Drake’s Passage

Drake.s Passage

Drake's Passage

Original Image

More on Drakes Passage

This is a “speculative” posting.

It’s largely just so that I can collect some bits of ideas together in one place. I’ve not reached a conclusion. I’ve not even fully worked out the connections. But my progress is not as fast as I’d like, so it’s going here as speculation. Where it can remind me of the “unfinished bits” and where others can chime in if they see something interesting.

This article:

http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle.do?id=2508

has a nice write up of the geologic scale events that lead to a frozen Antarctic, including the impact of the closing of the Isthmus of Panama and the opening of Drakes Passage.

The development of ice sheets in the Southern Hemisphere around 34 million years ago seems fairly straightforward. The supercontinent of Gondwana broke apart, separating into subsections that became Africa, India, Australia, South America, and Antarctica. Passageways opened between these new continents, allowing oceans to flow between them.

When Antarctica was finally severed from the southern tip of South America to create the Drake Passage, Antarctica became completely surrounded by the Southern Ocean. The powerful Antarctic Circumpolar Current began to sweep all the way around the continent, effectively isolating Antarctica from most of the warmth from the global oceans and provoking large-scale cooling.

My thesis here is basically that the Drakes Passage event was not an atomic event. It is a ‘gradation spectrum’ and further, that the degree of impact is still variable. Both with changes of water level AND with changes of wind speed of the Antarctic Cirumpolar Winds as they drive the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC).

Weather and the Arctic Oscillation

This all started with the weather this year. The Arctic Oscillation, or AO, changed and Europe got frozen along with Canada and the USA Midwest. One chain of things lead to another and I was looking at the ANTarctic Oscillation too. (Called the AAO). I was wondering if there was some way that these might account for the cold we’re getting now. Maybe they were both weakening and letting all the cold out of the Polar Lockers?

These folks have a very nice and very readable description of how the AO effects things (with very nice pictures):

http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/pi/NAO/

And include this picture that shows how the AO seems to match rather nicely with our hot / cold cycles over the last 60 years. It cuts off before our present, cold blue, shows up:

AO History

AO History

But when I looked, the AO and AAO seemed to be moving in opposition more than in unity. What could be the deal? I’d seen hints of an alternation between polar regions in some of the temperature data. One place warming when the other cools. The idea of both working together to cool things off was not looking so hot. But… the cooling in the south Pacific looked like it had to be WATER driven, while that in the north was clearly AIR driven. Was there something in that difference that mattered?

The Antarctic Circumpolar Current

And Drakes Passage

So I looked more closely at the AAO. The south pole circumpolar wind drives the Southern Ocean current. Called the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. So if we had MORE wind down south when we had LESS up north, that would speed up the ACC… which would move more water faster around the Southern Ocean… untill… it bangs into Drakes Passage.

That bottleneck in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current between South America and Antarctica.

At that point, we’d have an interesting problem. There is an interface between the Antarctic side and the rest of the oceans called the Polar Front.

Cross Section of Drakes Passage with Polar Front Marked

Cross Section of Drakes Passage with Polar Front Marked

Original Image

So as I looked at it, the thought occurred to me that attempting to make this spin faster ought to cause some of the water to “puddle up” on the ‘up current’ side, to the West of Drakes Passage. That would then send more water into the Humboldt Current up the side of South America and out into the central Pacific. That “cold dagger” we see here:

Sea Surface Anomalies 21 December 2010

Sea Surface Anomalies 21 December 2010

And, as the polar side is fully land constrained, ought to move the polar front somewhat more north. Perhaps even putting more deep cold polar water into the mix.

Hmmm…. Now I’m thinking: So, let me get this straight. If we have a natural OFFSETTING and balanced oscillator that swaps circumpolar wind speeds between the North and South poles, such that when one speeds up the other slows down, that will cause warming and cooling cycles globally?

When the Arctic wind speeds up, it traps cold air, warming the N.H., but the S.H. winds slow down, slowing the water currents that lets the oceans warm up. Warming in both cases.

