A Sober Look At The Northern Polar Vortex

Image Credit NASA – Polar Vortex on Venus

WUWT Regular “Just The Facts”

Currently there is a lot of media hype about the Polar Vortex over North America, but little in the way of coherent explanation as to what a Polar Vortex is and how it affects Earth’s temperature. As such, a Polar Vortex is “caused when an area of low pressure sits at the rotation pole of a planet. This causes air to spiral down from higher in the atmosphere, like water going down a drain.” Universe Today “A polar vortex is a persistent, large-scale cyclone located near one or both of a planet’s geographical poles.” “The vortex is most powerful in the hemisphere’s winter, when the temperature gradient is steepest, and diminishes or can disappear in the summer.” Wikipedia In addition to those on Earth, Polar Vortices also have been sighted on Venus, Mars, Jupiter , Saturn and Saturn’s Moon Titan.

“Long-term vortices are a frequent phenomenon in the atmospheres of fast rotating planets, like Jupiter and Saturn, for example. Venus rotates slowly, yet it has permanent vortices in its atmosphere at both poles. What is more, the rotation speed of the atmosphere is much greater than that of the planet. “We’ve known for a long time that the atmosphere of Venus rotates 60 times faster than the planet itself, but we didn’t know why. The difference is huge; that is why it’s called super-rotation. And we’ve no idea how it started or how it keeps going.

The permanence of the Venus vortices contrasts with the case of the Earth. “On the Earth there are seasonal effects and temperature differences between the continental zones and the oceans that create suitable conditions for the formation and dispersal of polar vortices. On Venus there are no oceans or seasons, and so the polar atmosphere behaves very differently,” says Garate-Lopez.” Phys.org

So with that background, let’s take a look at the Polar Vortex currently over North America. Starting at 10 hPa/mb – Approximately 31,000 meters (101,700 feet) here we have a Height Analysis showing the low pressure area;

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

a Temperature Analysis showing the cold area;

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Zonal Mean Temperatures showing the cold area from a global perspective;

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

a wide perspective Wind Animation and more focused Wind Animation showing the motion of the Vortex,

and Ozone Mixing Ratio map showing the “Ozone Hole” within it:

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Now we are going to travel down the Polar Vortex in several steps, so here’s another Height Analysis showing the low pressure area at 30 hPa/mb – Approximately 23,700 meters (77,800 feet);

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

a Temperature Analysis showing the cold area;

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Zonal Mean Temperatures showing the cold area from a global perspective;

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

and Ozone Mixing Ratio map showing the “Ozone Hole” within the Vortex:

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Here’s  a Height Analysis showing the low pressure area at 70 hPa/mb – Approximately 18,000 meters (59,000 feet);

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

a Temperature Analysis showing the cold area;

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Zonal Mean Temperatures showing the cold area from a global perspective;

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

a wide perspective Wind Animation and more focused Wind Animation showing the motion of the Vortex,;

and Ozone Mixing Ratio map showing a slight “Ozone Hole” within it:

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

And here’s here we have a Height Analysis showing the low pressure area at 100 hPa/mb – Approximately 15,000 meters (49,000 feet);

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

a Temperature Analysis showing the cold area;

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Zonal Mean Temperatures showing the cold area from a global perspective;

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

and Ozone Mixing Ratio map showing a slight “Ozone Hole” within the Vortex:

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Per this Northern Hemisphere – Vertical Cross Section of Geopotential Height Anomalies you can see that the Polar Vortex currently extends to approximately 100 hPa/mb:

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

also reflected in this Northern Hemisphere – Area Where Temperature is Below 195K or -78C:

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

So why is it so cold in North America right now? Per Global – 10-hPa/mb Height Temperature Anomalies – Atmospheric Temperature Anomalies At Approximately 31,000 meters (101,700 feet);

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

it appears that that we are having an [Upper Stratosphere Lower Mesosphere (USLM) Disturbance] that could lead to a Sudden Stratospheric Warming growing over East Asia, i.e. “the breakdown of the polar vortex is an extreme event known as a sudden stratospheric warming, here the vortex completely breaks down and an associated warming of 30-50 degrees Celsius over a few days can occur. The Arctic vortex is elongated in shape, with two centres, one roughly over Baffin Island in Canada and the other over northeast Siberia. In rare events, the vortex can push further south as a result of axis interruption, see January 1985 Arctic outbreak.” Wikipedia ”The January 1985 Arctic outbreak was a meteorological event, the result of the shifting of the polar vortex further south than is normally seen. Blocked from its normal movement, polar air from the north pushed into nearly every section of the eastern half of the United States, shattering record lows in a number of states.” Wikipedia This BBC Article and Video are helpful in understanding Sudden Stratospheric Warmings. (Note that the text within the [brackets] above has been added and the struck-through removed to correct the article based upon learnings from this comment and this comment below.)

In terms of claims that “US polar vortex may be example of global warming” Guardian and “Polar Vortex: Climate Change Could Be the Cause of Record Cold Weather” Time, these appear to be unsupported conjecture as:

“Many atmospheric general circulation models (GCMs) and chemistry–climate models (CCMs) are not able to reproduce the observed polar stratospheric winds in simulations of the late 20th century. Specifically, the polar vortices break down too late and peak wind speeds are higher than in the ERA-40 reanalysis. Insufficient planetary wave driving during the October–November period delays the breakup of the southern hemisphere (SH) polar vortex in versions 1 (V1) and 2 (V2) of the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) chemistry–climate model, and is likely the cause of the delayed breakup in other CCMs with similarly weak October-November wave driving.”

“In the V1 model, the delayed breakup of the Antarctic vortex biases temperature, circulation and trace gas concentrations in the polar stratosphere in spring. The V2 model behaves similarly (despite major model upgrades from V1), though the magnitudes of the anomalous effects on springtime dynamics are smaller.”

“Clearly, if CCMs cannot duplicate the observed response of the polar stratosphere to late 20th century climate forcings, their ability to simulate the polar vortices in future may be poor.”
Assessment and Consequences of the Delayed Breakup of the Antarctic Polar Vortex in Chemistry-Climate Models Hurwitz et al., 2009

“It is unclear how much confidence can be put into the model projections of the vortices given that the models typically only have moderate resolution and that the climatological structure of the vortices in the models depends on the tuning of gravity wave parameterizations.

Given the above outstanding issues, there is need for continued research in the dynamics of the vortices and their representation in global models.”
Stratospheric Polar Vortices, Waugh et al. 2010

To learn more about Polar Vortices please visit the WUWT Polar Vortex Reference Page.

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142 thoughts on “A Sober Look At The Northern Polar Vortex

  1. So a large chunk of air is moved pole ward, loses energy then is squeezed south, right?

    Isn’t that how it is supposed to work?

  2. “but little in the way of coherent explanation as to what a Polar Vortex is and how it affects Earth’s temperature. “

    Wow. And your 50 graphs helped? I don’t think so. And the fact that you don’t mention the jet stream? Amazing.

  3. At least for Finland those pictures are lacking reality. Basically it has been +/-0 to +3 celsius here for the last month or so. I can agree that we’re “enjoying” the low pressure of that vortex, but the temperature map doesn’t match at all. Luckily, within few days we’re going to have more normal winter temps here.

  4. Really good presentation – wow – very interesting. Just perusing the net today must have seen a thousand different explanations for this.

  5. Thanks for the information overload. I mean that. Thanks. For those who haven’t discovered this, the wind animation can be zoomed and rotated. I was able to get a close up of the winds we’ve had here at my little house on a point on Lake Erie.

  6. Pippen Kool says: January 7, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Wow. And your 50 graphs helped?

    15 graphics for the record, but regardless, maybe a video would help? This animation shows Earth’s Winter 2008 – 09 Arctic Polar Vortex breakup and a Sudden Stratospheric Warming:

    And the fact that you don’t mention the jet stream? Amazing.

    What about the Jet Stream? What are you amazed about?

  7. Box of Rocks says: January 7, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    So a large chunk of air is moved pole ward, loses energy then is squeezed south, right?

    Isn’t that how it is supposed to work?

    I think it’s much more involved than that, i.e. a Stratospheric Vortex forms during the polar night and cold “Air from very high altitudes descends vertically through the center of the vortex, moving air to lower altitudes over several months.” NASA The Polar Vortex is then buffeted by Eddy Heat Flux i.e.:

    “Strong negative fluxes indicate poleward flux of heat via eddies. Multiple strong poleward episodes will result in a smaller polar vortex, Sudden Stratospheric Warmings and an earlier transition from winter to summer circulations. Relatively small flux amplitudes will result in a more stable polar vortex and will extend the winter circulation well into the Spring“ NOAA

    As such, here’s 10 day Averaged Eddy Heat Flux Towards The North Pole At 100mb;

    NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

    you can see the recent spike. The breakdown of the Polar Vortex is an unpredictable and extremely chaotic event, e.g. sometimes the Polar Vortex and associated “Ozone Hole” can split in two, i.e. per this September 2003 paper on the SOuther Polar Vortex, “Ozone Forecasts of the Stratospheric Polar Vortex Splitting Event in September 2002″: http://www.knmi.nl/~eskes/papers/jas1039_eskes_pp.pdf

    “The southern hemisphere major warming event in September 2002 has led to a break-up of the vortex in the middle and higher stratosphere and a corresponding splitting of the ozone hole.

    “the splitting of the vortex had a dramatic impact on the ozone hole, reducing it’s size and mixing ozone depleted vortex air with midlatitude air.”

    “In September 2002 the South Pole vortex showed a rapidly developing distortion and a subsequent split of the vortex in two more or less equal parts (Allen et al., 2003 ). On September 18 the vortex looked normal. It was displaced slightly away from the pole, but not in an unusual manner. From 21 to 23 September the vortex rapidly elongated. The process resulted in a split vortex on 24-26 September. At this time the ozone hole had been transformed into two smaller ”ozone holes” of nearly equal size. After the split the vortex remnant on the Southern Atlantic slowly gained strength and moved back to the South Pole during the first two weeks of October. The second remnant vortex over the Pacific rapidly weakened and the ozone depleted air mixed with mid-latitude air with higher ozone mixing ratios.”

    “In late September and early October, Syowa is located inside the (split) vortex. Ozone values remain low until about 10 October. Then the small remaining vortex moves from the South Atlantic towards the South pole, and ozone values increase. The ozone history at Arrival Heights is very different. As soon as the vortex starts to elongate, around 21 September, the ozone hole edge passes and ozone values jump from about 170 DU to high values of about 400 DU within one day. Ozone stays very high for more than two weeks and only around 10-12 October low, ozone depleted column values of less than 200 DU are abruptly found again. This is again related to the migration of the center of the small vortex to the pole. After this the vortex weakens and moves in the direction of South America, and the ozone at Arrival Heights reaches values of around 350 DU.”

    “The ozone hole is in the center of a spiraling mass of air over the Antarctic that is called the polar vortex. The vortex is not stationary and sometimes moves as far north as the southern half of South America, taking the ozone hole with it.”

    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/factsheets/HALOE-Ozone.html

    In summary, I think the answer is it depends, i.e. on how well developed the Polar Vortex is, how it breaks up, when it breaks up, where it is when it breaks up, the conditions outside of it when it breaks up, and a bunch of other factors that we do not yet understand, hence why we haven’t figure out how to model the Polar Vortex breakdown process yet.

  8. Answer to Halo , January 7, 2014 at 7:41 pm
    The situation in Finland (and Sweden) is a result of two factors:
    * the eruptions in Iceland vulcanos the other year
    * today’s Northern Polar Vortex was ‘born’ five years ago and due to the complexe systems mentioned above, including jet streams, as well as our Earth wobbling. All that happened after the Polar Wortex of today was ‘born’ including the vulcanos eruption under water south Alaska which caused inflow of water from the Pacific. Water of other density and higher saltpercentage.

  9. “What about the Jet Stream? What are you amazed about?”

    The vortex is bounded by the jet stream which has, for some reason (blink blink wink wink) has wandered south. This was documented in the vortexes of 2006, 2009 and 2010, so I think that any intelligent discussion of polar vortexes requires an explanation of what is happening to the jet-stream. Or are you alarmed that this might bring up those scary AGW hypotheses, best ignored?

  10. cosmoscon says: January 7, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    And even if the AGW theory were supported by climate models (which this article shows it isn’t), the graphs of the Arctic sea ice extent during this summer show it close to the 30 year average. Time for Michael Mann to call an AGW cult team huddle to rally around “the cause” – http://cosmoscon.com/2014/01/07/time-for-an-agw-cult-team-huddle/

    Yes, good point;

    “The volume of ice measured this autumn is about 50% higher compared to last year.

    In October 2013, CryoSat measured about 9000 cubic km of sea ice – a notable increase compared to 6000 cubic km in October 2012.”

    “About 90% of the increase is due to growth of multiyear ice – which survives through more than one summer without melting – with only 10% growth of first year ice. Thick, multiyear ice indicates healthy Arctic sea-ice cover.

    This year’s multiyear ice is now on average about 20%, or around 30 cm, thicker than last year. ”

    “‘One of the things we’d noticed in our data was that the volume of ice year-to-year was not varying anything like as much as the ice extent – at least in 2010, 2011 and 2012,’ said Rachel Tilling from the UK’s Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, who led the study.

    ‘We didn’t expect the greater ice extent left at the end of this summer’s melt to be reflected in the volume. But it has been, and the reason is related to the amount of multiyear ice in the Arctic.’” European Space Agency

    This animation demonstrates the increase in ice thickness measured by CryoSat over the last four Octobers:

    European Space Agency – CryoSat – Click the pic to view at source

    Also, Arctic Sea Ice Extent remained within two standard deviations of the 1981 – 2010 average for the entirety of 2013;

    National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) – Click the pic to view at source

    and Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area saw its smallest decline since 2006, with a decline less than half of the prior year and it ended 2013 less than .5 Million Sq Km below the 1979 – 2008 average;

    Cryosphere Today – Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois – Click the pic to view at source

    Furthermore, if you look at the graph above last time this type of event occurred, i.e. the “January 1985 Arctic outbreak”, Arctic Sea Ice Area appears quite close to average, so it appears spurious to attribute this type of event to declining Arctic Sea Ice.

  11. norah4you says: January 7, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Answer to Halo , January 7, 2014 at 7:41 pm
    The situation in Finland (and Sweden) is a result of two factors:
    * the eruptions in Iceland vulcanos the other year
    * today’s Northern Polar Vortex was ‘born’ five years ago and due to the complexe systems mentioned above, including jet streams, as well as our Earth wobbling. All that happened after the Polar Wortex of today was ‘born’ including the vulcanos eruption under water south Alaska which caused inflow of water from the Pacific. Water of other density and higher saltpercentage.

    What? That’s impressively incoherent. “Today’s Northern Polar Vortex was ‘born’” in December 2013, i.e. Northern Hemisphere – Area Where Temperature is Below 195K or -78C;

    NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

    due to factors we do not fully understand, but the Coriolis Effect;

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

    is the biggest factor in the equation.

  12. An excellent article , thanks.

    Guardian article regurgitating article Andrew Freedman at Climate Central :
    “Cohen published a study in September that found this Arctic paradox pattern has become common in years with low fall sea ice cover and rapidly advancing fall snow cover across parts of Asia, and that there is a likely link between the trends. The paper found the pattern was observed during the winter of 2012-2013, following the lowest fall sea ice extent on record in September 2012.”

    So Freedman sees no problem in applying conclusions of a “paper” in a magazine called TOS. linking low arctic ice coverage and such events. to a year with average arctic ice extent.

    I guess that’s what they mean by “counter-intuitive”, a terms that seems to be “trending” recently.

  13. Pippen Kool says:
    January 7, 2014 at 8:34 pm
    “What about the Jet Stream? What are you amazed about?”

    The vortex is bounded by the jet stream which has, for some reason (blink blink wink wink) has wandered south. This was documented in the vortexes of 2006, 2009 and 2010…

    How often during winter does the jet stream wander far south? Does it ever wander very far north? During its excursion south in one place does it wander far north in other places. Do you have a large enough sample of jet stream behavior to justify your winking?

  14. Corioli Pippen Kool says: January 7, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    The vortex is bounded by the jet stream which has, for some reason (blink blink wink wink) has wandered south. This was documented in the vortexes of 2006, 2009 and 2010, so I think that any intelligent discussion of polar vortexes requires an explanation of what is happening to the jet-stream.

    This a question of what’s the dog and what’s the tail. In this case, the dog is likely the Polar Vortex and Jet Stream is likely the tail, i.e. the Jet Stream didn’t “wander”, but rather it was moved by the Polar Vortex. Take a look at this animation;

    http://eoimages.gsfc.nasa.gov/images/imagerecords/36000/36972/npole_gmao_200901-02.mov

    and review this page;

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=36972

    to see what a Vortex break up looks like. It doesn’t look like the jet stream is doing much “bounding”.

    Or are you alarmed that this might bring up those scary AGW hypotheses, best ignored?

    No, please take a look at this article;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/04/2013-was-not-a-good-year-for-catastrophic-anthropogenic-global-climate-warming-change-disruption-wierding-ocean-acidification-extreme-weather-etc/

    and let me know if there are any more of “those scary AGW hypotheses” you’d like me to poke holes in next.

  15. JTF: “Furthermore, if you look at the graph above last time this type of event occurred, i.e. the “January 1985 Arctic outbreak”, Arctic Sea Ice Area appears quite close to average, so it appears spurious to attribute this type of event to declining Arctic Sea Ice.”

