Ian Wilson: A Severe Case of Cognitive Dissonance

Posted: November 5, 2018 by tallbloke in Astrophysics, climate, ENSO, Natural Variation, Ocean dynamics, solar system dynamics, Tides, waves, weather
[For details on the graph see below]

Update 12/11/2018: Ian Wilson’s 2019 El Nino forecast can be found here.

Cognitive Dissonance: When a person or a group of people have attitudes, beliefs or behaviors that are in conflict with each other. Generally, this produces a feeling of mental discomfort that leads to an alteration in their attitudes, beliefs or behaviors that moderates their mental discomfort and restores balance.

I believe that the level of cognitive dissonance that we have about the influence of lunar tides upon El Nino events has become so large that something has to give.

In a series of blog posts in November 2014:


I showed that between 1870 and 2025, the precise alignments between the lunar synodic [phase] cycle and the 31/62 year Perigean New/Full moon cycle, naturally breaks up into six 31-year epochs each of which has a distinctly different tidal property. Note that the second of these 31-year intervals starts with the precise alignment on the 15th of April 1870, with the subsequent epoch boundaries occurring every 31 years after that:

Epoch 1 – Prior to 15th April  1870
Epoch 2 – 15th April 1870 to 18th April 1901
Epoch 3 – 8th April 1901 to 20th April 1932
Epoch 4 – 20th April 1932 to 23rd April 1963
Epoch 5 – 23rd April 1963 to 25th April 1994
Epoch 6 – 25th April 1994 to 27th April 2025

I claimed that if the 31/62-year seasonal tidal cycle plays a role in sequencing the triggering of El Niño events, it would be reasonable to expect that its effects for the following three epochs:

New Moon Epoch:
Epoch 1 – Prior to 15th April  1870
Epoch 3 – 8th April 1901 to 20th April 1932
Epoch 5 – 23rd April 1963 to 25th April 1994

should be noticeably different to its effects for these three epochs:

Full Moon Epochs:
Epoch 2 – 15th April 1870 to 18th April 1901
Epoch 4 – 20th April 1932 to 23rd April 1963
Epoch 6 – 25th April 1994 to 27th April 2025

In addition, I showed that:
Moderate-to-strong El Niño events in the New Moon epochs preferentially occur near times when the lunar line-of-apse aligns with the Sun at the times of the Solstices.

Moderate-to-strong El Niño events in the Full Moon epochs preferentially occur near times when the lunar line-of-apse aligns with the Sun at the times of the Equinoxes.

Astonishingly, there has been almost no response from the climate science community concerning these important findings.

This terrible state of affairs persists even though there is overwhelming evidence that the Perigean New/Full tidal cycle must play a role in instigating moderate-to-strong El Nino events.

The following graph shows the astronomical declination of the strongest Perigean New/Full Moon between 1962 and 1997 (solid blue line)(1). These are the strongest lunar tidal events during the 5th (New moon) Epoch that spans the period between the 23rd of April 1963 and the 25th of April 1994. The declinations of strongest Perigean New/Full Moons reach their maximum distance from the Celestial Equator once every 4.425 (= 8.850 / 2) tropical years, as a result of the slow prograde precession of the lunar line-of-apse with respect to the stars.
In addition, the graph shows the declination at which the Moon reaches lunar standstill near the times of the strongest Perigean New/Full moon events (dashed red lines).

Finally, the following graph shows the months that are associated with moderate-to-strong El Nino events between 1962 and 1996 [histograms]. These months have been determined by Smith and Sardeshmukh [2000] (2) using a Bivariate ENSO Time Series (BEST) index that effectively combines the atmospheric component of the ENSO (i.e. the SOI index) with the oceanic component (i.e Nino 3.4 SST anomaly index). [Note that the less stringent list of El Nino months from Smith and Sardeshmukh (2000) are adopted here. The less stringent list uses 0.96 standard deviation cut-off rather than 1.28 (3),(4)]

A comparison between the timing of El Nino months and the times at which the strongest Perigean New/Full Moons approach lunar standstill, clearly show close alignments for eight out of ten of the moderate-to-strong El Nino events.

[N.B. The two moderate El Nino events in 1963/64 and 1993 that do not follow this pattern occur right near the boundaries of New Moon Epoch 5 where a transitioning is being made between New and Full Moon epochs. These two El Nino events appear to be part of the sequences associated with the Full Moon epochs (i.e. epoch 4 and 6) which occur when the strongest Perigean New/Full Moon events are close to the Celestial Equator.]

It is absolutely amazing that the climate community is ignoring such clearcut evidence in favour of this hypothesis that the 31/62-year Perigean New/Full moon tidal cycle is the trigger for moderate-to-strong El Nino events.

[N.B. The starting months for most of El Nino events in Epoch 5 are close to times where either full moons at standstill occur in the northern hemisphere near the winter solstice (i.e December) or new moons occur at standstill in the southern hemisphere near the winter solstice (i.e. December: The convention is to use the Northern Hemisphere as the template for naming the Summer (Jun 21st) and WInter Solstices (Dec 21st))

). These are the strongest Perigean New/Full moons over the period between 1963 and 1994.]


[1] JPL Horizons Web Interface Ephemeris – https://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/horizons.cgi#top – last accessed 14/10/2018

[2] Smith, C.A. and P. Sardeshmukh, 2000, The Effect of ENSO on the Intraseasonal Variance of Surface Temperature in WinterInternational J. of Climatology20 1543-1557.

