives both the warm phase and cold phase of natural oscillations? Why are they trying to portray natural variations as a climate gone crazy?

  22. lgl says: All good, except the PDO is a temperature so it’s a response, not a driver.

    There are no one-way streets in climate change. Responses become drivers. The PDO is a long-lived response to the El NIno cycles. Some scientists like Dr. Chavez like to call the PDO phases EL Viejo(old man) and La Vieja(old woman) because the ocean temperatures are long-lived versions of the short lived El Nino La Nina. They also refer to the warm PDO phase as the sardine regime versus the cold anchovy regime. Although El Nino drives the PDO, it is the PDO that drives many 20 year regime shifts in ocean ecosystems. PDO also creates a background climate that intensifies or weakens the global response to El NIno cycles. For example, La Nina events cause droughts in the American west, but the coincidence of both a La NIna and a negative PDO intensifies those droughts. Since 1700, a La NIna coincided with the negative PDO only 29% of the time. However in Rocky Mountain National Park, 79% of the wild fires occurred when a La Nina a La Vieja coincided. The 2012 fires in Colorado were just another manifestation of that pattern. SImilarly depending on how those phases coincide, temperatures in Alaska are colder or warmer.

    Schoennagel, T., (2005) ENSO and PDO Variability Affect Drought induced Fire Occurrence in Rocky Mounain Subalpine Forests. Ecological Applications, vol. 15, pp. 2000-2014.

  23. johncoyote says:
    January 28, 2013 at 7:24 am

    … Why does one plant or animal become lost forever daily.

    Ummm … well … the simplest answer is that, as Carl Sagan said,

    Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.

    Now you can get all sad and weepy about that unalterable fact if you want, but all that shows is that you haven’t looked at history.

    In any case, since you claim that more than 300 plants and animals are going extinct every year, I’m sure that you could name say a dozen of the plants and animals you are talking about, so we could discuss whether your claim is correct. You probably should answer on the relevant thread, though, which would be my thread on extinction called “Always Trust Your Gut Extinct“.

    I look forward to seeing you there,

    w.

  24. Joanie says:
    January 28, 2013 at 8:24 am

    I think that the quote in this sentence needs a closing quotation mark:

    [Fixed, thanks. -w.]

  25. jim Steele says:
    January 28, 2013 at 9:21 am
    “Why does the data stop in 1967?”
    The study was simply looking for proxies that faithfully captured extra-tropical marine temperatures. They used data from extensive studies of the algae that were conducted up to 1967.

    And the vindication of the method would be to see if it would give the same result with data up to today [realizing there may not be any].

  26. jim Steele says:
    January 28, 2013 at 9:21 am


    What does it tell us about the integrity of CO2 theory when advocates claim CO2 drives both the warm phase and cold phase of natural oscillations? Why are they trying to portray natural variations as a climate gone crazy?

    It tells us one should never use the word “integrity” to describe advocates of CO2-driven global warming. They’re not to be trusted, believed, or called “scientists”. However, they do make great politicial activists.

  27. “the upper 10 feet of the ocean contains more heat than the entire atmosphere”

    The most important quote in the paper. Until we have a thorough understanding of oceanic circulation and cycles, predicting future climate will be guesswork at best because most the potential energy of the climate system is in the ocean. Think about the entire volume of the ocean & the tremendous heat capacity. At the end of the day , the atmosphere hardly matters when it comes to total heat capacity / energy in the climatic-oceanic system.

  28. Gary Pearse said Hmm… this may have only been a lucky guess, but I think I may be onto something.

    Sure, I’m interested in the science, but even more in the psychology of movements and mass lies, and it’s intermingling with sci-facts. You are definitely on the something. A common motivation in joining irrational movements is Mad at Daddie displacement. Note your pseudoliberal friends have Mad at Daddy Syndrome. Climate change imagination is about displacement of OTHER unresolved problems. Because climate is not understood scientifically, it creates a wonderfully incomplete canvas on to which we are encouraged to fingerpaint our own neuroses.

