Solar snooze discussion thread

by Judith Curry

The Annual Meeting of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society has announced some very interesting results in this press release entitled “Sun’s fading spots signal big drop in solar activity.”

Some brief excerpts:

The results of three separate studies seem to show that even as the current sunspot cycle swells toward the solar maximum, the sun could be heading into a more-dormant period, with activity during the next 11-year sunspot cycle greatly reduced or even eliminated.

“Cycle 24 started out late and slow and may not be strong enough to create a rush to the poles, indicating we’ll see a very weak solar maximum in 2013, if at all,” Altrock said. “If the rush to the poles fails to complete, this creates a tremendous dilemma for the theorists, as it would mean that Cycle 23’s magnetic field will not completely disappear from the polar regions. … No one knows what the sun will do in that case.”

If the models prove accurate and the trends continue, the implications could be far-reaching.

“If we are right, this could be the last solar maximum we’ll see for a few decades,” Hill said. “That would affect everything from space exploration to Earth’s climate.”

This is all over the news and the blogosphere, but not too much discussion yet in the climate blogosphere.  WUWT has several posts, and Andy Revkin raises some issues of relevance to climate change (note: I borrowed ‘snooze’ from Revkin’s article).  See also this later post at dotearth.

I haven’t done a solar thread yet, it’s a topic about which I am not that knowledgeable.  I look forward to your contributions to the discussion.


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.


(h/t Douglas Keenan at Bishop Hill)

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.

Some excerpts from an article posted at msnbc:

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.”

But what about the Little Ice Age in the 1600s, when Swiss Alpine villages were reported destroyed by encroaching glaciers? Schmidt said that period also coincided with an upswing in volcanic emissions, which are known more definitely to contribute to global cooling.

“Parsing out how much of that was solar, how much of that was volcanic and how much of that was just noise … that’s tricky,” Schmidt said.

347 responses to “Solar snooze discussion thread

  1. Just when you thought is was safe to put on a pair of budgie smugglers and head for the beach LIA2 happens

  2. No mention of it at the BBC as yet. Perhaps the report hasn’t been cleared by their Pension Fund Management.

    • The BBC is probably trying to figure out how to “spin” this news so the audience will not realize that BBC science reporters have been a willing participant in the AGW scam.

    • Update on BBC. It was mentioned on Radio 4 this morning, by Roger Harrabin (a BBC environment ans science correspondent with no scientific quakifications). He calimed that the solar effect on cooling is 3 to 9 less effective then the warming due to AGW (according to projections). So there we have the expected BBC response. The warming will be briefly hidden by the minor cooling.

  3. It would be interesting to see what Oliver Manuel’s has to say.

    • The simple facts, DCA, are these:

      The scientific community and the public know almost nothing about Earth’s heat source (the core of the Sun) because the US government required space scientists, and then nuclear and climate scientists, to ignore or hide hard empirical evidence** that revealed:

      a.) The Sun’s origin
      b.) The Sun’s composition
      c.) The Sun’s source of energy, and
      d.) The Sun’s dominant control over Earth’s constantly changing climate

      **A paper in press gives a brief summary of experimental data that have been hidden or ignored since 1975 [“Neutron repulsion,” The APEIRON Journal, in press (2011) 19 pages].

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel
      Former NASA Principal
      Investigator for Apollo

      • I notice (below) that the well-known solar physicist, Dr. Lief Svalgaard, is now here trying to save the government’s rapidly disintegrating AGW story from experimental findings –

        Like the mythical Hans Brinker who saved Holland from flooding by plugging a hole in the dike with his finger.

        This is an open invitation to Dr. Svalgaard to demonstrate his knowledge of solar physics by openly addressing the above experimental observations.

      • [crickets]

  4. BTW: WUWT has several threads on this issue .

  5. The basic issue is simple enough. There are a lot of people, such as at the European Space Agency, who think that sunspot cycles have a significant effect on climate, in ways that are not well understood. A solar snooze implies cooling, so maybe we have a test in the making. Very exciting.

    • That’s my sentiments. It seems we’ve been handed a golden opportunity for some climatic experimentation.

      • I don’t think the lab rats (us) are going to enjoy the Great Experimenter’s fiddles of the independent variables. At least he threw frak gas into the mix, so we have some resources once we kick the Greenies out of the way of using them.

  6. It’s ” iron ic ” to find that finally on a thread which mentions the sun and solar activity, Olivea Manuel is not the first poster :-)

    That apart, as usual Gavin is putting his usual spin on it but the game is catching up.

  7. This could be fun to watch, Judith. Lots of people with interest in solar, many with pet theories.

    • some of the theories are more like feral cats than pets.

      • Or fleas on a cat. Every time you remove one, you find another. When it comes to the climate, the sun is the great kook-generator.

      • And pretending the sun and sunshine have no effect on climate is the kookiest theory of them all.

      • Nobody suggests that the sun has no effect.
        The current state of physics understanding holds that the sun supplies energy to the climate system. That variable is the Total Solar Irradiance or TSI. It’s our energy source. To be sure, there may be other ways the sun interacts with the climate. The point is those theories have to be framed or expressed as quantitative physics in order for them to be considered or integrated into our understanding. If one wants to postulate that the sun modulates GCR and that GCR modulate cloud formation that is fine. However, that theory must be expressed correctly ,tested, and integrated with other physics. Nobody holds that changing TSI is unimportant. In fact, the faint sun paradox exists because climate science recognizes that TSI does contribute to warming and cooling. The operational questions are these.
        1. Do we have an accurate history of TSI
        2. How important is TSI in the grand scheme of things.
        3. What other physical effects does the sun have that are not accounted for

        As it stands our current understanding is that TSI varies. It varies by a small fraction. That effect is not unimportant. Its not zero and its not 100% of the explanation of
        why the climate varies. It’s part of the answer, the same way that water vapor is part of the answer, and other GHGs are part of the answer, and volcanos are a part of the answer, and clouds ( and hence sunshine) are part of the answer. The attempt to represent all these parts in a complete understand is called a GCM. There are neither perfect nor wrong.They are more or less useful depending on your purpose

      • Rob Starkey


        I would be interested in additional thoughts about what you wrote;
        “The attempt to represent all these parts in a complete understand is called a GCM. There are neither perfect nor wrong. They are more or less useful depending on your purpose”

        I certainly agree that there are many variables impacting the climate and that all of these and the correct weighting of each must be taken into consideration in order for a model to effectively predict future climate. I would also agree that no model is ever perfect.

