Author of its Own Demise – musings on the AMO

Guest essay by Caleb Shaw

640px-Atlantic_Multidecadal_Oscillation

Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation 1880-feb2013 according to van Oldenborgh et al. based on the ERSSTv3b dataset. Black line:121-month smooth. Image: Wikipedia

I once had a very good science teacher who I fear I made wild, not so much by causing small explosions in the back of his classroom, (which I think he secretly approved of,) as with my failures in math. He simply couldn’t understand how a seemingly smart person who had, as he put it, “uncanny powers of observation,” could be such an imbecile when it came to the most rudimentary arithmetic.

The answer was simple: I was fated to be an English major, and to experience the joy of studying Shakespeare, and then the chagrin of learning that makes you little more than a charming ditch digger, who can make other ditch diggers laugh by picking up a large stone from a trench’s bottom, peering at it fiercely, and saying, “Alas, poor Yorick; I knew him, Horatio: A fellow of infinite jest…” (You might think ditch-diggers wouldn’t know that quote, but a surprising number do, considering most are English majors.)

After years of this indignity my “uncanny powers of observation” kicked in, and I recognized the difference between hard work and hardly working, and I became successful in a small way, raising five children, none of whom are English majors. My youngest is studying to be an engineer, and he comes home from college to educate me about things English majors don’t have a clue about.

Don’t get me wrong; English majors aren’t totally stupid, and I do have “uncanny powers of observation,” after all. However you can’t observe what you can’t see, and engineering students can see things that are invisible to me.

For example, the other day I was relaxing, but my uncanny powers of observation were watching the pendulum of a clock, and I got to wondering what happened to the momentum that was going one way when the pendulum stopped going that way and started going the other. So I called my engineer son, and asked him. He smiled indulgently and explained it, talking about this stuff the momentum ran into called, “Acceleration due to gravity.”

I squinted at the clock real hard, but try as I might I simply couldn’t see that acceleration-due-to-gravity stuff he was talking about. I fear we English majors are colorblind and tone deaf, in this respect. And I humbly bow to engineers, who can see things I can’t.

However, before you engineers get too puffed up, I need to remind you I can see some things you can’t see, as well. You are occasionally colorblind and tone deaf in your own way, as was proven by the engineers who constructed “Galloping Gertie.”

Therefore it is likely for the best if we help each other out, when we become aware of each other’s handicaps. And we should be very thankful we aren’t as bad as some (who shall remain nameless) are so egotistically enamored of power, money and fame that they are blind to both what Engineers see and what English majors see.

That being said, I now require the help of some engineers regarding something my “uncanny powers of observation” have noticed about sea ice, and the lack of it.

I’ve noticed, (talking to fishermen and looking at old records,) that a huge change occurs in the North Atlantic every thirty years or so. You don’t have to be particularly smart to notice it. After all, the first to notice are the plankton, and, (while a psychologist in Australia who shall remain nameless has yet to measure the IQ of plankton,) I figure plankton study neither Shakespeare nor acceleration-due-to-gravity. Second to notice are the slightly smarter fish, first the small fry and then the larger predators. Soon after come the gulls, followed by the extremely intelligent fishermen, who are darn secretive about where the fish have gone. However, after twelve beers, they may become less secretive, even to a lubber like me, if I’m buying. So even I can learn the fact the ocean can abruptly become much warmer to the north, or just as abruptly chill. In fact I knew this forty years ago, when I lived on the coast of Maine, back before people used terms such as, “Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation.” (AMO)

(What is really odd is that there are some people who never catch on, and deny past warming-events ever happened. Perhaps they burn their history books, and perhaps it is best they remain nameless.)

The more I watch this AMO the more my “uncanny power of observation” sees stuff, and the more I know I need engineers. I see a pendulum going one way, coming to a dead stop, and then going the other, but own up to a gaping hole in my knowledge of the mechanical reasons.

