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The Role Of Ozone In The Earth’s Climate

March 13, 2016





This is a guest post by Erl Happ      



Back to Basics: An Atmospheric Primer For The UNIPCC

In the 1920’s the inventor of the Dobson Spectrometer designed to measure ozone in the atmosphere, Gordon Dobson, quickly discovered that total column ozone maps surface pressure. Low pressure cells generated in high latitudes have fewer molecules in the atmospheric column because the upper portion is ozone rich, ozone absorbs infrared radiation from the Earth and the upper air is therefore more rarefied. The reduction in density aloft fully, and in fact over-compensates, for the coldness and density of the air at the surface. By contrast High pressure cells are dense above and relatively less dense below because they originate in the warmer ozone poor mid latitudes.

The ozone content of the air varies on all time scales.

Because the distribution of ozone is a secondary determinant of atmospheric pressure (along with the absorption of radiant energy from the sun as the primary determinant) its distribution is allied to wind direction and surface temperature. When we emerge from our shelters in the morning there is a consistency in the temperature of the air according to the direction from which it blows. So, in a planet where temperature falls away from the equator to the pole wind direction is very strongly related to surface temperature. Secondly, ozone heating in the atmosphere determines cloud cover. If you are interested in the mechanism see:

Clouds can curtail solar radiation by up to 90%.

You will look in vain for references to substantiate these assertions in the ‘peer reviewed’ works of the UNIPCC or mainstream Government funded climate science. What is being described herein is the source of natural climate variation. This subject is of little interest to those whose careers depend upon government funding. Those who promote the idea that climate change is a one way trip to the fires of Hell via a response to carbon dioxide have tapped into a generous flow of nutrient from the tax-payers breast and do not to want to jeopardise that flow. If they were to suggest that observed climate change is the product of a natural process to do with the evolution of ozone in the upper atmosphere funding would evaporate.

I am a man of independent means. Climate research is a sideline that is nevertheless very relevant to what I do as a farmer of grapes and wine. I am at liberty to call it as I see it. In this article I give you the story in the broad. For the nitty gritty details you must visit my blog, actually a book being presented chapter by chapter.



What I call the ozonosphere starts at the surface and extends to the limits of the mesosphere. So it takes in the troposphere, the stratosphere and the mesosphere. Surface climate is a response to the presence of ozone and its interaction with other atmospheric constituents as conditioned by the nature of radiation from the sun across the seasonal cycle.

Ozone is a potent absorber of the Earths radiation. We know it is a greenhouse gas. Uniquely, as a greenhouse gases it is not uniformly distributed. It is for this reason that it becomes a climate driver.

Ozone’s ability to absorb radiation increases with air pressure. It begins to attenuate the lapse rate in the mid latitudes well below the tropopause. The warming effect is greatest in the lower atmosphere and diminishes with altitude. Despite ever diminishing efficiency in its warming ability as altitude increases, it is ozone that is responsible for the temperature of the stratosphere. It warms primarily by absorption of infrared, the supply of energy from the infrared source (emanating from the Earth itself) being much more substantial than that in the ultraviolet spectrum (a tiny fraction of the energy emitted by the sun). Ozone is present in higher concentration in higher latitudes and it is in higher latitudes, rather than at the equator, that the stratosphere is warmest.

Lowest surface atmospheric pressures are produced where there is a strong gradient in air density conducive to uplift. Ozone provides that density gradient in the horizontal dimension above 8 kilometres in elevation. The process of uplift draws in ozone rich air accelerating the rate of uplift and increasing the partial pressure of ozone in the air at 10 hPa where 99% of the atmosphere lies beneath. This process can be most readily observed over the North Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans in winter. A continuous chain of so called ‘cold core’ cyclones surrounds the Antarctic continent in both summer and winter. You can’t make cyclones if the core is cold. The warm core is aloft. In terms of wind speeds, Polar Cyclones are equivalent to Tropical Cyclones but high wind speed occurs at altitude rather than at the surface, and over a much larger area. The engine driving the global circulation is in high, not low latitudes because that is where, by virtue of ozone, the atmosphere can be most heavily energised. One manifestation is the Jet stream.

In that connection it can be remarked that there are three main modes of differential heating in the atmosphere, the first via contact with warm surfaces, the second via the release of latent heat and the third and by far the most vigorous, via ozone heating in high latitudes of the winter hemisphere.

As the angle of incidence of the sun falls away so does photolysis of ozone allowing the seasonal increase in ozone partial pressure in the winter hemisphere. The countervailing force that actively depletes ozone in the winter hemisphere is the establishment of a slowly descending, but highly influential tongue of mesospheric air that introduces NOx (for background see: ) from the mesosphere. The tongue depletes ozone directly via a space occupying mode (it occupies the region of the polar cap and is itself low in ozone) and an erosive chemical mode (via its NOx content) due to mixing at its margins and the occasional wholesale displacement of vortex air into the air stream outside the vortex. The vortex is leaky. The strength of the polar vortex in Antarctica accounts for a relative deficiency in ozone south of the equator.

NOx from the troposphere erodes ozone in the stratosphere, particularly evident in tropical latitudes where strong uplift is driven by the release of latent heat of condensation. Similar effects occur in high latitudes. Tropospheric air is entrained in the stratospheric circulation when the seasonal increase in ozone creates strong uplift. In consequence, in the lower stratosphere in springtime NOx may be observed to be almost co-extensive in its distribution with ozone.

