Climate Change: By Two Major
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Pacific War, 1942-1945, contributing to
Northern Pacific experienced a climatic shift during the early 1940s,
naval war thesis coincides with a shift in weather statistics and
temperature decline that started in the early 1940s. The Pacific
climatic shifts are observed and assessed by the term ‘Pacific
Decadal Oscillation’ (PDO), which is an abstract form of North
Pacific sea surface temperature anomalies but does not represent them.
That is shown in the first graph. A downward shift occurred very
suddenly at about 1942 (Fig. above, H-1). Something must have turned
the physics and dynamics of the North Pacific toward a cooling mood.
Had it been due to long-term variations in ocean circulation, which
produced pronounced patterns of sea surface temperature (SST)
anomalies that directly impact weather and climate? (Ross,
This turn also marked the onset of global cooling for the following
three decades. Further east, in
Before the end of 1945 the entire North Pacific region turned
into a cooling mood for about three decades.
the driving impulse been initiated by the Pacific War from December
1941 to August 1945? Any
well founded explanation is welcome; as this is the very essence of
what meteorological science is all about. This discussion should be
regarded as an offer to overcome the unacceptable situation that
global cooling from 1940 to 1970 is still not sufficiently explained.
material most needed for a thorough research, namely reliable sea
water temperature, is insufficient, as explained in the already
mentioned paper on the reliability of sea surface data.
Here there is at least one image
representing a regional data set for the North-West and Central
Pacific, from which one can draw the following conclusions:
Both images indicate a trend change around 1941/42 from a lower level
to a higher level; and
The Central region data deviation in 1941 and 1943 indicate the
involvement of the navy, either as data collector, or as an active
force that caused changes in the marine environment by operational,
training, or warfare activities.
is of little help and requires other parameters to prove the matter.
It is therefore necessary to widely rely on observed air temperature
data series to demonstrate that a link between naval war and the
climatic shift is a promising issue. Even if the naval war contributed
with a small extent, it would be high time to understand the
mechanisms involved, and to include them in the climate change debate.
The Pacific War
a first view at the Pacific Decadal Oscillation Index (PDO), Figure
H-1, indicates that a driving mood started soon after 1940, which
would fit perfectly into the period of the commencement of naval war
in the Pacific after the Japanese ambush at
war in the Western Pacific was a physical factor in the marine
environment never experienced before, and an immediate correlation to
the downward trend of air temperatures is obvious. Actually the
cold winter in
nine months before
exceptionality of the winter is documented by air temperature data as
provided by NASA/Giss, Fig.H-5, which cover a maximum period from 1880
to 2009, but sometimes less. First it is to show what happened, where
it happened, and which forcing mechanism should be considered.
corresponding situation in the mid-axis of the main
Those coastal stations at Japans west or east coast that are
influenced by warm water currents from the south showed record cold
Only at the most north-eastern station
d. The regional extent of the cold winter
on NASA/ GISS Surface Temperature Analysis for the winter 1944/45 (DJF),
TM13 (pervious page) shows a region from the North Atlantic all over
Eurasia up the East coast of Japan, with a core cold area east of the
Caspian Sea up to China. Whether this remarkable result is in part the
product of extreme military activities all over the North Atlantic, or
an approach is even more inevitable with regard to all coastal seas
January 1945 a huge military machinery closed down on Japan rolling
northwards from Burma, and the Philippines, or closing in from the
East after the strategic Iwo Jima Island had been conquered in a
battle lasting from February 19 until March 16 for which the US Marine
Corp employed 450 ships, including 6 battleships, 4 cruisers and 16
destroyers, and manpower of 50,000 soldiers. To prepare for landing
the island was bombed for 72 days by B-24s from the
were many other naval activities underway, from bombing, kamikaze
flights, mining, submarine encounters, and shelling, of which the last
major battle concerning the occupation of Okinawa, began on April 1,
1945 and ended June 21, 1945. The amount of war material employed and
lost was gigantic.
is certainly only a small part of the story about what has happened in
the western Pacific during eight months at war in 1945, and it should
come as a surprise if that should not have
left any traces in the marine environment, and on the climate.
