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The most widely disseminated possible consequence of  Global Warming is a shift in the course of the  Gulf Stream that triggers an Ice Age that sweeps suddenly across the Northern Hemisphere with catastrophic affects. Deep ocean currents of fresh water from glacial melt change the salinity and density of sea water in ways that effect the regional thermodynamic fluid flow. Thus, thermal transport currents like the Gulf Stream can change direction rapidly as the whole system moves from one equilibrium state to another.  If you have ever seen the smoke streaming up from a cigarette in an ashtray suddenly change direction in a room where the air is very still, you have witnessed this effect in action. The mechanical analog is a long slender object, like a book, standing momentarily on edge before a breeze tips it over. The equilibrium forces can be out of balance for an undetermined period of time before finally reaching the critical stage or “tipping point” were the object falls over. The concern of scientists about an “imbalance” comes from the fact that once the hammer falls, there is no way to stop it.  Unfortunately for us, there is a wild card in this mix of thermodynamic fluid forces that we may have no control over.

The Earth's magnetic field has weakened and changed polarity many many times over the life span of our planet. It's called Geomagnetic Reversal. The shortest of these polarity flips is called an excursion  and takes at the least two hundred some odd years and will remain flipped for at least 400 years, so it's not a sudden change that can happen any second. No, it's a meandering process that involves a slow movement and weakening of the poles. In fact, the process can take as long as ten thousand years and the polarity will remain in that state for as long as a million years. The last time the poles flipped was about 41,000 years ago during the last ice age. Interestingly, the farthest extent of glaciation during that period was 22,000 years ago, or about 19,000 years after this last Geomagnetic polarity change.

In spite of the fact that it is a polar solvent with a magnetic dipole, pure water is diamagnetic and a dielectric. Throw in a few ions like Na+ and Cl- and it acts like a pretty good conductor. When ever a conductor moves in a magnetic field, an electric field forms that produces a counter magnetic field. This is called the Lorentz Force.  This force can act like a brake, slowing the momentum or changing the direction of ocean currents.  This last statement may seem like a no-brain-er to some, but finding corroboration on the internet could be difficult. In any case, it is an established fact that the Earth's magnetic field is weakening and shifting. At the very least, this shift may affect thermal mixing of the oceans. At the most, entire currents like the Gulf Stream may change course in unexpected ways, with unexpected results.

This video by  Rafael Gontijo shows how thermal mixing of a ferromagnetic fluid is affected by a magnetic field. Clearly, the oceans are much larger, more complex, and not, strictly speaking, composed of ferromagnetic material. However, this video makes the kind of fluid flow effects easier to see.

Now, the Earth's magnetic field is small, between 30 micro-Teslas at the Equator and 60 micro-Teslas at the poles.  However, this is enough of a field to produce ion separation, electric currents, and therefore measurable opposing magnetic fields in the ocean currents. So, it's not really much of a stretch to imagine that the momentum of these currents may also be affected. Not only that, but the atmosphere may also be directly affected in the similar ways. The composition and phase of the atmosphere is largely different from the ocean but similar effects of braking and course deflection may be at play.

First, consider that clouds contain ions produced from dissolved Sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, sea-salt, not to mention dissolved Carbon dioxide, and other stuff. So we should expect the same kinds of ion deflection in cloud movement as we see in ocean currents. This basically boils down to faster spinning and more quickly moving storm systems in the absence of a magnetic field. Hurricanes and tornadoes, for example, may become even more severe, and less predictable.

Second, diatomic oxygen is para-magnetic. Meaning that it is slightly attracted to the poles of a magnet. This means that cold air currents flowing south will have more momentum and warm lower pressure north flowing air currents will have less momentum. Bare in mind that high pressure and lower altitude translates in to a higher percentage of oxygen, and thus, more magnetic force per unit volume than higher altitude and lower pressure air masses. Not only that, but the force acts in the same direction as the magnetic field lines, as opposed to the perpendicular force exerted on ocean currents and storm clouds. This dynamic would necessarily lead to heavier rain and snow because it would facilitate the transport of moisture. Frontal boundaries may also become more and more vertical and farther reaching. It is this far reaching north south moisture transport, I believe, that may responsible for creating an ice age.    

John Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama has several videos on The Daily Conversation channel of YouTube that explains the consequences of Global Climate Change.  “The Polar Vortex Explained in 2 Minute” at  shows how the polar vortex weakens and becomes more jagged with deeper excursions of cold air south and warm air north. This means more extreme rain, snow, and drought events in the northern hemisphere.  We can only imagine that the effect of a weaker magnetic field will only exacerbate the problem. The question is, will any of this lead to a new ice age? And, is there a relationship between changes in the Earth's magnetic field and glacial periods? It may only be a coincidence that the last magnetic field flip occurred right in the middle of our last glacial period. Our climate is effected by a vast matrix of forces. It goes without saying that the big picture needs a lot of well trained eyes to interpret it. Let's just hope that we have the will to turn that knowledge into action.

Sources and Links below the fold.


