An Engineer’s Explanation of Climate Change

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.

A digital latch based on NAND gate logic showing waveforms of states.

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:

A ground-breaking new paper putting climate models to the test yields an unexpected result – steps and pauses in the climate signal

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:

Inconvenient study: Seafloor volcano pulses may alter climate – models may be wrong

Maya has shown that current very minor gravitational perturbations modulate subsea volcanic activity. Maya Tolstoy TED Talk here:

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.


385 thoughts on “An Engineer’s Explanation of Climate Change

      • Other than Atoms and their sub bits, and of course photons; there’s not really anything in nature that is digital. That is a peculiarly mathematical concept. Well counting is somewhat basic, but not really natural.

        But we don’t really observe things in nature that have simply an on/off, up/down, yes/no, true/false, maybe/maybenot, whatever/whateverelse digital sense.

        When we observe/measure things, we end up with a single real finite number that we record; so it is a data sample. And no matter what time elapsed while we were performing the measurement / reading the goniometer / whatever, we place that observation at a single time epoch.

        As a result, our sample is in every sense an impulse, having no “pulse length” associated with it.

        So when we seek to reconstruct some continuous function band limited phenomenon, from those recorded impulse function samples; we are first of all assuming that those sampled observations are in fact representative of any such continuous phenomenon, rather than say unrelated random events; we are taking a giant leap, and we must conform to the well known rules for reconstructing any such function.

        Apparently we can do that by simply running the sequence of samples, spaced in time according to their times of recording, through a “brick wall” ideal filter with a cutoff frequency at the appropriate value implied by the Nyquist criterion and the given set of samples.

        Such filters don’t exist in the real world, because their response to a square pulse input, is an output that occurs even before the input does, and in fact exists for all time.

        Well real events in nature seem to have a start time prior to which there was nothing, and they also have a stop time where we ceased to continue the measurement.

        So real band limited functions don’t exist in nature.

        An alternative reconstruction process is to simply replace each impulse sample, with an appropriate
        Si- (x) function. (sin(x) / x) with appropriate parameters, and at the appropriate time, and then simply add them all up.

        Well I won’t bore you with the minutiae; it’s all available in text books or Math classes.

        But none of it sanctions just connecting the dots, as a valid reconstruction. The result is quite unreal, and is not an approximation to any real phenomenon that may have occurred.


      • George: ” But we don’t really observe things in nature that have simply an on/off, up/down, yes/no, true/false, maybe/maybenot, whatever/whateverelse digital sense.” I’ve observed one….male/female….granted, the edges may be blurred, but DNA doesn’t lie. Heck, the CATG alphabet in the double helix is pretty close to being “digial” as far a codons go.

      • Well Michael Darby; you may think that you have found an example but that is not what the enforcers think.

        They might not even have those two you mentioned, but they do have a formal list of at least 57 recognized alternatives; actually one for each State in the United States of America, and of course also for each “mostly moslem” country on earth.

        And that list does not even include hermaphrodites, who are still personae non grata for some reason.

        And I learned quite recently that my alma mater has an personage which asserts that it is both of the ones you mentioned; and can morph from one to the other at its whim.


      • I still find a candidate “resonate” at this late date:

        …the bulk Earth has resonate modes

    • The main problem here is that climate in digital and does not work in ‘clock cycles’. If you want an electronic analogy it should be an analogue circuit with positive feedbacks. The idea of using an analogy is to infer something about the behaviour of the target by looking at the behaviour of the analogue.

      A better choice would be an operational amplifier with light positive feedback. This will latch to the limits of the output voltage range in a similar way to the glacial cycles swing from one state to the other. It will not produce the gradual decline as seen in climate so the analogy is still limited but it does demonstrate the idea of a bistable system with small positive feedbacks, limited by dominant negative feedbacks.

      If you start out with poor analogy you are not going to be able to make any useful inferences.

      • Hi Greg, I’m also an older EE and more comfortable with analog, but I’m even less comfortable with any positive feedback arguments. :) Regardless, the “clock” period here is the resonant period, i.e., that period of time either side of the exact resonant frequencies where we’re close enough to get constructive interference. In this case, presumably the gravitational perturbation frequency changes slowly enough that it stays in the constructive interference range for about 200 years. That’s your “tick”.

      • As a lapsed engineer — I have two degrees in engineering in Electrical and Biomedical before I went astray and wound up in medicine and a career in surgery — I would add that a digital system is just a non-linear analog system, just as the described use of an op amp results in a non-linear analog system.

        I will also observe that I suspect most dynamic systems have “clock cycles”; in using my engineering background when I was working on software to simulate intensive care patients, two “clock cycles” that were quite obvious were the heart rate and the respiratory rate.

        A tip of my hat to the good Engineer. . . .

      • With over 360 comments, I’m likely late to the party, so will just put my notes here:

        Generally a very good approach with some novel observations. My critique needs to be taken in that context.

        The attempt to extend a good idea to cover one anomaly (the Younger Dryas) is a bit forced. From what I have been able to find, that is more like a peak clipping of the normal triangular rise quite likely caused by a large bolide impact into the Canadian Ice. Evidence is plentiful for such an impact, including a large platinim group metals mine near the expected target area. Take that as the explanation and your theory for the rest fits even better.

        Florida sediment studies show heat retension during glacials. This shows a rearrangement of ocean currents such that the Gulf Stream cooling of Florida is reduced (and Europe freezes…). Ref in this posting:

        Incorporating thermal ocean current changes would likely enhance your thesis. Add in also that there is a 400 ish foot change in ocean depth, so structures like the Bering Strait and Drake’s Passage have significantly different influences on ocean flows and heat distribution.

        I see these more as op amps in your model than as directly causal, btw.

        Milankovitch pretty much worked out the gross drivers, but not the rest of the switch and with some ignoring of things like oceans and volcanoes. The key bit is that interglacials only happen when enough heat is available to start melting the north pole ice. This happens when summers are longest (earth far from sun) so more days of sun in summer. That is correct, but likely insufficient. Add in ocean current rearrangement AND the volcanic heat kicker to start the unlatch, and I think you can solve the last steps of the fit. Max eccentricity causing both the longer summers and more geoheating, then the ocean feedbacks…

  1. If I recall correctly, the magnitude of energy from the sun is much greater than any internal heating. Unless this is some sort of chaotic process, with small inputs having a disproportionate impact, I just do not see how the proposed mechanism works.

    • I could be that the drop in sea levels reduce overburden pressures plus exposed more volcanos close enough to the surface to produce a large ash clouds. Combine large ash clouds with lower atmospheric water vapor, cooler temperatures resulting windier conditions and the ash clouds could quickly change the albedo equation when the ash settles on the glaciers.

      • Ferd,

        There might be a feedback effect, but ice retreats globally before an observed increase in volcanism, which has both cooling and (obviously) heating effects.

      • The hammer that ends glaciation is Dust.
        As CO2 and moisture levels fall off, vegetation dies off and the world becomes a desert dust bowl, this dust gets blown on to the ice and snow causing lowered albedo and melting.

    • It works if the Earth’s default state is fairly close to instability anyways. Say, for instance, if the increased volcanism were just enough to melt all of the ocean’s methane hydrates simultaneously.

      • The Earth’s climate stability varies. I see variability of the surface albedo feedback. If a large area of land that gets a lot of sunlight can have snow coverage or ice sheet coverage change from a change of temperature, then something that affects temperature in such an area of the earth can reinforce itself strongly. And it does not take much time to make a change in snow cover. And an ice sheet forms when a snowpack survives the summer and grows the following winter.

        I see this explaining why Earth’s climate has been more stable during interglacials than during glaciations. During interglacials, the variation of snow and ice cover occurs closer to the poles, where latitude zones x degrees wide have less area and have less yearround insolation.

        Notably, ice age glaciations and their interglacials seem to have correlated much better with the 96,000 year eccentricity cycle than the other Milankovitch cycles. But that was only since a little over a million years ago. Between a little over a million years ago and a little over 2.5 million years ago, they correlated mostly with a shorter cycle, apparently the 41,000 year tilt cycle, and global temperature varied less from cold times to warm times of this cycle than they did when they correlated with the 96,000 year cycle. I read about this shift in a past WUWT article several years ago, and I remember this change being supposed to have correlated with sea level dropping enough to stop covering the Isthmus of Panama, which would cause a change in ocean currents.

    • It’s a (mostly) unknown unknown. It’s a come-uppance to arrogant “we can’t think of anything else” arguments f

  2. That’s certainly thinking outside the box. I like it. First rule of engineering. Use a sufficiently large hammer.

    • There are rules in engineering?

      My first rule is the kiss principle, keep it simple stupid. I started as an engineer using a slide rule.

      • I was halfway through engin-school before I owned a calculator.

        And this is simple. Just look at the subtle-nuanced maybe this, with positive feedback, then that, with positive feedback, then something else, then magic, then an interglacial appears.

      • Started with the slide rule, but quickly got promoted when the boss realized I had the only Curta precision device in the office. An early adopter of the how to succeed motto: Always move up the food chain to the front of the line. Never look back. Except I still have the Curta and the slide rule, but can’t remember where I put them.

      • Old Man,
        It strikes me that those scientists who have not yet retired could learn a thing or two from those of use who cut our teeth on slide rules, if they weren’t so impressed with themselves.

      • I had the first HP35 ($350!) on campus. The following year, all engineering/science students were buying HP45’s ($450!).

        My HP35 got me through vector analysis. Most times, I was the only student that finished exams on time. They were forced to change the grading schemes after I blew everyone away and scientific calculators became ubiquitous.

      • Second rule of engineering I learnt.

        You’ve told me why it will work, now tell me why it won’t.

        If only climate scientists followed this creed…..

      • Another rule would be to stick with the engineering that you know and understand.

        Real flip flops don’t require a hammer to change state. Just a tickle beyond the noise margin will do it.


    • I remember of the times of B/W TV we slapped the TV with a palm to put off the noise or the bands of black and white

  3. So we are getting a fairly constant amount of energy every day coming to the Earth from the Sun. Our ocean heatsink and other feedback mechanisms keep the temperatures within a fairly tight range. We have warm spells and cold spells that last (geologically) relatively short times.

    Every once in a while things go haywire and we jump up and down in temperatures considerably more than “normal” and the planet freezes or thaws.

    We have geological records of large (globally) volcanic eruptions in the past and indications the earth climate changed during/immediately after these. We know the Earth contains fissionable, naturally occurring radioactive elements and these are continuing to decay producing copious amounts of heat in the mantle.

    So I would say this hypothesis has merit and is definitely worth pursuing.

    • The interesting part, now that the author mentions it, is the obvious sawtooth pattern: sharp rise followed by a slower decline. Very much like a sawtooth generator, where a capacitor discharges at a steady rate, and then is abruptly recharged when it reaches a certain floor level.

      The question is: is the “recharge” mechanism internal or external? Mr Voisin is proposing an external mechanism where the Earth gets “whacked” every 100k years or so by an orbital resonance condition, sending the Earth to a higher temperature state from which it declines at a fairly steady state.

      • Interesting phrasing, PB. A saw-tooth waveform is quite often generated by a circuit called a Relaxation Oscillator, which has an energy source ( a power supply or battery), an energy (charge)-storage component (a capacitor), a gain component (a transistor), and some manner of selective positive feedback.

      • Well, I guess I should have read a little further down. Preaching to the choir …

      • As for selective positive feedback: As I have said before, I see intermittent positive feedback, at least variation in the amount of positive feedback. The positive feedback that I see being most variable is the surface albedo feedback. Depending on where the snow cover, sea ice cover and land ice cover are, where they can most easily be changed, and depending on how much sunlight is coming in where this coverage can change and where changing it can make the most difference, the surface albedo feedback could not matter much or it could be enough to make global climate unstable – and an ice age glaciation can advance or retreat at a rapid pace.

        As for retreats being majority faster than advances in the past 1 million years according to My prime suspect (best guess) is that due to lags, the retreats occur when there is more sunshine on the relevant parts of the world, and thinning of continental ice sheets doesn’t affect their ability to ability to cool by reflecting away sunlight until they start getting smaller.

        As for another guess of mine for the sawtooth nature: A melting continental ice sheet makes the sea that its meltoff flows into less salty, and more able to form sea ice and to feed snowstorms with water vapor. But this negative feedback against melting of a continental ice sheet (or at least the temperature causing its melting) ends once the ice sheet is thin with retreating edges.

      • Well a capacitor is a circuit element with the transfer function : i = C dv/dt

        So to get a linear (constant slope ) voltage ramp, you need to apply a constant current, and that is no easy to come up with.

        It is fairly easy to short a capacitor to ground (or anywhere else) and discharge it rapidly, but you need quite sophisticated analog circuits to generate a constant charging current that does not vary with the capacitor voltage.

        Such circuits are used in oscilloscope ” Sweep ” circuits, to drive the electron beam across the screen at a constant time per screen division (talking CRT days). Today’s digital scopes do all of that with logic.

        Problem is that a lot of modern and expensive digital scopes, only have 8 bit vertical resolution, so you can’t discern very small waveform aberrations. Well with climate data, who needs any resolution anyway.

        Well I guess to get the global average temperature over the last 167 years you need to three significant digits, you need at least 10 bits.

        Using electronic circuitry (analog) to explain climate is a pretty big stretch. Analog circuits obey (strictly) rather explicit mathematical equations. Weather and climate don’t do anything of the sort, and almost any causal relationship is likely to be quite non linear.
        The sigma (T^4 ) lurks behind many climate phenomena.

        I’m not aware of any fourth power analog circuit transfer functions.


      • The Bode formula is incorporated into climate models for feedback. Of course there needs to be additional energy to get the positive feedbacks. Tipping points ? Runaway green house effects ?

      • “””””…..

        April 10, 2017 at 11:09 am

        The Bode formula is incorporated into climate models for feedback. …..”””””

        So do you have one of these climate models that incorporates “The Bode formula”.

        What do the cite as the open loop gain of the climate system “amplifier” and what is the gain-bandwidth product ??

        I’m familiar with two port systems that can be analyzed by “Bode” methods, but have NO knowledge of any Bode theory of Multi-Port Systems, where there are multiple feedbacks from multiple outputs to multiple input ports.

        So what are some of the input ports, and some of the output ports, in one of these climate models that YOU know about ??


      • George, it’s not a common known feedback. It was reported on here in what’s up a while back, I think it came out in a Japanese paper. I am fairly certain ALL of the models use it. That’s why they are all wrong. It requires additional energy. There has been long discussion on the tipping point, when that was a hot topic. In particular was whether we could achieve unity or over unity. By that logic, once I started my car I’d never use any more gas and I’d never have to turn it off. Nobody talks about a tipping point anymore.
        When that came out, the tipping point went away. A bunch of other alarmist statements have also quietly gone away. Lake Hatfield in Georgia, is that still empty, from climate change ?

      • Per rise being faster than fall:

        This is a mass flow problem. Ice can only form from slow small additions of fluffy snow in a dilute thin air medium. It can leave as nation sized chunks of ice as oceans rise and under cut it, or as calved ice from the 2 mile high glacier then flowing in slush rivers into warmer oceans. It is the assymetry of ice formation vs removal.

    • We have no exact knowledge of the amount of energy that is produced in the earth’s core. No one tell that we live on top of a gigantic nuclear power plant keeping the earth core hot.

      We could be living on a nuclear power plant keeping things hot under our feet:
      Take some time reading this article on why the internal heat of the earth is still so hot:
      “Our hypothesis may explain why plate tectonics exist on Earth but not on other terrestrial planets, such as Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Earth’s moon.”

      Given an internal gigantic exothermal generator, releasing the heat when disturbed by gravitational oscillation, the heat is on as explained in this article.


      • 1) What gravitational oscillations? If the gravity was varying by a big amount, don’t you think people would have noticed?
        2) Gravity only matters for fusion, our core runs on fission.
        3) While we may not know the amount of energy being generated in the Earth’s core out to 4 or 5 digits, we do know the ballpark amount being generated.

    • Volcanic eruptions are too short-lived to sustain climate changes of glacial-interglacial magnitude.

      • Don, What about large scale, slow eruptions? Releasing large amounts of heat with lava , like Hawaiian types but on a vastly larger scale, just the heat and few ashes and other particulates? Is there not evidence of those? Just wondering, I find the logic in this case compelling. There is also this caldera ( and others) under the sea surface of the coast of Oregon/ Washington that are being monitored. What would happen to the atmosphere if a large scale eruption happens there and releases large amounts of water vapor/ CO2 etc, could they have an impact? Just asking questions .

      • The problem with the climatic effect of volcanic eruptions is that they have short-lived effects, limited to a year or so, are sporadic, and can only cause cooling. The cause we talking about is abrupt and sustained warming.

      • Yep. The climatic effects of volcanic events are transient. This even holds for supervolcanoes. Toba didn’t even leave a significant mark in the ice core derived temperatures.

  4. The GRIP core reconstruction does show show stepped cooling of the last few thousand years,the glacial period is coming inexorably. It started around 3,500 years ago. Before that it was generally stable for thousands of years. Little over 3,000 years ago Insolation anomaly for 65N went negative. It has been cooling down ever since.

    The data indicate that we are on the edge of the next significant drop as we are almost at the end of the latest 1,000 cooling trend,that will then cause a short drop in temperature. We are in late Holocene Autumn phase.

    From Mr. Voisin’s essay:

    “As the Earth’s orbit progresses away from maximum eccentricity (and from high-amplitude gravitational perturbation) constructive resonance (and destructive or simply non-resonate 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.”

    More evidence that CO2 changes doesn’t drive the climate.

  5. The trouble with untestable theoretical concepts is that they are untestable. How can we test such a hypothesis? Does the idea make sense with known climate changes? Well, as I understand the article above, it depends on orbital changes to ‘set off’ a ‘climate hammer,’ but abrupt climate oscillations (such as the Younger Dryas) are a strong argument against orbital causes of climate change.

