For science the North Atlantic
is a too big case!

Dr. Arnd Bernaerts
4 min readMar 12, 2021


Has the North Atlantic become the newest playground for climate science? A subtle shift in ocean current hint at dramatic dangers is said. Leading climatologists have raised alarm in NATURE recently. Support has come from the New York Times, (March 03, 2021). The story was met with great approval from NYT readers: Fantastic article! Fantastic visualization! Amazing graphics!

It is undoubtedly of high journalistic quality. But little attention the NYT has payed whether the report conveys credible facts or an accumulation of wishful thinking according meteorological terms and computer modeling.

For too many scientists the world is still flat, due to too little interest, understanding and observations of ocean affairs, as discussed at MEDIUM (Nov.30, 2020). Isn’t it amazing that all discussion about the North Atlantic and its climate impact on the climate takes place without regard on its dimension, temperature and salinity values, and its fluid structure? Instead the talk is about Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), which is a statistical tool based upon the average anomalies of sea surface temperatures (SST) in the North Atlantic basin. No data from sub-surface layers are included, which means that data from the basin with 3’500 meters depths and an average temperature of plus four degree Celsius are ignored.

Instead of acknowledging that the NA is far too complex to understand “subtle shifts” without data from top to bottom, they claim to have not only looked at a few meteorological data sets, but up to a dozen, finding them sufficient to “tell a consistent story of how the AMOC evolved over the last 1600 years”. Such boosted assessments seem to become frequently, since, for example Stefan Rahmstorf in 2015 at “”, covered already 1100 years.

How can one take seriously a study that ignores the subject of investigation, namely the North Atlantic? Using proxy data instead is misguided and irresponsible. At most proxy-data may tell that air sea temperatures have been warmer or colder for some time, but nothing at all about the status and movement within the water-body at any time in the past. To claim that one can make statements about the future behavior of the water masses is speculative, arrogant and naive.

But it is possible to bring more nonsense to the publication. Just a few days after the NATURE article, Michael E. Mann, professor of atmospheric science and director, Earth System Science Center, Penn State, made himself noticeable in SCIENCE, on March 5th, with an article: “Multidecadal climate oscillations during the past millennium driven by volcanic forcing.” He and his co-authors assume that “the AMO is very likely an artifact of climate change driven by human forcing in the modern era and natural forcing in pre-industrial times”. Not only are the dimensions of the North Atlantic are ignored completely, but the complete reliance on climate modeling, by defining AMO as a 40–60 year timescale oscillation originating in coupled North Atlantic ocean-atmosphere processes indicates helplessness.

Leaving the outlandish assumption by M. Mann, aside that volcanic forcing has been replaced by anthropogenic forcing, any believe in modeling and model-forcing has great limits. This point was immediately discussed by Willis Eschenbach at WUWT (see Link-Ref.) with the clear view that even a model which can reproduce the past absolutely flawlessly may, and in fact very likely will, give totally incorrect predictions of the future. In a complex analysis, but convincing approach, he requires distinguishing between the ‘model world’ and the ‘real world’, as it follows:

The models do show the modeled patterns associated with the modeled purported AMO when the model is externally forced by modeled forcings, they do not show the modeled patterns arising from modeled internal variability.

The two essays in Nature and Science rely on freewheeling assumptions and consideration. The ocean dimension is neglected. Concerning the AMO issue climate models inevitable fail due to lack of ocean data on an unimaginable scale. Instead the models are based on consideration in the world of meteorology. That’s a very bad service for understanding the anthropogenic impact on climate. The world is not flat, but has oceans, who rule the climate.

Link reference:

Stefan Rahmstorf:
Michael Mann
Willis Eschenbach (Comment, March 10, 2021 6:39 am)