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« Failure to deny | Main | Paterson at the GWPF »
Thursday
Oct162014

The Sun says

A a new Climate Dialogue has just begun, this time looking at the effects of the sun on the climate. Here's the introduction:

According to the latest IPCC report, AR5, the influence of the sun on our climate since pre-industrial times, in terms of radiative forcing, is very small compared to the effect of greenhouse gases.

According to some more skeptical scientists such a small solar influence is counterintuitive. The Little Ice Age, the period roughly from 1350 to 1850, in which winters on the Northern Hemisphere could be severe and glaciers advanced, coincided with the so-called Maunder Minimum, a period of supposedly low solar activity. In their eyes, the sun therefore still is a serious candidate to also explain a substantial part of the warming since pre-industrial times.

Sunspot records since 1600 suggest there has been a considerable increase in solar activity in the 20th century leading to a Grand Solar Maximum or Modern Maximum. However recently these sunspot records have come under increasing scrutiny and newer reconstructions show a much ‘flatter’ sunspot history. This challenges the idea of a Modern Maximum.

The current solar cycle 24 is the lowest sunspot cycle in 100 years and the third in a trend of diminishing sunspot cycles. Solar physicists expect cycle 25 to be even smaller than Cycle 24 and expect the sun to move into a new minimum, comparable with the Dalton or even the Maunder Minimum. Studying such a minimum with modern instruments could potentially answer a lot of the questions surrounding the influence of the sun on our climate.

We are very pleased that no less than five (solar) scientists have agreed to participate in this exciting new Climate Dialogue: Mike Lockwood (UK), Nicola Scafetta (US), Jan-Erik Solheim (NO), José Vaquero (ES) and Ilya Usoskin (FI).

Read it here.

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Reader Comments (28)

We are very pleased that no less fewer than five (solar) scientists have agreed to participate in this exciting new Climate Dialogue.

Oct 16, 2014 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered Commentersplitpin

TSI only changes by a small percentage, but I'm convinced that the alarmist movement dismissed the sun's importance because it didn't fit with the GHG agenda. They wanted to eliminate all other climate drivers.

In fact, UV at the higher end of solar output does change very considerably and is liked to ozone production and atmospheric circulation. Then there is the solar wind that bombards us with charged particles, the magnetic field that reverses each 11 years and the cosmic radiation that is modulated by the solar wind.

There is circumstantial evidence that the duration of the solar cycles is important and that extended periods of high activity are associated with warming and long periods of low activity may relate to cooling. The sunspots are caused by magnetic force field distortions and while optically they appear dark, suggesting lower radiation intensity, I suspect that the turbulence results in higher energy emissions from deeper in the sun and beyond the visible spectrum.

The bottom line is that the sun is probably the main driver of our climate. Its visible output can penetrate deep into our oceans unlike GHG radiation. Its magnetic field and charged particles probably control cloudiness in ways that we do not yet understand.

Oct 16, 2014 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Schrodinger's Cat

Spot on I could not have put it any better myself !

Oct 16, 2014 at 12:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoss Lea

I love how they say "the so-called Maunder Minimum, a period of supposedly low solar activity" as if these were some sort of artefact or invention of the evil sceptics, which didn't really happen at all.

Didn't the Medieval Warm Period get the same treatment at one time?

Shameless twisters, the lot of them.

Oct 16, 2014 at 12:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Duffin

... I'm convinced that the alarmist movement dismissed the sun's importance because it didn't fit with the GHG agenda. They wanted to eliminate all other climate drivers.
Keep on saying it. It will eventually get through. Climate has a been a political exercise since the 1970s. Think Club of Rome and Maurice Strong. The philosophy and the quotes to back it up are easily found on-line.
Finding a ready-made excuse to demonise CO2 has been a godsend to the activist environmental movement and they have been milking it for all they are worth for the last 20 years.

Oct 16, 2014 at 1:02 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Andrew Duffin - spot on.

And
"In their eyes, the sun therefore still is a serious candidate to also explain a substantial part of the warming since pre-industrial times."

Translation:
"The sun is not a serious candidate to also explain a substantial part of the warming in the eyes of proper scientists"

Shameless twisters indeed.

Oct 16, 2014 at 1:11 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

I thought you meant the "Sun" newspaper!! I thought it was a bit high brow for them.

While they all debate these matters, the only thing we really need to concern ourselves with is the fact that warm and cold periods have come and gone for thousands of years. The MWP and LIA are only the most recent.

Until someone can explain why these cycles occur, we cannot know whether the current warm period is not just part of the same phenomenon.

Oct 16, 2014 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Homewood

Way back when I did my degree ( Physics with Astrophysics) we studied radiative processes in stars. One big problem with the physics was that it helped explain the photosphere but not the Corona. And searching today 20 years later it is still a problem. How can we have a plasma at 1 million K that is coupled to one at only 5800?

Remember the same radiative physics applies. The obvious answer is that something is going on that we don't understand. Something that climate scientists should take note of seeing that they use the same type of equations to model the Earth.

