Friday, October 17, 2014

New paper debunks "acidification" scare, finds warming increases pH

A paper published today in Climate of the Past reconstructs water pH and temperature from a lake in central Japan over the past 280,000 years and clearly shows that pH increases [becomes more basic or alkaline] due to warmer temperatures, and vice-versa, becomes more acidic [or "acidified" if you prefer] due to cooling temperatures. This finding is the opposite of the false assumptions behind the "ocean acidification" scare, but is compatible with the basic chemistry of Henry's Law and outgassing of CO2 from the oceans with warming. 

Thus, if global warming resumes after the "pause," ocean temperatures will rise along with CO2 outgassing, which will make the oceans more basic, not acidic. You simply cannot have it both ways:
"Either the oceans are getting warmer and the CO2 concentration in seawater is decreasing, which means that ocean acidification from man-made CO2 from the atmosphere is nonsense. 
Or the oceans are getting cooler and the man-made CO2 from the atmosphere is dissolving in those cooler oceans and causing – insignificant – ocean acidification, which means that warming oceans and the associated sea level rises are nonsense. 
Take your pick – REAL SCIENCE says you can’t have both."
In addition, the paper shows that pH of the lake varied over a wide range from ~7.5 to 8.8 simply depending on the temperature of each month of the year. As the "acidification" alarmists like to say, a variation of 1.3 pH units is equivalent to a 1995% change in hydrogen ions due to the logarithmic pH scale, just over a single year! Summer months are of course associated with warmer temperatures and more alkaline, higher pH and winter months associated with colder temperatures and much more "acidified" lower pH values. Note also how pH varies widely over ~7.5 to 8.8 simply dependent on the depth at a given time, because colder deeper waters can hold higher partial pressures of CO2 than the warmer surface waters:



Second graph from left shows reconstructed pH over the past 280,000 years, third graph from left shows temperature reconstruction. Note how these move in sync, although the paper says pH lags temperature sometimes by up to several thousand years, i.e. just like CO2 lags temperature in the ice core records also by about 1000 years. 
"Comparison with pollen assemblage in Lake Biwa cores suggests that lake water pH was determined by summer temperature in low-eccentricity periods, while it was determined by summer precipitation in high-eccentricity periods. From 130 to 55 ka, variation in lake pH (summer precipitation) lagged behind that in summer temperature by several thousand years."
These findings completely contradict the basis of the CAGW "acidification" scare and instead show that warming should make the oceans more alkaline, not "acidic."

Clim. Past, 10, 1843-1855, 2014
www.clim-past.net/10/1843/2014/
doi:10.5194/cp-10-1843-2014



T. Ajioka1, M. Yamamoto1,2, K. Takemura3, A. Hayashida4, and H. Kitagawa5
1Graduate School of Environmental Science, Hokkaido University, Kita-10, Nishi-5, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan
2Faculty of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, Kita-10, Nishi-5, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan
3Institute for Geothermal Science, Kyoto University, Noguchihara, Beppu, Ohita 874-0903, Japan
4Department of Environmental Systems Science, Doshisha University, 1–3 Tatara-Miyakodani, Kyotanabe, Kyoto 612-0321, Japan
5Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan

Abstract. We generated a 280 000 yr record of water pH and temperature in Lake Biwa, central Japan, by analysing the methylation index (MBT) and cyclisation ratio (CBT) of branched tetraethers in sediments from piston and borehole cores. Our aim was to understand the responses of precipitation and air temperature in central Japan to the East Asian monsoon variability on orbital timescales. Because the water pH in Lake Biwa is determined by phosphorus and alkali cation inputs, the record of water pH should indicate the changes in precipitation and temperature in central Japan. Comparison with a pollen assemblage in a Lake Biwa core suggests that lake water pH was determined by summer temperature in the low-eccentricity period before 55 ka, while it was determined by summer precipitation in the high-eccentricity period after 55 ka. From 130 to 55 ka, the variation in lake pH (summer precipitation) lagged behind that in summer temperature by several thousand years. This perspective is consistent with the conclusions of previous studies (Igarashi and Oba, 2006; Yamamoto, 2009), in that the temperature variation preceded the precipitation variation in central Japan.


