Climate, Stadium Waves, and Traffic Waves

In a recent paper, Marcia Wyatt and Judith Curry posited about “Stadium Waves” and climate, suggesting that the ‘stadium-wave’ signal propagates like the cheer known as “the wave” at sporting events whereby sections of sports fans seated in a circular or oval stadium stand and sit as a ‘wave’ propagates through the audience. In a similar way, Wyatt and Curry’s ‘stadium wave’ climate signal propagates around the Northern Hemisphere through a network of ocean, ice, and atmospheric circulation elements that self-organize into a collective tempo. Some might call it a “beat frequency“.

You can read more about it here on WUWT’s coverage of the paper. You can watch a stadium wave in action below.

I came across the Wyatt and Curry article again recently, and it made me think about how stadium waves might be much like traffic waves on congested multi-lane city highways. Plus, I found an excellent interactive visualization that helps tell the story

You know what these events are; the situation where all of the sudden you find yourself braking, coming to a stop or near stop along with the other traffic, and you sit there or crawl along for a minute, resume, only to repeat again n times and then suddenly the pattern evaporates and you keep looking for whatever it was that cause the slowdown, only to find nothing.

Being curious late last night, I found that there was an excellent visualization for traffic waves that may also serve as a suitable  visualization for Wyatt and Curry’s “stadium wave” in the atmosphere. This comes from a KQED blog called “The Lowdown”. Below is a screenshot of their interactive traffic wave model with my annotation. It reminds me of the top down look at the northern hemisphere we often see when looking at the circumpolar vortex.

traffic_model_pause

You can interact with this visualization yourself here: http://blogs.kqed.org/lowdown/2013/11/12/traffic-waves

Matthew Green writes:

The simplest explanation for why traffic waves happen is that drivers have relatively slow reaction times: if the car in front of you suddenly slows down, it’ll likely take you a second or so to hit the brakes. The slower your reaction time, the harder you have to brake to compensate and keep a safe distance. The same goes for the car behind you, which has to brake even harder than you did in order to slow down faster. And so on down the road, in a domino-like effect.

The equation used in the car circle above is relatively complex. Known as the  Intelligent Driver Model, it was first proposed in 2000 by researchers at Germany’s Dresden University of Technology. The creators made this Java applet demonstration. Formal equations to explain these traffic patterns in terms of individual behavior are called car following models. They were first developed by researchers at General Motors in the 1950s. The simplest such formula is: lambda formula

where is the car’s acceleration, Δv is the difference in velocity compared with the car behind it,is reaction time and ƛ is some constant that researchers estimate from data. The equation says, “At time t, you accelerate at a rate proportional to the difference in speed between your car and the speed of the car you’re following, but with a gap of T seconds.”

So, put really simply, if you’re going faster than the car in front of you, then you slow down. And if you’re going slower, you speed up. This equation produces the graph below. At the 10-second mark, the grey car slows down, and the cars that brake later have to slow down to lower and lower minimum speeds. Each line shows the history of the speed of a different car. Drag the slider to graphically see a traffic wave unfold. Note how the cars at the bottom of the chart get closer together with time, as speed evens out.

In our atmosphere, “braking” could be equivalent to such events like rex block highs and cutoff lows, both of which are detached from the jet stream and impede atmospheric flow. That’s just one example for a short time scale we can observe in weather.

From our WUWT story on the paper, where they use the term “braking” to describe what starts the stadium wave:

Wyatt and Curry identified two key ingredients to the propagation and maintenance of this stadium wave signal: the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and sea ice extent in the Eurasian Arctic shelf seas. The AMO sets the signal’s tempo, while the sea ice bridges communication between ocean and atmosphere. The oscillatory nature of the signal can be thought of in terms of ‘braking,’ in which positive and negative feedbacks interact to support reversals of the circulation regimes. As a result, climate regimes — multiple-decade intervals of warming or cooling — evolve in a spatially and temporally ordered manner. While not strictly periodic in occurrence, their repetition is regular — the order of quasi-oscillatory events remains consistent. Wyatt’s thesis found that the stadium wave signal has existed for at least 300 years.

The stadium wave periodically enhances or dampens the trend of long-term rising temperatures, which may explain the recent hiatus in rising global surface temperatures.

“The stadium wave signal predicts that the current pause in global warming could extend into the 2030s,” said Wyatt, an independent scientist after having earned her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado in 2012.

Thank goodness we don’t get stuck in traffic that long.

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71 Responses to Climate, Stadium Waves, and Traffic Waves

  1. tallbloke says:

    It’s great to see Anthony has been chewing over this paper on, dare I say it here? Cyclic phenomena. As well as the ~60 year ‘wave’, there is a ~45 year wave in the high latitudes which is evidenced in the regular run of beach ridges on the Hudson bay and Siberian coastlines. Note these two periods are in a 2:3 ratio. ~60 years is also in a 2:3 ratio with the ~90 year Gleissberg cycle. That’s also in a 2:1 ratio with the ~45 year period. These are resonant harmonics.

