Lower stratosphere temperature and solar influence

Posted: June 26, 2013 by tchannon in atmosphere, Solar physics

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Commentator Stephen Richards writes in a comment here “Incidently, anyone noted the recent steep rise in stratospheric temperature shown by satelite on Roy Spencer’s blog.”?

I hadn’t nor can I find mention but if there really is a rise this is one of the most important changes in many years.

The stratosphere is directly affected by extraterrestrial interplays so it would be no surprise to find a strong solar effect.

The early 1990s drop in temperature for satellite TLS data has never been well explained so I am taking a guess. Been watching this.

I think it will take some years before a change is clear.

Transient edge in polar field data and earth stratosphere data, one of those oddities. Given the data I have the two edges are synchronous, it needs very good data to work out which came first and why.

Tim

Comments
  1. Tenuc says:

    Always worth having a play here…

    http://ghrc.nsstc.nasa.gov/amsutemps/amsutemps.pl

    Small uptick in some high altitude temperatures coincident with solar maximum for both hemispheres. Time will tell how big the blip will go.

  2. Anything is possible says:

    “The early 1990s drop in temperature for satellite TLS data has never been well explained so I am taking a guess.”

    Notice the drop occurred after a very rapid increase shortly before. Same thing happened in the early 1980’s.

    El Chincon and Pinatubo ring any bells?

  3. tchannon says:

    Okay.
    I don’t understand why an effect is persistent. Why hasn’t the temperature returned over 20 years?

  4. Andrew says:

    Would be grateful if someone could suggest implications of strat temp rise.

  5. J Martin says:

    Why hasn’t the temperature returned. Good question. I have no idea.
    Perhaps the volcanic aerosols that make it to the stratosphere remain there for a seriously long time.
    Or something to do with a bi stable system and the background conditions moving to cold perhaps ?, so any jolt down to lower temperatures and they stay there, as the system works its way down for the next few (100 ?) years.

    Maybe Vuk has a view on this.

  6. tchannon says:

    The implication Andrew is modal change of temperature, troposphere is supposed to do the opposite.

    Aerosols staying? This stuff has been measured for a century. This is where turbidity comes in, largely from water vapour but also dust.

    The original great who walked this stuff admitted he got it wrong at first assuming as it seems to be the case with researchers today or they are not being straight.

    Yes the major eruption leads to a reduction of solar radiation except there is a twist. There is a decrease in direct radiation but increase in indirect radiation. Outgoing reduces slightly, effect is wavelength dependent. Obfuscation is close.

    If Pinatubo is still dimming, what exactly? Why is the data proving this not being shown?

    A change in stratospheric humidity, ozone, CO2 etc. are all of considerable interest. It does affect lower down but indirectly, water as usual dominates. They were doing this stuff before electronics.

    Something I haven’t followed up is ozone radiation being seasonal and latitude dependent, not as I expected. This was measured at ground level where it is ripe for confusing attribution.

    So if that TLS data is to be believed, Pinatubo raised temperature, which I assume is from dust and water being heated by direct solar radiation. That would have raised indirect solar radiation, consistent with what I mentioned above. A temperature response lower in the atmosphere is very muted.

    I can be wrong on all this yet I smell some rats.

    Came across this web site, some wonderful atmosphere photographs, copyright
    Enjoy, start here. Many more pages follow, use the left menu as well as click images.
    http://www.atoptics.co.uk/rayshad.htm

  7. Thinker says:

    All climate is all about “solar Influence.”

    Let’s consider some facts. Is the Arctic warming? Yes, like everywhere else, with a long-term trend for 500 years rising out of the Little Ice Age at the rate of about half a degree per century, due to turn to cooling at least within 200 years. But is there a hockey stick? No.

    In fact the Arctic is no hotter than it was in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s.

    Is there a super-imposed 60 year natural cycle that caused all the alarm during the 30 years of rising prior to 1998? Yes.

    But it’s all natural – every bit of it. And it’s nothing whatsoever to do with carbon dioxide, radiative forcing, back radiation, greenhouse effects or any such travesties of physics.

  8. Stephen Wilde says:

    I’ve been saying for some time that the cessation of stratospheric cooling since the sun went quiet is a significant indication that established climatology has the sign of the solar effect on stratospheric temperatures wrong.