[3] http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/people/cathy.smith/best/

[4] http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/people/cathy.smith/best/table33.txt

  1. oldbrew says:

    Typo: ‘Epoch 3 – 8th April 1901 to 20th April 1932’ should read:
    Epoch 3 – 18th April 1901 to 20th April 1932
    (appears twice)

  2. tallbloke says:

    OK, I sent a typo email to Ian as well. So in case he thinks we’re just nitpicking, I want to say, this is the best representation of the data he’s made yet. It looks so clear and obvious now. Awesome work!

  3. Paul Vaughan says:

    Bee Keeper

    Climatic scilence peeking thru hellsinkey revealed to us in sin R-rated wellred tape.

    “Firstly, certain points-of-view will be written off. Secondly, and most important, points worth making will be regulated into oblivion. […] This is an era of submerging the power of discourse.”

    UNo the art isn’t gone
    holdin’ IT tightly canine devotion caught on command

    Still can’t believe
    They’re ‘is ally?

    NO.1 can know how we feel
    Blame all The Movement to give IT a way

    Leap of faith
    doU doU?bt

    Promises promise
    an i foreign eye

    Whatever U d00
    Don’t tell anyone
    “The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret” — Queens of the Stone Age

  4. oldbrew says:

    naturally breaks up into six 31-year epochs……which sums to 186 years = 196 draconic years

    Draconic year: ‘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)’ – Wikipedia.
    – – –
    Update: on second thoughts, 21 lunar apsidal cycles = ~186 years seems more relevant.

  5. Phil Clark says:

    Ian is correct in his explanation of El Nino epochs. When I looked into the potential relationship between El Nino episodes, lunisolar orbital motions and Argo float trajectories a few years ago, it was quickly apparent that El Nino episodes corresponded to New or Full Moon timing plus or minus four days. The plus or minus range suggested that the gravitational effect was a progressive rather than a “peak” event effect.

    But discussing these issues with Ian seems more difficult than studying climate science as he doesn’t appear willing to respond to email contacts!

    Phil Clark

  6. Chaeremon says:

    What an outstanding work Ian.
    Being interested in LAC and LNC and their sublunar points during interval ends, I know for some time that standstill (minor+major) occurs during equinox — with luna very ± near to solstice (ecliptic) position (behavior like a pendulum).
    That you achieved to associate the many & various periods & positions with ocean pattern is astonishing work!

  7. Bloke down the pub says:

    If the strength of any hypothesis is in its ability to make predictions that come true, could we please have a prediction of when the next strong El Ninos will be.

  8. oldbrew says:

    Bloke: we already have one…

    Our current prediction is for a moderate to strong El Nino event starting around July 2019. More of this in the next few months.

  9. oldbrew says:

    The Moon has a 372 tropical year cycle:
    4601 synodic months @ 29.530589 d = 135870.23 days
    4973 tropical months @ 27.321582 d = 135870.22 days

    4973 – 4601 = 372 tropical years = 31 * 12 = 62 * 6
    Half cycle: 372 / 2 = 186 tropical years

  10. oldbrew says:

    30-year base period SST in Nino 3.4 region:
    1986-2015 is only level with 1976-2005, possibly trending further downwards.

  11. tallbloke says:

    Interesting plot OB. The 1976-2005 curve shows marginally warmer SSTs than the 1981-2010 does.
    1986-2016 has mismatched end points. It appears to show a step change between Dec and Jan that looks ,,, odd.

  12. Chaeremon says:

    The magic of 7, beginning with multiples and halfs of synodic Inex corresponding to multiples and halfs of synodic Venus:

    Equation: 10Inex = 181Venus; then 81½Venus = 4½Inex + 1m = 7LNC = 7(4.9 x Metonic/5).

    Moreover, 1synodic moon + 2siblings + 1LNC = ~same decl° & star & node, doubled – 1LAC = 1Inex -1 = 18Venus.

  13. oldbrew says:

    7 LAC = 766 synodic months (mean value)

    2 Inex = 61 draconic years (777 draconic months minus 716 synodic months)

  14. Chaeremon says:

    @oldbrew January 3, 2019 at 11:14 am:

    What is your LNC, does’t look like 230.3~m = 18.6~ yrs …

  15. oldbrew says:

    Charemon: sorry – typo, amended to LAC (apsidal cycle).

    The LNC (nodal cycle) is the beat period of the draconic and tropical years (or months – DM and TM, same result).

  16. Chaeremon says:

    Now splitting 7 into 2,3,(8/2),5 [Fibonacci] which comes close to Ian’s 31/62 years factor:

    Equation: (3×7)LAC = (2×5)LNC = 7*7Metonic/5 = 2303.0 synodic; int [ceiling] sqroot factors are 2x3x8x8x3x2.

    To not overshoot the 186 equinoctial years (31x3x2 = 31x6years wobble) take eclipse cycle 3xInex + 5½xSaros, has life expectancy 2418.000~ years (h/t R.H. van Gent).

    Current experiment shows the 2300½ synodic interval has opposite end’s = opposite sign, at same min/max abs declination° (incl. standstill), thus requires ~0° inclination in the middle (eclipse condition) where standstills are the interval’s ends (part of Ian’s thing).

  17. Chaeremon says:

    @January 4, 2019 at 9:55 am, results of experiment:

    Equation: 5×LNC = 3×31years = 10½×LAC, standstill pattern is: same decl° at both ends and in the middle is the opposite [standstill] decl° [and sign].
    Very near eclipse cycle is 11×Inex – 12½×Saros (life expectancy 465 yrs), has same apside at opposite syzygy ends (is also near same solar anomaly); 82½×FMC is obvious.
    FWIW, 1150½ moons is short of 1 moon in 49×Metonic/10 and short of 1½ moons in 96×lunar year/s.