Paul K: mini-paradox becomes a major paradox

Posted: December 19, 2015 by tallbloke in Analysis, solar system dynamics, waves, wind

Going through one of the old PRP shutdown threads I spotted a comment from regular A C Osborn I missed in all the hubbub. It linked to this thread on Bishop Hill, and I thought I’d repost it here for some consideration, since it’s right in our ~60yr oscillation in LOD ballpark. His grace’s intro follows:

Reader Paul K (a regular writer at Lucia’s) left this fascinating comment on the thread about the England trade winds paper. As BH regulars know, I don’t spend a lot of time on alternative theories of climate change, but I felt this was worthy of an airing.

As Nic correctly points out, from the observed data, the total global ocean heat flux shows a peak around 2001-2005 depending on which dataset one takes. TOA radiative measurements show a peak in net radiative incoming flux somewhere around 1997-2000, driven largely by SW changes in net albedo. Modern MSL data from satellite altimetry (or indeed from tide gauge data) shows a peak in its derivative function around 2001-2003, which should also be a proxy for net heat flux going into the ocean. (Using gravimetric data from GRACE, we can rule out the possibility that the peak in MSL derivative was caused by mass addition – it is a peak clearly driven by thermosteric expansion. There is a useful presentation here by Nerem.

So there is a consistent story from three data sources which says that the net incoming flux hit a peak and has since been decreasing overall for about a decade. This is not compatible with increasing forcing from GHGs and flat or declining tropospheric temperature – a mini paradox, if you will.

The mini-paradox becomes a major paradox when we consider the historical behavior of MSL from tide-guage data. The derivative function of the MSL data shows a dominant and remarkably consistent quasi-60 year cycle. It shows dominant peaks around 1750, 1810, 1870’s and 1940s. (See Jevrejeva 2008.) In other words, the modern peak in the MSL data came in right on time relative to previous recorded oscillatory cycles which date back to 1700. Using the modern peak for calibration, which we know relates to a peak in incoming net flux, we can very reasonably infer that the previous peaks were also due to peaks in net heat flux. The paradox is that these dates for peak incoming flux correspond closely to peaks in the multidecadal oscillations of surface temperature. This is a major bust. This is exactly pi radians out of phase with what we would expect if these cycles were caused by an unforced redistribution of internal heat. (High surface temperatures should induce an increase in outgoing radiation which translates into a decrease in net incoming radiation.) I think that we are therefore led to the inevitable conclusion that these are forced climate oscillations, which means that we have to look for a new flux forcing to explain them, since the current selection box does not have any forcings of the correct frequencies.

I now return to the work of Matthew England. His work adds an important piece to the jigsaw puzzle, even if he himself is failing to appreciate the implications. We saw from Kosaka and Xie 2013 that a large chunk of the late 20th century heating as well as the modern temperature hiatus could be captured by the simple expedient of prescribing sea surface temperatures in a small area of the eastern Pacific. Those temperatures are in reality controlled by ENSO events which are in turn controlled by equatorial trade wind strength and direction. England’s work confirms at least in skeletal form that controlling the wind stress tensor in the same area gives a similar result, even if he is wrong on some of the details.

The question it leaves is: what then controls the equatorial trade winds? The answer was actually known more than 40 years ago when science was still relatively unsullied, but it will not be accepted easily by mainstream climate science today, since the answer makes not one but two major breaches in fundamental assumptions of climate science.

The first part of the answer is that the climate oscillations are triggered by gravitationally forced changes in the angular velocity of the solid Earth. These changes transmit a (non-radiative) momentum flux into the hydrosphere and atmosphere via frictional torque and conservation of angular momentum. These changes explain the fluctuations in trade winds and, just as importantly, the latitudinal meanderings of the jet streams. Before anyone starts calling for the men in white coats, I would suggest that you have a look at this 1976 paper and this. For the excellent correlation apparent in the higher frequency data between Earth’s rotation velocity, atmospheric angular momentum and ENSO events, you might also try this paper.

So it seems that England has probably confirmed that the multidecadal oscillations are driven by atmospheric tides which are driven by a non-radiative orbital forcing. He just hasn’t realised yet that what he has done is to demonstrate that the GCMs are all missing a massively important piece of physics which was considered small enough to be neglected on energetic grounds.

