More Evidence of a Sun-Climate Connection

Bjerknes compensation assumes a constant total poleward energy transport (and an inverse relation between oceanic and atmospheric heat transport fluxes (Bjerknes, 1964)). Contrary to this assumption, there is empirical evidence of a simultaneous increase in poleward oceanic and atmospheric heat transport during the most recent warming period since the mid-1970s (aka the Great Pacific Climate Shift). This paper argues that TSI directly modulates ocean–atmospheric meridional heat transport.

Solar irradiance modulation of Equator-to-Pole (Arctic) temperature gradients: Empirical evidence for climate variation on multi-decadal timescales, Willie Soon and David R. Legates. PDF

This paper raises more questions than it addresses. How sensitive is the estimate of global temperature to a change in the equator to pole temperature gradient? Can a change in the gradient produce an apparent ‘amplification’?

Another thought that has occurred to me is that climate models overestimate global warming but they underestimate Arctic melting. Could both failures be due to underestimating the response of meridional heat transfer from the equator to the poles?


  1. David L. Hagen March 30, 2013 2:43 pm

    The latest Surcouf3D ocean circulation model may help in quantifying these TSI modulation hypotheses.A new estimate of the global 3D geostrophic ocean circulation based on satellite data and in-situ measurements Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography Volumes 77–80, 15 November 2012, Pages 70–81

    A new estimate of the Global Ocean 3D geostrophic circulation from the surface down to 1500 m depth (Surcouf3D) has been computed for the 1993–2008 period using an observation-based approach that combines altimetry with temperature and salinity through the thermal wind equation. The validity of this simple approach was tested using a consistent dataset from a model reanalysis. Away from the boundary layers, errors are less than 10% in most places, which indicate that the thermal wind equation is a robust approximation to reconstruct the 3D oceanic circulation in the ocean interior. . . .
    Finally a 15 years long time series of monthly estimates of the AMOC was computed. The AMOC strength has a mean value of 16 Sv with an annual (resp. monthly) standard deviation of 2.4 Sv (resp. 7.1 Sv)over the 1993–2008 period. The time series, characterized by a strong variability, shows no significant trend.

  2. DB April 3, 2013 9:57 pm

    Another possibility for the underestimation of Arctic melting is absolute temperature. In general GCMs tend to have an earth that is colder than the actual 14 or 15°C. If the world is indeed warmer than the models think, one might expect more ice melting.

    • Lars P. April 10, 2013 9:19 pm

      In the Earth solar energy budget it is shown that about 20% of the solar input is absorbed directly by the atmosphere.
      I am curious how is this modelled in GCMs? Maybe here is some of the difference?

  3. mattmanhere June 11, 2013 7:33 pm

    It’s clear the sun has much more to do with whether we will keep a Green World then carbon!