Journal Article

The influence of the lunar nodal cycle on Arctic climate

Harald Yndestad

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 63, issue 3, pages 401-420
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
The influence of the lunar nodal cycle on Arctic climate

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  • Environmental Science
  • Marine and Estuarine Biology


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The Arctic Ocean is a substantial energy sink for the northern hemisphere. Fluctuations in its energy budget will have a major influence on the Arctic climate. The paper presents an analysis of the time-series for the polar position, the extent of Arctic ice, sea level at Hammerfest, Kola section sea temperature, Røst winter air temperature, and the NAO winter index as a way to identify a source of dominant cycles. The investigation uses wavelet transformation to identify the period and the phase in these Arctic time-series. System dynamics are identified by studying the phase relationship between the dominant cycles in all time-series. A harmonic spectrum from the 18.6-year lunar nodal cycle in the Arctic time-series has been identified. The cycles in this harmonic spectrum have a stationary period, but not stationary amplitude and phase. A sub-harmonic cycle of about 74 years may introduce a phase reversal of the 18.6-year cycle. The signal-to-noise ratio between the lunar nodal spectrum and other sources changes from 1.6 to 3.2. A lunar nodal cycle in all time-series indicates that there is a forced Arctic oscillating system controlled by the pull of gravity from the moon, a system that influences long-term fluctuations in the extent of Arctic ice. The phase relation between the identified cycles indicates a possible chain of events from lunar nodal gravity cycles, to long-term tides, polar motions, Arctic ice extent, the NAO winter index, weather, and climate.

Keywords: Arctic oscillation; climate oscillation; lunar nodal cycle; NAO winter index; polar motion; wavelet analysis

Journal Article.  9579 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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