New WUWT Polar Vortex Reference Page

By WUWT regular “Just The Facts”

We are pleased to introduce WUWT’s newest addition, the WUWT Polar Vortex Reference Page.

For those unfamiliar, 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. The Antarctic polar vortex is more pronounced and persistent than the Arctic one; this is because the distribution of land masses at high latitudes in the northern hemisphere gives rise to Rossby waves which contribute to the breakdown of the vortex, whereas in the southern hemisphere the vortex remains less disturbed. 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

These Wired and NASA articles and associated imagery, including the one at the top of this article, help to demonstrate the dynamical effect of the polar vortex on Venus’s south pole.

This animation shows Earth’s Winter 2008 – 09 Arctic Polar Vortex and a Sudden Stratospheric Warming, which occurs when the Polar Vortex splits or breaks-up:

Within the Polar Vortex, “Air from very high altitudes descends vertically through the center of the vortex, moving air to lower altitudes over several months.” NASA

“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)” Stratosphere troposphere interactions: an introduction

There are also “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

In addition to our Polar Vortex Page if you have not had the opportunity to review the other Reference Pages it is highly recommended:

Please note that WUWT cannot vouch for the accuracy of the data within the Reference Pages, as WUWT is simply an aggregator. All of the data is linked from third party sources. If you have doubts about the accuracy of any of the graphs on the WUWT Reference Pages, or have any suggested additions or improvements to any of the pages, please let us know in comments below.

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etudiant

Seems like a very powerful mixer.
Do any of the existing atmospheric circulation models make any provisions for this phenomenon?

ferdberple

the true cause of the ozone hole.

This is way easier to understand than the “Polar Vortex Reference Page”

It’s coming right at us! (Jumps out window)

DonB

Vibrating vortexes, Batman! Does that thing rotate the opposite direction in th Antactic?

Camburn

Thank you. This is a very valuable tool. The Actic Polar Vortex affects the Greenland high which affects most NH weather patterns.

oMan

Justthefactswuwt: wow, those are some pretty strongly-worded limitations in the literature. A whole new reason to think the climate models are maybe not perfect. But…the science is settled! And, in terms of an atmosphere dynamic where heat has to go from source (tropics) to sink (poles), who really cares about the sink? I mean, if you were to plug the drain in your sink, and let the water run, you would get exactly the same flow as if the drain were open. No problem. /sarc off.

Kim Allen

In the northern hemisphere, wouldn’t the air spiral UP over ta low pressure area? Wouldn’t air spiraling down be associated with a high pressure area?

Paul Vaughan
Gary Mount

Three of the arctic ice extent charts haven’t been updated since early October on the sea ice reference page. Are they waiting until Durban is over?

etudiant

justthefactswuwt says:
October 29, 2011 at 6:04 pm
“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.”
http://www.columbia.edu/~lmp/paps/waugh+polvani-PlumbFestVolume-2010.pdf
Gravity wave parameterizations??
It seems implausible that gravity waves would impact atmospheric processes on Earth. At least I could not find any reference to them in the document cited. What am I missing?

Paul Vaughan

On the wuwt polar vortex ref page, several of the images/animations are in anomalies.
The polar vortices are much easier to visualize in absolutes. After hearing Erl Happ go on & on & on about polar vortices, I assembled some simple animations to help the audience visualize what he was going on about.
Credit: Climatology animations have been assembled using JRA-25 Atlas [ http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/gmd/jra/atlas/eng/atlas-tope.htm ] images. JRA-25 long-term reanalysis is a collaboration of Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) & Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI).
AnimWind550K
http://i56.tinypic.com/14t0kns.png
AnimWindZonal
http://i51.tinypic.com/34xouhx.png

u.k.(us)

Kim Allen says:
October 29, 2011 at 6:38 pm
In the northern hemisphere, wouldn’t the air spiral UP over ta low pressure area? Wouldn’t air spiraling down be associated with a high pressure area?
====
Thank you, I was thinking the same thing.
Although, I don’t think it matters what hemisphere you are in ?
Anyone care to clarify ?

u.k.(us)

Paul Vaughan says:
October 29, 2011 at 6:55 pm
===========
I’ll never believe anything Paul Vaughan says, ever again 🙂
In fact, I’m gonna write it down.