    Contrary to established climatology we see cooling when the sun is active and warming when inactive.

    Indeed it is an integral part of my New Climate Model which requires a warmer stratosphere towards the poles to force the jets to become more meridional and the climate zones more equatorward.

    I pointed out that, if true, my proposition would be damaging to the theories about both CO2 and CFCs because the process would operate via variations in ozone quantities.

    I haven’t seen it mentioned at Roy’s blog though. Can we have a link to it?

  9. suricat says:

    Stephen Wilde says: June 27, 2013 at 3:02 am

    Hi Stephen! You’re getting close (I think).

    The ‘divisor’ seems to be ‘sustainable density / gravitational effort’. This gives us the height of the tropopause, but the atmospheric mix of lighter molecules tend to settle in ‘streams’ thanks to Earth’s rotation.

    I tend to liken the troposphere to a ‘trike tank’. The bulk of the ‘reclaimable fluid’ is below the ‘tropopause/cooling coils’, but molecules are also diffused above this height, thus, the ‘trike tank’ analogy. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say that the troposphere needs to be excluded from Sol’s forcing because its altitudes mostly relate to ‘ocean temperature state / solar forcing’ and thus relate solely to the ‘heat pump’ hypothesis for the hydrological cycle.

    The stratosphere registers a truer template for Sol’s variability and needs to be better understood.

    Best regards, Ray.

  10. Stephen Wilde says:

    Hi Ray.

    I suggest that the oceans control temperature from the bottom up (most effectively from the equator) and the sun controls the temperature from the top down (most effectively from the poles).

    The tropopause is the height at which the oceanic and solar forcing elements balance and there is a tropopause height gradient from equator to poles due to the Earth’s rotation.

    Fine tuning is then effected by variations in the gradient of tropopause height between equator and poles whenever there are changes in the net balance between oceanic and solar forcing.

    Note though that the oceanic forcing is just a lagged response to the initial solar changes and can itself vary due to internal ocean mechanics.

  11. suricat says:

    Stephen Wilde says: June 28, 2013 at 3:33 am

    “I suggest that the oceans control temperature from the bottom up (most effectively from the equator) and the sun controls the temperature from the top down (most effectively from the poles).”

    Whilst I have to concur with the ‘top down, bottom up’ analogy for a coupled ‘ocean:atmosphere’ system, your ‘polar:equator’ analogy seems odd. Sol is most forceful at the equator and ocean heat dispersal is more effective towards the poles. I think you’ll need to be more specific to the ‘climate zone/cell’ for this to make full sense, but I see your post seems to have been late in the day. 🙂

    “The tropopause is the height at which the oceanic and solar forcing elements balance and there is a tropopause height gradient from equator to poles due to the Earth’s rotation.”

    I disagree. The tropopause is the local altitude where water can’t continue to exist in a liquid state (unless in a ‘micro sized’ pure form as a supercooled liquid) above this altitude. Even ice has a problem living above the tropopause because a collection of molecules is too dense for the supporting atmosphere (Archimedes’ Principle). Inclusions from ‘Vulcanism’ have the same fate, the molecules are just too big to stay there and precipitate out. You should recognise this principle from your ‘PE:KE’ analysis.

    The increasing depth of the atmosphere from pole to equator I concur, but this is a ‘compound’ system that originates with ‘Earth rotation’, but is strongly influenced by ‘concurrent insolation’ (do you notice how the ‘polar jets’ alter with seasonality?).

    Its late for me now, I’ll continue later. 🙂

    Best regards, Ray.

  12. Stephen Wilde says:

    Thanks for your points, Ray.