And like now, when the Arctic wind slows down and lets the freezer door open to the Northern Hemisphere, the Antarctic wind picks up speed and sends more cold water into the Pacific and we get pressure toward cold everywhere on the planet. Cooling in both cases. What ought to be a “wind changes offset and do, net, nothing globally” is instead a “hot / cold oscillator”.

All because one end has a lot of land and the other has a lot of water around the pole. The Arctic is almost land locked, so air changes dominate while the Antarctic is a nice wide open circumpolar run for the water, but the air has no land forms pushing it around. Until that water hits Drakes Passage.

I’m also wondering if the difference in magnetic poles and / or solar driven charged particles might account for the differential speeds of the polar vortex between north and south… but I’ll leave that for the particle and magnetic fields guys to work out. Perhaps it’s related to this:

Geomagnetic field in both North and the South hemisphere has an effect on the polar vortex, eventually reflecting its influence on the global atmospheric movements, polar and global temperatures.

From a very interesting article by Vukcevic found here:

http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MF.htm

Then there are these folks:

http://www.nerc.ac.uk/research/highlights/2007/antarcticwarming.asp

Try to spin it as all AGW induced catastrophic warming of the Antarctic Peninsula. To me, it looks like they’ve got the right data, but the wrong “spin”. They can’t see the reality in front of their face. A warm Antarctic Peninsula may just be the barometer that gives an early reading of a cooling Pacific ocean. They’ve got all the data, even a nice map showing the water move. Just can’t get their Political Officer Blinders taken off long enough to see it. Oh, and they have the wind going in the wrong direction. Like all things AGW, they’ve got things “exactly backwards”. (If they catch and fix the error, I’ve saved a copy…. tee hee ;-) Someone needs to tell them that “westerly winds” means the wind comes FROM the west…

Circumpolar Current "exactly backwards"

Circumpolar Current "exactly backwards"

Original Image

Stronger winds warming Antarctica?

Stronger westerly winds around Antarctica are increasing eddy activity in the Southern Ocean and consequently may be driving more heat southward across the formidable Antarctic Circumpolar Current – the world’s largest current (see map below).

Winds over the Southern Ocean are strengthening due, at least in part, to human-induced change such as ozone depletion and greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists, examining satellite measurements of the ocean surface and using high-resolution computer models, have found that the Antarctic Circumpolar Current only shows a slight acceleration when these winds blow stronger, but that there is a large increase in ocean eddy activity. Eddies are the ocean equivalent of atmospheric weather systems, and in the Southern Ocean they play a key role in moving heat southward toward the Antarctic continent.

Researchers already know that the Southern Ocean is warming rapidly. The findings from the British Antarctic Survey suggest that ocean eddies could be responsible

So they have ALMOST got it. Faster currents. More eddy action. Cold water headed out (being replaced by water a bit warmer). They just get the understanding all backwards. It takes TIME for the impacts to work through. We’ve now got that cold water making it to the central Pacific and that “warmer Antarctic water” has had it’s heat dumped to space (judging by the SST map above).

Heck, even the wiki has it right on which way the wind blows:

The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is an ocean current that flows from west to east around Antarctica. An alternative name for the ACC is the West Wind Drift. The ACC is the dominant circulation feature of the Southern Ocean and, at approximately 125 Sverdrups, the largest ocean current.[1] It keeps warm ocean waters away from Antarctica, enabling that continent to maintain its huge ice sheet.

The ACC has been known to sailors for centuries; it greatly speeds up any voyages from west to east, but makes sailing extremely difficult from east to west; though this is mostly due to the prevailing westerly winds. The circumstances preceding the Mutiny on the Bounty and Jack London’s story “Make Westing” poignantly illustrated the difficulty it caused for mariners seeking to round Cape Horn on the clipper ship route between New York and California. The clipper route, which is the fastest sailing route around the world, follows the ACC around three continental capes – Cape of Good Hope (Africa), Southeast Cape (Australia) and Cape Horn (South America).