    The article does point out a real enigma–the abruptness of terminations of Ice Ages. For example, the last Ice Age came to an abrupt halt (albeit with a few hiccups) in a matter of only a few decades. It’s like the whistle blew and the game was over. So far we have no explanation for a causal mechanism that accounts for the suddenness of these abrupt climate changes. All of the major glaciations show the same abrupt terminations, but no existing theory of climate change can explain them.

      • You need to look at that data. Talk to Willis.
        I note that the sawtooth behavior is very much like a sawtooth generator with a capacitor discharging after being abruptly charged by an external circuit. A variant on your theory would be that the Earth’s rest state is glacial. The volcanism provides a kick to a higher temp from which the climate decays at a fairly steady rate.

        The stair stepping could result from several things. As previously noted here on WUWT there are numerous feedback cycles in play in he climate and the entire system is chaotic. When the temperature is falling during the return to glaciation, these feedback events try to keep it at a constant temperature, but eventually fail and the temperature falls another notch. You would have to see (if possible) if the stair-steps occur at the same points every glaciation cycle.

        Another possibility is that there is some other cyclical influence which adds just enough energy into the system so that the feedback loops can maintain the temperature at a stair-step level for a while, but not permanently. Say solar output oscillations.

    • Don,
      As to the abruptness, consider that Ron said, “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;” I hadn’t thought about this explicitly before, but the surface area of continental glaciation is more important than the total volume. That is, a warming Earth will cause the loss of ice thickness before the surface area becomes changed significantly. Once the ice is thinned considerably, the exposed ice will start to shrink back towards the principal zone of accumulation. With the retreating ice front, the total reflectivity (I don’t like the use of albedo here) will decrease, causing rapid warming. There will be no vegetation initially to moderate the warming; it will probably take a few decades for vegetation (particularly forests) to get established. What gets exposed will be bare bedrock, glacial till, and outwash gravels, all with reflectivity much lower than ice. Therefore, I would anticipate a pulse (hammer) of anomalous warming at the front of the retreating glacier. The behavior of reflectivity at the front of the glacier is quite different for an advancing glacier overriding existing forests.

      • The rate of re-vegetation of Mt Tarwera after its last eruption might provide a good guide. I have seen massive changes in the vegetation over a few decades.

      • The abruptness and intensity of the warming at the onset of deglaciation is much too great for this kind of mechanism.

      • This doesn’t answer the question of how do we get such abrupt ending to ice ages, i.e., beginning in a century or so. It’s the first few centuries we are concerned with, not what happens well into the warming.

      • The ice ages are always “primed” to end rapidly.

        The summer sun at the southern edges of the glaciers is almost as strong as it is today (and often, even stronger than today).

        How many watts/m2 does the sun get to in Chicago in the summer. It is more than twice as strong, 900 W/m2, as needed to melt out the snow and ice, 470 W/m2. It is only on a high 50% albedo glacier that the summer sun is not strong enough to melt the snow and ice.

        The southern edges of the glaciers are always melting furiously in the summers. It only takes several thousand years of less build-up in the central spreading areas that the southern edges will melt back rapidly.

        Let a Milankovitch upturn continue for 10,000 years or so and the back of the glaciers is broken and they will just keep melting back.

      • When I last climbed Mt. Tarawera (1958) there wasn’t a green thing on it anywhere. I’m still finding chunks of red scoria in my tramping boos, from sliding down it without any leggngs tightened around my boot tops.

        The greyish volcanic ash deposits from the 1886 (3?) eruption, all around the bottom seemed to have vegetation except not on the steep walls carved out by water flows. I got my boots full of that stuff too.

        But the last time, I saw Tarawera was from across the lake, circa 2004-8, and the lower slopes were surprisingly greened.

        I hear tell, they now believe the White Terraces were not blown to smithereens like the Pink Terraces were, and are still there intact under several hundred feet of ash below the lake.

        I think there is a plan to provide a virtual tour of the White Terraces, by video, created from high resolution seismic scanning . Somebody thinks it will be almost like you were standing on them, like you can on the Bridal Veil Terraces at Orakei Korako.


      • Bill Illis April 10, 2017 at 5:48 am

        Yup. All it takes is for the central dome mass to stop accumulating and the edges start melting in summer. Albedo changes and the process feeds on itself.

    • no existing theory of climate change can explain them.
      How can that be? A former President and Vice-President tell us the science is settled; 97% of all climate scientists agree; no further debate is required. The Democratic Party has even made this a plank in their political platform. Are we to believe that Climate Science cannot explain how the Ice Ages end, but are absolutely sure about why the climate changes? It doesn’t make sense!

      • How? They lie for political purposes, that’s how!
        The sad part is that the MSM is complicit in the agenda regardless of the facts. It’s blatantly obvious now.

      • That’s right. in fact this entire science is obviously a Russian sophisticated espionage exercise created to put Trump in the White House.
        Make outlandish claims that fail and the claimers get discredited.
        This shows how insidious the Russian control of the UN is!

      • Jon,

        Apparently, YOU are the only person in the entire US intelligence community that has any evidence that the Russians altered the outcome of the last election, or even tried to get one (even just one) US voter to vote for Donald Trump, which would have been in vain anyway as they would have to get one (more than one) of the 435 electors to vote for Donald Trump, and so far the intelligence community hasn’t found even one of those who was talked into voting for Trump by the Russians; or for that matter for Hillary Clinton.

        You are the only person with information on Russian collusion with anybody to fix the US election.

        So you will have a wide audience here at WUWT (worldwide) if you tell us what you know, that absolutely nobody else does. No he said; she said; just facts you know about.


    • “Abrupt” is relative. It takes thousands of years for ice sheets to melt, and some still have not yet done so. A remnant of the Laurentide (or Innuitian) IS remains in the Canadian Arctic and the Greenland IS is still largely intact. The Antarctic Ice Sheets have shrunk some, but are yet massive, especially the East AIS, which holds most of the world’s fresh water.

      • You are missing the point here–we’re talking about the abruptness of the onset of deglaciation, not the time for total disappearance of the ice sheets.

      • Don,

        Ice melting starts “abruptly”, but so too does ice formation. Then it takes thousands of years for it to accumulate or melt.

        But even initiation and termination in this narrow sense aren’t abrupt. There are fits and starts, such as the Dryas events during termination.

    • Don Easterbrook:

      You state “all of the major glaciations show the same abrupt terminations, but no existing theory of climate change can explain them”

      Actually, they are easily explained.

      We know that large volcanic eruptions inject sulfurous gasses into the atmosphere, where they quickly react with moisture to form strongly dimming sulfur dioxide aerosols.

      All that is needed to form major glaciations is to have an extensive period of relatively continuous volcanic eruptions.

      When the eruptions cease, the sulfur dioxide aerosols settle out within a few years, abruptly causing increased warming due to the cleaner, more transparent air.

      Earth’s climate is extremely sensitive to the amount of sulfur dioxide aerosols present in the atmosphere, and reductions in their amounts are the cause of all of the anomalous warming that has occurred since circa 1975.

      Google “Climate Change Deciphered” for detailed proof of the above.

      • “Google “Climate Change Deciphered” for detailed proof of the above.”

        I would say, Google “Climate Change Deciphered” for detailed explanation of the above theory.

      • Volcanic activity is far too short-lived to explain the kind of changes that drive glacial/interglacial episodes.

      • Don Easterbrook”

        You state that volcanic eruptions are too short to contribute to significant climate change.

        The Deccan traps eruptions continued for 500,000 years after the Chicxulub impact, for example. spewing SO2 into the atmosphere, cooling down the earth.

        You would need to prove that there have never been other periods of extensive volcanic activity for your statement to be correct.

      • There is no geologic evidence of major flood basalt eruptions like the Deccan Traps during the Pleistocene. Nor are such events cyclical.

        Toba didn’t even leave a distinctive mark in the temperature record.

      • How about when the eruptions cease, those aerosols settle out in a few days because of the phenomenon called RAIN; which feeds on sulfurous aerosols.


      • Most large eruptions inject material into the stratosphere. Not much rain there.

        It took about 2 years for the VEI 6 Mount Pinatubo SO2 aerosols to finally settle out, and about 5 years for the VEI 7 eruption of Mount Tambora eruption in 1815

      • Well Burl, I will agree there is not much water in the stratosphere; so not much cloud formation is going to happen there.

        But now we have a dilemma, because those sulphurous aerosols, that you describe, just aren’t all that visible in the visible spectrum that is and if they aren’t obvious to you or me, they clearly are not obvious to incoming solar spectrum radiant energy so you are talking of a wrinkle on a pimple on a sand fly’s a***, when it comes to removing incoming solar energy.

        Clouds on the other hand do remove solar radiant energy in copious quantities.


      • George E. Smith:

        According to NASA’s fact sheet on atmospheric aerosols “Stratospheric SO2 aerosols reflect sunlight, reducing the amount of energy reaching the lower atmosphere and the Earth’s surface, cooling them”.

        Human-made sulfate aerosols “absorb no sunlight but they reflect it, thereby reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the earth’s surface”.

        (They both have the same climatic effect).

        The VEI6 Mount Pinatubo and Mount Hudson eruptions in 1991 injected approx. 23 Megatonnes of sulfurous aerosols into the stratosphere, reducing average global temperatures by 0.5 deg. C.
        (And increased average global temperatures by the same amount as they settled out over the course of about 2 years).

        The VEI7 Mount Tambora eruption in 1815 injected probably 10X as many sulfurous aerosols into the atmosphere, and reduced average global temperatures by 5.0 deg. C.

        Because of the massive quantities of SO2 aerosols involved in an eruption, they have a very strong effect upon the climate, initially cooling it down, then warming it up as they settle out.

        The “rule of thumb” for warming caused by their removal is .02 deg. C. of warming for each net Megatonne of reduction in global SO2 aerosol emissions.

        This also applies to environmental reductions in SO2 aerosol emissions to the extent that all of the anomalous warming that has occurred since about 1975 has been due to their removal.

    • Right, Don, indeed “The article does point out a real enigma–the abruptness of terminations of Ice Ages.“. But there is more, what the article does not point out is the shifting world from the 41ka dominant cycle prior to one million years ago, and the transition to the 100ka world after that.

      Won’t you think that if you could explain that, it also explain the abrupt terminations?

      But more importantly, would scientists overcome the ‘not-invented-here’ syndrome and be prepared to attempt to listen, at least for a few seconds, to somebody, who suggest that he can explain all that?

      • That apparent shift is misleading. The 41K cycle still rules. It’s just that earth has gotten progressively colder as the Quaternary has worn on, so that now weaker tilt cycles don’t always break out of glacial conditions. We now have glaciations which last two or three cycles, ie 82K or 123K years, for an average of ~100K for the past eight to ten glaciations.

        Javier has explained the so-called “mid-Pleistocene transition” very well, IMO.

      • Not sure if we see indeed “glaciations which last two or three cycles”, if we look in detail to the last stadials as of MIS 5, considering that the Weichselian Glacial cycle had a early, middle and late advance, while the ice sheet virtually disappeared in between, during periods were called “interstadials”. However, there is widespread local evidence that those Interstadials were -temperature wise- comparable with today, which is totally opposite the ice sheet- and ODP-isotope records.

      • Andre,

        If the interstadials are so warm that the ice sheets melt, then there’s little difference between them and interglacials, and the 41K/100K “problem” doesn’t really even exist.

        In any case, the 41K cycle didn’t go away after about 1 Ma. It’s still evident even within longer glaciations.

      • Not exactly.

        one may focus for instance on 50-30ka, just in range for carbon dating. Would be only a matter of minutes googling multiple studies that show that temperatures around the world are comparable to today, yet the ice core isotopes force us to think that we are just approaching the Last Glacial Maximum with bitter cold temperatures (not so).

        The irony is that Huybers 2006 is so very close,
        he only should have verified his findings against a multitude of local temperature records. Yet he decides to believe the isotopes instead, which are not a temperature proxy.

      • I just cited Huybers and Wunsch (2005).

        Ice persists even when it’s warm because of thermal inertia. It takes a long time to melt all that ice, and in the meantime, the massive sheets still affect climatic phenomena.

      • The 41k cycle is far too slow to explain the abruptness of the climate changes we see in the geologic record.

      • Don,

        I don’t think so. It takes thousands of years for the ice to build up and thousands for it to melt. Very roughly, during the 41K cycle, ice mass builds for ten thousand years, stays up there for around 20K, then melts for about 10K.

      • If the Laurentide Ice Sheet built up to three klicks in ten thousand years, that’s an average of 300 centimeters or about a foot per year. That’s a lot of snow turned to ice.

        More likely only during the LGM did the Laurentide reach such heights.

      • Considering the Laurentide ice sheet, a couple of points,
        – Note that there was a luscious megafauna of horses, camels and mammoths in the Yukon some 40ka ago. They don’t like ice sheets.

        -Note that the Pingualuit crater in N-Quebec shows only little glaciation erosion versus it’s alleged age. What does that signify?

        -The Greenland ice sheet is still there and survived the Eemian/Sangamonian interglacial as well. As ice sheets generate their own climate, it’s not necessary that either the Cordilleran or the Laurentide or the Weichselian ice sheet followed the glacial/interglacial pace. However the early, middle and late Weichselian advances and following (near)disappearance during the late Pleistocene are well documented. Why a triple glacial cycle in a single stadial?

        So the pace of glaciations does not seem to match the 100ka cycle too well, many oceanic features do, like the mid oceanic ridges and clathrate/landslides in the nordic sea.

        Wouldn’t all those consideration give good reasons to challenge our current temperature interpretations of the ‘water’-isotopes in the ice sheet and the exact nature of the 100ka cycle?

        My conclusion/hypothesis is that the 100ka cycle is a tectonic/volcanic cycle, superimposed on, and unrelated to the 41ka main glaciation cycle.

      • A 40k cycle is way to slow to explain the abruptness of the warming which brings glaciations to a close.

  6. Here’s a 1999 paper with another correlation with seismic activity. link

    All El Nihos since 1964 have been preceded by anomalous seismicity along portions of the East Pacific Rise.

    Here’s a link to a paper speculating that El Ninos are caused by geothermal heat.

    I’ve seen this speculation over the years and finally people are putting instrumentation into the ocean that can confirm or refute it.

    • commieBob:

      Every El Nino between 1850 and about 1970 has been closely preceded by a business recession, which causes temporary increases in average global temperatures, due to fewer dimming SO2 aerosol emissions because of reduced industrial activity.

      Since 1970, there have been some El Ninos not associated with a recession. They were caused by Clean Air Act reductions in SO2 aerosol emissions.

      See my pre print “The Cause and Timings of El Nino Events” at

      • Burl,

        What about the El Ninos before AD 1850?

        The phenomenon has existed for at least thousands of years, if not millions to hundreds of millions.

      • Gloateus:

        Since every El Nino since 1850 was due to reductions in SO2 aerosols, any reductions in the past would have the same effect.

        There may have been other causes of ENSO warmings in the past, but there is no hint of what they might have been in the data since 1850.

      • Burl,

        The SO2-El Niño hypothesis has been investigated for decades now, without finding much support.

        Handler (1984) looked at all VEI 4 and larger historic eruptions to see if they were associated with El Niño events. He sorted the volcanoes by latitude. He found that low latitude (20 N to 20 S) eruptions were associated with an increase in sea surface temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific, the area where El Niños begin. The warmer temperatures last up to three seasons after the eruptions. Handler called for further theoretical work on these observations.

        The 1982 eruption of El Chichón produced one of the largest sulfuric acid plumes this century. The eruption was immediately followed by an El Niño event in 1982-83, the largest El Niño of the century up to that time. However, Roback, et al (1995) noted that the 1982 El Niño had started before this wind anomaly. Furthermore, they pointed out that only trade wind collapses in the western equatorial Pacific can initiate El Niños. They concluded that the El Chichón eruption and the large El Niño event were a coincidence.

        Roback, et al (1995) used three different models to see if the volcanic eruptions might trigger or enhance the El Niño. One model, involving mid-tropospheric heating, did show a weakening of the trade winds. This change was consistent with observed surface winds north of the Equator in the eastern Pacific.

        The two past super El Niños of 1997/8 and 2015/6 weren’t preceded by suitable volcanic eruptions, unless I overlooked something.

        Here’s a Jan 2017 modeling result:

        Observations and model simulations of the climate responses to strong explosive low-latitude volcanic eruptions suggest a significant increase in the likelihood of El Niño during the eruption and posteruption years, though model results have been inconclusive and have varied in magnitude and even sign. In this study, we test how this spread of responses depends on the initial phase of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the eruption year and on the eruption’s seasonal timing. We employ the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory CM2.1 global coupled general circulation model to investigate the impact of the Pinatubo 1991 eruption, assuming that in 1991 ENSO would otherwise be in central or eastern Pacific El Niño, La Niña, or neutral phases. We obtain statistically significant El Niño responses in a year after the eruption for all cases except La Niña, which shows no response in the eastern equatorial Pacific. The eruption has a weaker impact on eastern Pacific El Niños than on central Pacific El Niños. We find that the ocean dynamical thermostat and (to a lesser extent) wind changes due to land-ocean temperature gradients are the main feedbacks affecting El Niño development after the eruption. The El Niño responses to eruptions occurring in summer are more pronounced than for winter and spring eruptions. That the climate response depends on eruption season and initial ENSO phase may help to reconcile apparent inconsistencies among previous studies.

      • Gloateous:

        You wrote “The 1982 eruption of El Chichon produced one of the largest sulfuric acid plumes this century. The eruption was immediately followed by an El Nino event in 1982-83, the largest El Nino of the century up to that time”

        The El Chichon eruption was preceded by the 16 month-long business recession of 7-81 11-82, which triggered the very strong El Nino of 3-82 7-83, so that the El Nino was already in progress
        when El Chichon erupted Mar 29 – Apr 4 of 1982. It was NOT followed by an El Nino event, but occurred during an El Nino.

