The Coming Climate

Update July 4 below

When you see a graph like that below, it is obvious that an unusually strong El Nino just happened in our climate system. It resulted in higher global temperatures the last two years and so far in 2016. But that event is over now, and naturally we wonder what to expect in the months and years ahead.

For example some comments from a recent thread at WUWT (here) were intriguing:

It will be interesting to see what comes next. The major difference between the 1998 el nino and this one is that in 1998 the sun was increasing in solar activity, while this one solar activity is decreasing. (rishrac)

Nino3,4 and UAH LT dC Anomalies, and UAH LT Scaled *3 and Lagged 4 Months h/t Allan MacRae

And richard takes the long view of the situation:

While we all stare at the short-term ups and downs of the global temperatures, pay a little thought to the fact that the Earth’s orbit around the Sun causes snow in the winter and warmth during the summer, so it may be important?

Perihelion presently occurs around January 3, (Northern hemisphere winter, Southern summer) while aphelion is around July 4. Therefore, the southern hemisphere receives more solar radiation and is therefore warmer in summer and colder in winter (aphelion). The Northern hemisphere has cooler summers and milder winter (solar radiation-wise).

Also the northern hemispheres autumn and winter are slightly shorter than spring and summer, because the Earth is moving faster around the Sun in winter slower in summer.

This alone could account for “Global Warming” attributed to CO2, (which no doubt plays some part in it).

Over the next 10,000 years, northern hemisphere winters will become gradually longer and summers will become shorter, due to the change in the Earth’s Orbital Eccentricity.

Couple this with changes in the Earth’s tilt, which varies from 22.1 degrees to 24.5 degrees, (currently at 23.4 degrees). More tilt means more solar radiation gets to the poles (global warming) and less tilt means less radiation gets to the poles (global cooling). The last maximum tilt occurred in 8700 BC (Holocene maximum) and the next minimum tilt will happen in 11,800 AD (the advance of the ice sheets), precisely at the time of longer northern winters and shorter summers.

Orbital Climate Factors: E for eccentricity, T for tilt, and P for precession

Predicting the Future is Tough

Chiefio (E.M. Smith) has a good post (here) reminding us that statistical projections do not help us much in this case. Temperature series produced by our climate system have special qualities. The patterns are auto-correlated, meaning that tomorrow’s weather will be similar to today’s; the occurrence is not totally independent, like the flip of coin. IOW there is momentum in the climate characteristics, which can and do fluctuate over seasons, decades, centuries and more. Our attempts to use linear regressions to forecast are thwarted by temperature time series that do not follow a normal gaussian distribution, and are semi-chaotic and non-stationary.

Four Possibilities Forward From Today

From past experience, the next few years could logically follow one of four temperature scenarios:
1. The Plateau since 1998 continues.
2. The Warming prior to 1998 resumes.
3. A new Plateau begins with 2016 at a higher (step up) level.
4. A Cooling begins comparable to the years after 1940.

All of these have analogues in our recent climate observations. If this now finished El Nino triggers a regime change comparable to the 1998 event, then a step-up plateau can result. If warmists are right, and there is a release of pent-up heat in the system, then a warming trend would resume.

If this El Nino is not strong enough to shift the regime, then the Plateau could continue at the same level. Finally, it could be that several factors align to reverse the warming since the 1970’s, and bring a return to cooler 1950’s weather.

Those who see a quasi-60 year cycle in weather patterns note that it is about time for the PDO in the Pacific and the AMO in the Atlantic to be in cooler phases, along with a quiet sun, which went spotless last week. There are also those attending to orbital climate patterns, which gave us the Modern Warming Period and will eventually take it away.


Changes in climate due to earth’s orbit around the sun

Update July 4

In the thread below is a chart from J Martin displaying the effects of the changing tilt of earth’s axis.  As shown, the long term pattern is toward cooling.

In addition, ren provides interesting links to studies showing SA (Sunspot numbers) correlating to Middle Ages Warm period and LIA, and a 2012 study forecasting the next 2 cycles.

