JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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The SOI still rules

Who would have thought that if you knew the air pressure in Darwin and Tahiti in June, you could figure out that the start of 2011 might be a Stalingrad Winter up North and a cooler wetter summer down south (Not that people in Sydney feel all that cool right now). But the air pressure ratios are reported as the SOI (Southern Oscillation Index) and it’s the handiest thing if you like predicting global temperatures 7 months ahead. Look at that correlation.

Since June last year Bryan Leyland has been using the simple connection described by Carter, De Freitas, and  McLean in 2009 to predict up and coming temperatures.

So far, for what it’s worth, he’s right on track.

...

Such is the power of the stored pool of cold that is the bottom three-quarters of the Pacific Ocean. And when you look at how vast the Southern Pacific ocean is, is it any wonder it has such an influence? All that heat capacity…

The Pacific Ocean from space. This is a "full-disk" image of the Earth taken from the GOES-11 satellite at 8 a.m. EDT on Aug. 12. Credit: NASA/GOES Project

As far as records go, the Australian BOM has a list of monthly figures on the SOI chart: The 27.1 recorded in December 2010 was one of the highest readings since records began in 1876.

Bryan Leylands original post: Is the cold weather coming?

The first report of results: Laptop beats Met Supercomputer: SOI index (at record high) scores a win.

A summary of the role the oceans play: The deep oceans drive the atmosphere

David Archibald wrote about the SOI on WUWT in early Dec 2010. This is the full history (as known) of the SOI. Scoring a “27″ is a five months-in-a-century type event. (This graph was obviously done before the SOI figure for December was released).

EXTRA POST NOTE on SOI:

The SOI may be linked to the solar cycle length. Paul Vaughan suggests the Earths rotational velocity is correlated with the solar cycle and with Atlantic oscillations.” Scientists characterize Earth rotation velocity using a variable they call length of day (LOD). The rate of change of LOD (LOD’) is related to global average wind patterns. Changes in wind patterns affect temperature patterns.”

The graph below implies a correlation. If the solar cycle length influenced cloud cover (as per Svensmark) that would also change heating and cooling patterns on the surface of the oceans. That then potentially could shift currents (gradually). Would that then tweak the Length of Day (in nano second amounts)?

LOD = Length of Day, AMO = Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, SCL = Solar Cycle Length.

solar cycle length, earth rotational velocity, SOI, AMO, PDO

Click to enlarge


Random post note on the Perth Fires:

Unconnected (as far as I know) with the SOI are the devastating Perth bush-fires. 64 houses lost and in the fringe of suburbia. See the devastation here. No doubt, it will be added to the Evil-Caused-by-Global-Warming litany. Significantly most photos of burnt shells of houses have bush growing right up to the roofline. Strangely in the photos (perhaps it’s just chance) — quite often the trees were spared. I’ll save my thoughts on causes for when there is more information.

Yet again, my heart goes out to the poor souls who have lost everything.

UPDATE: Green policies once again set us up for disaster. According to one fire expert there had been little back burning over the last 15 years and the Perth Hills were and are a tinderbox. The worst fire was due to a man using an angle grinder during a total fire ban. This photo is typical of those suburbs “living in the bush”.

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Tiny Url for this post: http://tinyurl.com/4lvmwge

39 comments to The SOI still rules

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    Cookster

    Professor Garnaut seems to be in overdrive now. Sorry to say it looks like a carbon tax is inevitable later this year since the Greens will control the senate after July 1 and Gillard needs something to hang her hat on (and save her skin). I hope I’m wrong.

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/climate-cuts-must-continue-garnaut-20110207-1ak98.html


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    Cookster

    Jo, regarding the Perth fires and your comment, “bush growing right up to the roofline”, it seems the Greens are already getting some of the blame.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/lack-of-forest-burning-to-blame-for-tinderbox-conditions/story-e6frg6nf-1226001777871


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    Frank Brown

    It’s mind boggling when you think of the size of the Pacific. I wonder why Dr. Jones didn’t look at this chunk of water when he so famously stated that he couldn’t think of anything other than plant food that would cause warming?


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    Cookster

    I recall seeing charts of surface temps across the Pacific during La Nina. The alarmists like to point out the record warmer surface temperatures in the Western Pacific bordering Australia as a key cause of the floods and cyclone Yassi and thus evidence of AGW. But those same charts showed the expanse of cooler waters across the equator and Eastern Pacific to be much greater in area and of course should thus have a greater effect on GLOBAL climate. Another case of cherry picking by the alarmists perhaps?


