New method gives first global picture of mutual predictability of atmosphere and ocean

Posted: October 8, 2019 by oldbrew in atmosphere, climate, data, modelling, Ocean dynamics, predictions, research, Temperature, wind
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Stating the obvious, but most of the heat is in the oceans if compared to the heat in the atmosphere. Wikipedia says ‘the top 2.5 m of the ocean holds as much heat as the entire atmosphere above it.’ If improved predictions are expected, evidence of that will be needed.

University of Maryland (UMD) scientists have carried out a novel statistical analysis to determine for the first time a global picture of how the ocean helps predict the low-level atmosphere and vice versa, reports Phys.org.

They observed ubiquitous influence of the ocean on the atmosphere in the extratropics, which has been difficult to demonstrate with dynamic models of atmospheric and oceanic circulation.

The results are published today in the Journal of Climate, “Local atmosphere-ocean predictability: dynamical origins, lead times, and seasonality.”

The research draws on a classic statement often heard in introductory statistics classes that “correlation is not causation.” Clive Granger was a Nobel-laureate mathematician who came up with a novel method to address this issue by distinguishing correlation from causation.

“The Granger method relies upon a simple but important notion that a cause precedes its effect, and should improve the prediction of its effect in the future. We realized that this could be a powerful method to study the interactions between atmosphere and ocean, and to provide a global picture of how well they predict each other,” said applied mathematician Safa Motesharrei, an Environmental Systems Scientist at UMD. “This method sheds light on both the potential to better predict regional climate as well as the nature of the interactions.”

“There are many physical processes that govern the interaction between the atmosphere and ocean,” said lead author Eviatar Bach, Ph.D. student in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science (AOSC) at UMD. “For example, wind blowing on the ocean surface creates currents, and the sea surface heats up the lower atmosphere. These interactions between the atmosphere and ocean play a major role in climate and our ability to predict it, so understanding their geographical structure is important.”

“It has been known that in the tropical oceans, the ocean is predominantly driving the atmospheric changes, while in the extratropics the atmosphere generally drives the ocean,” said co-author Eugenia Kalnay, Distinguished University Professor of AOSC at UMD. “I developed a dynamical rule to determine the direction of the forcing in 1986, and others have addressed this question using climate models.This study provides a definitive answer.”

The basic Granger method was introduced in 1969, but the authors “cleverly applied it for the first time to atmosphere and ocean data,” said Juergen Kurths, Head of Complexity Science Department at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, who was not a co-author. Kurths is a prominent physicist who has developed many novel mathematical methods for studying climate and other nonlinear systems.

“The most novel finding of this research is that the method of Granger causality found the ocean to influence the atmosphere almost everywhere in the extratropics,” said Samantha Wills, a postdoctoral researcher at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, who was not a co-author. “This can be a challenging task given that the atmosphere dominates air-sea interaction in the extratropics, and the influence of the ocean on the atmosphere is not much larger than internal variability.”

“This had not been demonstrated by previous General Circulation Model experiments. Although there have been a few special cases where it has been shown that mid-latitude sea-surface temperatures have a significant impact on the atmosphere, this relationship was not known to be as ubiquitous as this paper has shown,” said J. Shukla, University Professor at George Mason University, who was not a co-author.

Shukla is a world renowned climate scientist who pioneered studies of predictability.

Full report here.

Study: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0817.1

Comments
  1. stpaulchuck says:

    sounds simplistic. The air/ocean interface is bi-directional. Warm water pumps heat into the colder atmosphere above and vice versa and both are subject to a myriad of influences.

    IMAO the whole air, ocean, “climate” issue is significantly more complicated than any of the current models. Also our knowledge of heat generators and heat sinks is incomplete. The newly documented sub sea volcanoes are a prime example of our ignorance. I particularly loved the paper presented here some time back of the discovery of the mass of CO2 being pumped into the oceans and atmosphere from sub sea volcanoes that we didn’t even know existed a few years ago. The amount far exceeds anything humans are doing.

    The “sky is falling” BS from various quarters with respect to global heating and the Satanic Gases is just that, BS. They’ve changed the name now to climate catastrophe. Really?? Seriously? If only we had actual news reporters and news media instead of the morons spewing half truths and lies that we currently have. Oh well. At least we have men and women of real science that continue to inform those of us willing to pay attention. I tip my hat to them one and all.