        The El Chichon SO2 aerosols had largely settled out of the atmosphere by Nov. 82, so that their dimming effect was greatly diminished, allowing the “masked” El Nino temperatures to rise, peaking in Jan. 83. If El Chichon had not erupted, this peak temperature would have occurred months earlier.

        The 1997/98 and 2015/16 El Ninos were both, unfortunately, caused by environmentally-planned reductions in SO2 emissions,

      • Sorry, Burl, your theory that financial recessions dictate ENSO periods does not survive real world data.

        First of all, NASA has calculated total SO2 emissions every year from 1850 through 2005 and posted their data online. The volumes of SO2 emitted during the 19th century are on a consistent uptick through the post-WWI worldwide recession. There are only five significant global downturns in SO2 emissions, in the early 1920s, the early 1930s, in the late 1940s, in the early 1980s, and then a very long decline beginning in the 1990s (when worldwide pollution controls on power plants and industry became a reality), and a current uptick. So it is true that there is a correlation between global recessions, of which there have been only 5, and significant reductions in SO2, with an additional correlation with environmental regulations that limit SO2 emissions.

        However, your model falls apart in its correlation with ENSOs, which have always occurred on a 2-7 year cycle since the late 18th century. Since 1900, the period when global recessions first occurred (as opposed to very limited national or regional recessions), there have been 31 ENSO “periods”, that is, significantly long lasting cool/warm cycles that lasted more than a few months. Far more ENSO periods than global recessions or global downturns in SO2 emissions since the age of global recessions began. Your correlation is extremely weak, really just coincidental.

      • Duane:

        The correlation which I find is with respect to the National Bureau of Economic Research listing of 31 recessions and 2 depressions (

        This is a listing of American business slowdowns, but our economy is so large that the changes are reflected in periods of temporary increases in average global temperatures.

        The correlation is exact, and also coincides with every El Nino from 1850 to about 1970, when there have been some El Ninos not associated with a recession, due to Clean Air act reductions in SO2 emissions.

        If you Google “El Ninos and La Ninas and Global Warming” by D. Rapp (2014), you will find a graph (Fig. 2) of all El Ninos since 1850. Each peak in the graph coincides with a business slowdown (except as noted above) .

        My theory that financial recessions dictate ENSO periods PRECISELY mirrors real world data. It is far from coincidental.

        If you have not done so, Google “Climate Change Deciphered” for additional information.

      • Again, Burl … note that I am talking about “global recessions”, not individual national or regional recessions which you refer to which are not significant enough to cause a statistically significant world wide drop in total SO2 emissions. Just look at the plot of the SO2 emissions, and it it clear that it is on a very even continuous upward climb except during global recessions. Most of the acceleration in SO2 emissions was in the half century of the post-WWII era. The minor variations from trend of a couple of percent here or there each year are insignificant, just in the noise level and more than likely due to measurement precision.

        The chart of SO2 emissions is quite striking. It is quite obvious when the global recessions occur. It does not correlate to ENSO periods.

        The other thing, of course, is that it is pretty silly to try and draw this back to 1850 data, just because NOAA has a dataset that goes back to 1850. The total emissions in those mid-19th century numbers are insignificant, could not possibly cause a global weather phenomena like an ENSO period. The tonnage did not even reach 10% of current emissions (on the order of 115,000 tons per year) until the 1890s. Annual variations now nearly equal total emissions in the first part of your study period. And given that the modern economic phenomenon of a global recession did not even occur until 97 years ago, in the post WWI years, it’s simply not valid to even attempt to use the first 50 years of data, or even the first 70 years of data.

        What is real obvious is that environmental controls have had by far the biggest effect in depressing SO2 emissions worldwide during the decade of the 1990s, though proportionally the reduction during the Great Depression was of similar size.

      • Duane:

        1. Please give me a link to the chart of SO2 emissions referred to in your second paragraph.

        2. Have you read my Climate Change Deciphered essay?

        3. What is your explanation for the 10 73 – 3-79 spike in average global temperatures shown in the Hadcrut4 data set?

      • Duane:

        You wrote “Again, Burl….note that I am talking about “global recessions”, not individual national or regional recessions which you refer to which are not significant enough to cause a statistically significant drop in world wide SO2 emissions”.

        I have four separate data sets (which are in complete agreement with each other) that show that the recessions that I refer to do ARE coincident with temporary increases in average global temperatures. All of the increases are due to reductions in atmospheric SO2 aerosol emissions.

        1. GISS: 1880 – 2014
        2. Hadcrut4: 1850 – 2014
        3. ERSST sea surface temperatures, 1855 – 2014
        4. Nino3 Index graph, 1865 – 2014 (according to Cane)

        The first 3 sets are SUPPORTIVE of my model that average global temperatures will increase whenever SO2 aerosols are removed from the atmosphere. They are not needed for the actual model, which shows that average global temperatures can be predicted/projected with great accuracy simply by using the “rule of thumb” that temperatures will rise by ,02 deg. C. for each net Megatonne of reductions in global SO2 aerosol emissions.

        (The temperature projections are so accurate that there can never have been any additional warming due to “greenhouse gasses”).

        The fourth set shows that a reduction in SO2 aerosol emissions is always coincident with an El Nino event.

  7. All that heat generated at the core of the earth being significant? Why, who could think such a thing? This is a possible explanation of “How” — now some feverish dream of a poet. I like it when a solid mind undertakes a task. The fruits of retirement. Great article.

    Eugene WR Gallun

      • Ron

        You are a little younger than me. Can you identify when that area of California along with the rest of the state was taken over by those out of touch with the natural environment?

      • Retired Kit P,
        The answer to your question is, probably when the Spanish Jesuits established the Santa Clara Mission and subsequently provided a name for the valley. Only the original aboriginal inhabitants were really in touch with the natural environment.

    • So where is the Santa Clara Valley ?

      I know where Silicon Valley is; I live there, and I know where Santa Clara is. It is next door to Sunnyvale, and I know where Sana Clara County is; but I never heard of a Santa Clara Valley.

      If this IS a valley, it goes way up past Sacramento, and scoops up a whole host of counties on the way.


  8. One problem. I examined Maya Tolstoy’s papers and find them very unpersuasive. Cherry picked locales (SE Pacific), dubious observational data, poor statistics. Plus, not enough heat release based on her ‘quantified’ subsea eruptions. If you ‘know’ the quantity of erupted lava, then knowing the temperature of magma you know the quantity of heat per unit lava flow. And can estimate delta seawater temp change from the estimated average depth and hence volume of ocean water. Ocean is huge, tectonic seams tiny by comparison.
    If there was a georesonance, it would show up in terrestrial eruptions and earthquakes as well. There is no evidence for this in the geological record from the LGM to the Holocene, anywhere on earth. Let alone everywhere on earth at the same time.
    No doubt there is some ‘climate hammer’ for the hard latched cold state. That is a very apt logical decription of ice core data. Kudos. The 800 year ‘clock rate’ lag between temp rise and subsequent CO2 rise is simply Henry’s law working on the thermohaline circulation, which has a single round trip time of ~800 years and provides a natural lag clock rate.

    • You also need to consider the heat generation of serpentinatation. Also there are massive amounts of sea water that are cycled through the pile around spreading ridges. It is not just the magma seawater interaction. It includes the constant fight for thermal equilibrium between the thin oceanic crust with a high geothermal gradient and the cold deep ocean.

      • True. But seafloor speading is continuous. We can measure it by the record of magnetic reversals. And between reversals, by the width of the ‘stripes’ and estimated basalic magma volume. This is reasonably well sampled along the mid Atlantic ridge. There is no spreading evidence for the posited resonance.

      • @ristvan But seafloor speading is continuous. We can measure it by the record of magnetic reversals.
        Sea floor spreading is continuous, but is the rate constant over the span of 500,000 years? Is our data that good? Is it that well sampled? Have we not calibrated the magnetic reversals by assuming constant sea floor spreading rates and thus engaged in some circular logic?

    • Thanks for answering my question. Where is the geologic record on this uptick in the release of internally stored heat in the form of seismic/volcanic activity?

    • The reversals typically occur every 450k years so the time scale encomposes the entire graph x axis in the post. I am not sure that reversals have anything to do with eposodic changes in magma volume. Could be wrong though…

    • The reversals typically occur every 450k ( can vary from 0.1 to1 million yrs) years so the time scale encomposes the entire graph x axis in the post. I am not sure that reversals have anything to do with eposodic changes in magma volume. Could be wrong though…

      • So what if it’s a combination of things? A “convergence” of the various cycles at the same time? More ocean water becomes ice sheets, ocean levels drop, less pressure on submarine volcanos allows them to erupt more easily, but no “ash clouds” in atmosphere because they are still under water. Just sudden increases in ocean heat content and CO2. Ocean heat rises to surface, which causes out gassing of more CO2 and heat into atmosphere. Melts land ice, ocean levels rise, takes pressure off of land volcanos. What if ocean volcanic activity and land volcanic activity see saw back and forth? Just a few years ago marine scientists discovered evidence that submarine volcanos can erupt VIOLENTLY, which they previously thought was impossible due to the depth/pressure of the ocean water above them.

        If this situation aligned with orbital changes and pole reversals and electrical resonance and/ or any number of factors (increased cosmic rays etc?) . Do the various known “cycles” ever converge ,and if they do, at what frequency? Is there a pattern of convergence?

        “In 1992, it was thought that volcanic degassing released something like 100 million tons of CO2 each year. Around the turn of the millennium, this figure was getting closer to 200. The most recent estimate, released this February, comes from a team led by Mike Burton, of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology – and it’s just shy of 600 million tons. It caps a staggering trend: A six-fold increase in just two decades.

        These inflating figures, I hasten to add, don’t mean that our planet is suddenly venting more CO2.

        Humanity certainly is; but any changes to the volcanic background level would occur over generations, not years. The rise we’re seeing now, therefore, must have been there all along.”

        Climate scientists do NOT have any idea exactly how much submarine volcanic activity there is, not now, not in the past. So climate models cannot possibly represent it accurately.

    • “No doubt there is some ‘climate hammer’ for the hard latched cold state. That is a very apt logical description of ice core data.”
      A logical explanation for the “hammer” has been covered before and implies were it not for the albedo changes the earth would indeed be locked into a permanent ice age with little life on land.

  9. Lots of intersting things happen at spreading ridges. Heat input to the ocean occurs through water interaction with the erupting pile but also very large amounts of heat energy is released through the serpentinization of mafic minerals. Interestingly to serpentinize a tonne of those minerals you need approx a tonne of CO2. Episodic increases or decreases in spreading ridge activity would be an input perhaps of some significance

    • Spreading ridges AND converging boundaries. Not to mention hot spots in the center of plates and hot deep ocean venting.

      “If an estimate of 4,000 volcanoes per million square kilometers on the floor of the Pacific Ocean is extrapolated for all the oceans than there are more than a million submarine (underwater) volcanoes.”

  10. “From an Electrical Engineering standpoint….”

    I am also a retired engineer. I have a bid problems with engineers and those who have been successful in one field think that it translates to other areas.

    It is like Jane Fonda being an expert on nuclear power.

    I understand why actors and journalists are idiots but engineers are suppose to follow logical thinking.

    • And then there’s the climate scientists who think they understand electrical engineering concepts, for example, feedback. And don’t forget the politicians who think they understand science.

      • It has always been obvious to anyone who thought about it rationally that tipping points leading to disastrous warming do not happen when CO2 rises in the atmosphere.
        All you have to do is look at the geologic record.
        To be a warmista, you have to studiously ignore a great deal of information.

      • “And the IPCC concept of feedback has been blown out of the water only recently…”

        Well, I explained the errors to Schlesinger over a decade ago, so I’m pretty sure he knows that there are problems. One is the linearity Bode requires between the input (forcing in W/m^2) and output (temperature in K) and the other is the assumption by Bode of an implicit source of Joules (other than the input/Sun) to power the gain, Both of these prerequisites are spelled out in the first two paragraphs of his book, yet consensus climate science denies that they are actual requirements.

    • I’m a little puzzled,….. So if Engineers are supposed to follow logical thinking, then why is that ability only limited to their own specific field of expertise ?

      Or is it because there is nothing logical about the AGW paranoia that can be “thought about” ?

    • Physics is physics, the Hanoi Jane comparison isn’t equivalent. I’ll bet photolith wasn’t available for study when Ron was in school. Interesting ideas Ron, thank you.

      • On the nose, stevekeohane. A more apt comparison would be ” … like Jane Fonda being an expert on the public reading of poetry.” Being an actress, she’d apply the same knowledge & techniques used in acting.

    • “I have a bid(g) problem(s) with engineers and those who have been successful in one field think that it translates to other areas.”
      Regardless of the engineering discipline, the process of education and training to obtain an engineering degree gives an engineer a unique ability to practice the application of scientific principles to solve real life problems where otherwise the science alone may not adequately provide an answer. Thus, in Canada (at least) a degree in Engineering is a bachelor of “applied” science BASc. In my opinion a very important aspect of the engineering process is the aspect of not only “logical” but critical thinking. So I applaud Mr Voisin for his very insightful thoughts and observations on the topic of “climate change”. I for one have been very skeptical of the dubious idea that anthropogenic CO2 could result in the catastrophic consequences speculated by the so called “climate experts”. I find it very insightful that Mr Voisin has expanded the boundaries for the influences of the earth’s climate to include factors beyond the earth’s atmospheric sphere.

    • problems with engineers
      I disagree.

      Looking at the climate signal in the diagram provided, the waveform looks a whole lot like what one would expect from some sort of simple RC timing circuit. A transistor turns on to suddenly pull the circuit high, and a resistor slowly bleeds to pull the circuit low. So an electrical engineer might have insight into what is going on, that anyone that hasn’t worked with RC circuits might completely miss.

      Sure, the signal isn’t an exact match for an RC signal, but it very much suggests that the warming pulse is a completely different mechanism than the gradual cooling. The gradual cooling is no problem to explain, the energy is gradually lost to space.

      So the question becomes, where does the very large amount of energy come from to create the warming pulse? Either it comes from the Sun, or it comes from the Earth, by simple process of elimination. From what I read, this article is suggesting the energy comes from the Earth.

      • It’s coming from the Earth, triggered by external orbital conditions and tidal stresses.

    • Systems of different types often follow similar rules. For instance electrical flow is often analogized as fluid flow, and electric circuit simulators are used to model heat flow. If you see a sawtooth waveform in temperature it is likely that it is caused by a mechanism similar to an electrical sawtooth signal generator. Not exact, but enough so that the math works.

  11. Hi! Interesting approach. Have you tried reading up on the current explanation of the climate? Not as it is understood in the right wing blogosphere, but rather as it is understood by atmospheric physicists. You might find it illuminating! It’s the classic textbook, required reading for most college level classes on this topic. Contains all the engineering level mechanisms and equations that you would be interested in.


    PS In another comment thread I had someone complain that the book was didn’t contain any real science. But that person only read the introduction paragraph to the introductory chapter. Obviously the meat and potatoes is in the rest of the book.

    • Except that the atmosphere is only a tiny part of the climate system and certainly doesn’t drive it, but only responds to conditions. In order of importance, it’s the Sun, the oceans, the land and finally the atmosphere.

    • Ron, it has nothing to do with deglaciation. It’s just chemistry and physics, as applied to the particular conditions found in the atmosphere, and stuff that follows from that. There is nothing about policy or any other stuff that the crowd here might find particularly offensive. But I do feel that for a science site, it would pay to be a bit more aware of the fundamentals. Feel free to click on the link and look at the index to satisfy your curiosity as to what kind of stuff environmental scientists deal with.

      The author of the above piece is an electrical engineer. Would he take an article serious about the specifics of a subfield of his profession, written by an engineer from a totally different field that hadn’t even taken the effort of looking through the basic introductory textbooks in electrical engineering? I think not!

      • In a way you are right. There have always been gatekeepers in science. Alfred Wegener was a meteorologist, and his theory of plate tectonics wasn’t taken serious by mainstream geologists.

        What matters in the end is whose theory can be independently verified through experiment or observation. That;s the Scientific Method. That’s science.

        Not only do the individual CMIP5 models not agree with reality, they don’t even agree with one another other. You don’t have to climate scientist to see the that the Earth’s climate is poorly understood at this point. It’s also obvious that climate scientist suffer from confirmation bias. This was clearly made evident in the Climategate emails. Unfortunately the field of climate science has been corrupted by politics.

      • Would you mean examples like the Undertaker “Strowger” who undertook to develop the automated telephone exchange.
        Didn’t hear about too many engineers complaining about that one.
        Actually, there are hundreds of such examples of motivated “non experts” radically changing the status quo. Without them there would likely be very little advancement.

      • CACA adherents have no trouble with the steam engineer Callendar, because he shared their belief in AGW, although he was heretical by today’s standards because he, like Arrhenius before him, thought man-made warming was very much a good thing.

      • getitright April 9, 2017 at 11:59 am

        On the planet inhabitated by Benben and Griff, such giants as Copernicus, Steno, Leeuwenhoek, Buffon, Lavoisier, Hutton, Faraday, Darwin and Einstein, among many other notables, were not scientists because they didn’t have scientific, medical or mathematical PhDs at the time of their achievements, or ever. Or any college degrees at all in some cases. Copernicus’ doctorate was in canon law.

        And what are we make of David H. Levy?

        He, like Mosher, was an English grad, but he went on to practice science and the scientific method, rather than to try to change the method, like Mosher.

      • Hey Ron, didn’t connect the dots that you were the authors. Ha. Well, let’s review this critically shall we? The crux of your piece is the following, where you identify the gap:

        “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.”

        What I would expect you to do is to say: ABC is the current mechanism that is used to explain the phenomena under investigation (REFERENCE), however, if you compare the energies of X and Y you will see there is a delta Z, which is a lot larger than the uncertainty margins of X and Y, so we can conclude the conventional explanation is wrong. I here propose an alternative, which is able to produce required energy via the mechanism {some qualitative and quantitative stuff}.