Oct 16, 2014 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterMicky H Corbett

Mike Jackson

- for those who have not read it, I can recommend Rupert Darwall's "The Age of Global Warming". Saves a whole load of time as he has all the relevant political stuff fully documented including Strong and the Club of Rome. The book covers very little of the science (not its intention), but gives an excellent summary of the history of the subject. A must read for warmists as well as realists.

Oct 16, 2014 at 2:54 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

Micky H Corbett.

Well I thought I understood radiative physics as it applies to the Earth/Atmosphere and have believed that CO2 was a GHG for more than half a century - Kirchoff's Law and those laws that build on it.

BUT this paper, which I admit makes my brain hurt in places, raises some interesting problems for climate models

http://ptep-online.com/index_files/2014/PP-38-05.PDF

Climate models assume a near black body response for CO2

Dr. Robitaille gives a half hour talk here on Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Hstum3U2zw

For those interested in the Sun - and who isn't?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TOKo7Ik9f8

But of course the science is settled!!

Oct 16, 2014 at 3:21 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

Faith in the idea that it is all due to the sun in some unexplained mysterious way rather than in explained ways (GHGs, orbital changes, volcanoes etc) is like believing in fairies at the bottom of the garden. And if "visible output can penetrate deep into our oceans unlike GHG radiation", why is it dark when you dive down not very far?

Oct 16, 2014 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Raff - Depth is relative in this discussion. Water is opaque to IR so we are talking about molecular dimensions for GHG.

Oct 16, 2014 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

I love how they say "the so-called Maunder Minimum, a period of supposedly low solar activity" as if these were some sort of artefact or invention of the evil sceptics, which didn't really happen at all.

Didn't the Medieval Warm Period get the same treatment at one time?

Shameless twisters, the lot of them.

Oct 16, 2014 at 12:44 PM | Andrew Duffin
=======================================================================

Indeed. And at time you will see the MWP called the "Mediaeval Warming ANOMALY", as if to suggest it should not have happened, and we'd rather it didn't but if it did then we'll pretend it doesn't matter. Or something along such scientifically challenged lines.

Second that motion on the Darwall book. Buy it for all your pause denier friends.

Oct 16, 2014 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Raff - I've never dived to a depth where there was not enough light to see clearly.

Have you?

Oct 16, 2014 at 4:29 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Oct 16, 2014 at 3:21 PM | retireddave
============================

"black box response"? Please explain - laymen hang out here too!

Oct 16, 2014 at 4:32 PM | Registered Commenterjeremypoynton

Changes in the solar UV spectrum can also be expected to have disproportionately significant effects on the biosphere and the carbon cycle, as well as atmospheric ozone. And what are the 2nd-order effects on cloud formation when polarizable bio-molecules such as isoprene absorb strongly in the UV?

Their failings are clear. If cli-sci started again from the perspective of all scientists they would probably make a better fist of it.

Oct 16, 2014 at 4:34 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

The obvious answer is that something is going on that we don't understand. Something that climate scientists should take note of seeing that they use the same type of equations to model the Earth.
Oct 16, 2014 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterMicky H Corbett
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
No wonder you have not yet won the Nobel Peace Prize, Mickey. Such lack of certainty is not career-enhancing.

Seriously, your words "something is going on that we don't understand" lifted this non-scientists's spirits more than you might believe to be possible.

In my sketchy understanding of the history of science, that is almost always the case. I have much more trust in someone who acknowledges that than in someone who claims to have sorted the problem, however they define it this year or decade.

To slightly diverge, I look at the recent discoveries that some cancers are triggered by viruses. Yet, we are still being told told that cancer is caused by sins like obesity and not eating enough vegetables.

Oct 16, 2014 at 5:38 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

jeremypoynton

I am sure there are much better people on here to explain black body radiation than I, but essentially this Wikipedia (yeah I know) article explains that the Stefan-Boltzmann's law (which uses Kirchoff's and Planck's work) suggests that a black body radiates at the 4th power of its temperature.

Climate models (and a huge part of physics, chemistry and astronomy) assume this to be true (or nearly true) and as Dr. Robitaille explains this does not appear to be the case. He shows that for CO2, for example, the radiation actually decreases as temperature increases. A bit of a shocker really. It is almost as fundamental as suggesting gravity makes things go upwards.

I hope that helps

Oct 16, 2014 at 5:54 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

"I've never dived to a depth where there was not enough light to see clearly."

I'm not a diver, but I've read that nearly 80% of light is absorbed in the first 10m (99.5% in the first 100m). Schrodinger's Cat seems to consider anything beyond molecular depth to be "deep sea" judging from his reply. That is clearly silly. From a swimming pool perspective, 10m might qualify as "deep", but I imagine it is within the region affected by wave-action distribution of long wave heat absorbed in the Cat's shallow (molecular depth) water. And for a 2km average depth ocean, I'd say 100m is still not deep. But, I know you like to define words to suit your arguments here...