Though their picture isn’t as nice at showing how the water builds up in ‘eddys’ around South America:

Wiki Circumpolar Current Map

Wiki Circumpolar Current Map

Though you can see how the edge of it runs into the land form at the tip of South America.

Meanwhile, NOAA too joins the “exactly wrong” brigade by claiming that the Arctic Ice drives the wind. They need to understand that it’s the wind and water that drive the ice. They do make nice pictures, though:

From:

http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/future/index_impacts.html#event

NOAA sees the Arctic Ice making the wind that changes the weather

NOAA sees the Arctic Ice making the wind that changes the weather

Sometimes I think you could have a gold mine of easy discovery just by taking any assertion of causality the Warmers put forth and turning it exactly around, as they are so often “exactly wrong”.

Start with a cold decending near stratospheric air mass changing the air currents at the Arctic, from our now thinner air column as the sun cooled the UV output, then see what happens to the ice… Like here:

Jet Streams and Decending Polar Air

Jet Streams and Decending Polar Air

We know the air is decending. We know the UV levels have tanked. We know it’s colder. Now, just ask “what happens next”…

Nice Theory, Got any DATA?

It fits. Nice theory. But….

Got any evidence for the AO and AAO moving in opposition? And just what IS the relationship between those pressure oscillators and the actual wind speeds?

Well, one of the biggest problems I ran into was that I just could not find a source of historical data for the circumpolar winds at either pole. Maybe I just don’t know what Google terms to use to make them show up…

(There are at least THREE names for the AO and AAO each depending on when in historical time you are looking and exactly what aspect of it is being recorded. For example, the AO can be called the Arctic Oscillation, Northern Annular Mode, or the North Atlantic Oscillation (though per the wiki the NAO is only a PART of the AO “It is highly correlated with the Arctic oscillation, as it is a part of it“) and is related to the Arctic Dipole Anomaly, which seems to be simply an alternate state of the pressure distribution that alternates with the AO sometimes). For some reason climate guys can’t just keep things constant and consistent for very long… Given that, who know what would be a good search term to find a long term record of Arctic Vortex speeds.)

But I did find data for the AO and AAO so I’m hoping they are a decent proxy for wind speeds. They do show something of a complementary behaviour, but with a fairly fast cycle. To do this properly would require a “low pass filter” to make longer duration trends out of this stuff. For now, just kind of ‘visually integrate’ and notice how much blue or red is above / below the line for each time series.

The AO

From here:

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/month_ao_index.shtml

I have this nice chart of the Monthly Running Mean AO Index:

Running Monthly Mean AO Index

Running Monthly Mean AO Index

The AAO

From here:

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/aao/month_aao_index.shtml

I have this nice chart of the Monthly Running Mean AAO Index (watch that extra “A” in the name:-):

Monthly Running Mean AAO Index

Monthly Running Mean AAO Index

Now comes the hard bit (that could undoubtedly be done much more correctly with decent raw data and a clean mathematical comparison… but I’ve not had time. So we get to use the error prone “eyeball” technique). Take a look at the overall time periods. When one is red, and the other tends to blue.

Easiest “pick” is the tail end. Right now the AO is blue (as Europe and North America feeze) and the AAO is blue. From about 1999 to date, the AO has been mostly red while the AAO has been more blue. 1979 has a very blue AO and a very very red AAO. But in 1980 they both go quite blue, then there’s a decade of nothing much happening. No strong bias to either side. The details, like ’83-’84 being opposites, then do tend to confirm the opposite sign tendencies, though. Yet in ’89 the AO goes VERY red and it isn’t until ’92 that the AAO goes VERY blue. So there are likely some timing issues that the “Mark One Eyeball” just can’t get. (And I’d really rather be doing this with simple circumpolar wind speeds in any case).

All in all, I think there’s “enough here, here” to be a decent “Dig Here”.

In Conclusion

I know it’s an unfinished symphony. It hints at interesting things, and teases about brilliant insights, that it then says are hidden just at the end of that rainbow over there. But that’s how an investigation is, mid stream.