issue is addressed as an example in the hope that it may one day be
taken up to assess the matter in greater detail, because a brief
review of a number of Gisstemp stations in Japan showed very cold
temperatures just at the time when Allied forces approached the shores
of Japan in summer 1945. The TM13 (p. 181) illustrates the temperature
situation for all war months in 1945. The months May, June and July
show sub-normal temperatures. By a bit leniency one can argue that the
negative anomalies are close to the Sea of Japan, the east coast of
Japan and adjacent ocean areas eastwards, with the exception of August
1945. Was the sudden increase of temperature due to the fact that the
war had ended on August 14, 1945?
f. A clue from SST and correlation?
is not much that can be offered on available sea surface temperatures.
On one hand too few have been taken in those days, and for me and this
research they have not been accessible, respectively barred by
language barriers. It is hoped that this consideration may stir the
interest to collect and publish such material in an accessible manner.
Naganuma (1978) confirms a
shift in 1945 by noting in his English abstract (item 10): “It is
pointed out that the period before 1945 was a low temperature period,
and thereafter a high temperature period.”.
The annual SST at Rishirtin 1945 is well indicated in Figure H-11.
Interesting is also the graphic by Kobayashi
(1999) on the April SST in a bight south of
of these questions can be answered here. The exceptionality of the
winter 1944/45, and other months in 1945, indicate that the
penetration was severe, so severe that in perfect simultaneity the
Northern Pacific turned from a warm phase to a cold phase.
g. The Shift in the Pacific – mid 1940s –?
scope of assessment: In the mid 20th Century there had been
a 35-year lasting period of global cooling, which had started between
1940 and 1945. The reasoning for causation given by climate science is
rather limited, and hardly sufficient. Cooling was evident in the
Pacific as well. Could naval war in the Pacific over just three years
have contributed to trigger a climatic shift in the North Pacific? If
it was not naval war, which mechanism caused the large discontinuity
in the mid-twentieth century in observed global-mean surface
temperatures? Was it a “natural event”, or by what kick off was
this process set in motion?
For none of these questions there are satisfying
answers. There is the global issue, which turned sea and air
temperatures toward cooling in the early 1940s, particularly all over
the Northern Hemisphere. If naval war did play any role in this
respect, however in the North Atlantic and its adjacent seas the naval
Criteria to evaluate the climatology of the North
Pacific are numerous, with regard to the basin itself, in relation to
immediately connected or more distant systems. There is for example
the question whether variations in the tropical Pacific and North
Pacific are interrelated? Some say no (Latif,
2001), others assume a remote link (Newman
et al, 2003). Therefore this investigation will not try to answer
that, but to assume that some sort of interaction exists, while
leaving wide open any notion about the degree and time scale. Here the
question is whether human activities can be blamed on causing a
climatic shift in the 1940s, because it is all about physics and
dynamics in the ocean sphere and naval forces operating in the marine
environment during the Second World War generating an immense forcing
potential. The forcing mechanism could have been an external force, or
internal forces, but in the end it must have been a force that can be
named and quantified in physical or physic-dynamical terms. Efforts
have been made, but not convincingly.
While naval activities, just like any wind, have an impact on the
upper sea surface layer concerning the temperature and salinity
structure, the vastness of the North Pacific in extension and volume,
makes it hard to assume any relevance between WWII and the observed
climate shift in the early 1940s. But as long as the reason for the
shift has not been evidently established, naval war activities need to
be regarded as an option, and should not been ignored. The question is
about the impact human activities may have on climate, and this should
be known completely as soon as possible. For this reason this
investigation restricts the scope on the so-called Pacific Decadal
to a paper on fishing in the North East Pacific in 1997 by Mantua et al. (1997), the PDO concept emerged. The paper abstract
“Evidence gleaned from the instrumental record of climate data
identifies a robust, recurring pattern of ocean-atmosphere climate
variability centred over the mid-latitude Pacific basin. Over the past
century, the amplitude of this climate pattern has varied irregularly
at interannual-to-interdecadal time scales. There is evidence of
reversals in the prevailing polarity of the oscillation occurring
around 1925, 1947, and 1977; the last two reversals correspond with
dramatic shifts in salmon production regimes in the
The PDO issue shows a change of sea surface
temperatures (SST), by representing a pattern of SST anomalies in the
North Pacific. The matter is about warm or cool surface waters in the
Northern Pacific, actually north of 20°N, respectively north of Hong
Kong, Taiwan, and Hawaii, which does not fully match with war
activities in the West Pacific that includes the Philippines, the
South China Sea, and other regions south of latitude 5° North. During
a "warm", or "positive", PDO phase, the west
Pacific becomes cool and part of the eastern ocean warms up; while
during a "cool" or "negative" phase, the opposite
pattern occurs. With regard to the WWII situation, until 1939 the
now no mechanism has been identified to explain the shifts. They are
rare, and occurred only six times over the last 300 years: 1750, 1905,
1946, 1977, 1998, and 2008 (Biondi,
2001). Concerning the last century N.
