Watch: How the Sun Controls Arctic Sea Ice and Arctic Temperatures
Here is the transcript
Today in part three on Arctic climate, I examine the connection between how the sun heats the oceans and how the oceans heat the Arctic from decades to millennia. The tropics receive more than twice the solar energy as the Arctic does, heating tropical ocean surface temperatures to about 30 degrees centigrade or 86 Fahrenheit. In contrast polar regions warm only to about negative 2 degrees.Centigrade or 28 Fahrenheit.
Thus, the Tropic serves as a reservoir of heat for the polar regions. Some researchers believe that sunspot cycles have affected climate change, but solar energy emissions during sunspot cycles varies by only about plus or minus 1.3 Watts per meter squared. So most agree, that small amount of energy is not enough to now warm the earth from the cold depths of the Little Ice Age to it lasted from about 1300 to 1850 AD, leading some scientists to ill-advisedly dismiss the sun's role in climate change.
Alternatively, the greater amount of energy from increasing greenhouse infrared energy suggested it is rising CO2 that has been warming the earth, but there are also problematic in consistencies with their hypotheses.
For example, although it is claimed the oceans are absorbing 90% of the CO2 greenhouse energy, unlike solar energy, greenhouse infrared rays penetrate less than the width of a human hair into the ocean surface. So other dynamics affecting the ocean heating must be considered
As we will see, despite low energy differences, sunspots do affect temperatures by altering critical dynamics governing global heat distribution.
Furthermore, solar and greenhouse radiative energy are not the only sources heating the earth surface changing sea ice cover either insulates or ventilate, huge amounts of storage solar energy in the ocean. Peer reviewed studies have documented that the Arctic heat released can vary from 10 Watts per meter squared through three meter thick ice to 700 Watts per meter squared through newly formed, thin ice, such heat ventilation easily explains why the Arctic air temperatures have warmed much faster than elsewhere in the world.
All scientists agree that heat is being transported from the tropics to the Arctic. The blue line here shows the average amount of solar heat that's absorbed by tropical oceans is about 300+ Watts per meter square. The red line shows much less of that absorbed heat is radiated away and from the tropics. The difference between incoming and outgoing radiated heat is labeled Surplus indicating that the surplus heat must have been exported out of the tropics by ocean and atmosphere occurrence.
Now, the difference between the solar heat absorbed in the Arctic is a much greater amount of heat than is radiated away from the Arctic, and is labeled the Deficit. It is the inflow of solar heated tropical water. That accounts for that deficit as described in part one, how transport of tropical ocean heat causes an overestimation of the global average temperature I showed via a very simple experiment, how global warming average is greatly biased by this heat transport into the Arctic and its subsequent release to describe the different critical dynamics of heat transport into the Arctic.
The analogy of a residential water system is useful. The dynamics that affect the surplus heat in the ocean reservoir, I refer to as tropical factors. But like your home's faucets, sub polar factors control how much tropical heat enters the Arctic ocean.
For this analysis of Arctic climate change, I'll limit the video to changes in the Northern Atlantic. One critical sub polar effect controls how much heated water arriving via the Gulf stream continues into the Arctic versus how much is recycled in the subtropical gyre back towards the equator.
One critical tropical effect controls how much warm Southern hemisphere waters are directed across the equator to the Gulf stream. The sun plays a role in both factors.
The sun and the tilt of the Earth's axis conspire to pump various amounts of warm water into the Arctic between seasons and between cold glacial periods in warm interglacials.
In recent times, the Earth's axis is tilted 23 and a half degrees. It always points to the north star, but it will point to other stars during a 23,000 year Milankovitch cycle called procession, the earth orbit around the sun also varies from circular to elliptical in another Milankovitch cycle lasting a hundred thousand years. Currently the earth is farthest from the sun during our Northern hemisphere summer. Nonetheless, it is our warmer season due to the tilt of the axis
Without a tilt, the sun's warmest rays would strike the equator as happens now, only during each spring and autumn Equinox.
However, due to the tilt, the axis points our Northern hemisphere towards the sun during summer, having caused the warmest solar heating to move northwards to the Tropic of cancer, 23.5 degrees north of the equator. And due to the resulting effects of the winds, moist tropical heat is also drawn towards the Arctic. The tilt also puts Arctic circle in full sunlight, but the Antarctic in full darkness.
During our winter, the access points away from the sun. So the warmest solar heating happens over the Tropic of Capricorn 23.5 degrees south of the equator, and the flow of the warm ocean water into the Northern hemisphere dwindles. And despite being closer to the sun, we experience winter and the Arctic descends into full darkness with a rapid increase in sea ice.
But the axis tilt also changes with the third Milankovitch Cycle called obliquity. The axis tilt will cycle between 22.1 and 24.5 degrees every 41,000 years with surprisingly major ice age effects.
The glacial maximum of the last ice age ended as an increasing tilt, also increased the flow of warm Atlantic waters into the Arctic. The warmest period of the interglacial called the Holocene optimum happened during maximum obliquity coinciding with maximum warm Atlantic inflows.
As the axis tilt, then cycled back to a lesser tilt, increasingly less Atlantic water entered the Arctic and accordingly Arctic sea ice gradually increased as temperatures cooled in what scientists call the neoglacial.
Now scientists have published about a related and relevant scientific conundrum [The Holocene temperature Conundrum; Liu (2014)]. Over the past 6,000 years of a declining tilt, as sea ice increased and reached its greatest extent and thickness during the cold little ice age from 1300 to 1850 AD, you also had during that time, a slight uptick in CO2 concentrations.
