A strange thing happened in the stratosphere – a reversal

From the NASA/GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER and the “how long until global warming is blamed” department.

A 60-year pattern in the stratosphere changes up

This disruption to the wind pattern – called the “quasi-biennial oscillation” – did not have any immediate impact on weather or climate as we experience it on Earth’s surface. But it does raise interesting questions for the NASA scientists who observed it: If a pattern holds for six decades and then suddenly changes, what caused that to happen? Will it happen again? What effects might it have?

“The quasi-biennial oscillation is the stratosphere’s Old Faithful,” said Paul Newman, Chief Scientist for Earth Sciences at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author on a new paper about the event published online in Geophysical Research Letters. “If Old Faithful stopped for a day, you’d begin to wonder about what was happening under the ground.”

Winds in the tropical stratosphere, an atmospheric layer that extends from about 10 to 30 miles above Earth’s surface, circulate the planet in alternating easterly and westerly directions over roughly a two-year period. Westerly winds develop at the top of the stratosphere, and gradually descend to the bottom, about 10 miles above the surface while at the same time being replaced by a layer of easterly winds above them. In turn, the easterlies descend and are replaced by westerlies.

This pattern repeats every 28 months. In the 1960s scientists coined it the “quasi-biennial oscillation.” The record of these measurements, made by weather balloons released in the tropics at various points around the globe, dates to 1953.

 

The pattern never changed – until late 2015. As the year came to a close, winds from the west neared the end of their typical descent. The regular pattern held that weaker easterly winds would soon replace them. But then the westerlies appeared to move upwards and block the downward movement of the easterlies. This new pattern held for nearly half a year, and by July 2016 the old regime seemed to resume.

“It’s really interesting when nature throws us a curveball,” Newman said.

The quasi-biennial oscillation has a wide influence on stratospheric conditions. The amount of ozone at the equator changes by 10 percent between the peaks of the easterly and westerly phases, while the oscillation also has an impact on levels of polar ozone depletion.

With this disruption now documented, Newman and colleagues are currently focused on studying both its causes and potential implications. They have two hypotheses for what could have triggered it – the particularly strong El Niño in 2015-16 or the long-term trend of rising global temperatures. Newman said the scientists are conducting further research now to figure out if the event was a “black swan,” a once-in-a-generation event, or a “canary in the coal mine,” a shift with unforeseen circumstances, caused by climate change.

###

The EOS article on the strange pattern:

https://eos.org/research-spotlights/mysterious-anomaly-interrupts-stratospheric-wind-pattern

The paper is available at:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016GL070373/abstract

Video:

The prevailing winds in the atmosphere near the equator above about 17 km are known to undergo a slightly irregular oscillation from strong westerlies to strong easterlies roughly every other year. This Quasi-biennial Oscillation (QBO) has been observed to dominate the winds in this region of the atmosphere for at least the last 6 decades and is characterized by a downward propagation of the westerly and easterly jets that form. This video allows a 3D vizualization of the behavior of the QBO jets. Specifically what is shown are regions of strong westerlies/easterlies outlined by the red/blue surfaces. The long term mean seasonal cycle are subtracted from the data and surfaces are plotted only equatorward of 30 degrees. The height range plotted is about 17-36 km. Results are shown for 1980-2000.

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Bob Boder
September 2, 2016 10:30 am

The only real question is how did CO2 cause this and how bad is it.

Kevin
Reply to  Bob Boder
September 2, 2016 10:59 am

“The only real question is how did CO2 cause this and how bad is it.”
Another question; Is it worse than we thought? If so, then CO2 is definitely to blame!

BallBounces
Reply to  Kevin
September 3, 2016 7:23 am

The worse than we thought meme occurs 6 months to 2 years after…

Neo
Reply to  Bob Boder
September 2, 2016 11:28 am

So does this mean they finally found those signature “hot spots” the IPCC said would doom us all ?

Anne Ominous
Reply to  Neo
September 2, 2016 7:25 pm

No. This is a completely different phenomenon, taking place is a completely different (much higher altitude) layer of the atmosphere.

ShrNfr
Reply to  Bob Boder
September 2, 2016 1:14 pm

It is well known that CO2 is heavier than oxygen and nitrogen. Argon is a single atom, it is light also. It is obvious to anybody who thinks about it that the oscillation just got plain dumb tired from having to blow all that heavy CO2 around, so it just stopped. Simple when you think about it. And yes, it is really, really bad. Because of all of that heavy CO2, the entire atmosphere will fall on people’s heads and crush them unless we listen to Bill McKibben /sarc

Sparks
Reply to  ShrNfr
September 2, 2016 8:22 pm

I laughed so hard… All the extra weight of the CO2 will increase atmospheric pressure to a point where nothing will move the way it used to, it will become stagnant and we’ll all freeze or something… /sarc

Reply to  ShrNfr
September 2, 2016 8:23 pm

I laughed so hard… All the extra weight of the CO2 will increase atmospheric pressure to a point where nothing will move the way it used to, it will become stagnant and we’ll all freeze or something… /sarc

Reply to  ShrNfr
September 4, 2016 11:55 am

ShrNfr wrote, “CO2 is heavier than oxygen and nitrogen. Argon is a single atom, it is light also.”
No, argon is quite heavy. You might be thinking of neon.
N2 has molecular weight 2×14 = 28.
O2 has molecular weight 2×16 = 32.
Ar has atomic weight = molecular weight = 40.
CO2 also has molecular weight (2×12)+16 = 40.
The average molecular weight of the dry atmosphere is: (.78 x 28) + (.21 x 32) + (.01 x 40) = 29.
Water vapor has molecular weight (2×1)+16 = 18, so humid air is lighter than dry air, which is why the water cycle works.
The water cycle is a classic phase-change refrigeration cycle, just like the Freon refrigeration cycle in your refrigerator: Water evaporates at the surface, absorbing “Heat Of Evaporation” (evaporative heat loss). Because the molecular weight of water vapor molecules is just 18, moist air is lighter than dry air (contrary to intuition). So the moist air rises to the mid-troposphere, where the water condenses into clouds, releasing the heat which it had absorbed at the surface.
That process is the most important way in which heat is removed from surface of the Earth. Warmer temperatures should increase the rate of evaporation, and thereby increase the rate at which heat is transported away from the surface, making this a negative feedback mechanism.