        What strikes me as questionable is what you wrote that “There are neither perfect nor wrong”. I believe that is incorrect. A model can be developed that has hundreds of factors with each weighted differently and the model may perform very well when “hind casting” for the given set of factors, but turn out to not accurately forecast future weather conditions/results. IMO the model is wrong and should not be relied upon to predict future conditions. You can argue that “we learned something by the experience”, but that does not make the model correct. In my experience in the development of models, we establish acceptance criteria when developing a model and then measure the model against those criteria.

        For GCM’s it seems the most important criteria is for a model to accurately predict both temperature and rainfall amounts for specific regions. Are you aware of any GCM that can do this? If not, why are you reluctant to say that they are wrong, or currently do not meet the acceptance criteria?

      • “IMO the model is wrong and should not be relied upon to predict future conditions.”

        You are welcome to your opinion, but what is your evidence? And do you feel you are approaching a point where you might submit that evidence in a form that would be reviewable and publishable?

      • Rob Starkey


        If you relook what I wrote more closely- I stated that if the acceptance criteria for a GCM was to accurately predict temperature and rainfall for specific regions, and if the model was found to not be able to meet that criteria, then the model is wrong and should not be relied upon. I was not discussing a specific model but whether a GCM that failed to meet its acceptance criteria is wrong.

      • Rob Starkey


        In terms of the current climate models ability to accurately predict future conditions. You can check this. You will see that models have not been accurate so far.

      • The devil is in the detail of the word PURPOSE. even a bad model is fit for some purpose.

        The key of course is to define the purpose FIRST and to specify the Accuracy required FIRST.

        Then build the model.

        Otherwise nobody involved in the model wants to chuck it out the window.

        This isnt a simple job.

      • TSI is not the measure of solar energy reaching the earth.

        There are devices that record the amount of sunshine reaching the earth and many countries that use them think bright sunshine was up over the 20th century.

        Some scientists think the earths albedo has changed.

        We know the vast amount of coal burned by China to produce manufactured goods (that could have been produced user cleaner energy if not for Kyoto) produces huge amounts of carbon soot that can change the albedo.

        There is a huge area for study that has nothing to do with TSI.

        But all you do is try and divert peoples attention towards TSI.

      • sunshine is a subset of TSI. However, if you want to say that clouds are important nobody will argue with you. if you want to say water vapor and aerosols are important nobody will argue. But sunshine is a function of factors beyond the sun as you well know.

      • Sunshine is #1 in energy transfer to the earth. There are numerous papers discussing how bright sunshine hours have varied with more than enough extra energy to account for any warming.

        And then there is this: Svensmark suggests people read this paper:

        “Over the 11-year solar cycle, small changes in the total solar irradiance (TSI) give rise to small variations in the global energy budget. It was suggested, however, that different mechanisms could amplify solar activity variations to give large climatic effects, a possibility which is still a subject of debate. With this in mind, we use the oceans as a calorimeter to measure the radiative forcing variations associated with the solar cycle.

        This is achieved through the study of three independent records, the net heat flux into the oceans over 5 decades, the sea-level change rate based on tide gauge records over the 20th century, and the sea-surface temperature variations. Each of the records can be used to consistently derive the same oceanic heat flux.

        We find that the total radiative forcing associated with solar cycles variations is about 5 to 7 times larger than just those associated with the TSI variations, thus implying the necessary existence of an amplification mechanism, although without pointing to which one.”


      • steven mosher

        I think you have hit upon one of the key “arguments from ignorance” in the IPCC view that essentially all climate forcing has been anthropogenic. and that natural forcing has been insignificant.

        IPCC limits “natural forcing components” to direct TSI, and then deduces that almost all forcing has been anthropogenic.

        To its credit IPCC does concede that its “level of scientific understanding” of “natural forcing components” (i.e. solar) is “low”.

        But it still makes the basic “argument from ignorance” that most of the past warming can be attributed to anthropogenic factors, i.e. by human CO2, in supporting itsmodel-based 2xCO2 climate sensitivity estimate.


  8. Yes, we have a test in the making. I predict not only global cooling but atmospheric CO2 decrease too, despite rising CO2 emissions.

    • Why the co2 decrease?

      • In previous interglacials CO2 went up after it warmed and went down as it cooled. Colder oceans can hold more CO2.

        Therefore, if increases in Co2 are caused by warming, cooling should drop CO2.

        Also, cooling should kill off a lot of plants, dropping CO2.

      • notaname0000

        Not an area I’m knowledgable in, but if plants die shouldn’t that increase CO2?

      • Yes, dying plants would/do release CO2.

        Vegetation interacts with the climate in a much of ways, besides being a carbon sink. It affects albedo, water vapor levels, and aerosols (via desertification).

        The effects of cooling are rather academic at this point, since the world isn’t cooling, the hypothetical long minimum hasn’t happened as yet, and the solar scientists are not predicting that the world will cool if that occurs, only that the rate of warming will slow, slightly.

      • But there would be less plants to live and die eventually decreasing CO2.

        The non-existant rotting plant life in a desert or in Antarctica produce no CO2.

        If the wheat crop fails year after year in Canada or Russia, farmers will plant less wheat … or none at all.

      • blunderbunny

        Cooler seas, less outgassing, more co2 absorbed, soon it’ll be global cooling causes ocean acidification ;-) Can’t wait for that one…..

      • I can’t wait for new climate sensitivity estimate.

      • Labmunkey,

        I am sceptical/unconvinced of the “official” CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere paradigm. In my opinion, cooling of the world oceans will cause significant CO2 transfer from atmoshere to oceans. The latest CO2 data will be very interesting.

      • Some data:

        CO2 delta
        Apr 2005 382.19
        Apr 2006 384.68 1.78
        Apr 2007 386.35 1.67
        Apr 2008 387.17 0.82
        Apr 2009 389.46 2.29
        Apr 2010 392.49 3.03
        Apr 2011 393.18 0.69

        CO2 monthly mean in ppm (NOAA Mauna Loa)

  9. Yes its going to cool with the sun taking a snooze, but not as cool as it would have been had not CO2 propped up global temperatures. Now that is a bit of science for us. Thanks to all the climate scientists who have worked on this point so diligently and were able to provide precise calculations, and need I say, accurate models? Expert commentators not required.

    • Yes, I guess I was waiting for someone to state the obvious. Now, please tell us by how much?

      • An alternative: it may not warm as much. If so, if the sun ever wakes up, it will be fry baby, fry.