Oct 16, 2014 at 6:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

It seems that climate scientists have to address some aspect of anthropogenic carbon dioxide driven climate change in order to receive funding. This means that for decades, the basics of climate science, such as the solar output in all of its forms, ocean oscillations and factors affecting cloud coverage have largely been ignored and are poorly understood.

Now that the dominance of carbon dioxide as the single climate control has been shown to be nonsense, the mainstream scientists have no idea about where to go from here. They cling to the hope that GHG warming will resume and drive up temperatures because everything has been attributed to CO2 and all other suggestions have been treated with scorn and abuse.

A number of objective scientists will realise that it is necessary to get back to basics to understand the fundamental factors that drive our climate. In the meantime, the alarmists will remain in denial about anything other than carbon dioxide having an effect.

I am very confident that the main causes of our climate are solar, cloud formation and the versatile feedback processes of our water based planet. Overlaid on that, is the influence of ocean temperature cycles and their summation, producing time lags, enhancement and suppression in an ever changing pattern that confounds attempts at analysis.

However, with funding being conditional on alarmism, it may be some time before we learn the truth about our climate.

Oct 16, 2014 at 6:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Raff - Depth: the main difference between visible light and IR with regard to penetration of the oceans is as follows:

IR is absorbed by water molecules therefore it excites these molecules with vibrational energy. This is a form of kinetic energy. The water molecules will vibrate faster and reach kinetic energy levels that will allow them to escape from the surface tension forces that bind them to the sea. In other words, the molecules pass into the atmosphere. They evaporate. This process will, for a given temperature, be enhanced if the sea is rough, since this will increase kinetic energy and mixing with air by way of spray.

All of this is a long-winded way of saying that down-welling IR from greenhouse gases will result in evaporation rather than heating of the oceans. Evaporation is an endothermic process that takes out heat and drives the water cycle leading eventually to clouds, so it does not necessarily help the alarmist cause.

Visible light does penetrate the oceans and can transfer energy to the bulk water, rather than to just the surface. So it probably doesn't matter too much whether it ipenetrates 5 metres or 50 metres.

Alarmists claim that IR radiation does warm the oceans, but since they have not explained the mechanism in a convincing way, I leave it to you to research that for yourself.

Therefore the bottom line is that solar energy warms the oceans, GHG radiation probably does not, and the oceans are two thirds of the earth's surface.

Oct 16, 2014 at 6:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

So is your theory that the ocean would be the same temperature whether covered by a warm atmosphere or not? If the IR from the atmosphere is not warming it, that seems to follow. That would be a fantastic discovery! You ought to write a paper. Principia Scientifica would probably publish it, or maybe in a pattern-recognition type journal. I'm sure many here would believe it too, but the Bishop would probably relegate talk about it to the discussion pages.

Oct 16, 2014 at 7:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Raff - The atmosphere has negligible heat content compared to the oceans.

The oceans heat the atmosphere, not the other way around. Keep going, I think you are beginning to grasp reality.

Oct 16, 2014 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Oct 16, 2014 at 5:54 PM | retireddave
=============================

Indeed it does help - thanks!

Oct 16, 2014 at 9:32 PM | Registered Commenterjeremypoynton

Schrodingers’ Cat: I wouldn’t bother, if I were you; no matter how you build your tower of reason (and reasoning), it will get kicked down by one who does not understand what bricks are for. (Sorry, cannot link directly to the comment at 11:59 AM, but reading earlier comments would help.)

Recently, I managed to paddle in some shallow water of the open ocean; there was a noticeable difference in temperatures between the water over white sand and the water over dark-coloured materials; should we be surprised? Light is a form of energy; the fact that it doesn’t penetrate too deeply into the oceans does indicate that that energy is being absorbed by the water, thus heating it.

Oct 16, 2014 at 10:39 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

OK Raff. Fair enough.

When you said " And if "visible output can penetrate deep into our oceans unlike GHG radiation", why is it dark when you dive down not very far?" you had me surprised.

I've been down far enough (aqualung) to make me feel a bit scared but I think to dive to a level where it was too dark to see (I'm talking about daytime and clear sea water) would be well below the depths where you can go breathing air.

Oct 16, 2014 at 11:01 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin A

Having dived myself, visibility often depends on silt and other wee beasties in the water. Nothing like a half meter vis dive where you move by feel. That said if you dive in very cold water or even the Caribbean you can get pretty good vis perhaps up to 20m. I've heard of 30 m plus in Egypt.

The spectrum of light changes, you lose everything past blue as you go down deeper. It's like a filter gets put over your eyes. Which makes sense as the lower end of the visible spectrum doesn't penetrate as far. Dive torch manufacturers often compete to produce the most surface-like illumination profile at depth.

Oct 17, 2014 at 9:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterMicky H Corbett

How typical to read that Professor Lockwood is still demolishing the much-abused Climate Alarmist Strawman- that TSI shows little variation, whilst studiously avoiding the heap of empirical evidence of solar effects on climate, supplied by Dr. Scafetta.

Methinks this is going to end up as yet another "dialogue with the deaf". And no prizes for guessing who the "deaf" are.

Oct 17, 2014 at 8:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

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