Jarl Ahlbeck: A link between Low solar activity, Easterly QBO, negative AO and cold NH winters

Posted: November 24, 2014 by tallbloke in Analysis, atmosphere, Celestial Mechanics, climate, Cycles, Forecasting, general circulation, Natural Variation, weather

Future low solar activity periods may cause cold winters in North America, Europe and Russia.
Jarl Ahlbeck – Abo Akademi University, Finland

Historically, low solar activity periods like the Dalton and Maunder Minima have been connected to cold winters in Europe. It seems very possible that the low solar activity forced areas of low pressures into a southern route or caused a negative Arctic Oscillation, AO, which in turn allowed cold air from the North Pole to flow across Europe. But can we obtain from real measurements that low solar activity really is able to do that?


I found that the mechanism is statistically significant, but it is not very simple to prove. There is no direct statistical relationship saying that low solar activity always should cause a negative Arctic Oscillation (which caused cold air to push further south than normal). But if we consider a second natural parameter, the strength and direction of the stratospheric wind in the Tropics (the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation index, QBO) I found a very interesting result: During periods of low solar activity (few or no sunspots) an easterly QBO causes a negative AO, but a westerly QBO causes a positive AO.

However, during low solar activity the easterly QBO causes a considerably stronger negative AO than the westerly QBO is able to cause a positive AO. Furthermore, easterly QBO is more common than westerly QBO during the Nordic Hemisphere winter.


The conclusion of my work is clear. If the sun goes into a new Dalton and Maunder minimum, we can therefore expect extremely cold winters in North America, Europe and Russia – which is exactly what was experienced during both the Maunder minimum (1600’s) and the Dalton minimum (early 1800’s).

See supporting paper here


  1. tchannon says:

    That looks a good one. Warrants more looking.

  2. tallbloke says:

    Yes. It’s about time we got around to modelling the reltionships between the Chandler Wobble, QBO and Lunar orbit plus planetary modulations Ian Wilson outlined last year:

    Then we might be able to predict the timing of the QBO reversals and get some insight into the dynamics that drive them

  3. Roger,
    Think how this is different from Oldbrew’s Fibs, and Phi’s. I showed where the first 300 Fibs and their prime factors, has all the data needed to precisely 3D locate every toilet on or about this Earth. If only we knew the fuckin math expression! Noticing the mermaids is interesting, but if you are a fisherman go where the fish are!

  4. Jaime says:

    Reblogged this on climatecontrarian and commented:
    Very topical post on Tallbloke. We’ve got the low solar activity, the easterly QBO and negative AO, but still waiting for the NAO to swing deeply negative.

  5. tallbloke says:

    Will J: That would be a bog-normal distribution then. 😉

  6. tchannon says:

    I’ve confirmed a kind of match Turku AO / temperature done somewhat differently.

    Much more interesting is a slight time lead for AO, a good idea with cause and effect.

    I guess that ultimately for the UK this is whether we get warmth from the tropical Atlantic or weather from continental landmass.

    At lot of blocking going on recently. Not so simple, winter 2013/2014 gentle sprinkling was about blocking leaving us taking the full brunt of convective storms.

  7. Found a nice link with my schwabe triplet studies re: QBO
    I was doing some reading to study some more on the QBO
    as it links to solar and global temp’ in particular and l came across this interesting finding that links to the schwabe triplets today

    Kren et al 2014

    Click to access acp-14-4843-2014.pdf

    quote freom analysis and conclusion

    “This result is in agreement with Fischer and Tung (2008), who analyzed an equatorial zonal wind data set (1953–2007) and found that

    while the QBO period was anticorrelated with the solar cycle during the first three solar cycles, it became positively corre-lated in the latter three cycles.”
    end quote

    Only just peaked at this paper but
    33 yr correlated , 33 yr anti correlated..
    Troughs and peaks of the Jupiter/ saturn 60.9? or moon cycle or?