Strong gradients in air density give rise to winds resulting in the displacement of less dense air by air of greater density. Wind speeds vary with the steepness of the gradient in density. In general, in mid to high latitudes wind speeds increase with elevation. Above the 300hPa pressure level, an elevation of 8 kilometres, winds are more extreme over a much greater area than at the surface. About 30% of the atmosphere lies above the 300hPa pressure level encompassing all of what we are accustomed to call the stratosphere. But ozone exists in the troposphere. It is not possible for variations in air density in just 30% of the atmosphere to drive surface pressure. When we study lapse rates, we discover that ozone truncates the lapse rate of temperature with altitude well below what we call the tropopause and increasingly so in higher latitudes. At the poles the entire atmospheric column contains ozone and the air is accordingly warmer than the surface of the planet. To understand how climate evolves we have to comprehend the ‘ozonosphere’.

There is a strong horizontal component to the movement of the air in the ‘stratosphere’ but in winter there is an increasing tendency to the vertical. This is assisted by the ascent of the cold point to the upper limits of the stratosphere and strong heating associated with an increase in ozone partial pressure.

There is a marked gradient in ozone partial pressure across the polar vortex that manifests strongly in winter, with ozone rich air adjacent to cold, dense, ozone deficient mesospheric air inside of the vortex. Polar cyclones that transport near surface air to the top of the atmospheric column. The polar margin of this chain of cyclones gives rise to the polar arm of the Jet stream while its equatorial side constitutes the subtropical arm of the Jet Stream. Ascent throughout the atmospheric column near the poles is balanced by descent in the mid latitudes and over the pole itself. These are inseparable elements of the ‘weather sphere’. If we think the troposphere is the weather-sphere we miss the point entirely. We exclude the actual driver of the global circulation.

In the mid latitudes there is a strong gradient in air density between relatively cold surface air of polar origin that is rich in ozone aloft and relatively ozone deficient air in the mid latitude High Pressure cells. Whereas mid latitude High Pressure cells are warmer than Polar Cyclones at the surface the temperature relationship is reversed aloft. The resulting differences in air density that manifest above 500hPa give rise to the subtropical arm of the Jet stream.

The climate system is variable on all time scales because the polar vortex responds to change in surface pressure and surface pressure is a product of the system. In other words, an external influence can nudge the system into a contraction or expansionary phase that is self promoting. Climate modellers are master craftsmen in the nudging realm and will readily understand this dynamic. Economists will be familiar with the notion of the concept of pump priming in the hope that government spending or a reduction in the rate of interest charged by banks can stimulate private sector activity that is multiplied in its impact by comparison with the original stimulus. In the polar atmosphere there is a similar dynamic at work via the dependency of the flow of mesospheric air on surface pressure. It is only in winter that surface pressure climbs to the point necessary to support the descent of mesospheric air into the stratosphere but much more so in the Antarctic than the Arctic. This is a peculiarity of geography. The Eurasian land mass and the East Asian High in particular has prior rights to atmospheric mass in winter and it is only in northern spring that surface pressure peaks over the Arctic.

Speculatively, under the impact of the solar wind on the electromagnetic properties of the atmosphere this mechanism is capable of a gradual shift in atmospheric mass over a cycle that appears to be 80-100 years in length. At any rate, that is the sort of cycle length that is consistent with the change in atmospheric pressure in Antarctica.




[Corrections to the first two graphs – the green line should read 67-76, not 77-86]




In the Arctic surface pressure peaks in March, April and May with a secondary peak in October-November due to ozone heating in the southern hemisphere. Surface pressure is most variable in January and February. When we study surface air temperature we find it is most variable in January and February over the entire realm between the Arctic and 30° south latitude. See:




At the heart of the Antarctic continent, surface pressure peaks in mid winter. Surface pressure in mid winter has declined by about 10 hPa over the last seven decades reflecting a one way shift of atmospheric mass to other parts of the globe. Some loss of mass is apparent as low as 45° south latitude.

South of 30° south latitude surface temperature variability is greatest in July and August, the mid-winter months of the southern hemisphere. That timing coincides with a time of great variability in surface atmospheric pressure at 60-70° south latitude (where polar cyclones form) as seen below.

The timing of the surface temperature increase is like a heartbeat. The heart beats over the Arctic and the Antarctic. That rhythmic beat is due to the flux of ozone in the air and while the pulse rate does not vary in time the blood pressure certainly does.



On the margins of the Antarctic continent where the atmosphere is relatively rich in ozone (by comparison with the mesospheric core) there is a marked trough in surface pressure in October. Pressure has declined by 10 hPa over the period of record. A secondary peak in surface pressure in January is due to ozone heating in the northern hemisphere.






The data in the two figures above informs us that the primary driver in the distribution of atmospheric mass is solar heating in summer. The secondary driver is the flux in ozone partial pressure at 60-70° south latitude. A tertiary and very much smaller driver is the flux in the ozone content of the air in the Arctic in winter. Why is the Arctic dominant in determining the short term flux surface temperature as far south as 30° south latitude? Because, so far as ozone is concerned the northern hemisphere is supercharged. Why is the Antarctic dominant in the long run? Because the shift is over a time scale of 80-100 years and it governs the base rate of ozone partial pressure across the entire ozonosphere. Using a sailing analogy, the Antarctic produces the big swells, the Arctic the surface chop.

