April 22, 2009

Waiting for the Sun

Hatched by Dafydd

Is it just me? (And how many times recently have I said or written, "is it just me?")

For a beautiful example of the miracle of circular reasoning that is globaloney, take a gander at this -- the world and solar system according to Prof. A. Michael Lockwood of Southampton University. This BBC story notes the recent extreme inactivity of the sun, the output of which has been diminishing since 1985:

Last year, it was expected that it would have been hotting up after a quiet spell. But instead it hit a 50-year low in solar wind pressure, a 55-year low in radio emissions, and a 100-year low in sunspot activity.

According to Prof Louise Hara of University College London, it is unclear why this is happening or when the Sun is likely to become more active again.

"There's no sign of us coming out of it yet," she told BBC News.

"At the moment, there are scientific papers coming out suggesting that we'll be going into a normal period of activity soon.

"Others are suggesting we'll be going into another minimum period - this is a big scientific debate at the moment."

Many of us believe that the sun plays a large role in the temperature of the Earth -- since it's the ultimate source of nearly all of it (though some might be caused by the Earth's molten core). Therefore, some unenlightened souls might reason, if the sun radiates less energy, the Earth may begin to cool... and so long, global warming.

To nip this ray of sunshine in the bud and thoroughly squelch the idea that climate change may even conceivably be driven by anything other than the vile burning of oil, coal, and the emissions produced by Detroit iron, the Beeb recruits the current go-to guy on the "consensus view" of anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC), the aforementioned Lockwood, who has bravely taken up the dour man's burden since at least last July:

"I wish the Sun was coming to our aid but, unfortunately, the data shows that is not the case," he said.

Prof Lockwood was one of the first researchers to show that the Sun's activity has been gradually decreasing since 1985, yet overall global temperatures have continued to rise.

"If you look carefully at the observations, it's pretty clear that the underlying level of the Sun peaked at about 1985 and what we are seeing is a continuation of a downward trend (in solar activity) that's been going on for a couple of decades.

"If the Sun's dimming were to have a cooling effect, we'd have seen it by now."

(He said the same thing in a National Geographic article in July 2007.)

An interesting point, because, of course, we have seen a cooling effect by now. But that's an inconvenient truth (sorry)... and Lockwood inadvertently neglects to mention it:

He added that the current slight dimming of the Sun was not going to reverse the rise in global temperatures caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

"What we are seeing is consistent with a global temperature rise, not that the Sun is coming to our aid."

But wait... what about this?

All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.

A compiled list of all the sources can be seen here. The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C -- a value large enough to wipe out most of the warming recorded over the past 100 years. All in one year's time. For all four sources, it's the single fastest temperature change ever recorded, either up or down.

Perhaps that's just a one-year fluke; on the other hand, there is also this:

Despite no global warming in 10 years and recording setting cold in 2007-2008, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climatic Change (IPCC) and computer modelers who believe that CO2 is the cause of global warming still predict the Earth is in store for catastrophic warming in this century.

Don J. Easterbrook , Professor Emeritus of Geology at Western Washington University and a frequent writer in refereed journals of climatology, in fact predicts a succession of cooling periods and warming periods over the next century. He likely bases some of his own findings on the same data that prompted Kyle Swanson and Anastasios Tsonis of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to publish a paper in Geophysical Research Letters predicting the same thing, as reported in World Climate Report:

“Has the climate recently shifted?” is the title of a just-published paper in Geophysical Research Letters by researchers Kyle Swanson and Anastasios Tsonis from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Their examination of this topic was undoubtedly prompted by the recent behavior of global temperature which shows that the rate of warming has dramatically slowed during the past 7-12 years.

Updating a methodology that they had previously developed and used to identify several changes in the climate state that occurred during the 20th century, Swanson and Tsonis examined the temperature data from recent years to see if another state change had taken place:

Here, a new and improved means to quantify the coupling between climate modes confirms that another synchronization of these modes, followed by an increase in coupling occurred in 2001/02. This suggests that a break in the global mean temperature trend from the consistent warming over the 1976/77–2001/02 period may have occurred.

In other words, the authors think that they have identified another in a string of break points that signal a change in the general state of the earth’s climate.

WCR notes that Swanson and Tsonis still support the idea of AGCC, but this may be due to their unexamined assumption that the increased variability of the actual climate, compared to the predictions of the climate modelers at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC -- sorry about all the acronyms) -- a completely political organization whose members are primarily political appointees from various nations (the IPCC hires scientists to justify its political decisions) -- indicates that the IPCC must have underestimated 21st-century warming. WCR does a good job of debunking that facile and unsupported conclusion:

But do the models have the the climate sensitivity too low (as Swanson and Tsonis suggest) or too high? Or is the climate model climate sensitivity even coupled to the size of the model internal variability (as it is in the real world)?

