Further terrestrial evidence of planetary cycles affecting climate

Posted: June 30, 2011 by tallbloke in climate, Ocean dynamics, solar system dynamics

Tim C alerted me to page 252 of  the
Encyclopedia of world climatology
By John E. Oliver

The ~ 360 year cycles and the subharmonics at 180, 90 and 45 years relate to the Jose cycle of 179 years and repeats of Earth, Venus, Mars, Jupiter lineups at ~45 years. Also hints of solar Gleissberg cycles at around 90 years.

We are homing in on the relevant periodicities. Along with the de vries cycle around 220 years and the ocean air temperature cycles noted by Roger Andrews at around 110 years, we should also keep Harald Yndestad’s lunar tidal cycles of ~74 and 37 years in mind. These relate to Landscheidt’s ‘ big finger cycles‘. I have high hopes that we will soon be at a point where we can better understand the varying lengths of periods of deep solar minima.

  1. Doug Proctor says:

    I haven’t seen the data, but the rise of Hudson Bay over the last 7000 years has pushed the shoreline basinward some 100 kilometers on a very gentlly sloping shelf edge. Were one to plot the distance from shore of successive beach ridges – themselves evidence of episodic melting and isostatic uplift (one causing the other), I’d bet we’d see the solar-lunar cycles.

    Don’t know where that data is, but it should be around.

    Also, the next page of this encyclopedia discusses marine varves in anoxic portions of the sea floor. The time detail there could be astonishing. Banded iron deposits (pre-oxygenated seas?) as well as glacial lake varves record intervals of less than a year, at times monthly changes in sedimentation levels. Haven’t seen detail or data on what either of those might have shown about the far past or the near past.

  2. Ulric Lyons says:

    this link says a 317yr cycle (Ju/Sa/Ur);

    The Sa/Ur synodic period is 45.369yrs.

  3. Roger Andrews says:

    Caution is necessary in relating beach ridges to solar and planetary cycles. The beach ridges around the Barents Sea and Hudson Bay may show a 45-year cyclicity, but the beach ridges in Nayarit, Mexico show a 12-16 year cyclicity and those on Sanibel Island, Florida an 8-15 year cyclicity.

    There’s also some question as to whether beach ridges are caused by storms. Models suggest they can form during either high- or low-wave conditions.

    All of this, and more, in Taylor, 1996, http://www.vliz.be/imisdocs/publications/55323.pdf

  4. tallbloke says:

    Doug: The text cites Hillaire-Marcel and Fairbridge 1977 for a Hudson Bay study. Might be worth tracking it down. Rhodes Fairbridge was specifically looking for evidence supporting the planetary theory so this has to be borne in mind. Good call on the varves, heres the google books link if you have time to read the next section and report back:

    Ulric, thanks. So the beat of that synod with the inner planet lineup would produce a cycle around 2028 years? Or maybe NASA JPL are in for a surprise and the perturbations will turn out stronger than calculated, providing a stronger synchronisation?

    Roger: tropical regions on the windward continental coasts are exactly the wrong place to look for the signal. Even if the Barents beach ridges were formed by storms, the ~45 year regularity of a peak in storms would be noteworthy in itself don’t you think? I think the more likely outcome is that we are going to find in the coming years that sea level fluctuates down as well as up.

    Someone did an interesting study on that a while back and I’m trying to remember his name. I seem to recall I contacted him about posting his pdf but he wanted to wait to see if he could get it published. Curse my battered memory cell. 😦

  5. vukcevic says:

    On the Hudson Bay’s events you can find some details here:

  6. Ray Tomes says:

    Chizhevsky reported 355 year climate cycles. As mentioned above, planets show 178 year and others. The lunar cycles of 18.6 and 8.85 years come together every 89 years or so. Sunspots show 11.1, 22 and 44 year components. Many commodities show cycles of 5.55 years. This series of cycles related by ratios of 2 is part of a much bigger picture of commonly reported cycles as first found by Edward R Dewey and expanded by me, see http://ray.tomes.biz/cy304.htm and for the explanation see http://ray.tomes.biz/maths.html

  7. tallbloke says:

    Your maths page has had a makeover since I last looked Ray. Great stuff!

