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Solar activity & climate: is the sun causing global warming?

The skeptic argument...

It's the sun

"Over the past few hundred years, there has been a steady increase in the numbers of sunspots, at the time when the Earth has been getting warmer. The data suggests solar activity is influencing the global climate causing the world to get warmer." (BBC)

What the science says...

In the last 35 years of global warming, the sun has shown a slight cooling trend. Sun and climate have been going in opposite directions.

As supplier of almost all the energy in Earth's climate, the sun has a strong influence on climate. A comparison of sun and climate over the past 1150 years found temperatures closely match solar activity (Usoskin 2005). However, after 1975, temperatures rose while solar activity showed little to no long-term trend. This led the study to conclude, "...during these last 30 years the solar total irradiance, solar UV irradiance and cosmic ray flux has not shown any significant secular trend, so that at least this most recent warming episode must have another source."

In fact, a number of independent measurements of solar activity indicate the sun has shown a slight cooling trend since 1960, over the same period that global temperatures have been warming. Over the last 35 years of global warming, sun and climate have been moving in opposite directions. An analysis of solar trends concluded that the sun has actually contributed a slight cooling influence in recent decades (Lockwood 2008).

Global Temperature vs Solar Activity (Total Solar Irradiance)
Figure 1: Annual global temperature change (thin light red) with 11 year moving average of temperature (thick dark red). Temperature from NASA GISS. Annual Total Solar Irradiance (thin light blue) with 11 year moving average of TSI (thick dark blue). TSI from 1880 to 1978 from Solanki. TSI from 1979 to 2009 from PMOD.

Other studies on solar influence on climate

This conclusion is confirmed by many studies finding that while the sun contributed to warming in the early 20th Century, it has had little contribution (most likely negative) in the last few decades:

  • Erlykin 2009: "We deduce that the maximum recent increase in the mean surface temperature of the Earth which can be ascribed to solar activity is 14% of the observed global warming."
  • Benestad 2009: "Our analysis shows that the most likely contribution from solar forcing a global warming is 7 ± 1% for the 20th century and is negligible for warming since 1980."
  • Lockwood 2008: "It is shown that the contribution of solar variability to the temperature trend since 1987 is small and downward; the best estimate is -1.3% and the 2? confidence level sets the uncertainty range of -0.7 to -1.9%."
  • Lean 2008: "According to this analysis, solar forcing contributed negligible long-term warming in the past 25 years and 10% of the warming in the past 100 years..."
  • Lockwood 2008: "The conclusions of our previous paper, that solar forcing has declined over the past 20 years while surface air temperatures have continued to rise, are shown to apply for the full range of potential time constants for the climate response to the variations in the solar forcings."
  • Ammann 2007: "Although solar and volcanic effects appear to dominate most of the slow climate variations within the past thousand years, the impacts of greenhouse gases have dominated since the second half of the last century."
  • Lockwood 2007: "The observed rapid rise in global mean temperatures seen after 1985 cannot be ascribed to solar variability, whichever of the mechanism is invoked and no matter how much the solar variation is amplified."
  • Foukal 2006 concludes "The variations measured from spacecraft since 1978 are too small to have contributed appreciably to accelerated global warming over the past 30 years."
  • Scafetta 2006 says "since 1975 global warming has occurred much faster than could be reasonably expected from the sun alone."
  • Usoskin 2005 conclude "during these last 30 years the solar total irradiance, solar UV irradiance and cosmic ray flux has not shown any significant secular trend, so that at least this most recent warming episode must have another source."
  • Solanki 2004 reconstructs 11,400 years of sunspot numbers using radiocarbon concentrations, finding "solar variability is unlikely to have been the dominant cause of the strong warming during the past three decades".
  • Haigh 2003 says "Observational data suggest that the Sun has influenced temperatures on decadal, centennial and millennial time-scales, but radiative forcing considerations and the results of energy-balance models and general circulation models suggest that the warming during the latter part of the 20th century cannot be ascribed entirely to solar effects."
  • Stott 2003 increased climate model sensitivity to solar forcing and still found "most warming over the last 50 yr is likely to have been caused by increases in greenhouse gases."
  • Solanki 2003 concludes "the Sun has contributed less than 30% of the global warming since 1970."
  • Lean 1999 concludes "it is unlikely that Sun–climate relationships can account for much of the warming since 1970."
  • Waple 1999 finds "little evidence to suggest that changes in irradiance are having a large impact on the current warming trend."
  • Frolich 1998 concludes "solar radiative output trends contributed little of the 0.2°C increase in the global mean surface temperature in the past decade."

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 560:

  1. "From the actual data we conclude that the graphs from Lockwood and Frölish were flawed:

    1. The methodology used by Lockwood and Frölish to smooth the lines was applied only to maxima of R (sunspot number), dismissing the TSI. This practice hides the minima, which for the issue are more important than the maxima. For example, if the minimum of TSI in 1975 was 1365.5 W/m^2, it would contrast dramatically with the minimum of TSI of 1998 that was 1366 W/m^2 (0.033% higher). That would make the Sun in 1975 “colder” than in 1998. However, if we compare minimum values with maximum values, then the Sun would be frankly “warmer” in 1998 -when the solar energy output was 1366 W/m^2- than in 1975 -when the energy output was 1366.1111 W/m^2. Today (21/07/07), the global TSI was 1367.6744 W/m^2); hence, we see that we must not smooth maxima values through movable trends because we would be hiding the minima values, which are more important because the baseline of the “cooler” or lower nuclear activity of the Sun are higher everyday. The coolest period of the Sun happened during the Maunder Minimum when the TSI was 1363.5 W/m^2. The coolest period of the Sun from 1985 to date occurred in 1996 when the TSI was 1365.6211 W/m^2. An interesting blotch is that in 1985 the TSI was 1365.6506 W/m^2 and in 2000 was 1366.6744."