        You haven’t actually done any of that. So it’s nice for the WUWT crowd, that just want some alternative hypotheses to sustain their beliefs science is wrong, but it doesn’t actually add anything to our understanding of the earth systems. Sad! ;)


      • “Have you tried reading up on the current explanation of the climate?”

        …and from here you proceed to ‘splain a theory that has totally failed

      • Hey it’s fine if you can do that. But do it with actual references and actual calculations, not just ‘assume that it has failed and take it from there’.

      • Ben,

        He is not assuming anything. He’s just stating a fact.

        Climate models have failed miserably. They’re a bad, trillion-dollar joke. Or would be had they not cost so many lives as well as wasted so much treasure.

      • You’re not a climate scientist benben. You are an assistant professor in Public Administration.

        And you lie too. No one said the book had no science in it. They did however challenge YOU to present some of the science in the book that YOU “believe” anyone here disagrees with. You continually avoid doing that. Why?

      • now now Aphan, no need to get testy. I’ve always said I’m an environmental scientist and I’ll keep saying that. This bizarre addition of yours that I’m somehow in public administration comes solely from your mind. Yes, there is plenty in the book that you would not agree with. I direct your attention to chapter 21. Go read it, and we can have a discussion.

      • benben,
        You miss the point. Unless you offer some carrot to entice people to take time to do what you suggest, they will ignore you. Just because you recommend some action, you shouldn’t expect people to follow through. There are plenty of things to occupy people’s time and we all have to prioritize. You will get a low priority if all you do is say, “Read the index,” or “Read Chapter 21.” You either don’t understand how people function, or you think so highly of yourself that you feel any recommendation you make should be sufficient to make people snap to attention and say, “How high, sir?”

      • benben says:
        I’ve always said I’m an environmental scientist

        IOW, you specialize in communication/indoctrination/propaganda w/a smattering of high-school science?

      • Upthread Benben said: “PS In another comment thread I had someone complain that the book was didn’t contain any real science. But that person only read the introduction paragraph to the introductory chapter. Obviously the meat and potatoes is in the rest of the book.”

        The comment thread Ben is referring to follows Tim Ball’s essay April 3 and I’m “that person” and here’s what I said:

        “Ben, I read some pages from your recommended book online. In the chapter on climate the authors give a brief, simplified explanation of “the scare” where the water vapor feedback/amplification “triggered” by AGW will cause unprecedented warming, possibly melting enough ice to flood the coasts. IMHO this is fear mongering, and I don’t understand the reasoning behind such an extraordinary claim, there is no evidence, and if there is I welcome your explanation.”

        Ben then demanded references, exact pages etc. He is correct, the offending paragraphs are found in the intro section. They are “Chapter 1: The Atmosphere”, sub section “1.2 Climate”, first or second page. does not allow cut and paste (could be my problem) and there are no page #s. so I’ll paraphrase some more:

        In response to AGW the authors of this book suggest we could experience temperatures higher than the previous 6,000 years, perhaps as far back as the dinosaurs. The increase in CO2 will bring climatic extremes…more intense, more frequent and longer lasting heat waves, coastal flooding from sea levels higher by as much as 5-6 meters….I repeat, IMHO this is fear mongering.

        Just when all this was supposed to happen wasn’t made clear, but you get the drift. When I choose a science book to read I always peruse the intros…In this case, Ben, your book wouldn’t pass the smell test, but that’s just me.

        And Ben, we welcome your input. I’m sure I speak for many, keep the comments coming.

        Regards, M.W.Plia.

    • Presented by a true believer and slanted in the AGW direction. The words “climate change” and “air pollution” clearly indicate a political bias. How about one that addresses ONLY the physics and chemistry, without the political slant?

      • benben:

        You ask

        how about you look at the index of the book and see for yourself what it covers?

        You were the first to mention that irrelevant book and you commended it, but you have studiously and repeatedly avoided stating or explaining the contents of that book which you think merit purchase and study of it.

        And your wasting space in this thread on the irrelevant book strongly suggests you have nothing worth saying about the subject of this thread, so few reading the thread will value your judgement.

        No sensible person will bother to “look at the index of the book” unless and until you provide some reason to spend time doing it.


  12. Some climate hammers that might be involved are:
    and asteroid strikes:
    While it is generally thought that these could cause an ice age, what if earth was already in an ice age? Would not the particulates thrown into the air reduce the albedo significantly, perhaps sufficiently to ‘turn the corner’ into an interglacial?
    Obviously, such an occasion would have more effect in an ice covered area as opposed to nearer the equator. Maybe someone should try to time the known events vs climate to see if a significant climate change resulted. Especially around the Younger Dryas.

    • A problem with asteroids is the 100ky clockwork of deglaciations. However, Supervolcanos would appropriately accompany bulk-Earth-resonant kicks to interglacial.

      • When the poop hits the resonant fan, first comes volcanic dust (and volcanic CO2 that is quickly absorbed in essentially real-time by the oceans and biosphere), then comes CO2 after the oceans warm for 800 years.

      • The problem I have with the dust theory is the rapid climb out of the glaciation period. If dust were the motivating force I’d expect a slow climb. But I’m not wedded to this, I just haven’t seen dust cover causing rapid warming explained.

      • There is more than one type of vulcanism, effusive being one that has been suggested can trigger rapid climate change. See chapter here… As for drivers of climate, that depends a lot on the definition applied. Perhaps Influencers of climate might be a better phrase in order to close the gap between climate and weather… PS. I look forward to the end of CO2 being so vilified and so often called carbon. MSM and polticians.. Bah.

      • David, in recent times Pinatubo has been the largest volcano. Can you tell me why co2 levels fell instead of increased ? Or at least should have held steady with anthropogenic co2 ?

    • There is no valid evidence of an asteroid strike at the YD. That cooling was no different from the Older and Middle Dryas events which preceded it, the 8.2 Ka event after it and other abrupt changes during previous deglaciations.

      • Deglaciation occurs over thousands of years, with steep meltwater pulses and intervals of less thawing or none in between them:

        The floods are like the Bretz Floods which drained glacial Lake Missoula, except on continental scale rather than in an ice-dammed mountain valley. Geologists use the Icelandic word “jökulhlaup” (‘glacier run’) to describe outburst glacial floods.

        So termination is a stepped process, with a long-term background rate of melting punctuated by centuries of more rapid deglaciation, or at least release of water, which could have been stored behind and ice dam or other such obstruction.

        The English Channel was created by an overtopping flood during a previous deglaciation, for example, when the North Sea had to flow south catastrophically, meltwater from the British and Scandinavian ice sheets still being blocked by ice to its north.

      • I should say the Strait of Dover, not the whole Channel, although its bathymetry or topography was altered by the flood.

      • Between 10 and 9 Ka, melting slowed:

        Dunno if these are calendar or 14C years before present, but assume calendar.

      • Note that here we are more than 11,000 years into an interglacial and still only one of the four North American ice sheets has totally disappeared, if you distinguish between the Innutian and Laurentide ISs.

        The Greenland IS is still largely intact, as mentioned. There is a small remnant of the Innutian in the high Canadian Arctic and a larger relic of the Cordilleran in the mountains of the Rockies and Alaska. Only the Laurentide has disappeared without a trace, although a rebounding Hudson’s Bay shows where its dome used to be.

        Even in the Eemian Interglacial, longer and warmer than the Holocene so far, the GIS stayed together. Only its southern dome melted about 25% more than at present.

      • What if the supposed asteroid impact sites are really volcanic calderas collapsing? Out gassing, unbelievable heat escape? Gas tsunamis on land?…

  13. I think that you just can’t invent your own science…

    Nor can someone who invents their own science be given the same credence detailed scientific research from trained scientists deserves.

    • “I think that you just can’t invent your own science…”

      Oh, PLEASE. People have “invented” their own science for centuries, just look at all the great scientists who were told they were nuts because their viewpoints led them to discoveries that clashed with existing science.

      Perhaps you live in an Earth-Centered universe still.

      Mostly, your viewpoint are just a waste of everybody’s time, especially since you are too timid to put your name to your claims.

      • “especially since you are too timid to put your name to your claims.”

        Be forewarned Geo Rubik, Gloateus, Allen63, 0ldgriz, Retired Kit P, PiperPaul, The Old Man, Graemethecat, HotScot, Rob, rbabcock, Steamboat McGoo, Sunsettommy, getitright, leftturnandre, commieBob, ristvan, ARW, BFL, benben, Latitude, Macha, and rishrac.

    • Einstein was a patent clerk when he wrote his most important papers.

      One of his three heroes was Faraday, an apprentice bookbinder and bookseller.

      What matters is whether you can support your hypothesis by making testable predictions capable of being shown false or confirmed. That’s the scientific method.

      Argument from authority is the antithesis of the scientific method.

      Need I quote Feynman to you?

      • Albert Einstein said: “The special theory of relativity owes its origins to Maxwell’s equations of the electromagnetic field.”

      • Yup. Hence his choice of heroes, all British. Englishman Newton, for his theory of universal gravitation; Englishman Faraday for experimental electromagnetism, and Scot Maxwell for the theory thereof, all relevant to Einstein’s special theory of relativity.

      • Their lives overlapped except for the ~65-year gap in the 18th century between Newton and Faraday. Aged just 48, Maxwell died in November 1879, when Einstein was about eight months old.

      • In addition to being ignorant of Earth history, a warmista needs to be completely illiterate of human history, most specifically the history of science, as well.
        But also what is known about human history as it relates to changes in climate.
        It is really astounding.

    • Newton and Leibniz created calculus. Creating math, creating science. Not much difference there. Plus, all the statistics used in those way-off AGW models were made by mathemeticians. Einstein came up with relativity—he was patent clerk, as previous commenters noted. Yet I don’t see AGW fans dissing Newton, statistics or Einstein because they “made things up”. Admit it. It’s about the conclusion, and ONLY the conclusion. Who spoke is totally irrelevant if they agree with AGW. Even terrorists groups are mentioned as “supporting climate change”. This just makes you look sooooo desperate.

      (By the way, I’m still available to debate the real science.)

      • Dang, just had a long post written that got erased.
        You can draw a straight line between Newton and Einstein that encapsulates all of the scientific advances, and the industrial revolution, and continues to today.
        But that line did not begin with newton…it began with Nicolaus Copernicus.
        He was the guy that got the ball rolling that led to Kepler’s laws of planetary motion, and it was that work that inspired and propelled Newton to invent classical mechanics with his three laws of motion, invent his theory of universal gravitation to explain and refine Kepler’s work, and invented calculus to do those other three things.

      • Nicholas,

        Yes, modern science publishing began in the miraculous year of 1543, with Copernicus in the physical sciences and Vesalius in life science.

        Canon Copernicus first formulated his hypothesis some 36 years earlier, and spent the intervening time gathering evidence in support of it. He could have gone to press sooner, but was afraid of the reaction of Church officials.

        He had enemies, who for instance accused him of carnal relations with his housekeeper, who was his cousin.

    • The Credo of Consensus Climate Science —

      If you pile lie, on top of lie, on top of lie, eventually you will reach a higher Truth.

      Eugene WR Gallun

    • Griff.

      Folks can invent their own science. But here is the clue. Nobody will use it unless it

      1) Comports with what is already known
      2. Explains things better than existing theory

      So, folks can waste their time trying to build their own climate science.. nobody will use it,
      build on it, and use it in place of what we already know.

      Judith Curry suggests we just ignore fringe science. That’s a good idea.

      • “Steven Mosher April 9, 2017 at 4:26 pm


        Folks can invent their own science. But here is the clue. Nobody will use it unless it

        1) Comports with what is already known”

        Or in other words “agrees” with “consensus”.Yeah, I agree 97% with that!

    • For a large part, a lot of people here seem to not know how much is backing up the climate change stuff. It’s interesting, I’ve been trying to get the WUWT crowd to look into one of the basic atmospheric physics textbooks (seinfeld & pandis), but so far no luck. Not even a peek into the index. Almost as if they like pretending we are social scientists so much they don’t want to ruin that for themselves by looking at the textbook and being confronted by actual thermodynamics.

      But I’m always happy to explore if there is some common ground to be found, so I keep occasionally commenting here. Anonymously, because that is the way I prefer it.

      • Trust me…plenty of us just ignore you but will look at a book.
        You see, we are the sort who read books all the time.
        But here is the thing: As Curry and Lindzen have let us all know, the colleges and universities are not teaching climate scientists to be unbiased practitioners of science, but instead are indoctrinating them into what to believe.
        Hard to do without textbooks that hew to this indoctrination.
        It is easy to connect the dots when you have a solid education from before this whole propaganda avalanche began.

      • You see, I always come to this site in the hope that you guys give me something interesting to think about. What part in my textbooks is propaganda? I think nothing, but I’d be happy to find parts that are. What I’m trying to get out of this is that a skeptic will look at my books and tell me exactly what in that book is wrong. But nobody here seems to be able to do that. Menicholas, you see, this is why I know you haven’t actually looked trough it. I don’t see the propaganda in there. Just reaction kinetics etc. etc. But I would LOVE for you to prove me wrong!

        Aphan, please control yourself or just stop commenting. Clearly the book is full of physics and chemistry. And yet you think I’m a social scientist?

      • benben:

        You say

        For a large part, a lot of people here seem to not know how much is backing up the climate change stuff. It’s interesting, I’ve been trying to get the WUWT crowd to look into one of the basic atmospheric physics textbooks (seinfeld & pandis), but so far no luck. Not even a peek into the index. Almost as if they like pretending we are social scientists so much they don’t want to ruin that for themselves by looking at the textbook and being confronted by actual thermodynamics.

        But I’m always happy to explore if there is some common ground to be found, so I keep occasionally commenting here. Anonymously, because that is the way I prefer it.

        OK. So you are again again to disrupt this thread by selling an irrelevant book.

        To save you having to find my above response to your earlier attempt, I copy it to here.


        You ask

        how about you look at the index of the book and see for yourself what it covers?

        You were the first to mention that irrelevant book and you commended it, but you have studiously and repeatedly avoided stating or explaining the contents of that book which you think merit purchase and study of it.

        And your wasting space in this thread on the irrelevant book strongly suggests you have nothing worth saying about the subject of this thread, so few reading the thread will value your judgement.

        No sensible person will bother to “look at the index of the book” unless and until you provide some reason to spend time doing it.



      • ha, only on WUWT, which claims it is a science website, would the discussion of an actual textbook used by the scientific community be declared as irrelevant.

        Richard, this textbook is the introductory book on the physics and chemistry behind the most important of the processes in the atmosphere.

      • The really important thing to remember Ben Ben, is that adjusting the temperature record to support the chemistry and physics isn’t science. If we had another year like 1936, CAGW would be all over it as proof. Probably one of the worst years ever for extreme weather. And is there really a huge difference between now and 1923 when the Arctic was 10 F warmer ? You remember the warnings about collapsing ice sheets and glaciers? Because they were melting big time. Or how seaports would be flooded ? Without global cooling shortly thereafter, those events would have already happened.

      • benben:

        As you say it is an INTRODUCTORY book.
        That is why we need some justification for spending time reading it.

        Clearly, your brainpower is so little that you difficulty understanding the point, so let me try this.

        It is obvious that you would benefit from a primer on elementary reading. To that end, I offer you this link to a selection of nursery rhymes
        If that is too high a level for your ability then I will offer you something less difficult.


  14. When I was in college I took several Physics courses. This was about 35 years ago, so my memory is a bit fuzzy on this. However, the professor was talking about the continental plates, and the theories about continental drift. We did some calculations in class, and if the plates moved as quickly as the geologists said they did, there would be enormous amounts of heat released, because of the friction at the bottom and edges of the continental plates. I’ve never seen anything that indicates that continental plates were moving faster, during the beginning of our recent inter-glacial, but maybe nobody thought to look for correlations.

      • Ron,

        There is a large literature on this connection or lack thereof.

        Here’s a recent paper on the effect of deglaciation on Andean arc stratovolcanoes.

        The magmatic and eruptive response of arc volcanoes to deglaciation: Insights from southern Chile

        In tectonic settings where decompression melting drives magmatism, there is compelling evidence that changes in ice loading or water loading across glacial-interglacial cycles modulate volcanic activity. In contrast, the response of subduction-related volcanoes remains unclear. A high-resolution postglacial eruption record from a large Chilean stratovolcano, Mocho-Choshuenco, provides new insight into the arc magmatic response to ice-load removal. Following deglaciation, we identify three distinct phases of activity characterized by different eruptive fluxes, sizes, and magma compositions. Phase 1 (13–8.2 ka) was dominated by large dacitic and rhyolitic explosive eruptions. During phase 2 (7.3–2.9 ka), eruptive fluxes were lower and dominated by moderate-scale basaltic andesite eruptions. Since 2.4 ka (phase 3), eruptive fluxes have been elevated and of more intermediate magmas. We suggest that this time-varying behavior reflects changes in magma storage time scales, modulated by the changing crustal stress field. During glaciation, magma stalls and differentiates to form large, evolved crustal reservoirs. Following glacial unloading, much of the stored magma erupts (phase 1). Subsequently, less-differentiated magma infiltrates the shallow crust (phase 2). As storage time scales increase, volcanism returns to more evolved compositions (phase 3). Data from other Chilean volcanoes show a similar tripartite pattern of evacuation, relaxation, and recovery, suggesting that this could be a general feature of previously glaciated arc volcanoes.

      • Ron Voisin and Gloateus
        Excellent explorations on step changes and their causes:
        From your link:

        Following deglaciation, we identify three distinct phases of activity characterized by different eruptive fluxes, sizes, and magma compositions. Phase 1 (13–8.2 ka) was dominated by large dacitic and rhyolitic explosive eruptions. During phase 2 (7.3–2.9 ka), eruptive fluxes were lower and dominated by moderate-scale basaltic andesite eruptions. Since 2.4 ka (phase 3), eruptive fluxes have been elevated and of more intermediate magmas.

        Together that appears to have similar time periods to your 18 ka.

        I endorse the idea of exploring
        1) periodic eruptions of super volcanoes and step changes/jerks in tectonic plate movement, such as due to subduction jerks.