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    Only 64 houses lost? They are damn lucky. One day in a howling hot northerly a fire will run right through the Perth hills.
    I grew up in Perth and get back about twice a year. The last time my wife and I were in the Perth hills we remarked on how vulnerable the area was to fires. In Darlington some of the roads had tree canopies almost touching across the road. This whole area is a disaster just waiting to happen.
    Just look at it if you are in a jet during the daytime approaching Perth airport on clear day. Thousands of dwellings nestled in bushland, many of the areas have few road options for evacuation and the road network is narrow, lots of twists and turns and very easy to get lost in particularly under emergency conditions with smoke reducing visibility. There are likely to be a large number of deaths.
    Last time I looked there was a P2H Neptune water bomber parked at Cunderdin airfield. Might have been a lot more useful than pissant helicopters and cropdusting aircraft.
    We pay for a lot of government in this country but little of it seems to be of much use.


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    Percival Snodgrass

    Did anyone see Four Corners last night with Gillard’s explanation about the carbon tax? Amongst the self serving questions and answers, when quizzed about her “no Government I lead” statement, she said the people of Australia will understand.

    This carbon tax is not a fait accompli. We need to start a letter/email campaign to all sitting MPs and let them know we don’t want this debilitating tax foisted on Australians.

    Also, listening to Fox news this morning, I heard a Democrat repeat ‘moving forward’ Gillard-style. Also Obama is repeating ‘invest’ (= spending) over and over again in the same speech just the same as Rudd/Gillard did.

    They must have a socialist book of instructions on how to hoodwink the population. The similarities between the USA and here are too uncanny to be a coincidence:
    • Cash for clunkers
    • Water and electricity going up
    • Carbon tax (Obama will push it through despite Congress)
    • NBN
    • Internet Censorship

    Just to name a few.


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    brc

    Percival Snodgrass @8,9,10,11,12

    I think you’re making it difficult for volunteer moderators on this blog. Continually posting off-topic links (none of the above have anything to do with the SOI, which is the blog post topic) is not helpful for the quality of the blog post or the quality of the commentary discussion that follows it.

    Further to that, I doubt there are many readers of this blog who are not also aware of Andrew Bolt’s blog, and can check it out anytime they want.

    Good blog comment etiquette includes keeping discussions on topic and not blasting away with a lot of off-topic links. This (and many other climate-related blogs) are shoestring volunteer efforts, so everyone who wants the blog to succeed should be dipping their oars in the right direction and working to keep relevance and quality high. Because while the links might be interesting, new visitors to the blog might scroll through the comments to just find a lot of irrelevant discussion, and decide that it’s not a good blog. The new visitors leave, and the site pageviews don’t grow, and the advertising doesn’t pay as well and the people running the blog lose interest. So it’s vital to keep the quality high.

    If you want to share a lot of links and get discussions going about the US Democratic party you can always start your own blog. It’s not very difficult to do. If this were my blog I would have deleted the above posts and put in a warning about keeping things on-topic. But that’s just my opinion, others may come to your defense.

    [I know this comment is OT, I don't want to hijack the thread. Perhaps the mods could make a comment and leave it at that].


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    Macha

    Despite some blogs being OT in relataion to SOI, there are also many readers that are aware of the various sciences and blog pages that raise doubts or even disproves any CO2 causal link to AGW. This then leads to the countless and persistent MSM reports that put Caarbon tax as the best way to combat climate change.

    I am so tired of the claims of more hurricances/cyclones, higher humidity/rainfall, higher temps, warmer oceans, etc etc. when there is clearly easily obtainable information that puts perspective on those reports. eg some say the human race has virtually elliminated fires (globally) compared to centuries ago.

    A carbon tax is a relevant topic and one I’d like see debated more – not whether we need another tax or not, but that it must not be related to CO2 as the evil doer. If we need the tax to stop people building in low lying areas or to shore up risky areas (prone to fires or floods or droughts, so be it. But don’t blame it on CO2 emissions under a banner of pollution. The land masses need to be divided into their “zones’ and managed as such; ie arid, tropical, temperate, etc. I recall B.Carter referrring to a model already in existance. Funds directed in this direction makes sense.

