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« New consensus: IPCC is dumb | Main | Taking potshots at Plimer »
Wednesday
Jun152011

Climate cuttings 54

There's some really interesting stuff around the blogs at the moment, which I don't have time to write up in full, so here's a collection of links.

Judith Curry's article on overconfidence in the IPCC's detection and attribution studies is a must-read.

Meanwhile Steve McIntyre takes a break from tree rings to look at the IPCC's recent report on renewables. The headline figure seems to be an extreme scenario and one, moreover, that has been snitched straight from a report by Greenpeace. Author conflict of interest raises its ugly head again.

But the story that is getting all the attention at the moment is the news that we are about to go into a period of solar quiescence accompanied by global cooling. Anthony Watts has the story, as does El Reg and there is lots of MSM coverage for those that are interested.

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Reader Comments (73)

Bish, you have the wrong link to Steve McKintyre.

The BBC has not said anything about the major solar story. I wonder why?

Jun 15, 2011 at 7:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Should be a hoot watching the warmistas try to argue away the ramifications of the solar predictions when the GCM's largely ignore solar contributions!

Bish, perhaps you should start a sweepstake (ala Lucia) on who gets 'retired' first from the UK scientific community as the AGW bubble implodes and the politicians move on seemlessly to the next manufactured crisis?

Jun 15, 2011 at 8:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterVarco

It's The Sun Wot Dun It!

Jun 15, 2011 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Mac. I'm sure that once upon a time I read that the sun drove our climate. But that was a fairy-tale believed widely before Climate Psientologists told us it was CO2 wot dunnitall.

Jun 15, 2011 at 9:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Bish, your SM link dropped me in to JC's blog!
Steve is an incredible detective and his latest examination of the IPCC is truly eye-opening if one was not already more than a little sceptical of the corrupt IPCC. To have it confirmed that the mad IPCC projection about how much energy we can look forward to being produced by 'renewables', wind, solar and 'new biomass' (whatever that is), is nothing more than a Greenpeace essay and utter nonsense is no surprise; couple this with the latest information about the sun going even quieter and the short-term scenario for UK energy is indeed scary. I am not holding my breath, however, while I await information from Richard Black and his cohort and promulgated on the Beeb about the very probable coming solar minimum or the revealed corruption of the IPCC.

Jun 15, 2011 at 9:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

Another story in The Register is worth a look.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/14/national_grid_2020/

This refers to a National Grid report on the implications of the government`s renewables policy. A link to the original is included in The Register article.

Jun 15, 2011 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered Commenteroldtimer

Have just been reading the WUWT post "BREAKING – major AAS solar announcement: Sun’s Fading Spots Signal Big Drop in Solar Activity"

Would be grateful if anyone has 2 minutes to help with this section: -

"In fact, some scientists are questioning whether this drop in activity could lead to a second Maunder Minimum, which was a 70-year period from 1645 to 1715 when the sun showed virtually no sunspots".

How can a scientist tell about sunspot activity [so far back] in the past? Once a sunspot has gone it's gone surely? I can't work this out at all.

Yes I'm too gutless to ask on WUWT :>)

thanks in advance
A Puzzled Long Term Bishop Lurker

Jun 15, 2011 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered Commentercatinthehat

Re: catinthehat

How can a scientist tell about sunspot activity [so far back] in the past?

The scientists of the time looked at the sun with a telescope and counted them.

Jun 15, 2011 at 9:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

The AGW "side" of the debate has its frst take on the solar news, as reported on msn:

Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and one of the founders of the RealClimate blog, said the effects of solar activity on climate over the past 30 years have been "at the margin of what we can detect."

"They are detectable in the high atmosphere, but when you get down to the surface, there is so much other stuff going on that it's been really hard to get a clean signal," he told me.

One of the reasons why so little is known about solar effects on climate is that the sun's highs and lows have been within such a narrow range in recent history.