Paul Vaughan

justthefactswuwt (October 29, 2011 at 6:49 pm) wrote:
“It rotates Counter Clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere […] and Clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere […] The is due to Earth’s rotation and the resultant Coriolis Effect […]”
Temperature gradient is the MAJOR factor you’ve left out. That’s where the PGF (Pressure Gradient Force) comes from.
I explained over here (start at the 5th paragraph):
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/15/shifting-sun-earth-moon-harmonies-beats-biases/#comment-769231
Polar vortices also go by the name polar night jet:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jet_stream#Polar_night_jet
“During these dark months the air high over the poles becomes much colder than the air over the equator. This difference in temperature gives rise to extreme air pressure differences in the stratosphere, which, when combined with the Coriolis effect, create the polar night jets […]”
Temperature gradient climatologies:
AnimTempZonal: http://i56.tinypic.com/1441k5d.png
Anim2mT: http://i55.tinypic.com/dr75s7.png

Paul Vaughan

@Kim Allen (October 29, 2011 at 6:38 pm)
[question about the distribution of vertical velocity]
AnimVerticalVelocity: http://i54.tinypic.com/2ch4x28.png
AnimOmega700hPa: http://i53.tinypic.com/28tvqt1.png

DonB

How many variables would it take to model, with any level of confidence, a totally chaotic system such as this?

etudiant

Gravity wave parameterizations???
I can follow the vortex discussion at least minimally, but that comment suggesting the vortices’ structure depends on those parameterizations makes no sense to me. Is it a typo or shorthand for some process?

Jessie

Thanks Anthony, this is a very interesting post.
Also ferd’s comment re ozone hole.
Vortex (maelstrom)
Equinox: Lethal Seas may be of interest to readers and those who have experienced ocean or tidal vortexes and attempted to retell the tale. Or those interested in mythology.
“Sailors have learned the hard way that reality can outweigh even the most lurid of legends.”
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3118136370432878688#

Looks surprisingly like. . . images taken during colonoscopies!
/Mr Lynn

Paul Vaughan

@ u.k.(us) (:October 29, 2011 at 7:24 pm:)
New animation – an important one not included before:
AnimWind10m: http://i44.tinypic.com/28rgyzo.png
Don’t be distracted by only the blues. Pay attention to the north-south shifting easterly gold band, particularly in the Pacific. A key feature to notice is northern hemisphere winter curvature around the east coasts of Eurasia & North America.
Suggested: View in concert with:
AnimMSLP: http://i54.tinypic.com/swg11c.png
AnimVerticalVelocity: http://i54.tinypic.com/2ch4x28.png
The difference: Other wind animations I’ve shared [ http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/15/shifting-sun-earth-moon-harmonies-beats-biases/#comment-768741 ] were either at constant pressure or constant potential temperature.
I’m hoping readers will be able to see where the PGF (Pressure Gradient Force) – which is a function of temperature differentials – rhythmically overcomes gravity to alter vertical (troposphere/stratosphere) coupling — see here for how that plays out over an average year:
AnimWindZonal: http://i51.tinypic.com/34xouhx.png
For anyone struggling: Look up some videos on youtube on how clutches & differentials work in cars. It may be necessary to view a variety of the videos available, as they include & omit different details.
I’ve been discussing this stuff with a local mensan mechanic. Looks like the northern hemisphere winter wheel’s a little wobbly due to zonal land-ocean contrasts, but the equator’s power is delivered along the path of least resistance (to the coldest pole) and rotated 90 degrees by the Coriolis force (analogous to the effect of a bevel, worm, or face gear [ http://www.gearsandstuff.com/images/gear_types/face%20gears.gif ]).
Slipping & eventual phase-reversal of the lunisolar grip on the terrestrial Chandler wobble [ http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/vaughn2.png ] may have an analogy with the function of a clutch (with 2-pronged jaw coupling).
Ocean & atmosphere cycles may have an analogy with multiple transmissions running off a common solar crank shaft. There would be one ocean transmission for each basin either side of the equator and the selected gear would be a function of temperature gradients (driving surface currents via winds via PGF). For example, in a face gear analogy, the northern hemisphere winter westerlies receive 2 primary outputs through 2 different pinions that aren’t the same size.
Careful exploratory examination of asymmetries driving differential transmission could help specify the conditioning framework converting solar & lunisolar inputs into observed interannual variations.
If we can attract the geometrically brightest humans on Earth to solve the geometry of this multiple differential transmission puzzle, we could have the riddle of ENSO solved much quicker than otherwise might be the case. I honestly believe this problem is solvable within a relatively short period of time by the geometrically/mechanically brightest minds and I wouldn’t be surprised if a select group of humans already knows the interannual solution.
There may also be analogies for Ninderthana’s ideas about narrowing & widening rings of meridionally shifting mass flow weaving. Candidates include automatic transmissions & torque converters (relief channeling veins that constrain locally “chaotic” flow to regionally & seasonally laminar integrals).
The thrust here is to introduce a cross-disciplinary brainstorming exercise where different parties bring complementary awareness to the discussion. Some parties can bring awareness of a wide variety of potential mechanical analogies while others bring from non-assumptive data exploration (not statistical inference) awareness of observed (not modeled) terrestrial patterns. The race to the best analogy may involve considerable slow back-&-forth over an extended period of time, with expired seed ideas being dropped without hesitation as soon as more accurate analogies become available.
Considering limited volunteer time, it may take awhile to figure out the best analogies. This should provide plenty of opportunity for others to race by to arrive at the finish line first. It will be interesting to see if lay people can beat the so-called “experts” to the public solution of the El Nino / La Nina puzzle. If the supposedly-brilliant mainstream sleeps on this, we may have another analogy: tortoise & hare.