    I’ve just had two papers accepted by a physics journal which explore these periodicities (along with many others), in the context of celestial orbital motions and solar variation, as well as changes in the rotation rate of Earth and Venus. I believe we are getting closer to finding the predominant underlying causes of climate change.

    REPLY:
    Big leap there Rog. I’ve yet to see any credible evidence of gravitational/barycentric induced climate change. The effects in the Wyatt and Curry paper can all be explained by earthly phenomena. – Anthony

  2. Paul Deacon says:

    Anthony – the “stadium wave” is more commonly known as the “Mexican wave” (because it gained its notoriety at the soccer World Cup in Mexico).

    All the best.

  3. David Thomas says:

    If only cars didn’t have brakes, traffic waves wouldn’t occur?

  4. Jim Cripwell says:

    Many years ago, in, I believe, the Operations Research Society of America (ORSA) Journal, there was a paper on the cause of the traffic waves. They had two cars drive, one behind the other, and the car at the back was ordered to stay the same distance from the car in front, no matter what this car did. They attached a cable between the cars, and measured precisely what happened, when the car in front carried out certain set manoeuvers. Naturally, this was done around something like a race track. There was a sample of different drivers in the rear car. This showed why the traffic wave occurs. My guess as to date Is around 1970.

  5. Bloke down the pub says:

    One variable that the car model doesn’t explicitly mention is the distance between vehicles. When it is sufficiently large, there is time for a driver to change speed without causing the following vehicle to take rapid action and the traffic is not brought to a stand-still. I wonder if there is a corresponding element in the atmospheric model?

  6. jorgekafkazar says:

    I save a bit of gas in medium stop-and-go traffic by not quite matching the speed of the car ahead. This gives me a little buffer zone and lets me just let up on the gas when the car ahead brakes. With luck, I reach the other car just as it’s started to move again.

  7. cirby says:

    Traffic waves are also interesting in two dimensions. The one-dimensional model is useful up to a point, but when you add in the “number of lanes” variable, it gets worse.

    Going from one lane in one direction to two lanes speeds things up a lot, because it allows some flow in non-jammed lanes – but it doesn’t double the throughput from one lane. More like 60%. Adding yet another lane (from two to three) only adds another 30% or so. Part of this is because of traffic waves, which are often triggered by cars in adjacent lanes slowing down, or hotshots jumping lanes to try to get ahead (which triggers a wave behind them, but doesn’t do much for the slow lanes they started from).

    That’s why adding lanes on congested highways doesn’t always work to clear traffic jams.

  8. Caleb says:

    This idea is interesting to think about. I think it likely applies to other situations where you have both a “braking” and an “acceleration” involved.

    For example, when you are washing your car on a shallow incline on a flat, freshly paved driveway, you’ll notice that as the water runs away it starts to flow as a series of tiny waves, rather than at a steady flow. I have often stopped and looked at those little waves, contemplating the drag that slows the water down, and the reasons it builds up and gains the force to surge forward as a tiny wave. (Meanwhile my garden hose is spraying through my neighbor’s kitchen window, but never mind that part…)

    All you would seem to need are two “feedbacks,” one braking and one accelerating. I think this could be the case in the arctic, with one feedback created by open water and another feedback created by ice-covered water. However it is a slow period of roughly sixty years involved, in the case of the AMO.

    However also it seems this says nothing much about the general “trend.” It says even less about what is causing that general trend. (IE, whether it is caused by CO2 or cosmic rays or your grandmother’s recepe for reheated turkey.)

  9. wsbriggs says:

    The fun starts when a driver maintains a buffer between the cars larger than the minimum stopping distance. The deceleration necessary to avoid the car in front drops, intelligently picking the buffer lets the rear driver slow but not brake. The blogger of Weird Science did a test in Seattle showing how even though the peak speeds were lower, the average speed of buffered lanes was higher.

    The major cause of the high deceleration requirement are cars which dart into a lane between two cars 1 & 2, too close to the car in front #1 and hit their breaks hard. This causes #2 to have to decelerate harder, propagating a wave rearward. If #2 has a buffer, the entering car won’t cause as much of a deceleration and a smaller disruption occurs. Think of the buffer as allowing critical damping of the wave.

    Naturally it’s too much to expect all drivers to implement buffering, but if 1 per mile does so, traffic flows much smoother. Naturally there are other parameters to this, such as entering and exiting lanes, merging roads, etc., but for the simpler cases it describes things pretty well.

  10. RAH says:

    Learned about this 35 years ago going through the Special Force Qualification Course. We called it “The Accordion Effect”. It applies to humans in a formation doing a hard fast paced rucksack march. Never quantified it but everyone learned that the further back in the formation you were the more it would effect you.

  11. kenwd0elq says:

    Ah, I think I’ve found one of the problems with most major scientific studies;

    http://xkcd.com/1295/

  12. James says:

    “The effects in the Wyatt and Curry paper can all be explained by earthly phenomena. – Anthony”

    As far as I could tell. The Wyatt paper gives no information on the cause of the wave. Only that they think such a wave exists. I don’t think it excludes or supports any cause, terrestrial or otherwise.