  2. The Lockwood article does not mention the methodology that the author of that page, Nasif Nahle, claims the researchers have used. The main critique towards the Lockwood article should be the fact that it used only 30 years of data to make the claim that the total solar irradiance (TSI) has decreased since 1985. Not only does it fails to mention that the trend found is hardly significant, it also neglects to show any TSI data (derived or not) before the year 1975.

    All of this is irrelevant however, as the alternative reconstruction of solar irradiance that Nahle presents, also indicates no trend after 1950. Strangely though according to Nahle the graph should show that there is a clear increase in solar irradiance, but perhaps we are seeing different things? To me, clearly, there is no significant trend in TSI visible from 1950 onwards.

    It is clear just by looking with the naked eye but also by using the provided data, applying a 11-year low-pass filter (to eliminate the variance of the ~11-year sunspot cycle) and calculating the first derivative of this filtered series. The trend over the last 30 years of the series, 1971-2000, has been roughly +0,08 W/m² and is not significant (at all).

    Figure: solar irradiance from Lean (2000), blue: raw data, red: 11-year low-pass filter
  3. Just assuming for the sake of argument that your assertions based upon

    are proven by peer-reviewed studies to be correct and that: -

    Recent oppositely directed trends in solar climate forcings and the global mean surface

    is shown by peer-reviewed studies to be wrong in some way, that still does not invalidate the
    fact that Solar output [once the 11-year cycle has been removed], has had no tend or virtually no trend. http://www.pmodwrc.ch/tsi/composite/pics/org_comp2_d41_61_0705.png

    Claims that the recent anomalous warming are solely due to solar effects are unsustainable. It is clear that the current anomalos warming cannot be explained without including the effects of GHGs and CO2 in particular.
  4. I think I have the right to argue on my article based on peer reviewed papers.

    When we consider a short period, for example an 11 years period we can argue that the intensity of the solar irradiance is decreasing; however, if we consider a longer period, for example 400 years, we can see that the intensity of solar irradiance has not decreased. Some 400 years ago the solar irradiance intensity was 1365.5946 W/m^-2, while in 2000 the total solar irradiance intensity was 1366.6620 W/m^2. This year the Sun has been mostly spotless, but the solar irradiance intensity has been 1365 W/m^-2. This constitutes evidence on the existence of other solar "pulses" that we have not understood well:


    Regarding the particularity of CO2 on the global warming, I don't see why to blame the CO2 of GW when its particular thermal characteristics show that the CO2 is not capable of producing any warming. The Pp of the CO2 in the atmosphere is roughly 0.00034 atm*m, wich limits the absorptivity-emissivity of the CO2 to only 0.00092 (dimensionless value), not the 0.2 given by the IPCC. The absorptivity-emissivity of CO2 is 0.00092 conduces to its total emittancy of barely 0.414 W/m^2, not the 5.35 W/m^2 given by the IPCC. If I was to blame any atmospheric gas of a GH effect, I would blame the Water Vapor, not the the coolant CO2.
    Response: "its particular thermal characteristics show that the CO2 is not capable of producing any warming"

    On the contrary, the enhanced greenhouse effect from CO2 has been confirmed by multiple lines of empirical evidence (eg - satellite measurements of infrared spectra, surface measurements finding more downward infrared radiation warming the planet’s surface).

    "If I was to blame any atmospheric gas of a GH effect, I would blame the Water Vapor, not the the coolant CO2."

    You would be right in that water vapour is the most dominant greenhouse gas. It's also the dominant positive feedback in our climate system and amplifies any warming caused by changes in atmospheric CO2. This positive feedback is why climate is so sensitive to CO2 warming.
  5. Biocab: surely you can agree with the consensus that solar irradiance has not increased significantly in the last 50 years, while the global average temperature has? The only conclusion can be that changes in solar irradiance cannot have contributed to recent warming in the last half century.

    With regard to CO2: I think you are not completely aware of the exact concept of the natural greenhouse effect, the enhanced greenhouse effect and most important of all radiative forcing. I am not an expert on the exact chemistry of all the trace gases and how that works, so I cannot judge your comments on the exact emissivity (though my gut feeling hints at the missing of the immediate re-emittance of longwave IR-radiation while you seem to be talking only about the independent emittance of the absorbed heat). I do know the following though: the absolute value of carbon dioxide (whether expressed in ppm or Pp) is not relevant when it comes to the increase or decrease of the Earth's surface temperature. Changes in the exact amount of each gas are what is important. The reason for this is that such changes will cause changes in radiative fluxes and, as a part of the total atmospheric adjustment for these radiative inbalances, the earth's surface cools or warms. Now given that carbon dioxide concentrations have risen at least 35% since 1900, there surely must have been some warming due to carbon dioxide (though not due to the existance of the gas in the first place, but because of the increase in its concentration).

    I am more at home in meteorology, so some rough calculations about that: the upward surface flux of the earth is around 390 W/m² (sigma T^4 = 5,6704x10^-8 * 288^4 ~ 390) and the outward flux at the top of the atmosphere is (1-a)S/4 where a ~ 0.3 (the global, terrestial albedo of the atmosphere) so this flux comes down to about 240 W/m². Now you can easily see that a large amount of longwave radiation must have been absorbed by the atmosphere, roughly 150 W/m². We know that water vapour is by far the primary absorber and carbon dioxide relatively weak (that is what you have showed, I think). Then comes radiative forcing: this can be understood simply by looking at toy models, which show that if the solar input or emissivity of the earth or the atmosphere (e.g. the greenhouse gasses) changes, the Earth's surface temperature changes.