HenryP
Reply to  daveburton
September 4, 2016 1:33 pm

MW of CO2 = 44

HenryP
Reply to  daveburton
September 4, 2016 1:35 pm

air has 0.04% CO@

Reply to  ShrNfr
September 4, 2016 1:37 pm

Yes, thank you, Henry. It’s CO2, not C2O, of course. :-/

george e. smith
Reply to  Bob Boder
September 2, 2016 1:22 pm

Black swans are as common as dirt.
g

BFL
Reply to  Bob Boder
September 2, 2016 6:44 pm

“The record of these measurements, made by weather balloons released in the tropics at various points around the globe, dates to 1953.”
Blaming wrong gas, not CO2 but freon which was in fairly massive use by this time and obviously caused the whole mess. Now all I need is a research grant…..

stricq
September 2, 2016 10:32 am

Why do they oscillate in the first place? What facilitates the change?

pbweather
Reply to  Toneb
September 2, 2016 12:47 pm

From the EC link from Toneb
<blockquote?Although the basic physics of the QBO is well known, the quantitative details and balances of the different processes are still rather unclear. Worse, many of the models used for numerical weather prediction (NWP) or climate modelling are unable to produce a QBO, or they produce a QBO which looks very different from observations. For example, only 4 of more than 30 models used for the last IPCC report have any sort of QBO.
Climate models have it nailed. No uncertainty here.

David Ball
Reply to  Toneb
September 2, 2016 1:37 pm

pbweather, thank you. It would be impossible to expect Toneb to understand our views when he doesn’t even understand his own.

Reply to  stricq
September 3, 2016 4:28 am

The major period of the QBO is from the lunar draconian month and the nearest harmonic of the tropical year (P. Vaughan). This illustrates that the upper atmosphere and its extension into space makes it most sensitive to solar system gravitational tides and operates through supported resonances. The change in the QBO is most likely a result of changes in stratospheric height. Changes in stratospheric height can cause apparent E-W weighting due to conservation of momentum.

kokoda
September 2, 2016 10:36 am

How fortunate that there are only two plausible causes for the disruption. Science is so easy.

Editor
Reply to  kokoda
September 2, 2016 10:54 am

+1

Reply to  kokoda
September 2, 2016 11:07 am

Maybe three possible causes, and they’re just as speculative as CAGW.

Reply to  dbstealey
September 2, 2016 2:59 pm

My first impression after reading this is what if this is part of the whole natural pattern in the first place? In other words every 60+ years this event occurs, and this is our first time of being able to observe it. What it might mean, if anything, for the future state of the QBO and/or climate on this planet would only be found out by continued observations over the decades ahead. This could herald some sort of change to the climate system, or not.

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  dbstealey
September 2, 2016 5:06 pm

Okay dbstealey, I looked at “causes” . I had my wife and 8yr old look. The music is beautiful.
Now I have not checked but has the earth’s rotation slowed?
Friend are you just having fun seeing who will bite? CHOMP.
This is new to me.
michael

Reply to  dbstealey
September 3, 2016 4:50 pm

Hi Mike the Morlock,
As I wrote, there are more than two speculative causes. I just added another one for anyone who might be interested.
Someone had emailed it to me, and I thought it was interesting.
Do I agree with the claimed cause and effect?
No. If there was anything to it, there would have been reports in science publications.
But am I willing to change my mind? Sure. They just need to provide better evidence. What they gave for causation is only a conjecture. You know, like CAGW…

Dodgy Geezer
September 2, 2016 10:42 am

It’s OBVIOUSLY the predicted ‘weather weirding’, and we must pay more taxes to stop it…

rbabcock
September 2, 2016 10:43 am

Easterly winds cause El Niño’s; westerly winds cause La Niña’s as well as changes in temps in the Atlantic and Indian oceans. No doubt a delayed feedback mechanism provide by oscillating ocean temps.
You can mail my Nobel Prize to my home address. Thank You.

Reply to  rbabcock
September 2, 2016 11:00 am

Send mine to my bank!

rbabcock
Reply to  rbabcock
September 2, 2016 11:59 am

Boy, I got my easterlies and westerlies mixed up. And I’m a sailor and pilot. So much for my prize… sorry 🙁

Mark from the Midwest
Reply to  rbabcock
September 2, 2016 12:12 pm

We will need your street address, SS#, mother’s maiden name, date of birth, and the routing number and account number for depositing the honorarium funds. If you can provide me with that information by close of business today I’ll make sure there’s a big surprise waiting for you when your bank opens on Tuesday, and have a happy holiday weekend!

H.R.
Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
September 2, 2016 2:46 pm

Are you sure you’re not Mark from Nigeria?

Mike Maguire
Reply to  rbabcock
September 2, 2016 3:43 pm

“You can mail my Nobel Prize to my home address.”
Sorry but to earn your Nobel Prize, you need a contribution for the greater good of mankind, like Al Gore, the IPCC and President Obama had…… that will help the UN to accomplish their objective……… leading the world towards “sustainable development”
http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2007/
“for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”
http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2009/press.html
“Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play.”
Yeah, they knew that a few weeks after he took office, when he was nominated.
Sorry for digressing.