  13. John R T says:

    Military memorabilia / anecdote recall:
    60s US Army Basic Training – how NOT to march. Films showed examples of lagging/bunching of companies in a brigade-level assembly; probably never happens, now, with modern communication resources!?!?!

  14. John R T says:

    RAH – – Thank you: greater precision.

  15. Jimbo says:

    Georgia Institute of Technology

    “The stadium wave forecasts that sea ice will recover from its recent minimum, first in the West Eurasian Arctic, followed by recovery in the Siberian Arctic,” Wyatt said. “Hence, the sea ice minimum observed in 2012, followed by an increase of sea ice in 2013, is suggestive of consistency with the timing of evolution of the stadium-wave signal.”

    http://www.research.gatech.edu/news/%E2%80%98stadium-waves%E2%80%99-could-explain-lull-global-warming

    We should have a clearer idea in about 5 years. IF the sea ice does rebound (and surface temps stay flat) then Warmists are doooomed. Their final joker in the pack would have been outed, their Arctic runaway amplification would end up in the dustbin.

  16. mike fowle says:

    I dimly recall one of the Christmas Lectures for Young People given at the Royal Institution in London a few years ago, by a chap who had studied this phenomenon and he advised that as far as it was possible you should try and keep moving, even at a very slow speed, if you anticipate a hazard ahead. The idea is to keep moving as it is the stopping and moving off again – the accordion effect is a good name – which causes long delays. I do try and put it into effect as far as possible. I think he had patented some ideas on this but I am afraid I can’t recall his name.

  17. FrankK says:

    Paul Deacon says:
    November 30, 2013 at 9:46 am
    Anthony – the “stadium wave” is more commonly known as the “Mexican wave” (because it gained its notoriety at the soccer World Cup in Mexico).

    All the best.

    —————————————————————————————————
    Thats its name in “Down under”

  18. Lady in Red says:

    Here, on traffic flow instabilities:

    http://people.csail.mit.edu/bkph/Traffic_Flow_Animation

    ….Lady in Red

  19. Tom in Florida says:

    David Thomas says:
    November 30, 2013 at 9:47 am
    “If only cars didn’t have brakes, traffic waves wouldn’t occur?”

    If only cars didn’t have people who don’t know how to drive …….. well that’s never going to be a reality, especially in Florida.

  20. Brian H says:

    kenw;
    Your xkcd link (http://xkcd.com/1295/) should be sent to every newspaper, once a month, to different editors.
    width=”600″>

  21. Brian H says:

    Another try, standard HTML image display.

  22. tallbloke says:

    Anthony says: The effects in the Wyatt and Curry paper can all be explained by earthly phenomena.

    Excellent. What’s the Earthly cause of the AMO? I must have missed this while I’ve been researching my own stuff.

  23. Mike Jonas says:

    tallbloke – re “celestial orbital motions and solar variation ”
    Anthony – re “I’ve yet to see any credible evidence of gravitational/barycentric induced climate change ”

    http://www.aanda.org/articles/aa/abs/2012/12/aa19997-12/aa19997-12.html

    Is there a planetary influence on solar activity?
    J. A. Abreu, J. Beer, A. Ferriz-Mas, K. G. McCracken and F. Steinhilber
    Sep 2012
    “[..]Direct observations of the sunspots since 1610 reveal an irregular activity cycle with an average period of about 11 years, which is modulated on longer timescales. Proxies of solar activity such as 14C and 10Be show consistently longer cycles with well-defined periodicities and varying amplitudes.[..]
    Methods. We developed a simple physical model for describing the time-dependent torque exerted by the planets on a non-spherical tachocline and compared the corresponding power spectrum with that of the reconstructed solar activity record.
    Results. We find an excellent agreement between the long-term cycles in proxies of solar activity and the periodicities in the planetary torque and also that some periodicities remain phase-locked over 9400 years.
    Conclusions. Based on these observations we put forward the idea that the long-term solar magnetic activity is modulated by planetary effects. If correct, our hypothesis has important implications for solar physics and the solar-terrestrial connection.”
    [NB. The 'model' they mention is a physical model, not a climate model!!]

  24. Jeff L says:

    The interesting observation to me is that the “waves” are cyclical but not necessarily periodic – ie the cycle time is generally similar but not necessarily the same, thus probably not appropriately suited to a traditional assessment of cyclicity, such as by Fourier methods etc.

    It also interesting that there appears to be some degree of self-similarity at different time scales – Anthony mentions Rex blocks , which would be on the of several days to weeks; Wyatt & Curry are looking at it from decadal scale; You could look afternoon convection cycles as “waves” on a daily scale (with convection putting the “brakes” on daily heating).

    Given this self similarity, I have to wonder what other “waves” may be present at longer time scales (centennial, millennial ) & how much of the warming we have seen in the industrial era is from a self organizing “wave” phenomena of a longer time scale, with us riding the up leg of that cycle for the last 100 years. Time will tell.