    That also appears to have a year with unusually small annual variation. Possibly the lowest in the record.

  16. Just on casual observation, it looks to me like the round shape of the simple votex is being squeezed between two highs. The strongest one being in North Pacific.

    That would appear to be what is causing the deformation leading to the bulge now extending into N. Am.

    This hotspot seems to have its origins well up in the stratosphere.

    I would also note that we just past perihelion at the same time as new moon. This will be a time of maximum tidal forces, which affect both oceans and atmosphere.

    I’m currently trying to find out the state of the perigee cycle to see whether earth-moon distance is also adding to this.

  17. Pippen Kool says:
    January 7, 2014 at 8:34 pm
    “What about the Jet Stream? What are you amazed about?”

    The vortex is bounded by the jet stream which has, for some reason (blink blink wink wink) has wandered south. This was documented in the vortexes of 2006, 2009 and 2010, so I think that any intelligent discussion of polar vortexes requires an explanation of what is happening to the jet-stream. Or are you alarmed that this might bring up those scary AGW hypotheses, best ignored?
    ———————————

    You seem to think that the jet stream is doing something unusual. What would make you think that?

  18. If you read the “Joe’s” on WxBell professional, the likelyhood of the polar vortex dropping over central NA is correlated to the phase of the QBO, AO/NAO & the ENSO (neutral) cycles. If I read their posts correctly, they expect it will drop into the US again before the end of winter due to the combination of the above factors.

  19. Box of Rocks says:
    January 7, 2014 at 7:38 pm
    So a large chunk of air is moved pole ward, loses energy then is squeezed south, right?

    Isn’t that how it is supposed to work?
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Essentially the polar vorticies (Usually two high pressure interacting with one massive low.) are a massive Heat Transfer in action. This is one of the major driving forces of our planets cooling system and appears to be directly related to upper atmosphere cooling. The air exchange allows black body radiation high into our atmosphere and escape into space. IN times of low solar output the upper atmosphere cools and the down welling of cold interacts with the up welling of warm. Somewhat like a dryline works and causes two distinct areas of rotation, one warm and one cold.

    This shoving match soon enlarges to the point the rotation is unstable and like a top is shoved OR wanders off point. When this happens the vortex weakens or collapses and the upwelling warmer air rushes over top of the low disrupting it briefly. After a short period the upper cold air forces its way to the earths surface while the earths rotation resumes the low pressures rotation and the process essentially starts over.

    If you look into the history presented by JTF these major cooling spells, sub arctic air intrusion and record breaking low temps have been during times of low solar output and colder air aloft over the poles. During times of higher solar activity the air masses above the poles is warmer and the reduced differential does not allow these vorticies to grow in size. (and incidentally tropical vorticies increased in size)

    One could hypothesize that a cooling planet will have greater differential above the poles and thus cooling would be thrust outward to the equator. Even though the temps (at the poles) may moderate, the globe as whole is cooling. Inversely, if the air above the poles is warmer due to an active solar cycle, ADO, PDO, etc the warming reduces the temperature imbalance (at the poles) and thus the polar vortex is reduced in size keeping cooling localized.

  20. Meh. It’s happened before. It will happen again.

    It is amusing, though. After the Warmists realized they really couldn’t get away with labeling every heat spell a sign of AGW, and every cold snap mere weather, they decided to coopt the cold snaps to The Cause as well. I wonder how many suckers will fall for the ploy?

  21. Pink-eye Kool,

    An article is presented that has facts and you ever-so-daintily try to swat it away with something about a jet stream, which, apperantly, not only disproves all the facts (which really is the ‘scary’ bit, no? wink W!NK ROTFLMAO LOLZ!1!!), but also manages to magically exonerate AGW-substantiating models. Mind you, that is running under a perhaps outlandish assumption that there is one agreed upon, unifying AGW model that has accurately predicted long-term trends, not only incuding a jet stream model, but all the other myriad of plagues it is to visit it upon us.

    You work in sarcasm like Rubin worked in oils. But please, keep it up. :) Really, you’re a bit of a model yourself.

  22. By the way, I must add how humorous it is that the good Sir Pip is sent into convulsions over all the fact-filled, NOAA and other governmentally sourced data and would rather, instead, focus on one additional factor that he feels backs him up. You must be breaking out in hives when you visit this site. Do take care of yourself. Please, don’t mind all the additional information being posted in response to your fits.

  23. Elephant in the room. With a quiet sun and a polar vortex with potential to last several months, and if next Spring and Summer temperatures are below average, is this the tipping point for a mini ice age?

  24. Dr. Maue used the term “polar vortex” in the piece that appeared on FOX News. So, all of a sudden, a rather mundane meteorological term is being bandied about as though it’s a just discovered rare event.

    As a matter of interest, there’s a NOAA website full of data about the Great Lakes, not just ice cover, although, at this time of year, ice cover is of great concern when its absence can result in lake snow events that can be measure by the foot:

    http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/res/glcfs/

  25. justthefactswuwt says:
    January 7, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    15 graphics for the record, but regardless, maybe a video would help? This animation shows Earth’s Winter 2008 – 09 Arctic Polar Vortex breakup and a Sudden Stratospheric Warming:

    Wow! Excellent video. Very impressive!
    It shows that our atmosphere is actually a thermal machine.

  26. Michael Galvin says:
    January 7, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    Elephant in the room. With a quiet sun and a polar vortex with potential to last several months, and if next Spring and Summer temperatures are below average, is this the tipping point for a mini ice age?

    It’s more like a dark cloud on the horizon at this point. And the temperature would most likely “tip” only down to the “step” it was at before the 1998 step-change upward.

    But that’ll be the final and fatal arrow in the elephant, as far as the warmist narrative goes.

  27. I think we just had a polar vortex come up our street. Sounds like it taunted the neighbor’s dog. It sounded really spinny as it came up the road. We live in a cul-du-sac so I think it became confused. By the time I got to the door it was gone, though. I hear there is a flock of those vortices headed for North Carolina tonight. They told us to leave our faucets dripping and to keep the cabinet doors open. Maybe they don’t like the sound of dripping water and leaving those doors open means they can’t hide in there. I haven’t actually seen one of them yet but I have been keeping a close eye in the mirror on my drive to work because I hear they like to sneak up behind you. Last thing I need is a polar vortex right up the old tailpipe.

  28. Pippen Kool says:
    January 7, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    “What about the Jet Stream? What are you amazed about?”
    Or are you alarmed that this might bring up those scary AGW hypotheses, best ignored?

    Pippen Kool: I am not so sure it really matters. The last interglacial, the Eemian (MIS-5e) did not go out with a bang. It went out after at least two bangs (or warming events), the second of which sent the most sensitive measure of climate change (sea level) a minimum of 10 times (+6.0 meters, or one order of magnitude) the AR4 “business as usual” prognostication of +0.59 meters amsl to almost 2 orders of magnitude (+52meters amsl – Lysa et al, “Late Pleistocene stratigraphy and sedimentary environment of the Arkhangelsk area, northwest Russia”, Global and Planetary Change 31 [2001]. 179–199).

    The jet stream will do whatever it does, and especially at an end extreme interglacial. No one knows why.

    What we actually do know is that that the end extreme interglacials are attended with from at least 1 to 3 thermal pulses, right at their very ends, If the scariest AGW hypothesis yields only +0.59 meters amsl (Figure 10.33 from page 821 of Chapter 10 of AR4) then I register as duly unscared out of my wits.

    If you think for one minute that you can scare me with an AGW “signal” of +0.59 meters amsl (slightly less than 10% of the lowest estimate of the second thermal pulse at the end Eemian, which is +6 meters amsl), then you are sadly mistaken. If you want to challenge the highest sea level estimate for that second thermal pulse then you need 88 times as much sea level rise (or +52 meters amsl, almost 2 orders of magnitude) just to reach parity with the high-end of the most recent reported end extreme interglacial “noise” (Lysa et al, 2001, “Late Pleistocene stratigraphy and sedimentary environment of the Arkhangelsk area, northwest Russia”, Global and Planetary Change 31, pp 179–199, sorry, link to this paper is down at present).

    See http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/16/the-end-holocene-or-how-to-make-out-like-a-madoff-climate-change-insurer/

    In closing, please do try to keep up.

    Best Regards,
    William

  29. Pippen Kool says:
    January 7, 2014 at 8:34 pm
    ‘so I think that any intelligent discussion of polar vortexes’
    I am sure ‘justthefactswuwt’ is walking on air now you have condescended to have an ‘intelligent’
    discussion with him.
    Just for the record,kindly define ‘intelligent’ discussion,because seriously every single time,bar none, I see someone refer to themselves as intelligent they turn out to be as thick as two short planks.

  30. Awesome, interesting, educational post, JTF. Thanks. The wind animation is a work of art.

    Pippen Kool said:
    “The vortex is bounded by the jet stream which has, for some reason (blink blink wink wink) has wandered south. This was documented in the vortexes of 2006, 2009 and 2010, so I think that any intelligent discussion of polar vortexes requires an explanation of what is happening to the jet-stream. Or are you alarmed that this might bring up those scary AGW hypotheses, best ignored?
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    The best-ignored hypotheses of AGW, Drought Vortex Edition…

    Climatologists are desperately trying to explain the mystery of where southern Australia’s winter rainfall is going. They’ve known the rain is being pulled south by an unexplained force. Now they’ve devised a revolutionary new theory to explain why. It appears that the circulation of the entire Southern Hemisphere is changing to suck our rain away. The reason is the Antarctic Vortex – a natural tornado of 30km high, super-cold, super-fast winds spiralling around Antarctica. The vortex is not new; it’s one of the engines that drive climate in the Southern Hemisphere. But now it appears the vortex is shifting gear, and is spinning faster and faster, and getting tighter. As it does it’s pulling the climate bands further south dragging rain away from the continent out into the southern ocean. Most disturbing of all we might be responsible for shifting the speed of the vortex. Scientists at the US Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research believe the speeding up of the vortex is caused by the combined effect of global warming and the depletion of the ozone layer over Antarctica.
    If their theory is true it will have devastating consequences for our southern cities – the drought may not go away.

    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s948858.htm

  31. JB Goode says:
    January 7, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    “kindly define ‘intelligent’ discussion”

    JB, if I may, I have spent considerable time trying to come up with a proper example of the difference between intellectual and plain-old Kool clever.

    It seems to me that if Wernher von Braun, a hominid that contributed significantly to putting another hominid on the moon, while on his way to the loo at a deepest/darkest African safari, is attacked and killed by a leopard lying in wait beside the trail to the loo. In such an instance one might conclude that the Leopard appears to be superior.

    The Leopard did away with one that set the stage for our rendezvous with our moon. To date, no leopards have mounted any expedition to the moon. Yet it was the leopard that triumphed and survived.

    So, Pippen Kool, in the game of life, indeed in the game of the universe, which is the superior intellect?

    The clever leopard, by way of its clever hiding place in the weeds, won the game of life. In your best estimation, Pippen Kool, at what point in the future do you suppose leopards will land a rover (or the first leopard) on the moon?

    Because landing a rover on the moon (perhaps even Mars) is as clear a demonstration of intelligence that any creature calling gaia home can presently lay claim to. Below that bar lies the not so difficult discussion of cleverness…….

    Thanks JB Goode for your insightful musings – William

  32. It is technically not a true SSW, rather a USLM disturbance that usually precedes a SSW. The warming initiated at the 1hPa and downwelled to 10hPa, http://i.imgur.com/zK7IB6l.gif

    The Zonal Mean Zonal winds didn’t really budge either, http://i.imgur.com/y0GLgpr.gif but the warming did come from the wave 2 activity, That began near the end of Dec, and still going as we speak,

    noting its clear signature in the last animated anomaly map, the 2 warm Highs at the “side” (gives the shape of a peanut or squeezing a balloon in the middle if looking down at the NP)

    We need several more rounds of Wave 1 & 2 to really knock down the PV via a true SSW (which is looking to occur late January.

  33. According to BBC weatherman , Liam Dutton, on BBC Radio 2 yesterday (7-1-14) the “Polar Vortex” is an American thing that only exists at very high altitude and cannot affect ground conditions. Back to the classroom Liam

  34. Sound interesting but acronyms like SSW, rather a USLM disturbance don’t mean much out of context. Also I don’t see any peanuts.

    Wave 1 & 2 just looks like two ends of an annual cycle , why #1 #2 ?

  35. The temperature graphs are way off the mark. We’re experiencing the warmest winter I’ve seen in my life(northern sweden). Just find it odd thats the images show us part of the cooling. NA seems to fit according to what I’ve read in the media/blogs.

  36. Sheffield Chris says:
    According to BBC weatherman , Liam Dutton, on BBC Radio 2 yesterday (7-1-14) the “Polar Vortex” is an American thing that only exists at very high altitude and cannot affect ground conditions. Back to the classroom Liam

    Sound on a par with Michael Fish’s classic, “don’t worry, there isn’t” a few hours before a storm that brought down 1/3 of the trees in Britain.

    The Met Office have ‘improved’ their forecast models since. But still don’t seen to have learnt that you can’t rely on computer models.

  37. Pippen Kool says:
    January 7, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    “Wow. And your 50 graphs helped? I don’t think so. And the fact that you don’t mention the jet stream? Amazing.”

    And your 21 thoughtful and incisive words added so much more to the understanding of this event and its causes by everybody?

  38. Pippen Kool says:
    January 7, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    “The vortex is bounded by the jet stream which has, for some reason (blink blink wink wink) has wandered south. This was documented in the vortexes of 2006, 2009 and 2010, so I think that any intelligent discussion of polar vortexes requires an explanation of what is happening to the jet-stream. Or are you alarmed that this might bring up those scary AGW hypotheses, best ignored?”

    So am I to take it that the situation is now getting worse and worse every couple of years with this vortex being more and more likely to occur in the future because AGW says that more really cold air getting further south is what is going to happen more frequently?

    That is REALLY scary. AGW = lots of cold air further south. Makes a change from the usual fair I suppose.

  39. Liam Dutton is the Ch4 weather presenter and is much more grounded than the news team who still glibly promote on the main 7pm news that climate change has caused the polar vortex to move to America in the context of ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ film.

  40. William McClenney says:
    January 8, 2014 at 12:16 am
    Thanks William
    Kool and the gang,I just dont understand them.
    It’s not for want of trying,I just can’t get my head that far up my arse.

  41. Is worthwhile recalling:

    I. “Solar activity is declining very fast at the moment,” Mike Lockwood, professor of space environmental physics at Reading University, UK, told New Scientist. “We estimate faster than at any time in the last 9300 years.”
    “And less solar activity can slow the jet stream, triggering a suite of interlinked extreme weather events …” (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24512-solar-activity-heads-for-lowest-low-in-four-centuries.html)

    Of course, I completely do not agree with M. Lockwood relating the strength and importance of AGW: now and in the future.

    II. “When we have had periods where the sun has been quieter than usual we tend to get these much harsher winters,” Sunderland University climate scientist Dennis Wheeler told …”
    “After the maximum of solar cycle 24, from approximately 2014 we can expect the start of deep cooling with a Little Ice Age in 2055,” wrote Habibullo Abdussamatov of the Russian Academy of Science” (http://www.trunews.com/multiple-lines-evidence-suggest-global-cooling/)

    This is a decrease in solar activity (http://www.solen.info/solar/images/cycles23_24.png).
    Simply “no place” here for AGW …

  42. To those objecting to the temp graphs, they are at high altitude, and often opposite to surface temps.

  43. For those interested in the effect of solar activity on the polar vortex, Michele Casati gave me this link after I commented on his site.

    http://strat-www.met.fu-berlin.de/labitzke/moreqbo/MZ-Labitzke-et-al-2006.pdf

    As justthefacts says, is it the tail wagging the dog?

    I hope everyone has their various instruments oiled and polished, ready for the arrival of tomorrow’s X1+ flare. I would have thought that this is an unprecedented opportunity to measure the effects of a flare on the stratosphere above a disrupted vortex. Could it take the sting out of it by reducing the temperature gradient?

  44. Just thought I’d come in here with a few animations and videos to expain in simple terms to subject of this thread.

    justthefacts:
    Good job of explaining what is, even to a professional in the field of weather, a complicated subject re physical formation – and one that has only within the last 10 years been acknowledged and appreciated for it’s effects on the “bottom” bit of the atmosphere, where our weather is created.
    In the most part this lack of knowledge was due the scarcity of observations, but also due the lack of computing power to model the process of a “SSW” (Sudden Stratospheric Warming).

    A number of processes have been observed.
    The one underway now involves air having been driven aloft over mountain ranges (Rockies, Himalayas primarily) and creating a wave in the high atmosphere. Due compression on the “down” side this warm “wave” front, warming air “breaks” (think surfing) into the PV and as it has a cold core, then the warm air eventually will mix out the temp differential – or at least squeeze the core to shift it or split it. Current forecasts suggest that a splinter of the PV will drop into Eurasia with the next 2 weeks to bring cold here.

    This squeeze can happen where air is funnelled N’wards in certain areas – notably through the Bering Sea into the Chukchi Sea over Alaska and E Siberia (check their warm Dec weather). This “squeeze” often leads to an upstream down-wards movement of the PV pole – hence the current position of it centred over N Canada and extending well S into the States.