Related: 

New paper finds global carbon cycle datasets may be biased

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

WSJ: Cheap Oil Pops the Green Policy Bubble. Western politicians keep betting on $10 gasoline that never comes

Cheap Oil Pops the Green Policy Bubble

Since the 1970s, Western politicians keep betting on $10 gasoline that never comes.


By HOLMAN W. JENKINS, JR. Updated Oct. 14, 2014 7:24 p.m. ET  THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
6 COMMENTS

Tesla, an electric-car company on which the political class has showered subsidies, rolled out its newest model last week, complete with high-tech safety features like lane-departure warning, blindspot monitoring, collision avoidance and self-parking. Tesla’s stock dropped 8%, but probably not because these mundane features long have been available in other luxury models.

At $2.99, the price to which gasoline had fallen at some California stations last week, electric cars becoming a mass-market taste and not just an item for wealthy hobbyists recedes from probability. If Democrats especially start to find it politically no longer saleable to subsidize a toy for the rich, the company may be in real trouble.

Since World War I, the retail price of gasoline has fluctuated in a band between $2 and $4 (using 2006 dollars as a benchmark). Since the 1970s, though, politicians have repeatedly wedded themselves to policies premised on the idea that oil prices can only go up, up, up, in prelude to oil running out altogether.


A Renault Twizy electric car charging at a car-sharing station in Rome.

In fact, Tesla illustrates a theme from a column here back in 2008, when everyone from President George Bush to Nancy Pelosi to freshman Sen. Barack Obama was in a fever to simulate a deeper understanding of our Middle East entanglements by calling for new auto gas-mileage mandates.

These mandates, we pointed out at the time, would only divert tens of billions of auto-industry investment dollars to relatively mingy and uneconomic improvements in fuel mileage that car buyers don’t highly value. The real opportunity, meanwhile, was for revolutionary safety technologies like those Tesla is now belatedly introducing, which would necessarily be delayed by Washington’s misallocation of industry resources.

All through the 2000s this column applauded rising oil prices to ration existing supplies and stimulate new supplies to accommodate the growth of China and India. What goes up, though, must come down when investment produces a glut, when demand can’t keep pace with supply—and when major producers keep goosing production even at a falling price in order to keep producing revenues for domestic governments.

That’s what’s happening now. Saudi Arabia and Iran are slashing prices in pursuit of market share in suddenly slower-growing Asian markets. Vladimir Putin , whose budget goes red at an oil price below $110 (oil hit $84.43 Tuesday in London), is being pressed by his No. 1 crony, Igor Sechin of Rosneft, for $40 billion from the Kremlin’s welfare reserve to boost the Russian oil company’s output at a time when sanctions are cutting it off from Western capital and knowhow.

The price of fossil energy may well be depressed for a while given a strong dollar and the Western world’s governance-cum-growth failures. If so, undermined will be a lot of fantasy policies. Germany and Britain already rue their expensive commitments to renewables, which has caused local manufacturers to pull up stakes for North America and its cheap shale gas.

The Obama administration is not peopled exclusively by naïfs. An official once anonymously acknowledged that its bailout of the U.S. auto industry was certain at some point to run smack into its extreme fuel-mileage mandates (54.5 miles per gallon by 2025) that require the auto industry to invest in fuel-saving technology of little value to consumers.

We can be pretty sure, though, this non-naïf was not President Obama himself, who has acted consistently as if $10 gasoline must appear ahistorically and mystically to redeem his policies. In a major speech in 2011, he declared as a “fact” that oil prices must rise, demand must exceed supply, and America cannot depend on a “resource that will eventually run out.”

He obviously has not taken an inventory of the planet’s vast hydrocarbon stores, including methane hydrates.

What will happen next is easy to predict. Ex-GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz , seeing the world through reality glasses, has long called for a European-style gas tax to make Americans want the cars Washington is forcing GM to build.

Green energy promoter Vinod Khosla in the past lobbied a receptive Nancy Pelosi for a floating oil tax to “correct” periodic low prices, which he attributed to an oil-industry conspiracy.

Tesla’s Elon Musk will be heard again (as he was a few years ago) calling for a gas tax to turn a $2 wholesale commodity into $10 gasoline at the pump.

The ethanol industry, just now opening its first “cellulosic” ethanol plants, which require $3-plus gas to be profitable, will present its list of demands backed by the clout of corn-state senators.