So it's odd that some climate scientists, with a more catastrophic view of climate change, believe rising CO2 will prevent further cooling that has been knowingly attributed to declining Obliquity, a decline that will continue for the next 10,000 years.
Where the earth is the warmest, the InterTropical Convergence Zone or ITC Z forms.
The warm zone forms a low pressure zone that draws in the winds in the ocean currents from the north and the south. Where winds converge it causes the air to rise. Sailors back in Columbus's day, were stranded in the ITC Z because it was a windlass patch that they called the doldrums. Today, we see the location of the ITCZ from satellite pictures as a narrow band of clouds and circling the earth. However, although the ITCZ shifts northward and southward with the seasons, its location does not strictly adhere to the location of the son's greatest heating during our summer.
The June ITCZ only shifts 9 to 10 degrees north [over the oceans]. And this is partly due to the mixing with cooler waters. During our winter, the January ITCZ barely shifts south of the equator over the oceans, and because the land heats faster than the ocean, the ITCz more closely follows the sun's position southward over South America. So on average, the ITCZ remains between 2 and 9 degrees north of the equator, drawing warm tropical Southern Hemisphere waters across the equator to amplify warm waters, reaching the Gulf stream.
Now the shape of South America also affects how much warm water gets pumped towards the Arctic. The Eastern point of Brazil serves as a divider that can direct more warm water north or south. When the ITCZ is north of the equator, as it is today, it also shifts the Tradewinds and the ocean's warm currents northwards above the Brazilian divider, guiding more warm water towards the Gulf stream. This tropical effect factor warms the north Atlantic.
Furthermore, the northern location of the ITCZ has a sub-polar effect, causing the north Atlantic high pressure system to shift northwards, So that its clockwise circulation guides more Gulf stream and North Atlantic Current (NAC) waters into the Arctic.
During cooler periods, like the last ice age, or the recent little ice age, colder Northern temperatures cause the ITCZ to shift southwards. This tropical factor causes more warm currents to be deflected southward by Brazil, cooling the north Atlantic. The high pressure system also shifts southward with a sub-polar effect that re-circulates more warm water back towards the equator. With less warm water intruding the Arctic, the Arctic is cooler.
Now a group of Scandinavian scientists recently formed the Barents Sea Ice project, analyzing the past 400+ years of varying sea ice and inflows of Atlantic water. One of the primary factors affecting the Barents Sea southern ice edge was correlated with sunspot cycles. Despite the insignificant changes in solar heating, the increase in the number of sunspots increases the effect of solar winds on the Earth's magnetic fields. Stronger magnetic fields slow the rotation of the earth, which then affects the eastward momentum of the oceans current. During low sunspot periods, such as the Dalton minimum in the early 1800s, the Earth's rotation sped up causing a stronger westward momentum for the North Atlantic Current, which reduced warm water inflows into the Arctic (seen as yellow) and redirecting warm waters eastward (seen in more orange)
During high sunspot years of our 20th century, a stronger magnetic effect, slowed rotation and allowed more warm water to intrude into the Arctic.
During the Maunder Minimum of the late 1600s, less warm water entered the Arctic and simultaneously more warmer water and moisture was diverted towards the Southern Europe. This caused a peak in Swiss glacier growth across the Alps, threatening Swiss mountain villages and even engulfing some in ice, It wasn't colder Swiss temperatures that prompted that glacier growth. It was the greater supply of moisture that also coincided with higher lake levels at lower elevations.
Likewise, other peer reviewed studies have correlated sunspot with changes in intruding Atlantic water and changes in Barents Sea ice. When sunspot numbers were high, rotation slows and inflows increased and sea ice extent dropped. When sunspot numbers dropped, sea ice grew as inflows were reduced.
The effects of sunspots on the Earth's rotation also agrees with independent length of day studies.The longer the length of day in the 1970s correlates with a stronger sunspot cycle 21. A shorter length of day and thus faster rotation, correlates with the reduced solar winds of the sunspot cycle 24.
So why hasn't the Arctic sea ice grown during this decade, if a faster rotation deflects more warmer water from the Arctic?
So some suggests the failure of sea ice to increase despite falling sunspots should be expected due to the predicted CO2 warming. But CO2 based predictions have also failed. For example, published in the 2012 Guardian, Arctic sea ice expert Dr. Walheim predicted accelerating sea ice loss and the complete loss of summer sea ice by 2016 as CO2 concentration rise. But no such thing has happened .
On the other hand, Dr. Solheim's prediction of an extreme drop in Svalbard's temperatures by 2020, based on sunspot effects and reduced Atlantic water inflows, has also failed to materialize
Both failed predictions, illustrate why it's dangerous to predict sea ice extent based on only one or two variables. However, the rapid decline in sea ice that once prompted alarmists' dire climate change predictions has now leveled off since 2007, revealing that dynamics stronger than CO2 warming are also in play.
For 30 years, natural climate oscillations in their warm phase have offset predicted sunspot cooling effects and aligned with CO2 warming predictions. But those oscillations are now shifting to colder phases. So the next decade will determine whether or not the current leveling off of ice extent is signaling the beginning of a return to increasing sea ice.
So up next: part four will be how natural climate oscillations affect the Arctic climate.
And until then embraced renowned scientists. Thomas Huxley's advice that
"skepticism is the highest of duties and blind faith, the one unpardonable sin."
And if you appreciate the science clearly presented here, science rarely presented by mainstream media. Please give it a like, share it, or copy the URL and email the video, or subscribe to my YouTube channel or read my book, Landscapes and Cycles an Environmentalist Journey to Climate Skepticism.