To me, it looks like there is some grand “Bi-Polar Oscillator” at work. One with about a 60 year period. It stirs the air (that then stirs the waters) and we get long bits of hotter and colder as things that ought to offset end up amplifying. As some minor “wind shift” gets turned into “30 years of cold or hot”.

And that leaves me wondering what the world would be like if Drakes Passage were just a little bit wider?

And how much does it enhance ice ages when the water becomes 400 feet more shallow and Drakes Passage that much harder to cross, sending that much more cold water north?

In this article:

http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-11-earth-climate-years-reversed-circulation.html

The find that 20,000 years ago as we exited the last Ice Age Glacial, the circulation in the Atlantic Ocean changed direction. Related to the depth of Drakes Passage perhaps? Of course, the article has to have the “Conspicuous Random AGW Suckup” CRAS for short, stuck in. I’ve bolded the CRAS below along with some interesting bits:

Earth’s climate change 20,000 years ago reversed the circulation of the Atlantic Ocean
November 3, 2010

An international team of investigators under the leadership of two researchers from the UAB demonstrates the response of the Atlantic Ocean circulation to climate change in the past. Global warming today could have similar effects on ocean currents and could accelerate climate change.

The Atlantic Ocean circulation (termed meridional overturning circulation, MOC) is an important component of the climate system. Warm currents, such as the Gulf Stream, transport energy from the tropics to the subpolar North Atlantic and influence regional weather and climate patterns. Once they arrive in the North the currents cool, their waters sink and with them they transfer carbon from the atmosphere to the abyss. These processes are important for climate but the way the Atlantic MOC responds to climate change is not well known yet.

Someone needs to tell them that the “Science IS SETTLED“; as we're constantly being reminded by the AGW Policy Police.

An international team of investigators under the leadership of two researchers from the UAB now demonstrates the response of the Atlantic MOC to climate change in the past. The new research results will be published on 4 November 2010 in the international front-line journal NATURE. The research project was led by Rainer Zahn (ICREA researcher) and Pere Masque, both of the UAB at the Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA) and Department of Physics. With collaborators at the universities of Seville, Oxford and Cardiff (UK) they investigated the distribution of isotopes in the Atlantic Ocean that are generated from the natural decay of uranium in seawater and are distributed with the flow of deep waters across the Atlantic basin.
[...]

The study shows that the ocean circulation was very different in the past and that there was a period when the flow of deep waters in the Atlantic was reversed. This happened when the climate of the North Atlantic region was substantially colder and deep convection was weakened. At that time the balance of seawater density between the North and South Atlantic was shifted in such a way that deep water convection was stronger in the South Polar Ocean. Recent computer models simulate

Groaannn …. more simulated model science. Sometimes I wonder why we ever let them play with the new shiny computer toys in the first place. And notice, not a peep about the potential impact of Drakes Passage and, oh, I don’t know, maybe a whole lot lower ocean and a huge load of ice in it?

a reversal of the deep Atlantic circulation under such conditions while it is only now with the new data generated by UAB scientists and their colleagues from Seville and the UK that the details of the circulation reversal become apparent. This situation occurred during the ice age 20,000 years ago. Although this was far back in time the results are relevant for our climate today and in the near future. The new study shows that the Atlantic MOC in the past was very sensitive to changes in the salt balance of Atlantic Ocean currents. Similar changes in seawater salt concentration are expected to occur in the North Atlantic in the course of climate warming over the next 100 years. Therefore the data to be published in Nature offer the climate modelling community the opportunity to calibrate their models and improve their capacity to predict reliably future ocean and climate changes.

Remember back when data was collected instead of “generated”? I miss those days… and, of course, the purpose of all this is to let the toy model community polish the new lacquer on their latest Christmas toys…

Perhaps they could start by looking at what happens to ocean currents in Drakes Passage during an ice age?

Final Note

As a final note, this bit of a news tease. We still don’t know how all the currents work. And they are, IMHO, the keys to the city. So, as of April of this year, we’ve just discovered a “massive” unknown current… Wonder how that one works? So much for “settled science” ;-) I’ve bolded some bits.