Their rationale will be global warming. But U.S. cars and light trucks account for 3% of global emissions, a share rapidly vanishing to nothingness as India and China develop. The real motive will be bailing out the joint public-private (i.e., crony) investment in policies that don’t work in a world of falling gas prices.

WSJ: 'Pentagon Goes to Climate War: The principal threats being multiplied here are hype and hysteria'

The Pentagon Goes to Climate War

Hagel wants to retool the military to stop glaciers from melting

Oct. 14, 2014 7:36 p.m. ET 14 COMMENTS   THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno delivered a stark message on Monday, warning that the U.S. Army is shrinking to a dangerously small size even as the threats it faces are multiplying.

“We’ve seen Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, we’ve seen ISIS, we’ve seen some increased instability in other places,” the general told a military conference. “So I now have a concern whether even going below 490,000 [troops] is the right thing to do.” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced in February that the Army would shrink to about 450,000 soldiers by 2017. General Odierno’s modest suggestion to the political class: Maybe now is a good time to rethink the cuts.


Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel

How quaint. As General Odierno was fielding questions about whether ISIS—currently 15 miles from Baghdad airport—could take the Iraqi capital, the Pentagon released its 2014 “Climate Change Adaptation Forecast,” a roadmap for how the Pentagon intends to deal with what Secretary of State John Kerry recently called “the biggest challenge of all that we face right now.”

The report contains the usual global-warming platitudes that have become standard government and industry fare. The goal is to “integrate climate change considerations across the Department and manage associated risks,” and “collaborate with internal and external stakeholders on climate change challenges.” In a foreword, Mr. Hagel explains that climate change is a “threat multiplier” that “has the potential to exacerbate many of the challenges we are dealing with today—from infectious disease to terrorism.”

The principal threats being multiplied here are hype and hysteria. Current fears about the Ebola virus notwithstanding, the last century of increasing carbon-dioxide emissions has also been the era of the conquest of infectious disease, from polio to HIV. No one has made a credible link between Ebola and climate change, though no doubt somebody will soon try.


As for terrorism, the Pentagon’s job is to defeat jihadist forces that are advancing under the flag of Islamist ideology. Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan did not murder his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood because the heat got to him, and Americans who might die at the hands of the Islamic State won’t care that Mr. Hagel is mobilizing against melting glaciers.

The report doesn’t spell out particular steps beyond the usual surveys and studies, though these inevitably take their toll in expensive paperwork and bureaucratic attention. But it’s of a piece with efforts by the military to go green that are a costly drain on scarce Pentagon resources. The Navy has a plan to generate 50% of its energy from alternative sources by 2020, including buying $3.5 billion in biofuels, and it has also awarded contracts to build so-called biorefineries. It’s partly through ideologically motivated boondoggles like these that the Navy finds itself with a mere 283 ships, down from 337 in 1999.

The military has often been used as a vehicle for social change, and sometimes—as in Harry Truman ’s 1948 desegregation order—that can be a force for good. For now, what the U.S. and the world most need is credible and sufficient American military power to deter and defeat our enemies. Issuing politically correct bows against a speculative threat from climate change when ISIS is at the gates of Baghdad will only convince those enemies that we lack the will to do so.

New paper claims after 6,000 year 'pause', sea levels began rising 150 years ago

A new paper published in PNAS finds global sea levels rose up to 8 times faster than the present after the peak of the last ice age ~20,000 years ago, followed by a large deceleration starting ~6,000 years ago to stable levels until "the renewed sea-level rise [beginning] at 100–150 years ago."

Examination of the data from the paper, however, shows the range of proxy sea levels is approximately 10 meters, far too large to discern the tiny ~1.5 mm/yr sea level rise over the past 150 years. The authors instead assume from other published studies of tide gauge measurements that the ~1.5 mm/yr sea level rise over the past 150+ years began at that point in time. Other papers find sea levels rising only 1.1-1.3 mm/yr over the past 203 years, and without acceleration. 


Regardless, even the IPCC concedes that there was no significant anthropogenic influence on climate prior to 1950, thus man is not be responsible for sea level rise beginning 150-200 years ago, at the end of the Little Ice Age. 