Figure 1. Bottom plot: the summary component of the two PCs (solid curve) and the decaying component (dashed curves) for the “historical” data (cycles 21–23) and predicted data (cycles 24–26). The cycle lengths (about 11 yr) are marked with different colors.
shepherd etalfig1

Again, to the extent that SSNs are a proxy for changes in heat content within the earth’s climate system, the graph is also indicating future cooling.

For quantification of climate effects from Solar Activity, see:
Quantifying Natural Climate Change



  1. Hifast · June 7

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.


  2. hunter · June 7

    So yet more evidence supporting the skeptical case comes forward. How many pathways of evidence supporting the hypothesis, that the climate is not in a human-caused crisis have to emerge before we can dismiss the catastrophist claptrap that has distorted the public square is dismissed?


  3. angech · June 8

    Re The Chiefio has an interesting article.
    I had a different take on it than you.

    temperature time series that are semi-chaotic and non-stationary should follow a normal gaussian distribution.
    “The patterns are auto-correlated, meaning that tomorrow’s weather will be similar to today’s; the occurrence is not totally independent, like the flip of coin , which it should be.”
    Coins are auto correlated as well you either get a head or a tail, but each day the temperature will be hotter [heads] or colder [tails] than yesterday on the background of the seasonal trend.
    What we do not expect is auto-correlation from day to day, days a year apart and days a decade apart.

    Hurst, Dependence, Persistence, and a fatal flaw in “Climate Science””Posted on 2 June 2016 by E.M.Smith.
    Seasonality and Dependence in Daily Mean USCRN Temperature Sonoma State University April 12, 2016
    A study of daily mean temperature data from five USCRN stations in the sample period 1/1/2005-3/31/2016 shows that the seasonal cycle can be captured with significantly greater precision by dividing the year into smaller parts than calendar months. The enhanced precision greatly reduces vestigial patterns in the deseasonalized and detrended residuals. Rescaled Range analysis of the residuals indicates a violation of the independence assumption of OLS regression. The existence of dependence, memory, and persistence in the data is indicated by high values of the Hurst exponent. The results imply that decadal and even multi-decadal OLS trends in USCRN daily mean temperature may be spurious.
    –I recall an effort by Zeke some time back to describe the way all USCRN daily mean temperature is altered to reflect the changes needed by observation bias and how these changes filter back and enlarge in the past [making the past colder] Little did I or he realize that the alterations were also taking away the ambient variability of the altered observations and including a pattern for warming and reproducibility and non Gaussian fit.
    This has possibly been raised in the past but when observations are missing and have to be profiled they obviously rely on past history to fit the missing data to the right day/week/month profile.
    The problem is that the past data now has a reproducibility fingerprint which may not have been obvious to Zeke and team when doing it.
    –This fingerprint of intervention becomes glaringly obvious using statistical analysis.
    A bit like those teachers results in “Freakonomics” where you could tell the teachers were altering the marks.

    these young scientists and the Chiefio point out data that has been tampered with by introducing seasonality and reproducibility and lack of expected natural variability into it is no longer viable or valid for deducing climate trends.


    • Ron Clutz · June 8

      Thanks angtech. I take your point that the adjusted datasets are more likely to give spurious results when trends are produced from them. My original understanding was, even if the records were pristine, attempts to project trends from the temperature times series are uncertain because it is unknown where the present moment lies regarding multiple oscillations determining the day’s weather. Not knowing which physical forces are in effect, and to what degree each of them, we can not forecast with much certainty.

      I have used linear regression to analyze temperature time series, and find meaning in the periodicies that are revealed. But the past is a fact (until it gets changed by someone :>)), while the future is guesswork.


  4. angech · June 9

    re Richard June 2, 2016 at 6:28 am WUWT
    I have a query,
    One the tilt which I admit I do not fully understand, Does it really matter?
    “more tilt means more solar radiation gets to the poles (global warming) and less tilt means less radiation gets to the poles (global cooling). ”
    One pole warms, the other cools surely. What he might mean is that land areas would be warmer in a Northern scenario [greater land mass] , but even then the world overall temp should not change.