  29. lsvalgaard says:And the vindication of the method would be to see if it would give the same result with data up to today [realizing there may not be any].

    Of course this proxy needs to be tested against recent temperature and sea level pressure indices. And because this study found good historical correlations it should prompt further testing. The historical collection of coralline algae that was used was driven by biological surveys not climate study.

    However that doesn’t detract from observed pattern that changes in the Atlantic lagged changes in the Pacific by ~ 5 years, and that pattern is vindicated by recent changes in temperatures as the the cold in the North Atlantic has followed the growing cold in the Bering Sea. Statistical studies of climate teleconnections always suffer from the limits of each index and any lag effects. Furthermore depending on the climate background, teleconnections appear strong during some decades and weaker during others. The value of this study is that it supports other studies that find changes in the Aleutian Low are tele-connected to the Atlantic via the AO/NAO. The algae study itself did not correlate well with the PDO index, just the Aleutian Low. But several other studies show that the PDO affects the location and intensity of the Aleutian Low. The cool phase of the PDO shifts the Aleutian Low to a position that allows more cold air and ice to push into the Bering Sea. The warm PDO shifts the Aleutian Low to a position that opposes the north winds and pushes warmth into Alaska and the Arctic.

    Perhaps the connection between the PDO, Aleutian Low and NAO’s and their control over climate change is just a short term abnormality, that requires another 10 years of observation to validate. However the abrupt change in Alaska and the Bering Sea’s climate from the most rapidly warming to the most rapidly cooling parallel the abrupt regime shifts by the PDO and suggests the link to the PDO will be vindicated.

  30. jim Steele says:
    January 28, 2013 at 11:11 am
    Of course this proxy needs to be tested against recent temperature and sea level pressure indices.
    What would be our ‘excuse’ if the correlation does not hold up?

  31. Proffessor Tim Patterson of Carleton University, did a similar work using sea bed sediment from the BC coast, now is engaged in studying climate as described by lakebed sediment in Northern Canada.
    He scoffs at CAGW, cites natural cycles and predicts a cooling system as of 2018.
    Heard this man speak a few years ago, seems most geologists never bought the scam.

  32. When warmists claim that climatologists predicted stormier weather by this date, they neglect to mention that this was conditioned on the temperature continuing to rise–which it hasn’t done.

  33. lsvalgaard says: What would be our ‘excuse’ if the correlation does not hold up?

    The recent warming since the 1950’s correlates with greater urbanization, more wast heat, warm phases of natural oscillations, higher solar activity, as well as rising CO2. The literature is full of scientists suggesting that it is still difficult separate natural variation from proposed CO2 warming. The CO2 argument is only supported by models that can not replicate warming via “natural variations” so by dubious subtraction they then claim the warming must be CO2. Yet those models have failed to replicate many natural cycles. Just as Hansen’s earlier models did, most models produce uniform Pacific temperatures despite the well documented alternation of the PDO. El Nino cycles are likewise horribly replicated, and models failed to simulate growing Antarctic sea ice as well as the rapidity of the recent Arctic melt. So their failure to replicate recent warming is more of a testimony to incomplete models than it is proof of CO2 caused climate change.

    That said,over the next 20 years natural cycles and CO2 rise no longer coincide and we can separate the confounding trends. As natural oscillations continue into their cool phases and solar activity wanes, global warming should cease and eventually cool faster than they can be adjusted. If instead global temperatures warm, I will become a CO2 believer. And you? What if temperatures cease to warm over the next two decades? Would you agree that natural climate cycles are driving recent changes. Or will you join the ranks of advocates who try to convince us global warming causes global cooling?

  34. jim Steele says:
    January 28, 2013 at 1:11 pm
    Would you agree that natural climate cycles are driving recent changes.
    Natural cycles have always driven climate, past and recent. The problem is that it is hard to separate the various effects, no matter what happens.

  35. Leif, it seems that they have samples of coralline algae up to 2007, as they have published growth-rate increments to 2007 and d18O to 2003. ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/contributions_by_author/halfar2011/halfar2011.txt

    Why didn’t they do Mg-Ca measurements on the newer samples (as opposed to a sample taken in 1969)? AFAIK, it’s hard to understand and even harder to justify.

