If the findings of a new study are correct, it appears the sun is indeed the primary reason for global temps being higher for a few years. I know, you’re shocked aren’t you? Who would have thought the big heater in the sky could have a role in temperature increases? Well not the alarmists.
As illustrated in the figure below, the authors report there is “remarkable agreement” among the overlapping years of their reconstruction (solid black line) and the number of sunspots recorded from direct observations since 1610 (red line). Their reconstruction of solar activity also displays several “distinct features,” including several “well-defined Grand minima of solar activity, ca. 770 BC, 350 BC, 680 AD, 1050 AD, 1310 AD, 1470 AD, and 1680 AD,” as well as “the modern Grand maximum (which occurred during solar cycles 19-23, i.e., 1950-2009),” which they describe as “a rare or even unique event, in both magnitude and duration, in the past three millennia.”
Figure 1. Reconstructed decadal average of sunspot numbers for the period 1150 BC-1950 AD (black line). The 95% confidence interval is shown by the gray shading and directly measured sunspot numbers are shown in red. The horizontal dashed lines demark the bounds of the three suggested modes (Grand Minimum, Regular, and Grand Maximum) as defined by Usoskin et al.
A “rare or even unique event” which had zip to do with man or CO2, but certainly coincided with the panic about man-made global warming, huh? And the alarmists gave what sort of influence to the sun in their models?
Usoskin et al. (2014) write their results “provide important constraints for both dynamo models of Sun-like stars and investigations of possible solar influence on Earth’s climate.” They also illustrate the importance of improving the quality of such reconstructions, in light of the fact that previous reconstructions of this nature “did not reveal any clear signature of distinct modes” in solar activity.
Unfortunately, it was beyond the scope of this paper to address the potential impact of solar activity on climate. Yet the reconstruction leaves a very big question unanswered — What effect did the Grand maximum of solar activity that occurred between 1950 and 2009 have on Earth’s climate? As a “unique” and “rare” event in terms of both magnitude and duration, one would think a lot more time and effort would be spent by the IPCC and others in answering that question. Instead, IPCC scientists have conducted relatively few studies of the Sun’s influence on modern warming, assuming that the temperature influence of this rare and unique Grand maximum of solar activity, which has occurred only once in the past 3,000 years, is far inferior to the radiative power provided by the rising CO2 concentration of the Earth’s atmosphere.
Not that any of these facts will at all derail the Alarmist’s rush to provide an expensive solution to a non-existent problem. Doug Hoffman summarizes what we who are totally skeptical of the “science” of man-made global warming face:
One of the sad side effects of the global warming climate scam is the way otherwise fairly intelligent people have been snookered into believing the dumbest things. There is no shortage of “experts” who gleefully back up claims of climate induced catastrophe—some with scholarly gravitas, others with fanatical shrillness. And the list of false and debunked claims goes on and on. Part of the blame for all these faux catastrophes rests squarely on the news media. Operating under the old adage, “if it bleeds it leads,” the mindless vultures of the world’s news agencies flock to report any calamity, more than happy to attributed the event to climate change. Instead of registering guns, governments should register cameras and microphones—they are truly dangerous weapons in the hands of the breathtakingly ignorant members of the fourth estate.
Indeed. One of the things we’ve discussed here before is how the rise of advocacy “journalism” harms us all. This “scam”, as Hoffman characterizes it, points out in spades how poorly we’re served by our media today.
Don’t expect this study to get much attention. It is counter to the conventional wisdom, counter to the desire to further empower government and certainly counter to the desire by those in power to cash in on this faux crisis.
According to the Atlantic’s Rebecca Rosen, Greenland is in the middle of an “extreme ice melt”. You can read the article and consider the point. I’ll give her credit. She reports it pretty objectively including this as a reason for the melt:
NASA says that it is normal for Greenland’s ice to melt a bit in the summer; what is abnormal is the extent. Normally, only about half of the ice sheet’s surface sees any melting. This year, that proportion just about doubled. NASA additionally said that its satellites were recording uncharacteristically high temperatures over the island. Those warmer temperatures were brought by a bubble of warm air (a "heat dome"), the latest in a series of such ridges that have moved over Greenland this year.