There are hints that the latter two may be the case -- that is, the model climate sensitivity is (artificially) disconnected from the model-produced internal variability, and that the model climate sensitivity is too large.

WCR notes that the IPCC tried to correct their first ludicrously false climate models -- which could not even correctly predict past climate change, overestimating it by a whopping amount -- by adding the use of aerosols as a "knob" to adjust the models so that they at least accurately predicted the climate change from 1900 to 2000, as actually observed.

Briefly, tame IPCC apologists scientists suggested that aerosol polution in the atmosphere acted to cool the atmosphere, counteracting the greenhouse gases that warmed it. But since we significantly curtailed the use of aerosols from the 1970s onward, carbon and carbonoids reasserted control, and warming took command again. Thus, they explained one of those temperature "break points" that occurred in mid-century, in defiance of the original (pre-aerosol-knob) models.

WCR resumes:

In earlier work (Tsonis et al., 2007), the authors concluded that:

The standard explanation for the post 1970s warming is that the radiative effect of greenhouse gases overcame shortwave reflection effects due to aerosols. However, [our result] suggests an alternative hypothesis, namely that the climate shifted after the 1970s event to a different state of a warmer climate, which may be superimposed on an anthropogenic warming trend.

Their new work further supports this conclusion as do plain and simple observations -- after all, there is no way that declining influence of aerosols which was invoked to help explain the warming of the 1980s and 1990s can be used to explain the lack of warming thus far during the 21st century.

So if aerosols don’t play a large role in the 20th century temperature behavior, then the models get things right for the wrong reasons and, when fed the right reasons, they would get things wrong (i.e. produce too much warming -- an indication that their climate sensitivity is too large).

So to sum up, much current research indicates that we have seen a fairly sudden "break point" in both average global temperature and also the trendline of average global temperature since 1998; it was high and rising, but now it's cooler and staying about the same. Considering how long it may take a system as large as the Earth to stop a warming trend and confounding factors that may be at work, it's not unreasonable to conclude that the reduction in the sun's radiative output may be responsible for the 12-year hiatus in global warming. Lockwood notwithstanding, such a conclusion is not contradicted by a continued "global temperature rise" in the Earth's temperature, as he claims; the trend since 1998 has been the other direction.

It appears that, just as Mann, Bradley, and Hughes conveniently ignored the inconvenient Mediaeval Warm Period in their now-infamous "hockey stick" diagram, in order to make today's temperatures seem the highest ever, today's Professor Lockwood completely ignores the abrupt cessation of global warming for the past 11 years in order to pooh-pooh the idea that the sun's output could have anything to do with the Earth's temperature.

And here is the capper; the BBC article actually argues that the sun cannot be having any affect on the Earth's climate because, even though the sun's output is diminishing, the IPCC still predicts global warming!

I rib you not; here is the rest of that section quoted earlier:

[Lockwood] added that the current slight dimming of the Sun was not going to reverse the rise in global temperatures caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

"What we are seeing is consistent with a global temperature rise, not that the Sun is coming to our aid."

Data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows global average temperatures have risen by about 0.7C since the beginning of the 20th Century.

And the IPCC projects that the world will continue to warm, with temperatures expected to rise between 1.8C and 4C by the end of the century.

QED -- which in this case stands for "quite easily debunked."

So the sun cannot be driving climate change, because if it were, the IPCC would already have changed its predictions from catastrophic global warming to something else (presumably catastrophic global cooling). Since the IPCC hasn't changed, clearly the sun has no influence on the Earth's mean global temperature. So there.

Of course, eventually, the IPCC may be unable to find shills scientists to continue denying that any cooling has happened, especially if Swanson, Tsonis, Easterbrook, and scores of other climatologists are correct, and the cooling trend continues for several decades. Eventually, the IPCC will have to flip in their choice of catastrophes.

But not to worry; no matter what the disaster, the salvation will always be the same: Smash the looms, stop producing energy, cut back, minimize industry, and go back to the calm, peaceful, pastoral existence the human race enjoyed before all this technology came along and ruined everything. That is the dream of the New Left; and not coincidentally, as that movement has taken power around the world and set up international bodies connected to the U.N., that also appears to be the dream of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 22, 2009, at the time of 4:50 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Dick E


Say, I have an idea. Why don’t we find a way to use chlorofluorocarbons as gasoline additives? Then, bring back the old fashioned aerosols and refrigerants.