    Another process has been observed too – a “top down” one, where Ozone is impacted on by Cosmic rays and the inherent warming of O3 destruction causes the warming at the top of the cold high core. This happens (sometimes – not always) in times of Low Solar Flux. Think the Little Ice Age and Maunder minimum.

    You have to remember that due the Earth’s spin, air is deflected eastward and cold air amplifies this as high up air will move from warm to cold then turn right (anti-clockwise). So a PV is a self contained/self feeding entity than has winds at all levels (well it diverges at the top) converging into it. It can only move when nudged by warm air.
    When this happens – the opposite occurs, in that the temp differential high up reverses and so air then spins the other way (clockwise), slowly down-welling to lower levels and eventually making HP cells in the Arctic. These move air OUT of them and so push frigid Arctic air S. This is distinct however from the major PV pole which after being deflected will restrengthen. This all a winter scenario as the cooling, is of course, because the NP is in permanent darkness for 6 months.

    Here are animations of some SSW events…..

    The jet stream is simply that wind located at the height in the atmosphere where greatest horizontal temperature gradient is present. It demarcates a temp/density/pressure boundary. In warm air at any level there is more air above you than there is at that level in cold. Cold air is denser and hence “hugs” the ground more. So air sat on the warm side is pushed to the cold side. The Earth’s spin then deflects to the right and you have your jet. Therein lies a complexity however – chicken & egg. As the max temp contrast aloft creates the jet – but the jet can distort the contrast (depending on strength and direction).

    Here’s a good video showing Rossby wave-train developments…

    Here a Lab demonstration of hemispheric flow…

    Demonstration of Coriolis in the lab….

    And here a good (layman’s) explanation of Sudden Stratospheric warming…

  45. You just don’t get it. I took a science class and it is simple. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Man is adding greenhouse gas. It is obviously destroying the planet with all this hot and cold stuff going on. Very simple for us smart people who took a science class you see.

  46. Sounds to me like the rapid cooling at the beginning of an ice age (or mini ice age) could be in part due to more stable polar vortices lasting several months each year. And could be linked to reduced sun spot activity as several have mentioned. Kind of scarry how fast we could enter another mini ice age if true.

  47. @ Willis a picture of Earths magnetic field lines (pause lines) mite clear things up a bit. Then apply the left and right hand rule regarding electromagnetics. The stratopause being negative and the tropopause being positive. The pause lines are layers were temperature equalises and moves poleward. Remembering energy will always take the path of least resistance I can see why the pause lines exist.

  48. crosspatch says: @ January 7, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    ….I hear there is a flock of those vortices headed for North Carolina tonight…
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    They arrived. It was a nice brisk 10 °F (-12 °C) this morning. The average low for this time of year is 31 °F.

  49. I found the seasonal historical graph for AO 1950 to present, Jan/feb/mar… But is there one for April/may/June? I’m curious because of AO’s effect on arctic ice; AO positive bad for ice, AO negative good for ice
    http://www.cpc.ncepmp Onoaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/ao.shtml

  50. TB says at January 8, 2014 at 4:27 am
    Thank you for the insight. I would think this could be a main post.

    However, I am curious as to

    …where Ozone is impacted on by Cosmic rays and the inherent warming of O3 destruction causes the warming at the top of the cold high core.

    How do we know that there is “inherent warming of O3 destruction”? I thoughgt that there were many competing prceesses in the upper atmosphere and that effect of Cosmic Rays could disrupt more than just ozone? How do we know it will be warming relative ot some other process?

    Please understand that I am a layman so I may have misunderstood.

  51. Tripod says: @ January 8, 2014 at 4:33 am
    …Kind of scary how fast we could enter another mini ice age if true.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Even more scary when you consider Richard Alley and his colleagues made the discovery that the last ice age came to an abrupt end over a period of only three years.

  52. Justthefacts -”..

    I think it’s much more involved than that, i.e. a Stratospheric Vortex forms during the polar night and cold “Air from very high altitudes descends vertically through the center of the vortex, moving air to lower altitudes over several months.” NASA The Polar Vortex is then buffeted by Eddy Heat Flux i.e.:
    …”

    So where did the large amount of air come from to begin with. We are talking 3 dimensions here, right?

  53. Barry Cullen says: @ January 8, 2014 at 5:50 am

    The 1st NASA image looks like a magnetically stirred beaker of milk….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    You are right! Maybe that is how they got the pixs ROTFLMAO

  54. Wikipedia In addition to those on Earth, Polar Vortices also have been sighted on Venus, Mars, Jupiter , Saturn and Saturn’s Moon Titan.

    Since Mars was mentioned I just spotted this little gem a few minutes ago on the US weather.

    BBC – 8 January 2014
    Big freeze shatters North America temperature records
    ……..But it was Embarrass, Minnesota, that experienced the lowest temperature in the nation on Tuesday: -37C (-35F).

    That was colder than readings recently recorded on the Red Planet by the Mars Rover…….

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-25647963

    It must be the 95% co2 keeping the Red Planet nice and toasty.

  55. Jimbo says: @ January 8, 2014 at 6:30 am

    Embarrass, Minnesota, that experienced the lowest temperature in the nation on Tuesday: -37C (-35F).

    That was colder than readings recently recorded on the Red Planet by the Mars Rover…

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Good grief! No wonder the Minnesotans are for Global Warming! link

  56. The electron vortex created above the north pole by the magnetotail’s interaction with the S1 radiation storm the Earth encountered during the new moon as a result of two solar flares (high-energy photon bursts), dragged the cold of space with it into the pole, until the electrons in the magnetosphere reached equilibrium with the earth.

    It’s time for people to get with the program. Auroras are classified as either electron or proton driven. ALL electric/magnetic weather effects are solar driven. It’s photons, protons, and electrons from short-term solar bursts that drive extreme weather events and natural disasters. It takes days for all those effects to play out, in ways that vary with many variable factors. THERE IS NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN.

  57. TB
    Since 1998 these SSW events have been more frequent , earlier and of greater impact [ last one only a year ago,[ january 2013 ] They happened every other year before . Does anyone have an answer why there is a more frequent pattern to them ? To me it appears that SSW is a cooling and rebalancing mechanism for the planet when excessive warm pockets of air build up.?
    They may have been there all along [ unexplained cold winters during warm years ] , except we are now becoming aware of them . For example locally we had a near record very cold day. and the previous january record cold for that same day was 1945, the era of very warm years ]. So perhaps these SSW events are present as the globe moves from a warming planet to a cooling planet?

  58. @Box of Rocks:

    The Statosphere is where IR leaves the planet. That Statospheric cold air heads off to the cold pole (in winter forming the Polar Night Jet) and then decends to the planet surface (as the polar vortex).

    At the equator and in part of the temperate zone, hot moist air rises. At the top of the troposphere, the moisture condenses making rain, snow, hail, etc. and dumping heat (in the water IR bands). The height of the tropopause is varable. It depends on how much heat needs to be convected up high. AT the tropopause, it is NOT a static “lid”. The air stops rising, but turns into a Huricane Cat 2 force wind sideways. (Yes, there is some mixing here with stratospheric air). That sideways air is headed for the poles to be sent back down.. But only after the heat dump.

    Hope that helps. Pretty graphs here: https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/tropopause-rules/
    including one with CO2 shown as dumping heat to space in the stratosphere… and one showing lateral wind speed in the tropopause.

    Simple way to visualize it is that the earth is a giant Lava Lamp, with hot blobs rising and cold blobs sinking at the poles. Then just spin it all and add coriolis effects ;-) No suprise at all that the blobs change size, spin, and location. It’s a chaotic system…

    Oh, and the solar quiet time cut the UV way back, so the atmospheric height lessened. It’s all compressed into less vertical range. So things spread out a bit more from the poles.

    While I’m here: Why Global Average Temperature is a stupid thing, in easy to understand terms:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/calorie-counting-thermometers/

  59. Just a side question here. How do you ‘manage’ through policy and market manipulation the Ozone Hole with this huge cyclone going on?

  60. And what is the density of the air at 100 hPa supposed to drive 1050hPa polar air into lower latitudes? Notwithstanding that polar air driving south (north in the austral) happens on a continuous basis since it is atmopsheric circulation!

  61. E.M.Smith says:
    January 8, 2014 at 7:52 am
    @Box of Rocks:

    Soo.. a bunch of air cooled off over the poles, descended from an altitude, and when the cold air hit the earth it had no way to go except south, right????

  62. @TB… your Jennifer Francis Jet Stream pipe dream video is truly collector. The hemispheric flow video by the Met is also amazing stuff in which colder zones are designed as cyclones while warmer ones as anticyclones! I guess 1050hPa air coming from the pole must be called cyclone now…LOL

  63. M Courtney says:
    January 8, 2014 at 5:02 am
    TB says at January 8, 2014 at 4:27 am
    Thank you for the insight. I would think this could be a main post.

    However, I am curious as to
    …where Ozone is impacted on by Cosmic rays and the inherent warming of O3 destruction causes the warming at the top of the cold high core.
    How do we know that there is “inherent warming of O3 destruction”? I thought that there were many competing prceesses in the upper atmosphere and that effect of Cosmic Rays could disrupt more than just ozone? How do we know it will be warming relative ot some other process?

    Please understand that I am a layman so I may have misunderstood.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Doing further research on this MC – there are indeed other processes involved with O3 in the Strat.
    But to answer your direct question: The production/destruction of O3 are both exothermic reactions and produce heat as a by product.
    The receipt of UV in the Stratosphere also has a large bearing on warming via O3 destruction/reformation.
    O2+02+UV=O3+heat O3+UV=O2+O2+heat
    An intro article…

    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20011206/

    See also below link:

    There is a very good weather forum based in the UK that has a section/thread devoted to Stratospheric development. The first page gives a good run-down of processes impacting the Vortex.
    Note, I left out in my OP other complicating interactions (I thought things were complicated enough) – such as those emanating from tropical convection “pulses” (MJO Madden-Julian-Oscillation) – a wave pattern that circulates the globe and the BDC (Brewer-Dobson Circulation) – transports O3 to the Poles.

    The direction of the QBO (Quasi-biennial-oscillation – a Stratospheric wind above the equator that blows whether E’ly or Wly over an ~2yr cycle) also has a determination on developments.

    http://forum.netweather.tv/topic/78161-stratosphere-temperature-watch-20132014/?hl=%20stratospheric%20%20warming%20%20events

    http://www.journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/1520-0442%282004%290172.0.CO%3B2

    Note that where Ozone (O3) is concerned – the effect is with its ability to warm and hence increase or decrease a horizontal temperature gradient (analogous to a jet stream below it in the Troposphere).
    Thus more O3 towards the tropics means more warming there and an enhanced gradient towards to Pole – so stronger Polar night jet in winter. And vice versa.

    In the following article – Note that the graphic at the top mimics the temperature anomalies that we saw at the start of this cold plunge over N America but NOT over the Atlantic and Eurasia.
    Upcoming forecast developments are for the eastern half of the graphic (broadly) to complete in about 2 weeks.
    Hence a pattern of hemispheric flow that mirrors that discovered to have been predominant during the Maunder Minimum winters.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=7122

  64. Interesting list of comments above. Polar vortices and Rossby waves are both chaotic turbulent phenomena. Hence they are (in one sense) nucleated or altered by the proverbial butterfly wing effect — a tiny perturbation that encounters favorable conditions for growth (that are, themselves, the result of solving chaotic equations over the system’s past). The the case of waves, it can do things like modulate the number/period/wavelength and amplitude of the waves (which are not always “pretty” — they can be a superposition of several “waves” happening all at once, and with chaos small changes can lead to e.g. period doubling or halving). The vortex is basically a wave that breaks off at the singularity.

    These wave phenomena are caused by the interplay between differential regional warming and cooling, buoyancy, and the coriolis force. As the poles cool relative to their hemisphere, warm air is favorably transported poleward and cold air is favorably transported equatorward, warm air on top and colder air on the bottom. But it cannot go straight north or straight south — air from the equator is moving much faster to the east than air near the poles, and air from the poles is moving much slower than the earth and hence displaces towards the west if it can. Even air heading straight east or west at any given time cannot go in a truly straight line because the Earth is curved — it tries to follow a great circle and hence is “deflected” equatorward not by a real force but by geometry and kinematics. Each parcel of air is subject to not only buoyant forces that generally almost perfectly sustain it at an equilibrium height — until differential warming or cooling cause it to become more or less dense than its surrounding air parcels but pressure forces that balance laterally as well. Except where they don’t. Uplifting air and downfalling air self-organizes into enormous spirals that are coupled to all of the other spirals around them and patterns of high and low pressure emerge with forces driving winds from high pressure towards lower pressure.

    Solving for fluid motion in a system like this involves solving Navier-Stokes equations at a fairly fine granularity. The granularity is important because of the butterfly effect — in a truly chaotic system, even tiny fluctuations can grow. Also, in a coarse grained simulation the mass transport part of the PDE solution will be poorly resolved with errors that all by themselves act like “fluctuations” and grow to substantially alter both the details and even the character of the solutions. This is one of the points where I think GCMs are truly broken — they use a lat/long coordinate system with gridding that distorts at the poles due to the spherical polar coordinate Jacobean so nearly all quadrature or ODE solution methods are going to truly suck on the grid. I hence don’t find it at all surprising that they do a terrible job at representing chaotic waves near the poles. I await the day somebody writes a GCM based on a rescalable icosahedral tesselation of the sphere that doesn’t treat the equatorial cells any differently or at any different scale than it treats polar cells. The computational tools to accomplish this and theory are all there — it’s just too difficult for the climate modellers to handle, I guess.

    As it is, different GCMs applied to a toy planet consisting of an untipped water world do not even converge to the same general solution space. I have no idea how they would compare on a toy planet that is a featureless untipped rotating deformed sphere of solid, uniformly grey ground, but I would guess that similar problems would arise.

    And then there is the Earth. Spinning, tipped, highly eccentric orbit, moving continents, a nearly unknown amount of highly variable background vulcanism, much of it occurring at the bottom of the 0 -10 kilometer deep 4 degree Centigrade variably salty ocean that covers 70% of its surface and that requires an entirely distinct (but coupled) set of Navier-Stokes equations to describe as it is differentially heated and evaporated at the surface. Its dynamics are totally different from that of the atmosphere — it is heated only at the surface, not the bottom or throughout the volume (via absorption), neglecting the pitifully small heat discharge through the crust at nearly all of the ocean floor. It is nearly stable to large scale thermally driven convection everywhere but in or near the surface freezing zone. Its major currents are driven as much by variations in salinity as surface water is evaporated as anything else. It currents are shaped and diverted by the land surface at the coasts and at the sea bottom and also build persistent large scale vortices driven by coriolis forces and a mix of thermal and salinity density changes and surface coupling to atmospheric movements. To further complicate life, the ocean-atmosphere coupling involves the substantial transfer of energy in the form of latent heat and the self-modulation of the radiative properties of the atmosphere and ocean with its water content in multiple phases. Ice, snow, clouds all have high albedo. Moist air can carry orders of magnitude more energy per unit volume around than dry air. Water vapor is a strong absorber in the LWIR bands associated with the normal range of Earth temperatures. Water transports substantial heat vertically and laterally and can nonlinearly alter both heating and cooling of the Earth as it is differentially heated by the sun.

    Put it all together and even without wild cards such as possible magnetic or ionic modulation, the variation of our variable sun, possible interactions with a near-mythical ring of dark matter that “might” be circling or otherwise bound to the Earth (sorry, this is enormously speculative but no kidding, recent /. article somebody actually postulated such a thing in a talk at a recent physics conference — let’s just take it as a placeholder for possible “unknown physics”) you have a very, very difficult computational problem to solve. If you are trying to prove something with your solution — such as the inevitability of CAGW — it is all too easy to tweak the system to prove it. It may not even need tweaking — many physical models will, by their nature, have systematic errors in one particular direction only. It is no place for confirmation bias, and no place for the modellers to indulge any sort of hubris, such as the belief that their model is right before it is solidly and consistently confirmed by Nature.

    It is important to understand that self-organized near-critical open systems often organize to become more efficient dissipators as they are more strongly driven, although it is difficult to make any blanket statement about chaotic solutions to strongly nonlinear dynamical systems. Water heated on the stove organizes into convective rolls where warmer less dense water on the bottom becomes unstable relative to cooler more dense water on the top. Small asymmetries in the bottom heating and top cooling cause one region to start to uplift and another to downfall, and a spontaneous heat engine is born of heated water circulating to the top, cooling by evaporation, falling back to the bottom, being heated again, rising up to the top, but doing so in an organized roll, not in a bunch of local up and down spots at arbitrary scale. The water has viscosity and hence is happier concentrating the region where it is moving in opposite directions to a single vortex line. However, as one heats it more strongly, one can break the single roll into multiple rolls, and the structure, number, and character of the rolls that occur depends strongly on the geometry of the pot, the details of the bottom heating source, and whether or not you give the water a stir while it is close to spontaneously organizing and hence nucleate many possible modes.

    The Earth is capable of far more complex self-organizations, of course. I don’t find it at all surprising that the Eemian ended with strong warming spikes. As such a the system approaches a phase transition, it often experiences “critical slowing down” — the appearance of longer and longer lifetimes for what are usually transient modes. Things like the polar vortex nucleate and then stick, lasting far longer than one expects, but destabilize the system until when they break up they do so violently and the system reorganizes into something else completely different. In the case of the Earth, it could enter a mode that traps heat, but does so only as long as a particular circulation is maintained. It warms and remains warm, but of course the Earth continues along its Milankovitch progression and it has to remain warm with a steadily weakening driver. Eventually the peristent warm phase becomes highly unstable — it is mere hysteresis, as it were — and just the right fluctuation comes along, breaks the persistent warming behavior, and the system suddenly transitions into a strong cooling mode under conditions that favor its rapid growth.