In other words, a regional event.
She also mentions:
The last such melt event occurred in 1889, according to data from ice cores, and scientists say they would expect such an event about every 150 years. They’ll be monitoring the ice closely in the years ahead to see if this turns out to be a regular aberration, or an irregular one.
Got it. Thanks for noting the event which appears to have a history (I’ll cover how much of a history below).
The UK’s Guardian kicks it up a notch with the use of the word “unprecedented” in their title.
“Greenland ice sheet melted at unprecedented rate during July”
No. It didn’t. As we see from the Atlantic’s treatment, this event isn’t at all “unprecedented.” In fact, if I have any gripe about the Atlantic’s coverage is it stopped short of noting a longer history of Greenland’s ice melts:
Greenland, as you can see, has seen periods as warm or warmer than now in its history. One could logically assume then that it would have had the same sorts of weather events during those periods as it experienced during the recent week in early July.
BTW, here’s an explanation of the numbers you see above:
“Unprecedented” is obviously a incorrect characterization of the event. Why did the Guardian seize on the word?
Because some scientist conveniently used it:
However, scientists were still coming to grips with the shocking images on Tuesday. "I think it’s fair to say that this is unprecedented," Jay Zwally, a glaciologist at Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center, told the Guardian.
Again, no, it isn’t “unprecedented”. And obviously the Guardian didn’t take the time to find out if it really was. A simple Wikipedia check would have produced the above graph.
So why the acceptance of the scientist’s characterization without checking? I think that too is obvious – it’s scarier than admitting it has a long history of occurring, many times prior to the industrial revolution. It lends more immediacy to the story. The fact that throughout its history Greenland has seen a cycle of warmer and colder weather is “inconvenient” to the scare factor related to AGW. Certainly the Guardian is careful not to come right out and scream global warming, but by noting this “unprecedented” event, it certainly is clear that global warming, and specifically AGW, is the dot to which they want you to connect this to.
The NY Times, on the other hand, notes the melt and takes a different approach. While noting the melt and the high pressure ridge, the Times throws this into the mix:
Nonetheless, the scientists said, the melt was significant because Greenland’s ice sheet is unequivocally shrinking as a result of the warming of the world’s oceans, and the event could help broaden their insights into climate change and earth systems.
While they don’t claim that AGW is the cause for warming oceans (don’t worry, there are plenty of others out there that do), they don’t endeavor to explain why oceans have been warming for the past 100 years.
Here’s a pretty significant clue. It’s a 2,300 year Hallstatt solar variation cycles graph:
Anyone notice what has been rising for the last 1,000 or so years?
In fact, says Sami Solanki, the director of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany
The sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures… the brighter sun and higher levels of so-called "greenhouse gases" both contributed to the change in the Earth’s temperature, but it was impossible to say which had the greater impact.
As it is turning out, it appears it may be the Sun. CO2 has always been a lagging indicator in warming history until it was recently elevated by some “scientists” to a leading cause. It has not shown the effect on temperature predicted by warmist models, however. In fact, it hasn’t even been close even while the ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere has continued to rise.
The point of all of this? It appears that those traditionally associated with the AGW scaremongering are toning down their rhetoric even while still attempting, through half-truths, incomplete reporting and implication, to push the AGW agenda, albeit much more subtly now.
Don’t let them get away with it.
UPDATE: And then, of course, there are those who don’t have a clue and don’t care, especially when they can use this to club the GOP.
Some pictures of Greenland taken in the 1930s have revealed glacier melt that is worse than that taking place today:
Recently unearthed photographs taken by Danish explorers in the 1930s show glaciers in Greenland retreating faster than they are today, according to researchers.