We can then use those super-accurate climate change models to determine just how much CFC we need in the atmosphere to offset sunspot variations. We can emit CO2 to our hearts’ content, as long as we add enough CFC to offset it. (Maybe we could use one of those “aerosol knobs” as a fine-tuning device.)

Luddites, unite!

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 22, 2009 7:09 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Dick E:

Heh, you think you're joking; but I've seen almost that exact proposal emanating from some climatologists associated with the IPCC.

Advanced seriously. As a solution to global warming.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 22, 2009 11:19 PM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

Dafydd, question on the subject that has been frustrating me for a while. Obviously this is a complex question, and obviously there are very competent scientists doubting parts of the "Consensus". But why is it that there does seem to be a plurality (if not a full consensus) of climate scientists who believe in all this stuff? See for instance, Wikipedia? I don't have time to really research all sides of this issue. Am I just listening to the koolaid drinkers on my side?

How many climate scientists are there, anyhow? Is there that much for all of them to do? Reminds me of particle physicists.

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 23, 2009 7:26 AM

The following hissed in response by: LarryD


Wikipedia is known to be a biased reference on certain subjects, AGW is one of them.

What you are perceiving is the combination of multiple efects:

  1. The MSM acting as a pro AGW propaganda machine
  2. The fact that budget, grant money, and promotions flow to those who get on the band wagon, and are withheld from the skeptics.
  3. Playing fast and lose with the definition of 'climate expert', many of those labeled as such hove no expertise in science at all.

I expect you'll be noticing more and more of the skeptical side show up in the coming months, the AGW side is getting panicky because they can feel the whole facade beginning to fall apart.

The above hissed in response by: LarryD [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 23, 2009 8:25 AM

The following hissed in response by: LarryD

Plants absorb more CO2 under Polluted Hazy Skies

Lead author Dr Lina Mercado, from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said, "Surprisingly, the effects of atmospheric pollution seem to have enhanced global plant productivity by as much as a quarter from 1960 to 1999. This resulted in a net 10% increase in the amount of carbon stored by the land once other effects were taken into account."

An increase in microscopic particles released into the atmosphere (known as aerosols), by human activities and changes in cloud cover, caused a decline in the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface from the 1950s up to the 1980s (a phenomenon known as 'global dimming').

The above hissed in response by: LarryD [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 23, 2009 10:31 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dick E


Oh dear. Here I thought I had come up with a stupidity of some originality. Curses!

It seems to fit so well with the former left-wing scheme of coloring the Arctic black to combat global cooling. Unfortunately the mantra changed to global warming, so they had to abandon that well-thought-out plan.

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 23, 2009 2:25 PM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

LarryD, I know well that Wikipedia can be biased. In fact, if you'll look at the Discussion on the page I linked, you'll see that I tried to add certain points to make some of the sections more even, and got nowhere. Make a change, gets reverted in a few minutes. Explain your points, no one answers till you make a change, then it gets reverted...

Still - those surveys are real. A pretty hefty chunk of those scientists believe the Narrative.

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 24, 2009 6:06 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


It's a little tough to answer in a vacuum; can you cite a specific survey? Preferably with a link to the methodology and the raw data. That way, we can see exactly what it found, exactly who was surveyed, how they were surveyed, and so forth.



The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 24, 2009 1:29 PM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

is the general link I had in mind. It's got a zillion statements by various scientific organizations, and a few recent surveys. The latest, Doran and Zimmerman, seemed to me to be completely bogus, as I tried to point out in the Discussion section there. The survey by Oreskes also didn't impress me as relevant, though it is often quoted. Bray and von Storch would have been useful, except that there were severe problems with the sampling. They have done a more recent survey, and I believe the results are not yet published. The authors of the Wikipedia article are trying hard to knock out that survey. But all the surveys certainly show a considerable number on the side of the consensus.
The interesting thing to me is the the Wikipedia authors are trying to push the idea that virtually no reputable scientists disagree with the consensus. The fight is all on the negative side: Can one find and support surveys that show that a healthy fraction of scientists don't. Are you suggesting just the opposite, that no scientist with any sense believes in it? I tend to have respect for scientists, at least in their particular fields. Can a whole field be filled with frauds and fools?

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 25, 2009 7:22 PM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

I don't see that the results have been published, but here's a lot of info here on the most recent (2008) Bray and von Storch survey. And some results are included:
The older Bray and von Storch surveys have raw data available, but there's probably no point; they're too old, and there were serious complaints about the methodology.
I don't see that you can get to the raw data for the recent STATS survey by Harris, though they claim it's available on request.

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 27, 2009 7:57 AM

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