"If we were to see a return to what's called Maunder Minimum conditions in the next 50 years or so, that would be interesting," Schmidt said. "I think we'd learn a lot about solar physics and solar variability. ... It's going to be scientifically very exciting if all this pans out."

Even then, however, he estimated that the effect of greenhouse-gas emissions would be on the order of 10 times as great. "What you might see over a 20- to 30-year period is a slight slowdown in the pace of warming," Schmidt said. "In terms of how we should think about climate change prediction in the future, reducing emissions and so on, it really wouldn't make much of a difference."

Jun 15, 2011 at 9:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterRB

catinthehat

Gentlemen scientists have been observing and counting sunspots for hundreds of years using a very simple piece of equipment - a helioscope.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helioscope

Jun 15, 2011 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Feulner G., Rahmstorf S. (2010),
On the effect of a new grand minimum of solar activity on the future climate on Earth”,
Geophysical Research Letters, 37, L05707.
doi:10.1029/2010GL042710


Abstract


The current exceptionally long minimum of solar activity has led to the suggestion that the Sun might experience a new grand minimum in the next decades, a prolonged period of low activity similar to the Maunder minimum in the late 17th century. The Maunder minimum is connected to the Little Ice Age, a time of markedly lower temperatures, in particular in the Northern hemisphere. Here we use a coupled climate model to explore the effect of a 21st‐century grand minimum on future global temperatures, finding a moderate temperature offset of no more than −0.3°C in the year 2100 relative to a scenario with solar activity similar to recent decades. This temperature decrease is much smaller than the warming expected from anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the century.

Of course the models are built to largely ignore solar influences, but they will talk around that.

Jun 15, 2011 at 10:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterDouglas J. Keenan

"But the story that is getting all the attention at the moment is the news that we are about to go into a period of solar quiescence accompanied by global cooling. Anthony Watts has the story, as does El Reg and there is lots of MSM coverage for those that are interested."

Except for the BBC - still nothing there! They'll be working out how to fit it in with their established line ...

Jun 15, 2011 at 10:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Cooke

So that's a fixed position by Schmidt and the modellers? The solar minmum will not make much difference. So when it fails to get warm they will NOT be using the excuse that the solar cooling is merely masking ongoing MMGHG warming? Nice to know.

Jun 15, 2011 at 10:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

From NCDC, dated 2004.

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/solanki2004/solanki2004.html

Direct observations of sunspot numbers are available for the past four centuries, but longer time series are required, for example, for the identification of a possible solar influence on climate and for testing models of the solar dynamo. Here we report a reconstruction of the sunspot number covering the past 11,400 years, ... based on dendrochronologically dated radiocarbon concentrations. We combine physics-based models for each of the processes connecting the radiocarbon concentration with sunspot number. According to our reconstruction, the level of solar activity during the past 70 years is exceptional, and the previous period of equally high activity occurred more than 8,000 years ago. We find that during the past 11,400 years the Sun spent only of the order of 10% of the time at a similarly high level of magnetic activity and almost all of the earlier high-activity periods were shorter than the present episode. Although the rarity of the current episode of high average sunspot numbers may indicate that the Sun has contributed to the unusual climate change during the twentieth century, we point out that solar variability is unlikely to have been the dominant cause of the strong warming during the past three decades.

The years of solar inactivity is going to be interesting.

Jun 15, 2011 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

The possibility of a repeat of the Maunder minimum is interesting and will put the cat amongst the pigeons but remember Correlation is not Causation rubs both ways.

Jun 15, 2011 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

Thank you!
will look at that now
=^..^=

Jun 15, 2011 at 10:31 AM | Unregistered Commentercatinthehat

Douglas J Keenan @ 10:06 am

Well, it's Rahmstorf ;-) What did you expect? Good news?

Jun 15, 2011 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

The solar story is also covered on slashdot, with the usual pie throwing discussion from readers.

Jun 15, 2011 at 10:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson

Any body want to invest in some 'Frost Fair' Share Certificates

Jun 15, 2011 at 10:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

From the linked Climate Audit post on the IPCC WG3 report on renewables:

Close to 80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows.