There are local effects on pressure due to the presence of landmasses heating in summer, cooling in winter but the land masses don’t move in the scale of a human lifetime so this effect on surface pressure is climate neutral.



The study of climate change as it manifests on an inter-annual and longer time scales requires a focus on atmospheric dynamics in high southern latitudes. These latitudes and the southern hemisphere in particular are the least studied part of the global atmosphere. With the advent of satellite technology it is now possible to come to grips with the engine driving climate change.

It is worth noting that changes that occur in the atmosphere and at the surface that are wrought by ozone can be greater in amplitude from one year to the next than the change that has occurred over the entire 68 years of the reanalysis record*.

The ENSO phenomenon is related to changes in atmospheric surface pressure. The High pressure zone in the South East Pacific that is the origin of the trades that flow across the Pacific is the most dynamically changeable part of the global atmosphere.

The first and second IPCC reports were issued prior to the reanalysis record becoming available. The IPCC made up its mind before it was in a position to examine and discover the engine of natural climate change that can explain the pattern of temperature variation that we see today, a pattern that is quite plainly a response to a radiation absorber that is most unevenly distributed, just like the pattern of surface temperature change, different according to latitude and time of the year.

Five subsequent reports have come from the IPCC and there is still no evidence, despite the ‘hiatus’ in the increase in global temperature, with no statistically significant increase in temperature since 1998, that the IPCC is aware, or willing to acknowledge, that natural, reversible agents of climate change are very likely wholly responsible for all of the observed change in surface temperature over the period of record.

It is ozone that is responsible for change in weather on all time scales via change in the global circulation of the air and in cloud cover. Until the IPCC can quantify the change due to ozone and separate out that part, if any, that is the response to greenhouse gases of anthropogenic origin the United Nations Organization is unworthy of our support.

As taxpayers and voters, we should withdraw support from governments that embrace this nonsense. The matter is now urgent. The global economy is teetering on the edge of collapse. Resources devoted to inappropriate ends are needed elsewhere. Developing societies, the great bulk of humanity, need cheap energy. So called ‘renewable’ energy sources need to account for capital costs and payback periods in the absence of support from the public purse. Income distribution is now as skewed as it was prior to 1929. The masses, the unwashed middle classes, the proletariat and a whole generation of young people who cannot find employment are on the edge of an abyss.

Nero fiddles while Rome burns.




*Kalnay.E and Coauthors,1996: The NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis 40-year Project. Bull.Amer. Meteor. Soc.

1st IPPC report 1990

2nd IPCC Report 1995



Erland (Erl) Happ lives in the south west of Western Australia where the wherewithal to make things, is not always at hand. As the son of a country storekeeper in a depressed mixed farming community Erl learnt to remove nails from fruit cases, straighten and re-apply. Release came via university training in social sciences at the expense of the State Education Department, ten years teaching, and careers as an owner builder,  stoneware potter, grape farmer and wine maker including a brief stint in local government. In 1994, after fifteen years learning by doing, a site for grapes was selected on the basis of a close study of the factors responsible for the character of the grape on the day of picking. The origins of change in the weather is a matter of interest in Western Australia where winter rainfall invigorates a thin margin on the edge of an inordinate expanse of geologically Archean, hot, dry country. Erl’s research is self funded. His book on climate is appearing in serialized form at

Experience in recovering nails and bits of wire is formative. One looks at ‘government’ differently when you have to go cap in hand to ask permission to drive a few nails, dig a hole in the ground, plant a grape vine or cut down a tree. 

  1. Paul2 permalink
    March 13, 2016 10:41 pm

    Try telling this bloke:

    • March 13, 2016 11:35 pm

      Conveniently confusing weather with climate when purpose suits, but not otherwise. Old warmunist tactic. A bit threadbare by now. Viner’s snow, Bloomberg’s Sandy, Slingo’s Somerset Levels, and all that.

    • roger permalink
      March 14, 2016 12:23 pm

      Live webcams link to the sun loungers and beaches of Svalbard.

      What A E Pratt!

      Terrifying indeed!

  2. March 13, 2016 11:13 pm

    This is what I would say to Ambrose: Why not we ask the people in Svalbard if they enjoy warmer days in winter? If they do, and the reckon they are materially better off when its warmer then lets exclude all the parts of the globe that are uncomfortably cool from our reckoning of the temperature/welfare statistic. What do you reckon? Perhaps we will chop out the entire winter hemisphere?

  3. March 13, 2016 11:32 pm

    I will have to study up on this hypothesis. Was not anywhere remotely in my years of AGW research. So until I have tracked down any relevant papers, reproduced some of the intriguing charts, thunk about it… Dunno. But I do congratulate Paul for graduating to the select few blog equivalents of scientific journals. Let the ‘peer review’ of this intriguing guest post begin, in the new world of open on line science. Regards to you both.

  4. March 13, 2016 11:51 pm

    Ristvan start your research by entering ‘annular modes’ into a search engine. First up on Google you will likely see see this:

    And discover this statement: ‘there is still no single widely accepted theory as to why annular modes are so predominant in Earth’s atmosphere’.

    So, now you have a theory. It’s for you to judge whether it makes sense in interpreting the atmosphere, cloud cover and surface temperature dynamics.

    You will also read this: ‘Both annular modes have large impacts on the sea surface temperature fields of their respective hemispheres.’ AND ‘Recent numerical simulations suggest the coupling between the stratospheric and tropospheric circulations has practical applications for weather forecasting and also implications for tropospheric climate change.’