Best illustration of concept "Thermomagnetic convection" by Rafael Gontijo

Here is an interesting theory about how magnetic fields are generated on the daily mail:

Magneto hydrodynamics:

Search key words (gulf stream moves south)
Scientists uncover diversion of Gulf Stream path in late 2011
NASA image of Atlantic current flow
Animation of flow
Thermohaline circulation
Is the Gulf stream moving:
BBC on climate change and the GS
GS moves north in 2011
Gaurdian measured slowdown of current from africa feeding lower GS.
Pole shift:
Pole shift map
Pole shift accelleration over time
Interesting article about chelating molecules used to make magnetic materials.
Lumpy gravity:
Ocean currents Advected by magnetic field: (florida current) of flip-Live Science)
Separation of gaseous materials using a magnetic field. Called"Open Gradient Magnetic

Magnetic effect of ocean flow - map of magnetic field variations in ocean
Ocean circulation generated magnetic signals
Major water transport of oceans and magnetic field -Vivier et al 2004 Through the Drake Passage
Effect of Drake Passage on the global thermohaline circulation (southern hemisphere)
John Holdren science advisor to President Obama "The Polar Vortex explained in 2 minutes"
These fluctuations in Earth's magnetic field are known as secular variation.
Thermomagnetic convection
Mr. Temme convection demo with red food coloring
Bad astronomer channel--stand egg on end
Nekoosa Water Tower Drop
Cloud ions
corielis effect
Global air circulation
heavy rain and snow flooding

big wave
Dark ice

Tue May 20, 2014 at  6:49 AM PT: Not rigorous or peer reviewed but interesting nevertheless.

here is another experiment I did in my studio. Bear in mind the magnetic field here is probably somewhat less than 90 degrees from the actual angle of incidence of the Earth's magnetic field.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zamrzla, subtropolis, FarWestGirl

    Peace, Love, and Prosperity. See more on the R. Crosby Lyles channel on YouTube.

    by Rich Lyles on Mon May 19, 2014 at 03:22:56 PM PDT

  •  I'm Missing the Overarching Verb. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mike Kahlow, kbman, LakeSuperior

    All sorts of stuff may be affected if what?

    I'm calling technobabble salad on this.

    Those pointing to glacial melt can show how the intrusion of fresh water can stop the Gulf Stream. They have shown how a warming arctic can send winter storms into New Jersey and New York City, and polar winter air into Kentucky.

    I'd like to see one clear prediction of a change in ocean currents resulting from this interaction. So for anyone worked up about the electromagnetic effects and influences of ocean currents:

    The Gulf Stream is a big circular current in a magnetic field. That ought to present an opportunity to predict how a change in the current will affect the magnetic field, or how a change in the field would affect the current.

    Since we WERE due for an ice age in around a thousand years before we began supercharging the atmosphere with CO2 levels double to triple anything seen at each extreme of the ice age and warming cycles of the last half million years, I'm going to feel pretty safe betting against anything relating to the present anthro climate change or the magnetic field putting us back onto the track for pending ice age.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon May 19, 2014 at 04:06:37 PM PDT

    •  Seconded. This diary reads as technobabble. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alx9090, kbman, LakeSuperior

      I was just reading this through and thinking "techno word salad". You beat me to it.

      The author is going to have to work pretty hard to convince me that the earth's magnetic field is concentrating oxygen at the poles.

      Screw John Galt. Who's John Doe?

      by Mike Kahlow on Mon May 19, 2014 at 04:12:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're a Chemistry proffessor so I won't dumb this (0+ / 0-)

        down for you. Okay Mike?

        The para-magnetic effect on oxygen amounts to a slight forcing function, having to do with the difference between relative concentrations between cold dense air going South and warm less dense air going back North at a higher altitude. Oxygen is slightly heavier than Nitrogen so it is more concentrated at lower altitudes and colder temperatures. It is an issue of a slight effect on momentum.

        The magneto-hydrodynamic effects stem from the Lorentz force. Heavy duty magnetic brakes on large vehicles use this principal to quickly stop giant wheels carrying enormous loads. The magnetic field accelerates free charges in the material at right angles to the direction of travel. This effect, referred to as ion separation  produces the change in momentum.

        Even tiny forces can have visible effects as they are summed over large volumes and long distances.

        Thanks for sharing!

        Peace, Love, and Prosperity. See more on the R. Crosby Lyles channel on YouTube.

        by Rich Lyles on Mon May 19, 2014 at 07:45:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for the reply. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LakeSuperior, Ozy

          Now if you could translate that into an actual force with a magnitude & units, and compare it with other forces that might exist & be acting on the dioxygen molecule, that would be helpful.

          Or even better, give me a reference that illustrates that the effect that you mention is actually significant.

          Thanks for helping me out here, because I am just a chemistry proffessor.

          Screw John Galt. Who's John Doe?

          by Mike Kahlow on Mon May 19, 2014 at 07:53:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Come to think of it, don't bother. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I've wasted enough time here in your diary.

            I do love the way you use my academic background as an insult, BTW. Nice little bit of anti-intellectualism, especially the way you misspelled it the title.

            Usually get that from republicans.

