About That Lunar Cycle

Looks like the Moon does matter:



The 18.6-year lunar nodal cycle and surface temperature variability in the northeast Pacific

Stewart M. McKinnell

North Pacific Marine Science Organization, c/o Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, British Columbia, Canada

William R. Crawford

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, British Columbia, Canada

The 18.6-year lunar nodal cycle (LNC) is a significant feature of winter (January) air and sea temperatures along the North American west coast over a 400-year period.
Yet much of the recent temperature variation can also be explained by wind patterns associated with the PNA teleconnection. At Sitka, Alaska, (57°N) and nearby stations in northern British Columbia, the January PNA index accounts for over 70% of average January air temperatures in lengthy meteorological records. It appears that the LNC signal in January air temperatures in this region is not independent of the PNA, but is a component of it. The Sitka air temperature record, along with SSTs along the British Columbia coast and the PNA index have significant cross-correlations with the LNC that appear at a 2-year lag, LNC leading. The influence of the PNA pattern declines in winter with decreasing latitude but the LNC component does not. It appears as a significant feature of long-term SST variation at Scripps Pier and the California Current System. The LNC also appears over centennial-scales in proxy temperatures along western North America. The linkage of LNC-moderated surface temperatures to processes involving basin-scale teleconnections expands the possibility that the proximate mechanism may be located remotely from its expression in the northeast Pacific. Some of the largest potential sources of a diurnal tidal signal in the atmosphere are located in the western Pacific; the Sea of Okhotsk and the Indonesian archipelago.

Looks like I need to spend some time searching on LNC and PNA…

[ h/t to David here: https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/water-ghg-comparison/#comment-19247 for the inspiration for this look. ]

Per NOAA, there’s a connection of the PNA and NOA:


2. North Atlantic Oscillation / Pacific – North American pattern (NAO/PNA)

Calculating the Daily PNA and NAO teleconnection indices

The calculation procedure and base period have changed for calculating the daily NAO and PNA teleconnection indices. These changes have been made to eliminate inconsistencies in the way that the monthly and daily indices are calculated.

The procedure used to calculate the daily PNA and NAO teleconnection indices is based on the Rotated Principal Component Analysis (RPCA) used by Barnston and Livezey (1987, Mon. Wea. Rev., 115, 1083-1126). This procedure isolates the primary teleconnection patterns for all months and allows time series of the patterns to be constructed. To obtain the teleconnection patterns, the RPCA technique is applied to monthly standardized 500-mb height anomalies obtained from the CDAS in the analysis region 20°N-90°N between January 1950 and December 2000. Click here for more information on the teleconnection pattern calculation procedures.

The monthly teleconnection patterns are now linearly interpolated to the day in question, and therefore account for the seasonality inherent in the NAO and PNA patterns. Previously, the annual mean PNA and NAO patterns were used, which were based on monthly non-standardized anomalies. The standardized anomalies are now calculated based on the 1950-2000 climatological daily mean and standard deviation, whereas the anomalies were previously calculated from the 1971-2000 base period daily means.

The daily teleconnection indices are now calculated using the Least Squares regression approach identical to that used for the monthly indices. Therefore, all of the teleconnection patterns valid for the day in question are now recognized when calculating the PNA and NAO indices. The daily indices now represent the combination of teleconnection patterns that accounts for the most spatial variance of the observed anomaly map on any given day. Previously, the indices represented the spatial correlation between the annual mean loading pattern of the NAO or PNA and the daily height anomalies, and did not account for the spatial overlap that exists amongst the various teleconnection patterns.

So one must wonder when they are constantly re-jiggering the method just what they are taking out of the soup…

More on the PNA here:


With a nice picture.

Pacific North American Pattern

Pacific North American Pattern

Original Image

So as we don’t have much historical data from out there were the water oscillates, can we “talk some more” about how Alaska and Canada were “warming up so much” in the years leading up that peak just a while ago? And maybe about where it would be headed in a downturn?

In Conclusion

Maybe all that stuff up in the sky matters. Maybe a lot. Maybe even a lot more than CO2.

At least we can observe and measure the changes caused by the “stuff in the sky”…

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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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32 Responses to About That Lunar Cycle

  1. Adrian Vance says:

    CO2 is a trace gas in air and insignificant by definition. Water vapor is a far better absorber of IR (heat) waves from sunlight by a factor of seven and has 80 times as many molecules generating 560 times as much atmospheric heating as CO2 or 99.8% of it CO2 only does 0.2% of all atmospheric heating.

    It is hard to see how the moon, or any radiation from it, could have any significant effect on Earth. Correlations may, or may not, be cause.

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    @Adrian Vance:

    By changing the tilt of the earth (nutation) thus changing the percent of sunshine absorbed by land vs sea due to N.H. / S.H. asymetry (in addition to generally shifting and stiring the tides…).