    To conclude, models have shown that a doubling in CO2 concentration will likely cause a radiative forcing of around 3,7 W/m². One can now find that the coefficient for determining the radiative forcing caused by an increase or decrease of CO2 concentration from any given value A to B, will be C = 3.7 / ln(2) = 5.34 (and reversing the equation results in DF = 5.34 ln(co2/co2_orig) ). I am just a layman but I am pretty sure the value you quoted, 5.35, is NOT the total emissivity of carbon dioxide but only a coefficient effectively indicating the climate sensitivity to CO2 doubling. The value is not even in W/m² but dimensionless.

    Note of caution: I consider myself a layman and excuse me for any dramatic failures in reasoning. Willing to learn though :).

  6. 5.35 needs to have units:

    delta T = W/m^2 [Ln (ppmv/ppmv)] / 4 (W/m^2*K^4) (K^3)

    If don't, how could we eliminate W/m^2 from Stephan-Boltzmann constant?
  7. I don't agree with consensus, I agree with science.

    In the last 50 years the Intensity of Solar Irradiance increased in 1981 uo to 1366.6829 W/m^2. Higher than in 1957 (1365.7689 W/m^2); consequently, in 1981 was higher than 50 years ago. In 2000 the ISI was 1366.6620 W/m^2, and it was higher than 50 years ago (ISI in 1957 was 1365.7689 W/m^2). The last year (2006) the ISI was 1367.25 W/m^2, higher than in 1957, 1981 and 2000. Is ISI increasing or decreasing in the last 50 years?

    The inciding IR upon the surface is not 240 W/m^2, but ~469 W/m^2. From the last load of energy, the surface absorbs ~356.15 W/m^2 (median ~342 W/m^2) (1- Manrique, José Ángel V. Transferencia de Calor. 2002. Oxford University Press. England. 2- Maoz, Dan. Astrophysics. 2007. Princeton University Press. Princeton, New Jersey

    Some scientists from the IPCC think that the value 5.35 W/m^2 is wrong... I agree:

  8. An increase of 1365,7689 to 1366,6620 is not in any way statistical significant. Pick two others years and you get a decrease (e.g. what Lockwood did). You did not account for the 11-year periodic cycle which needs to be substracted before looking at trends, which underlines the uselessness of randomly picking TSI from any given year or years. Ergo: looking at the data with the 11-year cycle substracted, the trend in the last 50 years is more or less neutral (+0,08 W/m²) and in any case not statistical significant, given the amount of variance in that same period.

    Inciding IR upon the Earths surface is not ~240 W/m², sure I agree with that, but then again I am not claiming it is (I said it was the outgoing flux at the TOA). The ~469 W/m² is the [total] incoming IR at the surface, which is a combination of solar flux and radiation coming from the GHGs (water vapour, carbon dioxide, so on). IPCC puts it at 492 W/m² as a consensus though. Of that amount about 452 W/m² goes into the atmosphere by latent heat exchange, evapo(trans)piration and absorption by GHGs (the latter roughly 350 W/m²). The atmosphere itself radiates 195 W/m² upwards into space and 324 W/m² downwards towards the surface. About 40 W/m² makes it directly from the Earth's surface into space. The incoming solar flux is ~235 W/m² (and outgoing as well), of which 67 W/m² is absorbed by the atmosphere and 168 W/m² reaches the surface. So summarizing: the [surface] incoming flux is ~492 W/m² and outgoing as well, the TOA incoming and outgoing flux is ~235 W/m². The atmosphere absorbs 519 W/m², most of it from below from the Earth's surface, and emits this upwards and downwards (mostly the latter). As far as I can tell, nothing of this appears in real contradication with your article from Manrique (2007).

    The 5.34/5.35 is indeed in W/m², I stand corrected. The ln(co2/co2_orig) only scales the value and deltaF is in W/m².

  9. Well, let's compare 1957 (50 years ago) with 2006 (one year ago). In 1957 the ISI was 1365.7689 W/m^2, while in 2006 the ISI was 1367.25 W/m^2. Where is the decrease?

    The radiative forcing from ISI is 0.85 K per each W/m^2 of solar IR. From 1957 the extent of ISI has been 1.4811 W/m^2, that is 1.26 K. It is more credible than the 0.02 K from the heat absorbed by the CO2.

    The point where I don't agree with you is the radiative forcing for CO2, which is not 5.35 W/m^2, but 0.414 W/m^2. That was considered in the NAS paper. It seems, from the article, that the value for deltaF wasarbitrarly fixed.
  10. What is your source of 1367,25 W/m² for 2006, honestly for me it would seem like an unrealistic jump from the late 1990's to now. According to the PMOD-WRC data (link above, 'direct satellite measurements'), which is consistent with Lean (2000), the average TSI last year was 1365,4 or 1365,5 W/m² which seems more appropriate than 1367 W/m². In any case you cannot directly compare 1957 with 2006 because 2006 was the 11-year cycle minimum and 1957 was a cycle maximum, so compare maxima or minima or averages per solar cycle instead. E.g. if I use the Lean (2000) data from your webpage and compare 1957 with 2000 (maximum of solar cycles 19 and 23), I get 1366,681 and 1366,724, which equates to deltaF = 0,043 W/m² or a deltaT of 0,06 according to your equation. The first half of the century however I see a deltaF of 1,6 W/m² in the maxima and deltaF of 1,0 W/m² in the minima, equating to deltaT = 1,6-2,4 degrees. This strikes me more as a debate on data than principals or methods, by the way.