  25. ferdberple says:

    tallbloke says:
    November 30, 2013 at 9:45 am
    I’ve yet to see any credible evidence of gravitational/barycentric induced climate change.
    ==========
    One of the great failings of modern science is the insistence of a “mechanism”. The value of science is in the ability to predict the unknown from the known. For example, humans learned to predict the seasons long before they understood “why” we had seasons.

    It was only after we successfully learned to predict the seasons that we discovered the cause. Similarly, vaccination was used successfully long before we understood the mechanism by which it worked.

    We can predict the effects of gravity, which has great value, yet to this day we don’t know the mechanism. We don’t even know the propagation speed of gravity.

    It turns out the answer to “why” is not really science, it is philosophy, it is belief. In an infinite universe you can never be sure “why” something happens. Some new discovery tomorrow may upset all our carefully constructed explanations of “why”.

  26. tallbloke says:

    Ferd Berple says:
    It turns out the answer to “why” is not really science, it is philosophy, it is belief.

    Thanks Ferd

    Truth tables and consequential logic are part of philosophy.
    There’s another branch of philosophy called phenomenology. In the realm of introspective psychological investigation this was pioneered by Husserl. In the scientific study of the outer world it describes a body of knowledge that relates empirical observations of phenomena to each other.

    This is what I set out to do in the papers I submitted. It’s a perfectly valid form of knowledge building and that’s part of the reason why they’ve been accepted by my peer reviewers.

  27. Will Nelson says:

    David Thomas says:
    November 30, 2013 at 9:47 am

    If only cars didn’t have brakes, traffic waves wouldn’t occur?
    ________________
    Either that or there actually would be something to look at as you finally accelerate away.
    On the other hand, folks would drive a whoooole lot more careful.

  28. Robertvd says:

    There were 68 trying to ruin the wave. Did you see them?

    400ppm

  29. Doug Proctor says:

    Stadium wave? The car situation I have experienced – and which caused a number of deaths in Banff National Park, Alberta/Canada back in the 1980s (before the highway was twinned) was called a “standing wave” by engineers. Like the “hill” you see in rapids.

    The standing wave phenomena moves if the bunching-up is not perfectly matched with tranffic density and decleration/acceleration. Forward or back. Coming down the highway at certain spots you could see the standing or nodal point a mile or more away.

    A standing wave is different from a stadium wave in that there is movement of particles through the nodal part, whereas the stadium wave has the particles (people) stationary while the up-and-down aspect (amplitude) changes.

    I think the atmosphere has more in common physics-wise with a standing wave in traffic or a river than a stadium wave in a stadium or at the beach (the beach waves may or may not have in-out actual movement).

  30. Jason Calley says:

    @ kenwd0elq November 30, 2013 at 10:31 am

    xkcd has another very good illustration of how (some) scientists work: http://xkcd.com/882/

  31. catweazle666 says:

    I noticed the wave effect nearly half a century ago when I noticed that traffic on the A65 for no immediately apparent reason invariably slowed down so much that it came to a halt approximately 2 miles from the point where it slowed down to pass through a village.

    Later, when I was doing a lot of motorway driving, I noticed that if a police car passed me coming the other way, a couple of miles further up the motorway, the oncoming traffic backed up and slowed right down.

    Just think, if I’d bothered writing it up, i could have been famous(ish)…

  32. Sean Peake says:

    I think the physics of a “waves” in a bathtub is a better comparison

  33. Steven Mosher says:

    Rog

    “In the realm of introspective psychological investigation this was pioneered by Husserl. ”

    you dont understand phenomenology. Phenomenology starts with the epoche`. In the epoche` you bracket questions about the actual reality of what you are describing and you proceed to describe the structure of the experience. For example, all consciousness is consciousness of.
    That’s entirely different than “phenomenology” in the sciences or phenomenological models in science. In philosophical phenomenlogy the actual independent reality of the object you are concious of is “put to the side” In Kantian terms your are dealing with the phenominal world as opposed to things in themselves. Consequently in Phenomenology, we would study what it is like to experience “horror” what is the structure of this experience. Or what is the experience of “god” like. Its not that questions of “why” are suspended or bracketed, but rather questions about the actual existence of the object your conscious of is bracketed. We never ask about the external or independent reality of the object.

    If you’re interested you can read the books by either of my mentors

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_M._Edie

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_A._Earle

  34. eric1skeptic says:

    ferdberple (November 30, 2013 at 12:44 pm) “In an infinite universe you can never be sure “why” something happens.”

    Are you sure the universe in infinite?

  35. phlogiston says:

    tallbloke says:
    November 30, 2013 at 9:45 am

    I’ve just had two papers accepted by a physics journal which explore these periodicities (along with many others), in the context of celestial orbital motions and solar variation, as well as changes in the rotation rate of Earth and Venus. I believe we are getting closer to finding the predominant underlying causes of climate change.

    REPLY: Big leap there Rog. I’ve yet to see any credible evidence of gravitational/barycentric induced climate change. The effects in the Wyatt and Curry paper can all be explained by earthly phenomena. – Anthony

    tallbloke – are you willing to accept the existence of systems that generate oscillations internally? Such as dissipative nonlinear systems? Or would you consider nonlinear oscillators such as the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction, the Rayleigh oscillator, the Van der Pol oscillator and the human heart beat – all these to be illusory phenomena, with the supposedly internal oscillation actually being generated by some outside influence?

