Definitions and Some Background: Arctic Oscillation (1)

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 11:12 PM GMT on August 18, 2013

Definitions and Some Background: Arctic Oscillation (1)

Every now and then I take an unexpected blogging hiatus because the day job is overwhelming. That’s the last three weeks as the project that I have been working on the past couple of years came to its first major milestone – a workshop on the evaluation of model projections to improve their usability in planning. Plus it is canning season – any good chutney recipes?

During the run up to the workshop, thanks to my expertise in time management, I gave a seminar on the Arctic Oscillation for a National Park Service webinar series “Climate Change in America's National Parks - Post-Sandy Recovery Series I: Storms, Barrier Islands, and Implications for the Atlantic Coastline.” I’m going to spend a few entries going through some the ideas in the presentation. First, however, here is the link to my presentation. It was recorded, but I have not figured out how to post that yet. Also here is a link to the GLISAclimate.org project workspace where I collected together the materials I used in the presentation - Arctic Oscillation: Climate variability in the Great Lakes.

The reason I was asked to give this talk followed from my participation in a planning exercise for Isle Royale National Park. During that planning project the Arctic Oscillation emerged as a topic of special interest. I have written a number of blogs in the past that discussed the Arctic Oscillation, regionally often referred to as the North Atlantic Oscillation, and its role in variability of winter and spring temperatures. We hear about the Arctic Oscillation the most when winters in the eastern half of the United States are cold and snowy. People get excited and start writing that climate change is bogus. I have put just a few of the links to previous blogs at the end.

What is the Arctic Oscillation? Here from the CPC Climate Glossary is the start of the definition of the Arctic Oscillation. “The Arctic Oscillation is a pattern in which atmospheric pressure at polar and middle latitudes fluctuates between negative and positive phases.” I think the definition is a little easier to explain if I focus on the North Atlantic Oscillation and, again from the glossary, “The North Atlantic Oscillation is often considered to be a regional manifestation of the Arctic Oscillation.” In the negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation there is higher than average pressure over the pole and lower than average pressure over the North Atlantic, for example, over Iceland. In the positive phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation there is lower than average pressure over the pole and higher than average pressure over the North Atlantic. Going back to the original focus, the Arctic Oscillation, rather than the pressure differences at sub-polar latitudes being over the North Atlantic, they might be over some other place, like the North Pacific. Here is a schematic figure showing the North Atlantic Oscillation from educational material at Lamont-Doherty.



Figure 1: Positive Phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation. from LDEO



Figure 2: Negative Phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation. from LDEO


These changes in the weather pattern have large consequences on the weather in the U.S. When the North Atlantic Oscillation is in its positive phase, the winters in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern U.S. are moist and mild. When the North Atlantic Oscillation is in the negative phase, the winter in the same regions of the U.S. are cold and snowy. Though snowy, the actual amount of water that falls from the sky is less than average.

The discussion of the Arctic Oscillation often focuses on the winter and spring because in the U.S. the discussion of weather and climate often over emphasizes what is happening in the Interstate 95 corridor. (Isn’t it great that I-95 has its own website?). However, the Arctic Oscillation is the dominant mode of variability in the Northern Hemisphere middle latitudes, and this is true all of the year. When we say that something is the “dominant mode,” we mean that if we formally measure the variance and then try to describe the variance by recognizable patterns, then the single largest way to describe the variance is with the Arctic Oscillation.

Meteorologists describe the Arctic Oscillation as an atmospheric phenomenon as opposed to a phenomenon that might represent the coupling between the atmosphere and the ocean. The El Nino – La Nina oscillation involves both the atmosphere and ocean. Since the ocean is important, El Nino and La Nina are at least a little bit predictable. The Arctic Oscillation is notoriously difficult to predict.