    If one numerically solves nonlinear dynamical systems that have known chaotic behavior in certain parametric regions, you can observe how delicate this sort of thing is. If you ODE solver is too coarse, you miss it entirely — you are left believing that the system will be well-behaved and “linearly” predictable across the chaotic regime. When you solve it with sufficient precision, what was a simple oscillation suddenly bifurcates and you find a rich, broad range of solutions where you thought there was just one.

    The Earth puts such systems to shame. Simple nonlinear systems are just that — simple. The Earth is a veritable Rube Goldberg device. Every flip here produces a flap in Brazil later and vice versa as it propagates into the future, being selectively amplified or attenuated and transported to the next place to augment or cancel something happening there. I seriously do not think we are particularly close to being able to accurately or even qualitatively simulate it. We can get “Earth-like” climate simulations to work, but they don’t quite match the Earth, even in very simple ways, and they are not an adequate explanation of the LIA, the MWP, and much else. They rely on things like “arbitrary” modulation of unknowns such as volcanic aerosols to explain some of these past events when it is just as likely (IMO) that they are phenomena arising from pure internal nonlinear dynamics — chaotic modes becoming dominant and substantially varying the Earth’s efficiency at storing or losing heat.

    Maybe in twenty or thirty years, we’ll have the computational tools and the observational data to make this work correctly. In the meantime, while GW since the LIA is an observational fact, the “A” contribution to it is very much an open question and the “C” hypothesis is always a chance — in any or all directions.

    The point is that all by itself the Earth is perfectly capable of heating up or cooling down 2-4 C over an appallingly short time, without any help whatsoever from CO_2 — this is an empirical fact of the paleo climate record. It is an empirical fact that the Earth does heat and cool itself 1-2 C over a 0.5 to 2 century timescale (the recent climate record) without any help whatsoever from CO_2. It is a simple fact that the Holocene is old enough that it could be living on borrowed time, subject to the near-critical fluctuations either way that presage a phase transition to the glacial phase. The LIA was very likely precisely such a fluctuation, and this possibility is real enough that in the 60′s and 70′s it was advanced as an actual hypothesis for the contemporary cooling (anthropogenic, of course — everything is “our fault”:-).

    In the old days, prophets used to prophecy various kinds of doom and destruction as a matter of course, and would be sure to clearly indicate that if they did happen, it was because of the sins of the people and how they angered the gods. In other words, doom was going to happen and it was going to be their fault and the doom itself was sufficient proof of this. Because “doom happens”, sooner or later one of their prophecies would come true. Because there was no penalty for a wrong guess (and a slick talker can always explain this as the gods generously giving us another chance, probably due to the good influences of the interlocutor please donate on your way out of the tent to keep it up) the wrong guesses were quickly forgotten and the doom indeed became sufficient proof that the people were sinful, the gods were angry, and above all, that listening to the priests and doing what they say (including, of course, donating generously — see the little box over there? could you drop a few shekels in on your way out? or do you LIKE the idea of boils on your wing-wang?) was the only way to rescue the situation from still worse doom in the future.

    The sad thing is that the great climate debate is disturbingly accurately described by this model, on both sides. Yes, in NC we set cold records for the date yesterday and (I’m certain) today. Elsewhere, in association with the exact same vortex, warm records for the date were no doubt set. The vortex isn’t proof of global warming or global cooling. Vortexes happen. Hurricane Sandy wasn’t proof of global warming or global cooling. “Perfect storm” hurricanes happen. The ongoing all-time record deficit of cat 3 or better Atlantic hurricanes making landfall in the US isn’t proof of global warming or global cooling. Deficits happen (although this is the sort of thing that eventually might actually be proof of something or other, if anybody could possibly figure out what).

    The best that we can say is this. Even if the GASTA continues to rise or spikes up, it isn’t proof of AGW. The Earth has the demonstrated capability to cause this to occur without our help. On the other hand, would be evidence consistent with the AGW hypothesis, and there is no question that we’re kicking a nonlinear system we do not understand, and cannot be shocked if it kicks back tenfold, any more than it is totally surprising that a kid’s snowball fight or a particularly loud sneeze can trigger an avalanch. If GASTA continues to remain level, fall, or rise very slowly, it isn’t proof that AGW is incorrect. The Earth has the demonstrated capacity to cancel completely any anthropogenic effect we’ve created so far — if it weren’t for CO_2 the 60′s cooling might have turned into a second glacial-ward plunge, LIA2 as it were, and it might be all that is holding off a descent into true Holocene-ending glaciation right now. Since we don’t have any idea how to predict or even realistically model the local dynamics of glacial-interglacial transitions, we cannot say. However, it isn’t strong evidence for the AGW hypothesis.

    Lacking strong evidence for the hypothesis — given poor (to say the least) agreement between the models and reality, given a fair amount of obvious bias in the treatment of the temperature records upon which even our current perception of warming is based, given a truly unknown breakdown between anthropogenic and natural climate factors that we literally cannot decompose into “natural signal” and “human forcing” in a strongly nonlinear non-Markovian double coupled pair of unevenly driven Navier-Stokes equations solved on a tipped, rotating oblate spheroid irregularly dotted with continents that rise up to the stratophere and oceans that sink down even more deeply into continental rifts, the wisest course of action is not to panic. No matter what happens, nature could have made it happen all by itself and it won’t be our fault, as the only way we can meaningfully modulate our current anthropogenic influence is to commit mass suicide, a cure worse than any possible disease. We are no longer living in the dark ages, and we are not helpless against “the will of the gods”. We have technology, common sense, science, and human reason to combat natural or unnatural disasters as long as we keep our wits about us.

    All things being equal, it would be good to transition from a carbon-based energy economy to one that relies far less on burning fossil carbon as a fuel. Maybe CO_2 is indeed harmless, or even beneficial. Maybe not. We’re still kicking a nonlinear system that we do not understand, which is as stupid as free-swimming with great white sharks. I’d do it to get from my sinking boat to the shore, sure, but go out and do it for “fun” or pretending that they are “magnificent animals” who won’t hurt us because we aren’t their natural prey? If you’re eaten in a case of mistaken identity (sorry mate, I thought you were a seal) or because some particular shark is having a bad day you’re just as dead.

    Also, oil and coal are raw materials of enormous value when we don’t burn them, and indeed burning them is gradually depleting the raw material supply and will eventually come back to bite us in the pocketbook. We cannot possibly sustain human civilization on their backs for more than another century, giving us a comparatively narrow window to painlessly transition to longer term energy resources and eventually to a fully sustainable energy supply that will last longer than the human species will. Making a deliberate decision to pursue sustainable energy (at reasonable levels of investment) is simply part of becoming a mature global society.

    However, in the shorter run we have two or three more pressing concerns. We have not yet achieved anything like global equity for the human species. The rich are vastly richer than the poor. The poor are stuck living in the 17th and 18th century; the rich live in the 21st. We are stuck in a world dominated by nationalism and worse, religionism, leading to medium scale regional warfare that never seems to quite disappear. We are stuck with a general disagreement over the correct basis for an equitable global, continental or national economy, and for pete’s sake, there are still Kings running things in some countries. What’s up with that? Haven’t we even settled on some sort of self-government meme? Even the threat of global nuclear war hasn’t disappeared, it has just gone underground, smoldering, awaiting a time when the chips are down and nuclear cards once again come into play. All of these things are far greater risk factors than unproven CAGW, and indeed in order to effectively combat CAGW should it prove to be a true hypothesis our first step is to get our global house in order and stop behaving like primitive tribes run by a corrupt priesthood and a small set of dominant families.

    In my lifetime? I doubt it. In the lifetime of my kids? I still doubt it — if anything, I find them discouragingly disengaged. They live in the best of times that there ever was in the strongest culture that ever was, and yet they are comparatively hopeless, disenfranchised, marginalized. Maybe my grandchildren. But each generation has to fight its own battles.

    rgb

  65. Note that it was a sudden stratospheric WARMING that made the jets more meridional.

    Also that when the jets were more zonal in the late 20th century the stratosphere was COLDER.

    Those facts rebut many of the comments in this thread.

    The observations suggest that the quiet sun increases ozone in the stratosphere above the poles and the warmed stratosphere descends in height which pushes the polar air masses more often towards the equator.

    That is the opposite of conventional climatology and at the heart of my New Climate Model.

    Leif chunners on about needing data that could falsify my Model. Let’s see what the stratospheric temperatures above the poles have been doing since around 2000. Is that data available ?.

    Recent observations suggest that ozone has indeed increased above 45km during recent quiet sun years and I propose that towards the poles that effect is dominant because the tropopause is lower at the poles.

    I await more up to date data with interest.

  66. there is no question that we’re kicking a nonlinear system we do not understand, and cannot be shocked if it kicks back tenfold, any more than it is totally surprising that a kid’s snowball fight or a particularly loud sneeze can trigger an avalanch.”

    Umm, no. There is no tipping point in history caused by CO2. CO2 demonstrably has an insignificant effect on climate.

  67. TomRude says:
    January 8, 2014 at 8:43 am
    And what is the density of the air at 100 hPa supposed to drive 1050hPa polar air into lower latitudes? Notwithstanding that polar air driving south (north in the austral) happens on a continuous basis since it is atmopsheric circulation!
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Tom:
    The main driver in Temperate/Polar regions of the atmosphere is not density per say, as in a denser mass of air will sink through another.
    Think of it this way – in terms of warm/cold next to each other and a temperature differential horizontally through them both. That creates the winds at that level. The Earth’s spin turns it. In order to disrupt the PV then we want the winds to change from anticlockwise to clockwise (westerly to easterly. This happens when we put warmer air on the N side and colder on the S. It is this effect that subsides down the vortex and weakens/disrupts it.
    This can be achieved both by wave-breaking from air being deflected over high mountain ranges (Mountain Torque events), and thrusting up the air on a mass-scale, so intruding into the Stratosphere – or by the O3 warming effect described.
    The atmospheric circulation you talk of is continually being influenced by a myriad of effects (many akin to the so called “Butterfly” chaos effect). But some are feed-backs – here I talk of just some significant ones. A circulation will feed on itself IF the jet-stream wobbles (Rossby waves) have the right amplitude to self-reinforce – becoming stationary or even retrogressing (move backwards). Note, I mean the loopy pattern of the jet and NOT the track of Lows necessarily below it. However the “blocking” High cell will move backwards.
    And no, cold air from the Arctic does not “continually move south” – it needs these meridional (more N>S) jet patterns to make it do so. Quite often the jet has a majority zonal component (mainly W>E without many wobbles) – when this happens the climate heat-engine equalises the Equatorial warmth with the Polar cold via turbulence at the boundary (Jet) by means of strings of Lows/Depressions mixing the two air-masses together. This has been happening recently in bringing wet stormy weather the UK and western Europe. This despite the major wave induced by the ridge of HP through Siberia/Alaska earlier, causing the downstream PV Pole to sink into N America. As I say, the forecasts are for the meridional pattern to propagate into Eurasia within the next 2 weeks.

  68. From NASA (regarding sudden stratospheric warming in the Arctic): ” Research has led to a good documentation of the frequency and seasonality of sudden warmings: just over half of the winters since 1960 have experienced a major warming event in January or February (e.g., Charlton and Polvani, 2007). The event in early January 2013 is thus not atypical, but, like all of these events, has unique dynamical characteristics in terms of its development and interactions with the tropospheric flow.”

    And from the conclusions of Extreme Cold Outbreaks in the United States and Europe, 1948–99
    JOHN E. WALSH, ADAM S. PHILLIPS,* DIANE H. PORTIS, AND WILLIAM L. CHAPMAN
    “There is no apparent trend toward fewer extreme cold events on either continent, at least over the period since 1948.”

    Regarding the oft-mentioned oscillation of the jet stream as a sign of AGW, here is an interesting read:

    The Behavior of Jet Streams over Eastern North America during January and February 1948
    NORMAN A. PHILLIPS, University of Chicago (1950)

    Which describes the Jetstream dipping as far south as 20 degrees latitude over NA bringing with it Arctic air. The word unprecedented did not appear in the paper.

    Lastly, here is what the IPCC (2007, 3.8.5) has mentioned about the “extreme” event of more frequent cold snaps and late/early freezes that are a danger to crops throughout the world like what we have witnessed over the past few years and are now being told by certain blogactavists is the result of AGW:

    [Cold spells/snaps (episodes of several days)] Insufficient studies,but daily temperature changes imply a decrease

  69. TB, you should observe satellite animations of weather systems and field measures for a change. Your verbose style reminds me of some vintner… who could not even recognize low clouds on satellite imagery and was pontificating about mete and climate. Ciao!

  70. TomRude says:
    January 8, 2014 at 12:51 pm
    “TB, you should observe satellite animations of weather systems and field measures for a change. Your verbose style reminds me of some vintner… who could not even recognize low clouds on satellite imagery and was pontificating about mete and climate. Ciao!”

    Don’t mention it – I just thought you might be interested, since you asked the question.

    Oh, if you thought that was “verbose” – do realise I was talking down to the imbicile you proved youself to be.

    Whatever you may think my friend – weather and climate is far from being conveyable in simple terms – as you have spectacularly proved – alongside your snarky contempt for professional knowledge. That sadly seems all too common on here – well with some of my exchanges anyway.

    Cheers!

  71. Loads of good comments here. I should like to add that if we are seeing temps to the negative we have not experienced for about 100 years, when there was a solar low.. and we are experiencing a similar solar low (which apparently effects our magnetic shield), perhaps, just perhaps we are witnesses of the renewal of a cycle we barely understand. Polar vortexes are not new, and neither are huge dips in the jet stream. Maybe the combination of low solar activity, a weak magnetic field and a downswing of a 30 or so year sine wave like variation between warm to cool creates such conditions when the elements line up? The term “a perfect storm” is ridiculous considering the events it describes have occurred before, it would seem uncommon is more common then most folks would like to admit. My point is this.. we have yet to enter a realm of temperature never seen before on this planet, both pre and post mankind… and if we cannot deal with temperature variation with level heads then maybe we should go extinct, but to sit and cry out about pollution in developing countries, then buy their goods because they are cheap is what is truly counter intuitive and quite frankly our biggest REAL problem.

  72. @ HGW xx/7 says:
    RE: Your reply to the always entertaining “pippen” or pepin, or whatever its name is.

    Sarcasms emulating Rubens working in oils? Now, I know Peter Pauls’ work. I just can’t fathom how a string of non sequiturs from a poster here can be in any way compared to Peter Pauls’ prolific output, in oils, of naked fat lady pictures. I admit to a certain lassitude today.

  73. herkimer says:
    January 8, 2014 at 7:42 am
    TB
    Since 1998 these SSW events have been more frequent , earlier and of greater impact [ last one only a year ago,[ january 2013 ] They happened every other year before . Does anyone have an answer why there is a more frequent pattern to them ? To me it appears that SSW is a cooling and rebalancing mechanism for the planet when excessive warm pockets of air build up.?
    They may have been there all along [ unexplained cold winters during warm years ] , except we are now becoming aware of them . For example locally we had a near record very cold day. and the previous january record cold for that same day was 1945, the era of very warm years ]. So perhaps these SSW events are present as the globe moves from a warming planet to a cooling planet?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    After a quick look-up, it seems there have been SSW’s every year since 1998, bar 2005. Prior to that there were 22 of them from 1958 (as far as data goes) – mind you there were 5 years within which 2 of them occurred. Or put another way out of the 40 years 1958-98, 17 winters had a SSW. And latterly 15 in 16 years. Also there will have been events that did not meet the criteria for the designation of a SSW (Mean zonal winds at 60N and 10mb become Easterly during winter), but still caused N’ly outbreaks somewhere in the NH.

    I don’t think we have enough evidence yet to conclude whether the greater regularity of them these last 16 years is down to any one cause – more likely there’s a number of reasons. One could be more open and much warmer Arctic waters come Autumn especially the E Arctic Seas. Recent anomalies of SST’s there by that time have been +5C. The mechanism for this would be the greater availability of moisture there feeding back to earlier/heavier Eurasian snowfield build-up into early winter. There is a known correlation with that and stronger/earlier Siberian Highs – which later migrate into the Arctic, then to cause more widespread Arctic cold plunges.

    I suppose you could look at it as a “mechanism for the planet when excessive warm pockets of air build up”. I think of it in terms of atmospheric mechanics though, which is basically fluid mechanics on a rotating surface. The mechanism involved from the bottom up is largely as a result of topography inducing deflection/channelling of air-masses and without the high mountain ranges the atmosphere would have been quite happy to flow in a more undisturbed fashion.

  74. rgb
    Thank you for your long comment. I didn’t understand all that much of it. However, what I really appreciated was the honest perception of how far off we are from truly understanding this whole gigantic area.

    My original discipline was Experimental Psychology (don’t laugh).

    I took much that was valuable from its study, but the single most valuable lesson was that we really don’t understand the fundamentals of perception, cognition, motivation, memory or learning, let alone the far more tricky constructs of personality or consciousness.

