Is there a Polar Alternation cycle?

I’ve seen hints in some of the GHCN temperature data that the south pole / hemisphere gets hot when the north gets cold, and the other way ’round too. But the Southern Hemisphere data can be a bit slim over long time windows. Not much land ‘down under’ and what there is tends to be the frozen Antarctic; so not a lot of data from the 1800s and even the early 1900s are sparse.

Yet 1934 was very hot in the USA midwest, and IIRC, it was not hot in Antarctic data (but a different decade was – yet the Antarctic data are very spotty by station, so it takes some interpolation / guessing…)

Right now, lots of “news” is about the North Pole having very low ice levels. But the Warmista Folks are ignoring the record ice levels in the Antarctic. I think these two are related. That it isn’t an accident that one is warm when the other is cold. It needs a good “Dig Here!”, and any pointers to anything already done would be ‘nice to have’.

I find it interesting that we apparently have this “bipolar” relationship going on. On years of far lower than normal record lows in the Arctic 2007/2012, we have record highs and near record highs in the same years, 2007/2012.

James Taylor, Contributor

9/19/2012 @ 12:14PM (with an update 20 Sept – E.M.Smith)
Antarctic Sea Ice Sets Another Record

Antarctic sea ice set another record this past week, with the most amount of ice ever recorded on day 256 of the calendar year (September 12 of this leap year). Please, nobody tell the mainstream media or they might have to retract some stories and admit they are misrepresenting scientific data.
NPR failed to mention anywhere in its article that Antarctic sea ice has been growing since satellites first began measuring the ice 33 years ago and the sea ice has been above the 33-year average throughout 2012.

The update includes a quote of Anthony Watts and a link to an article on WUWT. Then goes on to an interesting NASA quote:

Interestingly, a new NASA study finds Antarctica once supported vegetation similar to that of present-day Iceland.

“The southward movements of rain bands associated with a warmer climate in the high-latitude southern hemisphere made the margins of Antarctica less like a polar desert, and more like present-day Iceland,” a co-author of the NASA study reports.

So if they move in opposition with major shifts of climate, might they also move with smaller shifts as well?

An Example of Antarctic Cold

This article has an interesting story about the cold in Vostok. Not a record, but close to one, and way below “normal”:

Antarctica Site Posts Near-Record Cold
September 19, 2012; 7:23 AM

This month, Russia’s Vostok station has registered some remarkably low late-winter temperatures, even for the coldest known spot on Earth.

As of Sept. 18, the average temperature for the month so far was -73.0 degrees C (-99.4 F), or -6.7 degrees C (-12.0 F) below normal.

Three nights have have seen the temperature break through the minus-80-degree mark (-112 F). Coldest of these, on Sept. 15, bottomed at -84.2 degrees C (-119.6 F).

The station’s lowest September temperature on record is -85.6 degrees C (-122.1 F), the Vostok Wikipedia entry says.

The average temperature on Sept. 15 was -78.5 degrees C (-109.3 F), which is 12.3 degrees C (-23 F) below normal.

So it was within 1.4 C of the lowest on record. This is “Global Warming”? Whatever is going on isn’t “global” and it isn’t “warming” in Antarctica.

My thesis would be that just as there are many other ‘teleconnected’ oscillations (such as the AMO / PDO / AO ) that there could well be some kind of polar oscillation. But has it already been identified and named? Am I just “catching up”? I tried a few different search terms, but didn’t find any decadal scale cycle identified. Then again, AO and related tend to dominate the results, so it might be that I just don’t know the “magic cookie” to pop up the proper name.

This link:

Has a graph of the Arctic Oscillation and says it is teleconnected with the Antarctic Oscillation, but doesn’t show the relationship. At the moment it is ‘high’ and the red lines are the predictions.

Arctic Oscillation

Arctic Oscillation

The similar page for the AAO Antarctic Oscillation doesn’t have such a graph.

Instead it shows a polar view with a very blue south pole, but large red blobs out to sea from Antarctica.

But those are relatively fast changes. Not things that change over decadal time scales.

So that’s all I’ve got for this posting. Just a question. Does anyone know? Has anyone looked? Might it be cold and frozen in Antarctica BECAUSE it’s warmer and melted in the Arctic? (Or vice versa). Given that past data down south is so spotty, could we ever really know?


Well, no sooner post this and run off to read some WUWT, but discover a similar speculation / article there:

So I wonder what caused us to have the same ideas at about the same times… Odd, that.

