Ridiculous Paper on Ocean Oscillation

These scientists thought that they could increase interest in their research by converting a very low frequency ocean oscillation into a human audible tone.  They then called it a "Rossby Whistle".  As they write "this resonant mode is dynamically equivalent to the operation of a whistle."

Hughes, C. W., J. Williams, A. Hibbert, C. Boening, and J. Oram (2016), A Rossby Whistle: A resonant basin mode observed in the Caribbean Sea, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43,  doi:10.1002/2016GL069573.

This is really silly because converting it to a human audible tone is meaningless, as the original frequency has a period of months, which is absurdly below the human audible detection limit of 10 to 20 Hz at the low-frequency end of the audio spectrum. And so it is only intended to illicit a response in people that might find it spooky sounding.

Here is my take on comparing a tone with harmonics of the fundamental frequency to that of a converted Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO) waveform.

This is the spectrum of the harmonic tone; note the octave doubling in the peaks starting with the harmonic at 270 Hz.

harmonic_spectrumThis is what the QBO looks like. These are not harmonics but are aliased frequencies of the original tidal frequency.

qbo_spectrumThis is a scope trace of the harmonic tone. The envelope is the fundamental and the harmonics provide the finer structure, forming a regular pattern.

harmonicAnd this is a scope trace of the equivalent QBO tone, showing the more erratic nature of combining the aliased frequencies.

qboAnd this is what they sound like in comparison. The first tone is the harmonic tone, and then separated by a pause is the QBO tone.  The first sounds pleasing and the second converted QBO waveform sounds out-of-tune because the frequencies aren't harmonics.

As John Gielgud once said, "I'll alert the media". Sigh. In our current media circus, rossbyWhistlereporters will lap up the inconsequential aspect of the strange sound and ignore the fact that Richard Lindzen couldn't figure out that the QBO comes about from seasonal aliasing of the lunar nodal cycle.  Even though he knew that a lunar tidal mechanism could form a valid premise for atmospheric oscillation.

Example of the second-derivative of the QBO, which exaggerates the aliased frequencies.


Still can't figure out why Lindzen never saw this.

3 thoughts on “Ridiculous Paper on Ocean Oscillation

    • Besides the fact that the Tallbloke crew is a mathematically incompetent crew of scientific wannabees, they will never turn against their hero Richard Lindzen. I would not follow anything they are saying in terms of science, as it is all driven by political agendas. Instead of being diligent in their work, they will torture data relationships to fit their worldview.

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