It Takes a Hammer to Change Climate States
By Ronald D Voisin
In this essay I will attempt to describe an explanation of climate change that may likely pertain to many (most all) time-scales. But before I do, I would like to make some comments about ice-core analysis – salient and significant observations that nonetheless get little to no attention for some very strange reason.
Let’s start with a glaciated Earth while examining the ice-core record of deglaciation. What do we know about this global glaciated state of affairs? Well…it’s colder everywhere, on land, in the oceans and in the atmosphere. The relatively cold oceans have absorbed copious quantity of atmospheric CO2. The relatively cold oceans give up less water vapor to the atmosphere while the colder atmosphere is able to hold less water vapor. The glacial snow extent provides a significant positive change to Earthly albedo (by several percentage points at a minimum). In solar-radiative terms these are big-deals…very much bigger than the tiny solar-radiative perturbations being examined for recent Holocene climate change explanation.
We Electrical Engineers would call this a highly-latched or latched-up-hard cold state. It would necessarily take something big and powerful to change this state. i.e. At a time when visible light is more strongly reflected back to space as unabsorbed atmospheric-transparent high-energy visible light (the albedo change); and when less infrared light is therefore even available for absorption; and when fewer GHG’s are atmospherically available to absorb the diminished infrared light (both CO2 and, far more importantly, water vapor); there is relatively huge solar-radiative forcing to keep this cold-state cold.
But this situation nonetheless suddenly changes amazingly to an abrupt warm interglacial. And it does so each time in just one observational clock-cycle. This is simply extraordinary.
But then again, examining the ice-core deglaciation record, it’s only after the Earth has spent, on average, 800 years into a temperature climb-out that the albedo becomes more absorbing; and more of the incident solar visible gets converted to infrared; and there is more atmospheric CO2 and water vapor to absorb that increased IR. So what initiated and sustained the temperature climb-out process over these first 800 years?
And just what could abruptly change this glacial state-of-affairs in just one clock-cycle (most recently in less than 200 years and maybe, for all we know, every time in less than 200 years)? If we look back to the earliest ice-core deglaciations of ~618, 718 or 818kya a single clock-cycle is many, many years long (thousands and then to 10’s of thousands of years). Nonetheless, the observed climate change abruptness is still geologically extreme. However, if we examine the most recent deglaciation (18kya), a clock-cycle is quite small – maybe only a couple hundred years or even better (smaller). But still we see an extraordinarily abrupt climb-out from glaciation…in a higher resolved two step climb-out…but each of the two steps within one single extraordinarily short clock-cycle.
From an Electrical Engineering standpoint, this highly latched cold state cannot be abruptly changed by the subtle and nuanced solar-radiative perturbations being so widely examined. It takes a hammer – a climate hammer. Somehow, some much more powerful driver has come into play.
On the other side of a deglaciation we have a similar yet somewhat different scenario. The climb-down back into glaciation is more protracted with long-term stair-stepping. But from the start this too is a latched state, though maybe not a hard-latched one, that cannot be easily changed by subtle nuance. The land, oceans and atmosphere are relatively warm. The Earth albedo is lower with much more incident visible solar radiation being absorbed and converted to IR. The warm oceans have provided a CO2 and water vapor rich atmosphere to absorb that enhanced IR. How does all this temperature step-down suddenly happen even if stair-stepped?
From an Electrical Engineering standpoint, any and all of the myriad subtle and nuanced approaches to an explanation could only be viable if supported by unstable, enormously strong positive feedbacks that simply don’t exist and cannot exist in a long-term-stable situation. It’s going to take a climate hammer to change states.
The following may well explain these large temperature change excursions in both directions. I’m going to describe a climate hammer…it is called bulk-Earth-resonance.
Recently WUWT posted an article which shows a very high frequency low-amplitude stair stepping behavior of current Earthly temperature:
That got me thinking again about a climate driver that is not included in any General Circulation Model that I know of. Back in February, 2015 WUWT posted another article concerning the work of Maya Tolstoy:
Maya has shown that current very minor gravitational perturbations modulate subsea volcanic activity. Maya Tolstoy TED Talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhMoQrLEJe0
For the sake of argument let’s assume that the bulk Earth has resonate modes (a very likely safe assumption); that the appropriate timing of gravitational perturbations can cause the bulk Earth to ring like a bell or resonate; and then that the recent stair-stepping of temperature increases (and the temperature falls during the instrumental period) result from mildly resonant/non-resonant gravitational perturbations that modulate Earth’s internally generated heat release.