    My guess is that they are trying to get more papers from the coralline algae data and therefore spinning it out into multiple papers – a fairly common practice in the field.

  36. Stand long enough in paddocks on the NSW coastal fringe, between Divide and sea. You will notice all important changes in dominant winds. It won’t be a neat, mechanistic affair, but it will be a perceptible change. In 2007, oceanic winds completed their dominance over inland winds, an effect most notable in the winter-spring. From never experiencing winter thunder we moved to frequent winter storms. This effect has been there even through El Nino conditions which militate against it. The present climate is in a phase like the one I grew up with (and unlike the one my parents grew up with).

    In 2007, the climate really did change. It is written in the winds. I find it astounding that the climatariat, those who preach climate change, do not notice climate change when it actually happens.

  37. Steve McIntyre says:
    January 28, 2013 at 1:52 pm
    Why didn’t they do Mg-Ca measurements on the newer samples (as opposed to a sample taken in 1969)? AFAIK, it’s hard to understand and even harder to justify.
    Perhaps the result didn’t look too good…

  38. Steve Mcintyre I appreciate the link.

    What is interesting is that both Coralline algae papers emphasize a connection to the Aleutian Low but not the PDO. This appears to be due to the slightly different timescales affecting the 2 indices.

    In contrast most studies like Rodionov 2005, have found that the temperature difference in the Pacific affects the Aleutian Low reporting, “strengthening of the Aleutian low is almost invariably associated with a positive phase of the PDO with negative SST/SAT anomalies in the western and central North Pacific and positive anomalies along the North American coast”.

    Rodionov characterized 2 Aleutian Low locations that had the most impact on Bering Sea temperatures, When the AL moved westward and north and deepened, then cyclones pumped warm Pacific air into the eastern Bering Sea temperatures rose on average, 2°– 4°C above normal. This type of atmospheric circulation accounts for 50% of all “warm” months and there were no “cold” months observed under these conditions. When the center of the Aleutian Low splits a high pressure cell dominates in the Bering Sea causing cold Arctic air along the eastern periphery of this cell which causes the temperature in the eastern Bering Sea to drop 2°–4°C below normal, on average. This type accounts for 38% of all cold months,

    Depending on the location of the Aleutian Low Bering Sea temperatures are fluctuating between 4°C and 8°C and this variation os modulated on multi-decadal time scales. Clearly such natural variability is independent of and overwhelms the small contribution of CO2.

    Rodionov, S., et al. (2007) The Aleutian Low and Winter Climatic Conditions in the Bering Sea. Part I: Classification. Journal of Climate, vol. 18, p. 160 178

  39. lsvalgaard , lets assume that the study is totally flawed. Are you arguing against a teleconnection between internal cycles in the Pacific and the Atlantic? Are you arguing the PDO and NAO do not affect climate in very powerful ways that also afford some predictability?

  40. jim Steele says:
    January 28, 2013 at 3:56 pm
    Are you arguing
    I’m not arguing, just want to see the data [which may exist] before drawing [even tentative] conclusions.

  41. lsvalgaard says:
    What would be our ‘excuse’ if the correlation does not hold up?

    Perhaps you are not arguing, but your phrase “what would be our excuse” suggests a somewhat derogatory stance and a veiled argument that goes beyond the innocence of “just wanting to see the data”. Did you similarly seek the data when advocates argued the NAO/AO were driven by CO2?

  42. jim Steele says:
    January 28, 2013 at 4:48 pm
    Perhaps you are not arguing, but your phrase “what would be our excuse” suggests a somewhat derogatory stance and a veiled argument that goes beyond the innocence of “just wanting to see the data”.
    In this business there is a lot of confirmation bias. Because the CO2 influence is usually purported to take off after 1967, it is paramount to see that data for after 1967.

    Did you similarly seek the data when advocates argued the NAO/AO were driven by CO2?
    If they have data that shows that, I would want to see it. Do you know if there is such data supporting their argument?