    A few responses:

    i) Insolation is indeed far stronger at the equator but that is what provides the energy for the lagging oceanic feedback. More energy in at the equator makes that the region with the strongest oceanic response so the bottom up oceanic effect on the global air circulation is strongest at the equator. At the poles the magnetic field lines direct and concentrate solar particles giving more variation in upper atmosphere chemistry above the poles so the top down solar effect is stronger there and there is a much reduced oceanic effect to counteract it.

    ii) The phase changes of water affect the height at which the balance between top down solar and bottom up oceanic forcing elements can be achieved. Volcanic events do the same but temporarily. The water cycle and the effects of volcanoes and all other forcing elements affect the average local height of the tropopause.
    It is when the net effect of all forcing elements combined changes the gradient of the tropopause height between equator and pole that climate changes in the form of latitudinal shifts occur.
    Those climate changes represent a change in the rate of energy flow through the system and are always a negative system response to changes in the energy balance.

    iii) Yes, the jets do shift on a seasonal basis which illustrates my point. The changing angle of incidence of insolation in the two hemispheres changes the solar/oceanic energy balance in each hemisphere and the tropopause heights and gradients change too. The jets and climate zones then shift latitudinally on a seasonal basis in a short term response which is identical to the longer term response to forcing elements other than mere seasonality.

    That all fits perfectly with my PE:KE analysis.

  13. suricat says:

    Stephen Wilde says: June 29, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Thanks for your response Stephen (you’ve the makings of a fine politician 😉 ), but I get the feeling that my inquiry is leading us both a bit OT.

    Suffice to say that it isn’t normal to find ‘bound elements’ above the tropopause and the general theme in the stratosphere is ‘singular’ (or broken) molecules with ionisation occurring at higher altitudes within this region.

    Broken molecular bonds enhance the possibility for unusual chemistry, and this has been well documented, but this ‘bond breaking’ is usually ‘endothermic’ and requires an energy input to obtain the ‘dissociation’ state in the first instance (energy supplied by insolation).

    What of the ‘recombination’ process? Any idea whether these recombinations are ‘endothermic’, or ‘exothermic’, and may alter the local temperature for the region?

    Best regards, Ray.

  14. Stephen Wilde says:

    Wouldn’t fancy being a politician – too honest 🙂

    The energy input above the tropopause is of course solar because the energy in the molecules below the tropopause mostly radiates straight through and out to space.

    You may recall that my contention is that it is not solar energy per se that causes the observed changes. TSI varies too little for that.

    Instead it is variations in the mix of particles and wavelengths altering the atmospheric chemistry above the tropopause which then changes the vertical temperature profile above the tropopause, especially towards the poles, which then alters the gradient of tropopause height between equator and poles allowing latitudinal shifting of the global air circulation.

    Meanwhile, TSI remaining much the same, the bottom up oceanic response to equatorial insolation varies little.

    So I am forced to the conclusion that top down solar effects on atmospheric chemistry above the tropopause (and mostly towards the poles) are the primary cause of climate zone and jet stream variations.

    If TSI were the primary driver then we would see a dramatic effect spreading out from the equatorial oceans but TSI is too stable for that.

    What we do see though is the top down solar effect above the tropopause altering global cloudiness which alters the amount of energy able to enter the oceans despite TSI at top of atmosphere being pretty stable.

    That seems to skew the bottom up oceanic effect within the ENSO process so as to result in solar induced multi decadal and multi centennial shifts in the balance between the El Nino and La Nina elements within ENSO.

  15. suricat says:

    Stephen Wilde says: June 30, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    I find myself in agreement with most of what you write there, but ‘TSI’ (Total Solar Irradiation) is nothing more than an obfuscation to a better understanding of Earth’s atmospheric machinations and chemistry.

    How do we account for Earth’s average albedo of 0.3 in the ‘vis spectrum’ for TSI when TSI includes (ignoring radio and MW spectra) IR, vis, UV [a, b & c], X-ray [soft & hard] and gamma ray spectra??? It just doesn’t work, you can’t ‘cram’ such a wide variety of spectral emissions into the narrow ‘vis’ wave band. The other wave bands are, not only, invisible to the vis wave band, their energetic interactions don’t ‘resonate’ with a full harmonic as the vis spectra either. ‘Apples and pears’ (I’m sure you’ve read that term before)!

    IMHO we really do need to dissect TSI into ‘narrow spectral resolution groups’ and investigate each ‘group’ for a co-relationship with ‘observed activity’ within Earth’s atmosphere. If you remove the ‘dross’ (unimportant information) from the ‘smelted ore’ (total data), you’ll be left with the ‘purified product’ (clean data).

