Arctic Warming

For a long time I ridiculed the idea of “global warming” as innacurate, because it implies a single warming trend with a single cause.  It made more sense, to me, that global temperature was more of a patchwork of regional oceanic/atmospheric phenomena.  And, to a certain extent, that is true.  Land use has been shown to have dramatic effects on regional climate, as documented by Roger Pielke Sr.   And it is also true that policymakers should pay more attention to regional climate behavior rather than the global average.  Yet, it appears that the entire Earth is experiencing the same temperature fluctuations, though varying in intensity with lattitude.  From Erl Happ’s paper, “The Solar Signal in the Troposphere,” (who’s theory I will be writing about soon):

“The energy that is absorbed in the tropics and in particular the energy that is absorbed by the oceans of the southern hemisphere fluctuates from year to year. The change in this input to the Earths energy budget has knock on effects in terms of temperature change at high latitudes where there is an energy deficit. At latitudes greater than 40° outgoing radiation exceeds incoming insolation. The difference is made up to a variable extent by the transfer of energy from the tropics. It is at these relatively high latitudes that the greatest fluctuation in sea surface and atmospheric temperature occurs.”

Trends in the Southern Hemisphere, the Northern Hemisphere, and the Arctic are all exactly the same; they merely exhibit different factors of intensity.  To demonstrate this, I have graphed the Global temperature anomoly against the Arctic temperature anomoly as recorded by sattelite data at the University of Alabama at Huntsville.  I adjusted the Arctic temperature record, dividing each year’s anomoly by 3.4.  By doing this, I am essentially saying that the Arctic temperature trend (in the lower troposphere) amounts to 3.4 times the global trend.

As you can see, Arctic and global temperatures follow eachother very well once adjusted for high-lattitude trend enhancement, aside from the 1998 El Nino.  This seems to imply that oceanic oscilations (aside from ENSO) are either synchronized or have a minimal effect on regional temperatures.  It also would imply that claims that soot has caused Arctic warming (“. . . such dark carbon triggers melting, and may be responsible for as much as 94 percent of Arctic warming.”) are probably innacurate as the Arctic warming trend has exhibited the same ups and downs as the global warming trend.

In conclusion, it seems that something global in nature has been causing global warming.  Perhaps it is synchronized oceanic cycles, perhaps it is changes in solar interaction with the atmosphere, or perhaps it’s something completely unexpected.



One Response to “Arctic Warming”

  1. ian edmonds Says:

    Thanks for this graph Carl. Evidently there is a broad correlation between global and arctic temperature indicative of a fast transport or mixing mechanism via the atmosphere. The 97/98 El Nino is, however, a clear outlier. If you have a rapid coupling operating how come this major global warming event does not show up in the Artic temperature? Pretty complicated stuff.

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