      • As the sun has taken a snooze before, many times if I recall correctly, awakened to a host of changes on earth, and we are all still here. There must be a thermostat somewhere which keeps earth’s troposphere in a 15 C range for these so many billions of years. Now all we have to do is find that thermostat, put the UN in charge of twisting that dial as in opening windows on a hot Washington DC day during hearings on Climate Change, then we can really predict global temperatures a 100 years out. Errrr, maybe not.

      • We already had a weak cycle, the SC23, which was much longer than the previous SC21 and SC22 (both ~10 years long and probably cause of most of the warming in the late 20th century) and it already had a very significant effect.

        Sc 24 sofar looks even weaker and will probably be very long. That means COOLING will continue and intensify.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        You might start by reading the abstract cited in the article. This is consistent with other modeling studies and the empirical evidence.

      • You might read the abstract once more and show where it is consistent with empirical evidence. Please expand upon it. Model projections are not empirical evidence.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        Dude, the abstract to Shindell, et. al, Science 2001 states this quite clearly. I linked to this well up thread.

      • I linked to this well up thread

        No, you didn’t. Try it again.

      • You have not. Better think and read before posting. The only abstract I see is the one Dr.Curry linked in the beginning of this thread.

      • andrew adams

        Took me 5 seconds to find it on Google

        We examine the climate response to solar irradiance changes between the late 17th century Maunder Minimum and the late 18th century. Global average temperature changes are small (about 0.3° to 0.4°C) in both a climate model and empirical reconstructions. However, regional temperature changes are quite large. In the model, these occur primarily through a forced shift towards the low index state of the Arctic Oscillation/North Atlantic Oscillation as solar irradiation decreases. This leads to colder temperatures over the Northern Hemisphere continents, especially in winter (1-2°C), in agreement with historical records and proxy data for surface temperatures.

      • So what does it say? The models agree with the proxy data for surface temperatures. Historical records don’t give temperature readings.There are no empirical measurements. They talk about empirical reconstructions.

        All the semantics don’t hide the facts. It’s again models, proxies, scenarios and reconstructions, not empirical data, as claimed by Rattus.

      • Rattus Norvegicus: Shindell et al 2001 used Lean et al (1995) TSI data. That TSI dataset is obsolete. If the TSI source dataset is obsolete, is Shindell et al also obsolete?

      • I am very interested in assessment of the solar forcing being used for CMIP5.

  10. I can’t think of anything better than this to test the hypothesis of climate scientists, the notorious ones and others as well, that CAWG can’t be due to anything other than CO2 because we can’t think of anything else that could cause it. This is such a stroke of good luck!!

    • andrew adams

      Leaving aside whether that is an accurate description of the pro-AGW argument, let’s assume that we do see the kind of solar minumum being suggested. What resulting observations do you think would seriously call into question the argument that the warming we have experienced since the late 20C is predominantly due to human GHG emissions?

      • Surely a significant drop in temperatures would be the key observation, coupled with the cotinual rise of co2 emissions.

      • andrew adams

        That would seem to me to suggest that the effect of solar forcing compared to CO2 forcing has been underestimated, but it not would tell us much about the late 20C warming because there was no corresponding increase in solar activity. It could certainly help explain early 20C warming.

      • aa –
        That would seem to me to suggest that the effect of solar forcing compared to CO2 forcing has been underestimated,

        Or that there are other forcings, not solar or CO2.

        but it not would tell us much about the late 20C warming because there was no corresponding increase in solar activity.

        Yup – so maybe someone will finally get serious about looking for the cause rather than just blaming it on CO2.

        It could certainly help explain early 20C warming.


      • andrew adams


        Well it’s completely academic at this point because we haven’t seen a significant drop in temperatures, and given that (as JCH points out below) we have already experienced a significant solar minimum in recent years without such a drop it would appear to be highly unlikely that it will be happen. So I would not be inclined to see it as an argument for what we should be doing now.

      • aa –
        Well it’s completely academic at this point because we haven’t seen a significant drop in temperatures,

        Actually, we may have. Consider – temps stopped rising at the same rate as in the 90’s. Some call it “cooling”, others look at it as “flat”, but in either case, it’s “different”.

        And the last solar cycle wasn’t exactly a monster. And the last minimum was — “different”. Do you really think all those things are unconnected?

        Now – IF they are connected, and temps stopped rising with that little change in the system, what will happen with larger changes? Larger temp decreases maybe?

        Note – I’m NOT predicting anything here, just putting the puzzle pieces together in “different” ways. IOW, playing “what if”.

        Truth is, nobody knows what comes next. One can look at all the puzzle pieces and compare them to what the puzzle looked like 400 years ago – and assume that it’ll look like that again. But that’s an “assumption” – not fact. Maybe someone switched the puzzle on us? Maybe some of the pieces have been lost or changed shape while we weren’t looking?

        One side of the dance floor assumes cooling – the other side assumes flat, ala Rahmstorf ( -.03 C can only be called “flat”). And both sides have ignored the possibility that this may be a REAL game changer – like a phase change in the Solar operational processes. Which could mean REALLY nasty things for the planet – and for humans, regardless of which side of the dance floor they occupy. But that could be called “endgame” and if it happens we’ve all wasted a lot of time and energy over a non-existent future. :-(

        Bottom line is that everyone’s looking at a cracked and cloudy crystal ball – and finding what they want to find in it. Which is why I’m not believing ANY information from anbody about “what comes next.”

        Personally, I’m hoping we won’t drop into the ice box – but I also know what the last 4 winters have brought. And I know that the summers “at altitude” (over 8,000 ft) have been cooling. And that the northern summers have cooled – not warmed as Hansen and others assume. And….. a lot more. So – I’m preparing for cold – and hoping it won’t come. YMMV

      • Should be – ( -0.3 C can only be called “flat”), not ( -.03 C can only be called “flat”). .

      • Good grief. This will not test climate science in any way. If anything, our best hope is that it will confirm it.

      • What do you mean by “confirming” climate science? I haven’t heard of anybody “confirming” biology, or physics…

      • With CO2 in the 385ish range, it continued to warm/hold its own despite a fairly significant solar minimum. No MM, but significant. If you want to live through another so-called LIA, go for it. I don’t.

      • If you want to live through another so-called LIA, go for it. I don’t.

        I don’t either, but neither of us will be asked. There is a way out, but it’s not my style. Nor do I think it’s yours.

  11. I wonder if there is a connection between the sun’s behaviour and tectonic stresses & volcanic activity. Piers Corbin would certainly have us believe so.

    • Obviously, it affects the ocean’s tides.

    • Parts of the solar system are still interconnected, Paul, and have been since its birth.