The sea level rise over the past ~200 years shows no evidence of acceleration, which is necessary to assume a man-made influence. Sea level rise instead decelerated over the 20th centurydecelerated 31% since 2002 and decelerated 44% since 2004 to less than 7 inches per century. There is no evidence of an acceleration of sea level rise, and therefore no evidence of any man-made effect on sea levels. Sea level rise is primarily a local phenomenon related to land subsidence, not CO2 levels. Therefore, areas with groundwater depletion and land subsidence have much higher rates of relative sea level rise, but this has absolutely nothing to do with man-made CO2. 

As this post was being written, WUWT posted on this same journal article, which makes additional recommended points regarding much higher sea levels during prior interglacials, etc. 


Fig. 1. Global sea levels over the past 35,000 years. Horizontal axis is thousands of years before the present [i.e. present at the left side of graph]. Range of proxy studies of sea levels is approximately 10 meters over the past ~15,000 years.

Sea level and global ice volumes from the Last Glacial Maximum to the Holocene
  1. Malcolm Sambridgea
  1. Contributed by Kurt Lambeck, September 12, 2014 (sent for review July 1, 2014; reviewed by Edouard Bard, Jerry X. Mitrovica, and Peter U. Clark)
    1. Abstract

    Significance

    Several areas of earth science require knowledge of the fluctuations in sea level and ice volume through glacial cycles. These include understanding past ice sheets and providing boundary conditions for paleoclimate models, calibrating marine-sediment isotopic records, and providing thebackground signal for evaluating anthropogenic contributions to sea level. From ∼1,000 observations of sea level, allowing for isostatic and tectonic contributions, we have quantified therise and fall in global ocean and ice volumes for the past 35,000 years. Of particular note is that during the ∼6,000 y up to the start of the recent rise ∼100−150 y ago, there is no evidence forglobal oscillations in sea level on time scales exceeding ∼200 y duration or 15−20 cm amplitude.

    Abstract

    The major cause of sea-level change during ice ages is the exchange of water between ice and ocean and the planet’s dynamic response to the changing surface load. Inversion of ∼1,000 observations for thepast 35,000 y from localities far from former ice margins has provided new constraints on the fluctuation of ice volume in this interval. Key results are: (i) a rapid final fall in global sea level of ∼40 m in < 2,000 y at the onset of the glacial maximum ∼30,000 y before present (30 ka BP); (ii) a slow fall to −134 m from 29 to 21 ka BP with a maximum grounded ice volume of ∼52 × 106 km3 greater than today; (iii) after an initial short duration rapid rise and a short interval of near-constant sea level, the main phase of deglaciation occurred from ∼16.5 ka BP to ∼8.2 ka BP at an average rate of rise of 12 m⋅ka−1 punctuated by periods of greater, particularly at 14.5–14.0 ka BP at ≥40 mm⋅y−1 (MWP-1A), and lesser, from 12.5 to 11.5 ka BP (Younger Dryas), rates; (iv) no evidence for a global MWP-1B event at ∼11.3 ka BP; and (v) a progressive decrease in the rate of rise from 8.2 ka to ∼2.5 ka BP, after which ocean volumes remained nearly constant until the renewed sea-level rise at 100–150 y ago, with no evidence of oscillations exceeding ∼15–20 cm in time intervals ≥ 200 y from 6 to 0.15 ka BP.

    New paper finds a 'significant' 'missing driver in the Sun-Earth' climate connection via ozone production