The reason the Arctic Oscillation took on as much importance as it did in the Isle Royale National Park project was its impact on ecosystems. In the area around Lake Superior, when the Arctic Oscillation is in the positive phase it tends to be warm and dry. There is very little snow. When the Arctic Oscillation is in the negative phase, there are cold air outbreaks from Canada and the likelihood of large snowstorms is higher. If the atmosphere bounces back and forth between the positive and negative phase, then you can imagine a snowstorm followed by a thaw. This stands to change the ebb and flow of the annual water cycle with winter thaws and perhaps winter floods. There might be a lot of snow in the winter, but there is less snow on the ground going into spring. An example of an ecosystem impact is in the forest – if it is warmer and dryer in the spring at peak growth time, this is a major stress on the forest. Next blog a little more on the Arctic Oscillation and temperature.



r

(I will look for new likes on old blogs!)

Confounding Variability: A short blog from the early times.

Bumps and Wiggles (8)Ocean, Atmosphere, Ice, and Land

La Nina and Missouri River Flooding

Jeff Masters Extreme Arctic Oscillation

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Quoting 963. Naga5000:


Was mostly a joke. I use them quite frequently, but they don't seem to work. :)

Oh, I got you. I was quite confused.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3557
Quoting 962. ScottLincoln:

Usually if they are disabled, it's because you rated a post already. If that's not the case, then I'm really not sure. Guess it's time to ask the blog admins?


Was mostly a joke. I use them quite frequently, but they don't seem to do anything anymore. Admin conspiracy. :)
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 6 Comments: 6102
Quoting 958. Naga5000:


My minus and ! buttons no longer work. I think they have been disabled. All I have left are pluses.

Usually if they are disabled, it's because you rated a post already. If that's not the case, then I'm really not sure. Guess it's time to ask the blog admins?
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3557
Quoting 960. Birthmark:
Wow! You guys are meaner than me? I must say I'm impressed. I mean, Naga has used up both is "-" AND his "!" quota?

Maybe I'm just going soft in my old age. Just had another birthday, and much to my chagrin, my age is now an even bigger number.


I'm just grumpy.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 6 Comments: 6102
Quoting 956. Birthmark:

Actually, I think we like the minus system.

We just plus each other out of spite.


I like the !- ignore function
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4609
Quoting 956. Birthmark:

Actually, I think we like the minus system.

We just plus each other out of spite.


My minus and ! buttons no longer work. I think they have been disabled. All I have left are pluses.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 6 Comments: 6102
Quoting 938. SouthernIllinois:

I meant tail BM! My bad. Yes, time to get off his tail. He contributes much here!

Let's start a clean slate. And if you all don't wanna, fine. I like CEastwood.


A personality contest? Any comments made on CEastood's posts have nothing to do as to if we like or dislike the person. This is not a meet and greet blog. This is a blog based on science and on a particular subject matter.

I am listening. What contributions does CEastwood make here? I have a list, but I prefer to see your list.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5280
Quoting 939. SouthernIllinois:
FWIW, I like CEastwood. He brings good science here.


I like your personality Southern Illinois but that is just wrong... Why tell a lie? I know how you seem to must love anybody here but what you said doesn't make any sense.

OH, I think I understand... you're trying to get a laugh from getting a reaction out of us because it's a sensitive issue to us.

I hope this is why!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 950. Naga5000:


This is exactly correct. Not significant at the 95% level, which it not surprising given the 20 year time frame used, but still significant at the 90%, which is still significant.

Which basically makes their claim "we are only 90% certain of a statistical warming trend, not 95%, so there isn't warming." Do we honestly think that they've thought about it enough to have a magical threshold in their head where 10% uncertainty is just too much?

What seems more likely to me is that they don't understand uncertainty analysis and statistical significance, and their misunderstanding shows. They don't realize that 95% confidence is one of the more frequently used, such that when someone just says "statistically-signicant" they are usually referring to the 95% confidence level.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3557
Quoting 948. ScottLincoln:

They don't show statistically-significant warming, but at what confidence interval? 95%? Would we only have to drop to like 90% for it to be significant?

And yes, that is a notorious trick of statistically-illiterate and climate science deniers.
I'm not even that great at statistics. But when I don't understand the term, I look it up. Or leave it to the statistics experts who do.



This is exactly correct. Not significant at the 95% level, which it not surprising given the 20 year time frame used, but still significant at the 90%, which is still significant.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 6 Comments: 6102
Quoting 945. Birthmark:

That is correct, sir.