    Sorry – still OT to SOI.


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    John Smith

    Cookster @ 2
    Don’t forget that the last time they (Labor) attempted to price carbon with an Emissions Trading Scheme people were able to stop it from being passed in the senate via an email/telephone/letter campaign. So I wouldn’t say that a carbon tax is inevitable this year given we organise another campaign like it again.


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    Bernd Felsche

    Mike Borgelt observes the intimacy of human habitation with flammable bushland.

    It’s a well-known problem. That’s why a swimming-pool and diesel-powered, high-pressure water pump is a necessity in the area. The swimming pool is there for emergency fire protection of the home. The high-pressure is needed to reach any nearby tree canopies as burning trees tend to fall, and if they are near the house, they are just as likely to fall onto the house.

    The ump must also have the highest flow rate at pressure that one can afford. And a diesel fuel tank more than big enough to empty the pool.

    And no cheap, plastic hoses or fittings! Plastics become soft and weak under radiant heat.

    Bushfires are a part of nature’s deadly embrace.


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    Bulldust

    John Smith @ 15:

    Unfortunately the political landscape has changed. The Greens are now inside the rainbow coalition whereas they were outsiders to the negotiations last time. After 1 July (I think that is when the Senate changes right?) the Senate becomes a non-issue for them because Labor + Greens = majority.

    So the only struggles they have is coming up with a carbon price that keeps the Greens and the indies happy… doesn’t really matter what the Libs think anymore. Sure you could lobby/write to the Labor members but they have to work as a hive mind anyway…


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    Bulldust

    PS> It is my fervent hope that the Rainbow Coalition falls apart before 1 July through bickering over something or other. The price on carbon could be that which forces a split… and then hopefully a vote of confidence follows. Problem is that Tony keeps saying silly things periodically… sometimes I wish he could just stay quiet and ride the polls to an easy victory.


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    Roy Hogue

    You mean CO2 didn’t do it — and with all that evidence, er…opinion saying it does? I’m shocked!


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    Bulldust

    I think the following is a must read at WUWT:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/07/rcs-duplicity-prods-jeff-id-out-of-retirement/

    It outlines the duplicity of Eric Steig (of RC fame), who as a reviewer suggested the authors of a paper adopt a statistical process instead of the one they had used, and then after it gets published criticses them for using the technique he advised them to use.

    The story is very technical (high-powered statistics, unless you are into eigen values and the like it will be over your head) but the main gist of the story and the duplicity is easy enough to follow.

    It adds significant weight IMHO to the argument that the skeptical interpretation of the ClimateGate emails was right on the money. These guys have shown their true nature once again.

    Here’s how RC treats serious discussion on the technical issues on the paper in question:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/07/boreholed/


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    rukidding

    Let me say Jo that houses along the scarp in Gooseberry Hill and Kalamunda are a disaster waiting to happen.They dodged a bullet earlier this summer when they got the fire in Gooseberry Hill under control before it got a good hold.
    I notice from some of the pictures from the weekend that evaporative airconditioners once again may have contributed to the damage


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    Ian Hill

    I’m sticking up for Percival here. News doesn’t happen one topic at a time and I often follow links which look interesting and are timely, even if not directly related to the thread in which they appear.

    It’s no use suggesting they be posted to the most recent relevant thread because, let’s face it, not many people would regularly follow threads more than a few days old.

    Perhaps Jo needs a continuous “general news” thread as a kind of sticky.

    Ian


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    george

    Hope this is not too OT given recent posts!
    Now, not sure what credence most of you would give to the “Browning Newsletter” but (actually today) I came across this article on Kamchatka volcanoes by accident;

    http://www.contractworld.com.au/general/ica-Russian-volcanoes-change-weather.php

    Any thoughts, people?


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    I’ve added in a side topic on the SOI that I found on WUWT:
    EXTRA POST NOTE on SOI:

    The SOI may be linked to the solar cycle length. Paul Vaughan suggests the Earths rotational velocity is correlated with the solar cycle and with Atlantic oscillations.” Scientists characterize Earth rotation velocity using a variable they call length of day (LOD). The rate of change of LOD (LOD’) is related to global average wind patterns. Changes in wind patterns affect temperature patterns.”