The basis for this claim is a Greenpeace scenario. The Lead Author of the IPCC assessment of the Greenpeace scenario was the same Greenpeace employee who had prepared the Greenpeace scenarios, the introduction to which was written by IPCC chair Pachauri.

The public and policy-makers are starving for independent and authoritative analysis of precisely how much weight can be placed on renewables in the energy future. It expects more from IPCC WG3 than a karaoke version of Greenpeace scenario.

It is totally unacceptable that IPCC should have had a Greenpeace employee as a Lead Author of the critical Chapter 10, that the Greenpeace employee, as an IPCC Lead Author, should (like Michael Mann and Keith Briffa in comparable situations) have been responsible for assessing his own work and that, with such inadequate and non-independent ‘due diligence’, IPCC should have featured the Greenpeace scenario in its press release on renewables.

Everyone in IPCC WG3 should be terminated and, if the institution is to continue, it should be re-structured from scratch.

Now I know that the 80% claim is unmitigated nonsense, but plenty of people don't, and might be forgiven for taking the IPCC seriously. Some of them are policy-makers.

That's why McIntyre is not going too far to call for mass sackings and ground-up restructuring for WG3.

This has got to stop.

Jun 15, 2011 at 10:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

If this is true, the solar minimum story is fantastic news for the non-ideological greens; those who have bought into the warming agenda, but are concerned that the evidence might be going against them. Now they can say, “well, we were right about global warming, the effects are just being masked by the solar minimum". They will all manage to walk away from years of propagandising without being touched by the consequences of their actions.

That just leaves the ideological Greens (Marxists and humanity haters), and the cynical Greens (governments and investors). Interesting to see how they're going to spin this.

Jun 15, 2011 at 11:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

Even then, however, he estimated that the effect of greenhouse-gas emissions would be on the order of 10 times as great. "What you might see over a 20- to 30-year period is a slight slowdown in the pace of warming," Schmidt said.

I'm so glad Gavin gave us that one for the archive. He really must believe that CO2 is evil. Mind you they looked at surface temperature noise and called it "unprecedented warming" so they can spin any other variations in what is effectively noise any way they like. My only hope is that it will cool - and enough to sway the idiot "policy makers" that are busy sending us back to the middle ages.

Jun 15, 2011 at 12:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterBuffy Minton

Jasper Kirkby, in his paper explaining why CERN was doing the CLOUD experiment, produced graphs showing temperatures moving with solar variability for the past 1100 years; page 3.

http://aps.arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0804/0804.1938v1.pdf

Jun 15, 2011 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon B

...............and we have this to ponder over as submitted by David R.B. Stockwell who has submitted to a journal.

http://landshape.org/enm/solar-variability-does-explain-late-20th-century-warming/

Contrary to the consensus view, the historic temperature record displays high sensitivity to solar variations when related by slow equilibration dynamics. A range of results suggest that incorrect specification of the relationship between forcings and temperature may be at the heart of previous studies finding low correlations of solar variation to temperature. The accumulation model is a credible alternative mechanism for explaining both paleoclimatic temperature variability and present-day warming without recourse to increases in heat-trapping gases produced by human activities. The grounds on which a solar explanation for late 20th century warming is dismissed should be reconsidered.

Jun 15, 2011 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Judith Curry's site is, under the guise of an open and fair airing of all sides in the debates, the worst with respect to the rampant avoidance behavior now being exhibited by everyone in a position of power, either in science or in politics. It is an on-going therapy session for Those Who Refuse to Learn -- and led by the worst fence-sitter of all. Curry is a political hack -- no, even worse, a bureaucratic hack (a.k.a., an academic, and one with "connections higher up"). You will be wasting your time there, if you go looking for signs of progress, or to nudge anyone away from their delusions. The key words now are "avoidance behavior".

Jun 15, 2011 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Dale Huffman

Solar quiescence? I blame it on Global Warming...