    Take a look at https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2009/11/30/the-moon-is-linked-to-long-term-atlantic-changes/ for the lunar cycles related to ocean tides.

  8. Tenuc says:

    Rog, I thought most high beach ridges were formed by storm surges at high tide? We often visit friends in Lancing and a few years ago discovered that the topography of the whole beach had radically changed overnight due to a large storm surge on a spring tide.

    Another thought…

    Hudson Bay – magnetic north pole – solar/planetary cycles.

    Interesting things seem to happen at the poles – is this perhaps part of the missing solar/earth climate link??? How does it fit with Vuk magnetic correlation and Richard Holle and Ulric Lyons solar wind link???

  9. Roger Andrews says:


    “tropical regions on the windward continental coasts are exactly the wrong place to look for the signal.”

    Sanibel is an island off the west coast of Florida. Don’t know whether this makes it a continental coast or not, but it isn’t in the tropics. Nayarit is a continental coast in the tropics, but it’s in the SE trades zone and points west, so it isn’t windward. I think your point is that the 45-year periodicity is related to jet-stream shifts, so it will occur only in higher latitudes. Correct?

    “I think the more likely outcome is that we are going to find in the coming years that sea level fluctuates down as well as up.” My relative sea level reconstruction for the 20th century shows global sea level falling by about 40mm between 1900 and 1910. (I seem to remember sending you the plot but I can’t find when I sent it.)

  10. tallbloke says:

    “Sanibel is an island off the west coast of Florida. Don’t know whether this makes it a continental coast or not. ”

    Just ask youself how often it gets clobbered by a big storm.

    “I think your point is that the 45-year periodicity is related to jet-stream shifts, so it will occur only in higher latitudes. Correct?”

    Pretty much, yes. Pressure differences at the high latitudes seem to cycle at frequencies which resonate with the planetary periodicities.

    “(I seem to remember sending you the plot but I can’t find when I sent it.)”

    Apologies, I’ve been having various hardware and memory cell problems.

  11. Roger Andrews says:


    I spent a week on Sanibel a few years ago, and it occurred to me while I was there that it probably didn’t get clobbered by big storms all that often because the highest point on the island is only 8 feet above sea level, so after a Katrina-type tide surge there wouldn’t be much left.

    Memory loss no problem. I get it all the time.

    Anyway, back to the subject at hand. I have two dumb questions regarding “homing in on the relevant periodicities”, as you put it.

    First, exactly how many solar, lunar, planetary and galactic periodicities do we have to choose from? Seems to me we have dozens of them, ranging all the way from Landscheidt’s five-year solar fingers to Shaviv’s 120,000-year galactic spiral arm cosmic ray storms.

    Second, how many of these periodicities show some level of correlation with climatic changes down here on Earth? (I’ve already done a quick count, but I’d be interested to know what number you come up with). 🙂

  12. Tenuc says:

    Another event which causes radical changes to beaches very rapidly – tsunami…


    Truly a hair-raising situation… 🙂

  13. Tim Channon says:

    Doesn’t matter whether this is storms, they are there.

    I am particularly interested in ~45 year and ~200, both being of great importance if a definite causal can be shown.

    A 45 year is in solar asymmetry, how though could that strongly affect earth? This figure appears in lake levels too. It is also the shape of the present sea level data.

    The same thing is showing in global temperature and in the differential temperature.

    All those are close to in phase.

    Some of it is likely to be sloppy… ocean basins will have resonant periods.but this is of little interest other than for dismissing.

    Several things are here close to prepared for posting yet I’ve held back, doesn’t seem worth the effort, plus I am mindful that a pile of articles from me would look bad, it’s tallbloke’s place.

  14. Ulric Lyons says:

    Rog, the 45.369yr synod fits properly into the 317.58yr period, seven times.

  15. Ray Tomes says:

    To answer Roger Andrews regarding how many cycles periods we have to choose from.

    Galactic periods are in the tens and hundreds of millions of years.

    Planetary periods are in the range fractions of a year to millions of years. You have siderial periods as well as synodic periods plus groups of planets alignments. You can easily find 50 such periods or more. However many of these should not be expected to have effects unless others of the same class do. For example alignments of the 4 gas giants are much more likely to have effects than of say Mercury, Mars and Pluto. Long term solar system calculations show for example a 1.1 million year energy exchange between Jupiter and Neptune.