    But this is nonsense: ‘We do know that variations in the annular modes are driven by changes in the north-south flux of westerly momentum by waves in the midlatitude upper troposphere. And there is good evidence that the annular modes would not exist in the absence of positive feedbacks between the induced changes in the zonal wind and the wave fluxes.’

    Instead, you can substitute this statement: ‘Annular modes represent ring like shifts of atmospheric mass related to density change associated with ozone heating of the atmosphere.’

    Sensible or not? I value your comment.

  5. March 14, 2016 3:17 am

    Thanks for an interesting exposition. I have saved this article for further study.

    One point you might explain is the lower density of the ozone layer.

    (I am not challenging these statements about a low-density ozone layer. However, ozone has a molecular weight of about 48 while the average molecular weight of dry air at sea level is much less, nearer the molecular weight of nitrogen, 34. If ozone forms in the upper atmosphere by the action of UV radiation, would not the heavier molecule descend as well as diffuse? It’s not clear from your text why and how ozone is special.)

    The chemistry and physics are very complex as anyone can see by reading a textbook in atmospheric physics. I suggest that you include some boxes interspersed in your text with the gist of some basic ideas. As it is, I will have to crack open a textbook I have not read for a couple of years. Those who do not have an atmospheric physics text may be lost.

    Your text might be improved by using boxes to contain explanations now embedded within complex sentences. This might improve readability.

    For example, you make indirect reference to Rossby waves about the polar vortex. A box could contain a more explicit reference while avoiding messing up your text with details.

    I am confident that when you review your text you will see how to simplify the main line of your thought by segregating the basic chemistry and physics from the way the climate system operates.

    Also, it would seem from your presentation that “ozone holes” form naturally, something I have suspected for a long while. Have I understood you correctly?

    • March 14, 2016 4:46 am

      The lower density of air that contains ozone (not ozone itself) is due to its ability to absorb at 9-10um in the infrared. This warms any air containing ozone and reduces the density of the entire parcel of which ozone may constitute only 0-20 parts per million. This is what creates an annular ring of warm low density air at 60-70° south latitude that is responsible for the formation of polar cyclones, collectively reducing surface air pressure to about 990 hPa all year round in that latitude band. In the heart of an individual polar cyclone pressure can fall to about 950 hPa.

      In contrast to what you will read in most climate texts, or Wikipedia, It is primarily this infrared absorbing process that is responsible for the warmth of the stratosphere, not heating by short wave radiation. The energy available in the short wave bands below 1hPa is a tiny fraction of that available in the outgoing infrared. Most of the short wave band is used up above 1hPa. There is a tiny fraction left that will disassociate the ozone molecule. That wave length is mostly exhausted in the stratosphere but less so in the tropics where there is less ozone to absorb the wave lengths that photolyze ozone and less also in the southern hemisphere that is relatively deficient in ozone. Hence the presence of damaging UV wave lengths at the surface that changes with latitude. The length of the atmospheric path increases in winter, using up that destructive wave length and allowing an increase in ozone partial pressure.

      The high atomic weight of ozone explains its susceptibility to photolysis by wave lengths that are longer than those that disassociate oxygen into O+O making the accidental combination of O3 possible.

      Re diffusion and descent. Yes, both processes are active. Ozone is limited at lower altitudes by its solubility in H2O and attack by NOx, both abundant in the lower atmosphere and uplifted strongly near the equator. Above 1hPa the many products of the recombination of ionised Nitrogen limit the lifetime of an ozone molecule and especially so at the winter pole.Hence the gradual cooling of the mesosphere with elevation as ozone partial pressure falls away.

      Yes, it can and will be demonstrated that the ozone hole that forms in the lower stratosphere in the Antarctic is primarily a response to the uplift of NOx from the lower atmosphere that is entrained in the enhanced uplift of ozone warmed air that in late spring, Surface pressure falls over Antarctica in spring as the northern hemisphere cools. Ozone enriched air that contains the seeds of its own destruction (in NOx from the lower atmosphere) occupies more and more of the polar cap at and about the 50 hPa pressure. level and the temperature of the air in the polar cap rapidly increases in spring. The enhancement of the circulation so created results in swift ozone depletion starting in September. By November conditions have changed substantially. Gordon Dobson’s colleagues discovered the ozone hole in 1956 long before Freon was released into the atmosphere via scrapping of domestic refrigerators and spray can propellants.Those who fail to check their history are doomed to make mistakes. An incidental effect is that the injection of NOx into the stratosphere results in the seasonal plunge in the ozone content of the stratosphere in late spring outside the polar vortex, substantially weakening the jet stream.

      Re complexity: There is a limit to which one can make comprehensible a complex subject when the conventional wisdom is deficient in so many areas. There are not a lot of props to lean on. So, my exposition takes 30+ chapters. Its hard no doubt for people to discard the notion that heating at the equator drives the atmospheric circulation. Round every corner there is a new surprise.

      Re heterogeneity and homogeneity of the air. The convectional processes associated with ozone heating result in uplift of ozone to the 10hPa level over the poles, accounting in part for the warmth of the stratosphere at the poles. The stratosphere has strong winds. Ozone partial pressure is greater at 10hpa throughout the stratosphere than it is at 30hPa where the actual population of ozone molecules is greatest. This is a product of convection. Now, in order to understand that you have to discard the notion of ‘stratification’.