From:

http://www.physorg.com/news191483678.html

Massive Southern Ocean current discovered

April 26, 2010

The Indian Ocean sector of the Southern Ocean where the ocean current has been identified. Image credit – CSIRO

(PhysOrg.com) — A deep ocean current with a volume equivalent to 40 Amazon Rivers has been discovered by Japanese and Australian scientists near the Kerguelen plateau, in the Indian Ocean sector of the Southern Ocean, 4,200 kilometres south-west of Perth.

In a paper published today in Nature Geoscience, the researchers described the current -more than three kilometres below the Ocean’s surface – as an important pathway in a global network of ocean currents that influence climate patterns.

“The current carries dense, oxygen-rich water that sinks near Antarctica to the deep ocean basins further north,” says co-author Dr Steve Rintoul from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC and CSIRO’s Wealth from Oceans Flagship.

[...]
While earlier expeditions had detected evidence of the current system, they were not able to determine how much water the current carried. The joint Japanese-Australian experiment deployed current-meter moorings anchored to the sea floor at depths of up to 4500m. Each mooring reached from the sea floor to a depth of 1000m and measured current speed, temperature and salinity for a two-year period.

“The continuous measurements provided by the moorings allow us, for the first time, to determine how much water the deep current carries to the north,” Dr Rintoul said. The current was found to carry more than 12 million cubic metres per second of Antarctic water colder than 0 °C (because of the salt dissolved in sea water, the ocean does not freeze until the temperature gets close to -2 °C).

“It was a real surprise to see
how strong the flow was at this location. With two-year average speeds of more than 20cm per second, these are the strongest mean currents ever measured at depths three kilometres below the sea surface.

“Mapping the deep current systems is an important step in understanding the global network of ocean currents that influence climate,
now and in the future. Our results show that the deep currents near the Kerguelen Plateau make a large contribution to this global ocean circulation,” Dr Rintoul said.

Antarctic waters carried northward by the deep currents eventually fill the deep layers of eastern Indian and Pacific Oceans.

So, like, maybe now we’ll start to get a handle on the Indian Ocean Dipole too?

New Ocean Current

New Ocean Current

Original Image

This looks like an eddy from the venturi made by Drakes Passage. Perhaps as things “back up” at South America you get more of that ‘deep return current’ behind the traffic jam? That would imply that at times of greater volume flow it would pick up in speed too (faster ‘jet’ spinning it faster). As the size of Drakes Passage is pretty much fixed, backing up the current ought to make more turn ‘down and out’. After the venturi, the flow ought to be up higher, too, so a bottom return current would be expected. It ought to be a quick and easy thing to falsify or confirm. Circumpolar current speed vs Antarctic Vortex speed vs Indian Ocean Dipole state (with time lags).

So much to do… so much to think about…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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20 Responses to Drake’s Passage

  1. E.M.Smith says:

    In a SORCE thread on WUWT, this comment:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/22/sorces-solar-spectral-surprise-uv-declined-tsi-constant/#comment-556205

    Raised an interesting point. I’m putting a copy here so I can find it in the future…

    Geoff Sharp says:
    December 22, 2010 at 5:40 am

    Tom Woods might be the man to watch, he presented at the May conference that Leif promotes. He concentrates on the Extreme UV wave lengths which show a marked decline compared with the last minimum.

    Low EUV is responsible for our record low Thermosphere, which may be the trigger for the current observed negative AO & NAO oscillations.