This is a really interesting post. Thank you.
Chris
Norfolk, VA, USA

Paul Vaughan says:
October 29, 2011 at 8:30 pm
The thrust here is to introduce a cross-disciplinary brainstorming exercise where different parties bring complementary awareness to the discussion. Some parties can bring awareness of a wide variety of potential mechanical analogies while others bring from non-assumptive data exploration (not statistical inference) awareness of observed (not modeled) terrestrial patterns.
=========================
And some parties can just read with interest and support the process. Like me. 🙂 I’m the dog from the Baco’s commercial that can’t read.
Carry on, Paul. I like your ideas of bringing together the best minds on earth. And I like your optimism even more.
Also, “Justthefacts” I really respect your highly ordered way of presenting things. This post rocks.
Chris
Norfolk, VA, USA

TomRude

Tail wags dog… again.

Paul Vaughan

TomRude (October 29, 2011 at 10:05 pm):
“Tail wags dog… again.”
Yes, but at least it’s raising awareness of temperature gradients, PGF, jet streams, & circulatory patterns emphasized by Leroux.

@ savethesharks (October 29, 2011 at 8:52 pm)
Chris, can you guess what TB has against this confounding alert?
=—
October 28, 2011 at 10:04 pm
http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/moon-carves-wake/#comment-9197
@malagaview (October 28, 2011 at 8:56 am)
Time travels in only one direction, but spatial gradients can turn in time:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/15/shifting-sun-earth-moon-harmonies-beats-biases/#comment-769231
The “year” and the lunisolar cycles will be of different length on other planets in our solar system and the relief (e.g. submarine & aerial on Earth) will differ, combining to produce “interannual” oscillations of differing pattern from topologically distorted sampling reference frames, but I suspect that where similar asymmetries exist in spatial summary kernels, mulitdecadal oscillations will have a similar pattern to terrestrial ones:
http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/vaughn4.png
Bear in mind that one finds the same multidecadal patterns in geomagnetic aa index. ** Beware confounding arising via parallel processes with common modulation. ** Anyone looking carefully will note that patterns in EOP (Earth Orientation Parameters) are matched by aa index deviations from conventional abstract conception.
This should indicate to mainstreamers that superposed temporal epicycles, no matter how numerous, fail where accounting ignores spatial gradient reversals in time, such as can happen with simple natural aliasing across asymmetric spatial kernels, such as where planets sample solar phase quasidiscretely (summers/winters of opposite poles where planetary north-south asymmetries exist).
The signature of asymmetric driver-wheel aliasing by driven wheels, no matter the size of the driven wheels, will NECESSARILY be a function of driver-wheel acceleration/deceleration. THIS is the marker of the WHOLE system – the forest – which should not be confused with its spatially modulated (via relief) “interannual” trees.
Primers:
1. Sun, Earth, Moon Harmony, Beat, & Bias Changes:
http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/vaughn-sun-earth-moon-harmonies-beats-biases.pdf
2. Solar, Terrestrial, & Lunisolar Frameworks in Earth Rotation:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/04/10/solar-terrestrial-lunisolar-components-of-rate-of-change-of-length-of-day/
(Related to tchannon’s post:
notes on 2.37 year in [1] & 3.57 year in [2].)
The question on my mind is how much Earth’s hydrology amplifies.
Regards.
—=
EOP content is bitterly inconvenient for some. Download those data & archive them. One never knows when publicly-available data might get vandalized.
