The bi-polar seesaw – what’s happening?

Posted: April 28, 2014 by oldbrew in climate, Cycles, Ocean dynamics, sea ice
Balancing act

Balancing act

A 2010 paper by University College London (UCL) reported:
‘Evidence from ice-core and marine records for the last glacial period and climate models has supported this bipolar seesaw process, but the extent to which its operation is affected by climate conditions and the hydrological cycle remains unclear. This new study, published in February’s Nature Geoscience, shows that the bipolar see-saw was a feature of the penultimate glacial period, but that its operation was also modified by the background climate state.’

http://www.geog.ucl.ac.uk/about-the-department/news/news-archive-2010/february-2010/the-hydrological-cycle-and-the-bi-polar-climate-see-saw

Now a new paper on this topic has appeared.

Sea ice comparison [image credit: NSIDC]

Sea ice comparison
[image credit: NSIDC]

There does seem to be a clear asymmetry, at present anyway, with Antarctic sea ice trending above its supposed average and still increasing, while Arctic sea ice is well below its average.

Questions such as ‘why?’ and ‘what next?’ spring to mind.

Read The Hockeyshtick review:
‘New paper supports the bipolar seesaw theory of abrupt climate change’
http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/new-paper-supports-bipolar-seesaw.html

Comments
  1. Jaime Jessop says:

    Interesting one this. Definitely evidence for the Antarctic Cold Reversal which preceded the very rapid Younger Dryas cooling in the NH by 1500 years or so. Whether this out of phase relationship is at work now, I don’t know but during the LIA, it would appear that cooling was simultaneous throughout the globe, though perhaps more more pronounced in Europe. I quote from my own blog post a while back:

    “The period between 1400 and 1850 was marked by an average temperature drop of just less than 1 degree C (1.8 degrees F), but not just in the Northern Hemisphere. Scripps graduate student Anais Orsi and colleagues found evidence of the same cooling trend in samples of ice from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. That contradicts prevailing theories that the Little Ice Age was not globally synchronized, but a regional cooling possibly triggered by changes in ocean circulation that created a temperature see-saw effect between the hemispheres.”

    http://explorations.ucsd.edu/research-highlights/2012/research-highlight-the-little-ice-age-was-global-scripps-researchers-say/

    “Although Simms et al. write that initial studies on ice cores “suggested that the timing of the most recent Neoglacial advance in West Antarctica may have been out of phase with the Little Ice Age in the Northern Hemisphere (Mosley-Thompson and Thompson, 1990),” they report that other ice core records from East Antarctica and elsewhere in West Antarctica support an in-phase relationship between climate events in the two hemispheres, citing the work of Li et al. (2009) and Bertler et al. (2011). And they add that the marine record provides ample evidence “for cooler conditions around ~250-550 calBP (1400-1700 AD),” citing the studies of Domack and Mayewski (1999), Brachfeld et al. (2003), Yoo et al. (2009), Hass et al. (2010) and Shevenell et al. (2011).”

    http://climatecontrarian.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/evidence-that-little-ice-age-in-europe.html

  2. Gail Combs says:

    Do not forget the other paper on the Bi-polar seesaw. Can we predict the duration of an interglacial?
    P. C. Tzedakis, E.W. Wolff, L. C. Skinner, V. Brovkin, D. A. Hodell, J. F. McManus, and D. Raynaud

    Click to access cp-8-1473-2012.pdf

    And WUWT discussion: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/10/02/can-we-predict-the-duration-of-an-interglacial/

  3. oldbrew says:

    Any role for volcanoes? If we define a volcano as something we can see i.e. not underwater, they’re mainly in the northern hemisphere where the majority of the land is.