    Lunar periods are fascinating, and huge numbers of different periods are known to be involved in tides ranging from the obvious daily and twice daily, monthly and twice monthly cycles through to several hundred years. There are dozens of such cycles with established effects.

    So you can choose from maybe 100 cycles periods altogether ranging over about 10 orders of magnitude. That means that in the middle of the range you can expect to find an astronomical cycle within about 10% of any given period found in climate. Therefore it is important to accurately measure periods to see if they are real matches or just rough coincidences. If a match cannot be found to about 0.5% accuracy then it should not be regarded as significant.

  16. tallbloke says:

    Great comments!

    Tim, bring it on, I’m away this week (logged in now via phone) and need help to keep it moving. Please post some articles.

  17. Roger Andrews says:


    “So you can choose from maybe 100 cycles periods altogether.” I guess that was my point in asking the question. How on earth (excuse the pun) do we figure out which of these +/-100 cycles have had an impact on climate and which haven’t?

    Well, we simplify the problem.
    First we make the very reasonable assumption that our main interest is in determining how much of the warming during the last 150 years or so was anthropogenic and how much natural (certainly if it wasn’t for AGW we wouldn’t be having this discussion). So we can ignore the longer-term Milankovitch cycles that may contribute to ice ages, D-O events etc. because they won’t be detectable on our time scale.

    Second, we are looking at climate, not weather, and short-term cycles affect weather, not climate, so we can ignore cycles such as the Schwabe and (maybe) Hale cycles and the short-term tidal cycles.

    We’ve now excluded a large number of cycles, but we still have to figure out how the rest of them, which would range in length from maybe a few decades to several hundred years, impact the Earth’s climate. Without a full understanding of the physical mechanisms involved we do this by looking for correlations between cycles and climatic changes. And some of the correlations we get are very good. Here, for example, are two graphs from an earlier posting in which I managed to replicate the SST record very closely using only four of Tim Channon’s solar cycles (57.2, 78.9, 112.5 and 238.9 years).


    And here are the next two graphs, where I managed to replicate the SAT record very closely using the four solar cycles plus a modest CO2 contribution.


    Do these results prove a solar cycle-climate link? Obviously not. But they do suggest that the problem of figuring out which of a hundred or so astronomical cycles have had a significant affect on climate during the AGW era may not be as intractable as it seems.

  18. Ray Tomes says:

    Roger, I will look at this further later (have a busy day). I would say that there are a number of cycles that are fairly definitely in the climate/weather record. From longest to shortest:

    1. Geological cycles 586, 293, 146 million years and maybe some others.

    2. Milankovitch cycles 405, 100, 41, 23 thousand years.

    3. Possibly planetary relationships 9200, 4600, 2300 years.

    4. de Vries or Suess cycle 208 years.

    5. Something around 53 to 60 years (fluctuates).

    6. Solar 22 and 11 year cycles.

    7. Lunar 18.6 and 9.3 year cycles.

    8. One year cycle (very definitely caused by astronomical configurations).

    9. Solar cycles of 155 and 78 days.

    10. One week weather cycle. Associated with geophysical cycles of 28, 14, 7 and 3.5 days. These are connected to solar rotation and the neutral current zone crossing the earth.

    Nearly all of these are either solar cycles or astronomical configuration cycles or sometimes both.


  19. Roger Andrews says:


    A couple of things to chew on when you get back.

    First, only two of your cycles (the 208 and 53-60 year ones) fit into my AGW “time frame”.

    Second, you don’t mention a +/- 110 year solar cycle. According to my admittedly empirical results this cycle has had (arguably) a larger impact on climate than any other over the last 100-150 years.

  20. Ray Tomes says:

    Roger, people give periods ranging from 80 to 110 years for a sunspot cycle. I think that the 89 year period is as good as any. Wheeler claims a 100 year climate cycle, but I don’t think that it is well accepted.