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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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19 Responses to Is there a Polar Alternation cycle?

  1. P.G. Sharrow says:

    I remember reading of this Icecap osculation when I was in high school in the early 1960s. Don’t remember the time scale posited, but Mars exhibited the same effect on its’ poles as well. pg

  2. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Global warming over the last 100 years has effected the north pole of Mars as well as earth. pg

  3. Ralph B says:

    I had been wondering about the bi-polar nature of the caps as well. If you look at the NP temp trend you don’t see any hot hot hot temps there. It could be that the cold south does create weather patterns which tend to break up the north cap so the ice flows out and melts. Jeff Condon compiled a nice visual series showing how “the melt” is more like the NP having its morning constitutional and pushing the ice out. That will in effect (my opinion here) cause ocean cooling as there is no ice blanket to keep the waters from radiating their energy out to space.

    Now I just need to find an oil company to finance my research. Any leads?

  4. Mike Jonas says:

    Henrik Svensmark has noted the alternation between the poles, calling it the “polar see-saw”.
    I’ll try to find the link if needed.

  5. Steve C says:

    If it saves anyone from searching, Svensmark’s 2006 paper with the “polar see-saw” quote is on Arxiv:
    and DTU Space have the 2007 article:

    Click to access svensmark_2007cosmoclimatology.pdf

    … and even a well-known AGW advocacy site has mention of it:
    – and when they start talking about “revealed sectrets”, you can believe Svensmark is getting the word out.

    Rather nice to note that the four search results above the DTU Space item are all from WUWT. Another flower in Anthony’s buttonhole!

  6. Pascvaks says:

    FWIW – Svensmark also has a more recent paper out, “Evidence of nearby supernovae affecting life on Earth”, available via ; Nigel Calder has a summary article about it at his blog at . This Svensmark paper goes into the matter of climate going back into the hundreds of millions of years, though it emphesizes as well the roll played by interstellar energy releases on near-term climate. As the sun has variations in polarity (from internal and external goings-on) and passes these on to the planets, one would very much to expect things to be a little different between the North and South Poles and their climate.


  7. pg. sharrow says:

    @Adolfo; very much the case. The only possible explanation due to the effects on Mars. The question of cause of the effect is Terrestrial or Solar in origin? The mechanics is matter flow induced in the atmosphere caused by lines of force. South polarity speeds the down flow of the polar vortex. pg

  8. jim2 says:

    How ironic is this???

    “(Reuters) – Greece, aiming to stave off a fresh energy crisis, plans to support its main electricity market operator through a temporary tax on renewable power producers and by extending an emergency loan, a senior official said on Friday.”

  9. Soronel Haetir says:

    I do have a small problem with your comment about Antarctic climat on deep time scales. Given the fact that the land moves around I don’t think it’s particularly surprising that any particular place can be shown to have a climate that was once much more like someplace else is now. I would say the same of your article about Greenland awhile back where you made a similar sort of observation without any sort of time values attached.

    I would argue that anything prior to arriving at our current basic land distribution (my understanding being with the closure of the panama land bridge about 3MYA) simply is not relevant to current climate discussions. Interesting perhaps but not relevant.

  10. Ian W says:

    Looking at vukcevic’s work on magnetic effects on climate (see the reference above ) and just blue sky hypothesizing…..

    The Sun’s northern and southern hemisphere are normally roughly in step magnetically but this solar cycle they are widely separated with the northern hemisphere showing at or approaching solar cycle 24 peak with the southern hemisphere (apparently) a few years away from peak SC24. This is a magnetic phenomenon. Does the imbalance in the Sun’s magnetic hemispheres affect the magnetic ‘ropes’ that link it to the Earth? I know Vuk’ is continually claiming magnetic effects cause climate impacts. Was the sun in a similar strange state when the Arctic ice was maximum and Antarctic minimum but with the southern hemisphere peaking before the northern? Is there any way of finding out?

  11. Pascvaks says:

    @ SoronelHaetir –
    OK! We’re listening. Let her rip.
    @ IanW-
    Vuk’ is definitely interesting. You may need to get deeper into his material. You ask, “Was the sun in a similar strange state when the Arctic ice was maximum and Antarctic minimum but with the southern hemisphere peaking before the northern?” How far back are you trying to go? You may need to write him an e-mail, he’s usually the best source anyway.

