Atmospheric Science: Burying Beal’s Barometer

Burying Beals Barometer

The first edition [in 1920] of the classic meteorological textbook Physics of the Air by William Jackson Humphreys [1862-1949] introduced the wider world to a certain Doctor Beal who had observed [during 1664-1665] regular daily variations in barometric pressures which displayed “two maxima and two minima during the course of 24 hours”.

It has been known, now, for two and a half centuries, that there are more or less regular daily variations in the height of the barometer, culminating in two maxima and two minima during the course of 24 hours.

The phenomenon in question is well illustrated by Fig. 70, a direct copy of a barograph trace, obtained Apr. 1 to 5, 1912, on Grand Turk Island, latitude 21° 21′ N., longitude 70° 7′ W.

Barogram - Grand Turk Island - West Indies.

It is further illustrated, and shown to persist through all the seasons, by Fig. 71, which gives, from hourly values, the actual average daily pressure curve for each month, and, also, for the entire year, as observed at Key West, latitude 24° 33′ N., longitude 81° 48′ W., during the 14 years, 1891-1904.

Barometric curves - Key West - Florida

Barometric data - Key West - Florida

Probably the earliest observations of these rhythmical daily changes in the atmospheric pressure were made by Doctor Beal during the years 1664-1665, and therefore very soon after the invention, 1643, of the mercurial barometer.

Physics Of The Air – W J Humphreys – 2nd Edition – 1929 – McGraw-Hill Book Company
https://archive.org/download/physicsoftheairs032485mbp/physicsoftheairs032485mbp.pdf

Barometric graph - Key West - Florida

Barometric animation - Key West - Florida

The fascinating aspect of these daily variations in barometric pressures observed by Doctor Beal is that the scientific mainstream had failed to agree upon a “complete physical explanation” for these observations after 250 years.

Since Beal’s discovery, the same observation has been made and puzzled over at every station at which pressure records were kept and studied, but without success in finding for it the complete physical explanation.

In speaking of the diurnal and semidiurnal variations of the barometer, Lord Rayleigh says:

The relative magnitude of the latter [semidiurnal variation], as observed at most parts of the earth’s surface, is still a mystery, all the attempted explanations being illusory.

Phil. Mag., 29; 179, 1890

Physics Of The Air – W J Humphreys – 2nd Edition – 1929 – McGraw-Hill Book Company
https://archive.org/download/physicsoftheairs032485mbp/physicsoftheairs032485mbp.pdf

In 1923 Ellsworth Huntington addressed these puzzling observations [originally made by Doctor Beal] in his book Earth and Sun – An Hypothesis of Weather and Sunspots.

Ellsworth Huntington finds that the “usual” explanation for the “drop during the middle of the day and the minimum about 4 p.m.” are “reasonably and convincingly explained” by solar heating of the air whilst “usual” explanations for the remainder of the diurnal variations are “less satisfactorily explained” or have no “observational basis”.

The usual explanation of the semidiurnal variations of atmospheric pressure is as follows.

The drop during the middle of the day and the minimum about 4 p.m., which are characteristic of many parts of the earth at low levels and over the lands, are reasonably and convincingly explained as due to the heating of the air by the sun and its consequent expansion and overflow at high levels.

The rise in pressure during the first part of the morning is less satisfactorily explained on the supposition that when the air close to the earth’s surface first becomes warm, the restraint of friction does not permit it immediately to be replaced by cooler air from above.

Hence there is a temporary rise in pressure due to the expansion of the lower air and its attempt to crowd upward.

For the rise in pressure in the late afternoon and evening, with a maximum about 10 p.m., and for the minimum at about 4 a.m., it has been suggested that when the air is once set in rhythmic motion by the rise of pressure in the morning and the fall in the afternoon, it continues to vibrate with the same periodicity.

The maximum and minimum during the night are supposed to be free vibrations, that is, vibrations which have no immediate cause, but are waves, so to speak, set in motion by the forced vibrations of the daytime.

This hypothesis can scarcely be said to have an observational basis.

It is based on calculations which suggest that the mass and volume of the air are such that an atmospheric wave when once started will have a period of approximately twelve hours.

There is, of course, no inherent impossibility in this, but on the other hand there is no evidence of it aside from the barometric variations for which it is advanced as an explanation.

Earth and Sun – An Hypothesis of Weather and Sunspots – Ellsworth Huntington – 1923

However, “on the other hand”, Ellsworth Huntington “suggests an electrical cause” because “atmospheric electricity and barometric pressure are the only elements of the weather that show a double daily oscillation” as detailed by Dr Chree in 1906.

On the Relation between the Regular Diurnal Changes of Barometric Pressure and Potential Gradient

§ 26. The only meteorological element whose diurnal inequality presents two prominent maxima and minima is the barometric pressure. Everett seems to have been the first to call attention to the similarity between the regular diurnal inequalities of potential and barometric pressure, and the potential data which he considered more especially in this connection were those from Kew.