  4. Bipolar Seesaw

    The Bipolar Seesaw concept describes the antiphasing of Greenland and Antarctic temperature changes along with Dansgaard Oeschger climatic oscillations and Heinrich Events during the last glacial period. Sudden changes in the Thermohaline Circulation affect the polar climate in both hemispheres through changes in the south – northward heat transport. Once freshwater influx in the North Atlantic turns down the Thermohaline Circulation, the northern hemisphere cools down while the southern hemisphere and tropics heat up. Once the deep-water formation turns on again, the meridional heat transfer resumes, and the northern hemisphere warms while the southern hemisphere looses heat

    References:

    Knutti, R., Flückiger, J., Stocker, T.F. and Timmermann, A., 2004. Strong hemispheric coupling of glacial climate through freshwater discharge and ocean circulation. Nature, 430, 851-856.

    Links:

    http://www.essc.psu.edu/~bjhaupt/papers/agu01.ds/agu01-ds.html

    http://www.climate.unibe.ch/stocker/summer03/seesaw.ppt ;
    ——————————————————————————

    I find it interesting that we could be undergoing a swing phase currently.
    I suspect that this bi-polar see saw phenomena occurs as smaller sub sets of the larger time frame event

    As the Arctic ice has stopped melting and has stabilised. Less fresh water flows into the Nth Atlantic

    Change to thermohaline circulation

    The north hemisphere cools and the equator and sth hemisphere heats up ( as above)

    Noting that the Nth Atlantic has a cool anomaly currently

    and the equatorial SST belt is warming currently.

    Coincidence perhaps?

    Wondering what the time frame is for the change in THC to affect the SH and Antarctic once the Nth Atlantic starts cooling

    I am pretty sure the THC has a ~60 yr oscillation as …one… of its frequencies
    The last peak the year 2000 , the previous peak 1950 in modern history

    including the THC
    Knight 2005

    started a post on this topic recently
    http://weathercycles.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/919/

    Many cycle researchers would agree that a few of the climate variable cycles peaked at 2000 simultaneously

  5. The see saw theory is bunk. Their is overwhelming evidence that climate changes are globally synchronous.

    The Greenland isotope ice core data is well correlated with glacier advance and retreat in the European Alps, Scotland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia, the Rocky Mts., the Cascade Mts., Sierra Nevada, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, and various other places. The global record of non-glaciated areas is also clear in Asia, Australia, New Zealand,, North and South America, Europe, Russia, and elsewhere. There is a vast literature documenting all of these globally synchronous climate changes that Björck obviously needs to read.

    The Younger Dryas abrupt and intense climate changes are not only globally synchronous, but are in fact practically simultaneous in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere (see for example, Easterbrook 2011, Evidence for synchronous global climatic events: cosmogenic exposure ages of Pleistocene alpine glaciations, Elsevier). Figure 2, shows that not only is the Younger Dryas globally synchronous, but that advances within the YD can also be correlated globally, including examples from continental ice sheets in Scandinavia and North America, and alpine glaciers in the Cascade and Rocky Mts. of North America, the European Alps, and the New Zealand Alps, among many others.

    . Global correlation of phases within the Younger Dryas.

    Globally synchronous Little Ice Age glacial advances and retreats are also well documented in the geologic literature, as well as the Medieval Warm Period. Well-defined glacial moraines lie downvalley from almost every glacier in the world!

    How Björck can ignore this immense amount of data showing globally synchronous climate changes is very difficult to understand. His claim of no globally synchronous climate changes in 20,000 cannot be considered credible.

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  6. These four factors either combined or in some combination are responsible for all the climate changes on earth. If one agrees with this then one will also have to agree that global climate change is synchronous.

    MY FOUR FACTORS

    1. The initial state of the global climate.

    a. how close or far away is the global climate to glacial conditions if in inter- glacial, or how close is the earth to inter- glacial conditions if in a glacial condition.

    .