    The detrended data shows no [significant] decrease or increase in TSI/ISI. From that perspective I neither agree with the Lockwood article that ISI has decreased in the last 25 years nor with the claim that it has increased in the last 50 years. I would have to make myself more familiar with the exact fundamentals of radiative forcing before investigating whether or not the trend found would induce any (significant) forcing, your equation looks nice but I want to check it for myself first :-). On CO2 forcing: climate sensitivity to doubling of its concentration has a probability range even in the IPCC reports, however further discussion on this is not meant for this page.
  11. Small addition: this is what you get when you compare random years, say 1966 and 1996 (thirty years): 1365,951 and 1365,621, a decrease of -0,330 W/m². This is all using the Lean (2000) data from your webpage. Now 1966 was three years away from the maximum of cycle 20 in 1969 and 1996 was the minimum at the end of cycle 22.
  12. Philippe Chantreau at 03:00 AM on 21 September, 2007
    I like your analysis Ben. If you haven't, check Tamino's post "PMOD vs ACRIM." He did an outstanding job of examining solar data. Hope John isn't going to get tired of me always referring to other sites!
    Response: Not at all - the point of Skeptical Science is to point people to relevant resources, primarily the peer reviewed papers but good blog posts too. Tamino has two great posts which I link to from my Is the sun getting hotter? page (and I even lifted one of his graphs to use on my page).
  13. Ben Lankamp, the source is http://lasp.colorado.edu/science/solar_influence/index.htm

    It's not unrealistic given that the data is NH instrumental. Solar irradiance is going up, not down. You cannot take just one sunspots cycle out of context. The last would be pseusoscience.
    Response: The only information at the LASP page about long term trends in solar irradiance is the following graph:

    What it shows is a close correlation between Solar Irradiance (the orange line) and global temperature (dotted blue line). But they also show the correlation ends when the modern global warming trend begins in the mid-70's. The data is all there and it's unambiguous - there's a reason why so many studies (listed above under "Other Studies on solar influence on climate") conclude the sun's influence on recent global warming is minimal.
  14. No, what it shows is that the solar irradiance in 2006 was 1367.25 W/m^2.
  15. Philippe Chantreau at 11:49 AM on 25 September, 2007
    What it also shows for the 20th century is that the timing is not quite right. Temp increases sharply before the TSI and then, even before the TSI reaches its first 20th century spike, the temp actually starts to decrease, followed by a TSI decrease, and then the temp increases again, followed again (very modestly) by the TSI. If I was using a skeptical aproach to attempt a correlation between the 2 on this graph, it would appear that TSI was driven by temperature during the 20th century.
  16. I notice John, that you have done some renovating. Where did your last thirty years of satellite measurements of the TSI disappear to?
    To the unpracticed eye nothing out of the ordinary is apparent, but to people familiar with the site, it looks as though you are erasing key information that supports Biocab's contention that in regard to TSI it is the minimum measurement extended over time that is the most important. And the minimum is trending up - or rather was. If the current lack of sunspots extends a while longer, and the next solar cycle sees a drop in overall activity followed by a drop in global temperature, will you become a co2 denier?
    What about you Phil?
    Response: Not sure what you're refering to but I haven't removed anything (I am constantly tweaking the site but it's mostly adding links to new studies as I encounter them). Perhaps you were thinking of the discussion of satellite TSI data at The sun is getting hotter. As for the next solar cycle and the prospect of a drop in global temperature, it's funny you should mention that - I'm working up a page on that very subject which I'll post later this week.
  17. I'm checking out biocabs data and I cannot see where the mystery is here? There is no substantial hole where someone needs to plug CO2 into.

  18. Wondering Aloud at 09:26 AM on 4 January, 2008
    So what is the data source for the dotted blue line? Is it USHCN? Or partially USHCN?
  19. I question the physics behind the response: a crucial finding was the correlation between solar activity and temperature ended around 1975.......

    The assumption is that there is always an energy balance between heat radiated from earth and input from the sun.

    Lets say that solar activity remained above this energy balance, one would have to assume that temperature would still increase, until some new energy balance is achieved.

    This means that temperature can still increase as long as the input is greater that the output.

    basic example: take a pot of water at room temperature, it is in an energy balance, and temperature is constant.
    then take that pot and turn the stove on high
    the temperature will increase
    then turn the elopement down, and the water still warms up. until it reaches an energy balance.

    It does not seem reasonable to assume that reduced solar activity always equals reduced temperatures on earth.

    Reduce solar activity, that is still more active then in 1900 should then still result in increasing temperature.
    Response: If solar activity increases then plateaus, the climate will then be in energy imbalance with more energy coming in than radiating back out to space. The earth will immediately start warming. As it warms, the energy radiated back to space gradually increases until the climate reaches radiative equilibrium. Then warming stops. This period it takes to reach equilibrium is refered to as climate time lag.

    However, this is not what is observed over the 20th century. Solar activity levels out in the 1950's. However, the modern global warming trend began in the mid 1970s. If the sun was the cause of global warming, the planet would've been at its highest energy imbalance in the 1950s. Then the planet would gradually have approached equilibrium over the next few decades.

    The opposite has occured. The energy imbalance has in fact increased over the past 3 decades and is still increasing. Of course, we now know why the planet is in radiative imbalance - due to an enhanced greenhouse effect caused by increasing greenhouse gases such as CO2 and methane.
  20. Philippe Chantreau at 20:32 PM on 1 February, 2008
    There is new evidence that TSI may have varied a lot less than previously thought, which would require an extremely high sensitivity to allow for such small variations to influence climate.
  21. Wondering Aloud at 10:39 AM on 8 February, 2008
    I am seeing some papers that contradict the statement that the solar-climate connection somehow disappeared in 1975. To me it looks good at least through 2003, but, it seems the fit is good but the cause is too small for the effect. Neither the blue nor the red line in the second from top graph are right today, solar activity was most definitely not trending down in the 1998-2000 period for instance. Could you maybe update or correct them?
  22. Philippe Chantreau at 15:45 PM on 9 February, 2008
    I believe Leif Svalgaard paper (available as a pdf) might answer some of your questions. In any case, TSI and its reconstructions are thorny areas. See this post:
    and part2 of it as well.

