Monday, February 1, 2010

Stunning New Climate Correlation

I just discovered this and simply had to post it. It's an amazing correlation between water vapor in the Earth's atmosphere and changes in the Earth's rotation measured in milliseconds! I know. I know. It's insane to think changes of a few milliseconds could somehow be related to the total water vapor in the air. But here's the chart:
The blue line is changes in the Earth's rotation as measured in milli-seconds. The red line is changes in the total amount of water vapor in the Earth's atmosphere. The graph covers a 24 year period from 1983 through 2007.

The information for changes in the Earth's rotation comes from the U.S. Naval Observatory. The information for changes in the Earth's water vapor comes from the International Satellite Cloud Climate Project. You can graph the cloud data using the Climate Scientist Starter Kit and your favorite spreadsheet program.

I don't know what this means yet. As I said, I only just now discovered it. But I wanted to get the information out there so people can see it.

Rest assured that future posts will look into this more deeply.

U.S. Naval Observatory Leap Seconds
International Satellite Cloud Climate Project
Climate Scientist Starter Kit


  1. Probably has to do with the change of moment of inertia, ie the water distribucón the planet.

  2. I second indio's comment. If wv increases in the atmosphere, there is a nett movement of mass away from the axis. The moment of inertia of the Earth increases, angular momentum must be conserved, the Earth must slow.

  3. Hey, I think this is a handy way to assess the increase of MSL.

    Perhaps the first step is to take out a linear trend from the USNO data?
    just an idea