    2. Solar variability and the associated primary and secondary effects. Lag times, degree of magnitude change and duration of those changes must be taken into account. I have come up with criteria . I will pass it along, why not in my next email.

    a. solar irradiance changes

    b. cosmic ray changes

    c. volcanic activity

    d. UV light changes hence ozone /atmospheric circulation changes.

    e. ocean current changes due to atmospheric changes.

    f. ocean heat content changes.

    g. albedo changes due to snow cover, cloud cover ,precipitation changes.

    h. thermohaline circulation changes.

    3. Strength of the magnetic field of the earth. This can enhance or moderate changes associated with solar variability.

    a. weaker magnetic field can enhance cosmic rays and also cause them to be concentrated in lower latitudes where there is more moisture to work with to be more effective in cloud formation if magnetic poles wander south due to magnetic excursions in a weakening magnetic field overall.

    4. Milankovitch Cycles. Where the earth is at in relation to these cycles as far as how elliptic or not the orbit is, the tilt of the axis and precession.

    a. less elliptic, less tilt, earth furthest from sun during N.H. summer — favor cooling.

  7. I would like to hear your viewpoint salvatore’ on why the Arctic ice has been shrinking toward lowest levels and is now stable and the Antartic sea ice at record high levels in modern history
    Opposites
    I was considering the shorter see saw cycles of say 60- yrs not the larger cycles necessarily
    I don’t think l have seen an in- phase period of ice growth in the arctic and Antarctic since modern records . lets say from 1900

  8. As an aside Re: short term annual/seasonal ‘see saw’ of the Antarctic and Arctic
    Here is current 200hPa stratosphere temps .Global
    At this time of the year the stratosphere 200hPa layer ,is warmer over the Arctic than the Antarctic.
    This temp’ variation. See saws seasonally
    https://picasaweb.google.com/110600540172511797362/TEMPERATURE#6008398451661546178

    The Antarctic is always the coldest latitude on earth
    The Arctic has the broadest swings in temp’ variation

  9. oldbrew says:

    The Younger Dryas could have been a ‘forced’ event?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Younger_Dryas#Impact_hypothesis

  10. craigm350 says:

    weathercycles on May 1, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Hi WC
    I know you addressed Salvatore but I remember Stephen Wilde mentioning here a ~10y lag from El Niño events so 82/3=92/3, 97=07 & 02=12 etc. Not seen a plotted correlation tho’

  11. One of the main reasons why it may appear that global climate changes are not synchronous(but they are) is due to the fact the geography of the S.H. versus the N.H. is vastly different causing the N.H to REACT in a much greater aggressive manner to changes in items which effect the climate.

    The S.H for starters has a much more stable polar vortex. In addition the % of water versus land in the S.H. is much greater not to mention Antarctica, is made up of land surrounded by water in contrast to the Arctic, which is water surrounded by land..

    In addition Arctic Sea Ice is subject to many more variables then Antarctic Sea Ice from the strength /phase of the polar vortex, to the phase of the AMO/PDO. Along with many ocean currents that weave through many land areas on their travels to and from the Arctic Ocean.

    To sum this up it is the total difference in geography between the N.H. and S.H. which dictates why they react to different degrees to various climate forcing. Still the evidence is overwhelming that they do not act opposite from another for the most part and that all major climate change events are global in nature rather then regional.

  12. Causes[edit]

    The prevailing theory is that the Younger Dryas was caused by significant reduction or shutdown of the North Atlantic “Conveyor”, which circulates warm tropical waters northward, in response to a sudden influx of fresh water from Lake Agassiz and deglaciation in North America. Geological evidence for such an event is thus far lacking.[15] The global climate would then have become locked into the new state until freezing removed the fresh water “lid” from the north Atlantic Ocean. An alternative theory suggests instead that the jet stream shifted northward in response to the changing topographic forcing of the melting North American ice sheet, bringing more rain to the North Atlantic which freshened the ocean surface enough to slow the thermohaline circulation.[16] There is also some evidence that a solar flare may have been responsible for the megafaunal extinction, though it cannot explain the apparent variability in the extinction across all continents.[17]