    Would be nice to provide links or references when you mention peer-reviewed stuff, it helps. As an aside, Energy and Environment is not a peer-reviewed science publication.
  23. About the sun.

    Whether the solar irridiance has increased or not during the past 50 years, I think it's important to know that solar irridiance changes most in the shorter wavelengths such as UV during a sunspotcycle.
    Part of this extra radiation will be absorbed by stratopheric ozone and shouldn't reach the earth-atmosphere system at all. But...

    1) Couldn't the climate became more sensitive to solar activity because of the 'ozone hole' the past few decades? Due to less ozone a higher intensity of UV-light reaches the earth surface. These are just the wavelenghts that an active sun submits.

    2) Another point is that shortwave radiation penetrates deeper in the ocean as longwave radiation does (this effect gives the typical blue light in deep waters). So an active sun heats the deeper layers of the ocean where it can be stored for years or, probably, several decades, before it comes to the surface. This means that climate responds delayed on solar activity and perhaps explains the lag of about 10 years found by Solanki and the higher climate sensitivity for longterm sunspotcycles. The oceans absorb most solar energy in the tropics. The small zenit-angle results not only in a high net radiation but also in a deeper penetration of UV-light, and the ozone layer is thinner around the equator. Furthermore the ocean is stratified here so the heat can be well stored before it can be transported by ocean currents. The ocean releases its heat especially on higher latitudes to the atmosphere, possibly modulated by fluctuations in thermo-halien circulations. It also seems that climate responds more sensitive on high latitudes.

    This hypothesis means that we should't under-estimate the solar influence on global warming. Though there is no significant increase in solar irridiance in recent decades, the climate may still warming due to the major increase during the first half of twentieth century and loss of ozone.

    This is my first post on this site and I like to discuss about climate more. I'm a dutch meteorologist (semi-professional) and very interested in climate change and its mechanism. I'm not convinced by AGW because there are some questions left. Thanks to John Cook for this forum and the possibility to debate here with open mind.


    Victor de Vries
  24. Wondering Aloud at 03:09 AM on 16 February, 2008
    Yes Victor, the change in output during high solar activity is not uniform for wavelength and I don't know how important that is. It does seem like a mighty large effect for such a small change so there must be something more to it.
  25. Wondering Aloud at 03:15 AM on 16 February, 2008
    Odd I google it and get tons or references of course I typed in "Reginald Newell MIT" I felt it was safe to use him as an example as he has passed away.

    I would disagree that any of the 3 stated positions that were not supported by their research. Also if that was the criteria look how many people on the other side would be unemployed.

    Hey folks what is the other thread where people were discussing the solar spectra Victor asked about I cant remember.
  26. OK, I went back to do a little digging and found out that first, I appear to be incorrect since George Taylor appears to still be the State Climatologist. Was he one of the ones that you were thinking of?

    Anyway, keeping with Mr. Taylor, I tried to get a record of his publications and there was nothing listed on his site so I went the Web of Science and found the following 4 publications. Going back to your statement, “ people who have lost jobs because they did perfectly competent research that didn't support the AGW idea,” Which of these do you consider competent research that does not support AGW and how does it fit in with Mr. Taylor’s statements.

    Title: Regional precipitation-frequency analysis and spatial mapping for 24-hour and 2-hour durations for Washington State

    Title: Observer bias in daily precipitation measurements at United States cooperative network stations

    Title: A knowledge-based approach to the statistical mapping of climate

    Title: Spatial variability and interpolation of stochastic weather simulation model parameters

    In regards to Reginald Newell, thanks, the name change was a help. Unfortunately all I was able to find was a quote from an interview. Is there anything more substantive than that?


    PS, For the thread with Victor, try It's the Sun
  27. Philippe Chantreau at 13:14 PM on 17 February, 2008
    WA, incidentally, where are those money figures coming from?
  28. Wondering Aloud at 12:53 PM on 18 February, 2008
    Money figures? the $6 Billion? thats what is in the federal budget currently. the $170 Million is what the budget was just before George H Bush decided to throw money at the problem, first two numbers per Richard Lindzen, but I remember the numbers myself from back then. John gives $2.4 in 1993 which is after my $2 billion and $5.1 billion for 2004 which is before the current $6 billion. I think those numbers are right he just chose different years.

    As to the research question, you're the one making the claim "but key to the argument is that they stated positions that were not supported by their research". In what way did Mr. Taylor's statements fly in the face of his own research? How does writting a paper on Regional Precipitation Frequency or Observer Bias contradict his opinion that the warming did not seem catastrophic? Of course it doesn't. He was fired because his statements were not fasionable for politicians in power.

    In the case of Michels your claim that his statements were not supported by his research is rediculous. While you may not like it, any reader here who does read his papers will know that. Newell's work in particular shows no sign of bias and I think was very well done. His only mistake as far as I can tell was honesty. When his results didnt match what the climate models predicted... the end.
  29. Wondering Aloud:

    "With $6 billion/year in the US alone tied to GW orthodoxy, most people who need to keep their jobs are pretty hesitant to be branded a `denier'."

    And somehow Al Gore The Antichrist managed to create a _world-wide_ conspiracy using the US's budget alone? The _entire_ _world's_ climate research -- from China to India, from Hungary to Sweden, from Canada to Brazil -- depend on this $6b/year from the US? Can't you at least cook up a more plausible conspiracy theory?

    Back to the "it's the sun" topic, I find this particularly hilarious... apparently the creators of the film "The Great Global Warming Swindle" decided in their infinite wisdom to fabricate their own data to "prove" that it's the sun's fault:


    -- Frank Bi, http://zompower.tk/
  30. Wondering Aloud: You may want to check your logic.

    Because your present a paper that does not support position A - it does not follow that you do support position A.