        On heating, see possible correlation with
        2) solar cycles causing UV changes (~10% or more) which cause cloud changes.
        3) Similarly periodic changes in Galactic Cosmic Rays which cause cloud changes.
        4) Reversals of earth’s magnetic field.
        See Svensmark on Cosmoclimatology and Nir Shaviv

    • Janice, what you may have not been taking into account (or maybe you were?) in those calculations is that the continents were not plowing through stationary mantle rock, but being carried along and pushed by the convection currents of the mantle convection cells.
      There is friction, plenty of it, especially in places like the subduction zones. We see the result…the ring of fire, with all manner of volcanoes and huge earthquakes in a huge circle.
      I think we can be pretty sure that the continents are moving just like geologists say they do.
      And that whatever heating should be taking place…is taking place.

    • So using your several Physics courses learning, can you explain how Tectonic Plate relative motion can be so much faster, as to generate heat by friction, than the thermal conductivity of the rocks and magma can dissipate by three dimensional diffusion (conduction) to the rest of the earth’s crust ??

      Seems to me, that thermal conductivity, as slow as it is, is very much faster than (relative) Tectonic movement.


  15. Oh, very interesting.
    For me the most interesting is the logical gate schematics offered..

    For best of me it seems like a three state to two state conversion, if I am not wrong….a conversion from trinary to binary logic processing……and conversion…

    But when at it the scheme provide it is not good enough for the task and it lacks the coherence….aka no valuable and validated for the purpose, even in its simplicity….a wrong one to rely and use for the purpose, especially in the engineering context…..

    A logical scheme as such is far more complex and different in essential, far much more than the one offered here………with a much different implication….


  16. I’m a retired mechanical engineer. I’ve often thought the temperature record over the past 600K years looks like a damped spring mass system that gets whacked by a hammer every 100k years or so. The temperature suddenly spikes upward and then oscillates up and down while being slowly damped out and gradually returning to the original condition. So we agree on the hammer concept. But what is the hammer? The author’s theory is possible but far from proven. Sometimes in science the correct answer is ” I dunno”.
    For me that’s where we are.

      • If eccentricity rule, then we’re in for a very long interglacial, with concomitant “catastrophic” natural global warming. But not to worry. IMO obliquity rules.

      • The glaciation and de-glaciation periods seem to be worldwide. But would eccentricity cause significantly more or less isolation over the entire globe over the course of a year? I don’t think it would. But I could be persuaded one way or the other if the data supports it.

      • David S,
        Consider that if the orbit were perfectly circular, the Earth TOA would receive the same amount of insolation every month. However, if the orbit were highly eccentric, then then Earth would receive considerably less insolation during apogee (because of the inverse-square law) and the hemisphere tilted towards the sun during the apogee will receive much less than the hemisphere tilted towards the sun during perigee. Because the seasons will be changed by the change in orbital velocity, total insolation integrated over time will have to be calculated to determine the quantitative impact. I’m not going to take the time to do that.

      • The author states that the whole Earth was cooler during the glacial advances, as were the oceans.
        But I do not think that total insolation in the tropics was much different than now.
        I think it was still very hot in those places.
        I think places like Florida even, have species of trees that would be extinct if it was much colder for a long time. Like even a single week. I have specific examples of anyone cares for them.
        Same is true for the latitudes closer to the equator. Stuff that is there that cannot survive at much colder temps than they see now.
        I think it was plenty hot and humid in the tropics, even then…that is where the moisture for a two mile icecap came from.
        Things were different, but mainly at the poles.

      • >>
        . . . then Earth would receive considerably less insolation during apogee . . . .

        Apogee is the wrong term. Apogee and perigee refer to objects orbiting the Earth. The general terms are apoapsis and periapsis. For objects orbiting the Sun (like the Earth) the terms are aphelion and perihelion.

        This site ( gives the measured values of TSI. Notice that during January 3, 2017 (Earth’s last perihelion) the TSI was 1407.4323 W/m^2, and during July 3, 2016 (Earth’s last aphelion) the TSI was 1316.5551 W/m^2.


      • Jim, what is the difference in insolation near the Equator at various times of the year, and how does this vary as the Milankovich cycles do their thing?

    • “I dunno” is a correct answer, but doesn’t provide any hypotheses to study and test. Don’t quit at ‘I dunno’, but look for possible explanations. Then try to disprove them.

      • I’ll keep looking, but until I find an answer I can prove I’ll stick with I dunno. In my opinion science has been passing off conjecture as fact e.g. CAGW. In another example scientists claim dark energy provides the explanation for why the expansion of the universe is accelerating, even though the existence of dark energy has never been proven. And now other scientists using newer equipment are saying hold the phone the expansion is not accelerating after all.

        The point is jumping on board a theory before it is proven is a waste of time and energy and is a disservice to everyone. So if I don’t know I’ll just say I dunno.

      • David S,
        That is the difference between you and people that are forever famous because they came up with paradigm changing ideas and advanced all of humanity in the process.

    • It’s a good start though. Sometimes the questions raised are more important than the questions answered.

  17. Maybe it is a combination of very low CO2 and high albedo being overcome by orbital forcing and subtle phenomena, such as continental shelves covered by ice fields sagging under the weight of ice, which puts the ice edges in more contact with warmer sea water? I’m just speculating.

    • Fernando
      your comment gave me food for thought. The rapid increase in snow and subsequent ice at the north polar region at the onset of glaciation must be substantial enough to cause kilometer thick ice over a large area. The accumulation of ice mass precedes the isostatic sinking. The moist snowy period gives way to a dry, low humidity, and declining co2 atmosphere with average temperatures 6c lower. The ice sheet and land ice sheets will sink slowly during and following ice sheet development. The geography of north Atlantic and north west Pacific oceanic contact with the ice sheet will provide a long period of ice melt. I would think the isostatic sinking to equilibrium would take in the order of thousands of years but the ice melt a lot longer. Is the time constant for this process in the order of 100ka? My thoughts about glaciation are that to sustain high snowfall long enough to build the ice sheets the atmospheric circulation would need to switch to a direct transport of warm moist air from the thermal equator to high northern latitude.

      • Another possibility: The primary circulation pattern of the Earth, the Hadley cells, ceases and another mode substitutes for it.
        What would be the physical evidence if such a thing happened?
        How would we know now…what could we see or look for that would tell us this occurred?
        I cannot think of anything off the top of my head.
        And what such alternate mode might exist?
        Maybe two convergence zones, instead of one, with each somewhat away from the equator, with sinking air between them?
        Just a wild ass guess, but I think it bears looking into.
        For some reason, during the glacial advances the heat from the tropics stops being transported to the poles as efficiently, causing them to cool and remain cold, for a long long time.
        For an ice sheet to get started, at some point more snow has to fall than melts in Summer. This could be because Winter is longer and Summer is shorter, or because it snows one hell of a lot more.
        And this snow that does not melt would have to be for not one or a few but many years in a row.
        If the only thing it takes is albedo of the snow to get the ball rolling towards ice sheet, how could it ever melt when it is at it’s maximum extent? Dust? What about fresh snow when it covers the dust?
        Does not seem to add up…something must fundamentally change with the atmosphere.
        Would two ITCZs trap a whole lot of tropical heat in the tropics, in between them, and prevent big dips in the jet which send cold air south and ice melting tropical air north?

    • I really don’t believe CO2 has much to do with anything but the sharp step functions apparent in descent into glaciation and back out again are indicating something like a “tipping point” . Yes, I hate that much abused phrase but it is what it is. I don’t pretend to know what causes the primary shift into or out of major glaciations but I wonder if the steps have something to do with the differing accumulation and resilience of sea ice vs continental ice masses and the resuting effect on albedo.
      Significant ice accumulations on land can be very resilient to warming whereas sea ice is not. As a result, a limited warming can create a limited reduction in albedo while the continental ice sheets create a strong opposing pull back toward glaciation. The first step of glaciation is general cooling caused usually by orbital factors such as Milancovitch cycles. There really isn’t anything that can stop this process once it starts (not even CO2 ), as the cooling creates greater albedo to complement the cooling trend. Therefore the cooling trend is straight down.
      On the reverse journey out of glaciation, the expanded sea ice retreats quickly while the persistent land ice holds back the overall warming and maintains the system near an equilibrium. At this point the system will typically continue it’s warming trend but by virtue of its being so close to equilibrium it can be thrown back to cooling or the warming can be stalled by minor cooling influences that affect albedo and kick the system back across the tipping point (volcanism, increased cloud cover, impact, etc.). Hence the warming will be slower than the cooling and often be more step like.

      • Consider this…at the bottom of the ocean near the North pole and possibly near the South pole, are vast amounts of water than may be supercooled below the freezing point for water of that particular salinity level…held from freezing by pressure.
        If that water ever froze for some reason…and there may be reasons no one has thought of…it would ascend to the surface very rapidly, as in a few tens of seconds to maybe minutes. Because ice is less dense and floats.
        Now then…what would happen then? Would the ascending ice drag a bunch of other water along with it, in a chain reaction of sorts?
        I do not know.
        What could cause water at the bottom of the ocean to suddenly freeze?
        Something that caused a temporary lowering of pressure, or perhaps some material being added to the water that changed the freezing point to a higher number?
        Seems like either of those would do it.
        Supercooled water that begins to freeze will not stop freezing when the trigger is removed…you can verify this with a two liter bottle of soda and a freezer.
        And it happens fast!

      • That’s an interesting thought, Menicholas. Of the top of my head I would say that a significant earthquake or a relatively small ocean impact could possibly initiate this turnover. A bit of disturbance at depth causes some rapid upwelling which causes a drop in pressure for the rising, super-cooled water which then solidifies. This accelerates the the movement to the surface and entrains more super-cooled water.
        I have to say, something about this doesn’t quite add up for me but I have to think about it. What about the latent heat rejection from the freezing?

  18. I have a graphic with both the dust storms and the temperature graphic. If we need to find a strong forcing the dust caused by storms lasting 5 to 8 thousands years would had covered the ice with a nice layer of dust that would had lowered the albedo of the ice. As the atmosphere had very little water vapor, this could be at least a never I heard mentioning of forcing. During nearly 20 thousand years, dust storms had been very frequent before the end of an ice age period.
    You can see one of those graphics here,

  19. Would or could someone show me what isn’t, in our physical universe, a part of a damped-driven (deterministically and mathematically) chaotic system? /rhetorical

  20. Ron,

    You are right to focus on global albedo but there is a simpler solution.

    Suppose that orbital changes affect the average mix of wavelengths and particles from the sun in much the same way as that mix is affected by variations in solar activity.

    The result would be changes in global cloudiness and rhus global albedo and that would change global temperature.

    Here is my description as to how it works with solar variability:

    The question is whether orbital changes would operate in the same way.

    Any ideas ?

      • Ron Voisin
        April 9, 2017 at 10:12 am


        In my above comment I tried to show that your actual expertise engineering supporting this is not good enough in appearance at least, for not saying that it is a dud with no significance in principle
        with the engineering subject in question, which you never the less try to use it as a support for your own understanding of climate………

        So if your own expertise actually is alleged and considered as not good enough for it’s own, how could it be that still one can contemplate to be right and good to support with the rest that is actually out of the ones expertise!?


      • Yes it does.Reducing cloudiness results in warming and increasing cloudiness results in cooling.

        The question is whether orbital changes alter the mix of wavelengths and particles reaching the Earth over long periods of time in a similar way to solar variations in the shorter term so as to change global cloudiness/albedo without having to invoke solar induced changes in earthquakes and volcanicity.

        Not saying you are wrong, necessarily, but it could be a lot simpler than invoking changes in earthquakes and volcanicity.

  21. The first half of this post describing the need for a hammer is nicely stated and right on target. The hammer is the interplay between effusive basaltic volcanism spreading lava over large areas of land rapidly causing rapid warming by depleting the ozone layer and sequences of explosive, aerosol forming eruptions similar to Mt. Pinatubo in 1991, that cool Earth ~0.5oC for 2 to 4 years, but affect ocean temperatures for a century or so and thus can increment the world into ice ages. The balance is determined by the motions of tectonic plates over time.
    In the last 100,000 years, the footprints of climate change in Greenland ice cores are quite clear: 25 sequences of sudden major warming initiated within years followed by slow cooling over centuries to millennia in very erratic sequences averaging 4500 years long, but these sequences are clearly not cyclic. These are the well-known Dansgaard-Oeschger events. Similar sequences are observed throughout geologic time when time resolutions are good enough. Basaltic flows range from the eruption of Bardarbunga in 2014 in Iceland, covering 84 km2 with basalt flows within 6 months, the highest rate of basalt extrusion since 1783, causing recent warming, to the Siberian traps erupted over 7 million km2 251 million years ago, causing major warming, major ocean acidification, and extinction of 90% of all living species.
    This is all explained in detail at my website, in my book What Really Causes Climate Change?, in numerous talks at TEDx and professional meetings at, and numerous papers available on the website.

    • And what caused the Siberian traps?
      Seems highly possible that it was an asteroid impact at a point roughly opposite from Siberia on the globe.
      Like the one near Chicxulub that caused the Deccan traps.
      Not much point in saying that the antipode to the present position of the traps is the Drake Passage.
      But wherever that land was then, find the opposite spot on the globe…bet you find evidence for an impact.

  22. I love “hammer-theories” like that – and that is just the sort of scientific theorising which we must for ever treasure. I have often contemplated the suddenness of the change into the inter-glacials : it really does not make sense that it can be so sudden – and yet, fact is that it is.

  23. As a thought exercise, this article is a good start. But it seems incomplete. It needs numbers.

    “If you can’t quantify it, you don’t understand it.” – Peter Drucker

  24. I agree it takes a strong initiating force but with weather being what it is, all we need is just a few random, seemingly inadequate events to line up and presto, we’ve got a hammer. Also looking at the behavior visible in the ice core record, there seems to be a boundary that the climate doesn’t like to cross. Earth seems to have significant resistance to turning into a snowball and to leaving this ice age entirely (there are still ice sheets even during interglacials).

    So my basic hypothesis is that the Milankovitch cycles simply set the stage, tipping the scale slightly in favor of cooling/warming feedbacks. Then a smaller “hammer” (but still pretty much a hammer) in the form of a convergence of multiple weather, volcanic, and various other phenomenon starts it moving.

    Now I think the signal (climate) is a bit too noisy for your hypothesis, but sadly with climatology, the noise that is weather coupled with the low quality of the proxy information makes it virtually impossible to verify ANY hypothesis…something many climatologists seem to have forgotten. But your thinking is far more in line with reality (and plausible) than that of current climatologists that are literally looking at what are in reality two different temperature proxies (atmospheric CO2 levels are, even according to the IPCC’s logic, a temperature proxy) and mixing one up as the main driver.

  25. “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.”

    I appreciate your efforts and understand you are a very accomplished and experienced EE. Interesting narrative, but where is the support from the data?

    This EE has a different theory – that it’s all down to variable solar electromagnetic radiation.

    I study the ‘subtle and nuanced solar-radiative perturbations’ you speak of, and have learned how it changes either the accumulation or depletion of ocean heat that is entirely dependent on whether and for how long TSI is high or low cycle-to-cycle.

    A 30 year ‘climate change’ as we define it can occur within two-three solar cycles of either sustained high or low activity.

    The supposedly ‘unprecedented’ warming that has occurred since 1980 was kicked off in 1979 by the sun’s highest rate of TSI increase in any instrumental record, which was also the top measured TSI year to date.

    The Holocene warming rates are very similar [below]. The recent warming rate was less than most of the previous spikes’ warming rates, and far less in magnitude and duration.

    If higher solar activity caused the recent warming spike, as my research indicates, perhaps it’s no stretch at all to envision a sporadically active sun throughout the Holocene that was much more active for a much longer period during the Minoan or Roman warm periods than since the LIA. The sun did not have to be any more active, but for much longer, than it was during the modern maximum for heat to have built up.

    There’s nothing new under the sun, except our understanding of it and what it does to the earth.

    Can we know if we’re in for 500-1000 years of solar activity driven higher temps or back to an ice-age? Temps could crash again like in the LIA or they might just keep on rising – it depends on the sun.

    ‘Solar activity changes the weather and climate’ is the lesson of space age data in this EE’s opinion.

    • I wholly agree that the sun plays a role. I’m pretty sure the gravitationally induced modulations to Earth internal heat play a role too.
      The latter seems to me a more plausible explanation of huge and sudden change.

      • All the current evidence indicates subsea volcanism adds some heat but… all indications are it’s sporadic and local, and time dependent, like aerosols, whereas TSI covers it all, always, affecting the ocean top layers.

        If there were undersea volcanism events in greater number and duration at any time for whatever reason, it was ALSO happening on land in many places too, producing more aerosols affecting albedo, having the effect of cooling at the same these undersea events are supposed to be adding heat and changing the climate ‘like a hammer’, how can anyone know whether there was net warming or cooling from it?

    • The energy pulse that ends the ice age is decidedly different than the gentle bleed-off that creates an ice age. By elimination the huge amount of energy in the pulse either comes from the Sun or the Earth. Hard to say which.

      Orbital mechanics however suggests that we should be able to predict the ice ages without knowing the mechanism behind them, using a similar process to that used by early humans to predict the seasons without knowing the mechanism.

      Mechanism is more a question for philosophy (PhD’s) than Engineers, because there is always a mechanism underlying every mechanism, on to infinity. PhD’s have the luxury of being wrong.

      Engineers don’t have the same luxury. They don’t need to know why something works, they only need to know how to make it work, because they don’t end up in court if their ideas are wrong. They only end up in court if their ideas don’t work. And for centuries engineers have been building plenty of useful devices that work without anyone knowing exactly why.

      • Hints of causation lie in the correlation of terminations (and attempted terminations) with Earth’s tilt cycle, although some argue for eccentricity to rule.

  26. I am still waiting for some evidence that “climate scientists” can calculate the mean temperature of a billiard ball under a sun lamp before I put stock in any more elaborate qualitative theories .