    There is evidence that some previous glacial terminations had post glacial cooling periods similar to the Younger Dryas.[18]

    Impact hypothesis[edit]

    Main article: Younger Dryas impact hypothesis

    A hypothesized Younger Dryas impact event, presumed to have occurred in North America around 12.9 ka BP, has been proposed as the mechanism to have initiated the Younger Dryas cooling. Amongst other things findings of melt-glass material in sediments in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Syria have been reported. These researchers argue that this material, which dates back nearly 13,000 years, was formed at temperatures of 1,700 to 2,200 °C (3,090 to 3,990 °F) as the result of a bolide impact. They argue that these findings support the controversial Younger Dryas Boundary (YDB) hypothesis, that the bolide impact occurred at the onset of the Younger Dryas.[19] The hypothesis has been questioned by research that stated that most of the conclusions cannot be repeated by other scientists, misinterpretation of data, and the lack of confirmatory evidence.[20][21][22]

    Volcanoes[edit]

    Although there may be several causes of the Younger Dryas, volcanic activity is considered one possibility.[1] The Laacher See volcano in Germany was of sufficient size, VEI 6, with over 10 km3 (2.4 cu mi) tephra ejected, to have caused significant temperature changes in the northern hemisphere. Laacher See tephra is found throughout the Younger Dryas boundary layer.[23][24][25] This possibility has been disputed by 14
    C analysis.[citation needed] In the view of Cambridge University volcanologist, Clive Oppenheimer, the magnitude of Laacher See was similar to the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption, and the effects were a year or two of northern hemisphere summer cooling and winter warming, and up to two decades of environmental disruption in Germany.[26]

    MY OPINION

    All wrong and this is easily proven in that the Younger Dryas event was not only an isolated event but temperature swings within the event were dramatic not to mention the way it ended. Also it was global in nature.

  13. oldbrew says:

    ‘The prevailing theory is that the Younger Dryas was caused by significant reduction or shutdown of the North Atlantic “Conveyor” ‘

    Even if that were true, it would still leave the question of what disrupted the NA Conveyor.

  14. Exactly.

    In addition there are to many abrupt climate events that the NA Conveyor belt can not possibly account for.

    If you look at my reasons (POSTED 12:12AM MAY 01) I do include thermohaline circulation changes but this is just one part of the many parts of the story as to why/ how the climate changes.

    I am very skeptical of single cause events(within themselves ) causing climate change. The climate system is far to complex for such an explanation.

  15. craigm350 says:

    Salvatore Del Prete on May 1, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    […] I am very skeptical of single cause events(within themselves ) causing climate change. The climate system is far to complex for such an explanation.

    Salvatore, reminds me very much of when Tim has looked back at ‘record’ temperatures as part of the wx station project in that a confluence of events leads to the high (or low). i.e it not only has to be hot but the wind has to blow from a certain direction at around the peak time, say across tarmac, which then amplifies the effect measured. It’s all about getting the ingredients in the right mix, – the ‘special recipe’ of the climate… 🙂

  16. oldbrew says:

    The paper Gail Coombs linked to (April 29, 2014 at 9:31 am) says:

    (abstract) ‘Here we propose that the interval between the terminal oscillation of the bipolar seesaw and three thousand years (kyr) before its first major reactivation provides an estimate that approximates the length of the sea-level high-stand, a measure of interglacial duration.’

    Later: ‘This asynchronous phasing in temperatures can be explained by a bipolar seesaw mechanism’

    And: ‘…a terminal oscillation of the bipolar seesaw appears to be a characteristic feature of deglaciation’ (NB check the context of that statement)

    And: ‘The occurrence of the bipolar seesaw can be determined stratigraphically in ice cores and marine sequences, by the characteristic fingerprint of interhemispheric changes in climate and hydrographic conditions (Tzedakis et al., 2012)’

    And: ‘We thus estimate interglacial duration as the interval between the terminal occurrence of bipolar-seesaw variability and 3 kyr before its first major reactivation.’