    I think you would agree it is pretty easy to see how the moon has a ‘significant effect’ on the ocean and that the ocean has an effect on temperatures…

  3. Serioso says:

    @Adrian Vance

    If you sit outside the earth’s atmosphere at night and peer down at the earth and measure its emission spectrum, you will see that the intensity in the region of 14 microns is sharply reduced compared to neighboring bands. Is this not due to CO2?

  4. Adrian Vance says:

    Are you saying Earth would not be tilted were it not for the moon? I do not believe that to be the case as other planets without moons are also tilted just as those with several are.

    Where the tides are regular and cyclic would not any effects cancel? And, how much water do they actually move? According to Richard Bascom in his landmark book “Waves of the Sea,” he put forth the idea that sea waves do not move water horizontally, just vertically.in the circular motion observed of a submerged object with a density equal to that of seawater.

  5. Lunar effects on Earth’s climate system appear well established within the literature, i.e.:

    “With the culmination of the 18.6-year cycle of the Moon in 2006 and again in 2024-25, also called the Major Lunar Standstill, we are afforded the unique opportunity to observe the monthly, annual, and 18.6-year wanderings of the Moon. The 18.6-year cycle is caused by the precession of the plane of the lunar orbit, while this orbit maintains a 5° tilt relative to the ecliptic. At the peak of this cycle, the Moon’s declination swings from -28.8° to +28.8° each month. What this means is that each month for the years 2005-2007 and also 2023-2026, the Moon can be seen rising and setting more northerly and also more southerly than the solar extremes, and will transit monthly with altitudes which are higher in the sky than the summer Sun and lower in the sky than the winter Sun.”

    “Lunar cycles are varied and extremely complex and yet the moon has more effect on the earth than any other body except the Sun. Not only are ocean tides important in shaping the earth, and are affected more by the moon than the Sun, but tides in the air are important for determining the weather which in turn affects so many other variables from plants and crops, to animals and the economy.”

    “As was mentioned the 18.6 year cycle is important in determining the weather as is half of this, or 9.3 years. These cycles can be found in crop yields and in geological formations. However the moon is gradually receding from the earth which changes all of these periods very slowly. Professor Afanasiev of Moscow University has designed a method that he calls “Nanocycles method” of very accurately dating geological formations by finding the period which is presently 9.3 years and its interaction with the seasons. The 9.3 year cycle comes at the same time of year on average every 31 years because 9.3/.3 = 31. The nearest repeat of the seasons will actually happen after 28 years 2/3 of the time and 37 years 1/3 of the time. However this 31 years cyle of seasonal interaction of the is very sensitive to small changes because when the cycle was 9.2 years the interaction was in 9.2/.2 = 46 years. Professor Afanasiev has used this to accurately date deposits and so determine other geological cycles very accurately.”

    Science, “18.6-Year Earth Tide Regulates Geyser Activity” by John S. Rinehart, 1972

    Journal of Geophysical Research, “The 18.6-Year Cycle of Sea Surface Temperature in Shallow Seas Due to Variations in Tidal Mixing” by John W. Loder and Christopher Garrett, 1978:

    Journal of Geophysical Research, “PERIODIC (18.6-YEAR) AND CYCIJC (11-YEAR) INDUCED DROUGHT AND FLOOD IN WESTERN NORTH AMERICA” by Robert Guinn Currie, 1984:

    Climatic Change “Reconstruction of seasonal temperatures in Central Canada since A.D. 1700 and detection of the 18.6- and 22-year signals” by Joel Guiot 1987:

    International Journal of Climatology “18.6-year luni-solar nodal and 10–11-year solar signals in rainfall in India”, by Kumares Mitra and S. N. Dutta, 1992:

    Journal of Geophysical Research, “High-Latitude Oceanic Variability Associated With the 18.6-Year Nodal Tide” by Thomas C. Royer, 1993:

    International Journal of Climatology, “Luni-solar 18.6- and solar cycle 10–11-year signals in USA air temperature records” by Robert G. Currie, 1993:

    IBM Research Center “Moon-Earth-Sun: The oldest three-body problem” by Martin C. Gutzwiller, 1998:

    Earth, Moon, and Planets “Lunar Influences On Climate” by Dario Camuffo, 2001:

    American Meteorological Society “Millennial Climate Variability: Is There a Tidal Connection? by Walter Munk, Matthew Dzieciuch and Steven Jayne, 2002:

    Geophysical Research Letters “The impacts of the Luni-Solar oscillation on the Arctic oscillation” by Renato Ramos da Silva and Roni Avissar, 2005:

    Geophysical Research Letters “Possible explanation linking 18.6-year period nodal tidal cycle with bi-decadal variations of ocean and climate in the North Pacific” by
    Ichiro Yasuda, Satoshi Osafune and Hiroaki Tatebe, 2006:

    Journal of Geophysical Research “The 18.6-year lunar nodal cycle and surface temperature variability in the northeast Pacific” by Stewart M. McKinnell and William R. Crawford, 2007:

    Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers “Lunar nodal tide effects on variability of sea level, temperature, and salinity in the Faroe-Shetland Channel and the Barents Sea” by Harald Yndestad, William R. Turrell and Vladimir Ozhigin, 2008:

    Nature Geoscience “Significant contribution of the 18.6 year tidal cycle to regional coastal changes” by N. Gratiot, E. J. Anthony, A. Gardel, C. Gaucherel, C. Proisy & J. T. Wells, 2008:

    Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography “The influence of long tides on ecosystem dynamics in the Barents Sea” by Harald Yndestad, 2009:

  6. coldlynx says:

    Moon and sun tidal force and impact on climate is neglected since it not fit in the AGW simplified radiation balance.
    But tidal force are a diurnal force on ocean and most important the atmosphere.
    Ocean tides is well known but atmopheric tides are less know..
    Tidal force on atmosphere accelerate the atmosphere horisonaly with a very low acceleration. An accelerated air, also called wind, have less static pressure. But the imortant part is that eart have a tilt towards the sun that make the sun tidal force change +/-23.5 degrees with the season. Add then the moon LNC and you end up with a tidal generated wind from west to east that depending on season and LNC.
    In NH will earth tilt and moon-sun tidal force induce wind from south west in summer and northt west in winter.
    LNC will adjust the angle a couple of degrees and by that change global circulation patterns. That change the climate.
    Another article:

  7. Adrian Vance says:

    14 microns is in the very low energy part of the IR band and very little atmospheric heating takes place at night. The issue is the absorption between 0.5 and 16 mu where water vapor beats CO2 seven to one in the light of E = (h x c)/w where E is energy, h is Plancks constant, c is the speed of light and w is wavelength.

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    @Adrian Vance:

    I’m saying that the orbit of the moon bobs up and down on an 18.6 year cycle that causes the earth to wobble on it’s tilt in an 18.6 year nutation cycle that causes an 18.6 year variation in the tides.



    In the case of the Earth, the principal sources of tidal force are the Sun and Moon, which continuously change location relative to each other and thus cause nutation in Earth’s axis. The largest component of Earth’s nutation has a period of 18.6 years, the same as that of the precession of the Moon’s orbital nodes. However, there are other significant periodical terms that must be calculated depending on the desired accuracy of the result. A mathematical description (set of equations) that represents nutation is called a “theory of nutation” (see, e.g., [2]). In the theory, parameters are adjusted in a more or less ad hoc method to obtain the best fit to data. As can be seen from the IERS publication just cited, nowadays simple rigid-body mechanics do not give the best theory; one has to account for deformations of the solid Earth.


    Careful Fourier data analysis over a nineteen-year period (the National Tidal Datum Epoch in the U.S.) uses frequencies called the tidal harmonic constituents. Nineteen years is preferred because the Earth, Moon and Sun’s relative positions repeat almost exactly in the Metonic cycle of 19 years, which is long enough to include the 18.613 year lunar nodal tidal constituent. This analysis can be done using only the knowledge of the forcing period, but without detailed understanding of the mathematical derivation, which means that useful tidal tables have been constructed for centuries. The resulting amplitudes and phases can then be used to predict the expected tides. These are usually dominated by the constituents near 12 hours (the semidiurnal constituents), but there are major constituents near 24 hours (diurnal) as well. Longer term constituents are 14 day or fortnightly, monthly, and semiannual. Semidiurnal tides dominated coastline, but some areas such as the South China Sea and the Gulf of Mexico are primarily diurnal. In the semidiurnal areas, the primary constituents M2 (lunar) and S2 (solar) periods differ slightly, so that the relative phases, and thus the amplitude of the combined tide, change fortnightly (14 day period).

    I’m not exactly asserting anything new here, and the 18.6 year cycle of the moon has been known since about, oh, about when Stonehenge was new (as you find it in the layout of the earliest small stone inner hole horseshoe of 19 stones and old “brass hats” with the phases of the moon over a 19 year period. and lots of other stuff.)

    Nutation on an 18.6 year cycle is, er, “settled science”… no, honest ;-)

    Whlie the obliquity change is most often discussed (change of gross tilt over 40,000 years), and precession (changing which is closer to the sun, June or January), I’m just pointing out that “nutation matters” even though it is often ignored. It looks like it shows up in our weather cycles at least via the PNA.