    Interesting connection from Sun, to UV, to Thermosphere, to AO…

  2. boballab says:

    EM

    Speaking of that thread over on WUWT I noticed your footnote about Screencap in Windows (also so something similar here also in the last week I believe). I sent you an email to you with some options on how to do that in it (if I got the email address right :) ). Look it over but I recommend option 2 as the way to go or find an equivalent type of ap for your browser. Hopefully it’s not IE8…

  3. mt says:

    If you want a better way of looking at the AO vs AAO images, try using ImageMagick:

    $ convert month.aao.gif \
    > -fill orange -draw ‘color 549,108 replace’ \
    > -fill purple -draw ‘color 160,264 replace’ month.aao2.gif
    $ composite -blend 45 month.ao.gif \
    > -geometry +0-138 month.aao2.gif ao+aao.gif

  4. erlhapp says:

    Here is a mine of info on the annular (circular) modes of geopotential height variation associated with the shift of atmospheric mass from the poles to the mid latitudes, the low latitudes and across into the summer hemisphere.

    http://www.nwra.com/resumes/baldwin/publications.php

    The variation in geopotential height increases with elevation, originating in the lower mesosphere.

    And something else to consider: http://climatechange1.wordpress.com/2010/12/19/the-solar-wind-shifts-in-the-atmosphere-climate-change/

  5. And, speculating again, may be things happen more “a la Velikovsky”, more rapidly, by sudden and dramatic changes and its cause should be sought up above.
    It seems to be that the “The devil is in the details”, but how to disentangle a tangle, when “post normal sense” advices: “the more complicated, the more intelligent” …better not to talk about forbidden things like general laws of nature, it is not “cool”, better we talk about chaos and models, that’s nicer.
    It seems to be that more than ten thousand years ago, a group of bloggers of that epoch began suspecting something was not going so cool as the majority expected, so they built Stonehenge to find out what was going around. You are in the same path…. :-)

  6. A deep ocean current with a volume equivalent to 40 Amazon Rivers has been discovered by Japanese and Australian scientists
    Vukcevick’s southern vortex moving this current?
    Gulf of Aden Vortex:
    http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/08-12-2010/116116-gulf_aden_vortex-0/

  7. …you almost said it; Those currents (electric?) are, btw, arranged at 90 degrees from the GMF, then they have to be electrically driven (along with the winds and the earth’s turning). The question is: When does the whole system flip-flop?, Is any regular cycle behind?

  8. vukcevic says:

    Adolfo you may have a point, location the new current appear to be very close if not identical to that of the magnetic pole ‘vortex’.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MF.htm
    (top map in the link).
    In order of the highest probability
    – Coincidence
    – Coriolis Force exerting similar effect on both: magma below and ocean above.
    – Magnetic field having an effect on the moving conductor (saline water) .

  9. E.M.Smith says:

    @mt:

    Thanks, I’ll look into it.

    @erlhapp

    Oh Boy, more reading material! ;-)

    I do appreciate it, but it will like be a day or two before I can get to it….

    @boballab:

    There’s a difference between having a (very good) suggestion on how in an email and actually learning to do it by putting some effort into it ;-)

    So I’m more lamenting that I have to do more than just file the email….

    @Adolfo:

    Yeah, I’d seen that Vukcevic piece (note the link in the article). I’m fairly certain he’s onto something. I’ve noticed “two eyes” in the ozone concentration at the North Pole (haven’t chedked that in a while… ought to match it to his plots…) and pretty much figured it was an ‘electric universe’ indication. My thesis has been that they were where the Birkland Current hit the planet (it arrives as two twisted elements so ought to hit has two blobs). That doesn’t explain the South Pole, though…

    Per the Prava story:

    I’ve lost track of where I saw it. I think it was in a Discover Magazine story about 8 ? years ago… But the story was about the creation of a magnetic sphere via spinning a ball of liquid sodium. I’ve found other articles on line that I’ve linked to at times, but not the one that had the map of global magnetic lines of force.

    What made it particularly interesting was that it showed the minor nodes, not just the major trends. And it showed how the field was likely to develop going forward.

    What happens is that we have a polar reversal of magnetic field. BUT it does not happen by just “swapping ends”. What happens is that first the present field becomes “chaotic”. We start sprouting N and S poles in odd places. There is not a problem of “no magnetosphere” but rather a problem of having a dozen or two different poles with some coming and going as lines of flux break the surface. Rather like we see on the sun in the solar magnetic maps.

    We’ve been having “magnetic weakening” for a while now (100 years?) but what is not discussed much is that it’s irregular. It’s “weak” near places that are starting to change polarity….