    That’s a random selection of references to ‘bipolar seesaw’ in one paper.

  17. Much evidence and if you believe in solar it is going to be synchronous. Again geographical differences between the N.H. and S.H can explain away the see saw. It is not a see saw rather it is the N.H. responding to items that govern the clImate more then the S.H.

    The Greenland isotope ice core data is well correlated with glacier advance and retreat in the European Alps, Scotland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia, the Rocky Mts., the Cascade Mts., Sierra Nevada, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, and various other places. The global record of non-glaciated areas is also clear in Asia, Australia, New Zealand,, North and South America, Europe, Russia, and elsewhere. There is a vast literature documenting all of these globally synchronous climate changes that Björck obviously needs to read.

    The Younger Dryas abrupt and intense climate changes are not only globally synchronous, but are in fact practically simultaneous in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere (see for example, Easterbrook 2011, Evidence for synchronous global climatic events: cosmogenic exposure ages of Pleistocene alpine glaciations, Elsevier). Figure 2, shows that not only is the Younger Dryas globally synchronous, but that advances within the YD can also be correlated globally, including examples from continental ice sheets in Scandinavia and North America, and alpine glaciers in the Cascade and Rocky Mts. of North America, the European Alps, and the New Zealand Alps, among many others.

    . Global correlation of phases within the Younger Dryas.

    Globally synchronous Little Ice Age glacial advances and retreats are also well documented in the geologic literature, as well as the Medieval Warm Period. Well-defined glacial moraines lie downvalley from almost every glacier in the world!

    How Björck can ignore this immense amount of data showing globally synchronous climate changes is very difficult to understand. His claim of no globally synchronous climate changes in 20,000 cannot be considered credible.

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  18. I meant to say there is much evidence of synchronous climate change in the above post.

    [reply] Sure – if we could just find the cause(s)…

  19. Find myself agreeing with your explanation Salvatore
    but noting that there are many current explanations for the out of phase behaviour of the 2 poles currently.. All peer reviewed papers that don’t have the same answer..

    Great to see the science isn’t settled..

    Question for the astrophysicists

    Is the earths orientation to the sun favour the sth or nth hemisphere? Does one hemisphere get more sun than the other ( aside from seasonal variations)
    Related to see saw effect

  20. Roger Andrews says:

    A problem in trying to identify a NH-SH see-saw effect is that ice core age dating is still something of a black art, and in a number of cases dating inaccuracies generate spurious antiphase correlations between ice core records in the same hemisphere. Here are a couple of examples from the Antarctic and Greenland:

    In both cases we can reasonably assume that the records are measuring coincident changes (GISP2 and GRIP are only about 25km apart), but the age dates show the deuterium and d18O peaks and troughs shifted relative to each other by up to 1500 years in Greenland and by up to 15000 years in the Antarctic, and in different directions at different times. These shifts and the antiphase relationships they generate clearly aren’t real. They’re manufactured by the age dating.

    There’s also the question of what deuterium and d18O in ice cores actually measure, but that’s a separate issue.

  21. oldbrew says:

    Even the German ‘liberal’ media is starting to rumble the warmist propaganda.
    The Antarctic sea ice ‘paradox’ – as some see it – is coming more to the fore.

    The ‘new’ theory someone here is proposing as a face-saver for the warmists looks very much like the well-known idea of the bipolar seesaw. NoTricksZone exposes this latest ruse that was reported in ‘Der Spiegel’ magazine.

    http://notrickszone.com/2014/05/02/spiegel-on-antaractic-sea-ice-never-before-has-there-been-so-much-ice-at-this-time-of-year-since-meaurements-began/

    (Comments include one by well-known weather expert and AGW sceptic Joe Bastardi)

  22. oldbrew says:

    More from NoTrickszone:

    The theory is proposed by scientists at the New York University (NYU) who claim they see an “amazing relationship” between the Atlantic and Antarctica via the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO).