    What ever is blocked at one band will just exit at another. Heat will bounce around, slowly going to ever lower energy bands, until it finds one that leaves the planet. If it ends up at “below IR”, it will just end up in water, that evaporates, rises to altitude, and then exits as IR at the stratosphere. (Or it will sit in a low energy band until a second photon is absorbed, raising the package to a higher state, and then we start working down the ladder of bands again). It is a VERY dynamic process.

    The notion that there is some “critical IR window” and only CO2 matters for closing it is just mindless. A useful analogy would be asserting that heat can only leave via the livingroom window, and to ignore that large open front door…

  9. Adrian Vance says:

    Nowhere, in all of the nonsense I have read of anthropogenic global warming have I seen anything regarding an 18.6 year cycle.. Why reach so far for something so preposterous?

    The temperature changes in the atmosphere have been well understood since Tyncall in 1857 and Arrhenius in the 1890’s, well published in the leading German physics journal.

    All of what we are debating now is the aftermath of a corrupt bunch of grant suckers trying to get even more money from the American taxpayer. So far they have gleaned $106 billion, ( $106,000,000,000 ) and want more! What a bunch of jerks in white coats.

  10. cementafriend says:

    @ A Vance, Arrhenius did not understand heat transfer when he made his proposal in 1896 and then because of criticism from many including another the better respected Swede, Avogadro, he changed (reduced) his proposal in 1906 but he put forward no working equations because basically he still did not understand heat transfer. Anybody, who quotes Arrhenius as an authority, displays their own lack of understaning of heat & mass transfer which is a major chemical engineering subject. Look up Prof Hoyt Hottel here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoyt_C._Hottel, then look at the chapter on heat and mass transfer in Perry’s Chemical Engineering Handbook or the book on Thermal Radiation written by Hottel.
    Climate Scientist cherry pick radaition because a) it suits them to twist information to justify their narrow hypothesis c) they do not understand convective heat transfer or turbulent mixxing b) they do not understand evaporation and condensation of H2O. Quote one article by a climate scientist that mentions the Nusselt number!

  11. Adrian Vance says:

    What a joke! Not only was Amadeo Avogadro Italian, but you are dead wrong about Arrhenius and even more ridiculous: What can “heat transfer” have to do with heat that is not present! CO2 is a trace gas in air and insignificant by definition.

    Arrenhius was the finest mathematician and chemist of his time. He hoped to heat Sweden by putting CO2 from coal fires into the air. He may not have understood Tyndall as he was before Planck and Le Chatelier. His understanding was incomplete. He at least had a few excuses. You have none. Said “Nusselt number” has no application in a system where you are arguing for a component with 0.2% of the effect.

    Please, Adrian Vance

  12. Serioso says:


    Yeah, it is perfectly true that ‘What ever is blocked at one band will just exit at another” That’s right! But to have extra radiation emitted at another band requires an increase in the source temperature. That’s the very essence of greenhouse warming theory!

    Too many of your readers seem focused on the notion that CO2 doesn’t matter. It does! But that’s the wrong question. The real question is whether an INCREASE in CO2 matters. And that is a very different question. I won’t get too far into the details, but the altitude (and temperature) at which radiation escapes from the CO2 bands is almost exactly where the lapse rate changes sign. And that means it is incredibly hard to say what increased CO2 means for radiational heat transfer. Check it out. Please!

  13. John F. Hultquist says:

    “ . . .processes involving basin-scale teleconnections expands the possibility that the proximate mechanism may be located remotely from its expression . . .”

    This is much more interesting than to think “the CO2 dun it.”

  14. Adrian Vance says:

    CO2 is a trace gas in the atmosphere and insignificant by definition. It is just that simple.

  15. E.M.Smith says:


    If you think you understand that it’s all about the CO2, and not about the H2O, then read these (and their linked papers).




    The heat leaves from over land the same day. Close any IR “window” you want. It’s gone by morning. Raise mid day temps, and a 4th power function is at work along with an accellerated mass transfer (convection) to altitude. Water transport just kicks IR butt. On, and increasing CO2 in the presence of humidity makes things cooler… so if we warm and have more evaporation, we cool off faster with more CO2.

    Just a few of the “major details” left out of the “CO2 warms via window blocking” thesis.

    @Adrian Vance:

    Please explain why you think the known, demonstrated and measured PNA impact on temperatures (and thus on all the folks who think those thermometer readings mean something) is “reaching” and “preposterous”.

    I can’t speak to what you have, and have not read, nor to what has, or has not, been the focus of the folks shouting at each other. Nor do I really care. I care about what IS.

    So, per the “you haven’t seen an 18.6 year cycle”: Did you bother to read the reference IN the article?