    If Mr. Taylor wishes to make a statement about global warming, he should produce the evidence that backs up his claim. Thus he is obligated to produce the research that supports his position - not say, my research does not contradict this position.

    And, as I indicated in my last post - he still appears to be the state climatologist so he does not appear to be fired.

  31. Wondering Aloud at 02:32 AM on 23 February, 2008
    First off... No Frank the other countries spend money the same way, many have systems that are more corrupt. But, the US is by far the biggest player in the actual funding.

    The entire sun question was most certainly not created in some film made last year. If you read various threads here you would know that solar affects are blamed for millions of years of climate change in the past and now treated by some as irrelevent that's just not logical.
  32. Wondering Aloud at 03:25 AM on 23 February, 2008
    Gee now it's a conspiracy theory! And here all I had was a practicle observation of how scientists sometimes face ethical challenges.

    On a more serious note, John I am not the one who claimed anything about their results vs their statements. Their results from your own references clearly are not contradicted by their public positions. You said: "but key to the argument is that they stated positions that were not supported by their research. This is what I was commenting on, you made the very logic error you attribute to me. The research in question does nothing to support the idea of catastrophic antropogenic global warming. So their public position that they didn't see strong evidence for it was perfectly reasonable.

    The problem is with the supposed vs. actual consensus again. I think you would have to concede that someone who recieves publicity as a "denier" is likely to have more trouble with funding agencies. Newell and Michels are clearly examples. I am not familiar enough with Taylor to judge.
  33. "No Frank the other countries spend money the same way, many have systems that are more corrupt. But, the US is by far the biggest player in the actual funding."

    So, by a sheer stroke of coincidence, _all_ the governments in the world decided _independently_ to promote the Great Global Warming Scam and then band together to create the World Gaia Government and rally around Al Gore The Antichrist or something?

    "If you read various threads here you would know that solar affects are blamed for millions of years of climate change in the past and now treated by some as irrelevent that's just not logical."

    Um, excuse me, that's the _whole_ _point_ of the AGW theory. Rive and Friis-Christensen olar effects correlated _well_ with _past_ climate change, but from 1985 on there was _no_ correlation between solar activity and global climate.

    Again, the link: http://folk.uio.no/nathan/web/statement.html
  34. Wondering Aloud at 13:22 PM on 3 March, 2008
    Regarding your link: Give me a break, cripes take an astronomy class or something. Or better yet thermodynamics. There is nothing there that convinces quite the contrary.

    There are numerous real references above maybe you should check them.

    Thank you for another personal attack as well. Do you really think your abuse is going to convince me or anyone else smart enough to understand this blog? Nor will your deliberate misunderstanding of everything that someone you oppose says. We are not idiots here.

    "Um, excuse me, that's the _whole_ _point_ of the AGW theory. Rive and Friis-Christensen olar effects correlated _well_ with _past_ climate change, but from 1985 on there was _no_ correlation between solar activity and global climate".

    Are you saying you think the whole point of AGW theory is that the sun caused climate cycles before but magically not now? So a thousand year wrong direction time lag for CO2 causing climate change is ok in your book? The fact that far larger CO2 changes in the past did not cause the climate change that is being attributed to todays tiny change is ok too? The heck with the entire paleo record, today is special? Meanwhile you think the suns effect is instant and only happens if the people you want to cite claim it does.

    Our host here, John and Phillippe are all obvious true believers in AGW, they are doing as good a job as can be done defending this position. You are showing a vicious political agenda and nothing else. I came here believing that the world was warming and Humans were largely the cause but doubting the catastrophic idea because it doesn't fit the historic record or the atmospheric physics very well. A few more posts from you and I might be convinced that it all really is a politically motivated hoax.
  35. Wondering Aloud, I searched through your 5 paragraphs of verbosum and I couldn't find a single grain of fact or logic in it.

    You continually ignore facts, promote your Worldwide Satanic Conspiracy theory, and then accuse others of "personal attacks".

    Well, here's a link you'll definitely be interested in reading.

    "Chad Tolman, a Sierra Club Delaware Chapter member, said that views held by Legates and other climate-change skeptics are fast becoming _irrelevant_, making direct action by the state unnecessary." (emphasis mine)

    Yeah indeed... if you keep pumping out the same junk day after day, people tend to stop listening to you.

  36. Wondering Aloud at 03:09 AM on 5 March, 2008
    LOL Yup you got that right. The Sierra Club has been pumping out the same junk day after day for decades and so no one takes them seriously anymore, haven't for 30 years.

    If you have ever presented anything even close to logic or a fact here I can't find it.

    I have come to the conclusion that you are a "denier" trying to set up straw men to make glogal warming seem a hoax. Please let the debate go back to reality we were learning something here.

    I argue with Phillipe and John but I learn things from them.
  37. "If you have ever presented anything even close to logic or a fact here I can't find it."

    Here's the link again:


    Of course, in your supreme open-mindedness, you simply decided to ignore it.
  38. Well, solar flux doesn't need to be argued. It can be proved. The current solar theory is due to an interaction that has something to do with sunspots. So, if that is the case, then we can see if the global temperature will go down, assuming the present dearth of sunspot continues. Last year, there was a low amount of sunspots, and the earth's global temperature dropped a degree. We can see if it drops again.