The photos in question were taken by the seventh Thule Expedition to Greenland led by Dr Knud Rasmussen in 1932. The explorers were equipped with a seaplane, which they used to take aerial snaps of glaciers along the Arctic island’s coasts.
It’s difficult to know exactly what’s happening to the Greenland ice in total and very different estimates have been produced in recent times. However Professor Box says that many glaciers along the coasts have started retreating in the past decade.
It now appears that the glaciers were retreating even faster eighty years ago: but nobody worried about it, and the ice subsequently came back again.
The emphasized line is priceless. Chicken Little stayed home.
Why were the glaciers on Greenland retreating faster 80 years ago?
[One scientist, Professor Jason] Box, theorises that this is likely to be because of sulphur pollution released into the atmosphere by humans, especially by burning coal and fuel oils. This is known to have a cooling effect.
Unfortunately atmospheric sulphur emissions also cause other things such as acid rain, and as a result rich Western nations cracked down on sulphates in the 1960s. Prof Box believes that this led to warming from the 1970s onward, which has now led to the glaciers retreating since around 2000.
Or, “we cleaned up the air and it got warmer”. Other scientists disagree:
Still other scientists, differing with Prof Box, offer another picture altogether of Arctic temperatures, in which there were peaks both in the 1930s and 1950s and cooling until the 1990s: and in which the warming trend which resulted in the melting seen by Rasmussen’s expedition actually started as early as 1840, before the industrial revolution and human-driven carbon emission had even got rolling. In that scenario, variations in the Sun seem to have much more weight than is generally accepted by today’s climatologists.
Variations in the Sun! Whoda thunk?
Bottom line – nothing particularly unusual or worrisome if you actually have come to the conclusion, based on the evidence at hand, that the earth goes through climate cycles. The key, of course is the fact that a warming trend that resulted in the retreat of the glaciers in the 1930s was begun almost 100 years before without the benefit of the industrial revolution and human carbon emissions.
Then there’s that lingering little scientific fact that CO2 is a lagging indicator, not a cause, of warming. The fact the alarmist side continues to love to ignore.
Anyway a little context to the “OMG the glaciers are melting”.
The findings by CERN which have finally been published in Nature magazine, are fairly explicit about the validity of current AGW models. They will need to be “substantially revised”.
Because the findings substantiate the fact that the sun plays the major role in changes in our climate and not the human factors claimed by warmists. It’s all about the sun, clouds, cosmic rays and nucleation.
CERN conducted a CLOUD ("Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets") experiment to test a theory at odds with current warmist theories about cloud origins. As it turns out, the findings provide:
… support for a "heliocentric" rather than "anthropogenic" approach to climate change: the sun plays a large role in modulating the quantity of cosmic rays reaching the upper atmosphere of the Earth.
Who knew that big yellow hot thing that hangs in the sky each day would play a major role in our climate?
Prior to publication of the Nature article, it had been assumed the findings were negative to warmist theories when the head of CERN (director-general Rolf-Dieter Heuer) warned his scientists to just provide the facts and not interpret them.
Here’s how CERN presented the data via lead physicist Jasper Kirkby:
"Ion-induced nucleation will manifest itself as a steady production of new particles that is difficult to isolate in atmospheric observations because of other sources of variability but is nevertheless taking place and could be quite large when averaged globally over the troposphere."
Kirkby is quoted in the accompanying CERN press release:
"We’ve found that cosmic rays significantly enhance the formation of aerosol particles in the mid troposphere and above. These aerosols can eventually grow into the seeds for clouds. However, we’ve found that the vapours previously thought to account for all aerosol formation in the lower atmosphere can only account for a small fraction of the observations – even with the enhancement of cosmic rays."
"[I]t is clear that the treatment of aerosol formation in climate models will need to be substantially revised, since all models assume that nucleation is caused by these vapours [sulphuric acid and ammonia] and water alone.