  2. JB says:

    The glib use of the phrase: “correlation is not causation” has almost acquired cult mantra use. But it obscures the rest of the matter. Strong correlation is an indicator of causation close to identification. Pursuit in this instance often leads to understanding and enlightenment.

  3. konradwp1 says:

    The semantic dance the authors play around the issue of air/water energy exchange in the extratropics is revealing. Clearly there are toes they are trying to avoid stepping on.

    The problem with so much of the failed AGW conjecture is that it demands that somehow, some way, the atmosphere is heating the oceans.

    The AGW believers have tried DWLWIR, but surface incident LWIR can neither heat nor slow the cooling rate of water free to evaporatively cool. (This is why the climastrologists can never offer a single empirical experiment demonstrating the claimed effect).

    And conduction doesn’t work either. At one bar pressure, a m3 of air has over 3000 times less heat capacity than the m3 of water below it. The energy the climastrologists claim is entering the oceans via mechanisms other than sunlight is physically impossible.

    But to admit that the sun alone heats the oceans, is to admit the foundation calculation for the entire radiative GHE conjecture is wrong. Hence the authors semantic dance.

  4. oldbrew says:

    A telling comment from Konrad, IMO.

  5. ivan says:

    scientists have carried out a novel statistical analysis

    As it is said, ‘there are lies, damn lies and statistics’. It appears they are clutching at straws to keep the UN Church of Climatology Cult going because there is too much money sloshing about in the scam and too many people in on it would lose out if it collapsed.

  6. Kip Hansen says:

    “The Granger method relies upon a simple but important notion that a cause precedes its effect, and should improve the prediction of its effect in the future.”

    I’m going to have to read the full paper — I don’t think that the idea that Cause proceeds Effect is new — maybe new to climate modelers — but not to me….The sentence quoted above is, after all, the most basic of all principles in the scientific method.

  7. tallbloke says:

    The atmospheric tail does not wag the oceanic dog.

  8. Jeremy says:

    “Shukla is a world renowned climate scientist who pioneered studies of predictability.”

    You mean the fellow who pocketed millions from the National Science Foundation
    and other US government agencies (who apparently turned a blind eye)?

    https://climateaudit.org/2015/09/28/shuklas-gold/

  9. oldbrew says:

    Yes, but ‘Shady’ Shukla was not one of the authors of the study.

  10. Ben Wouters says:

    konradwp1 says: October 8, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    The problem with so much of the failed AGW conjecture is that it demands that somehow, some way, the atmosphere is heating the oceans.

    The energy the climastrologists claim is entering the oceans via mechanisms other than sunlight is physically impossible.

    So far fully agree with you.

    But to admit that the sun alone heats the oceans, is to admit the foundation calculation for the entire radiative GHE conjecture is wrong.

    Problem here is that even the sun does not “heat the oceans”. It heats (= slightly increases the temperature of) only a very shallow layer at the surface.

    The rest of the oceans is hot (275K or warmer) for the same reason the continental crust is hot and gets hotter with increasing depth: Earth consists mainly of molten rock and molten metal.
    In spite of the small flux (~0,065 W/m^2) continetal crust is hot like this:

  11. Curious George says:

    Mutual predictability – of two media, unpredictable so far?

  12. oldbrew says:

    NEW SCIENTIFIC PAPER “PROVES” CLOUDS CONTROL THE CLIMATE, NOT MAN
    JULY 14, 2019

    A new research paper concludes that human activity can account for no more than a 0.01C rise in global temperatures, and goes so far as to “prove” low-level clouds “practically control the global temperature”.

    The paper, entitled “No Experimental Evidence for the Significant Anthropogenic Climate Change“ and published in Nature, is the work of a group of Finnish scientists. It explains how the IPCC’s analysis of global temperatures suffers from at least one glaring error — namely, the failure to account for “influences of low cloud cover” on global temperatures.

    https://electroverse.net/new-scientific-paper-proves-clouds-control-the-climate-not-man/
    – – –
    NO EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE FOR THE SIGNIFICANT
    ANTHROPOGENIC CLIMATE CHANGE

    J. KAUPPINEN AND P. MALMI
    https://arxiv.org/pdf/1907.00165.pdf

    Quote: One of the authors (JK) worked as an expert reviewer of IPCC AR5 report. One of his comments concerned the missing experimental evidence for the very large sensitivity presented in the report.

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