  43. Leif,
    i only can second Jim Steele .. if you whose input here i really appreciate (being myself a geoscientist .. so no absolute layman) would have been asking for data etc after climategate etc. that way we MAY had seen some tossing and turning from the usual supects, For now, let´s take the results of this study as they are … and as Steve Mc has said .. possible to see some more (grantseeking anybody?). I find it strange that you object in that way to (most of) anything questioning the “consensus” .. you should know better. Anyway … there are more and more signs that our modelers have got it wrong. More and more (peer reviewed) studies. This should make any warmist think … but do not count on it.

    Sry for grammar or spelling misses .. no native speaker here .. Germany calling .. plagued by irrational energy policies…

    Cheers
    Roger

  44. While waiting for my comment to be approved … i´d like to know Leif what you think of Nic Lewis´(and not only him) objections to use uniform priors in the models to estimate climate sensivity for CO2? CS (TCS and else) are the heart of the alarmists case .. what do you think if they use an inappropriate statisic procedure??? I am not into statistics but the more i read the more i see that our beloved climate doomsayers are using tools they don´t understand.
    OK OT … mod delete if you want …..

  45. Roger L. says:
    January 28, 2013 at 5:16 pm
    For now, let´s take the results of this study as they are
    Since the data presented stops in 1967, it has little bearing on the CO2 problem, and is therefore irrelevant, hence my wish to see newer data.

    there are more and more signs that our modelers have got it wrong.
    But the data presented here is not one of those signs.

    what do you think if they use an inappropriate statistics procedure
    The problem is more with the data than with the procedure. Personally, I dislike Bayesian analyses because of the priors injecting opinion into the analysis.

  46. Leif wrote: “Since the data presented stops in 1967, it has little bearing on the CO2 problem, and is therefore irrelevant, hence my wish to see newer data.”

    I concur that recent data should be presented.

    However, are you suggesting the the CO2 “problem” is post 1967? Really, because at first we heard from the CAGW proponents that GHG global warming was from the start of the industrial revolution… then it shifted to post 1950 and now it would be post 1967? Talking about shifting goal posts…

  47. TomRude says:
    January 28, 2013 at 8:58 pm
    However, are you suggesting the the CO2 “problem” is post 1967?
    It is a matter of degree [no pun intended], but we often hear that the warming really took off in the 1970s.

  48. mosomoso says:
    January 28, 2013 at 2:09 pm
    ….In 2007, the climate really did change. It is written in the winds. I find it astounding that the climatariat, those who preach climate change, do not notice climate change when it actually happens.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Anyone who has paid attention to the daily weather should have noticed the change in the wind. In N.C. it used to be from the west (Zonal jets) and now it is from every direction even from the east (Meridional) The Climastrologists know this and that is why the party line changed to ‘Weather Weirding’

  49. lsvalgaard says: It is a matter of degree [no pun intended], but we often hear that the warming really took off in the 1970s.

    Indeed warming took off in the 1970’s. The PDO ocean regime shift happened in 1976. It was reorganized ocean temperatures, pressure systems and marine ecosystems from the Arctic to the Antarctic. The PDO is is a natural oscillation, that intensifies during eras of high solar activity and weakens under low activity. The trend towards a negative PDO and low solar output predicts that warming will stop and should cool over the next decade. CO2 theory predicts warming should accelerate. The current warming plateau suggests the PDO is a better predictor of climate change, but it will take the net decade to determine who the real deniers are.

  50. Gail every serious climatologist was aware of the 1970s climatic shift -cf. Leroux. I find now hilarious that the CAGW advocates are hooking up on this one because analysis of the weather events related to this shift are pointing toward anything but the CO2 induced global warming… hence the “warm creates cold” funny papers that try to justify after the fact the cold waves, snow and record wintry conditions they claimed would be “things of the past” 10 or 15 years ago.
    The warming “take off” in the 1970s reflects simply the weighting and distribution of land based stations, highlighting if necessary the scientific blinders and blunder that consists in deducting climatological understanding mostly from temperatures.