DonK31
Reply to  Mike Maguire
September 2, 2016 11:18 pm

A large donation to the Clinton Foundation will work also.

Logos_wrench
September 2, 2016 10:47 am

In the spirt of leftist superstition Gaia must be angry with us.

george e. smith
Reply to  Logos_wrench
September 2, 2016 1:25 pm

Mother Gaia has no feelings whatsoever. She just sees that everything that is supposed to happen does happen, and it happens on time, and that nothing happens that isn’t supposed to happen.
g

M Seward
Reply to  george e. smith
September 2, 2016 4:22 pm

Not g, Mother Gaia has very, very, very strong feelings, she will kill all the deniers one day, ask any Gaiantatologist. And is she won’t they will.

Olaf Koenders
Reply to  Logos_wrench
September 2, 2016 9:26 pm

Gaia’s very angry. Yesterday it was overcast with no wind, today the Sun peeks out occasionally and the wind is.. umm. [licks finger].. windy. It’s horrific climate change and I know I’m the cause of it because I exhaled CO2 overnight while I was sleeping. Probably some CH4 as well. It’s a disaster of astronomic proportions!! [wide-eyed nods]

Michael
September 2, 2016 10:48 am

Seems like an earth version of the solar cycle.

Greg
Reply to  Michael
September 2, 2016 12:53 pm

The “old faithful” claim is a crock. There have many estimations of how long the cycle is and the answer ranges from 26 to 29 months.
If it was as regular as claimed it would have been determined long ago as being a fixed value and would be known accurately.
Like all the ohte so-called “oscillations” no one really manages to but a figure on them. They are just quasi-periodic variations: AMO PDO NAO, AO ……
They are clearly making false claims about it being regular as clockwork, so that they can spin it as abnormal now.
BS.

Timo Soren
Reply to  Greg
September 2, 2016 3:19 pm

Well, first you may be mixing up your metaphors or idioms. Old Faithful is a geyser, it erupts ‘regularly’ but not as you seem to think and hence the ‘the “old faithful” claim is a crock’ may itself be the crock.
Yellowstone has wonderful data on old faithful and it is a bi-modal distribution with a large longer interval mode and much smaller short interval mode. With mins around 55 minutes to maxs around 2 hours. (this being the interval between eruptions non including the eruption length) Statistically it actually appears that, even with the limited data on the QBO, that the QBO is more predictable than old faithful. We have hundreds of thousands of cycles of old faithful but only a handful for QBO. So confidentlying say that the QBO is more regular than old faithful, presently would be a stretch. You can pull out your favorite stats formula and determine your 97%(my new favorite stat) confidence interval on your normalized standard deviation and see if one interval is entirely below the other.

September 2, 2016 10:48 am

Well, if QBO didn’t change in the strong 1998 El Nino, then it probably wasn’t the 2015 El Nino. And if QBO didn’t change during the warming from ~1975-2000, it probably wasn’t the lack of warming since. More unsettled science.

September 2, 2016 10:53 am

figure out if the event was a “black swan,” a once-in-a-generation event, or a “canary in the coal mine,” a shift with unforeseen circumstances, caused by climate change.
The world is trying to figure out of the Clinton/Trump election is a “black swan”, a once in a generation event, or a “canary in the coal mine”. a political shift with unforeseen impacts, caused by climate change.
I maintain that my version of the statement can be more easily justified than theirs.

Reply to  davidmhoffer
September 2, 2016 12:58 pm

Make that 100 pluses (or is that plusi?)

MarkW
Reply to  mikerestin
September 2, 2016 1:13 pm

platipuses?

John Harmsworth
Reply to  davidmhoffer
September 2, 2016 9:01 pm

They’re bird brains, that’s pretty apparent!

Jeff L
September 2, 2016 10:54 am

Here’s a good visualization of what the article is describing – to see all the data simultaneously
http://www.geo.fu-berlin.de/en/met/ag/strat/produkte/qbo/
Note the uptick in westerlies at the top of the stratosphere when since 2015 when easterlies should have fallen into the pattern at the top of the stratosphere .
2 thoughts:
1) 60 year cycle … hmmmm seems like that come up a lot in discussions here & elsewhere
2) “a shift with unforeseen circumstances, caused by climate change” … or perhaps the last 60 years of warming was actually caused by this pattern…. correlation is not causation.

MarkW
Reply to  Jeff L
September 2, 2016 11:05 am

I don’t believe they said it was a 60 year cycle, but rather that they had been watching it for 60 years.

BobG
Reply to  MarkW
September 2, 2016 11:22 am

MarkW, they called it a 60 year “pattern”. But it was not until the 1950s that this area of the atmosphere began to be observed with weather balloons sufficient to detect such “patterns”. Therefore, it is impossible to say much of anything without observing it for much longer period or understanding it much better theoretically. The observed “pattern” could be a small part of larger pattern/cycle lasting hundreds of years. Or the there might be quite a bit of randomness involved such that the “pattern” changes at random intervals.

george e. smith
Reply to  MarkW
September 2, 2016 1:28 pm

Nothing ever happens continuously for 60 years. It is always something followed by something else because nothing ever happens again.
g

Tom O
Reply to  Jeff L
September 2, 2016 11:28 am

I don’t know, but it looked like there was an elongation and change in every period that I knew there was an el nino, so I would have to guess that this is neither a black swan nor a canary, but some other rare bird problem.