    • Norm Kalmanovitch

      Tectonic activity is driven by the internal workings of the Earth which also generate the magnetic field. The sun also generates massive magnetic fields and changes in solar activity changes these magnetic fields. Since these fields are close enough to react with eachother changes in the suns magnetic fiels must certainly have an effect on the Earth’s tectonic activity.

  12. How can they certain reducing solar activity will affect climate? It’s such a chaotic, uncertain system and those models are all unreliable.

  13. Solar active in the past shows there have been 11 year cycles for millions of years and that they had a major impact of climate change.

    Hockey fans check this out :
    The Canucks may win but the Bruins probably deserve it more.

  14. “Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and among the founders from the RealClimate blog, stated the results of photo voltaic activity on climate in the last 3 decades happen to be “in the margin of what we should can identify”

    Calling the sun’s effect on climate “photo voltaic” is nonsense. Photo voltaic is the conversion of light to electricity. Nowhere is electricity a measure of climate. Clearly physics is not Gavin’s subject.

    • Yeah, maybe his spell checker did that.

    • Funny. The actual news story is here:

      What Judith has cut and pasted is a spambot website promoting PV technology and so as swapped all mentions of ‘solar’ with the phrase ‘photo voltaic’, which of course makes nonsense of the quotes (and there are other swaps in the text too).

      Try thinking a little before commenting.

      • Gavin, thanks for the original link, i will update my main post with this link instead.

      • My spellchecker hypothesis was pretty darn close!

      • ferd’s comment that it was nonsense is was pointed to the problem of Gavin’s comments being twisted to serve Big Solar.

        Gavin could thank ferd and complain to PV technology company.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        Yeah that’s what I figured. It read that it had been translateed from English to Urdu and back.

      • What Fred Berple probably thought, was that Gavin’s apparent comment that the sun’s effect on climate was photo voltaic, had comparable rigor to Gavin’s other comments on climate.

        And sadly it seems Judith has again butchered Gavin’s comments, removing “like me” from between “little” and “before”.

  15. Solar and other natural causes drive climate from a Medieval Warm Period to Little Ice Age.

    The NIPCC 2009 report Climate Change Reconsidered included a major review of Solar Variability & Climate Models Ch 5 ISBN: 978-1-934791-28-8. This found much greater variability than IPCC’s.

    Scafetta & Willson (2009) found a way to bridge calibration between satellites that supports the lead investigator’s case for higher than direct Total Solar Insolation (TSI) variation. This shows a much greater TSI variation than IPCC’s assumption.
    Nicola Scafetta & Richard C. Willson, ACRIM-gap and TSI trend issue resolved using a surface magnetic flux TSI proxy model, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 36, L05701, doi:10.1029/2008GL036307, 2009

    Solar and natural oscillations caused over 60% of warming since 1970 per to Scafetta (2010).
    N. Scafetta, (2010) Empirical evidence for a celestial origin of the climate oscillations and its implications. J. Atmospheric & Solar-Terrestrial Physics 10.1016/j.jastp.2010.04.015 arXiv:1005.4639v1

    Now multiple lines of evidence suggest a major decline in solar activity with potential for serious global cooling. e.g. Livingston & Penn
    M. Penn & W. Livingston (2010) Long-term Evolution of Sunspot Magnetic Fields, IAU Symposium No. 273 arXiv:1009.0784v1 [astro-ph.SR] 3 Sep 2010

  16. Interesting times for solar physicists around the world.

    This is a pretty current overview of what we know/don’t know about solar variability and climate change:…..000282.pdf

    Timo Niroma, a Solar Physicist from Finland focuses on long solar cycles and their effect on weather and climate:
    The boys at NASA have discounted his ideas as crazy but he has predicted the coming low solar cycle for a long time in sharp contrast to NASA’s Hathaway. Maybe he is crazy like a fox.

    If the sun goes quiet for 50 years will thermometers fall? Historical glacier movement, high resolution GISP2 ice core analysis, and crude temperature records from 17th century Europe suggest that it will. As much as -2C during the deepest lows. Over the next 20 years we may even discover the source of this yet unknown forcing mechanism. Measuring changes in 11 year solar cycle TSI simply do not explain the climate changes observed during Maunder. Perhaps we are using the wrong yardstick.

    If temps continue to rise throughout a 50 year solar minimum then we are in deep guano come 2100 when the sun fully wakes up and atmospheric CO2 concentration is 800ppm. Interesting times for sure!

    • Thanks for the links ivpo. It’s a travesty that the mainstream is ignoring the correlation between solar cycle length and climate.

  17. RC is trying to confuse the issue and marginalize the solar influence on climate by using the term “photo voltaic” in place of “solar”. Since there is no “voltaic” measure of climate they can quite rightly claim there is no “photo voltaic” influence on climate.

    Thus, by substituting the term “photo voltaic” for “solar”, RC is attempting to pull the wool over the eyes of the scientific community to perpetuate their own belief system.

    This is no different than the continuing disingenuous terminology we have seen from “Climate Science”. Global warming, climate change, climate disruption. When the facts don’t support your position, change the terminology.

    • See above. You have it completely wrong.

      • The spambot and/or the solar company was trying to pull the wool over someones eyes. One mistake leads to another.

    • fred. seriously. you need to pause before posting.

    • Excellent point, ferd.

      Yet more proof of that vast conspiracy of climate scientists, intended to promote their socialist agenda to force us all back into the stone age (as they gleefully cheer the deaths of millions).

      You have uncovered just one of the many attempts by Real Climate to fool the American public with their false “science.”

      All I can say is thank God that there are clear-headed and well-informed folks like you (and your many buds here at Judith’s blog) who can see right through the ruse and who can provide the kind of insightful analysis needed to shed light on what’s really happening.




  18. Both the paper by Feulner and Rahmstorf, listed in Dr. Curry’s post above, and a paper by Song et al find that a Maunder Minimum (MM) type lull in sunspot activity would be expected to exert only a minor cooling influence on a projected rise in global temperatures from anthropogenic greenhouse gas and black carbon emissions, reducing the temperature rise by somewhere between about 0.1 C and 0.6 C. The Song et al paper also finds that temperature effects would be distributed very unevenly, similar to records from the LIA that coincided in part with the MM. Parts of North America and Northern Europe and Asia would experience a significant cooling influence imposed on any warming trend due to a shift of the NAO to a negative phase, while other regions would be subjected to an enhancement of warming. The mean global effect would be small on average.

    • Fred

      Do you believe that the climate models used by Song et all have demonstrated the accuracy required to accurately predict the regional changes in climate that the authors write about?

