Yesterday I had a full day to myself and the opportunity to read one of the copies of the Doctoral Thesis Hans sent me.
This is a superb piece of work. It balances the known with the unknown, and encompasses all timescales from the birth of our planet to the weather pattern changes which occur overnight. As an overview of climate and how we can go about trying to understand it, condensed into 111 pages of readable cogent thinking written in plain language, I cannot think of a better primer for those who have a strong interest in the relative scale and interactions of the forces which shape the changing climates and weather on Earth.
Hans sets the scene by making a realistic assessment of the extent of the incomprehensibility of the systems we have to try to understand through the cave-shadow mimickry of proxy series. These he deals with in more detail in a later section, taking a closer look at 18O and 13C proxies from various locations, as well as dust indices and other proxies. Within the unknown limits set by variously assessable levels of uncertainty, Hans extracts the key elements of the big climate picture which are pulled together to provide his expert judgement on the causes of ice ages and interglacials, the general circulation of the Holocene and earlier epochs, and the longterm storage and release of energy through solar heating of the SH oceans and NH radiation to space.
Possible extraterrestrial origins of the observed cyclicities and one off major climate events are discussed, and the natural variation of climate is emphasized at all timescales including our modern epoch. The internal oscillation of energy flows through the ocean are well considered and run as a constant theme throughout the work. Concurrently, the atmospheric processes which result from the interaction of these oceanic energy flows and the direct input of solar energy on the diurnal, seasonal and longer timescales weaves a narrative which supports the often unspoken contention – that wind is a powerful and poorly understood driver of climate at all timescales.
The strength of this argument was brought home to me the other day in a link provided by Richard III on my ‘new climate theory’ thread. In the page it linked to was a graph showing the relative effect of a 0.1m/s change in global average wind speeds on evaporation, compared to the change allegedly caused by the increase in co2 since 1750, which was equivalent to the error term on the vastly larger effect of wind. At one point in the thesis, Hans asks that we seriously consider whether the temperature change causes the wind, or the wind causes the temperature change. On consideration of the power of wind to change the rate of ocean surface evaporation, I am left in no doubt that he has identified the most important and elusive of climate variables.
Predating the N&Z hypothesis by a long time, Hans offers a formal demonstration of the effect of atmospheric mass on surface temperature, and offers this as a potential explanation for the bulk of the biggest swings in temperature the Earth’s surface has seen over the geological timescale. Additionally, two bonus papers on sunspots and paleoclimate are included in the appendices. And yes Joe, it covers centrifugal force and salt too.
I have five copies of this rare and historically important document available through the Talkshop literature resource service – details here:
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