Greg
Reply to  Jeff L
September 2, 2016 1:00 pm

Thanks Jeff.
So looking at their graphs we can see that it is far from being “old faithful”. Some decades have 3 cycles while other have 4.
The claim “The pattern never changed – until late 2015. ” Baloney !

Rainer Bensch
Reply to  Jeff L
September 3, 2016 2:46 am

3) All those windmills influence the pattern.

Reply to  Jeff L
September 3, 2016 6:13 pm

Thanks Jeff. I like that visualization.
To me it looks like a regular pattern is suffering some sort of perturbation, but whether it is just a bump or the start of a new pattern remains to be seen.
Has anyone suggested the culprit may be the “Quiet Sun”?

September 2, 2016 11:00 am

This won’t bother the IPCC because in their 2007 Report they wrote,
“Due to the computational cost associated with the requirement of a well-resolved stratosphere, the models employed for the current assessment do not generally include the QBO.”

Reply to  Tim Ball
September 2, 2016 1:00 pm

Oh the implications of that quote:
– since when has money been an issue
– planning on hogging the trough for a long time

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  Tim Ball
September 2, 2016 5:24 pm

Well it’s good that they didn’t include it. Now they can say that the pattern change doesn’t affect the model results, projections, or future!

MarkW
September 2, 2016 11:01 am

We don’t know how it works.
We don’t know what causes it.
But we do know that global warming messed it up.

Richard Barnett
September 2, 2016 11:01 am

Canary in a Coalmine
Lyrics
First to fall over when the atmosphere is less than perfect
Your sensibilities are shaken by the slightest defect
You live your life like a canary in a coalmine
You get so dizzy even walkin’ in a straight line
You say you want to spend the winter in Firenza
You’re so afraid to catch a dose of influenza
You live your life like a canary in a coalmine
You get so dizzy even walkin’ in a straight line
Canary in a coalmine
Canary in a coalmine
Canary in a coalmine
Now if I tell you that you suffer from delusions
You pay your analyst to reach the same conclusions
You live your life like a canary in a coalmine
You get so dizzy even walkin’ in a straight line
Canary in a coalmine
Canary in a coalmine
Canary in a coalmine
First to fall over when the atmosphere is less than perfect
Your sensibilities are shaken by the slightest defect
You live your life like a canary in a coalmine
You get so dizzy even walkin’ in a straight line
Canary in a coalmine
Canary in a coalmine
Canary in a coalmine
The Police

September 2, 2016 11:02 am

60 years is also the duration of ozean oszillation, isn’t it ?

Reply to  krishna gans
September 2, 2016 11:09 am

Thats the problem, we are base10 thinkers and world is base12.

MarkW
Reply to  jeanparisot
September 2, 2016 11:26 am

Obviously caused by there being 12 months every year.

Tom O
Reply to  jeanparisot
September 2, 2016 11:34 am

Actually, the world is analog and we try to interpret it in digital media. Digital can never “model” analog, but if you REALLY know what you are talking about, you can create a simulation that comes close. You can’t do that if there are literally thousands of factors that aren’t well understood. Bottom line, though, is you can only approximate analog with digital, so the “noise” that flares up in an analog system from time to time just can’t be predicted, causing the digital effort to fail.

ralfellis
Reply to  jeanparisot
September 2, 2016 11:39 am

>>Obviously caused by there being 12 months every year..
And 360 days in the year. (Hence 360 degrees in a circle….)
R

Jeff Hayes
Reply to  jeanparisot
September 2, 2016 11:56 am

ralfellis-
360 days? You don’t by any chance work in computer modeling, do you?

Timo Soren
Reply to  jeanparisot
September 2, 2016 3:24 pm

I prefer statements like: The world is base (12_base13).

Reply to  jeanparisot
September 2, 2016 3:26 pm

The NAO oscillates in a 60 year rythm – I see no reason for any analog / digital and 10/12 base humour –
And so my question is about the coinidence with the 60 year pattern in the stratosphere.

noaaprogrammer
Reply to  jeanparisot
September 2, 2016 9:53 pm

Halloween = Christmas because Oct 31 = Dec 25.

ralfellis
Reply to  jeanparisot
September 3, 2016 8:15 am

>>>360 days? You don’t by any chance work in computer modeling, do you?
No, I like history. The Egyptians had a 360-day year, which made every month 30 days. And then they had 5 holiday days at the end of the year, to fill the gap.
Sounds eminently sensible to me.
R

RWturner
September 2, 2016 11:14 am

There seems to be a lot of variability in this “pattern.” Probably nothing to see here except random noise.

Robbie Depp
September 2, 2016 11:26 am

Will this have any potential impact on sudden stratospheric warmings? How about the NAO?

Bill Illis
September 2, 2016 11:31 am

I had charted the QBO previously so it is easy to update.
It is a strange phenomenon, having a 2 year oscillation on a 1 year orbiting planet, but it is what it is.
And yeah, something changed here.comment image
(there are some timelines that coincide with the ENSO – although the 2 year oscillation is so regular while the ENSO is not a regular 2 year osciallation although it peaks in December usually, the same time as the QBO, but anyway – perhaps the 2015-16 Super El Nino contributed in some manner it did not do before.)comment image

commieBob
Reply to  Bill Illis
September 2, 2016 12:59 pm

It is a strange phenomenon, having a 2 year oscillation on a 1 year orbiting planet, but it is what it is.

We have lots of multi-year quasi-periodic cycles on our one year orbiting planet.

commieBob
Reply to  commieBob
September 2, 2016 1:34 pm

Given my background, my first instinct is to consider subharmonics. On the other hand, the climate’s quasiperiodic phenomena don’t act much like the subharmonics I am used to.
I think a more likely explanation is that the one year orbital cycle pumps energy into resonators in the oceans and atmosphere. A couple of examples of energy pumping are swings and lasers.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  commieBob
September 2, 2016 9:04 pm

My ex had them, too!