      Apart from ozone, the atmosphere below 10hPa is supposedly well mixed.

      As you can see, its a big subject.

  6. Ben Vorlich permalink
    March 14, 2016 7:51 am

    erl happ
    Is there an error in the first two charts? Should the green Av77-86 be Av67-76 as in the third?

    Otherwise interesting stuff, I have a personal that everything in heaven and earth works in cycles.

    • March 14, 2016 8:58 am

      Ben, Well spotted. Indeed an error. Should be consecutive decades.

  7. IanY permalink
    March 14, 2016 8:51 am

    Fascinating, Erl Happ. It will take me awhile to get my head around all you’ve written.
    What has intrigued me for so long is that the ozone ‘hole’ annual animated gif files put out by NOAA (?) since the 70’s almost always show that, as the ‘hole’ develops, there is a concomitant increase in the ozone concentration around the ‘hole’, reversed as the ‘hole’ weakens. They indicate to me that the ozone is pushed aside and then returns with very little depletion.
    I should appreciate any comment you might make on this.

    • March 14, 2016 1:00 pm

      IanY. Your observation is correct. Ozone partial pressure is always high outside the polar vortex and low within it because the air inside the vortex is from the mesosphere. In Spring the flow of mesospheric air gradually withers away as surface pressure increases. The vortex accordingly contracts. Increasing ozone levels (due to progressively less NOx from the mesosphere) sets up massive convection from September uplifting NOx from the lower atmosphere (there is no troposphere in high latitudes) and the upshot is a strong and relatively sudden reduction in the ozone levels in the lower stratosphere. By November its all over Red Rover. The ‘final warming’ represents a transition to summer conditions where, in Antarctica between December and February the upper stratosphere has a warm rather than a cold core and the wind at 10hPa reverses from a westerly to an easterly origin.

      The ozone hole coincides with an annual ozone maxima outside its margins. The reduction in ozone within the ‘hole’ does not translate to losses in lower latitudes as demonstrated here:
      Denisamblers paper confirms the point that its all about atmospheric dynamics. See

      • IanY permalink
        March 15, 2016 7:32 am

        Thank you, Erl – much appreciated.

  8. March 14, 2016 9:02 am

    “The IPCC made up its mind before it was in a position to examine and discover the engine of natural climate change….”

    That was never its brief, it started with a conclusion and proceeded to put data around it.

    UNFCCC Article 2 states:

    “Ultimate objective to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system … within a time frame sufficient to:
    allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change
    ensure that food production is not threatened
    enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner”

    I look forward to more on your concept and I will certainly visit your website.

    I have looked at the “Ozone Hole” from the historical and political angle and wrote this for the Science and Public Policy Institute in 2010:

    Check out

    “Another Day, Another Dollar, CFC’s and the UN”

    • March 14, 2016 9:51 am

      Dennisambler. Re ‘Another day another dollar.’ Enlightening. Indeed a sad and sorry tale.

      It was Dobson’s paper that I came across documenting the existence of the Ozone Hole in 1956. That review of his career is the only publication of his that I have came across.

      Dobson was succeeded at Oxford by Sir John Houghton who co-chair of the Nobel Peace Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) scientific assessment working group. He was the lead editor of first three IPCC reports. He was professor in atmospheric physics at the University of Oxford, former Chief Executive at the Met Office and founder of the Hadley Centre.

      I suspect that Dobson was pressured to stop talking about how Total Column Ozone mapped surface pressure, a discovery he made in the 1920s.

      Dobson observed that wind speed increased with elevation by using surveying techniques to establish the height and rate of movement of clouds. That led to the measurement of ozone. By 1956 his colleague Goody was talking about treating the troposphere and the stratosphere as an entity because of the ozone/surface pressure relationship. Houghton’s influence lives on in the notion that planetary waves originating in the troposphere are responsible for the temperature of the stratosphere….everything needs a bottom-up mode of causation if one is to rule out the influence of the upper atmosphere on the ‘troposphere’. The upper atmosphere is so obviously influenced by the sun that it needs to be neutralized, excluded and ignored. So much bullshit. So much obfuscation.

      Dobson began lecturing at Oxford in 1920. He wrote: The temperature of the stratosphere was generally regarded as being controlled by the absorption and emission of longwave radiation, the chief absorbing gases being water vapor, carbon dioxide, and ozone.

      Today, it is maintained that the temperature of the stratosphere is a response to the absorption of short wave radiation. Absolute nonsense.

  9. March 14, 2016 10:08 am

    Reblogged this on Tallbloke's Talkshop and commented:
    Erl Happ explains: To understand how climate evolves we have to comprehend the ‘ozonosphere’.’

    • March 14, 2016 12:36 pm

      Thanks Oldbrew. It’s going to take a long time to have enough people understand enough about the climate system to perceive that they are currently being hoodwinked.

  10. March 14, 2016 12:04 pm

    The emphasis on ozone is similar to mine but differs in certain respects.

    Only time and observations will indicate which approach is the more accurate.

  11. Broadlands permalink
    March 14, 2016 4:29 pm

    RE: Stratospheric Ozone: It has been widely accepted for more than three decades that the Earth’s ozone layer has been depleted due to the Sun’s ultraviolet light-induced destruction of CFCs in the atmosphere. But is this true? A retrospective look at the CFC-ozone depletion theory suggests otherwise….