    Here, I’ll quote it for you (again):


    The 18.6-year lunar nodal cycle (LNC) is a significant feature of winter (January) air and sea temperatures along the North American west coast over a 400-year period

    Now go back and look at the state of the PNA with a big red splotch over Canada and Alaska and the blue counter pole over a place where we didn’t measure air temperature in the past. Then ask “Gee, if that’s an oscillator, and on average would average out, but we only measured 1/2 of the oscillator, would that not give bad temperature bias where we were measuring ONLY the other half?”…

    I can say it is VERY MUCH not “preposterous” to find a “rising trend” mostly in an area with a known 18.6 year biasing cycle while ignoring that.

    This is more about thermometer BIAS than about actual heating of cooling of the planet. If that helps you come to grips with it. There is a speculation that the differential distribution of land could also lead to a differential distribution of heat gain and a cyclical 18.6 year gain / loss cycle as you get more on land vs more in the sea over that cycle.

    Notice also that 3 times that cycle is 55.8 years. Add that to 1950 and you get 2005.8 so if there were any “harmonic” tendencies with one cycle being “hotter” than another due to long delay processes in the ocean (like putting a “high C” into an instrument and getting out a “low C” sub-harmonic note) we could easily have had that 1950-80 selection of a ‘baseline’ be a reason for the 1987.2 – 2005.8 “sudden heating” in Canada. This is a “gee, Dig Here! It’s INTERESTING”; not a “I Have God’s Own Answer”. That there is an 18.6 year (roughly) time lag from mid Pacific temperature change to when it reaches the coast of Alaska implies the ability for a “1 cycle lag” time of water vs land impacts (and the mutual add / subract phasing possiblities from that too). There is a whole lot of “potential” here that needs to be looked at with a brain willing to speculate a bit about what could be, rather than being slammed shut and filled only with preconceptions and biases.

    I also note that the general “tone” of what you have commented is getting a bit “grousing”. I would like to ask for a lower level of “insulting others”, please.

    So, to make it clear:

    I find things interesting. I find new understanding interesting. I find connections interesting. I like to share those insights into new things when I see them: If you wish to bitch about that behavior, please don’t. It will just end up annoying me, and frustrating you.

  16. David says:

    E.M. states, ” There is a speculation that the differential distribution of land could also lead to a differential distribution of heat gain and a cyclical 18.6 year gain / loss cycle as you get more on land vs more in the sea over that cycle.”

    Adrian, this effect is dramatic and clear each and every year as my comment here, and here, discussed how the earth conducts this experiment annualy. https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/water-ghg-comparison/#comment-19287

    The nutation of the lunar cycle is of course smaller, but the mechanics are real.

  17. cementafriend says:

    Sorry, everyone I got confused I meant Knut Angstrom (see here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knut_%C3%85ngstr%C3%B6m) not Avogardo (who lived very much earlier in 18th century not the begining of the 20th). Arrhenius was mainly a Physical Chemist. He was very much criticise about his 1896 paper “On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the air upon the Temperature of the Ground” He even mentions (on p240) the moon and moon rays (table 1 on p242 gives his estimate of radiation from the moon). His 1906 paper (after Angstrom’s 1901 critism) was dismissed because it offered no sensible information and AGW alarmist do not want to know about it. I repeat anyone that refers to the authority of Arrhenius has no understanding of heat transfer to and from the atmosphere.
    EM keep up the good work. I always read your post about Earthquakes and Volcanos. Did I get this paper http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1105/1105.2841.pdf on your blog?

  18. Pascvaks says:

    “The 18.6-year lunar nodal cycle (LNC) is a significant feature of winter (January) air and sea temperatures along the North American west coast over a 400-year period.”
    Nice to see that work being done in this area is moving along. The 18.6 year lunar nodal cycle is also evident in other areas, it moves. Thank Greyhound for computers, imagine trying to figure all this out on a blackboard (and without air conditioning;-). Someone really had a sense of humor when they created this universe.

  19. R. de Haan says:

    I think the most significant scientific report comes from Professor C. de Jager who predicts a new Grand Minimum that will last for the remainder of this century.


    The big scientific challenge now is to find out what mechanism is responsible for the increase in quakes and volcanic activity. The influence of our moon is an integral part of this challenge.

    The big political challenge is to end the Green Madness which corrupts science, undermines our energy infra structure and will decimate the world population putting us in shackles for the remainder of our lives.

  20. Adrian Vance says:

    Arrenhius was criticized for his idea he could warm Sweden to the point it would again be suitable for growing bananas as their fossils were discovered there and eventually he gave up, but if anything he was the first to prove that CO2 is of no consequence in the atmosphere.

  21. E.M.Smith says:


    Too many Axxxxxx names…. We need a petition to change some of them to Qxxxx and Zxxxx

    The paper you linked looks familiar, …. maybe a comment on the Japan nukes threads? I’ve lost the connection as well. I suspect one of the folks here may have posted the link.