The story doesn’t end there. The orbital forcing is a triggering and control mechanism, but it is “energetically deficient” to explain the full amplitude of the climate oscillations. On my sums the trough-to-peak transfer of energy via momentum flux and friction amounts to something less than 2*10^22 joules during the 60-year cycles. The amplification factor comes from the cloud response to the change in phase of the orbital forcing, which is why we note the dominant effect of SW changes in the radiative signature. This is a feedback mechanism of sorts, but it is not a “temperature dependent” feedback mechanism; it does not correlate simply with global surface temperature, but rather with the phase of orbital forcing. This post is already too long for me to try to explain how that works.

I am hoping if I live long enough to try to get some of this stuff down in more detail in an article for Lucia, but I do keep getting distracted, not to mention beaten up by my wife for wasting time on that climate change rubbish instead of doing something useful.

  1. BoyfromTottenham says:

    Hi from Oz. Well done Paul, even if the wife doesn’t appreciate the work that you have put into it! (What’s that line about prophets not being recognised in their native land?). Joining all these dots is difficult, baffling and tiresome, but thank heavens that there are folk out there that keep at it, regardless of the naysayers and rent-seekers. Merry Christmas to all!

  2. Brett Keane says:

    Is the c.60yr cycle likely to be connected with the apparent UV-related solar effect on atmospheric height and zonality? Brett

  3. A C Osborn says:

    I look at lots of different Forums about Climate and Science and the one thing that stands out more than any other is that Climate Science is anything but “Settled”.
    There is so much research out there where it appears real Scientists and citizen Scientists are finding or in some cases re-finding data that shows that modern climate scientists have absolutely no clue about how the climate actually works.

  4. tallbloke says:

    Brett K: Yes. A whole lot of things are connected to the ~60YR oscillation. That’s what Marcia Wyatt and Judy Curry wrote about in their ‘Stadium Wave’ paper a couple of years ago. The question we’ve been working on is: what is the prime mover?

    Solar is one possibility. But behind solar is the likely effect of the motion of the planets on solar variability we’ve theorised about here at the talkshop. But there may be a direct effect from the planetary motion – possibly confounded with similarly timed lunar effects – on changes in Earth’s rotation speed.

    Then there is the ‘official’ explanation for multi-decadal cycles in LOD. This involves changes in the circulation of the molten stuff under the Earth’s crust. I find that unsatisfying because they never seem to want to ask, “well, what lies behind those?”

  5. Graeme No.3 says:

    The “official explanation” is that it is caused by carbon dioxide or perhaps the Flying spaghetti Monster, which many feel is the better explanation than the IPCC version.
    Any effect the planets have on the sun (and I have considerable reluctance in accepting that Pluto has any such) can be replaced by the bigger effect that, say Jupiter, has on the Earth and/or on the Moon. Unfortunately the latter cannot be called The Lunatic Effect as that title should surely belong to those who attended the recent Paris Conference on Climate.

  6. tchannon says:

    After years of considering I suggest looking closely at solar data.

    We are dealing here with pseudo periods, not exact, not constant.

    Quite some time ago I unearthed a pseudo 45 year from solar data, without 11 year present, irrelevant. This seemed to match sea level change and temperature, in recent times.

    This effect is probably magnetic. Look at the solar hemisphere activity, that is where it came from. To a degree the 11y cancels.

    I’ve left a lot of clues.

  7. Paul Vaughan says:

    “So it seems that England has probably confirmed that the multidecadal oscillations are driven by atmospheric tides which are driven by a non-radiative orbital forcing.”

    They deny the proven orthogonality of the solar cycle length differintegral. See Suggestions-16.

  8. oldbrew says:

    Tim C says: ‘Quite some time ago I unearthed a pseudo 45 year from solar data, without 11 year present, irrelevant. This seemed to match sea level change and temperature, in recent times.’

    See Rhodes Fairbridge:

    Caption to photograph: ‘The Hudson Bay “staircase”, a typical series of 184 successively uplifted strandlines, situated in Richmond Gulf on the eastern side of Hudson Bay, Canada. The sand gravel beaches are preserved by permafrost, and recur with great regularity about every 45 years, representing the cycle of storminess. There are longer cycles of 111 years and 317 years evident in the beaches, which are linked with planetary cycles.’