    • Fred Moolten
      The indirect solar impacts on climate may be several fold larger than direct effects.
      See: Solar Variability & Climate Models Ch 5 ISBN: 978-1-934791-28-8.
      See Spencer on Indirect Solar Forcing of Climate by Galactic Cosmic Rays: An Observational Estimate
      See Shaviv on Cosmic Rays and Climate etc.

      Furthermore, the TSI solar variation may have been underestimated. e.g. See
      Scafetta & Wilson (2009) on the ACRIM-gap
      The combination suggests solar and natural oscillations could have caused over 60% of warming since ’70.

      There is growing evidence for a global Medieval Warm Period

      Lucia shows little global temperature change over the last decade. As does Stockwell
      Solar quieting combined with the PDO having shifted to the cool phase could drive substantial cooling. e.g. see predictions by Scafetta , and by Easterbrook etc.

      It will be interesting to see which projections are confirmed in the next few decades!

      • Fred, It is well known that the proponents of CAGW are very adept at playing what I call the “refute card”. That is, whatever the discussion, there is a published paper which refutes what the opponents of CAGW is claiming. In your case the Soon paper. But there is no Supreme Court of Science, so no-one can say who is right. It is a very good tactic for winning arguments, but does not help trying to use science to see who is correct.

    • Fred:
      “a paper by Song et al find that a Maunder Minimum (MM) type lull in sunspot activity would be expected to exert only a minor cooling influence on a projected rise in global temperatures from anthropogenic greenhouse gas and black carbon emissions, reducing the temperature rise by somewhere between about 0.1 C and 0.6 C. ”

      The paper assumes that sunspot numbers are a useful proxy for TSI. It may be that during a Maunder type of minimum, TSI continues to fall when sunspots disappear. We just don’t know of course.

      • Rob – It’s very likely that TSI can decline further from the threshhold level for visible sunspots. However, historical reconstructions of TSI do not depend on sunspot numbers, although these are used for correlation with other forms of measurement when sunspots are numerous enough for this purpose. Rather, multiple proxies are utilized, including beryllium and carbon isotopes and changes in magnetic activity.

  19. The climate modelers started with the assumption that solar did not vary. To be fair, scientists did not recognize for quite a while that our sun was a variable star. Even the paleo community was split on the meaning of the data they had available. Within 5 years of present the modelers were finally forced to admit variability, but, still only gave a 1% value due to lack of diligence. They KNEW what caused the changes so didn’t need to investigate solar variability and derived the 1% from the approximate 11 year solar cycle.

    As several have mentioned, they will now be taught a wider variability. Hopefully the scientists will look into past data to see how current observations compare to get a better idea of what we are experiencing compared to historic events.

  20. I am thinking of having a bumper sticker made:
    Gravitate Toward the Barycenter

  21. John from CA

    New Solar Cycle Prediction
    May 29, 2009

    “Even a below-average cycle is capable of producing severe space weather,” points out Biesecker. “The great geomagnetic [Carrington event] storm of 1859, for instance, occurred during a solar cycle of about the same size we’re predicting for 2013.”

    Not to raise an irrational concern, but a Carrington event, like the one in 1859, would cause significant problems today. Even if power companies had sufficient warning to shut down prior to the event (to avoid transformer failure), facilities like nuclear power plants and hospitals which use back-up generators would still be exposed.

    Has anyone run across research related to the probability of this solar event?

  22. where’s oliver

  23. Over on, we have been discussiing for years the effect of a potential solar magnetic minimum; whether such a minimum presages cooler global temperautures. The fact of the matter is that any temperature records for the periods when the Maunder and Dalton minima occurred are pretty thin. If you read John Eddy’s papers in Science The Maunder MInimum 192 no 4245 1189, and The Case of the Missing Sunspots; Scientific American May 1977 p80, the evidence he gives for cooler temperatures is almost non existent.

    I have read sufficient on the subject of the timing between the onset of a solar magnetic minimum and global temperatures that I am willing to play devil`s advocate and argue against anything that anyone suggests is true. The only temperature record that goes back this far is the Central England Temperature (CET) for which we have 350 years of data. But it is a pretty weak peg on which to hang any argument.

    I would suggest that if this subject has legs, and becomes a real issue, then someone might be interested in going over the temperature data, and try and establish some sort of time line between onset of the solar minimum and onset of lower global temperatures. My guess as to what the outcome of such a study might be, is, as with CAGW, we just dont know. We will have to wait and see what happens.

    • I know! We could use tree rings to get the historical temperature record.

    • Be very wary of early CET temps. people who care about instrument calibration and adjustments when it comes to the modern record are blithely accepting of these early records.

      • Not all of us. But in 300 years, I suspect that the present iinstrumenation will be viewed the same way as you’re view of CET. :-)

    • Jim,
      First, an aside for denizens that are unfamiliar with There are two top-level pages: 1) brings up the current status of the sun, of particular interest to ham radio operators and other, more general, interests, and 2) the Forum at , which carries the top-level index to discussions. I suggest all of us there owe a debt of gratitude to Kevin VE3EN and the other moderators for hosting and maintaining the site.

    • Jim,
      Second, I think it is a shame that, after all these years, the Eddy papers are paywalled.

    • Jim,
      Third, re “establish some sort of time line between onset of the solar minimum and onset of lower global temperatures.”
      Your comment is right on, and I would suggest central to understanding the phenomena. Tisdale’s animations suggest a progression of an ENSO state (NINO3.4 +/-) to other ocean basins. Wyatt, et al 2011 suggest lags of 14 and 18 years. Considering that Wyatt, et al estimate that it takes over 60 years for NINO 3.4 to flip, the response lag between solar minimum and temperature response is worthy of investigation.
      I do not think that the matter is settled, but if the progression is there and the lags are real, ignoring them could upset any comparison between solar activity and surface temperature.

      • Bob Tisdale – Climate Observations (entry page)

        Wyatt, Marcia Glaze, Sergey Kravtsov, and Anastasios A. Tsonis. 2011. “Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and Northern Hemisphere’s climate variability.” Climate Dynamics (April). doi:10.1007/s00382-011-1071-8.

        Pielke, Sr., Roger A. 2011. Guest Post “Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation And Northern Hemisphere’s Climate Variability” By Marcia Glaze Wyatt, Sergey Kravtsov, And Anastasios A. Tsonis. Scientific. Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr. April 21.

        -NINO3.4 → (3 years) → -NPO/-PDO → (3 years) → -ALPI → (8 years) → -NHT = 14 years
        -NINO3.4 → (3 years) → -NPO/-PDO → (3 years) → -ALPI → (8 years) → -NHT → (4 years) → -AMO = 18 years

      • Pooh, Dixie

        Also, re “any temperature records for the periods when the Maunder and Dalton minima occurred are pretty thin” and “But it (CET) is a pretty weak peg on which to hang any argument.”