Because I am able to confess my ignorance without fear of losing my tenure or grants, (because I’m no professor,) I’ve been able to learn some things about fluid dynamics I didn’t already know. Among other things, I’ve learned fresh water behaves very differently from salt water.

In the case of fresh water, when sub-freezing air blows over water, water colder than thirty-five rises to the top, with the coldest water highest, and it is therefore easy for the ice to form. However, in the case of salt water, the colder water always sinks.

Selah. (Pause, and think of that.)

What this means is that for any ice to form in the Arctic Sea, theoretically you would have to cool the water to freezing all the way to the bottom, because warmer water from below would constantly be rising and replacing the colder water at the surface from below, as the cooled surface water constantly sank, until the entire column of water was at the freezing point of salt water.

To heck with that theory. Obviously the surface freezes before the water below. Even an English major can see that.

One reason the surface freezes despite the fact cooled surface water sinks has nothing to do with fluid dynamics, so I likely should exclude it. However, as it includes the eyewitness accounts of fishermen, and because I am an English major, I can’t resist.

It involves a solid that floats on water, called ice. Fishermen who dare the north have a dread of this solid, for freezing spray can make the top of their boat heavier than the bottom, in which case the keel points up, and they are dead. Despite this danger, they are lured north because the price of fish goes up, when it is hardest to get them. Therefore, at the very limits of water and ice, they see some uncanny things.

One uncanny thing is witnessing snowflakes falling onto sea water, and, because snowflakes are freshwater and melt at 32, and because the seawater is salty and doesn’t freeze until below 30 and is colder than the snowflakes, the falling flakes don’t melt when they hit the sea, and can cover the sea with a white dust, and occasionally even accumulate several inches deep.

But now we are talking solids, and that is illegal in fluid dynamics. It ruins the system where colder things sink and warmer things rise. Of course solid H2O will float on liquid H2O. Then, unless it becomes liquid and melts, even if it is small as a snowflake or speck of frozen spray, it has the capacity to grow.

If the wind whistling above that solid floating snowflake is significantly below freezing, the upper side of that snowflake will be cooled below freezing, and the bottom will act as a seed crystal for further freezing and expansion of ice, but, I reiterate, this is cheating. It involves solids, not fluids. So, even though this is a reality that happens, let us give these solids a cold shoulder and return to the purity of fluids and nothing but fluids.

At this point a second ambiguity appears, involving the fact colder water can at times float atop warmer water, because water does not merely stratify according to temperature, but also according to salinity. Salty water sinks below fresh water, just as cold water sinks below warm water. Things would be easy, if salty water was always cold and fresh water was always warm. However reality is seldom that easy. That darn Gulf Stream comes north, both salty and warm. Its salt wants to sink while its warmth wants to rise. What is a poor current to do?

Fortunately the Gulf Stream has an IQ of zero, (as far as I know,) and doesn’t have to think about such matters. It just obeys laws of fluid dynamics, and therefore can do things that I, with an IQ slightly above zero, cannot figure out.

The Gulf Stream is so warm that, despite being much saltier than northern waters, it rides above those waters as it branches and splits into various tendrils invading northern waters. However at some point the northern winds so chill those surface waters that the heat grows less and less able to trump the salinity, until finally it cannot stay on top.

It is at this point I’d like to propose an English major’s theory about a major difference between the warm AMO and the cold AMO.

In the case where the warm AMO is replacing the cold AMO, the tendrils of the Gulf Stream are invading an ice-covered sea. The water is quiet and still, and neatly stratified into organized layers, according to salinity and temperature. It’s a bureaucrat’s dream, a clamped-down situation never troubled by storm. And in that stratified stillness the Gulf-stream tendrils can dive a little down, yet still penetrate hundreds of miles north, warmer than the ice above. Think of it as a shuffled card sliding beneath another card. As the warm AMO continues, warm card after warm card slides into the nice, neat deck under the arctic ice cap, and nice, neat diagrams can be drawn of this extremely stratified situation, involving the thermocline and pycnocline and a “freshwater lens” atop the arctic sea. The only problem is that, with all these warm cards being slid in underneath, the ice atop the situation, which has been keeping the situation so nice and still and stratified, melts away.