    Anyone who says they do is a charlatan.

    We don’t yet even have the cognitive tools to really approach these things.

    Anyone who says we do is misguided.

    I think it advances science far more to lay out the problems honestly rather than shying away from them with hubristic (or at the least, wildly optimistic and premature) claims about grand causes and explanations.

    I say this as someone who took a fashionable route away from true experimentalism, into another kind of ‘modeling’ – Artificial Intelligence. It took me three years to see the overwhelming difficulties of using AI to gain the simplest insight into the workings of the human brain (apart from the shortcomings of my own apparatus). Accordingly, I took a more modest direction, applying some of the same techniques to model computers instead – even this is quite difficult, and subject to well-known limitations, but at least it’s a living where the distinction between success and failure is rapidly obvious…

    The science that is being done nowadays is, I think, attacking increasingly ‘difficult’/wicked areas, and we may be requiring techniques which it will take us a long time to achieve, in order to make any appreciable headway. In the face of this, many would-be scientists seem to be resorting to either ‘re-enactment science’ or facile pseudo-science, like the current infatuation with ‘big data’. I just hope we get over it and start tackling the difficult stuff with more honesty and humility again.

    Stuart B

  75. Comment on: Box of Rocks says: January 7, 2014 at 7:38 pm
    So a large chunk of air is moved pole ward, loses energy then is squeezed south, right?

    This sounds just like a description of Al Gore’s life over the past 20 years.

  76. Resourceguy says: January 8, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Just a side question here. How do you ‘manage’ through policy and market manipulation the Ozone Hole with this huge cyclone going on?

    Yes, good point. The “Ozone Hole” is likely a result of the dynamical effects of the stratospheric polar vortex, i.e.:

    “The ozone hole is in the center of a spiraling mass of air over the Antarctic that is called the polar vortex. The vortex is not stationary and sometimes moves as far north as the southern half of South America, taking the ozone hole with it.”

    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/factsheets/HALOE-Ozone.html

    And there are other “holes” along with the ozone one, i.e.

    “The walls of the polar vortex act as the boundaries for the extraordinary changes in chemical concentrations. Now the polar vortex can be considered a sealed chemical reactor bowl, containing a water vapor hole, a nitrogen oxide hole and an ozone hole, all occurring simultaneously (Labitzke and Kunze 2005)”

    http://books.google.com/books?id=B93SSQrcAh4C&lpg=PA283&ots=d0-uBRjmyI&dq=%22water%20vapor%20hole%22%20polar%20vortex&pg=PA283#v=onepage&q=%22water%20vapor%20hole%22%20polar%20vortex&f=false

    “measurements of low methane concentrations in the vortex made by the HALOE instrument on board the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite.” Rapid descent of mesospheric air into the stratospheric polar vortex, AGU 1993

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/93GL01104/abstract

    Also,

    in the center of the Antarctic vortex. Air from very high altitudes descends vertically through the center of the vortex, moving air to lower altitudes over several months.”

    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/factsheets/HALOE-Ozone.html

    Air towards the top of the stratosphere has lower concentrations of ozone;

    NOAA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) – Click the pic to view at source

    As such, when this “air from very high altitudes descends vertically through the center of the vortex” it displaces the air below it, decreasing the concentration of ozone within the Polar Vortex. The combination of the low pressure area formed by the centrifugal force of the Polar Vortex and the air from very high altitudes with lower concentrations of ozone that descends vertically through the center of the vortex, creates the “Ozone Hole”.

    As such, it would seem quite difficult to ‘manage’ the “Ozone Hole” “through policy and market manipulation”…

  77. Stephen Wilde says: January 8, 2014 at 11:10 am

    “Leif chunners on about needing data that could falsify my Model. Let’s see what the stratospheric temperatures above the poles have been doing since around 2000. Is that data available ?.”

    “I await more up to date data with interest.”

    Here’s RSS Northern Polar Temperature Lower Stratosphere (TLS) – Brightness Temperature Anomaly – 1979 to Present;

    Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) – Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) – Click the pic to view at source

    and associated data;
    ftp://ftp.ssmi.com/msu/graphics/tls/time_series/rss_ts_channel_tls_northern%20polar_land_and_sea_v03_3.txt

    Here’s RSS Southern Polar Temperature Lower Stratosphere (TLS) – Brightness Temperature Anomaly – 1979 to Present;

    Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) – Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) – Click the pic to view at source

    and associated data;
    ftp://ftp.ssmi.com/msu/graphics/tls/time_series/rss_ts_channel_tls_southern%20polar_land_and_sea_v03_3.txt

  78. Polar high – where did the usual Polar high go that sits atop the pole? You know, downward descending drier air that is part of the ‘polar circulation’ cell? Downward moving air as in a High-pressure anti-cyclone system?

    Are we sure we aren’t dealing with this effect?

    Image alone showing polar ‘jet’ and circulation about the pole on for panels depicting the spinning-off of a low (“L”) pressure system … or vortex? here:

    Note that image (d) shows a spun-off Low from the polar jet into Asia …

    .

  79. jmorpuss says January 8, 2014 at 4:36 am

    Remembering energy will always take the path of least resistance I can see why the pause lines
    exist.

    Old wive’s tale; not codified in any of the ‘laws’ of physics. Take lightning, for instance. It provides its own ‘path’ so to speak. And it’s never a straight path. Take a magnetron as the second example and note the ‘path’ electrons take from cathode to anode.

    .

  80. Daniel Vogler says: January 8, 2014 at 12:21 am

    It is technically not a true SSW, rather a USLM disturbance that usually precedes a SSW. The warming initiated at the 1hPa and downwelled to 10hPa, http://i.imgur.com/zK7IB6l.gif

    Interesting. Per a paper you cited here;

    http://forum.netweather.tv/user/18727-daniel-vogler/?tab=reputation

    This work presents a climatology of synoptic-scale disturbances in the upper stratosphere lower mesosphere (USLM) based on 20.5 years of assimilated data analysesfrom the U. K. Meteorological Office (1991 – 2012). USLM disturbance criteria areestablished, based on stratopause warmings at the 2 hPa level, to create climatologies in both hemispheres that delineate their timing, frequency, and geographic location. USLMdisturbances occur on average 2.3 times per winter in the Northern Hemisphere (NH)(November through March) and 1.6 times per winter in the Southern Hemisphere (SH)(May through September), persist on average for 8 days in the NH and only 4 days in theSH, occur most frequently in December (July) in the Northern (Southern) Hemisphere, andare predominantly located in the longitude sector between 0oE and 90oE in both hemispheres. This is the first work to show that all major Sudden Stratospheric Warmings(SSWs) over the 20.5 year data record are preceded by USLM disturbances. One third of USLM disturbances evolve into a major SSW; only 22% of minor SSWs evolve into a major SSW. USLM disturbances and minor SSWs illustrate, at times, similar occurrencestatistics, but the minor warming criteria seem to include a more diverse range of dynamical conditions. USLM disturbances are more specific in their dynamical construct with strong baroclinicity being a necessary condition. Potential vorticity analysis indicatesthat all USLM events occur with planetary wave breaking and that subsequent baroclinicinstability may lead to the development of USLM disturbances. “A climatology of polar winter stratopause warmings and associatedplanetary wave breaking” Greer et al. 2013 http://www.academia.edu/4056817/A_climatology_of_polar_winter_stratopause_warmings_and_associated_planetary_wave_breaking

    Here is a good description of Upper Stratosphere Lower Mesosphere (USLM) Disturbances

    The polar stratosphere and mesosphere are dynamically altered throughout the winter months by planetary wave activity and its interaction with the mean flow. An extreme interaction leads to polar vortex breakdown and a complete alteration in temperature from the lower stratosphere through the upper atmosphere. However, there are more regular disturbances where the dynamical interactions can alter the upper stratosphere and mesosphere without modification to the lower stratosphere; here these disturbances will be designated as Upper Stratospheric Lower Mesospheric (USLM) disturbances. Several USLM case studies have been presented in the literature, focusing particularly on thermal features and dynamics. These studies established characteristics in USLM disturbances allowing these disturbances to be identified over the 20-year record of MetO assimilated stratospheric data and to develop a climatology of USLM disturbances. The typical thermal structure of USLM disturbances is dipolar in nature at 2.0 hPa with strong thermal gradients across the polar vortex. From the assimilated data, we find that the geographic preference of the anomalously warm temperatures at 2.0 hPa are located on the East side of the polar low, while there is a related cool pool of air located on the West side. These geographic preferences and observed amplification in temperature help to support the proposed dynamical process of baroclinic instability. Indirect circulations are induced, and to preserve continuity, cells of ageostrophic and vertical motions occur well into the mesosphere, and potentially into the thermosphere. We find that the average frequency of USLM events is 1.63 events per season in the Northern Hemisphere. In addition, the assimilated data indicates that all Sudden Stratospheric Warmings (SSWs) are preceded by USLM events; SSW events occur with a frequency of 0.84 events per season (Northern Hemisphere). USLM disturbances persist from three to ten days and tend to precede SSW events by several days, although there may be multiple USLM disturbances prior to an SSW event occurring. Lastly we exhibit how USLM disturbances differ between the Northern and Southern poles, including differences in frequency and intensity. An open question is whether these frequent USLM polar winter disturbances impact the thermosphere and ionosphere. http://abstractsearch.agu.org/meetings/2010/FM/sections/SA/sessions/SA31B/abstracts/SA31B-1727.html

    Here’s a good slide deck on Upper Stratosphere Lower Mesosphere (USLM) Disturbances;

    http://www.cesm.ucar.edu/working_groups/WACCM/Presentations/2012/greer.pdf

    and here’s a helpful abstract from last week’s American Meteorlogical Society conference, the abstract is on “Planetary Wave Breaking in the Polar Winter Middle Atmosphere and Extreme Temperature Event” from Katelynn R. Greer, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO; and J. P. Thayer and V. L. Harvey:

    The polar winter middle atmosphere is a dynamically active region that is driven primarily by wave activity. Planetary waves intermittently disturbed the region at different levels and the most spectacular type of disturbance is a major Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW). However, other types of extreme disturbances occur on a more frequent, intraseasonal basis. One such disturbances are synoptic-scale “weather events” observed in lidar and rocket soundings, soundings from the TIMED/SABER instrument and UK Meteorological Office (MetO) assimilated data. These disturbances are most easily identified near 42 km where temperatures are elevated over baseline conditions by a remarkable 50 K and an associated cooling is observed near 75 km. As these disturbances have a coupled vertical structure extending into the lower mesosphere, they are termed Upper Stratospheric/Lower Mesospheric (USLM) disturbances.

    We investigate the dynamical mechanisms responsible for USLM disturbances using the above mentioned observations in addition to model outputs from the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM4). Results indicate that WACCM reliably reproduces USLM disturbances. Analysis of planetary wave breaking and EP-flux of individual and composite USLM events indicate an increase in breaking near the 0.1 hPa level, approximately 10 km above the extreme thermal anomaly at the stratopause in the days leading up to the peak of the event. Vertical coupling of the atmosphere during this event is illustrated in the progression of these events and their impact on the thermal structure, zonal mean wind, polar vortex and conditions that have the potential to support a secondary baroclinic instability (including the Charney-Stern criteria for instability the role of baroclinic/barotropic instabilities). In addition, USLM disturbances appear to have front-like behavior analogous to the troposphere. Broader impacts of these disturbances and the dynamics associated with them influence gravity wave generation/propagation, vertical air motion, chemical tracer transport, precondition of the atmosphere for SSWs and the potential to couple with the thermosphere through tides.https://ams.confex.com/ams/94Annual/webprogram/Paper234442.html

    Based upon reviewing your comment and this information, I’ve made a correction to the article above, i.e.

    it appears that that we are having an [Upper Stratosphere Lower Mesosphere (USLM) Disturbance] that could lead to a Sudden Stratospheric Warming growing over East Asia, i.e. “the breakdown of the polar vortex is an extreme event known as a sudden stratospheric warming, here the vortex completely breaks down and an associated warming of 30-50 degrees Celsius over a few days can occur. The Arctic vortex is elongated in shape, with two centres, one roughly over Baffin Island in Canada and the other over northeast Siberia. In rare events, the vortex can push further south as a result of axis interruption, see January 1985 Arctic outbreak.” Wikipedia ”The January 1985 Arctic outbreak was a meteorological event, the result of the shifting of the polar vortex further south than is normally seen. Blocked from its normal movement, polar air from the north pushed into nearly every section of the eastern half of the United States, shattering record lows in a number of states.” Wikipedia This BBC Article and Video are helpful in understanding Sudden Stratospheric Warmings. (Note that the text within the [brackets] above has been added and the struck-through removed to correct the article based upon learnings from this comment and this comment below.)

    Thank you for your comment and insights. JTF

  81. Stephen Wilde:

    “The observations suggest that the quiet sun increases ozone in the stratosphere above the poles and the warmed stratosphere descends in height which pushes the polar air masses more often towards the equator.”

    Why would the warmed Stratospheric air descend?

    You note the occurrence of Stratospheric Warming, and claim that it rebuts many other points. Is all Stratospheric Warming ‘unnatural’? Would Stratospheric Warming not take place if humanity produced no fossil fuel Co2 emissions?

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding you.

  82. Stephen Wilde says January 8, 2014 at 11:10 am
    Note that it was a sudden stratospheric WARMING that made the jets more meridional.

    Does dog wag tail ,or tail wag dog?

    Since the ‘jets’ are a creature living within the boundary between the two air masses (actually, it seems, within the warmer of the two air masses at a ‘front’) how does it achieve the ‘drive’ meridionally (vs zonally) and futhermore, aren’t the jets actually artifacts of the interface (a complicated interface involving classically ‘fluid flows’ which sets the jet into motion within this interface area) of the two airmasses, and not the other way around?

    Example of ‘area’ where jet resides:

    . . http://tornado.sfsu.edu/geosciences/classes/m201/GeneralCirculation/PolarJetBlank.jpg

    Primer, atmospheric circulation (derivation from a uniformly heated, non-spinning orb up to the real deal), including Polar high and an apparent resident polar low as well:

    . . http://www.ux1.eiu.edu/~cfjps/1400/circulation.html

    3-D Jet Stream and 0 C temperature surface loop (not from this last event, just an example of a jet and movement across US 48 state area):

    . . . http://www.unidata.ucar.edu/software/idv/gallery/jetStream.gif

    Also, this phenom could be termed “Wave Breaking”, as shown here, where an “L” is spun off intruding into the warmer air and also entraining (at low levels) warm air masses into the cold above the arctic circle:

    . . http://www.mi.uni-hamburg.de/Wave-Breakin.6896.0.html

    A sampling of Jet stream diagrams some depicting cross-sectional details.

    .

  83. Andres Valencia says: January 8, 2014 at 7:50 am

    Thanks JustTheFacts, very good article. Congratulations on the new Polar Vortex Reference Page. Happy New Year!

    Thank you very much, though the WUWT Polar Vortex Reference Page has actually been around since October 29th, 2011:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/29/new-wuwt-polar-vortex-reference-page/

    The current status of our northern Polar Vortex can also be seen at http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/10hPa/orthographic=-90.0,90.0,197

    That focused view is actually better in some ways than the one I chose. I’ve added the view you provided to the article above and the WUWT Polar Vortex Reference Page.

    Thanks again. JTF

  84. _Jim says: January 8, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Polar high – where did the usual Polar high go that sits atop the pole? You know, downward descending drier air that is part of the ‘polar circulation’ cell? Downward moving air as in a High-pressure anti-cyclone system?

    Are we sure we aren’t dealing with this effect?

    Image alone showing polar ‘jet’ and circulation about the pole on for panels depicting the spinning-off of a low (“L”) pressure system … or vortex? here:

    Encyclopedia Britannica- Click the pic to view at source

    “The strongest jet streams are the polar jets, at around 7–12 km (23,000–39,000 ft) above sea level” Wikipedia , you can see the Northern Polar Jet on these 250 hPa/mb – Approximately 10,400 meters (34,000 feet) Wide and Focused Perspective Wind Animations. “The stratospheric polar vortex is a large-scale region of air that is contained by a strong west-to-east jet stream that circles the polar region. This jet stream is usually referred to as the polar night jet. The polar vortex extends from the tropopause (the dividing line between the stratosphere and troposphere) through the stratosphere and into the mesosphere (above 50 km). Low values of ozone and cold temperatures are associated with the air inside the vortex.” NASA You can see the Polar Vortex on these 10 hPa/mb – Approximately 31,000 meters (101,700 feet) Wide and Focused Perspective Wind Animations and these 70 hPa/mb – Approximately 18,000 meters (59,000 feet) Wide and Focused Perspective Wind Animations. “The troposphere extends upwards from right above the boundary layer, and ranges in height from an average of 9 km (5.6 mi; 30,000 ft) at the poles, to 17 km (11 mi; 56,000 ft) at the Equator” Wikipedia This image is helpful in visualizing:

    Wikipedia- Click the pic to view at source

    As such, the Polar Vortex is a separate and distinct phenomenon from the Polar Night Jet, however the formation, size, strength, location, persistence and break up of the Polar Vortex can have significant impacts on the Polar Night Jet.

  85. “Why would the warmed Stratospheric air descend? ”

    A warm stratosphere reduces tropopause height and a cold stratosphere lifts it.

    Either way I think natural processes are magnitudes greater tan human influences.