    That said , 273.15 is the one “tipping point” around and our orbital gray body temperature ranges only about 3 to 8 degrees above that . So the “sudden” change of state from high to low albedo and corresponding temperatures can be reasonably understood , but less so the asymmetry . It is interesting to note how uniform the both the top and bottom limits are making the idea of some further “tipping point” to the upside not only baseless but unprecedented .

  27. (I’m another retired engineer – spacecraft and ground control electronics, software.) I’m intrigued by the chart. I’m sure I’ve seen it before, but it hits me differently this time. For the last 20k years, we’ve enjoyed amazingly high and stable temperatures, but clearly, the bottom must fall out of that. Not a problem in our lifetime, or our grandkids, but if we haven’t mastered nuclear energy technologies, we’re in a lot of trouble.
    Of course, this is a sample of only about five cycles, but it is a trend. Again, worrying about another degree or two of temperature increase is clearly misdirected. Because of how long temps have lingered at a high note, I would be concerned about a sudden large drop in temperatures, occurring even faster than historical drops.
    Thanks for the chart! This impels me to do more study of ice core data.

    • Thanks for the chart!
      the ice age temperatures remind me of the inverse of the capacitor voltage from a LM555 timing circuit, with the ramp-up shape different than the ramp-down.

      • yeah.
        the takeaway point, for me, is that the input rate is definitely not the same as the decay rate.

        therefore it suggests discrete and intense event that happens fast and stops fast.
        this isn’t what i’d think to be consistent with slow, gentle solar fluctuation.
        it’s an active heat pulse, not a cooling pulse.
        that pretty much leaves very cyclical vulcanism or cosmic impacts.
        what can make that happen is not co2, for sure.

    • play the capacitor voltage in reverse, with t = 0 on the left, and it looks a whole lot like ice age temperatures. We come sharply out of the last ice age into the interglacial, and then follow a gradual decline into the next ice age, with the drop becoming sleeper and steeper as we come closer to the ice age.

      • It is similar, but sometimes the interglacials last longer and at other times are shorter. Same is actually true as well of the glacials, which average out to around 100,000 years, but are really more like 80 or 120 K years long (in the latter case, there is an aborted interglacial at 80K). This pattern suggests control by the 41 K tilt cycle, or at least some important contribution from it.

        Deglaciation of the NH ice sheets usually takes around 10,000 years, which is about the same as how long it takes for them to build up.

  28. The resonant causing an increase in subsea volcanic activity…………wasn’t that the cause of the West Coast “Blob” that gave, the West Coast, and those of us in Alaska, two of the warmest, nicest winters in memory (winters of 2014-15, and 2015-16)?

    • Yes, we had a post here which compared geothermal heat in the Pacific to the heat content of The Blob. It all looked so good. Then somebody checked the math and found that the heat calcs. were off by 4 or 5 orders of magnitude. Oops.
      What’s a few orders of magnitude between friends?

      Same problem here, utterly insignificant gravitational forces have a profound effect on Earth, because Resonance!
      Actually, there is a long established field of study calculating the positions of the planets and stars, and their influence on all earthly events. It is known as Astrology.

      • It is known as Astrology.
        Astrology is how we calculate with great precision another chaotic system, the ocean tides. No person has ever been able to reliably predict he tides from first principles the way climate science tries to calculate climate.

        So, with a huge body of knowledge, about what works and what doesn’t to predict the future state of chaotic systems, Climate Science picks the one method that long experience has shown does not work.

        No wonder they are called “Climate Scientists”. Unless you add “Scientist” to the name, no one would know.

      • When I was a teenager I worked at a gas station. A friend of mine had a ’55 Chevy he was very proud of. One day he had taken all the shock absorbers off the car. Later, that day he turned into the station and stopped. He then popped the clutch momentarily, the front-end moved up, then back down; and just as it reached the bottom, he pulled forward all the way to the pumps (100 feet or so) with his front tires off the ground about 3 feet – revealing to me the entire undercarriage of the car the whole way.

        He got out of the car and proceeded to show me that with his index-finger alone, he could push down on the front bumper, in sink with its motion, such that by the 6th or 7th push, the front bumper would come up to the height of his forehead.

        That’s what resonate stimulation is capable of.

      • We stand on the shoulders of giants, and those giants studied the celestial mathematics of Astrology in their day, which was the scientific equivalent of our science today. Not talking about the predictive type of persona astrology of today, but the actual mathematics of delineating orbital mechanics to predict where the heavenly bodies were in the past or would be in the future. Definitely not making any case for any type of astrology here, although it would be neat to get into the head space of an ancient man 10,000 years ago trying to put together the tides and the phases of the moon. It is where we came from…and without those thousands of years of observations by the humans who came before is, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

        It should be noted that the Milankovitch orbital forcing mechanism is primarily due to the gravitational pull of Jupiter and Saturn over long time frames…an extraterrestrial force causing long tern fluctuations in the orbit of earth. Which causes these wobbles in the earth, by what appears to be insignificant gravity. While gravity in inversely square to the distance etc, this shows how the gravitational effects of the major planets and the sun and the moon set up earth’s orbital cycles, which are the root cause of the ice ages. Combined with other factors of course. Don’t be so quick to jump on ‘pseudo’ science, for the effects are very real to our planet. But I know what you are saying…

      • I thought precession of the equinoxes was due to the moon’s push and pull in it’s orbit?

    • The Blob’s heat only affected the top few meters of the ocean. The ocean floor was not heating any water below the Blob. It was a high pressure stationary system that caused the Blob.

    • When ice sheets reach a certain size, they discharge more icebergs. That seems to happen in the North Atlantic with quasi-periodicity. The YD was essentially a Heinrich Event during a deglaciation.

  29. Gravitational perturbations caused by the moon will be many orders of magnitude larger than the planetary perturbations proposed here. Even the cyclic changes in the moon’s orbit will have effects vastly larger.

    • Just presume for a moment that the moon itself does not provide constructive resonance with the bulk Earth (a likely safe assumption). Then the logic of the essay flows nicely.

      • My point exactly, the effects of the moon swamps out any resonance and perturbs the system so greatly that any resonance buildup is impossible. Everybody is familiar with ocean tides, less so with land tides. Consider that land tides can be 20 cm or so, and can be quite larger.

  30. If the accumulation of surface ice alters the relationship between the surface (wobble) and the Earth’s iron core any good science fiction writer could imagine magma forced up between the tectonic plates. It doesn’t have to reach the surface to cause heat exchange – it just needs to reach the sea floor or close enough to create thermal vents.

  31. They say that to a hammer, everything looks like a nail, but this is the first time I’ve seen the Earth treated as a nail. I don’t think Earth’s internal heat is a significant player in climate.

  32. “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.”

    Couldn’t we just say that ice in the form of snow takes longer to accumulate than it takes ice sitting on the ground to melt? Ice melts every warm day but getting an accumulation of snow takes more time since a glacier represents numerous snow events spread over time. To use the battery metaphor in a slightly different context, the battery charges slowly but shorts out quickly.

    Personally, I wonder if something is going on in the oceans to make things swing back and forth. Most of the surface temperature of the earth is in the oceans, and thanks to the cold of the ocean’s abyss the real surface temperature of the earth is 5 or 10 C colder than what the atmosphere is. I never read anyone comment on the curious pool of cold in the depths of the ocean sandwiched between warm atmosphere above and warm lithosphere beneath and how that pool might behave across the millennia. For all I know it may take tens of thousands of years for an ocean to rewarm after an ice age.

  33. I like the thinking. I do think a mechanism needs to be proposed (and hopefully confirmed by geology) to explain a change in Albedo and/or ocean currents. I don’t see GHG as being strong enough to force a quick change in global temperature. Perhaps the escaping mantle heat is released into the oceans in a localized fashion. This leads to monsoons that rapidly melt snow and ice. Or perhaps ocean circulation changes lead to jet stream changes and dust storms change the albedo.

  34. Interesting idea. Easy to dismiss by saying there’s no evidence, but perhaps nobody has looked for evidence.

    The removal of 120 metres of water from over all the mid-ocean ridges would reduce static pressure at any depth by about 12 bars. That doesn’t sound like much to igneous petrologists who deal in kilobars; could it be the trigger that sets of a lot of eruptive activity? Perhaps, maybe with some seismic assistance.

    The fact is, we don’t know nearly enough about MORs and their history to comment. Iceland, which is a “hot spot” on the mid-Atlantic ridge, would be the place to look because its volcanoes have been well studied, being mostly above sea level.. One would need a detailed chronology of recent eruptions and volumes of magma emitted. This information probably exists but may not be condensed in a single source. It might take some old-fashioned library work to put it together.

    Personally, I have always tended to think that it’s the drop in sea level past a certain level that is what warmists like to call a tipping point when glacial periods suddenly come to an end. The simplest explanation would be something like: the oceans get too shallow for the thermohaline circulation to continue – so no warm water being discharged into the North Atlantic and Pacific – less evaporation at high northern latitudes – less snow – dry climate – more dust covers the ice sheets with less snow to cover it – rapid drop in albedo – melting starts – more previously buried dust exposed on the ice surface – even lower albedo – and so on. We’ve had the “dust” part of that theory presented here by “Javier” and it’s a good idea. The other point that “javier” made, and it was a good one too, was that the 100,000 year cycle is only an average, and that the actual periods are closer to 2 or 3 Milankovitch cycles (82,000 or 123,000 years). That orbital cycles help the deglaciation but on their own aren’t enough to start it, without an additional trigger, which is where the dust comes in.

    The idea that increased vulcanism could take all or part of the credit for ending glacial periods is worth pursuing.

    BTW there is zero evidence for a “fission reactor” in the earth. There is just continuous spontaneous decay of the three main radioactive elements – potassium, uranium and thorium in the crust and the mantle. That is sufficient to account for observed heat flows. There was once, during the Proterozoic, a natural uranium, water-moderated, self-regulating reactor at what is not the Oklo uranium mine in Gabon, but it was a very local phenomenon. Fascinating, actually, but not a global feature. If there was a fission reactor deep inside the earth, we’d see some weird isotopes turning up in volcanic rocks (like those at Oklo) and we just don’t.

    • Smart Rock,
      It should be noted that the only reason that the Oklo reactor WAS viable is that because U235 was more abundant during the Precambrian. Such a thing could not happen today because the relatively short half-life of U235 means that the percentage remaining today, after decaying, is not sufficient to sustain a chain reaction.

    • @Smart Rock. RE your BTW.
      If there was an oscillating spontaneous fission rate in the core, what evidence would we see?
      First off, in the core, the force of gravity is low. The core is supposed to be a solid. Migration rates of even light daughter products would be crawling.
      Second, by the time the products did reach to liquid outer core, they would probably decay to stable isotopes or those few that are “naturally radioactive” with billion year half-lives.
      Third, there are stable elements with different isotopes How could we tell they are not from the center of our planet instead of the center of a star?

      True that U, K, Th radio active decay is enough to account for the observed heat flows (constrained by allowable core densities). But that is not a necessary condition, only a sufficient one. A core with episodic fission rates might deliver only a quarter of the heat of the natural radio active decay, But such a core allows for a core temperature that can increase as well as decrease over time.

      RE: Oklo. As I recall (I could be wrong), the tip off was that the ratio of U235/U238 was unnaturally low. Maybe there were trace element clues in the ore body too, but it was the ratio that caught the attention.

    • Smartrock:

      You wrote: “The idea that increased vulcanism could take all or part of the credit for ending glacial periods is worth pursuing”

      This is completely backwards.

      Increased vulcanism can only initiate glacial periods because of the dimming effects of the pollutants spewed into the atmosphere, primarily SO2 aerosols.

      Cessation of increased volcanism will cause rapid warming, since the pollutants will settle out within probably 10 years, or less.

  35. A very interesting essay on an exceedingly unsolved complex problem for a Sunday morning over coffee. Whether this hypothesis of bulk-Earth-resonance from orbital forcing causing the earths core and mantle releasing a climate hammer of heat into the oceans through vulcanism is the actual causation of abrupt ends to ice ages remains to be seen and proved. But very interesting.

    There is no doubt that lunar tidal interconnections and gravitational perturbations cause the ocean tides to wax and wane, which should give pause to think about all other gravitational forces acting on the earth. Including forces we don’t even know about yet, or barely understand and that science may not even legitimize for proper study. Just think about our modern science that arose from the greats like Copernicus, Galileo, Newton and dozens of others that began their scientific endeavours under the influence of the study astrological mathematics or the quest by others for alchemy that gave us modern day chemistry.

    It should be noted that the Milankovitch orbital forcing mechanism is primarily due to the gravitational pull of Jupiter and Saturn over long time frames…an extraterrestrial force causing long tern fluctuations in the orbit of earth. This theory is generally accepted by every side of the climate debate in long term climate trending. It doesn’t however shed any light on how an ice ends so abruptly or forcefully. Which is really an unsolved puzzle that barely gets talked about.

    It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that other mechanisms are at work that are poorly understood and therefor dismissed by the scientific community at large. It is extremely likely that ice ages end abruptly by some external extraterrestrial process that to date remain unknown. Obviously, solar dynamics are probably the best candidate for such, but one probably can’t discount the periodicity of cosmic bolide impact, perhaps by comets on a very large repeating time scale that add tremendous heat to the atmosphere over a time scale of a few years, via a swarm of thousands of smaller icy comets that air burst, thus leaving no impact data, but massive amounts of latent heat in the atmosphere. Sure, hard to prove on our human time scale, but prove me wrong? This is one of my pet hypothesis, and I am sticking to it.

    • Milankovitch cycles do IMO shed light on how ice ages, so-called, end as well as start.

      Not all Milankovitch cycles are orbital. The parameter which IMO is most important is the tilt of the axis of rotation. The axial tilt or obliquity wobble might have to do with the big planets’ gravitational attraction, too, but I don’t know about that.

      • My understanding of axial tilt has more to do with long term resonance of primarily lunar tidal forcing, with a smaller influence of the Sun’s gravity combined. But still caused by extraterrestrial gravitational forcing by these local astronomical bodies. It all gets to be fairly complicated, and even then, long term climate doesn’t all match up exactly with these cycles within cycles. And probably has other additional forcings from earth processes and feedback mechanics. Which is why climate study is also part art since it involves so may disciplines and interpretations of such.

        The angle of the Earth’s axial tilt with respect to the orbital plane (the obliquity of the ecliptic) varies between 22.1° and 24.5°, over a cycle of about 41,000 years. The current tilt is 23.44°, roughly halfway between its extreme values. The tilt last reached its maximum in 8,700 BCE. It is now in the decreasing phase of its cycle, and will reach its minimum around the year 11,800 CE. (when we will have been in a much cooler phase and likely a full blown ice age) This clearly shows that at 10,700 BP that the axial tilt was at the maximum and had been building to that that state for millennium, and along with forcing from a less eccentric orbit, this ensured an end to the ice age with the present interglacial.

        Increased tilt increases the amplitude of the seasonal cycle in insolation, providing more solar radiation in each hemisphere’s summer and less in winter. However, these effects are not uniform everywhere on the Earth’s surface. Increased tilt increases the total annual solar radiation at higher latitudes, and decreases the total closer to the equator.

        The current trend of decreasing tilt, by itself, will promote milder seasons (warmer winters and colder summers), as well as an overall cooling trend. Because most of the planet’s snow and ice lies at high latitude, decreasing tilt may encourage the onset of an ice age for two reasons: There is less overall summer insolation, and also less insolation at higher latitudes, which melts less of the previous winter’s snow and ice.

      • Ron,

        As long ago as 2005, Huybers and Wunsch recognized the continuing importance of axial tilt even after the so-called mid-Pleistocene transition from 41K dominance to pseudo ~100K.

        They found that glacial terminations corresponded to times of greatest tilt. This apparently owes to the fact that annual average sunlight in the higher latitudes is greater when tilt is maximal.
        More sunlight seasonally hitting polar regions helps to melt the ice sheets.

        They suggested that this cycle still affected iciness after the supposed “transition” to longer glacial intervals, but that its effect was dampened somewhat by generally colder conditions as the Pleistocene wore on.

  36. Ron, a great article, and theory.
    If you consider the Pacific siesmic activity since late 2010, and the temperature anomaly increases.

    Given the recent term solar decline, the ocean heat budget has increased. This is not how it should be. . Solar as the primary energy, with the heat then carried down. The heat is comming from below the oceans, bottom up

    The ring of Fire is in the Pacific, as is El Nino.

    As soon as the heat reaches the surface it is quickly dispatched to other regions via atmospheric transport, and recorded at the new location (s) as warming, when in fact it is heat sink dissapation to an area of escape. The area of atmospheric transport is only really just starting to be understood.

    You are saying that current measurements of the lower troposphere are simply recording heat loss from earth – from below all surfaces. And when Earths internal heat loss starts to decline, we are then in a cooling phase. At that point we should look only for bottom ocean warming as a way out of an icy peril.

    The sun is viewed as a source of great energy, all ultimately from within. The Earth too has a centre of great and fast moving energy. Perhaps we need to stop looking up, and start looking down..

  37. Ronald D. Voisin,

    You really believe all that.


    The ultimate electric latched state earth climate change model.


    • Without adjustments, the 1930s would be warmer than the 1990s, as they were, and this century no warmer than 1977-2000.

      Adjustments. Gotta have ’em. Otherwise, the gravy train would stop stopping at the station.

      • “Steven Mosher April 9, 2017 at 4:15 pm

        Ah actually not. Adjustments cool the record.”

        Why the need to adjust to “cool” the “record”? Seems like the record is constantly being “adjusted”, “changed” to “show” something, and every time it is adjusted it fails to show what the adjustors “Guardians of the RAW data” (That is GONE) want. To coin a phrase from Janice Moore “CO2 up, temperatures down”.

      • Steven Mosher:

        Thankyou for yet another typical example of Mosher BS.
        Gloateus correctly wrote

        Without adjustments, the 1930s would be warmer than the 1990s, as they were, and this century no warmer than 1977-2000.