We see satellite pictures of the ice-covered sea and watch the ice expand and shrink every year, but we cannot see pictures of changes to the water column beneath, especially when the ice makes it difficult to lower and raise instruments that measure salinity and temperature. (Scientists have devised some wonderful new gadgets, including one that hangs from a cable under a buoy sitting atop ice, and runs up and down the dangling cable collecting data from various depths, and they have managed to find the funding that allows them to deploy these gadgets despite the risk of meeting 1600 pound bears, however the data remains very sparse, and so recent it can’t show 60-year-cycles.)

What I would like to propose is that a major change occurs to several hundred feet of the water column’s top. Where it was nicely layered like cards, storms make a mess and it becomes a bureaucrat’s nightmare. The cards are not merely reshuffled, (unless you shuffle by playing 52-pick-up.) The stratification in nice, neat terms of salinity and temperature simply ceases to be.

I think we may have seen an example of this during the big summer gale of 2012. At the start there still remained warmer-but-saltier water down below, but, as the storm raged, the waters were disturbed down hundreds of feet, and warmer, saltier waters were brought up and into contact with ice, and amazing amounts of sea ice melted. However the results of that storm were twofold: As well as no ice above, there was no longer warmer and saltier water down below.

The following summer’s gales of 2013 also disturbed waters down hundreds of feet, but the ice up at the surface didn’t melt. Hmm. English major noticing a difference, here.

The simplest explanation is that the 2012 gale mixed the water like a spoon stirring ice water. After all, the word “stir” has the same root as “storm,” (which means absolutely nothing, except that I am an English Major.) The stirring melted ice, and the melting of all the ice chilled the water, and in 2013 the sea still remembered that chill, and was less able to melt ice. (Cooler water might also explain the lower temperatures noted in the DMI temperatures-north-of-80-degrees graph, though the Quiet Sun might have played a part as well.)

The problem I see with this idea is that the Gulf Stream doesn’t quit. It should have immediately started sliding new cards into the deck, recreating the stratification of waters in terms of salinity and temperature. Even if it took longer than a year to return to the status quo, we would fail to see the sort of dramatic change that can cause plankton, fish, gulls and fishermen to pack up and move for thirty years.

Therefore what I would like to propose is that, as soon as the waters are ice free and well-mixed by stirring storms, a radical change occurs in the ability of the northernmost tendrils of the Gulf Stream to penetrate northward. We can no longer use the analogy of the deck of cards, and need to turn to the analogy of a brick wall.

This is where I need engineers. I need someone to explain why a tendril of the Gulf Stream should abandon the status quo of shuffled cards, and abandon going over and under, and instead chose to go left or right.

There is a similar situation in the atmosphere, shown by the difference between a warm front and a cold front. The warm front slides up and over and creates layers, while the cold front plows and causes things to go left or right. However using that that analogy is cheating, because air is not a liquid.

It would be lovely to have a mechanical reason that explained why tendrils of the Gulf Stream stopped going hundreds of miles north under ice, and instead turned left or right hundreds of miles further south, forcing plankton, fish, gulls and fishermen to all pack up and move yet again. Of course, I am doing what politicians do, for I have an answer and am asking others to supply the science. However this is only wrong if your preconceived answer is dunderheaded, and you are paying scientists to fake data proving being dunderheaded isn’t dunderheaded. (I don’t have to worry about this, for I have no ability to bribe.) It isn’t wrong to throw a preconceived answer out as a trial balloon, to see if it lead or not, as long as you are a good sport, if you find out your idea was a Hindenburg.

What I like best about my proposal is that it explains the end of both phases of the AMO. If ice creates one sort of water column, and lack-of-ice creates another, then each phase could be creating a negative feedback which is its own undoing. Sea ice would allow the warmer waters to slide hundreds of miles further north, in the end melting the sea ice. Lack-of-ice would build a proverbial “brick wall,” diverting warm currents hundred of miles south, in the end encouraging the expansion of sea-ice. Each phase would then be the author of its own demise.

