1. Is sea ice extent linked to El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO)?
  2. Can data derived from untapped sources be used to investigate ENSO and sea ice linkages?
  3. What research exists to support the ENSO connection?
  4. Is there any paleontological linkage to support a connection to ENSO?
  5. Is there geophysical evidence to support a link between crustal dynamics and ENSO?
  6. Can there be a causal/deterministic relationship between ENSO, sea ice and the lithosphere?
  7. Does sea ice data have an ENSO component within?
  8. Can interannual data and information be extrapolated for decadal, century and millenial trends?



During the course of interviews with researchers and an extensive literature searches, it is apparent that there may be deterministic underpinnings for climate changes at both the seasonal to interannual level (e.g., El Nino Southern Oscillation) as well as geological timescale changes (e.g. the ice ages). This has led to the search for data that is based on historical, biological and geological records that, if properly applied, could be combined with recent satellite data, to extend the climate record from the seasonal to interannual periods to the millenial periods. Recent work has been published which extends the El Nino Southern Oscillation record back some 450 years. Dendrochronological records help to extend long term climate records back to the millenial regimes. Geological records provide data for climate change on our planet from thousands to millions of years in the past. If these multidisciplinary datasets can be fused in some manner, they may provide a key to the understanding of longer term climate changes that have occurred over the history of our planet.


In the course of research for this dissertation, the author will attempt to compare and combine datasets from the satellite, dendrochronological, and geological regimes to study the course of climate change over a ten-thousand year period of our planet. By doing so, the author will seek to understand the climate changes in view of more deterministic processes, whose combinatorics leads to the apparent chaotic climate changes throughout the ages.


  1. Review the applicable journals, trade publications, and research resources to determine the best approach for averaging sea ice concentration in the polar region.
  2. Interview polar researchers knowledgeable in the field.
  3. Review and analyze current computer software applications that would be appropriate to apply to this study.
  4. Gather published datasets that are applicable to the study.
  5. Develop an approach to correlate sea ice, ENSO and crustal dynamics.
  6. Discuss the results.
  7. Search for time series trends.
  8. Examine the statistical significance of any trends found.


Dissertation Title Pages

Formatted title pages to be inserted here


Here I will summarize the results and conclusions of this dissertation. I hope to demonstrate that the climate change community can benefit by fusing datasets from previously untapped sources. This includes long term El Nino data, such as that published in JGR covering an estimation of El Nino occurrences over 450 years. This will be compared to long range sea ice data such as that from the NSIDC data and a recent PhD dissertation which examined sea ice extent in Labrador Sea region of Canada over a 150 year period. Also examined will be a dataset of climate in the British Isles covering a 200 year period. These datasets will also be merged with the idea of bridging the gap between seasonal to interannual processes and decadal to millenial processes. A deterministic underpinning will be sought to explain these climate changes and bridge the disciplines of cryospheric, hydrospheric, atmospheric, and lithospheric studies.


In the introduction of this dissertation I will lay out the scope and extent of this study. I will review the events that led to this approach. This included conversations with researchers such as Per Gloersen. Also, a review of the El Nino Southern Oscillation research as established in the journals and in ENSO talks given by researchers in the field such as Shukla and Battiste. I will also highlight other less referenced studies that had been published and pointed to unusual climate change linkages such as those of volcanoes. While these studies were quick to point to the volcanic eruptions as the primary cause of climate change, there can be an overlook of other causal effects. For example, there was a study of Scottish storm severity which linked changes in the storm severity and number to specific volcanic eruptions. However, it turns out that the volcanic eruptions used also coincide to historical ENSO occurrences which demonstrates a lack of multidisciplinary study.

Cryosphere Models and Data

In this section I hope to review some of the models of the cryosphere and its changes over time. I hope to use some data that has been referenced in some unpublished literature, such as dissertations I have obtained (Figure 1). This data will enable me to extend the sea ice extent back into historical times so as to allow some interdisciplinary comparisons with other long term datasets, well beyond what satellites have provided.

Lithosphere Models and Data

In this section will review some of the models of the lithosphere that explain the changes that have occurred over time in the lithosphere and athenosphere. I will address the difficulties in quantifying the lithospheric processes and how changes can be measured in recent, historical, and geological time periods.

Cryosphere and Lithosphere Linkages

In this section will review some of the models found that attempt to link the cryosphere and lithosphere in theory and in demonstrable data over recent, historical, and geological time periods.

Seasonal to Interannual Climate Phenomena

In this section I will review some of the seasonal to interannual climate phenomena highlighting the El Nino Southern Oscillation. I will examine the extent of our knowledge and our capability to predict ENSO occurrences. Furthermore, I will examine some proposed underpinnings that explain ENSO in terms of interdisciplinary studies including atmospheric and lithospheric linkages.

Results and Discussion

In this section I will attempt to congeal a interdisciplianary explanation for climate change based upon some example datasets and data analyses. I will explain why a multidisciplinary approach is the only way that we may be able to explain the processes that lead to the climate changes that have been seen in recent, historical, and geological times. I will provide concrete dataset examinations highlighting the ENSO, sea ice, and other climate data. I will highlight the problems with statistical studies and point to some physical processes which may explain some of these eras of climate changes throughout the period of this planet. I will address some simplistic models including bathtubs and bounded liquids.

Recommendations for Further Studies

In this section I will address the shortcomings of this research and where I recommend that further multidisciplinary studies occur to help understand the physical processes that underpin the climate changes that we see over short to long time periods, i.e. from seasonal to interannual to millenial.


In this section I will address the conclusions derived from the research. This may address the deterministic causes of the climate changes seen throughout the climate history of the earth. I will discuss the usefulness of satellite observations fused with historical and geological records and why only the fusing of such data can really provide a clue as to the process and occurrence of truly global climate channges.

List of References and Appendices (e.g. see below and here)


       Milestone                                            Date

1.   Literature Review                                    28 Oct 97
2.   Software Applications Review                         30 Nov 97
3.   Search for indicators of crustal dynamic changes     30 Dec 97
4.   Examine correlation among ENSO,sea ice and CD        31 Jan 98
5.   Submit abstract to AGU for Spring '98 meeting in MA  31 Mar 98
6.   Examine Correlations with Other Datasets             15 Apr 98
7.   Preliminary Results and Conclusions                  30 Apr 98
8.   Complete Dissertation First Draft                    30 Apr 98
9.   Submit paper to Geophysical Research Letters         15 May 98
10.  Present paper at AGU Spring 97 meeting               30 May 98
11.  Final Dissertation Submission/Get Signatures         15 Dec 98
12.  Graduate                                             15 Dec 98
13.  Revised paper published in GRL                          Dec 98




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