    The graph above in the post, implies a correlation. If the solar cycle length influenced cloud cover (as per Svensmark) that would also change heating and cooling patterns on the surface of the oceans. That then potentially could shift currents (gradually). Would that then tweak the Length of Day (in nano second amounts)?

    There are a lot of “if then’s”.


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    For the most recent West Pacific SST off the Australian coast, it’s worth looking at the CSIRO page – http://www.marine.csiro.au/~lband/web_point/

    I took a snapshot of coordinates on Feb 1:

    It looks as though TC Yasi has stripped from 1C to 3C from the SST off North Queensland. If you compare my snapshot coodinates (146.1e, 18s) with today’s CSIRO update, you’ll see the SST at that spot has dropped from 30.7C to 29.4C. I didn’t snap coordinates further out to sea but on Feb 1 they were almost all between 29C and 31C. Click around now off the North Queensland coast and SST is mostly between 27C and 28.5C.

    Cyclones need a SST of 26C to get their act together so a twister can still form off the Queensland coast at the moment, but I’d lay good money it would be pretty lame because there’s not as much energy from the water. It’s the middle of summer so the SST will probably increase, although La Nina may also be thanking Yasi for cooling some of the warm water that the trade winds have pushed west into the Aussie landmass with nowhere to go.

    Indeed, on Feb 1 I posted the following on WUWT (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/31/tropical-cyclone-yasi/#more-32852 – 7.12am):

    Yasi is now a cat 3 spinning up to 205kmh and her expected path (http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDQ65002.shtml) can be checked against the CSIRO point-n-click. The hottest sea surface spot in the path I can find (146.6e, 18.9s, just off the Queensland coast) is 30.4C, and that’s not good news.

    The CSIRO temps are over the past six days so with a bit of luck TC Anthony has cooled the sea surface a bit since their data was collated.

    Unless Yasi goes walkabouts, landfall looks like it’ll be about 1am Thursday. If the BoM models are accurate (http://reg.bom.gov.au/fwo/IDG00073.pdf), her inland western remnants might merge with a low over central Australia on Friday, and with a cold front in the Southern Ocean. It’s gonna be wet.

    Check 146.6e, 18.9s today and the SST is 28.9C – down from 30.4C a couple of days before Yasi. Amid the debate re the strength of Yasi on landfall, I’ll stick by my above comment about TC Anthony hopefully cooling the SST. Yasi slowed when it entered the previous track of Anthony and I’d guesstimate the top speed on landfall was 250kmh.

    SST temps off the Pilbara coast at the moment are between 30C and 33C way out to sea – it might be worth keeping an eye on a low currently developing well off the coast which has already got the winds circling in an ominous direction. http://reg.bom.gov.au/fwo/IDG00073.pdf suggests a twister but heading away from us.

    PS … I’ve included my final WUWT sentence above to make the point that it was obvious eight days ago that Victoria was going have more flooding rains.


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    Joe Lalonde

    Chris,

    The shallow waters absorb more solar radiation due to it being absorbed in the sand under the water surface.

    Science still has not looked at or included the surface salt changes that would hinder solar penetration in the oceans.
    The two maps are almost identical in overlaying the cold sea surface temperature to the salt changes. All starting at the equatorial region.
    The sun can cool the planet but it does not create clouds. That takes the shift of warm ocean currents into colder regions to generate massive evaporation.
    Currently almost ALL of the northern hemisphere land mass is covered in ice and snow as well as cloud cover. A great deal of solar radiation that would normally be absorbed is being deflected back.


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    Joe Lalonde

    Jo,

    Science has yet to chart the solar angles of absorption and deflection on this planet with a tilting axis and rotating planet.
    Every article I have seen has ALWAYS shown solar radiation straight down or on a slight angle without any movement considered.


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    bananabender

    Re comments 26/27

    The shallow waters absorb more solar radiation due to it being absorbed in the sand under the water surface.

    IR radiation is totally absorbed in by the top 1mm of water.

    Science has yet to chart the solar angles of absorption and deflection on this planet with a tilting axis and rotating planet.
    Every article I have seen has ALWAYS shown solar radiation straight down or on a slight angle without any movement considered.

    The rotation and precession of the Earth makes no difference to the amount of sunlight received. This is why it is never calculated.