    “The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation is the water temperature in the Atlantic fluctuating over decades, depending on how strongly the currents flow. And the fluctuations have an impact on years-long climate data all the way to Antarctica.”

    Bojanowski cites Xichen Li of NYU, who says it’s no coincidence and is even confirmed by computer simulations. Bojanowski summarizes:

    “Obviously the Atlantic climate see-saw has the sea level around Antarctica fluctuating. As a result sea ice extent is changing. How this precisely functions remains unclear, however. ‘It appears we have discovered a surprising remote effect,’ Li says.”

  23. Nov 09, 2005 · Since the AMO switched to its warm phase around 1995, severe hurricanes have become much more frequent and this has led to a crisis in the …

    Note AMO has been in warm phase since 1995.

    Antarctic Sea Ice really does not correlate with it. If anything the AMO has been near neutral territory of late compared to being much more positive in previous years yet the Antarctic Sea Ice uptrend has actually accelerated in recent years as the AMO warm phase has decreased in recent years.

  24. AMO Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation
    15-MAR-2014

    -0.06 cooler then normal

    from oopc state of the ocean web-site

  25. oldbrew says:

    I’ve added a composite graphic from the NSIDC data to illustrate the original post (see above).
    Source: http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/

  26. I largely agree with the AMO/ARCTIC correlation.

  27. oldbrew says:

    Prof. Judith Curry says: ‘The hemispheric asymmetries are quite interesting and largely unexplored – there is also a very intriguing see-saw between Arctic and Antarctic sea ice. ‘

    ‘The inconvenient Southern Hemisphere’
    http://judithcurry.com/2014/05/01/the-inconvenient-southern-hemisphere/

  28. p.g.sharrow says:

    This bi-polar see/saw has been known for a long time. So long ago that I don’t recall when it came to my attention, but as I recall, Mars has the same affliction. Global climate change, just like Earth, as well. Far too many SUVs I suppose. Just like Earth. ;-p pg

  29. Comparing the graph of the Arctic and Antarctic time series .
    Noticing the very large shorter term swings of the Antarctic but very small spikes in the Arctic
    So straight away differing dynamics in both hemispheres
    The last min to min phase in the Antarctic was about 5-6 yrs ( ENSO range) There is a general frequency of that length in the record currently.

    https://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/sea-ice1.jpg?w=614&h=202

    and
    apparently the antartic land ice is increasing but the sea ice is increasing ? which would point to changes to MSLP changes perhaps
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/antarctica-gaining-ice-intermediate.htm

  30. So straight away differing dynamics in both hemispheres from Weather Cycles

    Exactly, that is why the two hemisphere’s appear to see saw. The S.H. is just simply more stable then the N.H.

    and even in one hemisphere itself, there are going to be parts that run counter to the overall temperature trend of that hemisphere. Just look the Maunder Minimum cooling event,. During this event parts of the N.H. actually were warmer even though the overall temperature trend was down.

    This was in no way was a result of a see saw effect in the N.H. but rather had to do with the items causing the climate to change and how they interacted with the geography of the N.H.

  31. Graph by Bob Tisdale showing the contrast between Northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere ocean temp’ anomaly. since 2004. The 2 hemispheres independent in their anomaly. The SH has warmed far more than the NH

    quote
    “Figure 1 presents the NODC vertically averaged temperatures anomalies, for the depths of 0-2000 meters, for the 1st quarter of 2005 through the 2nd quarter of 2014. Since the 1st quarter of 2005, the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere for the depths of 0-2000 meters have warmed at a rate of about +0.05 deg C/decade, based on the linear trend. On the other hand, the linear trend for the Northern Hemisphere oceans is considerably less, warming at a rate that’s about 10% of the Southern Hemisphere rate. ”

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/there-is-a-wide-range-in-the-argo-era-warming-and-cooling-rates-of-the-oceans-to-depths-of-2000-meters/#more-7909