  12. adolfogiurfa says:

    @p.g.sharrow: Your reference to Mars points out to the fact that the Solar Circuit is one, it resembles a Ruhmkorff coil, if seen in its actual movement toward the “Apex”. You know a lot of coils…

  13. P.G. Sharrow says:

    @Adolfo, as you say everything is connected electrically. The movement of material causes electrical effects, electrical effects cause movement of material. The lines of force at the magnetic poles flow perpendicular to the surface and cause the polar vortex to work faster or slower, moving high altitude cold air to the surface, as well as changes the convection rate of sea water in the polar ocean. I can’t get people to realize this as they want to fixate on other things as the cause. Mars has the same climate changes as the earth and none of the other factors. There is more to this then geography and human activity. Right now the south pole has the strongest “down” flow and the north the weakest. The sun changes polarity every 11years. the earth changes polarity on a much longer period, but it does change. Don’t know about Mars as of yet. Don’t even know about the cause, but I would guess the strength and duration of the solar field would cause the planetary internal fields to collapse and reverse. We seem to be in the collapse phase now. pg

  14. NickS says:

    The planet Venus is well known for its thick, carbon dioxide atmosphere and oven-hot surface, and as a result is often portrayed as Earth’s inhospitable evil twin.

    But in a new analysis based on five years of observations using ESA’s Venus Express, scientists have uncovered a very chilly layer at temperatures of around –175ºC in the atmosphere 125 km above the planet’s surface.

    The curious cold layer is far frostier than any part of Earth’s atmosphere, for example, despite Venus being much closer to the Sun.

  15. E.M.Smith says:


    Fascinating…. Wonder how in the heck that works… ( I’d suppose something rises and cools )

    @P.G. & Adolfo:

    I suspect that the solar charge flows through our “homo polar motor” as Adolfo often illustrates, but that it doesn’t drive our “motor” it only causes a slight acceleration / deceleration of the massive momentum. A lot then shows up in weather effects as ‘flows change’. Flows of fluids and flows of energies. It’s the details of that which are hard to lay out ;-)

    As the sun goes into a dormancy cycle, it will be interesting to see if the massive power flows from it to the polar attachment point stop as well; and what then changes… Does anyone know what the Aurora were like during the Maunder or Dalton? More or less?

  16. P.G. Sharrow says:

    I have heard that CMEs increase as sunspot activities decrease. Kind of like a pot of heavy stew simmers if you stir it a bit but blows big splatters if you don’t stir. A quiet sun may not be so quiet. pg

  17. Pascvaks says:

    EM –
    Found an interesting piece on Auroras you may want to glance at –
    “A shared frequency set between the historical mid-latitude aurora records and the global surface temperature”
    by Nicola Scafetta

    Click to access ATP3507.pdf

    Accepted 16 October 2011
    Available online 29 October 2011
    Aurora cycles
    Planetary motion
    Solar variability

    Abstract –
    “Herein we show that the historical records of mid-latitude auroras from 1700 to 1966 present oscillations with periods of about 9, 10–11, 20–21, 30 and 60 years. The same frequencies are found in proxy and instrumental global surface temperature records since 1650 and 1850, respectively, and in several planetary and solar records. We argue that the aurora records reveal a physical link between climate change and astronomical oscillations. Likely in addition to a Soli-Lunar tidal effect, there exists a planetary modulation of the heliosphere, of the cosmic ray flux reaching the Earth and/or of the electric properties of the ionosphere. The latter, in turn, has the potentiality of modulating the global cloud cover that ultimately drives the climate oscillations through albedo oscillations. In particular, a quasi-60-year large cycle is quite evident since 1650 in all climate and astronomical records herein studied, which also include a historical record of meteorite fall in China from 619 to 1943. These findings support the thesis that climate oscillations have an astronomical origin. We show that a harmonic constituent model based on the major astronomical frequencies revealed in the aurora records and deduced from the natural gravitational oscillations of the solar system is able to forecast with a reasonable accuracy the decadal and multidecadal temperature oscillations from 1950 to 2010 using the temperature data before 1950, and vice versa. The existence of a natural 60-year cyclical modulation of the global surface temperature induced by astronomical mechanisms, by alone, would imply that at least 60–70% of the warming observed since 1970 has been naturally induced. Moreover, the climate may stay approximately stable during the next decades because the 60-year cycle has entered in its cooling phase.”

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