    The fractal log-log nature of climatic oscillations makes a nonlinear/nonequilibrium internal oscillatory dynamic impossible to deny. However nonlinear oscillatory systems CAN be externally periodically forced. The relationship between forcing and emergent oscillation frequency can be either simple (strong forcing) or complex (weak forcing).

    Why is it so hard to accept the idea of BOTH internal nonlinear oscillation AND external forcing?

  36. phlogiston says:

    ferdberple says:
    November 30, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    We can predict the effects of gravity, which has great value, yet to this day we don’t know the mechanism. We don’t even know the propagation speed of gravity.

    String theory is bringing us closer to understanding gravity. It predicts the graviton, the messenger particle of gravitational force, and reconciles gravity and general relativity to quantum mechanics (by setting the Plank length as the minimum spatial scale of operation). And gravitons travel at the speed of light.

  37. A Crooks of Adelaide says:

    I seem to remember a Mythbusters episode where they examined traffic flow in a circle and recreated this standing wave effect very nicely

  38. mbur says:

    Maybe i could get in the ‘Superposition ‘ of the wave and ride it ?More funding and a few tropics cruises wouldn’t hurt either…:^)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superposition_(disambiguation)

    From the web page:
    “Superposition can refer to:
    The superposition principle in physics, mathematics, and engineering, describes the overlapping of waves. Particular applications include: Quantum superposition, in quantum physics
    Superposition theorem, in electronics

    The superposition calculus, used in logic for equational first-order reasoning
    The law of superposition in geology and archaeology, which states that sedimentary layers are deposited in a time sequence, with the oldest on the bottom and the youngest on the top
    In chemistry, a property of two structures that have the same chirality
    Superposition (EP), an album by the band Kling Klang released in 2002
    Superposition (Artwork), an art installation programme commissioned by the Institute of Physics”

    Thanks for the interesting articles and comments.

  39. Ric Werme says:

    A couple notes on traffic waves.

    Around 1970 I took a CompSci course on modeling and simulation. It was more of an exposure to multiple special purpose languages than scientific modeling, but we did do car following model and got to experience all the wonderful effects of time delay. The next year had a systems course in the EE dept, and got a different sort of eyeopener about how time delays in a feedback introduce spirals in a phase/frequency polar plot and that’s bad news.

    Now I fully understood why Dad emphasized paying so much attention to the car 4 or 5 ahead, not just the first one in front. (He was a EE too.)

    Years later I got to observe a wonderful instance of a traffic wave on a two lane state highway after work. I was on my bicycle and had to cross the road. The “rush hour” there wasn’t too bad, this was before the state started adding lights as the building wave of the 1980s came through. The bulk of the traffic was coming from my right, and when a car slowed down to make a left turn on to my road, the car behind him had to slow down, and the one behind him, etc. This wave moved upstream through a dozen cars whereupon there was somewhat lighter traffic. At that point, like wsbriggs describes, cars had enough buffer space so drivers could just take their foot off the gas and coast down before needing to brake, and quickly didn’t need to brake. Now the wave started moving down stream, spread apart, and quickly dissipated.

    Like others, I try to anticipate waves heading toward me and damp them out as best I can. Also, when I do shift lanes, I often pick one that is beginning to accelerate and take advantage of the delay induced gap and to not induce one of my own.

  40. u.k.(us) says:

    Steven Mosher says:

    November 30, 2013 at 2:56 pm
    =============
    I’ve always felt that way about all the monthly data being thrown around.

  41. ed mister jones says:

    Something is hiding in plain sight: Drivers slow down more than is required, and then speed up more than can be sustained, that is the primary cause – over-reaction and over-correction.

  42. u.k.(us) says:

    I don’t know.
    I was driving down a 4 lane divided highway during rush-hour near Joliet Illinois, the traffic was flowing very nicely ~ 60 MPH, but very tightly packed.
    A car, must have been 5-6 cars ahead of me ?, spun out of control into the ditch on my left (I’m in the left lane), mud and water slowed it down fast.
    The traffic was so heavy that you couldn’t make a move if you tried to, luckily nobody did anything stupid, nobody even tapped their brakes !!
    NASCAR has nuth’n on the Chicago suburban drivers :)

  43. gymnosperm says:

    Do you drive? It is not only about reaction time. It is also about the comfort level each individual driver needs for personal space. In any event it is negative feedback propagating and amplifying backwards through the stream. Until equilibrium is reached. And relaxation. And now the relaxation propagates backwards through the stream. There is plenty of space. Everyone speeds up. Until equilibrium is reached again…Sort of a venturi effect with zero pressure at equilibrium.

    It is why streams meander. It is why the jet streams and their respective fronts meander. But the stadium and traffic analogies are merely three dimensional (including time). Most natural phenomena oscillate in four dimensions.