  86. TomRude says:
    January 8, 2014 at 6:57 pm
    TB you’re hilarious. Keep them coming…

    I plan too – Thanks….
    If i bring a little levity into your life – Oh, and maybe teach you a little civility along the way.
    Then you could take both those things as a bonus at least.

    To you and some others I’ve come across on here.
    Just because you have “issues” with climate science – doesn’t make the basic physics of Meteorology wrong or easily assimilable to the layman, and to expect otherwise is sheer hubris.
    If you want to learn a little of the way things work then read on and. Otherwise you know what you can do.

  87. The “basis” of the 2004 end-of-the-world-by-freezing movie “The Day After Tomorrow”, with Dennis Quaid in a frozen New York. -135F in seconds as the cold air plummets, but doesn’t warm up because it falls “too fast to heat up”:

    Global warming was the cause by destabilizing the planetary atmosphere.

  88. Thanks Just the Facts. Lots of really good information. WPR did a MSM version of the “Polar Vortex,” and they used Jetstream and AGW throughout. Nothing like the amount of information you just help us all to see here.
    But I do wish we would stop, raping the Earth of its resources and stop polluting. Natural variability will eventually trump mankinds error of its ways.

  89. TomRude says: January 8, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    And of course, the undying tri-cellular 1856 Ferrel representation seriously discredited since Leroux 1993…

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

    I agree that the tri-cell model is simplistic, Wikipedia refers to it “highly idealised”, however, in terms of a graphic showig the height and location of the Polar Jet in relation to the Tropopause, there aren’t many options. This one is better:

    ddata.over-blog.com – Click the pic to view at source

  90. Stephen Wilde says: January 9, 2014 at 12:24 am

    Do you see a slight upturn or at least a cessation of cooling since around 2000 ?

    No, both Northern and Southern Polar Lower Stratosphere Temperatures have continued to decline since 2000.

  91. JTF said

    “No, both Northern and Southern Polar Lower Stratosphere Temperatures have continued to decline since 2000.”

    There are some clear upward spikes in recent years.

    Anyway, it is the region above 45km that warms first and then the Lower Stratosphere follows later.

    The period 2004 to 2007 showed more ozone and warming above 45km.

    What has happened since 2007 ?

  92. benjaminbruce36 says: January 9, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    The statistical data are so terrible…!!!!
    Oh Jesus please stop; we request from our heart..!!!
    I am praying to stop it.!!!

    I’d recommend SkepticalScience.com, they try to avoid data over there…

  93. justthefactswuwt says:

    January 9, 2014 at 7:49 pm
    Yes, probably via a glacial period.
    ———————————
    Do you see Earth’s rotation speed making a difference for further development of stronger more lasting polar vortex..?

  94. Boy oh Boy, stronger polar vortex would be a big game changer for the Earth climate pattern circulations. Just wandering aloud..Wisconsinite here and the terrain shows it glacial scars of yester year..

  95. Stephen Wilde says: January 10, 2014 at 9:28 am

    There are some clear upward spikes in recent years.

    Anyway, it is the region above 45km that warms first and then the Lower Stratosphere follows later.

    The period 2004 to 2007 showed more ozone and warming above 45km.

    What has happened since 2007 ?

    Southern Polar is positive, but Northern Polar continued to decline.

  96. Carla says: January 10, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Do you see Earth’s rotation speed making a difference for further development of stronger more lasting polar vortex..?

    The Earth rotates once in about 24 hours with respect to the sun and once every 23 hours 56 minutes and 4 seconds with respect to the stars (see below). Earth’s rotation is slowing slightly with time; thus, a day was shorter in the past. This is due to the tidal effects the Moon has on Earth’s rotation. Atomic clocks show that a modern day is longer by about 1.7 milliseconds than a century ago,[2] slowly increasing the rate at which UTC is adjusted by leap seconds.

    Wikipedia

    “Research at the University of Liverpool has found that variations in the length of day over periods of between one and 10 years are caused by processes in Earth’s core.

    Earth rotates once per day, but the length of this day varies. A year, 300million years ago, lasted about 450 days and a day would last about 21 hours.”

    “As a result of the slowing down of Earth’s rotation the length of day has increased.

    The rotation of Earth on its axis, however, is affected by a number of other factors — for example, the force of the wind against mountain ranges changes the length of the day by plus or minus a millisecond over a period of a year.

    Professor Richard Holme, from the School of Environmental Sciences, studied the variations and fluctuations in the length of day over a one to 10 year period between 1962 and 2012. The study took account of the effects on Earth’s rotation of atmospheric and oceanic processes to produce a model of the variations in the length of day on time scales longer than a year.

    Professor Holme said: “The model shows well-known variations on decadal time scales, but importantly resolves changes over periods between one and 10 years.

    “Previously these changes were poorly characterised; the study shows they can be explained by just two key signals, a steady 5.9 year oscillation and episodic jumps which occur at the same time as abrupt changes in the Earth’s magnetic field, generated in the Earth’s core.

    Science Daily

    Lambeck et al., 1976 found that;

    “The long-period (greater than about 10 yr) variations in the length-of-day (LoD) observed since 1820 show a marked similarity with variations observed in various climatic indices; periods of acceleration of the Earth corresponding to years of increasing intensity of the zonal circulation and to global-surface warming: periods of deceleration corresponding to years of decreasing zonal-circulation intensity and to a global decrease in surface temperatures. The long-period atmospheric excitation functions for near-surface geostrophic winds, for changes in the atmospheric mass distribution and for eustatic variations in sea level have been evaluated and correlate well with the observed changes in the LoD.“http://people.rses.anu.edu.au/lambeck_k/pdf/37.pdf

    Over long enough timeframes changes in Earth’s rotation would likely have influences on vorticity, however on decadal timeframes I am not aware of a mechanism whereby millisecond changes in Length of Day would have a significant influence on Polar Vorticity.

    There have been;

    “several studies (including Waugh and Randel 1999; Waugh et al. 1999; Karpetchko et al. 2005; Black and McDaniel 2007) have indicated a trend over the 1980s and 1990s toward a later vortex breakdown.” “Final Warming Date of the Antarctic Polar Vortex and Influences on its Interannual Variability” http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_7598/is_20091115/ai_n42654411/

    The chart on page 10 of the following paper shows the vortex break-up dates for the Northern Hemisphere since 1960 and Southern Hemisphere since 1979:

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

    It states that:

    The intense cyclonic vortices that form over the winter pole are one of the most
    prominent features of the stratospheric circulation. The structure and dynamics of these “polar vortices” play a dominant role in the winter and spring stratospheric circulation and are key to determining distribution of trace gases, in particular ozone, and the couplings between the stratosphere and troposphere.”

    “Until recently, it was thought that sudden warmings were exclusively a NH phenomenon. However, a dramatic event occurred in the SH in September 2002, when the Antarctic vortex elongated and split into two.This is the only known SSW in the SH, and there has been considerable research into this event,much of which is summarized in the March 2005 special issue of the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences [see also Baldwin et al., 2003]. Although there have been many studies into the dynamics of this event (see the above mentioned special issue), the exact cause remains unknown. Most of the focus has been on upward propagating Rossby waves, but Esler et al. [2006] provide evidence that the event may have been the result of a self-tuned resonance. Kushner and Polvani [2005] documented the spontaneous occurrence of a sudden warming, resembling the observed SH event, in a long numerical simulation of a simple troposphere-stratosphere general circulation model with no stationary forcing, suggesting that the 2002 event may have been just a rare, random (“natural”)event.”

    “Several studies have examined decadal variability and trends in polar vortices over the past 4 decades using meteorological reanalyses [e.g., Waugh et al., 1999; Zhou et al., 2000; Langematz and Kunze , 2006; Karpetchko et al., 2005]. Because of the lack of stratospheric measurements in the SH in the presatellite era, reliable trends can only be determined from 1979 on. However, there are sufficient stratospheric observations inthe1960sand1970sintheNHto perform trend analyses from 1960 to present day for the Arctic vortices. These studies have shown that there are significant trends in the springtime Antarctic vortex and that the vortex has become stronger, colder, and more persistent (i.e., breaks up later) since 1979;see Figure 8.”

    “The large interannual variability of the Arctic vortex (e.g., Figure 2) makes detecting long-term trends very difficult. Although trends have sometimes been reported for shorter data records, there are no significant trends in the size or persistence in the Arctic vortex between 1958 and 2002 (Figure8)[see also Karpetchko et al. ,2005]. However,trends in the area or volume of temperatures below the threshold for PSC formation have been noted [e.g., Knudsen et al. , 2004; Karpetchko et al. ,2005; Rex et al. ,2006].”

    “There is a great deal of interest in possible future trends in the polar vortices. As significant changes in concentrations of key radiative gases in the stratosphere are expected over the 21st century (ozone is expected to increase as the concentrations of ozone-depleting substances decrease back to 1960 levels, and GHGs are expected to continue to increase), some changes in the polar vortices may be expected. It is also possible that increases in GHGs could lead to changes in wave activity and propagation from the troposphere, which could then lead to changes in the vortices. There have been numerous modeling studies examining possible changes in the stratosphere over the 21st century, but the majority of these studies have focused on changes in stratospheric ozone [e.g., Austin et al., 2003; Eyring et al. ,2007; Shepherd, 2008] or circulation [e.g., Garcia and Randel, 2008; Oman et al., 2009; Butchart et al. , 2009], and there have been limited detailed studies of changes in the vortices. However, there has been analysis of monthly mean temperatures in these simulations that provide insight into possible changes in the vortices.

    An early study by Shindell et al. [1998] indicated a significant cooling (and strengthening) of the Arctic vortex as GHGs increased, leading to significant ozone depletion and formation of an Arctic ozone hole. However, more recent simulations with more sophisticated chemistry-climate models (CCMs) that have a better representation of the dynamics and chemistry (and couplings between them) do not show a significant strengthening or formation of Arctic ozone holes during the 21st century [e.g., Austin et al., 2003; Eyring et al., 2007]. The long-term trends in Arctic temperatures in these chemistry-climate models are small, with no consistency as to whether the polar stratosphere will be warmer or colder [Butchart et al., 2009]. The CCMs also predict a limited impact of increased GHGs on the Antarctic vortex during the 21st century. However, the same simulations all predict an increase in the tropical upwelling as GHGs increase, which has been attributed to changes in subtropical wave driving [e.g.,Garcia and Randel, 2008; Oman et al., 2009]. This change in tropical circulation appears not to be strongly connected with changes in polar regions [e.g., McLandress and Shepherd, 2009].

    In terms of sudden warmings, it is important to note first that most state of the art chemistry-climate models severely underestimate their frequency [Charlton et al. , 2007]. As for what might be expected in the 21st century, only one study is available [Charlton-Perez et al., 2008]: On the basis of several long integrations with a single model, the Charlton-Perez et al. suggest that the frequency of sudden warmings (currently six events per decade) might increase by one event per decade by the end of the 21st century. Needless to say, owing to the large interannual variability, such trends are very difficult to estimate, and the question remains largely open.

    Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the recovery of Antarctic ozone is predicted to cause a positive trend in lower stratospheric temperatures and vortex strength in late spring to summer. As discussed in section 5, changes in the Antarctic lower stratospheric temperatures over the last 2 decades have been linked to changes in Southern Hemisphere climate. The ozone recovery over the next 4 to 5 decades is predicted to reverse these changes [e.g.,Son et al., 2008; Perlwitz et al., 2008]. It is important to note that in the latter part of the 20th century, the impact of ozone depletion on the tropospheric circulation has been in the same sense as the impact of increasing GHGs. However, as ozone recovers, the strato-spheric impact will oppose, and even reverse, some of the expected changes to increases in GHGs.”

    In summary, I don’t think we know what causes variability in Polar Vortex strength and persistence, thus I don’t think we have any predictive capacity in this area.

  97. JTF said:

    “Southern Polar is positive, but Northern Polar continued to decline.”

    Could you link to the sources for that, please.

    I’m curious to see whether Northern Polar shows any reduction in rate of decline.

    It is possible that the effects of solar variations occur first in Southern Polar with Northern Polar following later due to the very different surface features of the two hemispheres.

  98. Michael Snow says: January 10, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Did anyone click on the supposed NASA link for the pictures at the top of the article?

    It is not a “supposed NASA link”, it is a link to a Wired article;

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/09/venus-polar-vortex/

    that contains the NASA image:

    To avoid confusion, I changed the Wired article out for this NASA article that also contained the image:

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/venus-temp20110926.html

    This is on VENUS !

    Corrected the image at the head of the article is an example of a Polar Vortex on Venus. The goal of the introduction of this article was to explain what Polar Vortices are, including those on other planets. For some reason we have much better imagery of the other planets’ vortices than our own. To avoid others experiencing your apparent surprise, I’ve added the words “Polar Vortex on Venus” next to the Image Credit above.

  99. JTS

    Both show a continuing decline through the entire period but you acknowledge that in fact the Southern Polar has turned positive more recently.

    I would like the slope in both charts to be adjusted to show the periods before and after 2000 to see if there is any inflection point around that time.

    2000 or thereabouts is when I first noticed the jets starting to become more meridional again and that fits well with the decline in solar activity towards the end of active cycle 23 and beginning of less active cycle 24.

  100. justthefactswuwt says:

    January 10, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Carla says: January 10, 2014 at 5:19 pm
    ————–
    Thanks for the reply. Will take some time today to go through some of this.
    You may want to have a look at the graph on page 19 figure S1.
    Characterisation and implications of intradecadal variations
    in length-of-day
    R. Holme1 & O. de Viron2

    http://www.liv.ac.uk/~holme/nature_sub.pdf

    Figure S1: LOD observations, atmospheric and oceanic signals, and predictions.

    The figure is pretty telling. Wish we had a longer reliable reference though…

    Also, IERS says no adding leap second again this year.

  101. it appears that that we are having an [Upper Stratosphere Lower Mesosphere (USLM) Disturbance] that could lead to a Sudden Stratospheric Warming growing over East Asia,

    =======================================================================
    Did you strike “East Asia” because you meant “East Anglia”? 8-)

    There are terms being used to describe weather events in the last few years that I personally don’t remember being used before in weather reports (i. e. “Polar Vortex”, “Derecho”).
    Have they been commonly used and I just missed them or might starting to use the terms be a case of “A Rose by any other name would sound more weird.”?

  102. Just a comment,
    This article:
    Characterisation and implications of intradecadal variations
    in length-of-day
    R. Holme1 & O. de Viron2

    http://www.liv.ac.uk/~holme/nature_sub.pdf

    July 2013

    They do a good job with the overall trend, which is showing a consistent ‘trend towards a faster rotation since early 1990,’ when it did not slow back down to prior level. Also appears to me to follow the interplanetary magnetic fields decline over the same period. As the current decline of IMF began its descent in the early 90′s and continues to present. (Less magneto pressure?)
    graph on page 19 figure S1

    Does a good job representing the intradecadal variation in Earth LOD (rotation). So much so I thought that there may be an inverse correlation between Helio current sheet angle and the LOD oscillation. (still do and would not expect precision following over all decades but a lag for some interior redistribution, which may have manifested in volcanology and tectonics over the period. )
    page 21 figure S3

  103. My bad,,correction..should say
    Carla says:
    January 11, 2014 at 9:45 am
    …which is showing a consistent ‘trend towards a slower rotation since early 1990,’

    Korean scientists are seeing the same trend in rotation. See page 2 of the sneek preview for figures 1 +2. Note figure 1(b) the time period from 1999 to 2006 is also a period with 4 geomagnetic jerks/LOD jumps. Starting in around 2006- 2009 is also when the N. Magnetic pole slowed its latitudinal ascent and began moving more longitudinal.

    Journal of the Korean Physical Society
    July 2012, Volume 61, Issue 1, pp 152-157
    Spectral analysis on earth’s spin rotation for the recent 30 years

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.3938/jkps.61.152

    Sung-Ho Na, Jung-Ho Cho, Jeongho Baek,
    Younghee Kwak, Sung-Moon Yoo
    Abstract
    Earth’s spin rotation is slowing down with perturbations of complicated characteristics. The recent deceleration in earth’s spin rotation is smaller compared to its long-time average. Presently, the earth’s spin axis is slowly drifting on the earth’s surface at a rate of about 8.1 cm/yr directed to West 59°. Periodic perturbations exist in both the spin angular speed and the polar motion. Different periods for these two perturbations are identified using the most recent and accurate dataset.

  104. Carla says: January 11, 2014 at 7:21 am

    You may want to have a look at the graph on page 19 figure S1.
    Characterisation and implications of intradecadal variations
    in length-of-day
    R. Holme1 & O. de Viron2

    http://www.liv.ac.uk/~holme/nature_sub.pdf

    Figure S1: LOD observations, atmospheric and oceanic signals, and predictions.

    R. Holme & O. de Viron – Characterisation and implications of intradecadal varia-
    tions in length-of-day – Click the pic to view at source

    The figure is pretty telling. Wish we had a longer reliable reference though…

    Also, IERS says no adding leap second again this year.

    “The length-of-day (LOD) fluctuations from 1962 until 2012 are corrected for atmospheric and oceanic effects using assimilating general circulation models (see supplementary material, Figure S1). This correction accounts for most of the variation at yearly and shorter periods.”

    That tells me that on short timescales atmospheric and oceanic cycles effect LOD, not the other way around.

    Carla says: January 11, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    …which is showing a consistent ‘trend towards a slower rotation since early 1990,’

    “The recent deceleration in earth’s spin rotation is smaller compared to its long-time average.”