    “Perihelion [closest] presently occurs around January 3, (Northern hemisphere winter, Southern summer) while aphelion is around July 4.. The Northern hemisphere has cooler summers and milder winter (solar radiation-wise)
    Also the northern hemispheres autumn and winter are slightly shorter than spring and summer.
    ” because the Earth is moving faster around the Sun in winter slower in summer.”
    – a bit Northern Hemisphere specific.
    I always felt it moved faster in Summer and shorter in Winter down here.


    • Ron Clutz · June 9

      angech, I think it’s important because ice ages start at the North Pole. And that is because temperatures are more volatile due to land mass, and due to Arctic ice drifting without a land base. So the major shifts between ice house and hot house start in the North. No disrespect to those down under.


  5. J Martin · July 3

    @ angtech.
    Tilt (obliquity) has a 41k yr cycle and prior to the arrival of 100,000 year glaciations, the 41k year world dominated with short sharp glaciations every 41 thousand years. The 41k influence us still there. Javier has done a graph which overlays the obliquity cycle on top of a graph of the holocene which produces a perfect match. So it would seem that interstitial temperatures are largely governed by obliquity, but glaciation temperatures are governed by eccentricity with occasional disturbances from precession .


  6. J Martin · July 3


  7. J Martin · July 3


    • Ron Clutz · July 3

      J. Martin, that is an amazing chart. It appears to show the orbital climate effects. I would like to hear more interpretation of the meanings you draw from it. What about the SSN cycles? And what is the layer at the bottom of the chart with years labelled on the left.


  8. ren · July 4

    11 days without sunspots. By the end of the cycle of about three years. Next, 25 may be 80% weaker.
    In the current study, to predict the solar activity, we explorethe PCs derived from the SBMF measured with the WSO incycles 21–23 by using the most advanced Eureqa approach developed on Hamiltonian principles (Schmidt & Lipson 2009).We show that the classic proxy for solar activity, averaged sunspot numbers, is strongly modulated by variations in the SBMF PCs, allowing us to use the SBMF PCs as new proxies for the overall solar activity. Further more, by using the Eureqa technique based on a symbolic regression, we managed to uncover the underlying mathematical laws governing the fundamental processes of magnetic wave generation in the Sun’s background magneticfield. These invariants are used to extract the key parameters of the PCs of SBMF waves, which, in turn, are used to predict the overall level of solar activity for solar cycles 24–26. We can conclude with a sufficient degree of confidence that the solar activity in cycles 24–26 will be systematically decreasing because of the increasing phase shift between the two magnetic waves of the poloidal field leading to their full separation into opposite hemispheres in cycles 25 and 26. This separation is expected to result in the lack of their subsequent interaction in any of the hemispheres, possibly leading to a lackof noticeable sunspot activity on the solar surface lasting for a decade or two, similar to those recorded in the medieval period. Using the modulus summary curves derived from the principal components of SBMF, we predict a noticeable decrease of the average sunspot numbers in cycle 25 to ≈80% of that in cycle 24 and a decrease in cycle 26 to ≈40% which are linked to a reduction of the amplitudes and an increase of the phase between the PCs of SBMF separating these waves into the opposite hemispheres.


  9. ren · July 4

    Based on a quantitative study of the common fluctuations of 14C and 10Be
    production rates, we have derived a time series of the solar magnetic
    variability over the last 1200 years. This record is converted into
    irradiance variations by linear scaling based on previous studies of
    sun-like stars and of the Sun’s behavior over the last few centuries.
    The new solar irradiance record exhibits low values during the well-known
    solar minima centered about 1900, 1810 (Dalton), and 1690 AD (Maunder).
    Further back in time, a rather long period between 1450 and 1750 AD is
    characterized by low irradiance values. A shorter period is centered
    about 1200 AD, with irradiance slightly higher or similar to present
    day values. It is tempting to correlate these periods with the
    so-called “little ice age” and “medieval warm period”, respectively.
    An accurate quantification of the climatic impact of this new
    irradiance record requires the use of coupled atmosphere-ocean
    general circulation models (GCMs). Nevertheless, our record is
    already compatible with a global cooling of about 0.5 – 1 C during
    the “little ice age”, and with a general cooling trend during the
    past millennium followed by global warming during the 20th century
    (Mann et al. 1999).


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