  44. Ulric Lyons says:

    “The stadium wave forecasts that sea ice will recover from its recent minimum, first in the West Eurasian Arctic, followed by recovery in the Siberian Arctic,” Wyatt said. “Hence, the sea ice minimum observed in 2012, followed by an increase of sea ice in 2013, is suggestive of consistency with the timing of evolution of the stadium-wave signal.” from:

    http://judithcurry.com/2013/10/10/the-stadium-wave/

    It’s not going to happen. An increase in sea ice requires positive North Atlantic and Arctic Oscillation episodes. Solar cycles 24 and 25 will be causing lots more strongly negative NAO/AO episodes. Just like in late Maunder, Dalton, and the 1880/90’s:
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/historical/north_atlantic/nao_mon.txt

  45. gnomish says:

    multi-decadal weather waves, is it?
    and they are unaffected by seasonal tsunamis?
    i think the waves would have to be on a frequency shorter than the commute, no?

  46. Jquip says:

    @Caleb: “This idea is interesting to think about. I think it likely applies to other situations where you have both a “braking” and an “acceleration” involved.”

    It happens in absolutely everything in which notification of a state change has a non-zero propagation time. I use the notion loosely, but any change that is propagated from member to member rather than a simultaneous broadcast.

    @fredberple: “One of the great failings of modern science is the insistence of a “mechanism”.”

    You jest. We always know what the cause is before we know that the cause exists.

  47. Ulric Lyons says:

    “The study also provides an explanation for seemingly incongruous climate trends, such as how sea ice can continue to decline during this period of stalled warming, and when the sea ice decline might reverse. After temperatures peaked in the late 1990s, hemispheric surface temperatures began to decrease, while the high latitudes of the North Atlantic Ocean continued to warm and Arctic sea ice extent continued to decline.” http://judithcurry.com/2013/10/10/the-stadium-wave/

    I don’t what the problem is. The ice extent reduces when the North Atlantic Oscillation is more negative, and there was a shift to increasingly negative episodes from 1996 onwards:

    And when the NAO is negative there are pulses of warmer water into the Arctic, that’s doing the bulk of the melting. See NoPol Ocean values during negative NAO months:

    http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/uahncdc_lt

  48. OK – everyone here has seen waves in traffic. A one dimensional problem. Now lets add multiple dimensions with many inputs and outputs. All of those here who took fluid dynamics of any sort and learned about Reynolds numbers, drag, vortices, laminar and turbulent flow, chaos and harmonics, have to understand that there are tons of waves with varying periods. In a complex dynamic world with thousands of variables, waves of all sorts travelling in multiple dimensions should be expected. The atmosphere rises and falls, rotates, twists, and sheds, gases are added and subtracted, and then there is water and solids, all reacting – and the views from outer space show lots of beautiful patterns. Not sure why earthly oscillations and stadium waves should be a big surprise. We have all seen it when a gentle breeze or hurricane wind runs through the tree tops. Can we make equations and models to predict the movement? Probably not, but we can make CGI models that are pretty realistic. But they will only show us what we want to show, not what really is. Sometimes we can know things without understanding them.

  49. Greg Goodman says:

    Doug Proctor says: “A standing wave is different from a stadium wave in that there is movement of particles through the nodal part, whereas the stadium wave has the particles (people) stationary while the up-and-down aspect (amplitude) changes. ”

    check out the difference between longitudinal and transverse waves. Both have “amplitude”. In the former the particle movement is parallel to wave propagation in the latter it is perpendicular.

    Sound is longitudinal, surface waves on a pond (and stadium wave) are translational.

    Both are capable of displaying standing wave structures.

  50. Greg Goodman says:

    Ulric Lyons says:
    November 30, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    “The stadium wave forecasts that sea ice will recover from its recent minimum, first in the West Eurasian Arctic, followed by recovery in the Siberian Arctic,” Wyatt said. “Hence, the sea ice minimum observed in 2012, followed by an increase of sea ice in 2013, is suggestive of consistency with the timing of evolution of the stadium-wave signal.” from:

    http://judithcurry.com/2013/10/10/the-stadium-wave/

    It’s not going to happen. ….

    ===

    It may already be turning:

    http://judithcurry.com/2013/09/16/inter-decadal-variation-in-northern-hemisphere-sea-ice/

  51. magicjava says:

    The theory is too vague, imho. The climate has dozens of correlations, most of them are meaningless. Also, statements like “sea ice bridges communication between atmosphere and ocean” are meaningless.

    When I see something testable and predictive come from this theory, I’ll give it a bit more of my attention.

  52. Dinostratus says:

    “I came across the Wyatt and Curry article again recently, and it made me think about how stadium waves might be much like traffic waves on congested multi-lane city highways.”

    Well, they are analogous in that all waves are waves however I believe the stadium wave phenomena is a continuous interaction while the traffic wave is more like a shock wave through a ratified gas or particle wave in a multiphase flow, i.e it is the “hard” bumping into one another that propagates the wave.