Thanks to WUWT regular “Just The Facts” (justthefactswuwt) for putting emphasis right where it needs to be: spatiotemporal mass distribution. Extra credit for the economy of words earned with visuals.

Hi JTF
Could we please have an SOI index at the ENSO page. (Immediately below the Nino 3.4 index)
thnku in advance.

Stephen Wilde

At last.
Proper attention now being paid to a phenomenon that is capable of altering the latitudinal position of ALL the surface air pressure components and therefore the positions and sizes of the permanent climate zones AND the levels of global cloudiness and albedo.
Such changes would have significant effects on the entire global energy budget by altering the rates of energy flow from sun to oceans AND from air to space.
The mechanism seems to cause changes in atmospheric chemistry involving ozone that have effects on the vertical temperature profile of the atmosphere, especially above the poles.
Those changes alter the balance between the vertical temperature profiles at poles and equator with the mid latitudes acting as a sort of mobile fulcrum as the point of balance shifts cyclically towards the poles or towards the equator.
The sun affects the size and intensity of the vortices at the poles because when the mix of particles and wavelengths changes then so does the net thermal effect of the chemical response in the upper atmosphere.
Everything we see follows from that and the water cycle response to those changes always acts negatively such that relative stability has been maintained for 4.5 billion years even whilst the energy putput of the sun increased substantially (see: faint sun paradox).
Is there anything that such an explanation cannot account for ?

Stephen Wilde

“It will be interesting to see if lay people can beat the so-called “experts” to the public solution of the El Nino / La Nina puzzle”
Due to ocean dominance in the southern hemisphere the mean position of the ITCZ is north of the equator.
That upsets the balance of solar energy input to the oceans either side of the equator.
The imbalance periodically builds up until it can no longer be constrained and a pulse of surplus energy in the southern oceans breaks through to the northern oceans in the SST patterns that we observe.
The speed at which the imbalance builds up is affected by the amount of solar energy getting into the oceans. That amount is affected by cloudiness and global albedo which are in turn affected by solar effects on the upper atmosphere especially at the polar vortices.

Ralph

The air goes UP in a low pressure, does it not? Please explain.
.

Ralph

.
Ok, so comparing with a standard Cyclone/Hurricane, where the majority of the air actually spirals upwards throughout the storm. Except, however, for the very core where some air can funnel straight down the open core.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_%28cyclone%29#Formation_and_detection
So in regard to the four images at the beginning of this thread, the spiralling clouds will be going upwards, while a downdraft may well be funnelling its way right down the open core.
Its not quite like a bathplug scenario, where all the water is descending. Or perhaps it is – in reverse. All the water is descending in a spiral in a bath, while air is being forced upwards out of the plughole, through the core. So the Arctic vortex is actually a REVERSE plughole, where the spiralling clouds are going upwards and the open core is going downwards.
.

Roger Knights

Gary Mount says:
October 29, 2011 at 7:02 pm
Three of the arctic ice extent charts haven’t been updated since early October on the sea ice reference page. Are they waiting until Durban is over?