    A paper published today in Nature Communications finds a 'significant' 'missing driver in the Sun-Earth climate connection' via ozone production in the middle atmosphere. According to the authors, solar energetic electron precipitation (EEP)
    "events strongly affect ozone at 60–80 km, leading to extremely large (up to 90%) short-term ozone depletion. This impact is comparable to that of large, but much less frequent, solar proton events. On solar cycle timescales, we find that EEP causes ozone variations of up to 34% at 70–80 km. With such a magnitude, it is reasonable to suspect that EEP could be an important part of solar influence on the atmosphere and climate system." 
    "On solar cycle scales, we find that EEP causes significant ozone variations of up to 34% at 70–80 km. As ozone is important to atmospheric heating and cooling rates, this level of ozone variation could significantly affect the local mesospheric temperature balance6. Our results emphasize the importance of the EEP effect on mesospheric ozone and significantly improve our understanding of the impacts of the energetic particles on the atmosphere." 
    "Most studies have concentrated on the so-called indirect particle precipitation effect caused by the production of odd nitrogen (NOx) in the polar upper atmosphere, its subsequent transport to lower altitudes inside the wintertime polar vortex, depletion of ozone in the stratosphere and effects on the radiative balance of the middle atmosphere10111213These effects may further couple to atmospheric dynamics and propagate downwards by changing polar winds and atmospheric wave propagation through wave—mean flow interaction141516. Several studies have suggested links between the EPP indirect effect on ozone and regional wintertime tropospheric climate variability." 
    "Our results show that the direct, HOx-driven effect of EEP is causing significant, previously unaccounted for, ozone variability in the mesosphere that are observable on solar cycle timescales. Although these effects from EEP-HOx have not been considered in atmospheric and climate models to date, dynamical changes in the mesosphere and stratosphere have been reported as a result of SPEs and the indirect EEP impact on ozone1921." 
    "Considering the magnitude of the direct ozone effect, tens of percent in wintertime polar regions, it is reasonable to suspect that EEP could be an important contributor to the Sun-climate connection on solar cycle timescales. For comparison, the 11-year variability in UV radiation has a less than 10% effect on annual mean mesospheric ozone at mid-to-low latitude222324. Thus, more research should be directed towards better understanding the potential further effects from EEP and its role in the overall Solar influence on climate. Currently, in most high-top climate models the solar input does not include EEP and it is completely missing from low-top models."
    Ozone is the 3rd most influential greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, after water vapor and CO2, as illustrated by the large cooling effects upon the stratosphere in this illustration:


    3. Stratospheric cooling rates:  The picture shows how water, cabon dioxide and ozone contribute to longwave cooling in the stratosphere.   Colours from blue through red, yellow and to green show increasing cooling, grey areas show warming of the stratosphere.  The tropopause is shown as dotted line (the troposphere below and the stratosphere above).  For CO2 it is obvious that there is no cooling in the troposphere [or warming!], but a strong cooling effect in the stratosphere.  Ozone, on the other hand, cools the upper stratosphere but warms the lower stratosphere.  Figure from: Clough and Iacono, JGR, 1995; adapted from the SPARC Website.  Please click to enlarge! (60 K)  [Source] [Rebuttal] [Ozone O3 is shown as a cooling agent in the upper stratosphere, but a warming agent in the upper troposphere to lower stratosphere]

    In addition to the large effects on ozone as a potential solar amplification mechanism, this paper begs the question how much of the alleged ozone hole over Antarctica is related to solar activity vs. man-made CFCs? As this paper notes, these solar effects on ozone are most pronounced over the poles where the Antarctic ozone hole is located. In addition, the wide variations in the Antarctic ozone hole from year to year indicate solar activity is more likely responsible rather than a continuous effect from CFCs. Is this why no significant trend in the ozone hole has been found now 30 years after the Montreal Protocol to outlaw CFCs?

    Excerpts from full paper:



    Missing driver in the Sun–Earth connection from energetic electron precipitation impacts mesospheric ozone


    Nature Communications
     
    5,
     
    Article number:
     
    5197
     
    doi:10.1038/ncomms6197
    Received
     
    Accepted
     
    Published
     

    Abstract




    Energetic electron precipitation (EEP) from the Earth’s outer radiation belt continuously affects the chemical composition of the polar mesosphere. EEP can contribute to catalytic ozone loss in the mesosphere through ionization and enhanced production of odd hydrogen. However, the long-term mesospheric ozone variability caused by EEP has not been quantified or confirmed to date. Here we show, using observations from three different satellite instruments, that EEP events strongly affect ozone at 60–80 km, leading to extremely large (up to 90%) short-term ozone depletion. This impact is comparable to that of large, but much less frequent, solar proton events. On solar cycle timescales, we find that EEP causes ozone variations of up to 34% at 70–80 km. With such a magnitude, it is reasonable to suspect that EEP could be an important part of solar influence on the atmosphere and climate system.