Several scientists have Modeled the gravitationally perturbed celestial-mechanics of the solar system going back more than 800ky (the ice-core record) with great accuracy and precision (I’m thinking here of Willie Soon). If these gravitational perturbations were examined in the frequency domain it may well be that a close correlation can be revealed between Earth temperature swings and bulk-Earth-resonance modes/frequencies during the instrumental period of observation.
These same resonant modes/frequencies may then be examined over far greater time spans…in particular, approximately 18kya when the Earth’s annual orbit was approaching maximum eccentricity. This was a time when the amplitude of gravitational perturbation was appreciably higher than today. And likely the Earth’s resonant modes/frequencies haven’t changed at all from 18kya.
My hypothesis: At approximately 20kya the Earth’s annual orbit was approaching maximum eccentricity (a time of growing, relatively high-amplitude, gravitational perturbation); and by 18kya the timing of these high-amplitude perturbations happened to hit bulk-Earth-resonance with constructive interference – a hammer. The Earth temperature consequentially and abruptly shot up (overriding its hard-latched cold state). But before the Earth could attain a Solar-Albedo high-temperature latch, the timing of the continuing perturbations fell to destructive interference (or simply non-resonant) for a period of time; hence the Younger Dryas. Later, resumed constructive interference, lasted long enough that a Solar-Albedo-Latch could occur. And we then have the ensuing Holocene.
As the Earth’s orbit progresses away from maximum eccentricity (and from high-amplitude gravitational perturbation) constructive resonance (and destructive or simply non-resonant behavior) will continue to occasion the Earth but with diminishing amplitude of perturbation. So this then would explain why, within the ice-cores, deglaciation is so abrupt while the returns to glaciation are relatively protracted and stair-stepped.
(A supposition here is that the Solar-Albedo high-temperature latch of an interglacial is itself not long term stable. When the eccentricity and the gravitational perturbations are minimal, Earth’s internal heat becomes largely internally conserved. And then without enough contribution from internal heat release, the Solar-Albedo high-temperature latch eventually fails.)
In my humble opinion, Major Climate Change (100ky time scale) is substantially the result of gravitationally induced modulations to the release of internally generated Earthly heat. Maya Tolstoy’s work (Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory) bears this out. And if you kindly give this thought process some effort, you’ll see how it is that many i’s-get-dotted & t’s-get-crossed within an evaluation of a broad spectrum of previous climate observations and understanding spanning many (maybe all) time scales.
I predict that a strong correlation might be revealed between a plot of the Younger Dryas “fit/start” deglaciation temperature curve an one that plots celestially induced gravitational perturbations – further enlightened by a frequency-domain understanding of constructive/destructive interference/stimulation with bulk-Earth-resonance.
Finally, to the extent that this line of thinking has merit (and it likely does*), it would have great application to the forecasting of future climate/earthquake/volcanic activity. The amplitude and constructive/destructive nature of these gravitational perturbations could be very accurately modeled into both the near and far future. The Earth’s orbit is now heading toward 70-80ky of near circular, low-amplitude gravitational perturbation. And once a sufficiently long lull to bulk-Earth-resonance happens to occasion, we’ll take the 1st step of several toward the next major glaciation.
*Here’s an appropriate analogy: Think of the Earth as a large self-charging thermal battery with distributed radioactive decay, and possibly a central core fission geo-reactor, all enclosed by several kilometers of thermally insulating rock. On the time scale of ~100ky this Earth thermal battery spends ~85ky charging up with minimal dissipation. But then, every ~100ky or so, the battery gets a gravitationally constructive-resonate kick, stimulating significant discharge. Early on in this discharge, all hell likely breaks out, as would have been the case in every one of the last 60-70 deglaciations including this early Holocene. Over the next ~10ky things stabilize as a Solar-Albedo-Latch then feebly holds the new interglacial in place while the initial heat-of-hell release has steadily calmed down (the thermal battery has become significantly discharged). And it just so happens that human intelligence evolved during the latter part of this most recent climatically stable Holocene interglacial.
About the Author
Ronald D. Voisin is a retired engineer. He spent 27 career years in the Semiconductor Lithography Equipment industry mostly in California’s Silicon Valley with short excursions to London, England, Portland, OR and Austin, TX. Since retiring in 2007, Ron has made a hobby of studying climate change and has been internet-publishing his thoughts regarding climate change since 2005. Ron received a BSEE degree from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor in 1978 and has held various management positions at both established semiconductor equipment companies and start-ups he helped initiate. Ron has authored/co-authored 27 patent applications which have issued.