Here is another unknown finally known. Yet the scientists on the warmist side tried to claim they had all the information they needed to build their models and make their wild claims. However, as more and more real science comes it, it becomes clearer and clearer that their science falls at best in the “junk science” category and their claims are unsubstantiated assertions. As we’re finding out, they’re certainly not backed by science.
So, what should be taken from this? A) the climate models are junk. Most observers have known this for quite some time. They are incomplete, their forcing data are all out of whack, and they not only can’t forecast the future, they can’t reproduce the past. B) We’re really just now beginning to understand the climate and its dynamics. And, unsurprisingly for most, despite the warmists attempts to ignore it, the sun plays a major role in determining temperature on earth.
Seems like common sense to me. So why has it taken so long to finally surface?
As with all such things, follow the money.
It appears the warmist agenda is about to take another hit if this is being interpreted properly:
The chief of the world’s leading physics lab at CERN in Geneva has prohibited scientists from drawing conclusions from a major experiment. The CLOUD ("Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets") experiment examines the role that energetic particles from deep space play in cloud formation. CLOUD uses CERN’s proton synchrotron to examine nucleation.
CERN Director General Rolf-Dieter Heuer told Welt Online that the scientists should refrain from drawing conclusions from the latest experiment.
"I have asked the colleagues to present the results clearly, but not to interpret them," reports veteran science editor Nigel Calder on his blog. Why?
Because, Heuer says, "That would go immediately into the highly political arena of the climate change debate. One has to make clear that cosmic radiation is only one of many parameters."
Oh … “only one of many parameters”, eh? You mean like that big yellow thing that hangs in the sky each day?
Imagine that – cosmic rays have a role in cloud formation and the sun is extraordinarily active in how many cosmic rays are able reach the atmosphere and carry out that function. And the effect?
The CLOUD experiment builds on earlier experiments by Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark, who demonstrated that cosmic rays provide a seed for clouds. Tiny changes in the earth’s cloud cover could account for variations in temperature of several degrees. The amount of Ultra Fine Condensation Nuclei (UFCN) material depends on the quantity of the background drizzle of rays, which varies depending on the strength of the sun’s magnetic field and the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field.
Emphasis mine. Back to that big yellow thing – what role does it have?:
Since clouds often cover 30 percent of the earth’s surface, a moderate change in cloud cover clearly could explain the warming/cooling cycle.
Svensmark noted the gigantic “solar wind” that expands when the sun is active—and thus blocks many of the cosmic rays that would otherwise hit the earth’s atmosphere. When the sun weakens, the solar wind shrinks. Recently, the U.S. Solar Observatory reported a very long period of “quiet sun” and predicted 30 years of cooling.
Got it? We’re in a solar minimum and the temp hasn’t risen in the 10 years since it has begun. Go figure.
So where does this leave us given the CERN gag order? What can you infer from that? Nigel Calder does a good job of rounding them up:
Four quick inferences:
1) The results must be favourable for Svensmark or there would be no such anxiety about them.
2) CERN has joined a long line of lesser institutions obliged to remain politically correct about the man-made global warming hypothesis. It’s OK to enter “the highly political arena of the climate change debate” provided your results endorse man-made warming, but not if they support Svensmark’s heresy that the Sun alters the climate by influencing the cosmic ray influx and cloud formation.
3) The once illustrious CERN laboratory ceases to be a truly scientific institute when its Director General forbids its physicists and visiting experimenters to draw the obvious scientific conclusions from their results.
4) The resulting publication may be rather boring.
Indeed … boring only in the sense of reading dense scientific material. Not boring in its impact.
The CERN experiment is supposed to be the big test of the Svensmark theory. It’s a tipoff, then, that CERN’s boss, Rolf-Dieter Heuer, has just told the German magazine Die Welt that he has forbidden his researchers to “interpret” the forthcoming test results. In other words, the CERN report will be a stark “just the facts” listing of the findings. Those findings must support Svensmark, or Heuer would never have issued such a stifling order on a major experiment.