    At a glance

    Figures

    View all figures
    left
    1. Signature of EEP in observed mesospheric ozone.
      Figure 1
    2. Magnitude of the short-term EEP effects on mesospheric ozone.
      Figure 2
    3. Magnitude of the long-term EEP effects on mesospheric ozone.
      Figure 3
    right

    Introduction




    Energetic electron precipitation (EEP) from the Earth’s outer radiation belt continuously affects the chemical composition of the mesosphere across the geomagnetic latitudes 55–65°. At altitudes below ~80 km, EEP leads to odd hydrogen (HOx) enhancement following ionization and ion chemical reactions1, which is expected to contribute to the ozone balance in the mesosphere. A recent study considering the 2004–2009 period concluded that EEP was significantly affecting mesospheric HOxaround 35% of the time2. A set of case studies has demonstrated that EEP-HOx is expected to have a short-term effect on mesospheric ozone through well-known catalytic reaction chains3. The largest effects of EEP on HOx have been reported at 70–80 km, caused by electrons with energies between 100 and 300 keV. The EEP effect is most significant during and following geomagnetic storms, where dynamic processes inside the radiation belts accelerate electrons to high energies.
    Here we show, using ozone observations from three different satellite instruments, that EEP events very strongly affect ozone at altitudes between 60 and 80 km. The EEP leads to an extremely large (up to 90%) short-term (days) ozone depletion in the atmosphere. The magnitude of these short-term effects is comparable to those caused by large but much less frequent solar proton events45. On solar cycle scales, we find that EEP causes significant ozone variations of up to 34% at 70–80 km. As ozone is important to atmospheric heating and cooling rates, this level of ozone variation could significantly affect the local mesospheric temperature balance6. Our results emphasize the importance of the EEP effect on mesospheric ozone and significantly improve our understanding of the impacts of the energetic particles on the atmosphere.

    EEP in 2002–2012

    Solar cycle 23 (SC23) was one of the longest cycles since 1847 and exhibited large variation in solar (UV radiation) and geomagnetic activity (solar storms, energetic particle precipitation). In 2003, during the declining phase of SC23, the majority of the days were geomagnetically disturbed. In contrast, the deep solar minimum that occurred in 2009 showed the lowest activity since the beginning of the Twentieth century. The current solar cycle (SC24) is so far the weakest cycle in the last 100 years. For this period, EEP events were strongest and most frequent during the transition between SC23 maximum and the following minimum (Fig. 1a). Almost 75% of all major EEP events (major=daily mean electron precipitation count rate exceeding 150 counts s−1) in the 2002–2012 period occurred between 2003 and 2006. The occurrence of solar proton events (SPEs) peaked during high solar activity (red numbers in Fig. 1a).


    Figure 1: Signature of EEP in observed mesospheric ozone.
    Signature of EEP in observed mesospheric ozone.
    (a) Monthly mean ECRs (black bars), maximum proton flux >10 MeV (red numbers) in proton flux units (1 pfu=1 p cm−2 sr−1 s−1) and sunspot number (SSN, grey area) between 2002 and 2012. (b,c) Maximum O3loss (%) at altitudes between 70 and 78 km in the Northern hemisphere (b) and Southern hemisphere (c) during 60 EEP events, with daily ECR >150 (counts s−1). Numbers: the average O3 loss (%) for each set of available satellite measurements (MLS, SABER and GOMOS).
    • Full size image (94 KB)
    • ...
    • Figure 2: Magnitude of the short-term EEP effects on mesospheric ozone.
      Magnitude of the short-term EEP effects on mesospheric ozone.
      (ac) O3 anomalies (%) for selected EEP events in the Northern hemisphere and in the Southern hemisphere derived from GOMOS (a), SABER (b) and MLS (c) observations. Black dashed lines: EEP event start end end; red dashed lines: SPE event start end end; black numbers: daily mean ECRs; red numbers: >10 MeV pfu. (di) Superposed epoch analysis for EEP events with daily ECR >150 (counts s−1) showing ozone anomalies (%) and ECR (black lines) in the Northern hemisphere (d,f,h) and in the Southern hemisphere (e,g,i). White numbers: O3 loss at different altitudes.
    • ...
    • Long-term ozone variability

      Although the duration of the forcing for individual EEP events is only a few days, the high frequency of the events during active years (Fig. 1a) is enough to cause variability in mesospheric ozone on solar cycle timescales (Fig. 3a–c)...
    • Discussion