            Screw John Galt. Who's John Doe?

            by Mike Kahlow on Mon May 19, 2014 at 08:05:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No actually, that's not an intentional misspell. (0+ / 0-)

              I misspell things all the time. I have entire diaries devoted to my infamous misspellings.

              I am a democrat, and not anti-intellectual in the least. I would love to be an intellectual elitist though. Sadly however,  that is probably not in the cards.

              Peace, Love, and Prosperity. See more on the R. Crosby Lyles channel on YouTube.

              by Rich Lyles on Mon May 19, 2014 at 08:59:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Carbon emissions amount to a forcing function on (0+ / 0-)

      an oscillating system - weather. The verb is "synergistic reaction" how does the(never discussed in this context) changing magnetic field affect the forcing function already on everyone's lips?
      The effects of a changing magnetic field are  probably just sauce for the goose. You've made some interesting points though. Why don't you write a diary about it?

      Peace, Love, and Prosperity. See more on the R. Crosby Lyles channel on YouTube.

      by Rich Lyles on Mon May 19, 2014 at 08:06:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You start the diary with "Transcript:"... (0+ / 0-)

    Is this an original composition, or is does it come from somewhere else?

    Screw John Galt. Who's John Doe?

    by Mike Kahlow on Mon May 19, 2014 at 04:13:26 PM PDT

  •  I think the article is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rich Lyles, FarWestGirl

    well researched. I further think the possibility does exist that the earths magnetic field is part of a very complex system we call the weather. I guess if you don't understand the science behind the article, it would seem like too much technobabble. I don't think it is.

    "He that will not reason is a bigot; he that cannot reason is a fool; he that dares not reason is a slave." — William Drummond of Hawthornedenne (13 December 1585 – 4 December 1649), Scottish poet.

    by zamrzla on Mon May 19, 2014 at 05:22:37 PM PDT

    •  Technobabble because it uses the right terms (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kbman, Ozy, LakeSuperior, BvueDem

      but not so much in the right way. And nothing's connected into a real story.

      For example - Yes, oxygen (O2) is paramagnetic, which means that it is attracted to by a magnetic field. But the Earth's magnetic field is far too weak to do much in terms of moving the oxygen towards the poles and/or equator.

      Same with the motion of ions in the ocean or in the air. The Earth's magnetic field won't attract them, but could change their trajectories... if they were alone, in a vacuum. When you take into account the effects of ion pairing, the effect will be negligible.

      Does the magnetic field affect the weather? I'd be surprised if it didn't. But the predominant mechanism is more likely to be through the effect of the magnetic field on incoming solar radiation and other charged particles (just a guess, as I'm neither a physicist nor a meteorologist).

      The cited references have something to do with magnetism, and/or climate, and/or ocean currents, but again, they don't connect to the diarist's thesis. Just including a link to "magnetohydrodynamics" in Wikipedia does not make this well researched.

      I won't say I understand the science (when you're a scientist you know that "understand" is a big word) but I'm familiar with the principles. And until or unless the diarist would like to come by and defend/explain/elaborate, it looks like technobabble.

      Screw John Galt. Who's John Doe?

      by Mike Kahlow on Mon May 19, 2014 at 06:58:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My background is in Electrical Engineering. (0+ / 0-)

        I took transition metal chemistry and Engineering Thermodynamics as electives. This is a matter of simple vector analysis.
        Any magnetic force vector related to para-magnetism will necessarily point in the exact opposite direction as the tangential force vector related to centripetal force related to the Earth's spin. Any diminution of said force will have at least some effect. the only question is whether the slight repulsion of diamagnetic nitrogen is enough to counterbalance this force.
        The science of magneto-hydrodynamics is straight forward. The difficult part is analyzing the effect of angle of incident of the magnetic field and direction of  fluid transport.

        "Techno-babble" is a label.  I won't tolerate being insulted with these half-assed attempts to marginalize real ideas. If you are not an expert, then don't sound off like one.


        Peace, Love, and Prosperity. See more on the R. Crosby Lyles channel on YouTube.

        by Rich Lyles on Tue May 20, 2014 at 07:40:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The effect of the earth's magnetic field (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BvueDem, Mike Kahlow

          on ocean currents is zero.

          Nothing about your claims are either quantified or verifiable.

          Your diary is complete garbage and anti-science conduct.

          •  To refute a claim you must argue a specific point. (0+ / 0-)

            Anti-science conduct is the act of rejecting a concept without answering the specifics of the claim. You have not answered any of the specific ideas tendered. Therefore, I have concluded that You are engaged in anti-scientific conduct.

            How can the magnetic field affect ion separation in a conducting fluid and not transport? It's a simple question.

            I find your vapid but somehow over-the-top response to this straightforward diary  very interesting indeed. I am paying close attention with keen interest.

            Peace, Love, and Prosperity. See more on the R. Crosby Lyles channel on YouTube.

            by Rich Lyles on Sat May 24, 2014 at 03:36:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you zamrzla! (0+ / 0-)

      Peace, Love, and Prosperity. See more on the R. Crosby Lyles channel on YouTube.

      by Rich Lyles on Sat May 24, 2014 at 06:32:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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