Having no Kew barometric data, Everett employed instead some from Halle.
Confining himself to the mean diurnal inequalities for the year, he found that “the barometric curve for Halle bears a strong resemblance to the Kew electrical curve, but is upwards of an hour later in phase.”

Several other writers have since called attention to general resemblances of this kind.

Of late years, additional interest has attached to the possibility of the connection, owing to Elster and Geitel’s discovery that air drawn from the soil is ionized, and their consequent suggestion that change of barometric pressure may influence potential gradient, by modifying the rate at which this ionized air escapes into the atmosphere.

The diurnal inequality of barometric pressure is an element considerably dependent on local conditions, and it thus appeared essential to an adequate discussion to have barometric data for Kew.

Diurnal inequalities were accordingly got out by the Observatory staff for each month of the year for an 11 -year period 1890 to 1900, making use of the data published by the Meteorological Office in the ‘Hourly Means.’

The regular diurnal change is a small quantity, and accordingly means were calculated to 0.0001 inch. This is perfectly legitimate, as the curves are read to 0.001 inch, and each hourly value in the mean diurnal inequality for a month was based on over 300 individual readings.

For our present purpose full details of the diurnal inequalities are not absolutely necessary, and I have consequently omitted them to economise space.

§27. That Everett had a substantial basis in claiming a resemblance between the mean diurnal inequalities for the year in barometric pressure and potential gradient is apparent on comparing the two curves of fig. 4.

Barometric data - Kew

The heavy curve, representing potential gradient, is drawn on a more open scale than the curves of fig. 2; the light curve representing barometric pressure is drawn on a scale such as to make its apparent range nearly equal to that of the other curve.

Whilst the resemblance is very striking, as between two different elements, there are differences which seem of a fundamental character.

During the forenoon the curves are nearly in the same phase.
The barometer curve lags a little, but very little, behind the other.

In the afternoon, however, the lag in the barometer curve becomes conspicuous, amounting to about two hours at the times of the afternoon maximum and minimum.

This change in apparent lag throughout the day does not seem to have been noticed previously, but it persists with wonderful regularity throughout the year.

Treating the maxima and minima as occurring at the exact hours when the algebraically greatest and least hourly values occur, I find that the hour of the forenoon minimum is the same for the two elements in every month from January to October; the mean lag for the barometric pressure for the 12 months comes to 5/12 of an hour, but the exceptionally early hour of the potential minimum in October is responsible for more than half this difference.

In the case of the forenoon maximum there is exact agreement in the hour in eight months, and the mean lag in barometric pressure for the 12 months is only 1/3 hour.

December is the only month when the afternoon minima accord in time and the mean lag for the barometric pressure is 1 1/2 hours.

The corresponding quantity for the afternoon maxima is 2 1/3 hours.

If the relation is a case of cause and effect, the fact that it is the barometer curve that lags relative to the other would naturally lead one to regard the potential variation rather as the cause than the effect.

Barometric annual data - Kew

Atmospheric Electric Potential Results at Kew –Dr. C. Chree
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society – 1906
https://archive.org/download/philtrans07216443/07216443.pdf

However, Huntington expressed caution because he was aware of the “Carnegie Curve” which revealed a different global daily pattern in the electrostatic voltage gradient over the oceans.

Since Chree’s paper was published, Mauchly’s work has introduced a new element into the problem. He found, it will be remembered, that the potential gradient in the air over the oceans shows a maximum at the same hour in widely separated regions. This does not mean the same hour of the day, but absolutely the same hour by Greenwich time…

If atmospheric electricity really has an effect upon barometric pressure, this discovery must be reckoned with. A combination of Mauchly’s curve showing the variations of electrical potential due to the local effects of the earth’s rotation may help explain the semidiurnal variations of atmospheric pressure.

Earth and Sun – An Hypothesis of Weather and Sunspots – Ellsworth Huntington – 1923

carnegie-iv-v-vi-annual-graph

The analysis undertaken by S. J. Mauchly revealed a global daily pattern in the electrostatic voltage gradient [over the oceans] with a peak at 19:00 GMT and a low at 04:00 GMT.

The Carnegie Curve
https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2014/06/13/the-carnegie-curve/

Of late years, additional interest has attached to the possibility of the connection, owing to Elster and Geitel’s discovery that air drawn from the soil is ionized, and their consequent suggestion that change of barometric pressure may influence potential gradient, by modifying the rate at which this ionized air escapes into the atmosphere.