The satellite data do not show statistically significant warming for 1994-present. However, both still show warming. That is the trick that denialists use, to imply that lack of statistically significant warming is the same as the lack of warming. Of course, it is not.

They don't show statistically-significant warming, but at what confidence interval? 95%? Would we only have to drop to like 90% for it to be significant?

And yes, that is a notorious trick of statistically-illiterate and climate science deniers.
I'm not even that great at statistics. But when I don't understand the term, I look it up. Or leave it to the statistics experts who do.

Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3557
Quoting 942. SouthernIllinois:
Really guys. I am a likable gal. :)
Likable? I won't comment on that. But your unknowledgeable denialism is certainly cute, even if the bit does wear thin after awhile.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 15274
Quoting 939. SouthernIllinois:
FWIW, I like CEastwood. He brings good science here.

For what it's worth, no. He doesn't. Not at all.

I can't recall one time when that would be an accurate description of one of his drive-by link droppings. Were you being sarcastic?

"Science literacy is a vaccine against the charlatans of the world that would exploit your ignorance." - Neil deGrasse Tyson
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3557
Quoting 942. SouthernIllinois:
Really guys. I am a likable gal. :)


Claiming Ceastwood brings good science doesn't affect your likability, only your credibility.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 6 Comments: 6102
Quoting 938. SouthernIllinois:

I meant tail BM! My bad. Yes, time to get off his tail. He contributes much here!

Let's start a clean slate. And if you all don't wanna, fine. I like CEastwood.


For what reason? His witty over generalizations referring to us as "Gaia worshipers" and "alarmists" or his constant posting of misinformation and bad science?
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 6 Comments: 6102
Quoting 928. JohnLonergan:


SouthernIllinois seems to ignore the fact that CEastwood is always the instigator by posting a bunch of well debunked garbage. His sources are always from discredited sites like Goddard and Watts. His unscientific rants deserve no respect at all, I consider them the intellectual equivalent of coming into my house and throwing garbage on the floor.

I should burst into my doctor's office, randomly, and without appointment, then scream "cancer is a conspiracy!" When they try and politely tell me I am wrong and ask me to leave, I'll be sure to tell them to stop picking on me and to stop stalking me like paparazzi.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3557
Quoting 911. SouthernIllinois:
You Guys are way too fascinated/obsessed with CEastwood. Why can't you leave the man alone and give him some time out of the spotlight. No one likes a 24/7 paparazzi on their tale. Trust me I know what it's like. It sucks. :)

You act like we are going out of our way to pick at him or harass him. That's what paparazzi does, right?

You do realize that you lose your innocence in the situation almost completely if you are the one causing the provocation, especially if you not only know that the provocation will cause a response, but know that your claims are false.

If he is worried about the "spotlight," he could simply refrain from posting nonsense. Or try and educate himself in science. Or try and educate himself in statistics. Or try and find a blog run by actual scientists. Or just start with the simplest one... stop posting nonsense.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3557
Quoting 933. JohnLonergan:
Wheat Research Indicates Rise in Mean Temperature Would Cut Yields

Sep. 4, 2013 — Any producer will tell you, growing a healthy, high-yielding wheat crop takes skill and hard work. Quality drought-tolerant varieties that are resistant to pests and disease are important. And cooperation from Mother Nature in terms of temperature and precipitation doesn't hurt, either.

To quantify the impact of genetic improvement in wheat, disease and climate change over a 26-year period, a team of researchers at Kansas State University examined wheat variety yield data from Kansas performance tests, along with location-specific weather and disease data.
Their results showed that from 1985 through 2011, wheat breeding programs boosted average wheat yields by 13 bushels per acre, or 0.51 bushel each year, for a total increase of 26 percent.
Simulations also found that a 1 degree Celsius increase (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in projected mean temperature was found to decrease wheat yields by 10.64 bushels per acre or nearly 21 percent.

Read more at Science Daily


Makes sense as there are limiting agents to plant growth. Mainly Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Postassium, and on occasion Iron. Temperature would prove to be another limiting agent, but only in the sense that we could potentially move the crops to a cooler region, which has slowly been happening according to the U.S. growing zone map updates.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 6 Comments: 6102
Quoting 905. Birthmark:

GISTEMP has risen at the rate of 0.126C0.100C/decade for the period 1994 - present. IOW, it is statistically significant.