    This is very interesting

    as intuitively l am thinking
    QBO correlates with solar cycle = global warm cycle ( ~33yr)
    QBO NON correlates withsolar cycle = global cooling phase ( ~33yr)
    or Visa versa

    This would indicate a coupling or non coupling arrangement between QBO and schwabe triplets?
    in the AMO / global temp cycle

    A step closer to determine the global temp’ forcing agent and switch mechanism perhaps

  8. oldbrew says:

    @ weathercycles – the paper makes several references to a 40 year period e.g.:

    ‘This correlation changes sign over ∼ 40 year periods, indicating the change in the QBO period is not directly forced by the solar cycle‘ [bold added]

    But another possible 40 year solar period exists:


    ‘The Great Conveyor Belt is a massive circulating current of fire (hot plasma) within the sun. It has two branches, north and south, each taking about 40 years to complete one circuit. Researchers believe the turning of the belt controls the sunspot cycle.’

    That seems to contradict the other statement although it was just a ‘researchers believe’ in 2010.

  9. Thanks OB’ . Interesting I didn’t know about the 40 yr conveyor belt

    The QBO has a bi modal cycle
    the mean period was 28.2 months(Pawson et al 1993b);about 5 cycles in 12 years(Maruyama,1997)”.

    mean period 2 yr 4.2 month?

    One schwabe solar cycle = 11yr* 12months = 132 months
    QBO mean = 28.2 months ( bi modal cycle of east west phase)

    ~132 / ~28.2 months = ~4.68

    Not an exact factor here

    The QBO has a range/threshold of 20-36months


    and the basic schwabe solar cycle has a range of 9- 14 yrs

    but ascending sun spot phase is 1/2 of schwabe = ~ 5.5 yr and 5.5 yr descending ( bi modal cycle as well ( on /off)

    Schwabe triplet mean = 132 months * 3 = ~396 months
    QBO mean length of phase = 28.2months

    396 / 28.2 months = 14 .04

    There is more synch’ here with the schwabe triplets (If l did the math correct)

    Some researchers suggest better matches found when grouping time periods/data

    “Whatthese studies found was that by segregating the meteorological
    data by the phase of the QBO a clear signal of the 11-yr
    solar cycle was revealed. ”

    Click to access acp-14-4843-2014.pdf

  10. tallbloke says:

    WC: ascending sun spot phase is 1/2 of schwabe = ~ 5.5 yr and 5.5 yr descending

    No. Ascending is shorter than descending. The proportion is on average approx phi 0.618:1

    The QBO paper you linked earlier found an average of 27.2 months.

    Click to access acp-14-4843-2014.pdf

  11. Here are my causes for a -AO in order of significance

    Prolonged Solar Activity AP index 5.0 or lower

    Positive AMO

    QBO negative or easterly during low solar periods of time if positive might cause a weak +AO

    High latitude volcanic activity and typhoon activity

    Low Arctic Sea Ice

  12. “WC: ascending sun spot phase is 1/2 of schwabe = ~ 5.5 yr and 5.5 yr descending

    TB comment
    “No. Ascending is shorter than descending. The proportion is on average approx phi 0.618:1”

    wow!! thanks

    so schwabe triplets

    0.618 * 3 = 1.854 : 3

    3/ 1.854 = 1.618

    Such precision ..
    I wonder what the range is .. The thresholds for the ascending and descending phase

    Every parameter seems to have boundaries/thresholds held together by the phi pardigm

  13. tallbloke says:

    WC: Landscheidt covered this in one of his papers. Can’t remember which though. Maybe his golden section paper (gets a bit astrological in places). However it wouln’t be too difficult to study it from the data. Timo Niroma’s old site might have times of max and min for each cycle to save time.

  14. oldbrew says:

    ‘Landscheidt covered this in one of his papers’

    Here: http://bourabai.kz/landscheidt/golden.htm

    Note his comments re the KAM theorem:
    ‘This theorem states that instability catastrophes in planetary systems can be prevented by planetary periods of revolution that form irrational ratios.’


  15. Paul Vaughan says:

    Reviewing TB’s timely reminder above I again noticed Ian Wilson referencing this:

    Cuk, M. (2007). Excitation of Lunar Eccentricity by Planetary Resonances. Science 318, 244.