        Adjustments. Gotta have ’em. Otherwise, the gravy train would stop stopping at the station.

        and you replied

        Ah actually not. Adjustments cool the record.

        1. Look at Global records, SST + SAT
        2. Stop ingesting Goddard. it rots the brain

        Actually YES. Adjustments cool the record OF THE PAST so without adjustments, the 1930s would be warmer than the 1990s, as they were, and this century no warmer than 1977-2000.

        1. Look at Global records, SST + SAT; e.g. see this
        2. Stop taking notice of Mosher. His brain is rotten.


    • co2islife on April 9, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      WUWT readers, I have a new post that I’d really appreciate some opinions on.

      Absorbing radiation can only cause warming according to the AGW theory. In reality, CO2 causes cooling, not by absorbing, but by increasing the transmission of radiation into outer-space. Greenhouse gasses impact temperature in two ways.

      The first and one embraced by the climate alarmists is through the absorption and “thermalization” of the outgoing radiation. Greenhouse gasses get “excited” when they absorb LWIR. No argument there. The “excitement” of the greenhouse gas is only temporary, and the absorbed radiation is rapidly re-radiated.

      This re-radiation of energy, directed away from the earth, rapidly transfers the energy out of the atmosphere and into outer-space resulting in cooling of the atmosphere. So greenhouse gasses can both warm and cool the atmosphere.

      Are you really, really sure, co2islife?

      What I learned about this process until now (a mix of various, partly contradicting sources) is that
      – indeed trace gasses (H2O, CO2, CH4, N2O, CFCs etc) not only absorb but reemit as well, but
      – as opposed to Earth’s surface, they reemit in all directions, what means that less LWR reaches outer space than is the case in their absence, and
      – last not least, the higher the reemission level, the lesser efficient the reemission.

      Reading your thread linked above lets me suspect you a bit to think that absorption/reemission by trace gasses is a kind of null sum game.

      If that was the case, that would mean that trace gasses would not retain any even tiny amount of that LWR emitted by the planet as reaction to SWR coming from the Sun. Where would then be any difference between Earth and Moon wrt back radiation of LWR to space?

      So shouldn’t we rather fairly think that „greenhouse“ gasses warm the atmosphere somewhat more at the bottom than they manage to cool it at top of it?

      I have been very impressed by the math work done 40 years ago by Joseph W. Chamberlain here:
      where he performed interesting calculations of two matters:
      – the atmosphere’s opacity induced by trace gasses in general;
      – the effect of even tiny trace gas concentrations due to their ability to increasingly close the atmospheric window (8 to 12 µ).

      A far more elaborated paper concerning all this stuff was written by Chamberlain as well; he made later a 2nd edition together with Donald M. Hunten:

  38. All important changes in scientific paradigms must begin as thought exercises. This theory is just that – and bravo for it. Fact is, we simply cannot explain the suddenness of the change into the inter-glacials. It simply defies common sense. It simply MUST involve a hammer of a sort. This hammer is as good as any I can think of.
    (N.B. : Thor, in nordic mythology, was a hammer-wielder – the cause of all sudden changes, both for good and evil).

  39. Where did the heat come from to melt the ice sheets.?
    The only clear answer to me is that it came from the Pacific ocean itself. Only that could have stored the heat needed to have melted the ice sheets. As CLIMAP suggests that the Pacific ocean became a huge heat sink during the LGM. Also the way the ice sheets melted over North America strongly suggests that the warming was coming from over the Pacific.

      • Very possible, as l have seen by watching the jet stream maps. That air from as far away as the eastern Pacific can reach europe. Also remember that much of the dust that is claim by some to have caused the melting came from central asia.

  40. Ron – In the last paragraph of your article you note the hammer might be prompted by, “possibly a central core fission geo-reactor”. J. Marvin Herndon suggests that same driver in his book, HERNDON’S EARTH AND THE DARK SIDE OF SCIENCE. What drives tectonic plates and volcanic activity? Central core fission geo-reactor appears possible. I wonder why there seems be so little curiosity about the nature of your cited hammer.

    • If nickel-iron meteorites provide a good analog of what the core of Earth is composed of, there simply isn’t sufficient uranium present to support fission. Also, there isn’t a reasonable moderator to slow fission neutrons so that they could be captured and continue the chain reaction. I think this speculation has about as much support as a claim about unicorns.

      • Why would meteorites necessarily describe core of Earth? And what is heat source which drives volcanic activity? What force drives this hammer?

      • Tom,

        Seismology demonstrates that the core is stratified and has properties that are best explained by nickel-iron.

        The heat for plate boundary volcanism comes from a combination of friction and KUT radioactive decay, supplemented by a hot mantle blanket below.

      • Why would meteorites necessarily describe core of Earth? And what is heat source which drives volcanic activity? What force drives this hammer?

  41. Earth and Moon are in binary-orbit; both Earth and Moon orbit the Barycenter. The Barycenter is located about 4,671 km from the Earth’s geocenter-mass and center-of-figure, within the upper mantle (Earth’s ellipsoid-figure radii are 6,378.137 km [major – equatorial] and 6,356.7531342 km [minor – polar]). There is an animation of the Earth and Moon orbiting the Barrycenter:


    Before 1 Myr (Radiometric Before Present, 1950 AD) the Barycenter of the Earth-Moon System was located within the Earth’s Core. Due to orbital decay, the Barycenter, after 1 Myr had migrated into the Earth’s mantle, lower mantle. By Eocene, the Barycenter came to a location roughly 4,671 km from the Earth’s geocenter-mass, where it is today.

    CO2 just does not matter at all! Well, it certainly matters beyond life and death and BitCoin Trasactions bricked by Wells Fargo, and for some idiots at the National Science Foundation and the United Nations Framework for Climate Change Committee and the International Panel on Climate Change. However, the idiots “matters” are political and religious, just like the idiots at the American Geophysical Union and their ilk.

    Ha ha

    • The barycenter is on its way out of the earth and into space between us and the moon, as with Pluto and Charon, which is about 8% Pluto’s mass. The moon is only a little more than one percent earth’s mass.

      It is also receding from earth, so that eventually the barycenter of the earth-moon system will lie outside our planet’s crust, then outside its atmosphere.

      • Good point. Not intuitively obvious, given that the difference in diameter is far less dramatic.
        The moon is over 1/4 of Earth’s diameter, but this leads to a volume difference of close to 50 to 1.
        Which gives a mas difference nearly twice as large, given that the moon has no dense metallic core.

      • Think of a baseball about 25′ away from a basketball.
        That gives a decent approximation of the relative sizes and the distance.

  42. From a electrical engineering standpoint, the climate is not a flip-flop. A network of thousands of op-amps with a multitude of feedback circuits and cross-connections would be more realistic.

  43. Nice idea Ron. I’m an engineer, mining and metallurgical and a geologist – some say I should be retired, but clients keep engaging me and I don’t play golf, lawn bowling or know a lot about horticulture and other engaging pursuits. I do spend more time than I should on climate stuff, having discovered the horror of what has been done to the scientific method in the service of a political ideology.

    As an engineer, it is probably no surprise that you have run into complaints that you are not a ‘scientist’ and don’t belong here. Thermodynamics itself, came out of steam power engineering and in terms of heat transfer, enthalpy and ocean/atmosphere/ice dynamics, we are dealing with a natural engine. You are looking at the big picture of why things shift from a longterm cold state to a warm state and back again, an area that climateers don’t even want the conversation to touch upon because it makes the polisci climate doom stuff clearly silly. My daughter is a physics prof who had post doc gigs with NASA and Scripps Oceanogrphic, but her first job was in the investment department of a bank doing risk and financial analysis and economic forecasting. She said they liked having physicists there because money math was similar to physics formulae.

    Hey, gravity, electrical and magnetic field strength, light intensity, the killing power of a shotgun blast, sound intensity, damage from an explosion…. all vary as the square of the distance. Nature was very economical with its basic laws.

    An engineer has a heavy responsibility by training, a code of ethics and liability laws to be right all the time. Scientists are not presently sufficiently constrained to be even honest these days (they just simply used to exercise self discipline in previous generations) and of course they can be fanciful with their theories. I think they are on a path to an engineer type outside disciplinary structure after the real damage done to public economic wellbeing and health with their irresponsible costly alarm on climate. Oh, and there is one other thing. There is no such thing as a rocket scientist… er.. that would be engineer.

  44. Ronald D Voisin wrote of the central core fission geo-reactor in
    An Engineer’s Questions Regarding Holocene Climate Change.

    In that post, I commented that I liked the idea of an episodic reactor for an entirely different reason. Geologists and geophysicists also seek a “hammer” to start the process of Plate Tectonics.

    What if, the core does oscillate? that would mean it would also oscillate in temperature and expansion. The crust would oscillate from a compression, initiating and enforcing subduction, and expansion, enhancing rifting and plate spreading. Expansion and contraction repeated would form sort of a ratchet, helping the plate tectonics along.

    It is estimated that the Atlantic is spreading about 1 cm per year. 1 meter per 100 years. 100 meters in 10,000 years. If just half of that is due to a ratchet, a 50 meter change in the circumference of the earth 40,000,000 meters, or 1 part in 1,000,000, then that is all the difference in radius we need from a the thermal expansion oscillation of an oscillating fission core on a 10,000 year cycle.

    □ Let us consider a couple of things that must be true. Lord Kelvin made an error when he worked out the heat of the earth without taking into account natural radioactivity. Perhaps we have made an error by NOT including the energy from limited but increased spontaneous fission chains. Spontaneous fission happens. The neutrons get absorbed somewhere. Also, we are dealing with temperatures and pressures in the core of 3,000,000 atm and 5,000+ deg. C. We are likely dealing with Uranium and Thorium metal and compound crystal phases unknown to us on the surface. Changes in atomic spacing in different crystal phases could change fission rates.

    I’m considering core configurations where spontaneous fission can cause a limited chain of fission in fissionable, not fissile, material. Neutron fission ratio less than 1. The ONLY reason it is an interesting proposition to me is that it must be an episodic reactor of a long duration cycle, Hotter-cooler core temps change the radius of the earth, stretching and shrinking the crust, helping keep tectonics and geology active. It would have to be more than a 1000 year cycle. Mantle convection or push-pull conveyor crustal turnover are probably the main drivers of Plate Tectonics, but radial expansion and contraction provides a helping hand and a means to start the process.

    Making it episodic is a tough criteria. From a “cooler”, denser core state, the fission ratio approaches 1, say 0.9 for argument. Fission rates rise, perhaps quickly. The core gets hotter and expands from thermal expansion. Soon fission product poisons build up which reduce the reaction rate. Fission ratio drops to 0.7 (it still happens, but the power is much reduced). The heat takes thousands of years to equalize, cooling the core, contracting it, while the fission poisons have had a chance to decay or migrate. Fission ratio back to 0.9. With the change in temperature, there can be phase changes in the Uranium Thorium compounds further adjusting the fission ratio.

    When there is fission, there is also reactor poisons. Early on in the Manhattan Project, the reactor physicists got a nasty surprise when their first plutonium breeder reactor at Hanford went into unexpected oscillation. Fission daughter products were poisoning the reactor. Some of these poisons had half-lives in the units of hours or days. So once the reactor created the daughters, it dropped in intensity until the poisons dropped below a threshold, then the reactor would spin up again.

    Those reactor poisons would also exist in any core fission reaction. Given the immense size of the core that could participate in fission (hundreds of miles in diameter), the concentration of poison products could vary over a long time. Recrystalizing the U and Th compounds, expulsing the poisons would take time. So, it become possible for fission rates in the core to be non-constant and episodic or oscillating. It follows, then that the temperature of the core would oscillate with the rate of fission. If the temperature of the core oscillates, then the radius of the earth would oscillate, too, from thermal expansion. Finally, the circumference of the earth would have to oscillate, enhancing rifting and subduction of the crust.

    It is a thought experiment. But such an episodic fission core would manifest itself in a 1 part per million change in the radius (or more) which would be the “hammer” to crack the crust and help drive tectonics.

    I am not at all sure that the core fission thermal kick would manifest itself to directly break the highly-latched cold state described in the main post. I am skeptical of a direct change in heat flow from the core large enough to break the Ice Ages. I think we should see evidence of that in Thermal History Basin Modeling in the petroleum business and we do not. More likely I think is an active-phase fission core thermal expansion, which enhances rifting, can significantly increase ocean rift heat flow enough to “hammer” the ice age into quick retreat.

    • Stephen,
      Why have metallic uranium or thorium never been observed in nickel-iron meteorites recovered on the surface of the Earth? Why are fission products not reported from analyses of meteorites? It appears to me that you and others) are engaging in wild speculation without the benefit of any supporting evidence.

      • @Clyde. Fair question about meteorites. But it then begs the question of radioactive heating of the earth. Why don’t we see that in the meteorites?

        Where do meteorites originally come from? How big a planetoid was smashed, if that were the original source? At what age in the planetoids development? Was it big enough to have a fissionable core and did it last long enough to enrich the core with fissionable materials?

        For that matter, why does Venus have no observable plate tectonism?

        Yes, I am speculating. But more than that I am trying to point out that the radius of the Earth CANNOT be a constant so we should not assume it is. If there is no fission core, then it must be cooling as a thermal decay function and the radius must be shrinking. Alternatively, we are being rained on by micrometeorites so conceivably the radius to the surface of the earth is expanding. It is absurd to think the two effects balance out.

        Oddly enough, early in the plate tectonics scientific history was an “Expanding Earth” theory. Bruce Heezen was studying the mid-Atlantic Ridge and was convinced the spreading was real. But how could we be adding ocean crust unless the radius of the earth was increasing? Along come Hess & Dietz 1959-1962 expanding + subducting crust (the name Plate Tectonics came a couple years later). So real was the Expanding Earth theory that Hess took a page and a half to explain how his theory of a “jaw crusher of the descending limb” (subduction) made the problems of a changing earth radius go away.

        An oscillating radius can help the mechanism of plate tectonics. It can be made to happen if the core of the earth is not simply on a long cooling decline curve but has time-varying fission and radioactive decay rates.

      • Stephen,

        Whatever the size of the planetoid that provides us with meteorites, it was obviously large enough for overturning and concentration of nickel-iron in its core. That should have also concentrated U and Th, if it were going to happen.

        As to Venus, there has to be a strong thermal gradient to support mantle convection and the surface is so hot that it may inhibit convection.

        The half lives of K, U, and Th, are sufficiently long that we probably haven’t seen an effect of cooling large enough that it hasn’t been compensated for by the sun getting brighter and accreting asteroid and meteor material. Most of the KUT are concentrated in sialic crust, especially the potassium. So, any changes in volume would be mostly over the continents.

      • @Clyde,
        Whatever the size of the planetoid that provides us with meteorites, it was obviously large enough for overturning and concentration of nickel-iron in its core. That should have also concentrated U and Th, if it were going to happen.

        I have been chewing on that observation for a day.

        Your argument is good, but rests on the assumption that meteorites examined on Earth are a fair sampling of the body of that planetoid, or those planetoids as there were probably two involved in a collision that was big enough to have overturning and concentration of a nickel-iron core (or mantle).

        My primary counter argument is that meteorites that we see are not an unbiased sampling of the interior of an Earth-like planet with a solid core.

        1. Let us assume that meteorites come from an Earth-like planetoid old enough to have overturned and concentrated. There must have been a massive collision of two planetoids to create the shrapnel of asteroids and meteorites. In that circumstance, the vast majority of the fragments would be non-core material, most likely iron-nickel rich mantel material or more crustal chondrite material. The conclusion is that meteorites we see under-sample the core material and preferentially sample the mantle material — probably to a great degree of bias. (Note, I would love for Vesta and Ceres to show evidence of some dense core, but sadly no. Vesta’s density is 3.7 g/cc by the Dawn mission — higher than original estimates, but still lower than mantle densities. Ceres is lighter still at 2.1)

        2. Even if meteorites were an unbiased sampling of an Earth-like planetoid, the core material represents only about 1/150 of the total planet. (I am using Radius of Earth as 4000 mi and Radius of Inner Core = 760 mi). This is the estimation of the Earth core as of today. Was it smaller 3 billion years ago? Conclusion: at least 99.5% of all meteorites come from mantle, outer core, or crust of a planetoid, and rarely come from the inner core.

        3. What are the source of meteorites? I think the general consensus is that they are mostly fragments for collisions and impacts involving asteroids, with a small portion coming from impacts off the Moon or Mars. If this is so, then meteorites come from near surface sampling of these bodies. The Moon and Mars are not Earth-like core material. From point 1 above, the vast majority of asteroids do not come from core material, so meteorites originating from them couldn’t be samples of core material. Further, if the smaller asteroids are preferentially from mantle and crustal material, then by the proportion of surface areas of the asteroids, meteorites are vastly biased against core material.

        4. There is a school of thought that the asteroids are not from a collision of planetoids but are from a failed agglomeration into a planetoid. In which case, asteroids (and the meteorites from them) do not represent core conditions. Personally i find this origin of asteroids hard to believe because how can there be different types of asteroids (by surface spectrum) and different types of meteorites (if they come from asteroids) if they did not become differentiated first in a bigger planetoid and later smashed in a collision.

        Points 1 through 4 above is my answer why meteorites are unlikely to ever be a sample of an inner core of a planetoid with a fissile core. Therefore meteorite composition is not a strong counter argument to the hypothesis of an Earth inner-core with episodic low-grade fission. Mind you, it would take only one meteorite to show evidence of fission environment to support the hypothesis. But I think the hypothesis survives tens of thousands of meteorites that do not show such evidence

    • How could we find evidence to support a hypothesis of episodic fission in the inner-core?

      1. We could see changes in neutrino counts. Unfortunately, by this hypothesis the core is usually inactive. So you would only detect the increase in neutrino’s when it becomes active and the radius expands from temperature increase. If it is an end-of-ice-age hammer, then we wouldn’t expect to see an activation for many centuries. Even so, could we detect an Earth core neutrino increase against background over a few decades?