    Got a chuckle out of that one… Anyone who doubts that The Creator has a sense of humor only needs to look at the variety of “odd” reproductive equipment. To paraphrase a bad joke “Who would put a recreation area next to a waste disposal site?”….

    @R. de Haan:

    What if it can not be fixed?…

    I suspect we have a ‘generational challenge’ and that it will be the children of the present “Green Generation” who rebel (perhaps with some whispered words from Granny and Granddad ;-) and turn the handle another turn…

    What happens during the NEXT 30 years while that happens?

    I suggest learning Mandarin….

    Per Quakes and Volcanoes:

    I’ve pondered that quite a bit… and answer came there none…

    Tidal heating seems the most obvious, but it doesn’t seem to have enough energy with enough time focus to match the patterns. Tidal Trigger seems a better fit. The energy builds from nuclear decay, but unable to escape for 400 years, then the crust flexes and “ka-boom” it finds a crack…. (but for that to be the means, the crust would need more consistency than it shows…)

    I keep finding that Electric Universe Shiny Thing catching my gaze…. probably as, being ill defined, it can be stretched to fit… But a burst of unmeasured energy flow would be able to cause all sorts of cracks and melts….

    In the end, I’m left with “But yet, IT QUAKES!”….

  22. kuhnkat says:


    “If you sit outside the earth’s atmosphere at night and peer down at the earth and measure its emission spectrum, you will see that the intensity in the region of 14 microns is sharply reduced compared to neighboring bands. Is this not due to CO2?”

    Since you probably won’t go back and read Chiefio’s posts, 14micron absorption in the REAL atmosphere is primarily by H2O. It has smaller absorption and emissivity than CO2 in that band, (except where there is little water vapor such as at the poles) BUT, there is so much more of it it almost completely masks the CO2 (why we can’t argue that CO2 is saturated). As the “experts” tell us CO2 primarily emits due to collision in our atmosphere, not due to absorption. It really isn’t nearly as magic as you have been led to believe. For that matter the same can be said of water vapor. It primarily moves the energy it absorbs through convection into the upper trop where it “loses it!”

    The part they tend to ignore is that CO2 both gains and loses energy through collision. It can cool a warmer area or heat a cooler area. Without the earth radiating at night CO2 would speed the COOLING of the atmosphere along with H2O!! In the morning H2O and CO2 help spread the heat faster and speed up convection.

    Another part of the radiative transfer they don’t tell you acolytes is that CO2, H2O, O2, O3… absorb radiation from the sun in the upper atmosphere. Infrared makes up about 50% of the sun’s output. Virtually all of it is absorbed in the atmosphere. During the day is that downwelling radiation from the earth or from the sun without ever going through the earth!!! Yup, banging into other specie and transferring energy IS how one band can have less energy and be spread into other bands. Of course, as was mentioned above, as you go to the longer wavelengths there just isn’t very much energy there. The energy content is NOT shown on all those pretty charts!!!!! I will be nice and say they simply ASSume that everyone understands this. I didn’t until a couple of years of reading climate blogs and climate and physics papers. I should then point out that UV is mostly absorbed in the atmosphere. SW is higher energy than IR and UV is higher than SW. It pumps a LOT of energy into the stratosphere which is then radiated lower among other things. No convection help there. Of course you would need the smart guys to explain the chemistry and other activity driven by the UV, SW, and IR absorption in the atmosphere that ends up affecting the surface. i am still learning there.

    Now for a conumndrum that I haven’t understood the explanation. When all these alarmists point their radiation meters at the sky at night they read the expected amount of energy (they claim) from backradiation. They also read it as coming from a radiating temperature of (can’t remember the exact number) upper troposphere or tropopause. Of course, there are so many GHG’s in the lower atmosphere that they should NOT be able to read much radiation in the absorbed H2O and CO2 bands from that high, so, why aren’t they reading the temperature of the air within about 20 feet of the detector???? I interpret this as the instrument not being calibrated with the correct emissivity for the job of measuring radiation from the atmospheric components. They don’t see it as a problem because they are getting their EXPECTED results even though all the data does not match correctly!!

    Of course the real problem with your statement is that you wouldn’t live long enough without protective gear to see anything!!! (snicker)

  23. pyromancer76 says:

    E.M., I am glad you are interested — when you have time! — in looking into the lunar nodal cycle as causation within natural climate change. I looked up every one of the citations provided by David (thanks, David), and I read many ideas that I found had a “possibly”, “might be”, “could be” in front of them. ( I also read about the 1990s ideas stimulated by the Russian Afanasiev on “Nanocycles Method” with “causation” back to ~600,000 years, but not much research follow-up.) In David’s citations, I did not see any study except maybe the one you cite that proved a “mechanism”. ( The Harvard abstracts were unavailable.) Give us the math that works, and works to significance. I admire Leif Svalgaard for holding commenters’ feet to the fire on WUWT regarding proof, even though I think he has too much scientific-ego based on small changes in TSI, and that’s the end of it. Nevertheless, scientific rigor is the real thing.