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.3938%2Fjkps.61.152

    Korean scientists are seeing the same trend in rotation. See page 2 of the sneek preview for figures 1 +2. Note figure 1(b) the time period from 1999 to 2006 is also a period with 4 geomagnetic jerks/LOD jumps. Starting in around 2006- 2009 is also when the N. Magnetic pole slowed its latitudinal ascent and began moving more longitudinal.

    Spectral analysis on earth’s spin rotation for the recent 30 years

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.3938/jkps.61.152

    “The secular change of the l.o.d. in known to be mainly due to the incessant friction of the ocean tide at the ocean bottom”

    “Besides the secular deceleration, periodic and quasi-periodic perturbations in the l.o.d. variation, often called ‘decadal fluctuation’, is known to be related to the generation of the geomagnetic field. Torques affecting earth’s spin rotation are also exerted by the moon, sun and other planetary bodies. The luni-solar gravitational attraction on the earth’s equatorial bulge results in the earth’s precession and the major components of Earth’s nutation. Moreover, the position of earth’s spin axis on its surface shows a small and slow periodic movement, which is commonly called polar motion (originally termed as polhode in classical mechanics). Two main components of polar motion are Chandler and annual wobbles. Chandler wobble is the free Eulerian nutation of the earth, and its excitation is general ascribed to the hydrosphere/atmosphere acting on the solid earth’s surface.”

    Sung-Ho Na, et al. refer to the change in LOD as “tiny indeed”. There is no doubt that LOD is changing and there are correlations with Ocean and Atmospheric cycles, however I am not aware of any mechanism, other then butterflies, whereby a few millisecond change in Earth’s rotation could have significant short-term influence on the Ocean, Atmosphere or Polar Vorticity. Do you?

  105. Bill H. As much as the Warmists would like to say that Sudden Stratospheric Warmings are driven purely by ocean/land/orography temperature differentials causing Rossby waves that disrupt the wind circulation and particularly in conjunction with the QBO can be focused directly at the Polar Vortex, the truth is far more likely to be Solar activity that happens to correspond with SSWs.

    I know acknowledging this would mean that Anthony would have to agree with Piers Corbyn, the arch-nemesis of Meteorologists everywhere ;)

  106. Gunga Din says: January 11, 2014 at 7:27 am

    Did you strike “East Asia” because you meant “East Anglia”? 8-)

    Funny. I had thought that it might only be an Upper Stratosphere Lower Mesosphere (USLM) Disturbance, versus a full-fledged Sudden Stratospheric Warming. However, as things unfold, I am wondering if the first version was right, i.e.:

    The Vertical Cross Section of Geopotential Height Anomalies shows that the Polar Vortex has weakened significantly and the AO has swung negative;

    NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

    Northern Hemisphere Temperature Analysis at 10 hPa/mb – Approximately 31,000 meters (101,700 feet) shows a high level split within the Polar Vortex:

    NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

    Height Analyses show that the Polar Vortex has split in two below 50 hPa/mb – Approximately 20,100 meters (66,000 feet);

    NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

    70 hPa/mb Height Analysis – Approximately 18,000 meters (59,000 feet);

    NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

    and 100 hPa/mb Height Analysis – Approximately 15,000 meters (49,000 feet):

    NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

    The split is also visible in Ozone Mixing Ratio 30 hPa/mb – Approximately 23,700 meters (77,800 feet);

    NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

    50-hPa/mb Ozone Mixing Ratio – Approximately 20,100 meters (66,000 feet);

    NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

    and 70-hPa/mb Ozone Mixing Ratio – Approximately 18,000 meters (59,000 feet):

    NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

    Northern Hemisphere Area Where Temperature is Below 195K or -78C shows significant warming in the last few days;

    NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

    and Global – 10-hPa/mb Height Temperature Anomalies – Atmospheric Temperature Anomalies At Approximately 31,000 meters (101,700 feet) continues to increase over East Asia:

    NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

  107. justthefactswuwt says:

    January 11, 2014 at 2:11 pm
    Sung-Ho Na, et al. refer to the change in LOD as “tiny indeed”. There is no doubt that LOD is changing and there are correlations with Ocean and Atmospheric cycles, however I am not aware of any mechanism, other then butterflies, whereby a few millisecond change in Earth’s rotation could have significant short-term influence on the Ocean, Atmosphere or Polar Vorticity. Do you?
    ———————-
    We’ve added 25 leap seconds between 1972 and 2012.
    In the period 1999 to 2012 only 3 leap seconds.
    page11 figure 9
    Earth Rotation – Basic Theory and Features
    Sung-Ho Na

    http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs/44925/InTech-Earth_rotation_basic_theory_and_features.pdf

    Phase change in the Chandler Wobble 2005

    Chandler wobble: two more large phase jumps revealed
    Zinovy Malkin and Natalia Miller
    Central Astronomical Observatory at Pulkovo of RAS,
    Pulkovskoe Ch. 65, St. Petersburg Russia
    23 August 2009
    Abstract
    Investigations of the anomalies in the Earth rotation, in particular, the polar mo-
    tion components, play an important role in our understanding of the processes that
    drive changes in the Earth’s surface, interior, atmosphere, and ocean. This paper is
    primarily aimed at investigation of the Chandler wobble (CW) at the whole available
    163-year interval to search for the major CWamplitude and phase variations. First, the
    CW signal was extracted from the IERS (International Earth Rotation and Reference
    Systems Service)…
    Among other interesting CW peculiarities, a phase jump of about 180◦ occurred in the
    1920s. Perhaps, it was for the first time detected by Orlov (1944). Detailed consideration
    of this CW phase jump is given e.g. in Guinot (1972) and Vondr´ak (1988). Also, less
    significant CW phase jumps can be observed, which may be in temporary coincidence with
    geomagnetic jerks and Free Core Nutation (FCN) phase perturbations (Gibert & Le Mou¨el
    2008, cf. Shirai et al. 2005).
    …All the methods used gave very similar results, with some differences at the ends of the
    interval. These discrepancies can be explained by different edge effects of the methods used,
    but they can hardly discredit the final conclusion that can be made from this study about
    existence of two epochs of deep CW amplitude decrease around 1850 and 2005, which are
    also accompanied by a large phase jump, like the well-known event in the 1920s. Thus, the
    latter seems to be not unique anymore.
    page 5 Figure 2: The CW amplitude computed for SSA-filtered and FT-filtered CW time series.
    Unit: mas. One can see similar behavior of the CW amplitude obtained for both series, with
    some differences near the ends of the interval. However, three deep minima below 0.05 mas
    around 1850, 1925 and 2005 coincide in both cases.

    Motion of North and South magnetic poles in 2001-2009

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2012EGUGA..1411236Z

    Zvereva, T.
    EGU General Assembly 2012, held 22-27 April, 2012 in Vienna, Austria.,
    We created the daily average spherical harmonic models of the main geomagnetic field (n = m = 10) with an interval of 4 days using vector data CHAMP satellite during May 2001 – December 2009 (2001.5-2009). Using obtained set of the models coordinates of the North and South magnetic poles (i.e. the point on the Earth’s surface where the magnetic filed lines are vertical) were calculated. Both poles continue to move northward and westward. North pole shifted 400 km, South pole moved 10 times slower. Accelerated motion of the North magnetic pole stopped around year 2003, when rate of motion increased to ~ 62.5 km/yr. Then the motion of North pole started to decelerate to ~45 km/yr in 2009. At the same time it should be noticed that North pole began to retrace in the direction of Canada, moving northwestward as before. This follows from the fact that during this period the rate of the pole latitude movement decreased from 58 to 35 km/yr, while the longitude speed increased from 23 to 32 km/yr. Thus, we can hope that North magnetic pole just “wanders” and will not leave Canadian anomaly and will not reach Siberia in approximately 50 years, as predicted earlier.

    4 geomagnetic jerks/LOD jumps 1999-2007
    See page 21 figure S3 vertical dashed lines.

    Characterisation and implications of intradecadal variations
    in length-of-day
    R. Holme1 & O. de Viron2
    …Here, by working in the time domain, rather than
    the frequency domain, we demonstrate a clear partition of the non-atmospheric component
    into only three components: a decadally varying trend, a 5.9-year period oscillation, and
    jumps at times contemporaneous with geomagnetic jerks. The nature of the jumps in LOD
    changes fundamentally what class of phenomena may give rise to the jerks, and provides a
    strong constraint on electrical conductivity of the lower mantle, which can in turn constrain
    its structure and composition.
    page 21 figure S3

    Wish just one of these articles would have at least tried to couple the Earth system with Solar electro and magnetic system.

  108. Note in 2003.5 geomagnetic jerk/LOD jump same year as, “Accelerated motion of the North magnetic pole stopped around year 2003, when rate of motion increased to ~ 62.5 km/yr. Then the motion of North pole started to decelerate to ~45 km/yr in 2009. “”

  109. sabretruthtiger says: January 11, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    As much as the Warmists would like to say that Sudden Stratospheric Warmings are driven purely by ocean/land/orography temperature differentials causing Rossby waves that disrupt the wind circulation and particularly in conjunction with the QBO can be focused directly at the Polar Vortex, the truth is far more likely to be Solar activity that happens to correspond with SSWs.

    A Coronal Mass Ejection (CME);

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

    hit Earth around January 1st:
    Ensemble WSA-ENLIL+Cone Model Evolution Movie for Median CME Input Parameters – Dynamic Pressure

    NOAA – Integrated Space Weather Analysis – Click the pic to view at source

    and the Magnetosphere was rocking and rolling:

    NOAA – Integrated Space Weather Analysis – Click the pic to view at source

    Strong negative fluxes indicate poleward flux of heat via eddies. Multiple strong poleward episodes will result in a smaller polar vortex, Sudden Stratospheric Warmings and an earlier transition from winter to summer circulations. Relatively small flux amplitudes will result in a more stable polar vortex and will extend the winter circulation well into the Spring

    Also, the 10 day Averaged Eddy Heat Flux Towards The North Pole At 100mb is near its record high daily maximum for this day of the year:

    NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

    Strong negative fluxes indicate poleward flux of heat via eddies. Multiple strong poleward episodes will result in a smaller polar vortex, Sudden Stratospheric Warmings and an earlier transition from winter to summer circulations. Relatively small flux amplitudes will result in a more stable polar vortex and will extend the winter circulation well into the Spring

    There are numerous papers that argue connections between Space Weather and Earth’s Weather, e.g.: “The Influence of the Solar Cycle and QBO on the Late-Winter Stratospheric Polar Vortex” by Charles D. Camp and Ka-Kit Tung:”

    “The polar temperature is positively correlated with the SC, with a statistically significant zonal mean warming of approximately 4.6 K in the 10–50-hPa layer in the mean and 7.2 K from peak to peak. This magnitude of the warming in winter is too large to be explainable by UV radiation alone. The evidence seems to suggest that the polar warming in NH late winter during SC-max is due to the occurrence of sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs), as noted previously by other authors. This hypothesis is circumstantially substantiated here by the similarity between the meridional pattern and timing of the warming and cooling observed during the SC-max and the known pattern and timing of SSWs, which has the form of large warming over the pole and small cooling over the midlatitudes during mid- and late winter. The eQBO is also known to precondition the polar vortex for the onset of SSWs, and it has been pointed out by previous authors that SSWs can occur during eQBO at all stages of the solar cycle.”

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JAS3883.1

    This non-peer-reviewed 2009 article by Václav Bucha: “Geomagnetic Activity and the Global Temperature” states that;

    “We are able to establish the key fact that there exist statistically significant relations between the increasing global temperature and geomagnetic activity in the month of October and December”

    “As a consequence of geomagnetic storms, indicating the enhancement of the solar wind, energetic particles penetrate from the magnetosphere into the region of the polar vortex. There they take part in perturbing the processes in the polar region and in changing the direction of the flow of the polar air to the lower latitudes.” And “At the time of La Nina and under low values of the AA index, the wind blows from the polar region over North America and from the Atlantic towards the pole via Greenland. Surface temperatures in Eurasia are below normal. Under El Nino and increased values of the AA index, the vortex shifts towards Europe and rotates couterclockwise.”

    “This leads to the increase of surface temperatures in Eurasia and increases the global temperature.”

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/c071v0t195182757/

    This 2010 paper, “Geomagnetic activity related NOx enhancements and polar surface air temperature variability in a chemistry climate model: modulation of the NAM index” by A. J. G. Baumgaertner1, A. Seppälä, P. Jöckel and M. A. Clilverd states that;

    “Statistically significant temperature effects that were observed in previous reanalysis and model results are also obtained from this set of simulations, suggesting that such patterns are indeed related to geomagnetic activity. In the model, strong geomagnetic activity and the associated NOx enhancements lead to polar stratospheric ozone loss. Compared with the simulation with weak geomagnetic activity, the ozone loss causes a decrease in ozone radiative cooling and thus a temperature increase in the polar winter mesosphere. Similar to previous studies, a cooling is found below the stratopause, which other authors have attributed to a decrease in the mean meridional circulation. In the polar stratosphere this leads to a more stable vortex. A strong (weak) Northern Hemisphere vortex is known to be associated with a positive (negative) Northern Annular Mode (NAM) index;
    our simulations exhibit a positive NAM index for strong geomagnetic activity, and a negative NAM for weak geomagnetic activity. Such NAM anomalies have been shown to propagate to the surface, and this is also seen in the model simulations. NAM anomalies are known to lead to specific surface temperature anomalies: a positive NAM is associated with warmer than average northern Eurasia and colder than average eastern North Atlantic. This is also the case in our simulation. Our simulations suggest a link between geomagnetic activity, ozone loss, stratospheric cooling, the NAM, and surface temperature variability.”

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/10/30171/2010/acpd-10-30171-2010.pdf

    This paper “THE EFFECT OF SOLAR WIND DYNAMIC PRESSURE ON THE EARTH’S MAGNETOSPHERE” by C. T. Russell, G. Le, S. M. Petrinec and M. Ginskey
    states that “a sudden compression of the magnetosphere launches both a compressional wave across field lines toward the Earth’s equator and a shear Alfven wave along magnetic field lines to the auroral ionosphere. The wave which causes the first ionospheric effect is not certain. Fast modes in general move faster than the Alfven velocity and the fast mode has a shorter path. However, the density of plasma in the equatorial plane is much greater than along the auroral field lines and thus the Alfven wave may arrive sooner.”

    http://www-ssc.igpp.ucla.edu/personnel/russell/papers/effect_magsphere.pdf

    This paper, “The Influence of the Solar Cycle and QBO on the Late-Winter Stratospheric Polar Vortex” this paper finds “SIGNALS OF SOLAR WIND DYNAMIC PRESSURE IN THE NORTHERN ANNULAR MODE AND THE EQUATORIAL STRATOSPHERIC QUASI-BIENNIAL OSCILLATION” By Hua Lua and Martin J. Jarvis. They ;

    “report statistically measurable responses of the Northern Annular Mode (NAM) and the equatorial stratospheric Quasi-biennial Oscillation (QBO) to solar wind dynamic pressure. When December to January solar wind dynamic pressure is high, the Northern Hemispheric (NH) circulation response is marked by a stronger polar vortex and weaker sub-tropical jet in the upper to middle stratosphere. As the winter progresses, the Arctic becomes colder and the jet anomalies shift poleward and downward. In spring, the polar stratosphere becomes anomalously warmer. At solar maxima, significant positive correlations are found between December to January solar wind dynamic pressure and the mid- to late winter NAM all the way from the surface to 20 hPa, implying a strengthened polar vortex, reduced Brewer-Dobson circulation and enhanced stratosphere-troposphere coupling. The combined effect of high solar UV irradiance and high solar wind dynamic pressure in the NH mid- to late winter is enhanced westerlies in the extratropics and weaker westerlies in the subtropics, indicating that more planetary waves are refracted towards the equator. At solar minima, there is no correlation in the NH winter but negative correlations between December to January solar wind dynamic pressure and the NAM are found only in the stratosphere during spring. Statistical evidence of a possible modulation of the equatorial stratospheric Quasi-biennial Oscillation (QBO) by the solar wind dynamic pressure is also provided. When solar wind dynamic pressure is high, the QBO at 30-70 hPa is found to be preferably more easterly during July to October. These lower stratospheric easterly anomalies are primarily linked to the high frequency component of solar wind dynamic pressure with periods shorter than 3-years. In annually and seasonally aggregated daily averages, the signature of solar wind dynamic pressure in the equatorial zonal wind is characterized by a vertical three-cell anomaly pattern with westerly anomalies both in the troposphere and the upper stratosphere and easterly anomalies in the lower stratosphere. This anomalous behavior in tropical winds is accompanied by a downward propagation of positive temperature anomalies from the upper stratosphere to the lower stratosphere over a period of a year. These results suggest that the solar wind dynamic pressure exerts a seasonal change of the tropical upwelling which results in a systemic modulation of the annual cycle in the lower stratospheric temperature, which in turn affects the QBO during Austral late winter and spring. These results suggest possible multiple solar inputs. Their combined effect in the stratosphere may cause refraction/redistribution of upward wave propagation and result in projecting the solar wind signals onto the NAM and the QBO. The route by which the effects of solar wind forcing might propagate to the lower atmosphere is yet to be understood.”

    http://www.agu.org/journals/ABS/2008/2008JD010848.shtml

    As such, it appears that there may be some correlations between solar wind dynamic pressure and the atmosphere, including the NAM and QBO, however there is no known mechanism whereby ” the effects of solar wind forcing might propagate to the lower atmosphere.”