    Using an ‘albedo’ process we lose …. Oh I give up. Resolution! You’d normally associate heat from the Sun as IR, but it isn’t. Much of the IR from Sol is absorbed by the atmosphere as and when it’s incoming, just like much of the outgoing IR is absorbed. Frequency, reactance, absorption or transmittance is the order of the ‘day’ (spectrum).

    Sorry, but this has lapsed into a frustrated rant. I wanted to lead into the exothermic production of O3, but can’t relate to it just now. I didn’t intend this so I’ll post again later when the ‘phase’ has passed. 🙂

    Best regards, Ray.

  16. suricat says:

    suricat says: July 1, 2013 at 1:30 am

    “I didn’t intend this so I’ll post again later when the ‘phase’ has passed.”

    I still can’t think properly with the distraction of this pain. I thought it was a sinus problem from a recent cold, but it could be an abscess beneath a dental ‘pont’ (pegged bridge). I’ve seen my doctor, on antibiotics in case the problem ‘is’ dental, I’ll see my dental practise later today and hope to resolve this ‘cursed distraction’ soon.

    Until I’m pain free, I can’t hope to post without falling into a rant so I’ll post ‘then’. Apologies for the hiatus. 😦

    Best regards, Ray.

    [Reply] Ouch – my sympathies. get well soon. – Rog

  17. Stephen Wilde says:

    Sorry to hear that, Ray.

    Maybe an implant to consider?

    Good luck.

  18. suricat says:

    All hail the remedial properties of ‘Amoxicillin’! Still sore to the touch, but nothing like the pain that I had (looks like I need some remedial Dentistry). Thanks for your ‘Get Well Card’ Rog. 🙂

    Stephen Wilde says: June 30, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    “The energy input above the tropopause is of course solar because the energy in the molecules below the tropopause mostly radiates straight through and out to space.”

    Yes, but because there is an IR signal, with it’s origin within the ‘ozonosphere’ (the altitude region of the stratosphere where most ozone is generated), its often claimed that OLR ‘illuminates’ (lights up) these altitudes when this is far from the truth (this is confused with the myth of the OLR ‘plume’ in the Hadley Cells caused by CO2 in models). The altitude is just ‘too’ rarefied to be illuminated by OLR. Thus, the question arises. What does give rise to an IR signature in the altitude region of the ‘ozonosphere’? Solar photolytic chemistry! Here’s a good link for the novice with some understanding of chemistry:

    http://www.atmosphere.mpg.de/enid/1z1.html

    The ‘description’ to fig. 1 states ” Another molecule (M) is needed to absorb some of the huge amount of energy involved in the reaction.”.

    This is the ‘kinetic kick’ absorption that is needed to stabilise the chemistry by converting a UV EM energetic quantum into its mechanical kinetic (thermal) equivalent. This falls into the realm of attractors and energy equivalence. We also see this phenomenon in the troposphere:

    http://www.fraqmd.org/OzoneChemistry.htm

    “1.1.1 Nitrogen Cycle and the Photostationary-State Relationship for Ozone

    The formation of ozone in the troposphere results from only one known reaction: addition of atomic oxygen (O) to molecular oxygen (O2) in the presence of a third “body” (M). [M is any “body” with mass, primarily nitrogen or oxygen molecules, but also particles, trace gas molecules, and surfaces of large objects. M absorbs energy from the reaction as heat; without this absorption, the combining of O and O2 into O3 cannot be completed.]

    O + O2 + M à O3 + M (1)”

    The molecule ‘M’ is essential for a stable chemical transition to occur, thus, I conclude:

    Oxygen is the ‘most’ reactive element naturally found in Earth’s atmosphere (in atomic form).

    When oxygen combines, the process is always ‘exothermic’ (suggesting a ‘runaway’ reaction [natural combustion]).

    Conditions in the upper stratosphere favour the ‘recombination processes’ of oxygen (combustion and re-combustion of the same elements).

    What are your thoughts?

    Best regards, Ray.

  19. Stephen Wilde says:

    Hi Ray.

    Glad you are feeling better.

    I’m not sure that I’m getting your point.

    Processes above the tropopause are complex and not at all well understood but I don’t think that matters for my analysis.