    What I look forward to in your blog is both the rigor and the openness to new — or old, being renewed mathematically, scientifically — ideas. The number doesn’t matter much — 18.6 and multiples — if there is no mechanism to connect with it. And, by the way, my brain hurts because of all the new research. Hurts, but I don’t mind too much.

    Through all my effort, I found Judith Young’s essay “Moon Teachings for the Masses at the UMass Sunwheel & Around the World: the Major Lunar Standstills of 2006 and 2024-25” (2010). Reminded me of your work on sundials and stone henges. It seems a good basic education if the lunar nodal cycle has significant effect, that is, more than “some” effect. Once we can get geologists, astronomers, physicists, oceanographers, paleoclimatologists, and “climate (real) scientists, especially those who study clouds”, together, we might begin to get some idea of what is actually going on in terms of causation. I realize there is much more. Oh, my! All I can think at this time is “have a little more wine”.

  24. Adrian Vance says:

    In the 14 micron band CO2 is twice the absorber as water vapor, but the latter has 80 times as many molecules per unit air mass and overwhelms CO2 throughout the band generating only 0.2% of the atmospheric heating. This is all very obvious if you can read the official American Meteorological Society absorption charts and do the math to analyze the spectrum from 0.5 mu to 15 mu.

    Talk of the moon having any significance in atmospheric heating is nonsense.

    Adrian Vance

  25. gallopingcamel says:

    July 8 looks like the date for the last space shuttle. If you plan to be present for that event remember that you have fans on the “Space Coast” who are dying to meet you.

  26. Pascvaks says:

    “But yet, IT QUAKES!”….

    Ha ha! Now this is Dark Science, beyond the Veil. Gravity of another kind? No gravity of a phenomenal magnitude.

  27. E.M.Smith says:

    For folks wondering about the H2O absorption, the wiki page has some info

    Strong absorbance by water vapor occurs at wavelengths around 2900, 1950 and 1450 nanometers (nm), with weaker absorption around 1200 and 970 nm, and three additional sets of water-vapor absorption lines near 930, 820, and 730 nm, all in the infrared spectrum. Water has a complex absorption spectrum — the 2007 HITRAN spectroscopy database update lists more than 64,000 spectral lines corresponding to significant transitions of water vapor ranging from the microwave region to the visible spectrum.

    So here we have a spectacular absorber of many bands, spread all over the spectrum, and with massive variation in concentration (AND it is present in the air in all 3 phases… perhaps also breifly in plasma phase too at least during lightning storms…)

    But the warmers want to ignore all that and say that the water is lead around by the nose by tiny quanities of CO2…. yet even there, they have the feedback sign wrong, as it has been seen that humid air is cooled by CO2, not warmed.

    This chart:

    has a nice annotation that the 1400 nm notch is both H2O and CO2…

    Yet folks are talking about 14 microns, or 14000 nm… that’s way out in the weeds. OK, another chart here:

    shows the atmospheric window as being wide open from about 8 to 13 microns and then slammed shut at 14.

    To me, that says “14 is closed already, it’s done whatever it can do”.

    It also says: 8-13 are wide open, heat will leave by the open front door…

    So I’m not seeing why anyone would care about the 14 micron part of the ‘window’ at all.

  28. E.M.Smith says:


    I’m hoping to make it. We’ll see. Folks will know when I’m “on the road”…

    Adrian Vance

    Talk of the moon having any significance in atmospheric heating is nonsense.

    The sound of a mind being firmly slammed shut…

    A restatement of the mechanism is pretty simple: More land in the N.H., less in the S.H. so any change of “tilt” causes changes of how much heat goes into the air (N.H.) vs sea (S.H.) and that will change total absorption as those two absorb at different efficiencies. It will change total emission, too, as land emits differently from water 100 m down… And it will change residency time (rather important as atmospheric heat leaves each night, while heat several feet down in the ocean does not…)

    The lunar orbital nodes “wobble” the earth tilt. It is called “nutation”. So one of the things driving that differential heating is the moon.

    Not one of those things is in doubt.

    The only thing not known is “how much”.

    Precession and obliquity changes of a few degrees makes the difference between ice age glacials and interglacials. Clearly if a couple of degrees can do that, small changes could have a meaningful impact. Until it is measured and observed, we don’t know how much.

    Oh, wait, it HAS been observed:


    The 18.6-year lunar nodal cycle and surface temperature variability in the northeast Pacific
    The 18.6-year lunar nodal cycle (LNC) is a significant feature of winter (January) air and sea temperatures along the North American west coast over a 400-year period.