Their satellite is out of grease, so the data isn’t being collected:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/04/in-space-there-are-no-jiffy-lubes/

Urederra

So, If air is going down at the poles, how come the ozone breaking CFC gasses produced mainly in the Northern hemisphere get concentrated and break the ozone layer in the polar southern hemisphere?
Nice post, thanks Justthefacts.

At first glance these cyclones are reminiscent of the giant Red Spot on Jupiter. But they’re entirely different. In fact, a dark, polar vortex was spotted at Jupiter’s North pole by Cassini (on its way to Saturn in 2000) and once by Hubble in 1997 (in UV light). But Hubble saw it only once, so it’s not a permanent feature, like the Red Spot.
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2003/12mar_darkspot/
[quoting Bob West at JPL]: “The Great Dark Spot and the Great Red Spot are entirely different. The Great Red Spot is deep. It’s a high-pressure storm system rooted in Jupiter’s troposphere far below the cloudtops. The Great Dark Spot is apparently shallow and confined to Jupiter’s high stratosphere. The Great Red Spot is a long-lasting storm rooted deep in Jupiter’s atmosphere”

slow to follow

JTF – thanks, I hope to get my head round some of this!

Kaboom

Looks like a colonoscopy.

Ulric Lyons

@Paul Vaughan says:
October 29, 2011 at 8:30 pm
“Ocean & atmosphere cycles may have an analogy with multiple transmissions running off a common solar crank shaft.”
More like applying the power and the brakes at the same time..
Here is the gas peddle: http://omniweb.gsfc.nasa.gov/tmp/images/ret_17809.gif (zoom right in),
and correlate with ENSO: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ensoyears.shtml
and notice that rising SW velocity drives La Nina, and falling SW velocity drives El Nino, an inverse relationship between SW velocity and ENSO.
Land temperature short term anomalies show a direct relationship to SW velocity.

Stephen Wilde

“rising SW (solar wind) velocity drives La Nina, and falling SW velocity drives El Nino, an inverse relationship between SW velocity and ENSO.”
I don’t think that could be right over the long term though. Faster SW occurs at a time of more active sun which, in my opinion, intensifies the polar vortices to draw the pressure systems poleward thus widening the equatorial air masses, dissipating cloud cover and allowing more solar energy into the oceans to increase El Nino strength in relation to La Nina as I think has been happening ever since the LIA. Hence the upward stepping from one complete Pacific Multidecadal Oascillation to the next (60 years or so).
However there is a delay of a few months between shorter term SW changes and the ocean response. Someone suggested 7 months or so which is about half the ENSO cycle. Could it be that the ocean response is about half a complete ENSO cycle out of phase with short term SW variations such that by the time the change in SW has achieved its effect the opposite phase of ENSO is then in place ?
Note that your data, Ulric, may be mainly dealing with short term SW variations within a single solar cycle whereas true climate change such as that from MWP to date deals with multiple solar cycle changes in SW over 1000 years peak to peak such as MWP through LIA to date.

beng

Funny. Just a couple days ago while looking at a sat visible-light mpeg, I noticed a giant CCW pinwheel spinning over the southern Hudson Bay. I guessed that was one of the polar vortices dropping well south of its usual position & then presto, an unusual early snow.
In Jan 1994, a huge polar vortex moved south from Canada over the eastern Great Lakes & brought -20F into the mid-Atlantic states.