    Also, in that vein, is it not possible to just create a carbon dioxide plume, turn it on, then turn it off, somewhere, and measure the radiative forcing that way? It seems to me that the RF is calculated based on another term that looks, honestly, like a fudge factor to make a computer model "work". If you created a carbon dioxide "bubble" on earth somewhere, then shouldn't you be able to measure a temperature increase on the ground proportionally to that increase?
    Response: 2007 cooling was not driven by solar forcing (or lack thereof) but by La Nina.
  39. That is one of my issues with AGW. The environmental fanatics has seized upon one and only one factor involved, CO2. Granted that CO2 is a greenhouse gas it is not logical that it is either the only contributer or even the primary factor in global warming. AGW is a fact that needs to be accepted but we can not be blind to the other influences or we skew the results and may take actions in the wrong direction. The most powerful force controlling the climate is the earth and it's weather. The ocean currents, the jet stream, the vulcanism that drives the weather, the clouds and their specific composition, the magma flow of the earths engine and moreso the sun and it's internal tides and resulting changes in force and solar wind.
    By leaving out even small factors in models we skew the data. We should not be making corrections for urban heat islands but discarding bad information. Do you realize that there is not even a theory for how El Nino is driven? Only a hypothesis and that is very recent, but the phenomenon is well documented and studied. AGW needs to be addressed but properly, fully aware of it's cause and effect. Otherwise we just make it worse.
    Response: The most powerful force controlling climate is radiative forcing. Whatever causes the planet to be in energy imbalance - to accumulate or lose heat - is what drives long term global warming or cooling. The factors such as ocean currents and El Nino are responsible for internal variations but have very little impact on long term energy imbalance.

    So what causes changes to the planet's energy imbalance? Not just CO2 - there are many forcings that drive climate (eg - aerosols, solar variations, cloud albedo). However, the reason for the focus on CO2 is because CO2 is the most dominant radiative forcing and is increasing faster than any other forcing.
  40. John
    I apologise for my outburst in your blog. I came to this blog in the hope of learning through intelligent discussion as I am about fed up with arogant alarmists that shout you down in the news blogs like CBS or ABC.
    I also read the papers and articles at Climate Debate Daily which has alarmist articles on the left and skeptical articles on the right. I see outright lies in both columns. But I also see a lot of excellent articles with links to papers. With the exception of one or two individuals, your responders to this blog seem to be both intelligent and educated and to them as well as you I apologise.
    Response: Your comment is appreciated. I always make it a point to address the science and avoid making personal comments about a person I disagree with. Ad hominem attacks are a form of mental laziness. It's always easier to attack a person than the argument they're making. It's also an indication that the arguer is more interested in winning the debate than finding the truth. I encourage both sides to exercise restraint and stick to the science - it makes for more constructive dialogue and you never know, both sides might learn something. :-)
  41. ScaredAmoeba at 18:49 PM on 10 April, 2008

    'If the sun turns out to be a more powerful driver than CO2 and you take drastic action you just killed us all.'

    Ahem! I think you are mistaken!
    ."Ironically, even arch-skeptics Soon and Baliunas, who would like to lay most of the blame for recent warming at the doorstep of solar effects, came to a compatible conclusion in their own energy balance model study. Namely, any model that was sensitive enough to yield a large response to recent solar variability would yield an even larger response to radiative forcing from recent (and therefore also future) CO2 changes. As a result, their "best fit" of climate sensitivity for the twentieth century is comfortably within the IPCC range.
      This aspect of their work is rarely if ever mentioned by the authors themselves, and still less in citations of the work in skeptics' tracts such as that distributed with the "Global Warming Petition Project."

  42. ScaredAmoeba at 19:29 PM on 10 April, 2008
    The evidence for significant extraterrestrial sources – e.g. GCR & solar effects remain wanting and contradictory. Some studies have required variable ‘smoothing’ to achieve an excellent correlation, however the correlation vanishes with more data, and there were other ‘strange’ errors. e.g. the notorious and widely quoted by skepics, Friis-Christensen and Lassen 1991. As demonstrated by Damon and Laut 2004 ‘Pattern of Strange Errors Plagues Solar Activity and Terrestrial Climate Data’

    The weight of evidence is on the side of CO2! Solar / GCR evidence remains inconclusive.
  43. ScaredAmoeba
    As I have mentioned elsewhere, Richard Mackey (Austrailia) published last year
    Rhodes Fairbridge and the idea that the solar system regulates the Earth’s climate

    in which he states "When the totality of the sun’s impact is considered, having regard to the relevant research published over the last two decades, the influence of solar variability on the earth’s climate is very strongly non-linear and stochastic. Recent research about the sun/climate relationship and the solar inertial motion (sim) hypothesis shows a large body of circumstantial evidence and several working hypotheses but no satisfactory account of a physical sim process." He procedes to explain how and why the IPCC data for solar influence could be incorrect.

    This research is now also supported by Oliver Manuel (Nuclear Chemistry, University of Missouri, Rolla, MO 65401 USA) and Hilton Ratcliffe (Astronomical Society Southern Africa, PO Box 354, Kloof 3640 SOUTH AFRICA) in their December 2, 2007 paper
    Fingerprints of a Local Supernova

    Personally I believe that there is more to it and have been reading up on the current hypothesis for the cause of El Nino / La Nina to see how the Fairbridge hypothesis would fit. I feel that it does but I am not a geologist that that is the field where this type of science would be applicable.
  44. ScaredAmoeba at 18:02 PM on 12 April, 2008
    I stand by my comment about solar influences.

    Even if the moving solar barycentre influences climate in some weird and mysterious manner, so far, this is not much more than a theory. My distinctly limited investigation leads me to believe that it has about as much relevance to climate change as astrology – i.e. not much. At most the influence can only be small. It is notable that AFAICT the scientific community doesn’t seem particularly convinced either. Once the scientific community takes it seriously, so will I. Until then, I'll treat as cuckoo science - intended to look convincing, deceive the unwary and postpone action and legislation to combat CO2 emissions. There’s a lot of cuckoo science around and strangely much of it can be traced back to sources funded by Exxon and the coal industry.

    The solar hypothesis remains distinctly unproven and remains far from convincing. More science is clearly required.