        The first step might be to see if the effect exists. Could we not figure some range of uncertainty for CET temperature records by comparison to contemporary records of temperature effects? (Water does not freeze at 40 oF, and snow does not fall at 60 oF. Crop failure could give clues as to growing degree days or the arrival of extraordinary cold fronts. Etc.)

      • Pooh Dixie writes “The first step might be to see if the effect exists”

        I have been crossing swords with a genlteman who writes under the pseudonym glc for many years on this issue. On the solarham web site discussing Global Warming. glc puts forward some very convincing evidence that the records available at the time of the Maunder and Dalton minima are, to say the least, equivocal. I would be surprised if Jack Eddy did not try his best to find precisely what you are suggesting. My impression is that he failed.

        That is why I suggest, IF this story has any legs, it might be worth someone’s while to take another look at precisely this issue, wth fresh eyes.

      • Jim –
        Whaat Pooh Dixie is suggesting has been done – by generations of archaeologists. Much of it is summarized in archaeological texts. The sources consist of written records (there were more than you might think), and physical evidence including grain types, food and clothing samples, tools – even dendro (which is valid for precipitation, if not for temp). And then there WAS the CET, provided by equipment which, while not as accurate as today’s SHOULD have been calibrated against modern temps at some time in the recent past . None of this will provide “exact” temps to 0.1 deg, but it DOES confirm cold/warm within some fairly accruate ranges.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        Thanks to Dr. Svalgaard, I finally got to read Eddy, John A. May 1977. “The Case of the Missing Sunspots.” Scientific American.
        To my surprise, Eddy researched contemporary records of telescopes, auroras, weather (for seeing), the news of seeing a new sunspot, Oriental records, observations of solar corona during eclipses, C14 in tree rings, astronomer Halley’s concession that he had never seen a sunspot (in 60 years) and subsequent books.
        Eddy even noted “a time of unusual cold in Europe”, but only as a possible reason for not seeing.
        However, Eddy also notes “”One final comparison remained before me (Eddy), a comparison that, as Maunder once suggested, may link the long-term solar changes with important effects on earth. The Maunder minimum corresponds almost precisely with the coldest excursion of the ‘little ice age’, ….” Eddy then went on to compare records of C14 ‘abundance’ to historical records including the advance and retreat of Alpine glaciers. Eddy then went on to compare records of C14 ‘abundance’ to historical records including the advance and retreat of Alpine glaciers. Eddy compares the correspondence “almost that of a key in a lock”.
        None of this “proves” that the sun drives climate. However, I think it does suggest that contemporary and historical records have value in identifying other factors that may be involved.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        Sorry for the sloppy duplication of a sentence. :-(

  24. Another small comment. Again, for some time scientists have been discussing what we should call this new solar magnetic minimum. I am not usre who is winning, but the two horses in the race are the Eddy Minimum, and the Landscheidt Minimum.

  25. NOAA and consensus climate theory says that when you melt Arctic Sea Ice that you have positive feedback and it warms and melts more and more Sea Ice. Other theory says the sun gets warmer and cooler. Other theory says orbits and inclination does it.
    My “Pope’s Climate Theory” says that when you melt Arctic Sea Ice, you get Arctic Ocean Effect Snow which increases Albedo and provides negative feedback to the temperature of the earth. This is happening. The warming has slowed and the snows have started.
    Look at the last ten thousand years of earth temperature, including the most recent decade. Every time it got warm, it then got cool. Every time it got cool, it then got warm. This was all within plus or minus 2 degrees and most within plus or minus one degree. That is consistent with powerful negative feedback. Ice and water and the current configuration of the Arctic are the only explanation that is reasonable. If the sun gets warmer, it snows more. If volcano ash blocks the sun, it gets cold, the Arctic Freezes and it snows less.
    During a large part of the past ten thousand years, CO2 rose while temperature went up a little and down a little and we had solar cycles and volcano eruptions. Yet, the temperature was regulated to a narrow range. Albedo is not mentioned in most of the climate discussions, yet this is the one feedback that is always in the direction of stability.
    A Warm Ocean with thawed Arctic Sea Ice delivers More Snow. A Cool Ocean with frozen Arctic Sea Ice delivers Less Snow. This is powerful negative feedback which is stable.
    What other forcing is stable that could have regulated the temperature of the earth in a narrow range for ten thousand years? There is not any other forcing that is this stable with a defined set point for the thermostat.
    Think about this and give positive or negative feedback.

    • John from CA

      Interesting comment, you’re referring to the AO in relation to ENSO events from the warm pool?

      The moisture introduced from the tropics and the westerlies dwarf the Arctic “open water” effect. The other interesting aspect, the Arctic froze over early 2010-2011 yet we got record snows. About the only late bloomer this year was the Hudson Bay which isn’t in the Arctic. Al and the MSM claimed open Arctic water for the snow but there wasn’t any.

      • You said: “the Arctic froze over early 2010-2011”
        Some where, I have heard differently. I can not find it right now.

        I am very interested in that data. please post the links to the data.
        I have found 2009-2010 report on NOAA’s website, but not the 2010-2011.

        Last year’s report did not come out until October.

      • I just did a search for “sea ice extent 2010-2011” on NOAA’s website and found this report.

        Looks like NASA did not observe what you stated about the Sea Ice freezing early.

        NASA said:
        During the Northern Hemisphere winter of 2010–2011, unusually cold temperatures and heavy snowstorms plagued North America and Europe, while conditions were unusually warm farther north. Now the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has reported that Arctic sea ice was at its lowest extent ever recorded for January (since satellite records began).

      • John from CA

        Hi Herman,

        The reference pages on WUWT present an unbiased look at a variety of weather conditions from a variety of sources. Its a very easy way to look at sea ice and other related conditions. See:

        The Sea Ice page presents a variety of takes on the same subject (area and extent) but keep in mind that each of the agencies use differing standards of interpretation. Some use 30% concentrations as a threshold others use 15% and few appear to agree on any given day.

        In addition to the sea ice graphs, you’ll find SST from the Danish Meteorological Institute. For instance, if the SST and air temperature support the formation of ice and ice isn’t forming then other forces like wind, salinity, or observation thresholds are in play.

        UofI’s The Cryosphere Today and the US Navy’s sea ice pages give you the opportunity to compare specific days. The Navy includes ice depth.

        UofI [ ] breaks the sea ice observation into 14 regions which gives you the opportunity to see exactly where ice is late in forming.