Mantua identifies two full PDO cycles: with cool PDO regimes from
1890-1924 and again from 1947-1976, while warm PDO regimes dominated
from 1925-1946 and from 1977 through (at least) the mid-1990's (Mantua,
2000), whereby timing may vary according to the researcher, e.g.
saying that a warm phase lasted from 1925–42 that
turned into a cold PDO cycle from 1943–76 (Zhang,
the sea surface temperature (SST) data taken during WWII should only
be used with caution (Bernaerts,
1996), they need nevertheless be assessed with regard to timing. But
the shift in SST and SAT (surface air temperature), show a different
time, first in the Europe/Atlantic area (between 1940 and 1942), and
in the North Pacific between 1942 and 1945. The set of given SST
graphics indicate, at best that pre WWII warming continued maximally
until about 1942.
interpretation of the PDO record shall be based on material published
by Rodionov and Bond (2004),
Figure H-13 and the simplified Figure H-14.
The image shows two short positive periods (1934 to 1943) and
(1977/79 to 1989/98), and three negative phases, according to the core
winter (DJF) and summer (JJA) months. It is easy to note that there
are differences in the amplitude and duration as follows:
__the first positive phase appeared
in summer 1934 and briefly later in winter 1935.
__the second positive phase even
indicates a longer delay (1977 to 1979) and a reversed timing, in
winter earlier than in summer.
i. Discussion and Summary
role of the Pacific Ocean in the only global cooling period since the
last Little Ice Age from the early 1940s to the 1970s is little
understood, although the occurrence of the decrease of global air
temperatures appeared simultaneously with the spreading and
intensification of naval war from Europe into the Atlantic, and in the
Western Pacific until Japan was defeated in August 1945 This should
not make it more difficult but easier to figure out and understand the
reason. The prevention of anthropogenic induced climatic changes is
very much in demand, and even the smallest contribution by naval war
activates during WWII should not be ignored.
showing that naval war activities presumably had very substantial
effects on temperature conditions in the Western Pacific over several
months, it is no longer possible to deny outright that this did not
have any impact on the wider
Arnd (1997), „Reliability of Sea-Surface Temperature Data taken
during War Time in the Pacific“,
October 1997, pp.
Op. cit. prepared according material from Peter
The Marianas are the northernmost islands of a larger
island group called Micronesia, situated between 13° and 21°
North, and from 144° to 146° East. The distance to
USA & Commonwealth Strength (approximates), __ 600,000 men of all
services; __2,000 ships incl. 50 aircraft carriers; 20 battle
ships, 30 cruisers, 220 destroyers;
__ Several 1,000 airplanes;
Japanese losses (approximate) __110,000 men; __7,800
planes; _16 ships; Kamikaze attacks on ships: By about 1,465
Kosuke Naganuma (1978), “On the Water Temperature Fluctuation at the Representative
Points in the
The surface water temperature analyses were carried out on those
data observed during the period from 1918 through 1975 at several
points along the Honshu coast of the
3) The annual average temperature at each point varies as low as
0,8°C for every latitudinal degree from the south to the north.
10) “It is pointed out that the period before 1945 was a low
temperature period, and thereafter a high temperature period.”
More about the work of