(I'll get my coat)

Jun 15, 2011 at 1:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Harry Dale Huffman

That's both excessively harsh and highly opinionated. Others may not agree.

Jun 15, 2011 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Harry Dale Huffman notes re Judith Curry's site (and Judith herself): You will be wasting your time there, if you go looking for signs of progress, or to nudge anyone away from their delusions.

While I tend to lean that way, too, regarding Judith, Harry, I nevertheless find much wisdom in the comments... which draw me back there.

Jun 15, 2011 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Carr

Still no sign of the BBC taking any interest in this.

Jun 15, 2011 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

BBD,

I think HDH is just reporting the inconvenient truth. Any apparent repositioning/open-mindedness by Dr. Curry has nothing to do with science, but has come about due to political considerations. She does what all Liberals/Progressives in America do - Triangulate. She still advocates for everything she always has. I mean this was never about getting any science right to begin with, so a change in the science is not going to dislodge any entrenched political philosophy. She's part of a political culture where this is the M.O. If Global Warming is no longer effective propaganda, it will be dropped, and whatever political "gains" made from it will still be embraced by Dr. Curry. "Oh Global Warming was wrong? Here, lets remove all this legislation and regulation and whatnot because it was erroneously implemented based on incorrect science." Not going to happen.

Andrew

Jun 15, 2011 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

Bad Andrew

What political gains is Curry setting up to 'embrace'? Can you be more specific?

Jun 15, 2011 at 3:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD,

Gain #1: A bunch of Global Warming Believers who don't know the science is bad. They just believe what authorities have told them. This situation seems to be just fine with Dr. Curry.

Andrew

Jun 15, 2011 at 3:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

Bad Andrew

That's odd, given that Curry spends lots of time examining the misrepresentation of uncertainty by the IPCC and others.

Why is she suddenly so unpopular here?

Jun 15, 2011 at 4:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

UK MSM beginning to pick up on the solar story here:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2003824/Earth-facing-mini-Ice-Age-years-rare-drop-sunspot-activity.html

Jun 15, 2011 at 5:20 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

BBD,

She's been unpopular with me since the get go. She may criticize the IPCC (political body) and others for saying the wrong thing (politics), but the temperature data is never questioned (and why would it be? its the basis of her belief, to scrutinize it may give rise to some doubt) and her belief in Global Warming is essentially the same as it ever was.

Andrew

Jun 15, 2011 at 5:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

So Sven Teske is an IPCC Lead Author and longtime Greenpeace activist and employee. He has been with Greenpeace since 1994, and a leading Greenpeace Campaigner in Germany since 1995.

Some conflict of interest! How about vested interest as well? Sven Teske founded Greenpeace Energy and was on the board from its inception in 1999, and is still on the supervisory board. Greenpeace Energy has a vested interest in ‘renewable’ power and turned over 79 million Euros in 2010, supplied 448 million kWh electricity (2010) and currently boasts over 100,000 customers.

But then, this is no surprise when Pachauri is at the helm, because he has similar conflicts of interest and vested interests.

Jun 15, 2011 at 5:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterScientistForTruth

Bad Andrew

Why should Curry question the temperature data? By which I assume you mean the instrumental record 1850 - present?

Are you suggesting that the whole thing is faked?

Jun 15, 2011 at 6:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

ScientistForTruth

That's appalling. Do you have a link for this information?

Many thanks.

Jun 15, 2011 at 6:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

The following non-peer-reviewed report is cited in AR4 WGIII

Greenpeace, 2006: Solar generation. K. McDonald (ed.), Greenpeace International, Amsterdam.

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/planet-2/report/2006/10/solargen3.pdf

Credit for this (see back page) goes to Sven Teske. Teske also co-authored the Foreword with Dr Winfried Hoffmann, President of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), which states:

"We have now reached a point where CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions have already induced excessive floods, droughts and intensified hurricanes and typhoons...Fortunately, we have technologies at hand – the portfolio of renewable energies – that could change this downward spiral and lead to a green and sustainable future."