  110. eeek…Atmospheric Temperature Anomalies At Approximately 31,000 meters (101,700 feet) continues to increase over East Asia:

  111. Carla says: January 11, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    We’ve added 25 leap seconds between 1972 and 2012.
    In the period 1999 to 2012 only 3 leap seconds.
    page11 figure 9
    Earth Rotation – Basic Theory and Features
    Sung-Ho Na

    http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs/44925/InTech-Earth_rotation_basic_theory_and_features.pdf

    “In Figure 9, recent variation of UT1 is illustrated by three different ways. Above, cumulative delay in UT1 is shown, and then, in the middle, difference between UT1 and UTC (UT1-UTC) is shown. Including the last leap second introduced at the midnight of June 30th of 2012, there were total 25 leap seconds since 1972. The bottom graph shows the excessive amount of Earth’s spin angular speed Δω from its nominal value ω0 =7.292115 ×10 5(rad/s). Recent Earth’s spin angular velocity, as can be seen in Figure 9(bottom), has been increasing in minute amount. This tendency can also be noticed from reduced number of leap seconds during the last twelve years or so.”

    “Length of day (LOD), which is meant by the length of a solar day, is about 86400 second and
    slightly variable. The length of a sidereal day is about 86164 second. Besides the secular increase described in a former section, there exist periodic variations in LOD. Even before atomic clocks, precise quartz clocks provided measurement of seasonal perturbation in star transit time; being behind in spring and ahead in late summer by 20-30 millisecond, which should be accumulation of LOD variation of the same periodicity. Along with the seasonal perturbation, fortnightly and monthly variations in LOD exist. Amplitudes of LOD variations of these different periodic components are in the order of one millisecond. Some amounts of these periodic perturbations are associated with body/ocean tides in the Earth. However, there is strong atmospheric effect on LOD variation. There also exist large quasiperiodic variations of much longer period range, called decadal fluctuation.

    According to Wikipedia;

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

    A leap second is a one-second adjustment that is occasionally applied to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) in order to keep its time of day close to the mean solar time. Without such a correction, time reckoned by Earth rotation drifts away from atomic time because of irregularities in the Earth’s rate of rotation. Since this system of correction was implemented in 1972, 25 such leap seconds have been inserted. The most recent one happened on June 30, 2012 at 23:59:60 UTC.[1]

    The UTC time standard, which is widely used for international timekeeping and as the reference for civil time in most countries, uses the international system (SI) definition of the second, based on atomic clocks. Like most time standards, UTC defines a grouping of seconds into minutes, hours, days, months, and years. However, the duration of one mean solar day is slightly longer than 24 hours (86400 SI seconds). Therefore, if the UTC day were defined as precisely 86400 SI seconds, the UTC time-of-day would slowly drift apart from that of solar-based standards, such as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and its successor UT1. The purpose of a leap second is to compensate for this drift, by occasionally scheduling some UTC days with 86401 or 86399 SI seconds.

    Specifically, a positive leap second is inserted between second 23:59:59 of a chosen UTC calendar date (the last day of a month, usually June 30 or December 31) and second 00:00:00 of the following date. This extra second is displayed on UTC clocks as 23:59:60. On clocks that display local time tied to UTC, the leap second may be inserted at the end of some other hour (or half-hour), depending on the local time zone.

    A negative leap second would suppress second 23:59:59 of the last day of a chosen month, so that second 23:59:58 of that date would be followed immediately by second 00:00:00 of the following date. However, since the UTC standard was established, negative leap seconds have never been needed.

    Because the Earth’s rotation speed varies in response to climatic and geological events, UTC leap seconds are irregularly spaced and unpredictable. Insertion of each UTC leap second is usually decided about six months in advance by the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS), when needed to ensure that the difference between the UTC and UT1 readings will never exceed 0.9 second. Between their adoption in 1972 and June 2012, 25 leap seconds have been scheduled, all positive.

    Thus Leap Seconds are primarily to address the fact that “the duration of one mean solar day is slightly longer than 24 hours (86400 SI seconds).” “Seasonal perturbation in star transit time; being behind in spring and ahead in late summer by 20-30 millisecond, which should be accumulation of LOD variation of the same periodicity. Along with the seasonal perturbation, fortnightly and monthly variations in LOD exist. Amplitudes of LOD variations of these different periodic components are in the order of one millisecond. Some amounts of these periodic perturbations are associated with body/ocean tides in the Earth. However, there is strong atmospheric effect on LOD variation. There also exist large quasiperiodic variations of much longer period range, called decadal fluctuation.”

    Even if we granted a full second per year of variations in LOD, beyond butterflies, I don’t see how one second variations in Length of Day can have a signifacant impact on short-term Polar Vortex strength and persistance. There are numerous other variables involved in Polar Vortex development, persistance and breakdown, including Atmospheric and Oceanic Occillations, Heat Eddys, Rossby Waves, Tidal Forces, Potentially Solar e.g. CME or Cosmic Ray/Cloud, etc. I still don’t see a mechanism whereby LOD could be a signifacant varaible in short term changes to Polar Vorticity.

  112. Carla says: January 11, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    eeek…Atmospheric Temperature Anomalies At Approximately 31,000 meters (101,700 feet) continues to increase over East Asia:

    Yes, per the paper “The Influence of Stratospheric Vortex Displacements and Splits on Surface Climate”, Daniel M. Mitchell, et al.;

    A strong link exists between stratospheric variability and anomalous weather patterns at the earth’s surface. Specifically, during extreme variability of the Arctic polar vortex termed a “weak vortex event,” anomalies can descend from the upper stratosphere to the surface on time scales of weeks. Subsequently the outbreak of cold-air events have been noted in high northern latitudes, as well as a quadrupole pattern in surface temperature over the Atlantic and western European sectors, but it is currently not understood why certain events descend to the surface while others do not. This study compares a new classification technique of weak vortex events, based on the distribution of potential vorticity, with that of an existing technique and demonstrates that the subdivision of such events into vortex displacements and vortex splits has important implications for tropospheric weather patterns on weekly to monthly time scales. Using reanalysis data it is found that vortex splitting events are correlated with surface weather and lead to positive temperature anomalies over eastern North America of more than 1.5 K, and negative anomalies over Eurasia of up to −3 K. Associated with this is an increase in high-latitude blocking in both the Atlantic and Pacific sectors and a decrease in European blocking. The corresponding signals are weaker during displacement events, although ultimately they are shown to be related to cold-air outbreaks over North America. Because of the importance of stratosphere–troposphere coupling for seasonal climate predictability, identifying the type of stratospheric variability in order to capture the correct surface response will be necessary. http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00030.1

  113. justthefactswuwt says:

    January 11, 2014 at 8:23 pm
    ———————————————
    Thanks for the additional information given in that post.

    Will be back later ..

  114. Computer crash and bang, bang down go the over 60 browser windows I had open.

    justthefactswuwt says:

    January 11, 2014 at 11:31 pm
    Even if we granted a full second per year of variations in LOD, beyond butterflies, I don’t see how one second variations in Length of Day can have a signifacant impact on short-term Polar Vortex strength and persistance. There are numerous other variables involved in Polar Vortex development, persistance and breakdown, including Atmospheric and Oceanic Occillations, Heat Eddys, Rossby Waves, Tidal Forces, Potentially Solar e.g. CME or Cosmic Ray/Cloud, etc. I still don’t see a mechanism whereby LOD could be a signifacant varaible in short term changes to Polar Vorticity.
    ———-
    Yes, I understand what you are saying.
    I was only trying to show that while these short term changes to Polar vorticity exist, at the same time some changes are occurring in the long term trend of the polar region. Movement of the N. Magnetic pole change magnetic field orientation. Field lines are most vertical at the polar regions around the magnetic pole. Maybe its jerk, wobble and jump that contributes to the polar vortex irregularity? lol.

    But found a precipitating electron flux dump at the south pole. Apparently the POES satellite is missing these electron flux enhancements.. just how often does POES miss this? And then we must ask, is this also happening at the N. Pole?

    Energetic electron precipitation characteristics observed from Antarctica during a flux dropout event

    Mark A. Clilverd1,*, Neil Cobbett1, Craig J. Rodger2,
    James B. Brundell2, Michael H. Denton3, David P. Hartley3,
    Juan V. Rodriguez4,5, Donald Danskin6,
    Tero Raita7, Emma L. Spanswick8
    5 NOV 2013

    ..””Combining the ground-based data with low and geosynchronous orbiting satellite observations on 27 February 2012, different driving mechanisms were observed for three precipitation events with clear signatures in phase space density and electron anisotropy. Comparison between flux measurements made by Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites (POES) in low Earth orbit and by the Antarctic instrumentation provides evidence of different cases of weak and strong diffusion into the bounce loss cone, helping to understand the physical mechanisms controlling the precipitation of energetic electrons into the atmosphere. Strong diffusion events occurred as the 30 keV flux than was reported by POES, more consistent with strong diffusion conditions.””..

    Seems that more and more electron fluxes are being found to penetrate into regions that will and do affect atmospheric composition and climate.

  115. Gee the part of the abstract I wanted to post is not there. Let’s try again.
    Do we see 10 to 100 times greater flux values in the following text? Yes there we go now..

    Energetic electron precipitation characteristics observed from Antarctica during a flux dropout event

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013JA019067/abstract;jsessionid=82D30A53CA4AA047776345D2B8F415A2.f01t01?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

    “”Comparison between flux measurements made by Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites (POES) in low Earth orbit and by the Antarctic instrumentation provides evidence of different cases of weak and strong diffusion into the bounce loss cone, helping to understand the physical mechanisms controlling the precipitation of energetic electrons into the atmosphere. Strong diffusion events occurred as the 30 keV flux than was reported by POES, more consistent with strong diffusion conditions.””

  116. Carla says: January 12, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Computer crash and bang, bang down go the over 60 browser windows I had open.

    Been there, done that… :)

    Yes, I understand what you are saying.
    I was only trying to show that while these short term changes to Polar vorticity exist, at the same time some changes are occurring in the long term trend of the polar region. Movement of the N. Magnetic pole change magnetic field orientation. Field lines are most vertical at the polar regions around the magnetic pole. Maybe its jerk, wobble and jump that contributes to the polar vortex irregularity? lol.

    I poked at this with Leif a few years ago and he was dismissive, i.e.:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/16/watch-sunspot-group-1158-form-from-nothing/#comment-614640

    Excerpted:

    “Correlations have been found between solar wind driven geomagnetic activity and atmospheric variables including temperature, geopotential height and the NAO [Boberg and Lundstedt, 2002; 2003; Thejll, et al., 2003; Palamara and Bryant, 2004; Bochnicek and Hejda, 2005]. For the period of 1973 to 2000, Boberg and Lundstedt [2002; 2003] showed that the variation of the winter NAO is positively correlated with the electric field strength of the solar wind, and suggested a solar wind generated electromagnetic disturbance in the ionosphere may dynamicly propagate downward to affect the NAO. For the period from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s, Bochnicek and Hejda [2005] found that the winter NAO is more positive when the geomagnetic index Ap is high, in line with the results of Boberg and Lundstedt [2002; 2003]. It is, however, apparent that a multi-decadal scale modulation of the relationship between the NAO and geomagnetic activity may exist, as the correlation tends to wax and wane over time-scales of a few decades [Bucha and Bucha, 1998; Thejll, et al., 2003; Palamara and Bryant, 2004]. Lu et al. [2007] demonstrated that there were multiple solar influences on atmospheric temperature, with both solar irradiance and solar wind drivers playing a role. They used the Ap index [Mayaud, 1980] as a measure of geomagnetic activity, which is indirectly dependent upon the solar wind characteristics. They showed that, for the period 1958-2004, the magnitude of the temperature response in the troposphere and the lower stratosphere to the geomagnetic Ap index is at least comparable to that associated with solar irradiance over the 11-yr SC.”

    “The transfer of energy from the solar wind to the Earth system is a complex process and can depend upon various solar wind parameters [Wang, et al., 2006]. Palmroth et al. [2004] have presented direct evidence for the dependence of Joule heating, generated by currents in Earth’s upper atmosphere, on solar wind dynamic pressure. These currents are driven in the outer magnetosphere by solar wind action and connect to make a circuit through the auroral zones in the lower thermosphere region where they dissipate energy. They can be divided into ‘region 1’ currents that flow down into the dawnside and up from the duskside of the higher latitude auroral zone and ‘region 2’ shielding currents, with the opposite sense to ‘region 1’ currents, which flow into and out of the lower latitude auroral zone. Palmroth et al. [2004] pointed out that both the ‘region 2’ currents and the weaker ‘region 1’ currents are highly correlated with magnetospheric pressure changes which are, in turn, balanced with changes in the solar wind dynamic pressure. They showed (their Fig 4) through magnetohydrodynamic numerical simulation that the Joule heating from these current systems is approximately proportional to the solar wind dynamic pressure. Hence, if solar wind geo-effectiveness is determined by the subsequent dissipation of magnetospheric energy into the neutral atmosphere through Joule heating, then the solar wind dynamic pressure can be used as a proxy for this geo-effectiveness.”

    “The importance of the solar wind dynamic pressure in transferring energy from the solar wind to the Earth’s atmosphere has been demonstrated by several authors. Shue and Kamide [2001] showed that, in a magnetic cloud, increasing solar wind density intensified the auroral electrojets for both southward and northward interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). Boudouridis et al. [2003] demonstrated that, under IMF southward conditions, the solar wind dynamic pressure increases widened the auroral oval and decreased the polar cap size. Lu et al. [2004] reported that compressional waves from within the solar wind dynamic pressure enhancements could lead to penetration of solar wind matter and energy across the magnetopause into the magnetosphere. Palmroth et al. [2007] analyzed 236 solar wind pressure pulses separated into two groups, dependent upon whether the solar wind magnetic field increased or decreased at the time of the pressure pulse. They showed that both groups transfer energy to the magnetosphere; although coupling efficiency decreased when the magnetic field increased, and vice versa, the coupling energy within the pressure pulses with increased magnetic field remained the larger. Zhou and Tsurutani [1999] have shown that sudden increases in the solar wind dynamic pressure can generate global disturbances with Auroral activity appearing on the dayside and propagating to the nightside with ionospheric speeds consistent with the solar wind pressure pulse speed. In support of this, the inverse effect has been observed by Liou et al. [2006] whereby decreasing pressure pulses lead to a rapid extinguishing of auroral activity. Observations by Laundal and Østgaard [2008] indicate that the causative mechanism behind proton aurora precipitation during high dynamic pressure is connected to the compression of the magnetosphere, which is directly related to the solar wind dynamic pressure.”

    http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/5932/1/LuJarvisHibbins_2008JD010848_JGR_NORA.pdf

    Here is a more recent paper on the same:

    The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of geomagnetic activity (used as a measure of solar wind parameters) on the variability of large-scale climate patterns and on changes in the global temperature. We show that positive statistically significant correlations between global temperature and the distribution of surface temperature over Eurasia, the East and Equatorial Pacific and over the North Atlantic for the period 1966-2009 correspond to large-scale climate patterns defined by climate indices. We found very similar positive correlations between geomagnetic activity and the distribution of surface temperature in the mentioned regions. As an effect of geomagnetic storms, energetic particles penetrate from the magnetosphere into the region of the stratospheric polar vortex. The increase of temperature and pressure can be observed over northern Canada. The vortex shifts towards Europe, rotates counter-clockwise and the wind blows from the polar region over Greenland southwards. It diverts the warm flow proceeding northward over the Atlantic, eastward along the deep Icelandic low extending as far as the Barents Sea and takes part in warming Eurasia. The strengthened zonal flow from Siberia cools the western Pacific with the impact on the warming of the equatorial and eastern Pacific when also a distinct 1976-78 climate shift occurred. Processes in the Atlantic and Pacific play a significant role and a time delay (wind forcing over the previous 1-4 yr) appears to be the most important for the relocation of the oceanic gyres. Results showing statistically significant relations between time series for geomagnetic activity, for the sum of climate indices and for the global temperature help to verify findings concerning the chain of processes from the magnetosphere to the troposphere.http://web.ebscohost.com/abstract?direct=true&profile=ehost&scope=site&authtype=crawler&jrnl=00393169&AN=83847877&h=x%2bAWoR7s7NmnOUQKie8MPMMMkWib5XWVMkX5jghNP2%2fYyauYtheQo0d0OxRSr5kh1ZejgT3%2fDBjiHQqqI%2bmriw%3d%3d&crl=c

    I covered an array of potential influences with Leif on this thread;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/16/watch-sunspot-group-1158-form-from-nothing/

    but can’t say that I made too much headway. There are so many variables in play, the system is ridiculously complex, our data record is woefully brief and our understanding is rudimentary. It is fun to poke around with, but realistically it will take us generations to understand Polar Vorticity and even longer to accurately predict its behavior.

  117. Carla says:
    January 12, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Computer crash and bang, bang down go the over 60 browser windows I had open

    Look up and install the “Session Manager” add-on. Saves tabs every few minutes, recovers from crashes, etc. I wouldn’t surf without it.

  118. Other essentials:
    “Lazarus” add-on, saves posts as they are being typed.
    ClipMate package, saves all copied items and text.

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