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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  14 Nov 2020

14 Nov 2020

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal ESD.

ESD Ideas: Long-period tidal forcing in geophysics – application to ENSO, QBO, and Chandler wobble

Paul R. Pukite Paul R. Pukite
  • DAINA, Minneapolis, MN, 55421, USA

Abstract. Apart from its known impact to variations in the Earth's length-of-day (LOD) variations, the role of long-period tidal forcing cycles in geophysical behaviours has remained relatively unexplored. To extend this idea, tidal forcing is considered as a causative mechanisms to the following cyclic processes: El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO), and the Chandler wobble. Subtle mathematical insights are required to make the connection to the observed patterns as the underlying periods are not strictly commensurate in relation to harmonics of the tidal cycles.

There are three cyclic perturbations in the Earth's behavior that scientists have had difficulty pinning down. The actual understanding is so poor that there is no clear consensus for any of the behaviors, and the actual mechanism in each is considered an as-yet unresolved mystery. One behavior has to do with an oceanic cycle (ENSO), one with an atmospheric cycle (QBO), and one with the solid Earth (Chandler wobble). A consensus agreement is lacking in each of these three behaviors in spite of the fact that there may be an obvious yet mathematically-challenging common-mode cause tying them together. The challenge lies in simplifying the math of fluid dynamics and applying the appropriate signal processing techniques. With that, an elegant analytical framework can be applied to perhaps solve the mystery once and for all.

Paul R. Pukite

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Paul R. Pukite

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Publications Copernicus
Special issue
Short summary
Important equatorial climate phenomena such as QBO and ENSO (El Nino) have never been adequately explained as deterministic processes – that is exhibiting a behavior that may be predictable. This paper suggests that QBO, ENSO, along with the geophysical behavior known as the Chandler wobble may share a common origin of lunar and solar tidal forcing. Through analytical approximations of fluid dynamics and detailed time-series analysis, matching quantitative models of these behaviors can be shown.
Important equatorial climate phenomena such as QBO and ENSO (El Nino) have never been adequately...