Spatio/temporal chaos – “simple rules at the heart of climate’s complexity”.

Unlike many things in climate science – spatio/temporal chaos climate science can be seen in the wild.    Within the turbulent flow of the mountain river vortices form and are relatively stable both in time and space.  Oder emerging out of disorder.  The first rule of chaos theory.  The second rule is that they operate at all scales – from micro eddies in the river to ocean and continent spanning turbulent flows in oceans and atmosphere..

And from moments to eons.

“Over the past million years, glacial–interglacial cycles have had a period of about 100,000 years, similar to the 100,000-year period of change in the eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit. However, the change in incoming solar radiation—insolation—at this timescale is small, and therefore difficult to reconcile with the amplitude of the glacial cycles. This issue, known as the 100-kyr problem, is compounded by a lack of explanation for the transition of the length of the cycles from 41,000 to 100,000 years at the mid-Pleistocene transition 1.2 million years ago. Individual discrepancies have been explained, for example, through interactions between other orbital frequencies such as obliquity and the 413,000-year period of eccentricity but a unified explanation is lacking. Here we show that climate oscillations over the past four million years can be explained by a single mechanism: the synchronization of nonlinear internal climate oscillations and the 413,000-year eccentricity cycle.”   Synchronization_of_the_climate_system_to_eccentricity_forcing_and_the_100000-year_problem

Here they consider the 100kyr glacial problem through a synchonous chaos lens. Synchronous chaos as an idea unifies spatio/temporal chaos and temporal chaos. Spatio/temporal chaos underlies the dynamics of climate. Spatio/temporal chaos results in quasi standing waves – just like the mountain river – everywhere in the system. We give names to the most significant of them – and they have an important something called persistence – merely the tendency for data in weather and to cluster around a point and then shift.

There are important periods in quasi standing waves in the Earth system – including the 20 to 30 year scale of ENSO decadal variability and the PDO that show a modulator – in the papers terms – in a synchronized beat and dynamic climate response. Now we may call it unicorns – but I’m not convinced. I’m inclined to suspect the 22 year Hale cycle – and I have thrown it out there before – of solar magnetic reversals. This is spatio/temporal chaos at very different scales – one from orbits and one from the sun illustrating “simple rules at the heart of climate’s complexity”.

I hypothesized here “that upwelling in the Pacific Ocean is modulated by solar activity over periods of decades to millennia – with profound impacts on communities and ecosystems globally. The great resonant systems of the Pacific respond at variable periods – the tempo increased last century for instance – of La Niña and El Niño alternation. There are variations in this tempo at 20 to 30 years that – throwing this out there – suggest a trigger in the 22 year Hale solar cycle of magnetic reversals. The solar butterfly flutters and the cyclone ensues. Longer term indicators of solar activity show changes over millennia that mirror the state of upwelling in the Pacific. The mechanism proposed is a spinning up of the Pacific trade winds and surface gyres as a result of colder and denser polar air. Low solar activity spins up the great ocean gyres producing more frequent La Niña and a cooler northeastern Pacific (more upwelling) – and vice versa. With a cooling Sun – it suggests that the next Pacific climate shift – due in a 2018-2028 window – could be to yet cooler conditions in the Pacific Ocean. This has implications for global heat content, hydrology and biology.”

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