    In 1974 a theory proposed by Molina and Rowland (NATURE v. 249, 28 June 1974) warned us that CFCs were destroying the ozone layer. To study the situation, in late 1978 NASA scientists put the Nimbus 7 satellite in orbit with the TOMS (Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer) instrument on it. The next 6 years of global data revealed a steady decline in stratospheric ozone. This decline, coupled with the steady increases in CFCs in the atmosphere, appeared to confirm the theory… atmospheric chlorine was going up and ozone was going down. Then, in 1985 the Antarctic ozone hole was discovered. This seasonal and geographically local loss of ozone added to the correlation with the global decline. But, there was still no direct evidence that could bring the inferred relationship between global inorganic chlorine and ozone together.

    The Molina-Rowland theory has never been shown to work in the real atmosphere as originally described. They theorized in 1974 that peak ozone depletion from CFC chlorine would take place in the MIDDLE stratosphere between 25 and 35 km. They asserted in 1975 (Rev. Geophys. Space Phys, p. 9) that negligible CFC photodissociation to inorganic chlorine species would take place below about 25 km. But in testing the theory subsequent research showed that (a) the large decreases in ozone were taking place in the LOWER stratosphere below about 25 km  (Stolarski et al., 1992, SCIENCE, 256, 342), (b) Inorganic chlorine (the only Cl that can interact chemically with ozone) below 25 km is primarily HCl and CLONO2. These compounds are so-called reservoir species and in addition were shown to be derived predominantly from non-CFCs. See Zander et al. (1992, J. Atmos. Chem. 15, 171, Fig. 1 and tables). They showed that below 25 km (where Stolarski et al. 1992 said large ozone decreases had occurred) only 30% of the inorganic chlorine came from CFCs while the remaining 70% came from methyl chloride, methyl chloroform and carbon tetrachloride. (c) the ozone-destructive ClO molecules peak above the middle atmosphere near 40 km with little or none present below 25 km where ozone was being destroyed. In other words, after actual measurements were made nothing much in the subsequent data fitted the CFC theory very well. 

    Even in 1986 some papers were published which specifically noted that the 1974 Molina-Rowland theory (the homogeneous, gas-phase theory) would not work to explain the Antarctic ozone hole. A totally new theory was proposed. It required ultra-cold temperatures, the formation of solid nitric acid trihydrate crystals in polar stratospheric clouds and some truly esoteric chemistry. This is the so-called heterogeneous reaction theory. One of the proposers of this new theory? The same Sherwood Rowland who had proposed the original gas-phase theory in 1974 was a co-author with Solomon et al. in NATURE, 1986, v. 321 p. 755. To test this new theory in the fall of 1987 some high altitude NASA aircraft flew into the wind-driven polar vortex and into the ozone hole making measurements as they went. In 1991 the results were published and a “smoking gun” emerged: In the ozone hole when ozone was observed going down the ozone-destroying ClO molecules were seen going up. The world received these results in the polar vortex as an indictment of the whole stratosphere… even though the results were highly seasonal and very limited geographically. No such “smoking gun” has ever been found outside of the Antarctic polar region. Why? Simply because the non-polar situation is completely different. At mid-latitudes most of the ozone resides below 25 km, but, as explained above, most of the ClO resides near 40 km. The two are spatially separated and cannot interact with one another. Clearly, no gas-phase chemistry can explain any lower stratospheric ozone losses, and the lower stratosphere is exactly where the big losses were found. Only a modified heterogeneous theory using volcanic aerosols as a substitute for the NAT crystals can even come close. What has really happened is that the results of the Antarctic studies have simply been extrapolated to the rest of the world and global CFC-induced ozone depletion has become an entrenched ‘fact’. 

    Looking back at the earliest data (beginning with the International Geophysical Year, 1957-1958) one sees that global ozone was rising throughout the period from 1957 to 1975. Ozone peaked in the late 70s and then declined, returning by 1985 to where it was in 1965. It is ironic that the Molina-Rowland 1974 June 28th paper in NATURE coincided with a May 31st paper in SCIENCE by London and Kelley ( confirming an UPWARD trend in global total atmospheric ozone in the 1960s. It was an unfortunate serendipity that the inception of the Nimbus 7 TOMS experiment began just as the upward trend in stratospheric ozone was peaking. The widely publicized steady downward trend in global ozone was not seen until the early 80s. A 4% depletion of ozone from 1979 to 1985 was considered panicky at the time. But, placed in perspective with the pre-TOMS data this depletion simply brought the average global ozone level back down to near 300 Dobson units, the identical value London and Kelley gave for the late 60s. Then, from 1985 through 1990, and in spite of a 25% increase in cumulative CFC-chlorine, global ozone remained virtually unchanged (Herman et al. J. Geophys. Res. 1991, Table 2). Their 1985-1990 average was 301±2 DU. No NET global ozone depletion since the 1960s? Strange results if CFCs are the cause and global ozone depletion the effect. In short, a direct chemical connection between global ozone and CFCs remains unproven, even today. 

    • March 14, 2016 4:36 pm


      All that is as I understand it.

      In contrast, the observed ozone changes match solar variations much better.

      Contrary to established climatology which proposes more ozone at all levels when the sun is active the truth seems to be that ozone above 45km declines when the sun is more active and increases when the sun is less active.

      Those variations feed down from mesosphere to troposphere within the descending polar vortices at each pole and that is what skews the gradient of tropopause height between equator and poles to allow climate zone shifting with changes in global cloudiness.