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Stephen Richards

Like it and I’m a physics minor (165cm)

DocMartyn

The Med is an example of this sort of stratification; warm, dense, salty waters are generated on the surface during the summer. In the winter they cool and sink, the whirlpools are mentioned by Odysseus. The bottom of the Med has layers of cold brines and the stratification depends on salinity and temperature, hot summers/cold winters go to the bottom.
These layers are sucked away, over time, by a siphon into the Atlantic. There is thus a very strong surface current from the Atlantic into the Med and deeper current, from the Med to the Atlantic, that the submariners used to escape in ‘Das Boot’.

john robertson

Thank you Cabel, a beautifully written “I wonder”.
Will think about this at work today.
Laminare flow becoming turbulent, losing intensity until the flow is reestablished.
Back to chaos theory, do ocean currents grow like a leaf?
Building on the currents suggested by Bob Tisdales work, is there a pattern over time?
Tim Patterson did some interesting work on salmon cycles in BC.
Cheifio points to the lunar cycles, effecting ocean currents.
Low flow high volume pumping systems can react very differently to interference at the outflow.
With 70% under water, it is intuitive that water drives our climate, does not make it so just most likely,..
Thanks again, speculation for the day.

Lyle

Willis, you have some serious competition!

pochas

“the falling flakes don’t melt when they hit the sea, and can cover the sea with a white dust, and occasionally even accumulate several inches deep.”
Cool! Next time you see that be sure to take a picture and post it here.

Dodgy Geezer

Er.. this discussion is forbidden by order of the IPCC and the UN Convention on Climate Change.
There is NO OSCILLATION WHATSOEVER in temperatures.
Instead, it is a scientific consensus that temperatures were at the correct approved level around 1800, and that they existed at this level for millennia beforehand. Then nasty men started inventing machines, and this caused Gaia to react by having a fever and becoming extremely sick. We must return to this static situation by paying a lot of taxes.
Apart from that, your discussion is interesting. I suspect that oceanographers are fairly well aware of the forces and flows involved, but cannot tell you anything about them because of the directives above…

Some years ago, I noticed data showing the warm Gulf Stream waters were penetrating further into the Arctic and surmised that Arctic sea ice would diminish in the following period, which in fact occurred.
I still am unable to fathom the rationale for the CAGW crowd claiming the reason for the Arctic sea ice melt was due to increasing atmospheric concentrations of CO2, when there was a perfectly evident physical cause therefor.

chris y

Caleb, you have a wonderful writing style!

RichardLH

“Therefore what I would like to propose is that, as soon as the waters are ice free and well-mixed by stirring storms, a radical change occurs in the ability of the northernmost tendrils of the Gulf Stream to penetrate northward.”
I think that it is just possible that observations demonstrate that this is indeed happening!
I call it ‘the anomaly that didn’t move ‘ (from Sherlock Homes 🙂 ). I have been observing that the ‘warm patch’ close to Svalbard has been present in all its lovely red glory for a very long time now (as has the one around Iceland) and has failed to move with the ocean currents that sweep across it/them.
http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/sst/ophi/color_anomaly_NPS_ophi0.png
Something is definitely happening to the northern end of the Gulf Stream.

BeegO

Thanks for the insight. I always wnodered about the clock pedulum!