    But a mind that has been slammed shut can never let anything interesting in, nor any new knowings…


    It’s a heavy subject, but I think I can make it easy to accept if I look at it from all sides, turning in a full circular view of it ;-)


    Classical Milankovitch has a couple of “issues” that the “differential land / water absorbtion” could answer.


    400,000-year problem

    The 400,000-year problem is that the eccentricity variations have a strong 400,000-year cycle. That cycle is only clearly present in climate records older than the last million years. If the 100ka variations are having such a strong effect, the 400ka variations might also be expected to be apparent. This is also known as the stage 11 problem, after the interglacial in marine isotopic stage 11 which would be unexpected if the 400,000-year cycle has an impact on climate. The relative absence of this periodicity in the marine isotopic record may be due, at least in part, to the response times of the climate system components involved—in particular, the carbon cycle.

    But on the 400,000 year time scale, you can get changes of water flow in the oceans that could change the dynamics of a differential heating of land / sea. Yes, very speculative, and very complex to sort it out (so many moving parts…) so will likely stay speculative for generations.

    The “harder bit” would be finding a way for such wobbles of the earth to be causal of modulation of quakes and volcanos… That adds a whole lot of complex gooey fluid mechanics to the pot too… Somehow I’m not feeling up to that task just now…

    But I note from the nutation wiki:



    In the case of the Earth, the principal sources of tidal force are the Sun and Moon, which continuously change location relative to each other and thus cause nutation in Earth’s axis. The largest component of Earth’s nutation has a period of 18.6 years, the same as that of the precession of the Moon’s orbital nodes. However, there are other significant periodical terms that must be calculated depending on the desired accuracy of the result. A mathematical description (set of equations) that represents nutation is called a “theory of nutation” (see, e.g., [2]). In the theory, parameters are adjusted in a more or less ad hoc method to obtain the best fit to data. As can be seen from the IERS publication just cited, nowadays simple rigid-body mechanics do not give the best theory; one has to account for deformations of the solid Earth.

    So the planet has to be having “deformations” for the nutation calculations to work out right…. I think “that matters” for things like quakes and volcanos…

    We know other bodies have volcanos due to deformation from nearby planets. Even if the moon isn’t fully causal, it could be providing just enough energy to modulate a larger nuclear heat flow driven process. That, post “supermoon”, our quake rate has just plunged tends to be supportive anecdotal evidence of some kind of “teleconnection”…

  29. Verity Jones says:

    Effects are also felt in the North Atlantic I’ll try to refind the link I found earlier. In the meantime I’ve sent you something.

  30. E.M.Smith says:


    OK, I guess it’s time I service the email queue… it’s only been a few months ;-)

    (When “life happens”, email tends to sit. Then it becomes a giant pile, so encourages me to let it continue to sit… until I “catch up” … and now is probably a good time to do that… as several of “life’s little speedbumps” have been resolved…)

  31. Ray Tomes says:

    The 18.6 year cycle often also manifests as 9.3 years. Russian geologists have found extremely long records of climate in the salt mines, and these have shown clearly that the lunar nodal period has affected climate for over 600 million years. In his book “Nanocycles Method” (real name in Russian), Moscow University Geology Professor S Afanasiev produces a big table that allows geological deposits to be very accurately dated. To achieve this the main cycle as well as longer cycles are used. For example when the main cycle is 9.3 years there is also a cycle of 31 years (on average) where the 9.3 year cycle returns to the same place in the seasons (31 = 9.3/.3). There are additional longer cycles also. These are very sensitive to small changes in the 9.3 (or 18.6) year period.

    As an example, it is possible to identify the Elatina
    periods in his table at 658.28 million years ago which I think
    corresponds with the stated 650 to 700 million years. This would
    make the cause of the Elatina cycles be the interaction of the
    Lunar nodal cycle with the seasons. Williams originally speculated
    that the 12 year period was an ancient sunspot cyle, and others
    suggested that perhaps it was monthly varves not annual and the
    cycle of 12 was the year.

    I interpolated Prof Afansiev’s tables which is at
    0.2 MY interval to 600 MY and then at 4.0 MY interval,
    and 658.28 million years ago the cycle periods due
    to lunar nodal effects were 12.0769 years and 157.0 years.
    Note that 12.0769/0.0769 = 157.0 years, which is the period
    of the interaction of the nodal cycle with the seasons.
    These figures appear to be consistent with Williams’
    findings of 26 cycles in 314 years = 12.0769 years,
    though it is the 157 year cycle not the 314 year one
    that is tabulated.

    Ray Tomes
    Cycles Research Institute

  32. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ray Tomes:

    Thanks for the interesting pointers to more…

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