      • Broadlands permalink
        March 14, 2016 5:51 pm

        Stephen… Do the solar variations match the steady INCREASE in global ozone in the 1960s and 1970s and the steady decline back to the mid-80s? The “worrisome” decline in global ozone began, by coincidence, with the Nimbus 7, TOMS satellite, but leveled off back to ~300 DU. Most charts do not show the rise..only the decline from 1979-80.

        My point was to try and illustrate that the Nobel-prize winning CFC theory and the subsequent data do not fit.

      • March 14, 2016 5:57 pm

        Ozone increased during the period of low solar cycle 21 in the 60s and 70s

        It decreased with high solar activity during cycles 22 and 23.

        It has been recorded as increasing above 45km during low cycle 24 – contrary to expectations.

        It is the level above 45km, the mesosphere, which provides the source of ozone descending through the polar vortices.

    • March 15, 2016 3:59 am

      Broadlands. You have nailed it.

      Re your words: ‘The widely publicized steady downward trend in global ozone was not seen until the early 80s. A 4% depletion of ozone from 1979 to 1985 was considered panicky at the time. But, placed in perspective with the pre-TOMS data this depletion simply brought the average global ozone level back down to near 300 Dobson units, the identical value London and Kelley gave for the late 60s.’

      Here is a broader perspective. You don’t have to measure ozone to understand what has happened. The temperature of the Polar Cap over Antarctica increased strongly from 1948 to 1978. Many commentators used to talk about the Great Pacific Climate Shift when the temperature of tropical waters abruptly increased by 1°C in the period 1976-1978. Successive large El Nino events occurred. The increase in the temperature at 10hpa over the Antarctic continent coincided with a strong decline in atmospheric pressure in high latitudes, a decline that ceased at the 30hPa level about 1998.

      Since 1978 the temperature of the Antarctic atmosphere has been declining. The decline came in some months early in the period, other months later in the period and until recently there was only one month that showed no decline from 1978 levels on a decadal basis. That was October. Its the month that has seen the greatest increase in temperature over the period 1948-1978 and no decline since. Yes, the ozone hole month. The appearance of the ozone hole coincides with the stratosphere being warmest. That should tell you something. Warmth enhances convection, the vortex shrinks, uplift occurs over the continent itself dragging in NOX rich air from the near surface layers. Check Ozone and NOx levels at 50hPa at either pole in spring here:

  12. Broadlands permalink
    March 14, 2016 9:51 pm

    Stephen… There is indeed a sunspot Minimum in 1964 and a Maximum in 1979, but the values before and in between do not fit. Are you mixing global ozone and polar ozone? Global ozone peaks in the lower stratosphere does it not? Polar ozone is ‘isolated’ in the wind-driven vortices. Perhaps I’m confused?

    A global ozone chart during the ups and downs can be seen here:

    • March 14, 2016 11:49 pm

      I would suggest that over multidecadal periods of time the amount of ozone descending through the polar vortices affects global ozone.

      • Broadlands permalink
        March 15, 2016 12:44 am

        Interesting suggestion. All we need now are data to support it. As you know, the highest ozone levels are found just outside the polar vortices, at the highest latitudes. The lowest are at the equator.

      • March 15, 2016 4:04 am

        Stephen. Inside the vortex is an ozone free zone. The air descending via the polar vortex descends from the mesosphere, that’s correct. But the mesosphere is cold because it is poor in ozone and rich in the ozone antagonist called NOx. The influence of the vortex on the stratosphere is always to erode ozone levels.

      • March 15, 2016 7:58 am

        Hi Erl.

        The mesosphere is not ozone free hence the finding that ozone above 45km increases when the sun is less active.

        I suggest that the amount of ozone in the mesosphere varies so as to alter the overall balance of ozone destruction/creation for the globe as a whole.

        The influence on the stratosphere is indeed always to erode ozone levels but sometimes that erosion is less than required to maintain balance and sometimes it is more than required to maintain balance.

        The net effect is to alter the gradient of tropopause height between equator and poles so as to allow the climate zones to shift to and fro latitudinally.

        It is that latitudinal shifting that changes the behaviour of the jet stream tracks and thus the level of global cloudiness.

      • Broadlands permalink
        March 16, 2016 4:26 pm

        Stephen…(and Erl): There was a discussion of stratospheric ozone and solar influence back in 1973. You can read more about it in this paper…

      • March 16, 2016 9:51 pm

        Back in 1972 I imagine that all they would have had to rely on was scattered measures of total column ozone from the surface and very little data the southern hemisphere.

        Temperature of the stratosphere is a good proxy. Given the knowledge of the atmosphere that became available after 1979 with satellite data and with the availability of computers filling in the gaps became a lot easier.

        There are very few places round the globe that developed consistent and reliable networks to record weather. In the technologically advanced and wealthy US the climate data necessary to support research did not exist in the southern states prior to the 1950’s. In Australia an effort was made from the 1890’s but coverage has always been sparse.

        There is a good reason why Kalnay et al did not apply their reanalysis techniques to the years prior to 1948. Others start with the satellite era. The latest Japanese effort covers just 55 years, the conservative approach. If the Hadley centre goes back to the 1870s they are ‘heroic’ in my view.

      • Broadlands permalink
        March 17, 2016 1:39 am

        Erl…You guess… “Back in 1972 I imagine that all they would have had to rely on was scattered measures of total column ozone from the surface and very little data the southern hemisphere.”

