Fascinating Solar, AO, QBO, Cold NH Winter link

Yes, another that’s been ‘in queue’ since 2014… but just in case anyone missed it…

Jarl Ahlbeck found a rather intriguing connection between low solar activity, and easterly QBO, and a negative AO with cold Northern Hemisphere winters.


I’m still not quite sure what to make of it, other than that normal weather oscillations of long duration have more to do with N.H. cold or heating than any magic gas might. A couple of teaser quotes:

Jarl Ahlbeck: A link between Low solar activity, Easterly QBO, negative AO and cold NH winters

Posted: November 24, 2014 by tallbloke in Analysis, atmosphere, Celestial Mechanics, climate, Cycles, Forecasting, general circulation, Natural Variation, weather

Future low solar activity periods may cause cold winters in North America, Europe and Russia.

Jarl Ahlbeck – Abo Akademi University, Finland

Historically, low solar activity periods like the Dalton and Maunder Minima have been connected to cold winters in Europe. It seems very possible that the low solar activity forced areas of low pressures into a southern route or caused a negative Arctic Oscillation, AO, which in turn allowed cold air from the North Pole to flow across Europe. But can we obtain from real measurements that low solar activity really is able to do that?

Turku winter vs AO from Tallbloke's

I found that the mechanism is statistically significant, but it is not very simple to prove. There is no direct statistical relationship saying that low solar activity always should cause a negative Arctic Oscillation (which caused cold air to push further south than normal). But if we consider a second natural parameter, the strength and direction of the stratospheric wind in the Tropics (the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation index, QBO) I found a very interesting result: During periods of low solar activity (few or no sunspots) an easterly QBO causes a negative AO, but a westerly QBO causes a positive AO.

However, during low solar activity the easterly QBO causes a considerably stronger negative AO than the westerly QBO is able to cause a positive AO. Furthermore, easterly QBO is more common than westerly QBO during the Nordic Hemisphere winter.

He then goes on to provide some of that “hard to prove” which sends you off to this link / paper:


with lots of graphs, data, links, and more.


Historically, low solar activity has been connected to cold winters in Europe. A definitive physical mechanism for this fact has not yet been presented. This analysis however shows that the influence of solar activity together with stratospheric mechanisms acting on the Arctic Oscillation is statistically significant. It also explains why the Arctic Oscillation seems to behave according to a random walk mechanism. If the solar activity in the future goes into a new Dalton or Maunder Minimum, the winters in North America, Europe and Russia may become very cold.

In this article I looked at a proposed mechanism for solar changes to stratospheric changes to ocean current changes. I think these two are related.


Given that the solar indexes are in the basement and this solar cycle is VERY long (that correlates with very low) that last line (which I bolded) is the kind of thing that makes you want to go “Brrrrr!”.

Subscribe to feed

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...
This entry was posted in AGW Science and Background, Science Bits and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Fascinating Solar, AO, QBO, Cold NH Winter link

  1. E.M.Smith says:

    Two very interesting links, but unrelated to the posting. Guess it is time for a new “tips” post ;-)

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    I’m adding a link here to a related but longer perspective posting at TallBloke (that references me ;-)

    Just because I don’t want to lose track of it and it talks about:

    The authors suggest that variations in the sun’s ultraviolet energy cause adjustments in a climate pattern called the Northern Annular Mode, which affects climate in the atmosphere of the Northern Hemisphere during the winter. At sea level, this mode becomes the North Atlantic Oscillation, a large-scale seesaw in atmospheric mass that affects how air circulates over the Atlantic Ocean. During periods of high solar activity, the North Atlantic Oscillation’s influence extends to the Indian Ocean. These adjustments may affect the distribution of air temperatures, which subsequently influence air circulation and rainfall at the Nile River’s sources in eastern equatorial Africa. When solar activity is high, conditions are drier, and when it is low, conditions are wetter….

    Which if I’d payed more attention to it in 2012 would have given an insight well ahead of the changes now reported above.

Comments are closed.