There have been a number of unusual climate patterns around the Earth this year and some scientists are making excellent progress in providing some reasonable explanations. The distinguished climate scientist Dr. Judith Curry has come up with some interesting answers by examining recent changes in heat balances at both the top of the atmosphere and the internal flows driven by the air and ocean currents at the surface. In addition she has considered contributions made by the switch from El Nino to La Nina, the Hunga Tonga underwater volcanic eruption and changes in atmospheric aerosols caused by ships using less polluting fuels. Any increase in the greenhouse effect from increasing carbon dioxide “is lost in the noise”, she states.
This latter conclusion, of course, will mean that Curry’s excellent work will be ignored in the mainstream media, which largely follow the view of the UN’s IPCC that most climate change is caused by humans burning fossil fuels. Curry’s research is a detailed piece of scientific work, and the full paper can be seen here. I shall try to highlight some of the most significant features, showing how scientists can harness the power of observation to add to their knowledge about how the chaotic and non-linear atmosphere actually operates.
In Curry’s view, the recent warming in spring/summer 2023 is associated with a spike in heat flows at the top of the atmosphere. The warming is said to reflect an increase in incoming shortwave radiation – essentially the sun is a bit brighter – a decrease in high level cloudiness, the impact of reduced ship sulphate aerosols, reduced snow and ice extent and the Hunga Tonga eruption that propelled 13% extra water vapour into the stratosphere.
At the surface, there was anomalous sunlight heating in the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, and again Curry notes the involvement of reduced sulphate particles from ship fuel. The eastern North Atlantic is said to have warmed from anomalously low turbulent heat flows, reflecting weak surface winds particularly in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. In the mid/high latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere oceans, there was strong cooling from surface turbulent flows that are associated with strong wind speeds.