Greg
Reply to  Bill Illis
September 2, 2016 1:11 pm

Any chance of a link to the source of that data Bill?
That does not seem to be the same thing as the usual 28-29 month QBO , what you show looks locked in to the annual cycle.

Greg
Reply to  Greg
September 2, 2016 1:44 pm

It should be remembered that the main cycle in the tropics is 6mo, not 12.

Greg
Reply to  Bill Illis
September 2, 2016 1:22 pm

There is a one year anti-correlation in Arctic sea ice too. Though it is not a regular two year “oscillation”.
I suspect the two are linked.

lewispbuckingham
Reply to  Bill Illis
September 2, 2016 2:11 pm

It looks as if the oscillation skipped a beat.
Perhaps the change in polarity in the Sun plus a quiet sun at the same time did it.
Best continuing to observe the patient.

Cinaed
Reply to  Bill Illis
September 2, 2016 2:58 pm

Bill Illis
September 2, 2016 at 11:31 am
It’s typically a 2 year + 1 season oscillation – or 27 months on the average.
Since the Westerlies are disrupting or preventing the downward movement of the Easterlies, it may be possible it’s a set up for a strong polar vortex this winter.
Unfortunately, we have no idea how long the current average pattern of a 27 month oscillation has been running.
Also, the Earth/Moon system behaves dynamically like a 2 planet system – both the Earth and Moon orbit the Sun not each other – hence the current 2015 minor standstill of the Moon – which typically lasts 2 years.
There’s a strong correlation (in the satellite data – not the morph of the surface data to a linear ramp) between a strong El Nino and the minor standstill of the Moon (although, although granted, it’s limited – there’s no signature of 1982 El Nino – but then first 10 years is usually crappy data.)

Reply to  Bill Illis
September 2, 2016 9:19 pm

It’s in-phase (synched) with El Nino during periods of global warming. It’s anti- phase with EN during periods of global cooling. Big Global cooling coming, so QBO did a stutter step causally linked to falling solar EUV and a shortered LOD.
Queue Vucevik.

A C Osborn
Reply to  Bill Illis
September 3, 2016 4:10 am

Notice how the oscillations got larger the longer they observed them and then changed?

Reply to  Bill Illis
September 3, 2016 6:36 am

@ Bill Illis
What “happened” during the descending mode of the 1988/01 – 1989/04 QBO (as defined on your above graph) ……. where it looks like the QBO “stuttered” there for 2 or 3 months ….. just after it crossed the 0.0 grid and was headed back into positive (+) territory? But then regained its balance and again headed farther south of the 0.0 grid.
Something occurred that “triggered” that 2 or 3 month stuttered delay, What caused it, …. is the question that needs to be answered.

Reply to  Bill Illis
September 3, 2016 9:12 am

Paul Pukite has some some interesting work on QBO ENSO correlation. At the second derivative level correlation is impressive with the multivariate nino index. Here are his power spectra.
comment image
Perhaps ENSO affects QBO rather than the other way around?
Anyway, what was going on 1948 to 1953 seems way weirder that what we see now.

Reply to  gymnosperm
September 4, 2016 6:01 am

So sayith: gymnosperm

Anyway, what was going on 1948 to 1953 seems way weirder that what we see now.

And Sam C sayith, …… the more I digest the contents of the above article, …… the more FUBAR it becomes.
Quoting article:

The record of these (QBO) measurements, made by weather balloons released in the tropics at various points around the globe, dates to 1953.

If the discovery of the QBO dates to 1953 ….. how in ell can they claim “a change in the 60-year wind pattern in the stratosphere”?
“DUH”, ….. “discovery of” implies that the upper atmospheric winds have been “oscillating” for a long, long time, ……. OR ……. it implies that the upper atmospheric winds BEGAN their oscillating pattern in 1953.
And no matter which one of the above “implications” is the correct one, it NEGATES the following fear mongering “junk science” agitprop from the brilliant Climate Scientists(sic) employed by NASA, to wit:
Quoting article:

Newman said the scientists are conducting further research now to figure out if the event was a “black swan,” a once-in-a-generation event, or a “canary in the coal mine,” a shift with unforeseen circumstances, caused by climate change.

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
September 4, 2016 7:06 am

Yes, the data predate 1953. Notice how they cherry picked past the prior weirdness.

Paul, Somerset
Reply to  gymnosperm
September 5, 2016 6:20 am

“Note that at the beginning of the graph the QBO appears absent. In the early years, 1948 to mid-1950s, there were no observations that high up in the stratosphere to be assimilated in the Reanalysis; in reality there probably was a QBO …”
Huug van den Dool – Empirical Methods in Short-Term Climate Prediction, Oxford University Press 2007, page 133

Reply to  Paul, Somerset
September 5, 2016 8:19 am

Thanks. That was always a possibility with the early data, but I would not describe the QBO as absent in the early data, just subdued. This might be expected if we were measuring just the bottom of it, or…
The QBO proper is in the lower stratosphere. The easterly component is more variable and none other than Murray Salby and Callaghan (2000) showed a significant correlation with the solar cycle f10.7 flux.
According to Leif’s law: Relative Sunspot Number=Delta East Component=SQRT Solar EUV=SQRT F10.7 flux; this makes sense by modulating the diurnal “easterly component” in the ionosphere.
We are in an exceptionally weak solar cycle and we are recovering from a good sized nino. Richard Lindzen thought a while back that the QBO was driven from the bottom from the tropical troposphere. Can’t be ruled out.
At any rate, two good reasons besides “vitamin” C for this years aberration.