Ralph says:
October 30, 2011 at 2:53 am
The air goes UP in a low pressure, does it not? Please explain.
The dynamics are complex and your mid and low latitude analogies simply do not apply at the poles. Here are some things to bear in mind. There is a unique circulation found only at the poles. Normal rules do not apply. Just remember that the vortex is not a low level phenomenon. It links the mesosphere and the stratosphere and might be described as a particular feature of the Brewer Dobson circulation.
1. The vortex increases its rate of descent (which is much slower than in mid and low latitude cells) when polar pressure increases. This brings NOx from the mesosphere which catalyses the destruction of ozone.
2.In general ozone levels are high in the polar atmosphere in particular in winter because the photochemical degradation of ozone simply does not take place due to the absence of short wave energy from the sun.
3. Ozone absorbs long wave radiation from the surface of the Earth giving rise to heating and convection but ozone is absent in the vortex core and at very high concentration outside the core. The circulation that is created tends to spin ozone rich air outwards at 30hpa in the middle stratosphere where it moves equator-ward.
4. The entire atmospheric column is coupled in convection because the cold point is as high as 20hPa in winter. So the troposphere (if such a thing can be conceived to exist in the very cold and dry polar atmosphere where the ‘tropopause’ hardly exists) and the stratosphere heave together.
5. The coldest parts of the stratosphere descend into the domain of the ‘troposphere’ raising temperature and lowering surface pressure between 50 degrees of latitude and the pole. Because the upper air circulation changes location slowly the centers of convection tend to be relatively fixed in position. This means the centers of descent of cold air at about 60° of latitude tend to constitute relatively fixed ‘blocking high pressure cells’.
6. At the core below the vortex the air descends gently bringing more ozone towards the surface when polar pressure is high. This raises GPH when the AO and the AAO indices are negative.When polar pressure is low the lower polar atmosphere does not descend and it is cooler.
7. There is a strong katabatic wind near the surface in Antarctica with surface air descending down-slope, and this is a separate near surface circulation.
8. The air is always warmer than the surface in Antarctica. The tendency for warmer air to descend produces a broad winter minimum in temperature at many surface locations.
9. A stalling of the vortex when polar pressure falls gives rise to an increase in ozone levels and what is known as a ‘stratospheric warming’. The warming tends to be located where the vortex no longer exists.At this time the near surface air below 50hPa cools. So, whatever is happening in the upper stratosphere (warming or cooling), the reverse is the case in the ‘troposphere’.
10. A re-invigorated vortex as polar surface pressure increases is associated with the incursion of very cold air into the major continental land masses of the northern hemisphere. (low or negative Arctic Oscillation Index). Conversely, weak polar pressure is associated with the northward sweep of the mid latitude westerlies and associated jet streams bringing warm weather to high latitudes in winter (The Arctic between 1978 and 2007).
11. The dynamics of the vortex affects polar pressure and therefore the vortex itself. This can move polar pressure, vortex strength and stratospheric ozone levels one way or the other over long time spans, sixty years or more. We see this in Antarctica.
12. Polar pressure and NOx concentration in the mesosphere is affected by solar activity.
13. On monthly time scales the Arctic tends to be a mirror image of the circulation in Antarctica but on longer time scales the two move together.
All this is of the utmost importance to the evolution of surface temperature because ozone in the upper troposphere is associated with warming and cloud loss in all latitudes and from one hemisphere to the other, and in particular between November and March when the Arctic circulation is active. Change occurs on all time scales in accordance with solar activity.
At the end of the following unpublished paper are some useful references.
http://www.physics.otago.ac.nz/space/2008JA014029-pip.pdf
If you want to understand natural climate variation you need to get your head around this. It’s not as simple as the erroneous idea that trace gas composition determines surface temperature.