Atmospheric Electric Potential Results at Kew –Dr. C. Chree
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society – 1906
https://archive.org/download/philtrans07216443/07216443.pdf

major-components-of-a-cosmic-ray-extensive-air-shower-cascade

The major components of a cosmic-ray extensive air shower (cascade), showing secondary particle production in the atmosphere and rock (modified from Allkofer and Grieder, 1984; Clay and Dawson, 1997).

Terrestrial in situ cosmogenic nuclides: theory and application
J.C. Gosse, F.M. Phillips
Quaternary Science Reviews 20 (2001)

Carbon 14 – Seeing the Light
https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2014/05/31/carbon-14-seeing-the-light/

Unsurprisingly, the second edition [in 1929] of the mainstream meteorological textbook Physics of the Air by William Jackson Humphreys simply ignored the electric suggestions of Huntington and the analysis of the Kew data performed by Dr Chree in 1906.

Instead, Humphreys counter punches by [also] reaching back to the 1906 harmonic analysis performed by W. J. Bennett which identified “two well-defined sine curves, a diurnal and a semidiurnal” plus “higher harmonics of small amplitude”.

Predictably, Humphreys states that “all the above facts of observation strongly favor, if they do not compel, the conclusion that the daily cyclic pressure changes are somehow results of daily temperature changes”.

At present (1928) the situation is both better and worse.

Great progress has been made in the theory of the semidiurnal wave, but it still is far from perfect and, besides, we now are aware of a curious terdiurnal wave, and even suspect a quartodiurnal.

Obviously, the average hourly pressures, for a decade or longer, at any given place, are practically free from storm and other irregular effects, but contain all diurnal and shorter period disturbances that may exist.

On being analyzed, these actual data show two well-defined sine curves, a diurnal and a semidiurnal, as illustrated by Fig. 72, each of which requires a special explanation.

Higher harmonics of small amplitude also have been found.

Diurnal Pressure Changes
There are two classes of well-defined 24-hour pressure changes.

One obtains at places of considerable elevation and is marked by a barometric maximum during the warmest hours and minimum during the coldest.

The other applies to low, especially sea level, stations and is the reverse of the above, the maximum occurring during the coldest hours and the minimum during the warmest.

The first class of changes just mentioned, the one that concerns elevated stations, is due, essentially, to volume expansion and contraction of the atmosphere caused by heating and cooling respectively.

Thus, the lower atmosphere over that side of the earth which is exposed to insolation becomes more or less heated, and, therefore, because of the resulting expansion, its center of mass is correspondingly raised.

Average daily barometric curve and its components - Washington DC

Conversely, during the night the atmosphere cools and contracts and the center of mass is proportionately lowered.

Hence, so far as this effect alone is concerned, a mountain station, 1000 meters, say, above sea level, will have the greatest mass of air above it when the atmosphere below is warmest, or most expanded, and the least when the lower atmosphere is coldest, or most contracted that is to say, this effect tends to produce, at such stations, barometric maxima during afternoons, and minima about dawn.

There is, however, another effect resulting from the volume expansion and contraction of the atmosphere to consider; namely, its lateral flow.

To this, mainly, is due that daily barometric swing at sea level, as shown by harmonic analysis; the early evening minimum and the early morning maximum, that is, the reverse of the high-level oscillation.

The expansion and consequent vertical rise of the air on the warming side of the earth, together with the simultaneous contraction and fall of the atmosphere on the cooling side, establishes a pressure gradient at all levels of the atmosphere, directed from the warmer toward the cooler regions, a gradient that obviously causes the well-known heliotropic wind the wind that turns with the sun and, thus, leads to maximum pressures at the coldest places, and minimum pressures at the warmest.

But, as these regions are along meridians, roughly, 10 hours, or 150° apart, and perpetually move around the earth at the rate of one revolution every 24 hours, there must be a corresponding perpetual flow of air, or change of flow, as above described, in a ceaseless effort to establish an equilibrium which, since the disturbance is continuous, can never be attained.

Semidiurnal Pressure Changes
Both the actual barometric records and their harmonic analyses show conspicuous 12-hour cyclic changes that culminate in maxima and minima at approximately 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., and 4 a.m. and 4 p.m., respectively the exact hour, in each case, depending somewhat upon season, elevation, and, presumably, weather conditions.

Some of the observed facts in regard to this 12-hour cyclic change of pressure are:
a. The amplitude, when other things are substantially equal, varies with place, approximately, as the cube of the cosine of the latitude, and is uncertain beyond 60°.
b. The amplitude is, everywhere, greatest on equinoxes; and, everywhere, least on solstices.
c. The amplitude is greater at perihelion than at aphelion.
d. The amplitude is about the same at night as by day.
e. The amplitude is practically independent of the state of the sky, while that of the diurnal is much greater on clear days than cloudy.
f. The amplitude is about the same over land as over water, while that of the diurnal is greatest over land.
g. Over the tropical Pacific Ocean the forenoon barometric maximum is about 1 mm. above, and the afternoon minimum 1 mm. below, the general average pressure.