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    Joe Lalonde

    bananabender: #28,

    The sun gives off more than one radiation. There is also long wave penetration that was heating a current science lost under the ocean.
    Never considering salt changes having any effect.


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    rukidding

    Yes I would like to know what the difference is in the amount of sunlight per Sq/metre at the equator to what falls on the same area at the poles.


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    Joe Lalonde

    rukidding: #30

    That gets into a whole new kettle of fish.
    Are you talking actual light or the different bands of radiation?
    Some radiation is absorbed/deflected through the atmosphere long before reaching the pole. What are the obstacles the radiation is going through, the density, material.
    Not a simple calculation or a simple answer on a rotating planet and rotating sun.


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    BobC

    bananabender:
    February 8th, 2011 at 11:24 pm
    Re comments 26/27

    “The shallow waters absorb more solar radiation due to it being absorbed in the sand under the water surface.”

    IR radiation is totally absorbed in by the top 1mm of water. .

    Visible light penetrates many feet of water and when it is absorbed it also becomes heat. There is a place in Colorado (Great Sand Dunes National Monument) where an icy-cold mountain stream (fed by snow-melt) becomes bathtub-warm in less than 1 mile after traveling over sandy flats.

    Water is essentially transparent in the visible, at the peak of solar output.


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    John from CA

    February 8, 2011

    To the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate:
    In reply to “The Importance of Science in Addressing Climate Change”

    “We, the undersigned, totally disagree with them and would like to take this opportunity to briefly state our side of the story.”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/08/rebuttal-to-the-climate-rapid-response-team/


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    rukidding

    Joe I guess what I am asking is how much energy falls on a sq.metre at the equator as to how much falls on a sq/metre at the poles and is this taken into account when working out how much energy is reaching Earth.


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    bananabender

    John from CA:

    February 9th, 2011 at 2:46 am

    Visible light penetrates many feet of water and when it is absorbed it also becomes heat. There is a place in Colorado (Great Sand Dunes National Monument) where an icy-cold mountain stream (fed by snow-melt) becomes bathtub-warm in less than 1 mile after traveling over sandy flats.

    Water is essentially transparent in the visible, at the peak of solar output.

    The visible spectrum of light has zero heating effect. That is why LED lights aren’t warm.

    Only the top 1mm or so of water is directly heated by the IR component of sunlight. Any heat transfer within the water is due to conduction, convection, Brownian motion or evaporation/condensation.


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    bananabender

    re: rukidding:
    February 9th, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Joe I guess what I am asking is how much energy falls on a sq.metre at the equator as to how much falls on a sq/metre at the poles and is this taken into account when working out how much energy is reaching Earth.

    It is a very simple calculation. You simply assume the illuminated portion of the Earth is a hemisphere. You then divide the incident radiation by the area.


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    bananabender

    re:John from CA:
    February 9th, 2011 at 2:46 am

    You completely misunderstood the provided link. Visible light penetrates water to a considerable depth because the radiation is not absorbed. If it was being absorbed the water would appear to be black.


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    Joe Lalonde

    bananabender:

    This is where I have a hard time with the stupidity of what science teaches to the actual event of detail and sacrificing detailed science to a general “oh well, that’s okay” by the use of mathematics.
    The outcome is incorrect mathematically if you want accuracy.
    One meter of light at the equator is more intense compared to one meter of light at the pole due to the angle of dispersing this light. So the light at the pole would cover more than a meter and be less intense due to dispersing over a wider area.
    A flashlight is a good proxy to show this.


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    Roy Hogue

    This will not be consolation for anyone. Loss of home, much less life in a fire where it could have easily been prevented deserves nothing but complaint and contempt heaped on those who should have done a better job. But we have done the same thing here — built up into brush and dry woods that were never allowed to be cleared for fire breaks or trees thinned out, not even dead trees allowed to be removed.

    Southern California is desert. What “looks” so green when there’s rain in the winter, is bone dry and burns like gasoline under the hot August sun. Much of it will burn quite well even after a lot of rain — such is its nature, designed to survive in a dry semiarid climate.

    Then comes the fire… Hundreds of homes burned but no death this time. Losses in billions of dollars to insurers and even greater loss to families who had nothing left. And still the policies are not changed.

    Up to now none of it is carbon sequestration. It’s just the latest fad in land management. I don’t know a word strong enough to use on people who come up with, promote, encourage and implement such policies. We know better.


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