September 2, 2016 11:46 am

“It’s due to reverse rotating huricanes resulting from the quasi confluence of ozone and volcanic hockey sticks as it relates inversely with the acidification of tree rings demonstrated through the bleaching of pine beetles and pikas.”
I’ll take the Nobel Prize in fools gold, please.

Marcus
September 2, 2016 12:01 pm

“The pattern never changed – until late 2015.”…Yet, they only show a simulation dated 1980 to 2000 ?

DHR
September 2, 2016 12:03 pm

“The pattern never changed – until late 2015.”
Really?
From Bill Illis’ first chart, it seems the QBO can vary from ~20 months to ~30 months between peaks. So a delay of 6 months past the expected change date might well be within the normal variability. Too bad the paper didn’t discuss this. It seems an obvious omission to me, but then I am not a climate scientist.

Marcus
Reply to  DHR
September 2, 2016 12:22 pm

…The first graph seems to show that the changes started in 1948 ?

Reply to  Marcus
September 3, 2016 7:02 am

Bill’s QBO graph defines the fact that the rhythmic +-2-year oscillation of said QBO didn’t actually begin until 1953.
So, maybe its “shutting down” after 63 years?
All of those billions of tons of anthropogenic CO2 that have been accumulating in the atmosphere is getting far too heavy and is screwing up that beautiful harmonic oscillation.

Glenn999
September 2, 2016 12:30 pm

makes you wonder what happened 70 years ago…or 80 years ago….or
maybe just another CO2 tipping point

Greg
Reply to  Glenn999
September 2, 2016 1:50 pm

Well looking at Bill’s graph things were very different in 1950. Was that another ‘canary’ period.

David Ball
Reply to  Glenn999
September 2, 2016 1:55 pm

Dustbowl?

David Ball
Reply to  David Ball
September 2, 2016 2:03 pm

As in recovery from?

HenryP
Reply to  David Ball
September 4, 2016 6:27 am

dust bowl drought coming up,
seems to me it is now only about 2 or 3 years from now.
go south, young man,
go south\
before it is too late….

TJeff
September 2, 2016 12:36 pm

Oh, so climate science doesn’t understand this? I guess the science isn’t so settled, is it? Strange that the quasi-biennial oscillation wasn’t important enough to consider until the possibility of using it for political ammunition arose.
Seems to me that the basic problem is the naivete of climate science–they really don’t seem to “get” turbulent flows, especially ones as complex the atmosphere. For practical purposes, unsteady turbulent flows with unsteady forcing change on all timescales, all the time. The expectation that constancy exists in the atmosphere on any arbitrary human timescale, whether it’s 28 months, 30 years, 60 years, or 1000 years, no matter how it’s “averaged”, is absurd. As far as nature is concerned, there is no such thing as “climate”.

Resourceguy
September 2, 2016 12:45 pm
Resourceguy
Reply to  Resourceguy
September 2, 2016 12:47 pm

That was supposed to be in Tips and Notes

Steve Fraser
September 2, 2016 1:08 pm

I wonder if there are any artifacts or proxies,that,would tell us if this has happened any other time?

September 2, 2016 1:36 pm

Meh…
C02 still warms the planet. it does not cool the planet.
The question is how much. somewhere between 1.5 and 4.5C per doubling.
Either way, the best risk mitigation strategy is more nuclear.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 3, 2016 7:18 am

Steven M, ….. you made two (2) claims of “fact” in your above post, neither of which you are capable of providing scientific proof or evidence to substantiate.
Mimicry of “junk science” claims really irritates me.
And so does Hillary Clinton’s lying …… that most all Democrat partisans, women libbers and loyal fans ….. all turn a deaf ear to.

ossqss
Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 3, 2016 5:44 pm

I agree with you even though you called me a “dope” recently with reguards to the use of the word “monotonic”. Really stretching definitions there and you knew it.
Monotonic
adjective
1.
MATHEMATICS
(of a function or quantity) varying in such a way that it either never decreases or never increases.
2.
speaking or uttered with an unchanging pitch or tone.
“her dour, monotonic husband”
You know, you have good points for consideration to bring to a forum in most instances. You don’t have to be an a$$ about it.
Just sayin…….

HenryP
Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 4, 2016 5:09 am

nuclear [energy] produces more H2O (g) which is a stronger GH gas than CO2 (g)…..

September 2, 2016 1:59 pm

Hey Guys, I’ve been on about this stratospheric issue for some time so it’s nice to see someone focusing on it.
Sure there’s a quasi biennial oscillation but over multidecadal periods of time the balance shifts towards more westerlies (zonal) or more easterlies (meridional) at the surface and I keep telling those willing to listen that the cause is the sun altering the balance of the stratospheric ozone creation / destruction process differently above equator and poles so as to change the gradient of tropopause height between equator and poles as described in detail here:
http://www.newclimatemodel.com/is-the-sun-driving-ozone-and-changing-the-climate/
This hypothesis deserves proper investigation.