Obviously, other things being equal, both the daily change in temperature, and the resulting change in convection, are greater in the tropics than elsewhere; greater at perihelion than at aphelion; and greatest when the time of heating and the time of cooling (day and night) are equal, and least when these are most unequal or at the times of solstice.

Hence, all the above facts of observation strongly favor, if they do not compel, the conclusion that the daily cyclic pressure changes are somehow results of daily temperature changes.

Physics Of The Air – W J Humphreys – 2nd Edition – 1929 – McGraw-Hill Book Company
https://archive.org/download/physicsoftheairs032485mbp/physicsoftheairs032485mbp.pdf

Barometric graph - Washington

Harmonic Analysis of the Diurnal Barometric Curve at Washington D. C.
By W. J. Bennett, B. S., Observer. Dated Charlotte, N. C., November 12, 1906
Monthly Weather Review, November 1906 – Page 528
http://docs.lib.noaa.gov/rescue/mwr/034/mwr-034-11-0528.pdf

Having failed to establish a “complete physical explanation” the mainstream then proceeded to rest on its laurels having unscientifically concluded that daily cyclic pressure changes are somehow caused by daily temperature changes.

However, in 1946 the mainstream experienced a rude awakening when Immanuel Velikovsky included Dr Beal’s observations in his [priceless] list of 25 facts that are incompatible with the mainstream theory of gravitation.

THE FUNDAMENTAL theory of this paper is: Gravitation is an electromagnetic phenomenon.
There is no primary motion inherent in planets and satellites.
Electric attraction, repulsion, and electromagnetic circumduction govern their movements. The moon does not “fall,” attracted to the earth from an assumed inertial motion along a straight line, nor is the phenomenon of objects falling in the terrestrial atmosphere comparable with the “falling effect” in the movement of the moon, a conjecture which is the basic element of the Newtonian theory of gravitation.

Aside from several important facts discovered in the study of cosmic upheavals, which are not illuminated here and only enumerated at the end of this paper, and which are discussed at length in a work of research entitled Worlds In Collision now being prepared for publication, the following facts are incompatible with the theory of gravitation:

5. The weight of the atmosphere is constantly changing as the changing barometric pressure indicates. Low pressure areas are not necessarily encircled by high pressure belts.
The semidiurnal changes in barometric pressure are not explainable by the mechanistic principles of gravitation and the heat effect of solar radiation. The cause of these variations is unknown.

“It has been known now for two and a half centuries, that there are more or less daily variations in the height of the barometer, culminating in two maxima and two minima during the course of 24 hours. Since Dr. Beal’s discovery (1664-65), the same observation has been made and puzzled over at every station at which pressure records were kept and studied, but without success in finding for it the complete physical explanation. In speaking of the diurnal and semidiurnal variations of the barometer, Lord Rayleigh says: ‘The relative magnitude of the latter [semidiurnal variations], as observed at most parts of the earth’s surface, is still a mystery, all the attempted explanations being illusory.’”

One maximum is at 10 a.m., the other at 10 p.m.; the two minima are at 4 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The heating effect of the sun can explain neither the time when the maxima appear nor the time of the minima of these semidiurnal variations.

If the pressure becomes lower without the air becoming lighter through a lateral expansion due to heat, this must mean that the same mass of air gravitates with changing force at different hours.

The lowest pressure is near the equator, in the belt of the doldrums.

Yet the troposphere is highest at the equator, being on the average about 18 km. high there; it is lower in the moderate latitudes, and only 6 km. high above the ground at the poles.

Cosmos without Gravitation
Attraction, Repulsion and Electromagnetic Circumduction in the Solar System
Immanuel Velikovsky – 1946

http://www.varchive.org/ce/cosmos.htm

The mainstream response was rapid and “the embattled resonance theory of the semidiurnal tide” was “brilliantly revived by Weekes and Wilkes in 1947 and by Wilkes in his monograph of 1949″.

However, it wasn’t until 1967 that the mainstream finally managed to bury Dr Beal’s and barometric observations under many impervious layers of Atmospheric Tidal Theory.

The diurnal tide in surface pressure was explained theoretically in 1967, with the help of a framework that had been built up in the preceding six years.

A significant contribution to this framework was made by Bernhard Haurwitz, who in 1965 published spherical-harmonic and Hough-function analyses of the diurnal surface-pressure oscillation.

Chronology of publication

The S-1 Chronicle: A Tribute to Bernhard Haurwitz – George W. Platzman – 1996:
American Meteorological Society: Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 77, 1569–1577.
http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/1520-0477%281996%29077%3C1569%3ATSCATT%3E2.0.CO%3B2

No doubt many other bodies are conveniently buried beneath Dr Beal’s barometer.

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