Signal Analysis of the Climate: Correlation, Delay and Feedback

Peter Stallinga
University of the Algarve, Faro, Portugal

One of the ingredients of anthropogenic global warming is the existence of a large correlation between carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere and the temperature. In this work we analyze the original time-series data that led to the new wave of climate research and test the two hypotheses that might explain this correlation, namely the (more commonly accepted and well-known) greenhouse effect (GHE) and the less-known Henry’s Law (HL). This is done by using the correlation and the temporal features of the data. Our conclusion is that of the two hypotheses the greenhouse effect is less likely, whereas the Henry’s Law hypothesis can easily explain all effects. First the proportionality constant in the correlation is correct for HL and is about two orders of magnitude wrong for GHE. Moreover, GHE cannot readily explain the concurring methane signals observed. On the temporal scale, we see that GHE has difficulty in the apparent negative time lag between cause and effect, whereas in HL this is of correct sign and magnitude, since it is outgasing of gases from oceans. Introducing feedback into the GHE model can overcome some of these problems, but it introduces highly instable and chaotic behavior in the system, something that is not observed. The HL model does not need feedback.

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