Thanks for catching that one. I missed it, although I thought for periods much longer than ~15 years, the trends were significant at the 95% confidence level. The 0.1C error bars were the 95% confidence, right?

If it is true that all the datasets have had statistically-significant warming in the last 20 years, it completely dismantles even the premise behind the claim. yet another suggestion that he/she was either making something up or didn't know what he/she was talking about.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3557
Wheat Research Indicates Rise in Mean Temperature Would Cut Yields

Sep. 4, 2013 — Any producer will tell you, growing a healthy, high-yielding wheat crop takes skill and hard work. Quality drought-tolerant varieties that are resistant to pests and disease are important. And cooperation from Mother Nature in terms of temperature and precipitation doesn't hurt, either.

To quantify the impact of genetic improvement in wheat, disease and climate change over a 26-year period, a team of researchers at Kansas State University examined wheat variety yield data from Kansas performance tests, along with location-specific weather and disease data.
Their results showed that from 1985 through 2011, wheat breeding programs boosted average wheat yields by 13 bushels per acre, or 0.51 bushel each year, for a total increase of 26 percent.
Simulations also found that a 1 degree Celsius increase (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in projected mean temperature was found to decrease wheat yields by 10.64 bushels per acre or nearly 21 percent.

Read more at Science Daily
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4609
Quoting 926. SouthernIllinois:
Let's be nice to CEastwood today. Common Guys. Clean slate...a new day!!
I simply have him on ignore - I neither read nor argue with such ignorant rantings any more - it's not worth my time. Better to simply present the science and direct people to sites like SkepticalScience and RealClimate where the facts - and uncertainties - are presented in a clear and logical style.
Member Since: June 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2160
Quoting 914. SouthernIllinois:

Nope. I'm going to turn it around on you. I would suggest stop harassing him since it's very apparent the need to reply to him suggests his arguments are far more convincing that you and others might like to think.

But that's just me. ;-)


There is nothing that could be further from the truth. When you hear a lie being spread you can react in one of several ways:

1. Do nothing and allow the lie to propagate as if it is the truth.

2. Repeat the lie and thus aid in its propagation.

3. Expose the lie for what it is.

4. Replace the lie with the truth when the truth is known.

CEastwood is harassing us with the ridiculous posts that link to the well known psuedo-science websites that only have a malevolent intent. This would be to distort the message the AGWT contains and to belittle those that carry the message. These sites have helped to distort what would qualify as a true skeptic into something that allows for the denial of the evidence presented before them to also be classified as skepticism.

What do you do when hear the lie, SouthernIllinois?
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5280
Quoting 922. Daisyworld:
There could be another possibility. We never really know the ages of people on this comment forum, and when they post here, some might use it as a means to seek attention. Additionally, the oppositional tendency of many deniers combined with the childish/adolescent behavior that some exhibit, may be manifesting itself due to Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

According to the DSM-IV-TR (link), the diagnostic threshold for Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is to exhibit 4 out of the 8 symptoms (emphasis mine):

  • - Actively refuses to comply with majority's requests or consensus-supported rules
  • - Performs actions deliberately to annoy others
  • - Angry and resentful of others
  • - Argues often
  • - Blames others for his or her own mistakes
  • - Often loses temper
  • - Spiteful or seeks revenge
  • - Touchy or easily annoyed
  • Oh God! I hope a certain poster from Dr. Masters's blog doesn't see this post. But at least you have a numbered mental health classification for this one.

    When I recently discussed the psychology of AGW/CC denial, this person freaked out. I was simply talking about attitude, behavior and personality issues, but that person didn't seem to comprehend that psychology exists outside of the area of psychiatry and mental illness as a study of what many might refer to as "human nature.".

    Although some might argue that AGW/CC denial is pathological - and sometimes it can be - in general it is simply human nature. It is extremely difficult for many people to accept really bad news, and the cultural and economic mitigation and adaptation necessary to cope with AGW/CC is severe. Of course, another major issue is that many humans just cannot do long range thinking and planning, and that fatal flaw is embodied in modern capitalism and the transnational corporate culture.