Caleb, great post, but I think you should at least note your original post address on your blog, but even more important, I would also give a call out to your continuing daily in depth coverage of the Arctic weather / ice situation, which is quite relevant considering the U.S. weather lately: http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/arctic-sea-ice-recovery-days-lengthen-cold-strengthens/

jorgekafkazar

“You’re a bright boy, Ben, and I’ll say just one word to you. Just one word. Plastics. Er, I mean, viscosity.” The viscosity of water changes with temperature significantly more than density does. Viscosity is a measure of resistance to flow. Higher temperatures lower the viscosity of fluids.
http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/kinematic-viscosity-d_397.html

bobl

My guess is weather. Why does lightning follow the path it does (It’s the path of minimum electrical resistance) why do rivers move and meander (Path of least resistance), why do currents move, (Path of least resistance). I would presume that the terminal point of the current would occur where the current sinks beyond the capacity to be sustained, and that changes with the temperature gradients of the ocean in which the current flows. I would imagine therefore that the “tendrils” could be influenced by sea surface temperature which is weather dependent. Water and air are in fact both “fluids” even though they are not both kiquids (fluid is not the same as liquid) and follow the same rules.
I’d also imagine a diversion of a current could also be caused by a collision with another current. If a “tendril” was to run into an area of sinking cold water, it could well be dragged down with it.
It’s just a guess based on my understanding of the physics involved. anyone?

bobl

Erg it’s late kiquid is liquid!

Stu Miller

Caleb, Brilliant! You have shown that there is a use for English majors, even if it is unfunded! 🙂

Thanks Caleb. Excellent article.
Yes, an English major can write about science matters an pose good questions. You just did.
Lets hope there are still enough uncorrupted science majors to follow with answers.

What a wonderful piece of brain work!
I am going to forward this to some people for a brainstorm of their own.
My hunch is you are spot on.
Eyal

ossqss

Nice job!
The mental journey of traveling from Key West to Greenland via the gulf stream was an experience. I think we in Florida just physically did that same trip over the last few days via the attack of the polar vortex 😎
Totally enjoyed the read Caleb!

pochas

bobl says:
January 9, 2014 at 9:07 am
“Why does lightning follow the path it does (It’s the path of minimum electrical resistance)”
Which raises the question; “Why doesn’t electrical charge simply short out within the cloud, that is, why does lightning exist at all?” Because, as Tinsley says, resistivity within the cloud is much higher than resistivity cloud-to-ground, which is not what I would expect.

Tantalus

There are two anomalous properties of water which are relevant.
The first is that on freezing and becoming crystalline water does not form crystals throughout its mass, only at the surface. This is because there is a density change and the ice floats. It is unusual (AFAIK unique?) for there to be a density reduction when crystals are formed.
The second is that most liquids have a linear correlation between temperature and density. Water does this except that its maximum density occurs at 4 degrees centigrade and it travels to the bottom at this point. This ensures that the water at the bottom of water bodies does not freeze easily. That is why fish can exist – and by extension it is why we have evolved too.
Weird stuff, water.

S Churchill PhD

The graph shows a mild intermixed ~30-yr cycle of oscillation, but a very strong series of -all-or-nothing cycles. There is a very, very good reason for this pattern, one that has not yet been discussed anywhere, to the best of our knowledge.
We will provide a helpful hint: a marked correlation with drought. Not quite natural (quasi-natural, a normal cycle with human-caused perturbation enhancement).
It will also explain WHY the recent “polar vortex’ split and slid over the two largest landmasses. It should then make sense why it might also impact sea surface temperatures and Rossby wave movement.

Paul R

Whereas a gas (air) is not a liquid, it is certainly a fluid!

I think we may have seen an example of this during the big summer gale of 2012. At the start there still remained warmer-but-saltier water down below, but, as the storm raged, the waters were disturbed down hundreds of feet, and warmer, saltier waters were brought up and into contact with ice, and amazing amounts of sea ice melted. However the results of that storm were twofold: As well as no ice above, there was no longer warmer and saltier water down below.
############
ekman pumping.

Tantalus

The behaviour of a pendulum is the consequence of the conservation of energy and gravity is the driver.
A pendulum cannot start on its own. Energy has to be introduced to initiate motion.
If the bob were moving on a flat surface the energy is called “kinetic energy” and without an external applied force this will not change – the bob would continue in a straight line.
However, the mechanism of the pendulum constrains the bob to rise. In doing so the kinetic energy is transformed into “potential energy” and the process continues until the conversion is complete. Thereafter, the potential energy is converted back into motion as it descends under gravity.
In the absence of the “acceleration due to gravity” (eg in weightless space) the pendulum has no driving force.
Which explains why there are no grandfather clocks in spacecraft.