        True about limited data, but the paper cited (Angell & Korshover, 1973) shows southern hemispherical data, including Halley Bay.

        In addition, see Ropar and Gray…

        Note that the “magical” threshold temperatures for NATs (-78°C) were achieved.

      • March 16, 2016 10:16 pm

        Two very significant pointers as to the relationship between the ‘startosphere’ and the troposphere:

        That ‘startosphere’ is deliberate.

        Second: Google:
        Investigation on Evolutive Laws of Geopotential Height of Two Poles and the Equator at 500hPa Geopotential Height Field. Authors SONG Guo-Qiong, YAN Hua-Sheng,YANG Su-Yu,LI Wan-Biao

        Conclusions that are unknown to Western science:
        1. Arctic geopotential height oscillates behind Antarctic, then the initial region of climatic change is the South Pole.
        2. zonal wind index in SH oscillates behind Antarctic geopotential height.

        How much interest? Just two citations, both Chinese.

        The abstract from the second citation reads:

        The climatic variability in the meridional mode of global atmospheric circulation is investigated by using the monthly geopotential height fields at 1000, 500, and 100 hPa during 1948 and 2004. The data are taken from the NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis. The leading meridional mode shows opposite characteristics in its spatial and temporal distributions at the high and low latitudes at the three levels. The latitude differences are significantly enlarged in recent 60 years. An abrupt change occurred in the mid-1970s, leading to the phases of the first mode reversed at the low and high latitudes in both hemispheres. The variability is generally larger in SH at 1000 and 500 hPa, but in NH at 100 hPa. In contrast, the second meridional mode shows different features in its spatial and temporal distributions. It mainly manifests as the AAO and AO at 1000 and 100 hPa. The two oscillations have a negative correlation at interannual and interdecadal scales, and show strong anti-phase variations at the SH and NH high latitudes at 100 hPa level, suggesting that the mode could connect the SH and NH circulation at mid- and high latitudes and affect global climate change.

        That’s as close as climate science gets to understanding the role of ozone in climate change and in the case of both the Chinese and the American studies the role of ozone in driving geopotential height (a measure of air density below the point of measurement) is unrealized.

  13. March 15, 2016 1:45 pm

    Stephen, The ozone content of mesospheric air entering the vortex is always much less than the air in the stratosphere and to my understanding it varies very little. It is the content of ozone destroying compounds labelled NOx that is critical because it varies with solar activity and the relative inflation of the atmosphere according to the intensity of short wave radiation.

    The mesosphere and the stratosphere know nothing about balance. We can see from change in surface pressure in Antarctica that the movement has been in one direction for the last seventy years.

    The tropopause (point at which temperature stops falling with elevation) height is some kilometres lower when surface pressure is low than when it is high. That was first documented by the French Ballooonist De Bort prior to 1900.

    How do you define the tropopause?

    What do you mean by the ‘gradient in tropopause height between the equator and the poles’ and what determines that gradient?

  14. Broadlands permalink
    March 16, 2016 12:56 am

    Erl… For some reason I’m unable to reply directly to your unique definition of El Nino, but NOAA’s latest “transition” to a new database has again changed virtually all of the older data…most temperatures having been adjusted downward. How this can meaningfully be used historically is a puzzle. The “Great Pacific Climate Shift” is now a global latitude band?
    The NOAA ENSOs compare with the HadlSST1.1 database.
    All very confusing.

    • March 16, 2016 10:41 am

      Broadlands. It’s called the great Pacific Climate Shift and there will be a number of interpretations if you Google the term. Just checking, Wikipedia suggests that prior to 1976 La Ninas were strong and long. Afterwar 1976 El NInos were long and strong. Others talk of change in the PDO.

      The Pacific ENSO phenomenon is seen in other oceans, but less strongly. Waters cool when wind strength picks up and there is more upwelling of cold waters in the East. The pattern of temperature change in ENSO 3.4 is the pattern of change in the entire tropical bands but writ large. The amplitude of change is higher and period longer with a tendency to change that is opposite in sign to that in the mid altitudes. There is a rate of mixing change going on that changes temperature by replacing one body of water with another different body that hitherto has been below the surface.

      I am not re-defining El Nino. I am looking at larger entities that are less subject to variability that is unrelated to change in wider spheres of interest. ENSO change is not directly and immediately related to cloud cover. Change in other latitudes is more closely related to cloud cover.

      Accordingly, I see change in the ENSO zone and the narrow band of waters across the Pacific as of little real interest. On decadal time scales the waters of the entire tropics reflect what’s happening across a wide band of latitudes, but on year to year time scales ENSO is all over the place. More to come on my blog.

      • Broadlands permalink
        March 16, 2016 1:07 pm

        If you want to see the actual data for ALL the ENSOs, the Hadley database, HadlSST 1.1, goes all the way back to 1870. It may come as a surprise to many that El Nino and La Nina are of little real interest. The media spends a great deal of time discussing it and the climatologists wrestle with forecasting it. The unpredictable nature of it and its impact drives them crazy? You might note that the effects of the ENSO are much less seen, if at all, in the northern high latitudes of the Eastern Hemisphere.
        Look forward to seeing more…

  15. March 26, 2016 1:02 am

    Eyes glazed over at the 50% mark. All this to conclude that we should not fund the UNIPCC? Whew!


    Fritz Mehrtens

    Lieutenant Colonel, USA-Ret

    Irvine , CA- USA

    To move forward, we must prepare the way.

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