Oh yeah?

What? An industry body with vested interests in selling photovoltaics and an environmental campaigner with vested interests in photovoltaic power generation producing a non-peer-reviewed document that is cited in AR4?

Jun 15, 2011 at 6:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterScientistForTruth

BBD - check out their website: he's listed as a director, and there are the figures:

http://www.greenpeace-energy.de/

Jun 15, 2011 at 6:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterScientistForTruth

BBD,

The whole thing doesn't have to be faked. Information just needs to be presented in a way that supports the Global Warming Story. For instance, I suspect, BBD, that you have no idea if data contrary to Global Warming has been excluded from the leading temperature products. Just a lil' cherry pickin or adjustin' is all that is necessary.

Andrew

Jun 15, 2011 at 6:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

Nor is it being sanctioned on the Guardian's Comment Is Free. Three different mentions (with links) of the news of the sun have been deleted by moderators. Seemed relevant to the story of new story of geo-engineering to cool the earth down, but there we are, obviously not linked at all.

Jun 15, 2011 at 6:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan Woolley

@ Stuck-record (Jun 15, 2011 at 11:42 AM):

You say, they (will) say: "...well, we were right about global warming, the effects are just being masked by the solar minimum". They will all manage to walk away from years of propagandising without being touched by the consequences of their actions."

Well, I figure they can't have it both ways. Either the sun has an effect, or it doesn't. If a minimum is masking CAGW, then so is a maximum. In other words, no CAGW, just the sun.

Jun 15, 2011 at 6:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

@ buffy minton

My only hope is that it will cool

If it does, they'll stop going on about the average temperature and start going on about something else.

Jun 15, 2011 at 6:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

Scientistfortruth

Excellent - many thanks. And well spotted that man!

Jun 15, 2011 at 6:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Bad Andrew

For instance, I suspect, BBD, that you have no idea if data contrary to Global Warming has been excluded from the leading temperature products.

That Dr Spencer! Always knew he was a wrong 'un.

Jun 15, 2011 at 6:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BA

But seriously - when you look at the work done by Zeke Hausfather, Steve Mosher, Lucia and others, the suspicion that any serious data manipulation has taken place is quickly allayed. Yes, there are questions about GISTEMP adjustments and about its use of Arctic interpolation. Yes, no record is by any means truly global, and yes, sea surface temperatures are sparsely sampled to this day.

However, look at the agreement between HADCRUT, GISTEMP, UAH and RSS 1979 - present. The surface temperatures are in very good agreement with satellite TLT observations:

HADCRUT, GISTEMP, UAH, RSS. 1979 – present; common 1981 – 2010 baseline; trend.

Jun 15, 2011 at 7:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

"when you look at the work done by Zeke Hausfather, Steve Mosher, Lucia"

BBD,

I've had back and forths over the years with these three (well not so much Zeke), and I can only state that I wouldn't trust any of them with giving an unbiased opinion about this subject. Anyway, just because these products generally agree doesn't address the fact that you and I have no idea how much significant information has been excluded from any or all of them.

Andrew

Jun 15, 2011 at 7:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

Anyway, I don't know Dr. Spencer. I'd rather not appeal to personalities to answer my concerns.

Andrew

Jun 15, 2011 at 7:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

BA

I was simply saying that Roy Spencer isn't going to be excluding information from the UAH interpretation of the satellite data. He's a sceptic. That being the case, the almost complete agreement between UAH and RSS validates the RSS take on the data:

UAH and RSS. Common 1981 – 2010 baseline; trend.

So the double-checked satellite data for TLT gives a trend very close to HADCRUT since 1979. Even GISTEMP, though still the outlier, isn't significantly different from the rest.

Whether we agree or not with Lucia, ZH, SM etc is much less important than the fact of the combined scrutiny that has gone into the temperature records. If there were significant tampering, it would have come out by now.

Jun 15, 2011 at 8:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

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