Stephen Wilde

Thanks for that, Erl.
I’ve been getting a headache from just that issue but your summary helps.
The only real difference between us is that I think you subscribe to the consensus view that the whole atmospheric column warms with an active sun and cools with a less active sun.
I think it is somewhat different. To get the surface pressure changes we observe we must have a warming stratosphere towards the poles when the sun is less active so that the polar air masses at the surface expand and push the jets equatorward.
So, the descent of ozone destroying material is greatest when the sun is more active and the resultant cooling in the mesosphere enhances the downward flow to create higher surface pressure at the poles (positive polar oscillation). That reduction in ozone above 45km cools the stratosphere too especially at the poles despite an increase in ozone creation below 45km.
I say 45km because Joanna Haigh noted a reverse sign solar effect on ozone quantities above that level for the period 2004 to 2007.
The high pressure at the poles draws the mid latitude jets poleward towards it so as to provide the rising air needed to sustain the high pressure cells at the poles. The mid latitudes appear to warm up as more equatorial air is drawn poleward across them.
The descent of ozone destroying material is weakest when the sun is least active so there is warming of the mesosphere and stratosphere as a result of increasing ozone above 45km. The reduced downward flow from that upper warming causes the polar vortex to weaken so that relatively low pressure develops at the pole (negative polar oscillation).
However, reduced downward flow at the poles means that the rising warm air from the middle latitudes (which are in turn fuelled by energy from the tropics) is not so efficiently matched by a corresponding downward flow of air at the poles.
The consequence is that instead of the downward air flow occurring over the poles it has to occur at lower latitudes so the polar high pressure cells have to migrate equatorward across the middle latitudes taking cold polar air with them (as per Marcel Leroux and his ‘mobile polar high’)
In essence those changes at the poles alter the vertical temperature profile so as to change the balance between the vertical temperature profile at the poles and that at the equator.
The outcome is a latitudinal shift in ALL the global climate zones and we perceive that as climate change.
To summarise:
When the sun is active the polar air masses contract at the surface and the mid latitude jets shift poleward.
When the sun is less active the polar air masses expand at the surface and the mid latitude jets shift equatorward.
However the global equilibrium temperature (if one includes the oceans) need not change much if at all.
Most surface temperature sensors are situated in the temperate zones where those surface pressure and temperature shifts are most pronounced.
Does that square the circle ?

Ulric Lyons

@Stephen Wilde says:
October 30, 2011 at 6:59 am
“I don’t think that could be right over the long term though. Faster SW occurs at a time of more active sun which, in my opinion, intensifies the polar vortices to draw the pressure systems poleward thus widening the equatorial air masses, dissipating cloud cover and allowing more solar energy into the oceans to increase El Nino strength in relation to La Nina as I think has been happening ever since the LIA.”
Sea level data for the Pacific Islands suggest that sea level in the region fell, possibly in two stages, between AD 1270-1475. This was associated with a 1.5°C fall in temperature (determined from oxygen-isotope analysis) and an observed increase in El Niño frequency:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/1520-6548%28200010%2915:7%3C715::AID-GEA4%3E3.0.CO;2-L/abstract
The team focused its attention on a particularly cold period (1701-1761), which occurred in the middle of the Little Ice Age (1400 to 1850 A.D.). At this time, temperatures in temperate latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere were between 1 and 2 °C lower than average figures recorded at present. Drill-core coral samples taken from near the Amédée Lighthouse on the South-West side of New Caledonia show that the Little Ice Age also prevailed in the tropical South-West Pacific, with an average cooling of around 1°C. Was El Niño, which now manifests itself in this area of the Pacific every two to seven years by a fall in SSTs (by 0.5 to 1.5°C), reinforced by this generalized cooling? The reconstitution of a composite monthly SST record over the first 60 years of the XVIIIth century has led the researchers to some surprising observations. El Niño’s behaviour then was similar to what it is now. In spite of a decrease in average temperatures, neither the strength nor the frequency of El Niño therefore appears to have been affected, even during the very coldest period: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2002-03/idrp-wen032902.php
Now getting back to recent decades, there definitely seems to be a strong inverse relationship between ENSO and rising and falling SW velocity:
http://omniweb.gsfc.nasa.gov/tmp/images/ret_17809.gif
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ensoyears.shtml

Stephen Wilde

Thanks Ulric, I’ll give that some thought.

Mike McMillan

Those photos should remind everyone over 50 to get a colonoscopy. They really do save lives.

Ulric Lyons

@Stephen Wilde says:
October 30, 2011 at 6:59 am
“However there is a delay of a few months between shorter term SW changes and the ocean response. Someone suggested 7 months or so which is about half the ENSO cycle. Could it be that the ocean response is about half a complete ENSO cycle out of phase with short term SW variations such that by the time the change in SW has achieved its effect the opposite phase of ENSO is then in place ?”
The response looks a lot quicker from the data, and 7 months is much less than half an average cycle, and pretty meaningless as cycle length varies so much. My reasoning suggests to me that a stronger period of SW will be giving positive land temperature deviations, while triggering cold water up-welling ~ a La Nina condition, thus moderating land temp` extremes.