        Here’s a look at 11/30/2011 and 1/31/2011 side by side. Setting aside the point that the Arctic is actually 80N, where is the open water (other than the Hudson Bay) and the concern about January extent coming from?

      • John from CA

        sorry, s/b
        Here’s a look at 11/30/2010 and 1/31/2011 side by side.

      • Thanks, I will look at your links.

      • Have you looked at the NASA Link that I posted?
        I do assume that they do apples to apples, year to year satellite data.

      • John from CA

        I did look at the link and conclude its nothing more than stating the obvious weather related events that contributed to the lack of fringe ice formation. If you look at the blocking high that was sitting off the coast of Greenland all winter and the La Nina jet stream, its not of much concern and is hardly a smoking gun for global warming.

        The issue to keep in mind is the time frame and 15% NSIDC standard they’re using to draw the “average” boundary line and their “unusual” conclusions.

        from the article:
        “NSIDC reported that ice extent was unusually low in Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, and Davis Strait in the early winter. Normally frozen over by late November, these areas did not completely freeze until mid-January 2011. The Labrador Sea was also unusually ice-free.”

        “NSIDC offered two possible explanations. One reason is the Arctic Oscillation (AO), a seesaw pattern of differences in atmospheric pressure. In “positive” mode, the AO includes high pressure over the mid-latitudes and low pressure over the Arctic, setting up wind patterns that trap cold air in the far North. In “negative” mode, air pressure isn’t quite as low over the Arctic and isn’t quite as high over the mid-latitudes. This enables cold air to creep south and relatively warm air to move north.”

        IMO, none of this supports the “open water” nonsense we got from the press last winter unless you want to restrict global arctic sea ice to the Hudson Bay.

        The other thing they fail to mention is the changes in the Atlantic that contributed to Eastern USA storms in conjunction with the La Nina jet stream. But, their comments are objective as far as they go.

        I guess its unfortunate that so much effort is required to understand the meaning of the linked article. Possibly one of the reasons the press routinely gets it all wrong.

      • You mentioned “smoking gun for global warming” Just the opposite.

        Low Arctic Sea Ice Extent causes Arctic Ocean Effect Snow, which did, and will again, happen, and that snow does increase Albedo and that does stop the global warming and start the global cooling. This phase of climate will persist for some years. The oceans are warm and that will continue to keep the Sea Ice Extent Low and keep the Arctic Ocean Effect Snow falling, until the cooling is sufficient to freeze the Arctic and stop the snow.

      • John from CA

        I said, its hardly a smoking gun for global warming.

        You didn’t look at the ice extent link or you would have seen that the “missing” ice was at the fringe of the ice pack and not even in the Arctic. There wasn’t any open water in the Arctic to support the snow blower premise.

        Check out the sediment studies from the China Sea. Climate shifts occur in the tropics before they are seen at the poles. The system is interrelated and dynamic, selecting a single aspect like Arctic Sea Ice in a disconnected way clouds (pun intended) understanding.

      • Your links for 2010-2011 cold season appear to support the NASA data that says sea ice extent was low during this time.

      • John from CA

        Or, think about it in the context of the research data and timeline.

        NASA, insightfully, launched their satellite to study sea ice at the beginning of a 30 year warming cycle. The cycle is typically 55-60 years in length. It was very logical to do this but ask yourself. Self, if the average they are using only relates to a warming trend is anything other than ice loss logical?

        I’ve been and will always be a big fan of NASA and NOAA. But give me a break, the Popular Science articles I read as a child are more insightful than their climate press releases.

    • When the Arctic freezes over the ice insulates the sea and slows the heat loss from the N pole, when the Arctic ocean has less ice then more heat radiates off to space. There is a thermostat in action there, the more heat in the Arctic seas the faster rate it is lost to space, until the ice recovery insulates again and modifies the heat loss.
      The lunar declinational tides in the oceans regulate the meridional currents at depth and affect the turnover rate of cold water from the poles back to the equator to warm again.
      The lunar declinational tides in the atmosphere, over their 18.6 year pattern, regulate the increase/decrease in blocking events, and drive more or less warm air mass into the Arctic ocean, and directly affects the rates of ice formation and retreat, as well as driving the Rossby wave and jet stream patterns globally.

      The lower level of solar and geomagnetic field strength, allows more variation in the level of atmospheric free ions, that are needed to get rapid condensation, so the areas of heavy snow precipitation is responding to the shifts in Jet stream locations carrying the equatorial heat and moisture, and is not due to more moisture coming off of the Arctic ocean with its lower dew point air masses. It is just that larger masses of Arctic air mass are allowed to move South to meet the Tropical moisture in the mid-latitudes where it is now cold enough to snow, and the solid dry cold Arctic air masses prevent normal snowfall amounts in Northern Canada, Europe, and Russia. China and Mongolia end up with heavy snows they are not used to and many cattle die as a result of no barns, or hay bales stored for winter use.

      • John from CA

        The fresh water budget in the Arctic Ocean is also a major factor which in turn effects the North Atlantic.

        About 10% of global runoff flows into the Arctic Ocean and the amount of freshwater influences the formation of deep water in the Greenland and Labrador Seas which in turn impact global ocean circulation.

        As I understand it, the freshwater lies as a layer on top of the deeper high salinity layer which is warmer and extensively cuts off heat flow to surface ice and the atmosphere.

        Assuming an increase in fresh water capture using dams etc. around the Arctic, one can expect a corresponding reduction Arctic ice which will introduce more fresh water. Developing areas around the Arctic Ocean will logically impact climate change?

  26. New post up at dotearth

    “I’ve sent a query to a batch of solar physicists and other experts not involved with the three studies discussed at the meeting. There’s substantial skepticism in some quarters. In an initial reply this morning Douglas Biesecker, a scientist at the Space Weather Prediction Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, wrote: “I consider the strength of evidence to be anemic and the reasoning to be highly suspect.” He’s sending a more detailed analysis later.”

    Here’s a statement that i like:

    “The other would be to ramp up climate and space observations (instead of shredding budgets for relevant agencies), to boost the human capacity for resilience to climate extremes of all sorts, whatever the cause (a mantra on this blog), and to keep up a sustained energy quest to build a menu that works for the long haul — an imperative that is utterly sensible regardless of short-term ups and downs in temperature.”

    • John from CA

      ““The other would be to ramp up climate and space observations (instead of shredding budgets for relevant agencies), to boost the human capacity for resilience to climate extremes of all sorts…”

      At face value, it’s hard to dispute this statement. Yet, NASA has just launched a fleet of satellites including Aquarius and the STEREO mission. It doesn’t look like we need more hardware in space.