Rob JM
Reply to  Stephen Wilde
September 2, 2016 2:54 pm

Hi Stephen, Check out UAH temp of lower stratosphere (atmospheric maps page) and you will see that the only temp changes are associated with volcanic injection of SO2. The interesting thing is the drop in temp that occurs after the SO2 is cleared from the stratosphere that persists over decades. My hypothesis is that the SO2 chemically alters the stratosphere either by stripping out water vapour as the SO2 forms H2SO4 that is rained out leaving the stratosphere depleted of H2O, or the ozone is lost due to it reacting with SO2. I have seen papers that show Zonal meridional forcing in the guise of effects on Arctic Oscillation, with equatorial eruptions producing a positive AO (zonal) and high Lat eruptions vis versa. It should be noted that the step decrease in clouds of 5% from early 1990s to early 2000s that correlates with step increase in global temps fits with a zonal/meridional regime change. Volcanic driven global warming due to chemical alteration of the stratosphere definitely needs to be considered! 🙂

Javier
Reply to  Stephen Wilde
September 2, 2016 4:15 pm

I have been waiting for a signal that the atmosphere is undergoing some change in reorganization. Perhaps this is it. Solar events of the 2400 yr Bray cycle, like the LIA, are characterized by an atmospheric reorganization that manifests in the expansion of polar circulation and the contraction of Hadley cells, while warming recovery is characterized by the opposite, an expansion of Hadley cells, much as Jeanne Haigh described in her 2010 paper. Since Hadley cells appear to have been expanding since at least 1958, and GHGs appear not to be the cause, this could be a signal that natural warming has not ended. Perhaps this change in QBO anticipates that we have reached the end of natural warming. We should know if the Hadley cells have stopped expanding. Then the atmosphere would exit warming mode, and the post-LIA recovery would be finished.

HenryP
Reply to  Stephen Wilde
September 4, 2016 5:14 am

remember, it is not only ozone, but also peroxides [from H-O] and N-oxides being formed TOA
ozone is being monitored more intensely though
it is going up from 1995, both NH and SH

Will Nelson
September 2, 2016 2:00 pm

I wonder if the transition to easterlies is made rougher by a countering Coriolis Effect in descending air.

September 2, 2016 2:14 pm

The paper says:
“The amount of ozone at the equator changes by 10 percent between the peaks of the easterly and westerly phases, while the oscillation also has an impact on levels of polar ozone depletion.”
Which ks bound to involve changes in the gradient of tropopause height between equator and poles.
Like I said, the effects are different above equator and above poles and it is solar induced with the tropospheric circulation changes following on and the important consequence is the effect on global albedo.
There are more clouds when the circulation is more meridional and less clouds when the circulation is more zonal.

son of mulder
September 2, 2016 2:18 pm

Dare I say chaos, Navier-Stokes is in there somewhere.

September 2, 2016 2:19 pm

Can we replace the canary in the coal mine with an eagle sliced to pieces by a windmill?

don penman
September 2, 2016 2:33 pm

I have wondered what statistical patterns in the atmosphere we would see if we were transported a few hundred years into the future would our present patterns have evolved into totally different statistical patterns that we would no longer recognise.

September 2, 2016 2:38 pm

The upward blip may be related to a blip in the NINO3.4 & 3 indexes allowing for lag? Since June it is falling away rapidly. (Weekly data to Aug 28)
http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/indices.shtml?bookmark=nino3.4

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
September 2, 2016 5:17 pm

A paper of mine published in Indian J. Met. Hydrol. Geophys. [1977], 28:113-114 “Forecasting the onset of southwest monsoon over Kerala” — I tried to relate the Singapore 50 mb wind direction [westerly or easterly] to onset [early or late]. When the winds were easterlies at 50 mb in the month of May, the onset will be late [on or after May 31st] in that year; and when the winds are westerly the onset will be early [before 31st May] in that year.
The onset dates show a 52 year cycle similar to Fortaleza in northeast Brazil precipitation — which has a component of QBO.
Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

September 2, 2016 8:25 pm

Okay, I have better things to do with my time than have my thought’s ‘n opinion moderated. bye!!

Reply to  Anthony Watts
September 3, 2016 4:11 pm

I see, Thanks Anthony I appreciate that you would take take the time to explain where I went wrong, Apologies to Carla if my childish behaviour caused offence, that was not my intention, and I apologise for breaching site policy.
I’m not sure what the “other things” are lol but I’ll hold my hands up and apologize, I have been a bit overboard lately.

Sparks
Reply to  Anthony Watts
September 5, 2016 4:38 pm

Just a further note,
Sparks August 28, 2016 at 8:43 pm.
“The thought of him holding me down, so that so and so could slap my ass was not well received on my end.
That is not a quote from me, I didn’t say this.

[Noted. We have had imposters (false posters) before. .mod]

Jim Hodgen
September 2, 2016 10:10 pm

Something around 60 years… and we are just over the top off the PDO… what is the trigger for the PDO? Does it have anything to do with the QBO anomaly? We don’t know much about the PDO because we didn’t have the high-res data for the beginning of it.
Just assuming that since we can see the temp record we can see the mechanisms doesn’t seem to be a very analytical outlook.
Just saying…

September 2, 2016 11:47 pm

Its natural that the warmistas trouser this wobble in the QBO as yet another omen of carbon doom, coincidentally perfect for their political agenda. Based on zero understanding of the process needless to say.
If I had to guess I would say the AMO just turned over. It could be an interesting omen of cooling, not warming. The climate data editors will have to redouble their efforts. NASA bosses should prepare for an uptick in overtime claims.

ren
September 3, 2016 12:54 am

Conclusions
The results of this study allow to make the following
conclusions:
1)The links between cloud cover anomalies and GCR
fluxes observed on the decadal time scale are not
direct. At middle latitudes they are realized through
GCR effects on the development of extratropical
baric systems (cyclones and troughs) which form
cloud fields.
2)A high positive correlation between low cloud
anomalies and GCRs in the period 1983-2000 results
from a high positive correlation between cyclonic
activity and GCRs which takes place under the
conditions of a strong stratospheric polar vortex.
3)The violation of a positive correlation LCA-GCR in
the early 2000s seems to be due to the transition of
the polar vortex to its weak state which resulted in
the reversal of GCR effects on the troposphere
dynamics.
4)The polar vortex evolution is of significant
importance for solar-atmospheric links. Its
modulating effect should be taken into account
when interpreting correlations between lower
atmosphere characteristics and solar activity
phenomena.
http://newserver.stil.bas.bg/SUNGEO/00SGArhiv/SG_v10_No1_2015-pp-51-58.pdf

RoHa
September 3, 2016 1:01 am

I don’t know what caused it, or what it will do to the climate, but I know that it means we’re doomed.