      In recent years, the atmospheric effects of energetic particle precipitation (=EEP+SPE) have received a considerable amount of scientific attention. Most studies have concentrated on the so-called indirect particle precipitation effect caused by the production of odd nitrogen (NOx) in the polar upper atmosphere, its subsequent transport to lower altitudes inside the wintertime polar vortex, depletion of ozone in the stratosphere and effects on the radiative balance of the middle atmosphere10111213. These effects may further couple to atmospheric dynamics and propagate downwards by changing polar winds and atmospheric wave propagation through wave—mean flow interaction141516. Several studies have suggested links between the EPP indirect effect on ozone and regional wintertime tropospheric climate variability17181920.
      Our results show that the direct, HOx-driven effect of EEP is causing significant, previously unaccounted for, ozone variability in the mesosphere that are observable on solar cycle timescales. Although these effects from EEP-HOx have not been considered in atmospheric and climate models to date, dynamical changes in the mesosphere and stratosphere have been reported as a result of SPEs and the indirect EEP impact on ozone1921.
      Considering the magnitude of the direct ozone effect, tens of percent in wintertime polar regions, it is reasonable to suspect that EEP could be an important contributor to the Sun-climate connection on solar cycle timescales. For comparison, the 11-year variability in UV radiation has a less than 10% effect on annual mean mesospheric ozone at mid-to-low latitude222324. Thus, more research should be directed towards better understanding the potential further effects from EEP and its role in the overall Solar influence on climate. Currently, in most high-top climate models the solar input does not include EEP and it is completely missing from low-top models.

    Solar activity impacts polar ozone

    Date:
    October 14, 2014  Science Daily
    Source:
    Finnish Meteorological Institute
    Summary:
    The increase in greenhouse gases explains, to a large extent, the rise in the average temperature of the Earth. According to a new research study, the Sun affects middle atmosphere ozone with potential implications on smaller scale to regional, but not global, climate.[Note: the paper does not say that this effect (which is most prominent in the poles) does not have potential global effects as well]

    Scientists have been able to confirm, for the first time, the long-term implications of solar-driven electron impact on the upper middle atmosphere ozone.
    Credit: NASA
    The increase in greenhouse gases explains, to a large extent, the rise in the average temperature of Earth. According to the research study published in Nature Communications today, the Sun affects middle atmosphere ozone with potential implications on smaller scale to regional, but not global, climate.
    Humankind is responsible for the global warming of our climate by increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. However, according results published today, fluctuations in the activity of the Sun impact middle atmosphere ozone, providing a potential link to regional scale climate variability. This climate variability is not a trend, like climate change, but rather year-to-year fluctuations following solar activity. "The detected ozone variation may in part help understand the alternation of local mild and cold winter seasons, as hints have been obtained in previous research that the ozone changes in the middle atmosphere may link as far as the surface of Earth and affect, among other things, polar wind streams," Finnish Meteorological Institute researcher Dr Pekka Verronen reflects.
    The research team was able to confirm, for the first time, the long-term implications of solar-driven electron impact on the upper middle atmosphere ozone. The results showed strong effects in the polar latitudes. The amount of ozone at 70-80 km altitude was found to vary more than 30 percent during a solar cycle, a period of approximately 11 years. The ozone variation between the extremes of the Sun's activity is so great that it is likely to impact the temperature balance of the atmosphere. These temperature changes can in turn have an effect on atmospheric winds.
    Electrons from space: Auroras and ozone loss
    According to the research study conducted by the Finnish Meteorological Institute, University of Otago and the British Antarctic Survey, the electrons, similar to those behind the aurora, cause significant solar cycle variation in the polar mesosphere ozone. The amount of ozone is smaller when more electrons enter the atmosphere. "These results are only the first step but an important one, allowing us to better understand the long-term impacts of this type of solar activity, and its role in regional climate variability," says Dr Monika Andersson who lead the study at Finnish Meteorological Institute.
    Earth's radiation belts are regions in near-Earth space that contain vast quantities of solar energetic electrons, trapped there by Earth's magnetic field. During magnetic storms, which are solar wind-driven, the electrons accelerate to high speeds and enter the atmosphere in the polar regions. In the atmosphere, the electrons ionize gas molecules, leading to the production of ozone-depleting catalyst gases. Based on currently available satellite observations, electron precipitation may, during solar storms lasting a few days, reduce ozone in the upper atmosphere (60-80 km) as much as 90 per cent on a momentary basis.

    Story Source:
    The above story is based on materials provided by Finnish Meteorological Institute.Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.