    I have a feeling that in general, the regulars here at Dr. Rood's Climate Change blog are older, have higher educations, and are more experienced in life than many of those at Dr. Masters' blog. Don't misunderstand me, however - there are quite a number of very intelligent and articulate people, young and old, at Dr. Masters' blog, and they make it worth wading through all of the b.s. there to read the excellent comments that pepper the blog's discussions. The "social networking" aspect that often dominates the conversation at Dr. Masters' blog also makes it difficult to follow weather and climate issues there.

    To me, climate science is hard-core science as in serious research and journal publication, while meteorology, although it shares that same foundation, is more of a dual arena which includes weather forecasting. Am I correct in understanding that most meteorologists are weather forecasters, and not professionally qualified climate experts or research scientists? People who who employ everyday practical scientific and technological tools more like engineers rather than acting and thinking like research scientists?

    Most people just don't understand basic and applied science and scientific research, and give equal weight to TV personalities and bloggers with no science background pretending to be intelligent and knowledgeable. Sad, but true.


    Member Since: June 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2160
    I see Dr. Master's blog is turning into a conspiracy fest, NHC inflating numbers, drones altering weather, it's all there. I'm going to get fitted for a new tin foil hat today.
    Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 6 Comments: 6102
    Quoting 913. Naga5000:


    Maybe he should stop posting misinformation that gets repeated as fact then? I would suggest stop defending those who post bad science, but that's just me.


    SouthernIllinois seems to ignore the fact that CEastwood is always the instigator by posting a bunch of well debunked garbage. His sources are always from discredited sites like Goddard and Watts. His unscientific rants deserve no respect at all, I consider them the intellectual equivalent of coming into my house and throwing garbage on the floor.
    Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4609
    <
    Quoting 886. Naga5000:


    Sorry bud, still trying to clarify your first question. Seems you lack the ability to answer it. At least you took a class, I'm sure you're the king of the world over at Goddard's.


    But he didn't say he passed it.
    Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4609
    Quoting 921. SouthernIllinois:

    Glad to see your sense of humor is still intact David. :-)
    You're up early, Natalie. Tending bar 'til late at night, getting up early to milk the cows and feed the chickens, and then weather/climate blogging - all before breakfast?

    I'm impressed! ;-)
    Member Since: June 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2160
    There could be another possibility. We never really know the ages of people on this comment forum, and when they post here, some might use it as a means to seek attention. Additionally, the oppositional tendency of many deniers combined with the childish/adolescent behavior that some exhibit, may be manifesting itself due to Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

    According to the DSM-IV-TR (link), the diagnostic threshold for Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is to exhibit 4 out of the 8 symptoms (emphasis mine):

  • - Actively refuses to comply with majority's requests or consensus-supported rules
  • - Performs actions deliberately to annoy others
  • - Angry and resentful of others
  • - Argues often
  • - Blames others for his or her own mistakes
  • - Often loses temper
  • - Spiteful or seeks revenge
  • - Touchy or easily annoyed
  • Member Since: January 11, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 973
    Quoting 911. SouthernIllinois:
    You Guys are way too fascinated/obsessed with CEastwood. Why can't you leave the man alone and give him some time out of the spotlight. No one likes a 24/7 paparazzi on their tale. Trust me I know what it's like. It sucks. :)
    I prefer conversing with the chair - it's much more intelligent.
    Member Since: June 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2160
    Quoting 916. SouthernIllinois:

    Wrong again. The fact you even pay attention to that suggests you aren't very convincing in your arguments to begin with.

    But that's just me. ;-)


    Great leap in logic there...no really, with that kind of thinking you obviously fit in well with the bad math, science, and denial crowd.
    Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 6 Comments: 6102
    Quoting 914. SouthernIllinois:

    Nope. I'm going to turn it around on you. I would suggest stop harassing him since it's very apparent the need to reply to him suggests his arguments are far more convincing that you and others might like to think.

    But that's just me. ;-)


    Well considering you love to plus the most absurd and easily debunked arguments, I would wager that you aren't being very honest. That's just me.
    Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 6 Comments: 6102

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