  51. jim Steele says:
    January 29, 2013 at 10:11 am
    The trend towards a negative PDO and low solar output predicts that warming will stop and should cool over the next decade.
    The solar part will not exceed 0.03 degrees so is negligible…

  52. A well written and powerful evidence based article. The corraline algal data shows that the PDO, NAO and AMO, far from being mere hand-waving abstractions, are real phenomena grounded in solid experimental proxy data.

    The “hypothesis” that CO2 dominates climate and would crush “natural” variation (if such a thing indeed existed) – has been tested and has utterly failed.

    lsvalgaard says:
    January 29, 2013 at 4:47 am
    TomRude says:
    January 28, 2013 at 8:58 pm
    However, are you suggesting the the CO2 “problem” is post 1967?
    It is a matter of degree [no pun intended], but we often hear that the warming really took off in the 1970s.

    What “took off” in the 1970s was the warm phase of the PDO. Looks like now it has come back down to earth.

  53. Steve McIntyre says:
    January 28, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    My guess is that they are trying to get more papers from the coralline algae data and therefore spinning it out into multiple papers – a fairly common practice in the field.

    A common practice in every field. In biological sciences they call it “salami-slicing”.

  54. Stephen Wilde says:
    January 28, 2013 at 6:55 am
    As I said back in May 2008:

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=1302&linkbox=true&position=9

    [...]
    “Global temperature is controlled quite precisely (although it is difficult to calculate) by solar energy modulated by a number of overlapping and interlinked oceanic cycles …

    I would reverse that particular causal sentence:

    Global temperature is controlled … by a number of overlapping and interlinked oceanic cycles, which (in turn) are modulated and driven via weak nonlinear periodic forcing by oscillations in solar output.

  55. Exceedingly interesting post.

    I found the period of the oscillation a bit confusing. From a biological point of view the PDO is a “regime shift” that totally alters currents, winds and marine life approximately every 20 years.
    and As the PDO entered its warm phase beginning in the early 1900’s to the late 1940’s, global temperatures rose. So is the period of the PDO 2×20 = 40 years or 2×50 = 100 years?

  56. I found the period of the oscillation a bit confusing. As the PDO entered its warm phase beginning in the early 1900’s to the late 1940’s, global temperatures rose. So is the period of the PDO 2×20 = 40 years or 2×50 = 100 years?

    Sorry about that. It was a typo on my part. The PDO shifted to a warm mode beginning in the 1920’s.

  57. lsvalgaard says: The solar part will not exceed 0.03 degrees so is negligible…

    You are such a curmudgeon. I am not sure how you calculated 0.03 degrees or why you would argue any solar effect is negligible.C14 and Be 10 studies show clear correlations between solar activity and the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Periods, (ie. Asmerom, Y., et al. (2007) Solar forcing of Holocene climate: New insights from a speleothem record, southwestern United States. Geology, vol.35, p.1-4.)

    Your speculative effect on average temperature, ignores the impact of ocean and atmospheric circulation that redistributes heat. Outside the tropics the average temperature is determined by how much heat is exported from the tropics. A change in average temperature does not simply equate to a change in the amount of heat added to the system. Solar output controls the temperature gradient from the equator to the poles which greatly affects the circulation patterns and the redistribution of heat. For example during an equinox, a .1% increase in solar output increases tropical heat input by nearly the full percentage, but the change in solar output approaches zero at the poles.Using any average obscures that dynamic.

    Several studies can detect the solar impact between sunspot cycles.They wrote “These differences between the extremes of the solar cycle suggest that an increase in solar forcing intensifies the Hadley and Walker circulations, with greater solar forcing resulting in strengthened regional climatological tropical precipitation regimes.”( van Loon, et al. (2004) A decadal solar effect in the tropics in July–August.Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 66 1767–1778).

    Likewise recent colder winters are correlated with sunspot minimum (Lockwood, M.et al. (20110The solar influence on the probability of relatively cold UK winters in the future. Environ. Res. Lett. 6 034004 11pp).

    So what does your 0.03 degrees have do with anything?

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