    The fact is that the temperature trends in the stratosphere seem to vary with solar activity in the reverse of the expected manner namely cooling with an active sun and warming with an inactive sun but I accept that as yet the data is not yet in as regards a clear warming response to the current solar weakness. The cooling has however stopped.

    Temperature changes in the stratosphere affect tropopause heights so I don’t really need to know precise details of all the processes involved. It seems to be sufficient to work from the ozone balance at various heights.

    Apparently the quiet sun resulted in more ozone above 45km (warmer) between 2004 and 2007. I await an update.

  20. tchannon says:

    I have reference to strat. ozone heat being measured at ground level before 1920 (year) and was seasonal. The atmospheric transmission data all the way to today is of dubious goodness, is admitted, and yet this is crucial to the AGW assertion.

  21. suricat says:

    Stephen Wilde says: July 5, 2013 at 11:18 am

    “I’m not sure that I’m getting your point.”

    Hi Stephen. I just read your earlier post. Thanks for your concern, though I’ll leave any future dental action until the data is in from the X-ray I’ll have. 🙂

    I’m trying to show how an ‘attractor’ (oxygen) could cause an altitude bias to its warming effect in the strat as Sol’s ~UV output alters. I’ve yet to get to the ozone production/decay rates that could initialise this biasing. Does this make sense?

    “The fact is that the temperature trends in the stratosphere seem to vary with solar activity in the reverse of the expected manner namely cooling with an active sun and warming with an inactive sun but I accept that as yet the data is not yet in as regards a clear warming response to the current solar weakness.”

    The opposing juxtapositional scenarios are unrelated. The strat takes its major energy from insolation and the tropo takes its major energy from latency and thermals from the surface energy emissions. Let’s not get ‘hung up’ in the tropo again. 🙂

    “Temperature changes in the stratosphere affect tropopause heights so I don’t really need to know precise details of all the processes involved.”

    I don’t see how this is so. The height of the tropopause is, surely, governed by the activity rate of the atmospheric hydrological cycle ‘per se’. That isn’t to say that the temp of the lower strat doesn’t impose an ‘influence’ upon the upper atmospheric activity of H2O.

    “Apparently the quiet sun resulted in more ozone above 45km (warmer) between 2004 and 2007. I await an update.”

    Insufficient data, please elucidate.

    Do you “await” an “update” from ‘me’, or your ‘data source’?

    Best regards, Ray.

  22. suricat says:

    tchannon says: July 5, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    “I have reference to strat. ozone heat being measured at ground level before 1920 (year) and was seasonal. The atmospheric transmission data all the way to today is of dubious goodness, is admitted, and yet this is crucial to the AGW assertion.”

    Many refs to strat only record temp. What’s needed is ‘ozone population/altitude’ against ‘soft X-ray+UVc ozone probability production’/’expected Solar spectral output’ to get any idea of what solar influence is doing to Earth’s stratosphere in this thread. It’s more complex, but your input would be appreciated. 🙂

    Best regards Ray.

  23. DB says:

    A couple of articles that may be of interest:

    Thompson et al. “Understanding Recent Stratospheric Climate Change”
    http://www.atmos.colostate.edu/ao/ThompsonPapers/ThompsonSolomon_JClimate2008_InPress.pdf
    “The lower stratosphere has cooled by a globally averaged ~0.3-0.5 K/decade since 1979. The global-mean cooling has not occurred monotonically, but rather is manifested as two downward “steps” in temperature, both of which are coincident with the cessation of transient warming after the major volcanic eruptions of El Chichon and Mt. Pinatubo.

    “The lower stratosphere has not noticeably cooled since 1995, which indicates that the trends in this region are not dominantly controlled by the known increases in carbon dioxide over this period. Attribution experiments indicate that the long-term cooling in global-mean lower stratospheric temperatures is driven mainly by changes in stratospheric ozone.”

    And Polvani and Solomon found ozone forcing is several times larger than increasing GHGs.

    The signature of ozone depletion on tropical temperature trends, as revealed by their seasonal cycle in model integrations with single forcings
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2012/2012JD017719.shtml

  24. tchannon says:

    Sorry I am not responding well, grave family issues. Best not respond to this comment, things will resolve.