  53. tallbloke says:

    phlogiston says:
    November 30, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    tallbloke says:
    November 30, 2013 at 9:45 am

    I’ve just had two papers accepted by a physics journal which explore these periodicities (along with many others), in the context of celestial orbital motions and solar variation, as well as changes in the rotation rate of Earth and Venus. I believe we are getting closer to finding the predominant underlying causes of climate change.

    REPLY: Big leap there Rog. I’ve yet to see any credible evidence of gravitational/barycentric induced climate change. The effects in the Wyatt and Curry paper can all be explained by earthly phenomena. – Anthony

    tallbloke – are you willing to accept the existence of systems that generate oscillations internally? Such as dissipative nonlinear systems? Or would you consider nonlinear oscillators such as the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction, the Rayleigh oscillator, the Van der Pol oscillator and the human heart beat – all these to be illusory phenomena, with the supposedly internal oscillation actually being generated by some outside influence?

    Thanks for the well considered response.

    Given that science can’t yet explain the scientist, we’d probably better leave the circadian rhythms of heartbeat etc found in living biological systems out of this discussion. Except perhaps to note that tiny electro-mechanical signals originating in the autonomic nervous system are vital to the regular pumping of the heart which is using energies orders of magnitude larger in order to maintain circulation. An apt analogy for the planetary-solar-terrestrial theory, though we must be ever aware that it is only an analogy, or risk accusations of anthropomorphising nature.

    To answer your question, I absolutely do not think non-linear oscillators are illusory, they are a vital component of my hypothesis. That’s why I emphasised the resonant ratios in my comment. Resonance is a non-linear phenomenon, which can amplify the effect of small periodic input signals ‘in tune’ with a system’s internal dynamics and physical attributes. The observations laid out in my papers detail not only resonant ratios of timings but also of linked bulk parameters such as density and diameter (volume).

    The fractal log-log nature of climatic oscillations makes a nonlinear/nonequilibrium internal oscillatory dynamic impossible to deny. However nonlinear oscillatory systems CAN be externally periodically forced. The relationship between forcing and emergent oscillation frequency can be either simple (strong forcing) or complex (weak forcing).

    Both strong and weak forcings pertain in the solar system.

    Why is it so hard to accept the idea of BOTH internal nonlinear oscillation AND external forcing?

    My hypothesis relies on accepting this. I think you should direct your question to the person who made this as yet unsupported assertion:

    The effects in the Wyatt and Curry paper can all be explained by earthly phenomena.

  54. Paul Vaughan says:

    Sensible climate narratives need to at least be consistent with observation.

    Proponents of the notion that the stadium wave is an internal feature of terrestrial climate are unconsciously asserting that one or both of the following laws are violated:
    a) conservation of angular momentum
    b) large numbers

    In order to make it possible to sensibly discuss this at some point in the future, I recommend laying some foundations beginning with section 8.7. This is a simple implication of figure 3a&b.

    Something to consider: Did Theodor Landscheidt couple knowledge of astrology and comprehension of figure 3a&b to deliberately mislead? (It would be easy to do.)

  55. Too many cars, too little road. Nah, thats too easy

  56. Jakehig says:

    The problem of “waves” in traffic have been with us – and the solution known – for much longer than current drivers have been on the roads. It was encountered as soon as large numbers of vehicles started to travel together. The classic example is the convoy of army trucks (pre-war) where they learned that, once the number of trucks reached a certain figure, the “n+1″ truck would hit the one in front sooner or later. So they issued instructions which limited the number of trucks in a group and stipulated a minimum distance between groups.

  57. Ralph Kramden says:

    I think warmists are pushing the envelope of stupidity to places no one has gone before.

  58. JP says:

    When I was in the USAF forecasting school in the early 1980s, the instructors spoke about Long Wave Patterns. One instructor, a young civilian who held a Masters Degree, spoke about very slowing moving oscillations that controlled seasonal variations in weather patterns across the globe on time scales measured in decades. He couldn’t give any more explicit definitions of these “Long Wave” patterns other than they belonged in the realm of pure research. This occurred during the period when ENSO was first being scientifically defined. But, even 30 years ago, weather professionals knew that some long term patterns existed that had profound influences on both local temperature and precipitation patterns.

  59. Ulric Lyons says:

    Greg Goodman says:
    “It may already be turning:
    http://judithcurry.com/2013/09/16/inter-decadal-variation-in-northern-hemisphere-sea-ice/

    It may have slowed since 2007 but the minimum extent has been greatly reduced since then, so it’s not strictly a recovery. One season of greater extent in summer 2013 doesn’t imply a recovery either, it can easily drop to 2007/2012 levels again given negative enough NAO/AO conditions through summer months in coming years. The only sensible indicator of where it is going is the solar one, weaker solar cycles means more episodes of deeply negative NAO/AO states, you can bank on it.

  60. RACookPE1978 says:

    Ulric Lyons says:
    December 1, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Ok. Fine. Arctic ice extent is declining.