    What I remember most about that image (which I can’t find) is that one of the minor reversal places was in The Bermuda Triangle. And with a little sporadic nudge now and then, as that loop of magnetic force pops through the serface and recedes, you could easily get the observed sudden ‘crazy compass’ (as a new S pole pops up a few miles away, then sinks again a couple of hours later).

    There would also be the potential for auroae over these “poles’ if they were strong enough and persistent enough. So various electric and glow discharge effects would be seen.

    Now I look at the magnetic plot in Vukcevic’s page and see two N poles. He attributes that to two vortexes, yet it’s also the case that one spinning ball of metal can make multiple poles… so I’m thinking maybe this indicates an early stage of the multi-pole transition state… (Don’t worry, it would likely take many years to change much – i.e. become more chaotic).

    So, were all that to be found “true” and we’re heading into a magnetic pole “reversal” (not a rotational pole shift nor a crustal shift, just a swap of magentic poles): One of the very first things you would detect is places where the compass starts to go way off and there is a local “N Pole” or “S Pole” comes into being.

    Not only would this be an issue for compasses, but you would (as noted above) potentially have an “Aurora Africanus” open overhead…

    Why all the long preamble? So this makes sense:

    Given all that, if there’s something talking about strange vortexes in the sky and other odd things, my first “go to” answer would be to check the magnetic field there and see if we’ve just had a magnetic loop break the surface (as hapens on the sun every day). Then I’d look to see if there were increaseing activity of that sort globally and we’re having more trend into a “magnetic pole reversal”. That would be completely normal and expectable. Doesn’t take any alien contact, nor grand conspiracies, nor evil HAARP weaponry, nor even any new physics. But it would be “exicting enough” for me.
    8-)

    Sidebar: As near as I can tell HAARP is more or less what it claims to be. I can’t see much of a way for it to do anything particularly evil (not enough power to influence the earth much at all). The USSR had giant high power jammers of various sorts and also had a very high power “over the horizon radar”. We were covetous, and shortly after that HAARP appeared. Mostly I think they have just found a way to see ‘over the horizon’ and don’t want other folks to know it. The other potential is at Extra Low Frequency you can talk to things far away (and even under water) so I could see modulating the beam and trying that (but the ELF transmitter is in the continental US IIRC). I don’t see much need to turn to ‘weather control’ to explain it. The antenna field (given what I know of antenna design) argues for a modestly low (by radar standards) frequency over the horizon phased array radar. Nice for picking up Russian or Chinese things coming over the pole, not so useful for anything else. Could also be useful for watching things in high polar orbit even through clouds. (There are some interesting spy sattelite orbits that go ‘way high’ near the pole. We have some that sort of ‘park’ over Russia in that way… So a ‘super radar’ thing that could maybe fry selected satellites would be a cool tool too ;-)

    I think this is it:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molniya_orbit

    So the bottom line of all this is pretty simple. Before I’d run off to exceptional explanations, I’d explore the simple and easy ones first. Maybe it’s just a natural magnetic phenomenon that we fully expect to happen (and maybe even soon in a geologic sense) but that most folks have no clue about. (most folks think the magnetic poles are fixed…) and maybe HAARP is just a nice big powerful radio transmitter that can be used like all of the others. To fry the other guy’s electronics and spy on him…

    I know, not as “exciting”. But it fits all the known facts, so Occam rules.

    Besides, the early stages of a magnetic pole shift would be way more than enough “excitement” in my “golden years”…

    And, FWIW, the system is not “regular” in that magnetic changes are quasi chaotic. It depends on turbulence in the spinning fluid…

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    Oh, and notice that the Molniya Orbit has things parked (see the image in the link) or “visiting” just about the lattitude of where HAARP is located. Sooo….

    Say I wanted to “play games” with a Soviet Spy Sat at that location… I build a large and very powerful beam steering array at the same latitude on US soil, then I can just pump a few Megawatts into the satellite’s antenna and “guts” any time I like.