    If you want to use periods derived from a proxies, then there is an 11,000 year C14 record (interpreted as solar activity) which gives the following cycles periods:

    (6600), (2245), 973, 560, 521, (433), (352), (299), 224, 208, 150.3, (136.1), 126.5, 123.1, 104.3, (97.5), (91.8), 87.6. 84.7, (75.9), 68.2, 60.4, 59.9, 58.5, 57.3, (55.0), (46.2), 44.6

    The ones in parenthesis are not significant at 5% level.

    The 244 year one is actually stronger than the 208 year one which is the one usually mentioned. These will make beats over about 2800 years, so we can think of this as a modulation. Likewise, the 55 to 60 year cluster of cycles shows up as a modulated cycle in about that range.

    When I looked at Loehle’s non-tree climate proxies and some other series, I can identify the 2300 year cycle, the 208/224 year cycle and the 53-60 year cycle. As regards timing of these, the 2300 year is still rising and the other two peaked around 1995 – 2000.

  21. Roger Andrews says:


    I looked at the 14C record that gave the 28 periodicities you list (the Usoskin et al 2007 version). I can see why this record is used for spectral analysis because the tight reading interval allows short-period cycles to be identified. However, it does look a little noisy.

    Then I looked at the 10Be records from Vostok, Taylor Dome and Byrd in Antarctica. The reading interval at these sites is too long to identify short-period cycles, but over the +/-1,000-7,000 year interval where the C14 record defines only three cycles (973, 2,245 and 6,600 years) the Antarctic records define at least twenty (see http://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0612/0612185.pdf Tables 2 through 9).

    Then I downloaded the 10Be record from Taylor Dome (I couldn’t find Vostok or Byrd) and compared it with the 14C record over the last 12,000 years. Both records record concentrations of a cosmogenic isotope, so we would expect to see some similarities. But we don’t. The two are quite different.

    Then I compared the 14C record with the 18O ice records from Epica, Vostok, GISP2 and Huascarán and with the 18O seabed core records from DSDP sites 980/981 and 984. If these paleotemperature records contain a solar component, which it is commonly assumed they do, they should show at least some correlation with 14C over the last 12,000 years. But they don’t. They don’t even correlate with each other.

    The question these results raise in my mind is whether spectral analysis of paleoproxy data is actually telling us anything. Any comments?

  22. Ray Tomes says:

    Roger, I don’t know why there would be differences as both are supposed to be formed due to cosmic rays, which in turn are modulated by solar activity. Some differences may be due to where the isotopes go after formation (atmosphere, plants, rainwater, ground etc), but you need an expert on these matters. I thought that I had a Be10 series to look at and compare, but can’t find it right now. Wikipedia gives this Be10 solar proxy graph http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Solar_Activity_Proxies.png

  23. Roger Andrews says:


    The only published long-term 10Be record (it goes back 225,000 years) seems to be Taylor Dome. The data are at ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/antarctica/taylor/betd.txt

    I have a graph comparing this record with the 14C record if you are interested.

    I think the Wikipedia graph is the Dye-3 10Be record, which goes back only 600 years. There doesn’t seem to be a serious problem when we go back only this far, although the.match with SSN still isn’t all that precise.

  24. tchannon says:

    I caution about taking specific periods seriously unless there is an obvious causal, such an earth orbit. In a vague sense, maybe, given the usually poor state of the data.

    I decided to rework fujidome 10be given some software improvements since I last did it.

  25. Roger Andrews says:


    Have you tried your cycles analysis on the 14C record? I’d be interested to see if you could squeeze anything meaningful out of it.

    Data at: ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/climate_forcing/solar_variability/solanki2004-ssn.txt

  26. tallbloke says:

    Ray did a nice post on the 14C record. I’ll repost it here tomorrow.

  27. Tim Channon says:

    I’ll have a look Roger.

  28. Roger Andrews says:

    Tim, Ray:

    I just came across a TSI reconstruction based on 10Be that goes back 9300 years with a 5-year reading interval. It compares well with the 14C reconstruction in some respects but not in others. The data are at ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/climate_forcing/solar_variability/steinhilber2009tsi.txt

  29. […] had been investigated by José and Ivanka Charvatova amongst others, including Australian scientist Rhodes Fairbridge. Fairbridge, who also investigated terrestrial climate cyclicities and weather phenomena, […]