    • Jovian evection resonance
    • resonance with Venus

    Seminar Video:

    It’s a long video (1 hour), but I would say it’s a must-watch for Talkshop regulars. This guy isn’t like climate modelers bluffing about the extent of what’s known. He’s upfront, clear, & honest about what’s not known. Eccentricity is powerful and it’s a big unknown. This is a crucial impediment to climate modeling.

    I recommend careful consideration of the issues raised by Cuk in preparation for discussion of Ian Wilson’s forthcoming Venus-Moon paper, which will bring to your doorstep a new level of clarity if you’re ready to understand.


  16. Looks good Paul. Sooo much to read and do

    Love Landscheidt. Want to read them all.. Only had a dabble so far

    Another Landscheidt paper
    Apr 20, 1990 – Landscheidt, T. (1981): Swinging Sun, 79-Year Cycle, and Climatic Change, … Earth’s connections with other cosmic bodies in the solar system environment. … SUN-EARTH-MAN: A MESH OFCOSMIC OSCILLATIONS.

    Click to access Sun-Earth-Men_116_p_1989.pdf

  17. Landscheidt ..a sample from page 44 first.. glimpse produces treasure

    Click to access Sun-Earth-Men_116_p_1989.pdf

    “The first process involved are impulses of the torque (IOT) in the Sun’s
    motion about the centre of mass of the solar system (CM) that were mentioned
    They are induced by special heliocentric consteIIations of the giant
    planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus,.and Neptune.
    Figure 18 shows the ecIiptic
    positions of CM relative to the Sun’s centre for 1945 to 1995.
    The heliocentric
    representation and the line marking the limb of the Sun make it easy to see
    whether CM is to be found above or below the Sun’s surface; most of the time
    it is on the outside of the Sun’s body.

    The distance of both centres varies from
    0.01 to 2.19 solar radii.
    It takes 9 to 14 years to complete one revolution


    Hmmm. .. Range of schwabe solar cycle length is 9-14 yrs.. So we measure solar cycle length by the arc of the curve/ diameter of ellipse drawn by barycentre pattern?

    What is the math to find the circumference of the ellipse produced in image below?


  18. From the QBO frequency graph.. The ratio of east to west is not symmetrical with a ratio of -20 east and + 12 west.

    20/12 = 1.66

    Wondering if the shorter west phase of QBO is linked to the shorter solar cycle phase?

    some stats

    Ratio of max thresholds for QBO vs Solar cycle length

    shortest ratio = 20 yr QBO / 9 yr solar cycle length = 2.22

    longest ratio =-36 month QBO / 14 yr cycle length = 2.57

    mean ratio = 28.2 yr QBO / 10.8 yr solar cycle = 2.61

    Random pair within the threshold boundaries abstract scenario

    1988 La Nina . Long neg easterly phase 36 months and 1988 -1989 was a descending phase of the the schwabe cycle 12 ( 11.3 yr schwabe)and heralded the commencement of the descending phase of the AMO. Tge global cooling phase

    36 / 11.3 yr = 3.18


    I have done these calculations to illustrate threshold boundaries and the potential range of parameter ratios. Possibly a useless exercise but maybe not.


    I found in my studies of ENSO a few years ago that an extended/ anomalous neg easterly phase of the QBO yielded a moderate/strong La Nina year

  19. This sunspot cycle looks to be longer and longer and will have climatic implications. I think it may approach 14 years.

  20. Paul Vaughan says:

    Solar cycle deceleration (i.e. lengthening solar cycle) is strongly correlated with northern hemisphere warming over the entire sea surface temperature record …but for whatever reason (politics perhaps??….) most climate enthusiasts look only at solar cycle length, ignoring its rate of change. The correlation is perfect aside from ENSO (lunisolar) scrambling.

    I have more links to share on Venus-Earth eccentricity coupling and JEV nodes+eccentricity when time permits. It will be a heavy discussion when Ian’s Venus-Moon paper is released.