Can’t wait to watch this one unfold. But the gag order is very suspicious and certainly infers that the results don’t support the warmist theory … or should I say “assertion” now?
One of the things I and others have been saying for years is the biggest influence on our climate (and temperature) hangs in the sky each day and we call “the Sun”. Anthony Watts has a post up today talking about what is going on with the Sun and what that may mean for global temperatures. The process, as I have come to understand it is activity on the Sun (sun spots) generate solar winds (sun’s magnetic field). Solar winds have a tendency to “blow” away cosmic rays and keep them from reaching earth. When cosmic rays reach earth they react with water vapor in our atmosphere and create clouds. Clouds then block sunlight. Heavy cloud cover means cooler temperatures. Light cloud cover means higher temperatures. As I further understand it, none of that is included in climate models.
Well, if Svensmark is right, and Galactic Cosmic Rays modulated by the sun’s magnetic field make a change in cloud cover on Earth, increasing it during low solar magnetic activity, we are in for some colder times.
There’s a presentation by Jasper Kirkby, CLOUD Spokesperson, CERN, which shows what we currently know about the correlations between Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR’s) and variations in the climate.
The CLOUD experiment uses a cloud chamber to study the theorized link between GCR’s and cloud formation in Earth’s atmosphere. Kirkby talks about the results from the first CLOUD experiment and the new CLOUD experiment and what it will deliver on the intrinsic connection between GCR’s and cloud formation. This is from the Cern, one of Europe’s most highly respected centers for scientific research.
The sun is in a funk – has been for years. Some of the lowest activity every recorded. And what has been happening here? Recorded temperatures have been cooling. Perhaps the funniest (in a sad sort of thing) thing I’ve read are the so-called climate scientists who were lamenting their inability to explain why their models weren’t reflecting this cooling trend and wishing they could explain it.
Look at the charts on Watts’ site, read about the lack of activity on the sun, understand the relationship between activity, solar winds, cosmic rays and clouds and you’ll understand that this is high school science we’re talking about.
Now go read this, especially the commenter’s remarks highlighted in the article, and much of what is going on becomes considerably clearer.
Which leaves me asking – again – how can such “science” that disregards the sun’s effect and raises an 800 year lagging effect (CO2) into a “cause” be taken seriously by intelligent and seemingly rational adults? Forget “consensus” and “conspiracy”. How did the Sun get ignored and CO2 changed from effect to “cause” in this hypothesis which can’t be reproduced?
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For the American taxpayer, under the shadow of the recently passed House cap-and-trade (Waxman-Markey) bill, the news continues to be grim. However for the traitorous “deniers”, aka skeptics, who believe the whole climate change hysteria to be an economy killing farce, things are looking better.
For instance India has announced it will not participate in the Western world’s attempts to kill their own economies:
India said it will reject any new treaty to limit global warming that makes the country reduce greenhouse-gas emissions because that will undermine its energy consumption, transportation and food security.
Cutting back on climate-warming gases is a measure that instead must be taken by industrialized countries, and India is mobilizing developing nations to push that case, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told the media today in New Delhi.
“India will not accept any emission-reduction target — period,” Ramesh said. “This is a non-negotiable stand.”
Heh … fairly blunt and straight foward wouldn’t you say? Of course, China took the same stand a couple of weeks ago. I call that good news because it is another country which has decided to put its economy first and this nonsense second. When two countries which are or expected to be very soon the two leading emitters of CO2 say “no”, it makes it rather ridiculous for the rest of the world to say “yes” given the consequences vs. payoff, doesn’t it?
And the US cap-and-trade legislation? Well India sees that as a “no-go” as well:
But last week, the US House of Representatives backed a “border adjustment tax” to equalise carbon emissions charges between domestic production and imports from states that do not cap emissions. The legislation is likely to face tough opposition in the Senate.