Aye, Caleb is a bonny writer. A salient point made in the responses concerns the remarkable fact that viscosity DECREASES as liquids get warmer. This is a good fact in your arteries because warm blood can cavitate a little bit and help erode that nasty plaque build-up. Your heart has to work harder to pump, but it runs a bit cleaner.

FerdinandAkin

Posted on January 9, 2014 by Guest Blogger
Guest essay by Caleb Shaw
It would be lovely to have a mechanical reason that explained why tendrils of the Gulf Stream stopped going hundreds of miles north under ice, and instead turned left or right hundreds of miles further south, forcing plankton, fish, gulls and fishermen to all pack up and move yet again. Of course, I am doing what politicians do, for I have an answer and am asking others to supply the science.

I cannot believe you do not know the reason for this. It is simple:
The burning of fossil fuels by humans has raised the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere above 350 ppm.
The science is settled!

This engineer was feeling pretty good about himself until you brought up Galloping Gertie. http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/tnbhistory/Connections/connections3.htm
BTW, I mentioned that bridge once here – the storm that led to its collapse went on to be part of the “Armistice Day” storm that sank 5 ships on the great lakes and caused 150 deaths.

“Which raises the question; “Why doesn’t electrical charge simply short out within the cloud, that is, why does lightning exist at all?”
It does some times.
Lightning is a movement of charge from an area of high charge to an area of lower charge, once the insulating threshold is breached. So if you have one area of the cloud with low charge, and another area of the cloud with higher charge, then the lightning can zap within the cloud or from one cloud to the next. The cloud will glow as this happens.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/64/Cloud_to_cloud_lightning_strike_nov08.jpg
Once the charges equalize within the cloud, and fairly equal with neighboring clouds, then the charge has nowhere to go but up and down.

Algebra

When the water freezes the salt is left behind. That is how the sea water becomes saltier.

TomE

Great article. As an engineer (retired) I pretty well understood it thru your excellent use of the English language.

Paul Coppin

In regard to the IQ of plankton, the study you allude to, in the case of the noted psychologist, would be a peer review…

Judy Cross

There is a really big confounding factor and that is the unknown but very large numbers of undersea volcanoes pouring out heat at the bottom of the oceans.
http://www.iceagenow.com/Ocean_Warming.htm

Gene Selkov

To elaborate on Paul R’s comment above, there is no fundamental difference between air and water for the purposes of flow analysis that you seek engineers to provide. Air and water can stir and stratify in similar ways, creating similar patterns. The role of moisture in the stratification of the atmosphere is analogous to that of salinity in the stratification of the oceans.
My other comment is regarding this bit:

… each phase could be creating a negative feedback which is its own undoing.

That would be a positive feedback. In engineering-speak, “negative” means “of opposite sign to disturbing force”, or “compensatory”. It is not the same as the kind of negative feedback I get from my boss. Systems “undo themselves” via positive feedback; negative feedbacks return them to a steady state.

Bill Illis

Have a look at the raw undetrended AMO versus Hadcrut4.
http://s18.postimg.org/9uar3ow0p/Hadcrut4_vs_Raw_AMO.png

darrylb

No one should go unchallenged simply because they are an English major!
Third paragraph: Should not ‘things English majors don’t have a clue about’ (ending in a preposition), be written as ‘things of which English majors have not clue’?
[Should not ‘things English majors don’t have a clue about’ (ending in a preposition), be written as ‘things of which English majors have [no] clue’? Mod]

darrylb

er ah ‘no clue’?

Brian R

Water and air both follow the laws of fluid dynamics. It’s just on is about 784 times denser than the other.