September 3, 2016 2:37 am

Take a poorly understood phenomenon, treat it like a reliable mechanism, then shriek when the mechanism malfunctions.
More sound-bite science in the age of Publish-then-Perish.

ulriclyons
September 3, 2016 3:47 am

The QBO entered its westerly phase June 2015, and would be expected to change to easterly later this year, not later in 2015.
http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/correlation/qbo.data

Hugs
September 3, 2016 4:11 am

The prevailing winds in the atmosphere near the equator above about 17 km

The scale in the video is broken; it does not visualize winds in 10-50 km above ground, the red and blue shapes are largely in space and have much an exaggerated vertical scale.

Hugs
Reply to  Hugs
September 3, 2016 4:12 am

Meh, in above, and add the the.

DoubtWeKnow
September 3, 2016 8:17 am

I think this is caused by the new alien theory. They are coming to mess with our weather, taking our natural cycles and disrupting them, so they can bring their ships in through the stop in wind pattern, to harvest the meat. We will then need to fight this enemy on a global effort, say a one world government, and they will need our hard earned money to do this. We will gladly give it to them now, as we could all see though their flimsy climate change scare caused by US humans, and those in power will now have all the money and full control of the sheople. The weather will go back to what weather does, change all the time, but now we won’t have to worry about that because now we have a new problem, which those in power will now fix for us and keep us all safe. It’s an easy conclusion to come to after seeing the video with the nice blue and red swirls. /sarc

ulriclyons
September 3, 2016 9:57 am

The jump back up to a higher westerly QBO value this August could be connected with the high tropical stratosphere cooling event that took place in August:
http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/correlation/qbo.data
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/temperature/02mb2525.png

dp
September 3, 2016 10:24 am

Lunar influence.

September 3, 2016 2:05 pm

Fascinating isn’t it. People look at changes in the atmosphere, in this case high up in the atmosphere and draw the conclusion that these changes must somehow be related to the release of CO2 from human activity. Strange, especially while the CO2 molecule is heavier than both oxygen and nitrogen molecules, which suggests that the fraction of CO2 high in the atmosphere is even lower than at the lower part of the atmosphere.
I haven’t analyzed QBO, but I’ve analyzed ENSO, its drivers and I make ENSO forecasts. I think QBO variations is driven by the same factors. I’m going to make a presentations of the findings I’ve made on ENSO in a few days at the climate conference in London https://geoethic.com/london-conference-2016/
The driving factors driving QBO, I think is caused by gravitational pulses of the Moon when it is at its closest position to Earth, called Perigee. The gravitational push from one Perigee to the next vary greatly based on its force and its latitude. What we get during each Perigee is a gravitational pulse of an almost global scale.
The rotation of orientation of the axis of Moon’s elliptical orbit makes a complete orbit in about 8.85 years and the points of when the Moon is crossing the ecliptic is about 18.6 years. 8.85 years is almost half the time of 18.6, but not exact.
So let’s make a quick calculation. 28 months as mention in the article is about 2.33 years. If we add 4 times that we get 9.33 which is close to 8.85. And if we double that time we get 18.666 years which is very close to 18.6 years.
I think these pulses are the cause for QBO variation as it’s based on real mechanical forcing.

Scott
Reply to  Per Strandberg (@LittleIceAge)
September 3, 2016 5:25 pm

We just witnessed the end of the Holocene….click….now what?

HenryP
Reply to  Scott
September 4, 2016 6:48 am

Actually, it is the change of wind announcing the droughts coming to the great plains of America….
it is even written in the bible, Gen. 41:27

HenryP
Reply to  Scott
September 4, 2016 7:08 am

go south, young man
go south
because south is where there will be more water!

Andrew
September 4, 2016 3:20 am

We can determine with absolute certainty the following:
1) Not one model has ever predicted that CO2 could cause the QBO to end before the event
2) Dozens of papers will hindcast this event after the event, when paid by the US and EUSSR Govts to do so.
3) Not one of the hundreds of claimed sequelae will be positive for the world. All will be either benign curiosities, or catastrophically negative. (Extinctions, drought, ozone, warming except where warming would be good except where a cold area warming to a less uncomfortable temperature releases methane, confusing migrating birds are likely.)

ren
September 4, 2016 12:34 pm

The daily geopotential height anomalies at 17 pressure levels are shown for the previous 120 days as indicated, and they are normalized by standard deviation using 1979-2000 base period. The anomalies are calculated by subtracting 1979-2000 daily climatology, and then averaged over the polar cap poleward of 65°N.
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/hgt.ao.cdas.gif
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/blocking/real_time_nh/500gz_anomalies_nh.gif

Migton
September 5, 2016 12:39 am

Interesting that this study uses data from weather balloons.
Presumably these are the same balloons – or similar – that have been recording temperatures over many years and decades. So why are the temperature records ignored by the CliSci community? Would it be [something] to do with those records not showing any significant warming, in line with the satellite data?

September 5, 2016 1:11 pm

Prop (propagation) has been wild on 160 meters (1.836 MHz) this past week. Using a tool called “WSPR” many transcontinental spots have been possible on a band that generally grants very few such spots.
tags: ham radio, amateur radio, ionosphere, WSPR, propagation, medium wave

Mardler
September 16, 2016 3:38 am
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