  9. A very Merry Christmas to ‘Tallblokes’ blog, that will never need to stand upon anyone elses shoulders.

  10. p.g.sharrow says:

    “Cause and effect—effect and cause?”

    After accepting the fundamental concept of charge and charge in motion in the Aether or the stuff that is the building block of the Universe, we can advance to understanding other things.
    The Solar system is a giant time clock composed of masses of mater in free fall, circulating in a sea of electromotive and electrostatic connections.
    Remember that masses in free fall are not inert, they still have mass that moves in rotations and orbit as well as travel with the group and gravitation disturbance caused by their effects on one another during their movements. Mater in motion, means charges in motion.

    “Every Electron in the Universe feels the actions of every other Electron.”

    The internal atomic activity in these masses ebbs and flows to the tune of local energy changes caused by the actions of these external moving masses. Only when these macro, effect and cause in energy flow are understood can we move on to the local micro causes, such as circulations of water in oceanic basins and atmospheric circulations herded by magnetic and gravitational effects and various heating/cooling conditions. Even as these local micro conditions are under change due to continental drift and cosmic accident.

    “Lots of moving parts”

    The only sure thing is change! Even if it is generally foretold by by the cosmic time clock, there is considerable ignorance as to cause and effect in long term Climate conditions…pg

  11. Berényi Péter says:

    Length of the saros cycle is 18 years, 11 days and 8 hours. Geometric configuration of Earth, Moon and Sun repeats itself very nearly with this period. Except (due to the 8 hours component) the configuration is shifted westward relative to Earth’s surface by 120 degrees. Therefore the real cycle relative to geographical features (such as mid ocean ridges or shore lines) is 54 years and 34 days.

    Roughly two third (69%) of tidal acceleration is due to the Moon, the rest comes from the Sun, therefore both celestial bodies give substantial contribution. Actual tidal forcing over any one spot at a time depends on relative celestial positions of the Moon and the Sun. It is greatest when the line connecting them goes through the center of the Earth and smallest when they are seen at a right angle. The amplification factor is not negligible, it’s value is 2.63.

    Tidal forcing can be decomposed into several harmonic tidal constituents, each generating its unique fingerprint over global ocean basins, like this.

    Actual tidal forcing is the sum of all constituents, therefore the entire (rather complex) pattern very nearly repeats itself in every third saros cycle.

    Why is it important for the climate?

    Now, heat capacity of oceans is more than a thousand times higher than that of the atmosphere. So in this respect the ocean is the dog and the atmosphere is the tail, never the other way around. However, heat can’t easily penetrate into deeper layers, because both heating and cooling acts at the same gravitational potential (at the surface, in equatorial and polar regions, respectively), which does not induce an overturning circulation in the fluid. Also, warmer water masses are less dense, than cooler ones, so they never sink on their own. That’s absolutely true for seawater, whose density is highest just above freezing (at -1.9 centigrade), so it behaves rather differently than fresh water in this respect. At the same time heat conductivity of seawater is low, so no matter how much cooler the water is at depth, it would take ages to warm it up by conductivity. True, there is a small heating at the bottom as well called geothermal heat flux, but it is also insufficient (by several orders of magnitude) to maintain the observed mass flux of deep overturning circulation.

    The proper name of it is MOC (Meridional Overturning Circulation), also known by a misnomer as Thermohaline Circulation.

    A misnomer, because the driving force behind the circulation as a whole is neither temperature nor salinity differences. They may determine the exact spatio-temporal distribution of downwelling along the ice / water interface, but if it were the entire story, the abyss would eventually get saturated with cold, dense water of high salinity, at which point the entire circulation would grind to a halt.

    Clearly, to keep the engine running, we need a persistent resupply of buoyancy at depth. That’s provided by a process called deep turbulent mixing. The driving force behind it is not a thermodynamic one, but pure mechanical energy input, provided by tides and winds, in roughly the same proportion. Winds generate internal waves, mostly over the Southern ocean (~80%, like roaring forties, furious fifties &. screaming sixties), the bulk of the rest coming from the North Atlantic. However, we are interested in the other half, internal waves generated by tidal forcing right now.