    Show us, by calculation, what will the effect on the earth’s heat budget into space if
    (1) All arctic sea ice is gone for two weeks in Mid-September ([just before the equinox]).
    (2) Antarctic sea ice is 1,000,000 sq km larger for a period of 12 months.
    (3) Arctic sea ice is 1,000,000 sq km’s smaller than the 1970-1990 average for a period of 4 months (every day) – from June to Oct for example.
    (4) Antarctic sea ice is 1,000,000 sq km’s larger than average during two weeks in Mid-Sept at the solstice?

    Simple net terms: Does the earth gain more radiation over this time frame, or does it lose heat energy?

  61. E.M.Smith says:

    @Tallbloke & Anthony: 3 x Saros cycles has the same spot on Earth under the same tide regime. About 60 years (a bit shorter). This matters. On longer scales, lunar tidal forces change in 179 and 1800 year patterns. Planets force resonant orbit timing and through orbital mechanics and tides, our cyclical weather. They also stir the sun modulating solar changes. It is mechanics and I have posted links to the paper here often. No magic needed. A kind of lunar metronome to the ocean stadium wave.

  62. tallbloke says:

    Hi E.M.
    I assume you are referring to the Keeling and Whorf paper?
    Astrophysicist Ian Wilson has also recently published on a shorter timescale lunar effect on blocking patterns in the southern hemisphere. Jo Nova published a good summary of that paper a while ago.
    I have also made some discoveries regarding links between lunar declination timings and big boy Jupiter. All the bodies in the inner solar system are linked to Jupiter in terms of their orbit and spin rates. How that spin-orbit ‘stadium wave’ is propagated is under investigation but I’d say the IMF is the best candidate at the moment. Some progress is being made in calculating the magnitude of the transmitted forces. The main sticking point is estimating the decay times on the resonant interactions. Earth uses up energy in weather friction and molten core convection pattern changes etc. Deep complexity to be resolved there.
    Cheers
    TB

  63. phlogiston says:

    tallbloke says:
    December 1, 2013 at 2:48 am

    phlogiston says:
    November 30, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Thanks for the helpful reply. I look forward to seeing your papers in press.

  64. Ulric Lyons says:

    The Stadium Wave attempts to model the hysteresis of the AMO, the climate = weather approach. Yet it is the real time dynamics at the noise level that are driving the inter-decadal trends. It’s the wrong end of the stick, the inter-decadal outputs cannot be explained without explaining the weekly/monthly inputs.

  65. tallbloke says:

    Multi-decadal LOD trends are not explained by weekly weather.

  66. Ulric Lyons says:

    @ RACookPE1978
    December 1, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Mid-September is not around the solstice, and as the ice loss would come from warmer water being transported northwards into the Arctic, that would be an energy loss to the whole system.

  67. Paul Vaughan says:

    “[...] the multiyear variations in the Earth’’s rotation rate are due to the mechanical action of the atmosphere on the Earth.” — Nikolay Sidorenkov (2009)

  68. tallbloke says:

    I could just about go with multi-year. Not multi-decadal though. LOD variation exhibits multidecadal trends of a magnitude far greater than zonal ACI can account for.

  69. Paul Vaughan says:

    You’re unwisely saying Sidorenkov’s wrong in his book.

    Here’s what I can suggest you’re overlooking: Angular momentum is additive and conserved, but other quantities coupled into the (deep global, not superficial) flow aren’t. That’s why there’s strong coherence with the integral.

    Sidorenkov hasn’t finished the story (he’s missing 2 key ingredients), but in addition to patiently laying foundations he makes a fine contribution that moves well forward the starting point for bright newcomers. His ideas on continental drift pretty much match conclusions I’ve started drawing independently during the past year.

    If we disagree, that doesn’t matter. What matters is that protracted arguments (the work of the devil IMHO) don’t happen.

    Regards

  70. tallbloke says:

    Paul, When you add a negative quantity to a total, the total gets smaller instead of bigger. So although angular momentum is additive as you say, the standard stockbrokers advice applies. Veunus has a much heavier atmosphere (93 times), but it’s still only 5/10000th’s of the planetary mass. And Earthly atmospheric angular momentum anomalies don’t persist for 30 years. The net annual anomaly might, but I think this is more likely effect than cause, because it’s too low in energy terms to affect the rotation of a planet of Earth’s mass that spins once a day.

    I’ve done the calcs.

    My papers will hopefully shed some light on the mystery once they’re published. I didn’t include hefty angular momentum calcs in these first papers, that’ll come later. The initial aim is to show the relationships which imply the existence of spin-orbit couplings between the planets (and Sun).

  71. Paul Vaughan says:

    You misunderstand &/or misinterpret what I illustrate. This has been ongoing with zero improvement. I conclude that there’s no chance whatsoever that we’ll ever be able to bridge our longstanding differences on this particular file. We can celebrate the things on which we agree and have the good sense to peacefully agree that this will never be one of them.

    As for publication: As you & others (e.g. Marcia Wyatt) know, that doesn’t matter to me. I don’t judge information based on its publication status. 1+1=2 no matter how it’s framed. 2+2≠5 no matter how it’s framed. Framing is cosmetic. We can celebrate the things on which we agree and have the good sense to peacefully agree that this isn’t one of them.

    Cheers

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