PeterB in Indianapolis

Is it any coincidence that the AMO was STRONGLY positive in the 1930s and 1950s, and (using the UNADJUSTED temperature data) those were some of the warmest years of the 20th Century, especially in the Continental US? (Pretty much just a rhetorical question)

Alan Robertson

Paul Coppin says:
January 9, 2014 at 10:24 am
In regard to the IQ of plankton, the study you allude to, in the case of the noted psychologist, would be a peer review…
________________________
Pond slime is plankton?

Edim

Nice!
Bill Illis, exactly! AMO is a global oscillation. Take any other index instead of hadcrut global (sst, land, sh…) and it’s still there. The secular trend is just another longer cycle.

u.k.(us)

Now we’re having fun !
Thanks, Caleb.

Aphan

Ok…thats it. I vote that all science papers now be written by English majors.( No offense to scientists.)

AlecM

I’m a polar bear, and I like ice, and English Majors – good eating………..

cbrtxus

Bill, here is another way to look at the undetrended AMO [i.e. North Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature (NA SST)] and HadCRUT4. I need to update the chart. It’s only thru 2013/01. I’ll get around to that as soon as I can. But both HadCRUT4 and the NA SST have been pretty much flat since around 2001. My chart can be downloaded here.
http://www.mediafire.com/view/y50acc9e0ihse1z/HadCRUT4_NA%20SST_2013_02_15.pdf
When we compare the NA SST and HadCRUT4 temperature record, how can we conlude that most of the warming in the HadCRUT4 global surface-based temperature record since around 1975 is the result of increasing anthropogenic CO2? And that ocean oscillations are a minor influence? And how can global temperatures be so influenced by NA SST. How global are HadCRUT4, GISSv3 and NOAA Land & Oceans.
The global surface-based temperature records combine SST temperature measurements and land-based temperature records–somehow. In the early 20th century, how well sampled was the 73%~ of the earth that is oceans? Since most of the surface-based record is based on SST, wouldn’t the surface-based records be mostly a SST record? If so, how could ocean oscillations be a major influence in that record?
When the NA SST moves into another cool phase, wouldn’t we expect that the surface-based record will reflect that cool phase?

cbrtxus

AlecM, check out:
http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/qanda/data/faq/topics/Prepositions.html
Answer: “That old rule was long ago abandoned by most usage manuals and grammar police. In my own writing, I no longer try to avoid ending with a preposition. That said, when I am editing a manuscript and come across a sentence that clearly has been structured to avoid the ending preposition, I do try to leave it alone. It is possible that the author is elderly or conservative, probably is meticulous, and would be upset by the interference. Only if the result is very awkward do I suggest ending with a preposition.”

Billy

I thought I should mention that water below -4C is not exactly water. It is actually a solution of liquid water and solid ice crystals. That is why it is less dense. As it gets colder it behaves as a solution of varying concentration.
Maybe everyone already knows this.

clipe

darrylb says:
January 9, 2014 at 10:42 am

No one should go unchallenged simply because they are an English major!
Third paragraph: Should not ‘things English majors don’t have a clue about’ (ending in a preposition), be written as ‘things of which English majors have no clue’?

“This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put.”
Winston Churchill?

Edim
dp

My inner English major pondered the scene of the tsunami in Japan flooding across a flat farmland, over topping hot houses and homes and cars and trucks and carrying along on its back the debris it gathered. The interesting part to me was the speed of the water across the surface of the farmland was matched by the speed of the debris on the surface of the water.
Where was the water coming from at the bottom of the surge if not from the top? I expected to see a conveyor belt like effect where the surface water curled over the leading edge to become the bottom water and that everything floating along the top would roll over the advancing wave and disappear. That does not happen to the degree I expected.
While I am an engineer I need a fluid mechanics specialist. My feeling is water moves around within a tsunami surge like a water balloon that is squeezed through the fingers. It moves like a wall of water, shoved from behind rather than a flow of water pulled downward by gravity.

JP

Perhaps there’s a teleconnection with some other oscillation or event that causes the AMO to flip. Either that, or there are some undetected Rossby or Kelvin waves at play.