    These internal waves are getting broken over rugged bottom features and at continental margins of complex geometry, in which case vigorous vertical turbulent mixing is induced at specific locations, intermittently. That’s enough to supply the necessary buoyancy at depth to maintain the observed flux of deep overturning circulation indefinitely. The pump is highly efficient. The amount of heat moved around the globe this way is many orders of magnitude more than the mechanical energy dissipated in the process. Still, that’s what keeps ocean currents going, not thermodynamics.

    As tidal patterns repeat themselves in every third saros cycle, one would expect such periodicity in ocean currents as well. Which has a tremendous impact on climate, no doubt about that.

    The cycle is not perfect, of course, most of all because of the one month delay at the end of each 54 year period, which changes the angle between the equatorial and ecliptic planes, still, it’s close enough.

  12. p.g.sharrow says:

    Berényi Péte is quite correct. The tidal pumping caused by Sun and Moon drag on the Oceans, pump their waters around the continents and up from the deeps to balance the flows from East to West and from Northern basins to South and back as orbits change the location of the gravitational drag.
    Just one of the many moving parts involved in this ballet of climate change…pg

  13. oldbrew says:

    Berényi Péter says: ‘Therefore the real cycle relative to geographical features (such as mid ocean ridges or shore lines) is 54 years and 34 days.’

    Which is 57 draconic years, less about 1.38 days (251 of those = 1 DY).

    ‘The draconic year, draconitic year, eclipse year, or ecliptic year is the time taken for the Sun (as seen from the Earth) to complete one revolution with respect to the same lunar node (a point where the Moon’s orbit intersects the ecliptic).’

  14. TLMango says:

    Thanks Berenyi for weighing in on behalf of the Moon.
    The Moon is the delivery system for the outside forces that influence the tides.

    J = 11.862242…….S = 29.457784
    S / 6 x J / 3 / (S / 6 – J / 3) = 20.31612757 ‘ 60 year cycle / 3
    S / 1 x J / 1 / (S / 1 – J / 1) = 19.85931224 ‘ Jup/Sat synodic period
    J / 1 x S / 4 / (J / 1 – S / 4) = 19.42258845 ‘ Jup/Sat beat
    J / 3 x S / 9 / (J / 3 – S / 9) = 19.00465924 ‘ Jup/Sat beat

    Lunar cycles:
    J / 5 x S / 14 / ( J / 5 – S / 14 ) = 18.60433691
    J / 19 x S / 48 / (J / 19 – S / 48) = 18.03124149 x 2
    S / 379 x J / 162 / (S / 379 – J / 162) = 8.850584798 / 7

    18.03124149 / 165……… 20.31612757 / 1150………… 8.850584798 / (60 x 7)
    18.03124149 / 217……… 19.85931224 / 1150………… 8.850584798 / (58 x 7)
    18.03124149 / 269……….19.42258845 / 1150………… 8.850584798 / (56 x 7)
    18.03124149 / 321……….19.00465924 / 1150………… 8.850584798 / (54 x 7)
    18.03124149 / 373……….18.60433691 / 1150………… 8.850584798 / (52 x 7)

    P1 x P2 / (P1 – P2) = P3
    After the Christmas holiday Weathercycles and I will delve deeper into
    the influence of planets as it relates to Ray Tomes’s ‘Harmonic Theory’.

  15. tchannon says:

    Conceptually there must be tidal water movement involving more than the sun moon earth, the question is the magnitude and nature of the effect.

    As I see it this is a consequence of terrestrial obstructions, land masses preventing simple movement. Will vary with major sea level change.

    I think this problem is open to armchair investigation, can be modelled.

    The first issue which comes to mind is the time granularity needed. As with planet spin affecting planet temperature, spin is also critical with tidal forces. Modelling would have to be at a fine scale.

    Perhaps first create code to calculate tidal force throughout the sphere, leave the detail body problem (topography / construction) to follow later.

    I guess it would be sufficient to simplify to sun / moon / jupiter for initial investigation.

    Then comes a hard problem, dealing with oceans, thin liquid over rock. To me this looks like a large 3D matrix / cell, problems, for which software exists from a variety of disciplines. Which is most suitable?

    So, we have forces at an instant from the first half.

    This can be applied to the second producing acceleration vectors for water, presumably for a very simplified earth.

    Then effects start to appear and figuring how to extract what happens, show a user.

    No problem… years of work. Guessing, others have either done this of part of it. See if existing works can help.