    Could be “good for chuclkes” ;-)

    Put out a ‘cover story’ that it’s some kind of research facility, add a ‘counter story leak’ that it’s for weather control; then sit back and let those two storys fight it out and distract everyone else from the “Spy Fry” role… Every so often, down a Soviet bird just before you do something “interesting”. Not enough to raise suspicions, just enough to do the “interesting” things unobserved and increase the other guy’s costs.

    At least, that’s what I’d do. But I’m a devious sort who likes the “Spy vs Spy” game 8-)

    BTW, a “friend” developed one of the US Cold War radars. One of it’s “features” was that it could smoke soviet radars in their “trawlers” at a goodly distance. He had great stories of waiting to just the right moment when their dish was pointed his way and “POOOF” faint smoke leaving their cabin seen in the binoculars… then they turned for home… So this kind of thing has been SOP for at least 30 years that I know of. (I don’t think that is still a secret. It was for a while… and no, I won’t explain how it was done. That does not need to be ‘shared’ around.)

    When I look at their antenna array, that’s what it looks like to me. Lower frequency, but about the resonant frequency of the whole ‘bird’ structure on orbit… Just a thought…

  11. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Add to your ocean pumping the constant dragging of water from east to west by the sun and moon. This, by volume, is strongest at the equator, causes up welling in the east and warm pooling in the west. One more piece in the puzzle.

    That Drake passage looks like one heck of an undersea nozzle. No wonder the sailors went the long way around, much faster. pg

  12. @E.M.Smith
    And, FWIW, the system is not “regular” in that magnetic changes are quasi chaotic. It depends on turbulence in the spinning fluid…

    Translation: Homopolar motor. And, anything that goes round has to have two opposite forces acting on it.
    As for the Haarp thing: As strong an influence as CO2 , we are but microscopic fungi on the earth (BTW: fungi breath oxygen).

  13. boballab says:

    EM

    That is why I recommend option 2. You install that browser which is easy and from there click the link to the extension for Webpage Screenshot, click install and it install easily and it puts an icon of a camera in the task bar in the upper right hand corner of your browser screen. From there anything you want to screencap just click the camera and answer the simple question of visible or full page. From there it puts the screen cap into a basic editor screen which is not hard to use and save right from there.

  14. About “Chaos”: It is a good justification for not knowing…or when your wife appears around.

  15. George says:

    I have sometimes engaged in a thought experiment of what the South Pole would be like without Antarctica or with an equatorial “Pangaea” with no land near the poles and came to the conclusion that the planet would probably cool considerably but there would be no or little sea ice. The problem is that the water would cool and eventually sink and produce a gyre at the pole. Little ice would form because of warm water constantly arriving to replace the cold water that sank but it would be a very efficient mechanism for cooling the ocean water in the polar winter.

    So while there might be no / little sea ice, the overall temperature of the ocean at depth would likely decrease.

  16. ES says:

    Are you familiar with the Antarctic Circumpolar Wave (ACW)? Not the same as the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

    http://sam.ucsd.edu/sio219/white.pdf
    http://www-das.uwyo.edu/~geerts/cwx/notes/chap11/ant_wave.html

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    vukcevic

    Adolfo you may have a point, location the new current appear to be very close if not identical to that of the magnetic pole ‘vortex’.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MF.htm
    (top map in the link).
    In order of the highest probability
    – Coincidence
    – Coriolis Force exerting similar effect on both: magma below and ocean above.
    – Magnetic field having an effect on the moving conductor (saline water) .

    Any ideas on how to “pick one” of those that’s the active character?

  18. Jason Calley says:

    @ E.M. Looks like a new paper is out dealing with large scale paleoclimate shifts from the Antarctic Current.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/26/evidence-that-early-antarctic-circumpolar-current-development-affected-global-climate/#more-40604

  19. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jason Calley:

    Thanks! It is an interesting article…

    @George:

    I think the lack of white (snow / ice) would result in net heat gain from sunlight.

    @ES:

    I’ve looked at the ACW a little bit, but don’t understand how it works. Then again, nobody else seems to either ;-)

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