      2. If as likely we are in the inactive cooling phase, then we should see a contraction of the Earth radius. But at what rate? It cannot be much or we would have noticed it by now. I proposed above that it could be 1 part in 1 million. 40 meters of rifting/spreading in 40,000,000 meters of earth circumference. Earth radius = 6.37*10^6 meters. So we should see 6370 mm of elevation change over the course of an active-inactive cycle. If that cycle length is on the order of the ice ages, then it is 80,000-100,000 years. A change in earth radius as low as 0.6 mm / decade. About 1/50th of the estimated sea level rise rate. It might take a while before GPS data can detect that signal in all the earth tide and tectonic noise.

      The cycle might be faster than 100Kyr. The expansion ratio might be higher than 1 in a million. Both would help detect the change sooner in world-wide GPS data.

      • For comparison, the Mid-Atlantic ridge spreading is about 3 cm/yr, or 300 mm/decade. Some ocean spreading centers are 6 times faster. Descending-Slab-Pull is probably the dominant driver of plate tectonics (which I never questioned).

        Suppose during the active fission core phase, you had a 6.4 meter radial expansion in 2,000 years. (I choose 2000 years to be compatible with the head post “hammer” to end glaciation.) Then it would be 3.2 mm/year in radius, 20 mm/year in circumference, 200 mm/decade. In this case, it would be on the order of mid-Atlantic rifting speed. So I don’t think it is out of reason to consider a 50% increase in mid-ocean ridge heat flow as the hammer to end glaciation. All still predicated on a very difficult to observe 1 part in a million expansion from a hypothetical episodic fission inner core.

  45. Good post Ron. I’m also a retired EE & MSChE. RLC circuits are great at simulating physical/chemical/thermodynamic inter-relations – although rather simply. The trouble is there are an incredible number of variables, inter-relationships – multi-dimensionally that make transfer/feedback functions difficult to resolve and untangle. As an engineer, I was always confident that if I could define a problem I could resolve it & I was quite successful at doing that.

    Trouble with geophysical systems you can’t even sufficiently define the problems. I have always been fascinated by plate tectonics, volcanic activity at plate boundaries, thermohaline circulation, the moons gravitational effect on the earth -as well as other planetary gravitation influences- and the earths electromagnetic assist in ocean current flow. Having spent years working with magnetic flow meters, it is obvious that the earths magnetic field induces saline fluid flow in addition of course to the coriolis/wind/storm effect, gravitational effects, thermohaline effects, etc. So just in ocean current flow alone you have an incredible number of physical processes evident – representing multiple transfer functions and feedback elements.

    The elephant of dominant factors is capacitance as evidenced by charge/discharge time functions. I think I will always be enthralled by the study of physical systems due to the fact that there are so many inter-relationships and everything is continuously dynamic. Its not possible to hold any one variable constant and perturb another to find out its physical relationship.

    Thx again.

    • Having spent years working with magnetic flow meters, it is obvious that the earths magnetic field induces saline fluid flow

      I’d like to hear more about this!?! Are you saying that a magnet can make salty water move and does this mean that magnetic no salt water softeners are legit?

  46. The Earth surface temperature may not be stable even though some suggest that it is or has remained within some limit over time. The exact range which would be accepted as being unstable is never defined and if I gave any range then the reply would be that it has not varied beyond that level. The belief that because the Earths surface temperature in theory remained constant within certain limits then that means it is stable, the problem with this is engineers don’t build things to last billions of years and you will not get a guarantee beyond a year or two normally and the longer something “remains stable” the more likely it is to become unstable(some nuclear particles have half lives of billions of years before decaying).

  47. “That’s what resonate stimulation is capable of.”

    Harmonics are constructive interference. Nobody with a clue doubts their power.

    Yet one must explain more than the fibrillations within a glacial episode–the glacial/interglacial cycles. One must explain why the planet slides into one of the 5 or so macro scale glacial episodes we know of. The slide into the Pleistocene was more velvet than a hammer, yet the clear trend was for increasing “resonant stimulation”.

    It’s like pushing on your buddies bumper without shock absorbers with the added parameter that the temperature fell. Your proposal essentially answers the removal of the shock absorbers (GHG’s), and might also explain the increasing amplitude by way of delayed feedback; but it does not address the slow cooling that seemingly set the process in motion.

  48. if this theory is correct, there would be no reason why these somewhat-regular temperature spikes would be limited to ice ages, where the temperature spikes cause alternating glaciation/inter-glaciation intervals. They should also exist when the Earth is not in any kind of ice age at all, and no temperature reconstruction I’ve seen shows this behavior outside of an ice age.

  49. Unfortunately the author started with an assumption – that there was a delay of 800 years after temperature started rising, before CO2 started rising. That is now suspect. Recent work by the French group led by Frederic Parrenin (Science 2013) [Synchronous Change of Atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic Temperature During the Last Deglacial Warming] shows that was not the case in Antarctica. Here’s the abstract: “Understanding the role of atmospheric CO2 during past climate changes requires clear
    knowledge of how it varies in time relative to temperature. Antarctic ice cores preserve highly
    resolved records of atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic temperature for the past 800,000 years.
    Here we propose a revised relative age scale for the concentration of atmospheric CO2 and
    Antarctic temperature for the last deglacial warming, using data from five Antarctic ice cores.
    We infer the phasing between CO2 concentration and Antarctic temperature at four times
    when their trends change abruptly. We find no significant asynchrony between them, indicating
    that Antarctic temperature did not begin to rise hundreds of years before the concentration of
    atmospheric CO2, as has been suggested by earlier studies”. There was, however a delay in Greenland, but it was CO2 that led warming there. The reason is simple – solar energy was going into melting the great northern hemisphere ice sheets. The rationale is as follows (basic lab physics 101). Warm water and gas comes out. Immediately, not after 800 years.

    • Cool water and gas goes in! How does it warm the water to drive the gas out when all the CO2 is in the cold water? Your clever answer is circular reasoning at it’s finest and proof of nothing! But hey! I’m not a scientist so I can only apply logic and some physics to the question.

  50. Less water vapor means less convection in the troposphere. Which means less latent heat-mass transfer to the upper troposphere which means less heat rejection by the surface..where water evaporates.

  51. It’s not just the effect of gravity. It’s also the angle of the Earth – amount per unit ground area and distribution of the solar IR over the year. Where the summer solstice occurs – Northern or Southern summer (NH has more landmass than SH and land converts IR to heat). Eccentricity of the orbit – how the IR changes over the year. Where the landmasses are.

  52. “Regardless of the engineering discipline, the process of education and training to obtain an engineering degree gives an engineer a unique ability to practice the application of scientific principles to solve real life problems where otherwise the science alone may not adequately provide an answer.”

    Steve has an interesting theory. Steve I am a mechanical engineering with a lot experience with control systems. Do you want me designing the control system for for the airplane you ride in?

    My favorite place for really smart electrical engineers is be behind a desk in an office. Small current in circuits can be modeled the same way as steam in large pipes. There is a huge difference in consequences when the modeling is wrong.

    Things do go wrong in the the real world. My early experience was working in the power plant. More than a few arguments with office engineers. Eventually we figured it out together.

    My favorite is the controls system that used electronics for temperature compensation. At least that is how were were trained. Lots of time was spent in meeting with mechanical and electrical engineers. Were were stumped.

    One night I was bored on mid-shift, and theorized that the control system was based on simple mechanical flow orifices. Suddenly, the data I had collected made sense. First thing in the morning, I called the vendor which mainly worked with refineries. He said that we care about mass flow not volumetric flow.

    Problem solved. Got a bonus too. The hardest part was explaining to the NRC that what we trained them to think wrong. When you work in training you like complex because it is more fun to teach. When you look inside the black, there was no temperature compensation circuit.

  53. I have lots of experience with complex analog real world systems. The design and operation of a nuclear is based on the six factor formula. Biological reactors for such things a treating wastewater, have similar equations. Of course the time constants are different. To maintain a stable system requires many parts of the controls system to function correctly.

    As an engineer, my opinion is that the climate is a very stable system.

    Why? The miracle of life. The time constant for evolution is very long. If our climate was unstable there would no life.

    However, there are two other ‘rules’ I follow as engineer. First, I am skeptical. Is there really a significant problem. We have a billion people who do not have clean water or electricity. So no, climate change is not a significant problem.

    Second, am I qualified to address the issue. Again, no. While I am certainly more qualified than Ron, I think that no one is.

    The whole climate debate is so much BS.

    • Bang on! Feed people! House people! Give them proper sanitation! Give them security! Give them education! None of the above are possible without inexpensive (relatively) energy. With it and all good things are possible for every human on the planet!

  54. “environmental scientist”

    I would estimate that 50% of ‘environmental scientist’ is more like ‘political science’.

    My old environmental chemistry book discusses alkaline systems such as the ocean. ‘Ocean acidfication is an example of science loosing to politics.

    • Ocean acidification is exactly as meaningful and terrifying as the bogeyman! The most ridiculous of all the ridiculous AGW claims!

  55. I think you guys are on the right track. The vast quantities of water on the surface make it all possible, without it the heat would escape into space too quickly and this planet would be much more like Mars. I know I have shared this graph a lot, but it definitely pertains to this article although it is describing the longer ice age/hot house cycle which loosely coincide with levels of tectonism.

    • Thanks for posting it again.

      Pangaea started breaking up at the Triassic/Jurassic boundary, ie ~200 Ma.

  56. ” ….I dunno” is a correct answer, but ….”

    There are only three general answers, True, not True, and dunno. The later is huge compared to what know.

    Engineering is about getting the job done based on what we know. AGW is 100% ‘not true’. A little more ‘dunno’ would make AGW doomsayers just a little more credible.

  57. Since the Caltech guys are now monster hunting a long period planet 9 or X, are there any theories that some eccentric orbit, dark piece of matter (planet, brown dwarf, stellar remanent) could cause the energy burst? (whether Sol or the other)

  58. Since this article and most of the subsequent comments are speculation, I’ll add a mechanical engineers speculation. I deal with spinning objects in my work. Not spheres, but fans and pulleys and other objects. If the balance of these objects isn’t right, large forces can occur and in some cases rip the object apart. It seems to me that nothing is keeping the earth in balance during the huge build up of ice. During minimal ice periods the water in the oceans provides the balance to the system. What happens when a lot of that water is deposited haphazardly as a solid on land? At some point does it reach a “tipping point” by going out of balance and cause great stresses on the planet? Speculation.

    Also, someone earlier mentioned the weight of the ice pushing down on the land. It seems that if it pushes down hard enough it might cause more lava to squeeze out into the ocean, where the water pressure has gone down due to lower water depth. If enough squeezing happens, a lot of heat will transfer into the water, but little or no ash clouds will rise into the atmosphere. More speculation.

    These might not be the hammer Ron is searching for, but maybe they are?

    • I can’t really see it myself as the ice sheets, as spectacular on human scales as they are, are dwarfed by mountain ranges and perhaps other geological features as well.

  59. I have pointed out previously that in electronic analogy terms, the ice age cycle behaves more like a relaxation oscillator than a latch or multivibrator.

    Specifically, the kind of transformer-coupled arrangement used to charge a camera flash capacitor, in which a small initial drive current induces strong positive feedback, causing the primary current to ramp-up until the transformer’s core saturates and the feedback ceases. The cycle then repeating once the stored energy has been dumped into the capacitor.

    The ‘trigger point’ would appear to be the temperature minimum, at which point a rapid increase begins. The increase continues until the positive feedback reaches the end of its range, at which point the temperature starts on a slow decline back to the trigger point.

    If this is indeed the case, then the point of high sensitivity to outside influences is the minimum, and the behaviour at the maximum will be less easy to affect since the positive feedback will tend to drive the temperature ‘hard into the stop’ before disengaging, in any case.

  60. The author of the above piece is an electrical engineer. Would he take an article serious about the specifics of a subfield of his profession, written by an engineer from a totally different field that hadn’t even taken the effort of looking through the basic introductory textbooks in electrical engineering? I think not!

    Funny, I felt the same way when Michael Mann started fiddling around with signal processing tools and produced the hockey stick. If he’d bothered to peer review that work with someone in the EE department at his university they would have told him where he went wrong…

    This article is utilizing modern open peer review. My review is – there are several ways of producing a sawtooth wave, the author has just proposed one and and not shown how other phenomena could produce the same thing (one reviewer above suggested one). He did propose how to falsify his hypothesis though. I think the data are available to do so. The author should do so.

    My review is not – “you aren’t an expert”.


  61. I would tend to doubt the direct release of internal heat or ash (volcanos) as a cause. However, the indirect effect of the described processes might be enough to cause major shifting of ocean currents (which carry heat energy from low to high latitudes) and would cause high latitude ice melting (or freezing) and this would be a limited positive feedback (limited by available ice) that could cause switches in modes. Shorter period level changes would likely be a different process, likely just chaotic jumps to small effect local attractors (jumps in hot spots and cold spots).

    • what about the storms of dust lasting nearly ten thousand years? The dust can easily lower a lot the albedo of the ice or snow. If you observe the graphs of Vostok-Petit you would see, that previous to all sudden rises of temperature, during the glacial periods, were preceded by long lasting storms of dust. There is a paper about this from some
      Ralph Ellis, and a link to science

      What is not so clear are the Dansgaard-Oeschger sudden jumps in temperature, lasting a thousand years or a little more. How can be explained? For the heat suddenly vanished.

      • I doubt that dust can have that big an impact as every seasons snow fall will cover that season’s dust cover. Once a determined melting entrenches itself the reverse will be true. A larger and quicker effect is the melting of sea ice which can reduce albedo quickly, whereas the major land ice masses ( Antarctica, Greenland, Laurentide) are much more resistant to melting and hold the climate close to a balance or tipping point between warming and cooling. The cold periods are also dry, so when the sea ice melts and more ocean is exposed for evaporation, perhaps enough minor cooling ensues for the sea ice to return. Thus the system rocks back and forth until the overall forcing becomes great enough to overcome the feedbacks.
        That’s my theory and I would say we are probably right on that cusp now. We see the Antarctic ice sheet gaining mass as warm Pacific water increases precipitation globally. The additional cloud cover should tip us toward cooling over the next few decades. Greenland is showing expected stability which shows that the very minor warming of the last 3 or 4 decades is insufficient to rock us out of this balance point.
        The last 8,000 years or so have been pretty stable temperature wise at the top of this interglacial ( but not out of the ice age, which speaks to the resilience of the land ice masses). Present warming is not unusual for this period and attempts to paint it as abnormal by the climate catastrophists is abject bullshit!
        Most likely the next major step for the planet is back to glaciation and we will be talking about building huge reflectors in orbit to prevent runaway cooling! ‘Cause it’s worse than we thought, don’tcha know!

  62. Ronald’s hypothesis is fundamentally flawed on two major points.

    First he assumes that glacial and interglacial periodicity has always been 100,000 years. It has not. For the first 2 million years of the Quaternary, prior to the Mid Pleistocene Revolution 1 million years ago, the periodicity was ~ 40,000 years. What changed in the heat flows in magmatic rock to cause that?

    Second Ronald’s hypothesis states that the bigger the ice sheets get the more stable they become. But research into this specific question has found the exact opposite – as the ice sheets get larger, they require become less stable:

    This might seem surprising. Yes some positive feedbacks mean that more ice will sustain cold for example via increasing albedo. However larger ice sheets also require deeper cold to sustain them. And this is the source of a growing instability of ice sheets as they get larger. So depending on Milankovich cycles, when ice sheets grow very large they are susceptible to periods of orbitally forced warming starting a positive feedback in the other direction towards melting and deglaciation, which runs all the way to interglacial.

    This behaviour is not surprising in a complex nonlinear system. Oddly in this argument Ronald and the warmist trolls are on the same side. Both are unaware of or deny the dynamics of chaotic nonlinear complex systems. Both base arguments on simplistic linear back of envelope calculations of mass and scale etc. Both make the fundamental egregious mistake of believing the climate system to be passive and only moveable by a massive deus-ex-machina external forcing.

    • Just watching the starting of each interglacial period, there were a period of storms full of dust, lasting from 8,000 years to ten thousand years or more. You only need to watch the well known graph of Vostok-Petit.
      The graphic can be seen here.
      Then the period in which this dust storms happened were very cold, and there was not any winter snowing. The temperature of the seas were too cold to produce any meaningful snow.
      If you watch a photo of present day snow in Greenland in late autumn, you would see how dirty can become the snow in a single summer. You only need to figure the accumulation of 8 to 10 thousand years of dust falling over the ice on the northern hemisphere. The graphic of Vostok-Petit was obtained in Antarctica, then you need only to imagine how would had been the dust in the norther hemisphere, that was more closer to the source of dust storms. The main land masses were concentrated on the norther hemisphere. A lot of deserts would had formed in N.H. during the periods of glacial age. But the dust was so plenty as to arrive to the south pole.
      Just watch again the paper of Ralph Ellis. Another problem was the jittery in temperatures rising and falling during the period from 80,000 to 10,000 years BP I had not seen yet any decent theory explaining this part.

  63. WUWT, if I may, you have plenty of engineers on this blog, so I suppose another won’t hurt much. A retired mechanical, with a manic attraction to turbo-gen governors.

    The graph displayed brings to mind an unstable system which ratchets slowly to a trip point, a deep freeze, then trips back to the start point. Various variables may be involved but the slow move to a deep freeze seems inexorable (but it wasn’t so at much earlier times). The trip is fast and the ratcheting even faster (abrupt) so secular orbital changes may be ruled out.

    What is left is tilt change, and evidence says it goes beyond the dogmatic ~22-24deg. There are transients that J N Stockwell in 1872 did not consider, and none other after him. Those transients alter substantially the insolation distribution and energy flow via tropical evaporation. What is needed is a tame enough Mathematician to go over the basics again for lacunae.

    ps. still have my slide rule, made of bamboo, but don’t use it. Only to look at it and realise how far things changed, and how much we stand to lose today if we falter.


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