    You seem persistently to be looking for any possible excuse to ignore the ugly fact that we already have a cause for a substantial proportion of climate change that is supported by solid science. We have the mechanism, palaeoclimate studies, all supported by a wealth of observations and measurements using different methods and that is increasing atmospheric CO2 with an anthropogenic origin.

    We must reduce and phase-out fossil carbon emissions by all means possible at the earliest feasible time. We must not permit any new coal-powered plants to be built without tried and tested sequestration technology being incorporated. All non-sequestered emissions from coal-powered stations need to be stopped no later than 2030.

    That is easily enough time to have a tried and tested zero carbon generating capacity.
  45. ScaredAmoeba
    In The Pennsylvania Gazette, May 15, 2007, article An Inaccurate Truth? an interview of Professor Robert Giegengack of the Department of Earth and Environmental Science pretty much sums up my stance: AGW is real but not apocalyptic.
  46. Dan Pangburn at 09:41 AM on 14 April, 2008
    From the Vostok ice core data, during glacial periods, often a rising temperature trend with a rising carbon dioxide level suddenly changed direction and became a falling temperature trend in spite of the carbon dioxide level being higher than when the temperature was increasing. This could not be if carbon dioxide causes a positive feedback. The Andean-Saharan Ice Age occurred when the carbon dioxide level was over ten times its current level. What is different now that could lead to run away temperature increase? The determination that non-condensing greenhouse gases have no significant influence on average global temperature is not refuted by any climate history.

    The assertion ‘it’s the sun’ appears to be too simplistic. Of course the sun is part of it but several other things affect the temperatures at the measuring sites. These other things may include solar wind, cosmic rays, UV, magnetic strength, relative humidity (propensity to form clouds), ocean turn-over, and possibly other factors. Apparently, no one has sorted all this out yet. Graphs of NOAA and other data (all referenced) are presented at http://www.middlebury.net:80/op-ed/pangburn.html. One observation from these graphs is that the recent (last 130 years or so) average global temperature data has not been unusual.
  47. ScaredAmoeba at 05:41 AM on 16 April, 2008
    The Professor Giegengack’s accusation of exaggeration would have us believe that the IPCC and scientists have perpetrated a most serious fraud – if only it were true.

    The truth is that the Professor’s accusation of exaggeration is a straw man argument and completely dishonest. The Professor should know perfectly well that both the IPCC and the scientists, of which the IPCC is involved, are extremely careful to use ranges of future scenarios in which they have extremely high confidence. Therefore these projected scenarios tend to be very cautious and conservative. The IPCC, for instance has consistently published past projected future scenarios that have been proven by events not to be exaggerations. The fact that the Professor levels such a false accusation reveals more about him than the IPCC and the thousands of scientists involved that he wrongly accuses of exaggeration.

    There are a small number of scientists, who have chosen to accept money from the fossil fuel industry and who do not have a reputation for credibility worth preserving.

    So why is the Professor not telling the truth? I don’t know, but there are a small number of scientists who make very similar accusations at mainstream scientists and the IPCC. Most of the others have been funded by the fossil fuel industry. So perhaps, he too is being less than open and honest in terms of his conflicts of interest.

    Further evidence that Professor Giegengack was being disingenuous is another projection that supports the view that the IPCC’s estimates of future sea level rises of 28 to 43 cm by 2100 were over conservative, due to incompletely understood mechanisms of ice-melt.
    [Dr Jevrejeva's group’s projections have been submitted for publication in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.]
    The new estimates suggest sea-level rise is likely to be in the range of 0.8 and 1.5 metres, which confirms another estimate of 0.5 and 1.4 metres by 2100 by Stefan Rahmstorf, but using a distinctly different methodology.
    IPCC exaggeration? – clearly not. However, the facts never got in the way of malicious allegations and lies.
  48. ScaredAmoeba at 06:12 AM on 16 April, 2008
    Dan Pangburn

    You failed to prove that CO2 cannot be the driver of temperature via feedback, by choosing to totally ignore that other factors are involved.

    But later-on in your argument, you acknowledge that single effects alone are too simplistic.

    Are you suggesting that the climate is driven by a sole factor, or by more than one? You seem to suggest that both cases are true?

    Your contradictory logic proves that your argument is logically flawed and is without merit.

    Please ask any objective climatologist. Objective means NOT being in the pay of a vested interest (e.g. fossil fuel industry)! They will tell you that the climate is driven by numerous forcings and feedbacks. They will also tell you that a factor that causes cooling such as aerosols (volcanic or man-made) can result in cooling, despite increasing CO2 concentrations that would result in warming.
  49. Solar temperatures should lag temperature changes on earth. That is what actually shows the real influence of the sun on climate.

    This the exact opposite of historical readings of C02 when C02 lagged temperatures suggesting the opposite correlation.
  50. ScaredAmoeba at 17:15 PM on 17 April, 2008
    What your first sentence actually means is rather unclear. Could you please explain what you meant? References please.

    As stated earlier, the solar hypothesis is wanting and satisfactory mechanisms remain unproven, especially since evidence for increasing solar output is unconvincing. More science is definitely required.

    The solar hypothesis is also vastly overhyped, especially by those with a fossil fuelled agenda or a political axe to grind.

    The lag of CO2 behind temperature only shows that CO2 is released by increasing temperatures. This does not disprove that CO2 is a GHG. CO2 is known to be infra red active, both as a feedback and as a forcing. The absorption spectra of CO2 and H2O are different and the absorption of CO2 can be detected by satellite. The warming from CO2 often leads to additional feedbacks from other sources e.g. water vapour.

    Annually adding ~ 28 Gt of CO2 from burning fossil fuels has artificially boosted atmospheric CO2 and started a warming phase. The fossil source of this carbon is demonstrated by the isotopic composition. The increasing temperatures will release further CO2 that will cause further warming. All this without requiring any change in solar output.

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