Mr Ramesh denounced as “pernicious” US efforts to impose “trade penalties” on countries that do not match its carbon reduction moves.
Meanwhile in the EU:
The European Union risks driving industry out of the region if it continues to push for deeper cuts in carbon dioxide emissions than other economies, according to the chief executive of Eon, one of the world’s biggest renewable energy companies.
Wulf Bernotat, Eon’s chief executive, told the Financial Times that the EU was imposing higher energy costs on its industry than competing regions, and criticised the US for doing “basically nothing” to cut its carbon dioxide emissions.
He added that if there were no international deal to cut emissions agreed at the Copenhagen meeting at the end of the year, the EU would have to rethink its plans to take a lead in fighting the threat of climate change.
“It is a European political issue whether the European Union can continue to lead the policy process if the rest of the world is not joining in,” he said.
“We are adding additional costs to our industries, and if other countries don’t follow, then those industries will move to lower-cost regions.”
Yeah, like India or China … or Mexico. That’s the irony of this nonsense. We have a president and Congress who’ve made a cottage industry of demonizing corporations who “outsource” jobs while they pass legislation that encourages corporations to outsource jobs.
And for those who worship at the feet of Al Gore, another inconvenient truth is to be found in a recently published paper from the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics:
The Abstract states:
Daily temperature and pressure series from 55 European meteorological stations covering the 20th century are analyzed. The overall temperature mean displays a sharp minimum near 1940 and a step-like jump near 1987. We evaluate the evolution of disturbances of these series using mean squared inter-annual variations and “lifetimes”. The decadal to secular evolutions of solar activity and temperature disturbances display similar signatures over the 20th century. Because of heterogeneity of the climate system response to solar forcing, regional and seasonal approaches are key to successful identification of these signatures. Most of the solar response is governed by the winter months, as best seen near the Atlantic Ocean. Intensities of disturbances vary by factors in excess of 2, underlining a role for the Sun as a significant forcing factor of European atmospheric variations. We speculate about the possible origin of these solar signatures. The last figure of the paper exemplifies its main results.
The paper concludes:
In concluding, we find increasingly strong evidence of a clear solar signature in a number of climatic indicators in Europe, strengthening the earlier conclusions of a study that included stations from the United States (Le Mouël et al., 2008). With the recent downturn of both solar activity and global temperatures, the debated correlations we suggested in Le Mouël et al. (2005), which appeared to stop in the 1980s, actually might extend to the present. The role of the Sun in global and regional climate change should be re-assessed and reasonable physical mechanisms are in sight.
“It’s the sun, stupid”.
A Japanese scientific report breaks with the “consensus”:
Scientists in the Land of the Rising Sun have concluded that it is the sun itself that is the major cause of Global Warming, not man.
It has been the sun for millions, if not billions of years previous to this warming trend. I have no idea, other than Al Gore, why we should believe this one is different.
Japanese scientists have made a dramatic break with the UN and Western-backed hypothesis of climate change in a new report from its Energy Commission.
Three of the five researchers disagree with the UN’s IPCC view that recent warming is primarily the consequence of man-made industrial emissions of greenhouse gases. Remarkably, the subtle and nuanced language typical in such reports has been set aside.
One of the five contributors compares computer climate modelling to ancient astrology. Others castigate the paucity of the US ground temperature data set used to support the hypothesis, and declare that the unambiguous warming trend from the mid-part of the 20th Century has ceased.
The report by Japan Society of Energy and Resources (JSER) is astonishing rebuke to international pressure, and a vote of confidence in Japan’s native marine and astronomical research. Publicly-funded science in the West uniformly backs the hypothesis that industrial influence is primarily responsible for climate change, although fissures have appeared recently. Only one of the five top Japanese scientists commissioned here concurs with the man-made global warming hypothesis.
Note the bold – that is precisely why this one is different. In previous warming trends, government funded scientists weren’t trying to prove it was man who was warming the earth. I also loved the bit about the models and ancient astrology.