      Also, if Oliver K. Manuel’s June 15, 2011 at 11:04 am comment is accurate, what’s the point of funding research that will ultimately be ignored?

      Also, if a Carrington event is likely, wouldn’t it make more sense to fund the engineering to mitigate the effect on mechanical systems instead of more studies about the potential problem?

      • You say; “what’s the point of funding research that will ultimately be ignored?”

        We need to gather all the instrumented data we can, especially satellite data that can cover more of the whole earth. The current instrumented data set is possibly over a half of a warming cycle, since the cold part of the little ice age. The current satellite data set is a small part of that. You can’t settle the science with the current data sets. At the point we that have better data on full cycles of warming and cooling, more proper theory and models will evolve.

        Or, more likely, someone or some group will come up with an independent proper theory and model unbiased by consensus theory and models.
        Consensus and Peer Review is good for keeping a steady course, right or wrong. Proper theory and models cannot easily evolve from that.

        Current theory and models consistently make faulty predictions; therefore, they cannot yet be right.

      • John from CA

        For what its worth, I agree — an allotment should be dedicated to credible scientific research. However, there’s little point in dedicating a majority of the resource to areas that simply pay lip-service to a potential problem or to organizations that intentionally censor the research findings as Oliver implies.

        The majority of the available resource should be dedicated to engineering that saves the taxpayer money and also improves the human condition. If these 2 simple objectives are met the solutions will immediately be implemented.

    • Douglas Biesecker was Chair of the Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel. They made a lot of predictions.

      “and to keep up a sustained energy quest to build a menu that works for the long haul”

      I don’t think PV and Wind Turbines like really cold weather. The “menu” that works for a warming planet does not work for a cooling one.

      If winters get really cold, even old technologies that rely on water cooling may have trouble. We need a lot more electricity generation and heating oil and coal and gas to survive colder winters when many power grids are maxxed out.

    • Rob Starkey


      You may like the idea of continued/additional funding, but I hope you realize that it is highly unlikely (and probably a bad idea) given the other spending priorities. Currently the US is spending roughly 35% more than it is collecting and that MUST change soon.

    • Yes, adaptation is best when well informed.

    • Dr. Curry,
      Solar activity goes up and down. Other Climate Drivers go up and down. Yet, for ten thousand years, nothing has been able to push the temperature up or down more than 2 degrees. If you do not accept my Arctic Ocean thermostat theory for controlling temperature, what do you suggest has made the temperature extremely stable in a narrow range for ten thousand years?
      Or anyone? What has powerful negative temperature feedback with a definite set point? Any time it got above or below the thermostat set point, it got pushed back.

  27. Dr. Curry observes: “This is all over the news and the blogosphere, but not too much discussion yet in the climate blogosphere.” Certainly true for most of the climate blogosphere, but there are exceptions elsewhere since 2008. On one of these, Dr. Leif Svalgaard (a co-author of “A Decade of Diminishing Sunspot Vigor”) has been patiently explaining the sun’s activity and the underlying theory and physics to novices like Pooh. He was instrumental in convincing people that solar cycle 24’s sunspot activity would be low. Currently:

    Dr. Leif Svalgaard is active on the following threads:
    Solar Cycle 24 Main Discussion X (“X” meaning # 10)
    Sunspot Magnetism—Livingston & Penn
    Questions for Dr. L Svalgaard—-Thread 2

    Dr. Svalgaard’s research page is here:
    It has an expansive set of research papers.

    Of particular interest is the AGU Conference “poster” for “A Decade of Diminishing Sunspot Vigor”
    Within this, there is a graph “Ratio Observed Sunspot Number to SSN from F10.7”. F10.7 has been used as a proxy for SSN. Something has changed.

  28. There are too many uncertainties to consider the result of this research as definitive. I accept ‘L&P effect’ is an important discovery, however I think its importance may be a bit overblown.
    Here I have reproduced distribution diagram produced by Dr. Svalgaard’s ( the most enthusiastic advocate of the importance of the effect)
    and added sunspot the number SSN for each period in the same colours.
    What I see is: as the SSN moves down slope, solar magnetic field does the same, and as the SSN is picking up in 2011, the magnetic field is moving up in the intensity as well. This is indicated with colour arrows on the graph.
    I think it is a bit of a ‘make hay while the sun shines’ since effect may diminish considerably in the intensity as solar activity picks up during next year or two.

  29. Well, the AGW crowd may have just received their “out” for a multi-decadal lull (or at least “below predicted trend”) in temp increases, while still insisting the longer-term picture has not changed.

    Rahmstorf gets a test now, possibly. -.3C does seem anemic, but as Gavin points out the relative combinations of volcanic vs grand minima are at least open for reasonable people to argue the toss over.

  30. There is no need to be too concerned about climate on the account of the ‘L&P effect’.
    It is the North Atlantic which will give the lead. At the moment there is nothing there suggesting excessive cooling, it is by far too early to talk about anything below what was experienced in the 1960s/70s, and even that may take few years to reach.

  31. Pooh, Dixie

    Vukcevic: “It is the North Atlantic which will give the lead.” Indeed it will. Pesky lags! BTW, where did the energy (or lack of it) come from?

    Pielke, Sr., Roger A. 2011. Guest Post “Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation And Northern Hemisphere’s Climate Variability” By Marcia Glaze Wyatt, Sergey Kravtsov, And Anastasios A. Tsonis. Scientific. Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr. April 21.

    The “Stadium Wave” (Sum of years: 64)
    -AMO → (7 years) → +AT → (2 years) → +NAO → (5 years) → +NINO3.4 → (3 years) → +NPO/PDO → (3 years) → +ALPI → (8 years) → +NHT → (4 years) → +AMO → (7 years) → -AT → (2 years) → -NAO → (5 years) → -NINO3.4 → (3 years) → -NPO/-PDO → (3 years) → -ALPI → (8 years) → -NHT → (4 years) → -AMO

    Original paper here: Wyatt, Marcia Glaze, Sergey Kravtsov, and Anastasios A. Tsonis. 2011. “Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and Northern Hemisphere’s climate variability.” Climate Dynamics (April). doi:10.1007/s00382-011-1071-8.

    • Ah, the AMO!
      Thanks for the link, I remember seeing the abstract before, I don’t have access to the full article, but AMO (among many other things) is probably misunderstood. It is not an oscillation in the strict meaning of the word. If we knew its ‘driver’ we could find out to our surprise that it was nearly flat (no ‘oscillations’) from ~1750 to about 1900.
      I have an inkling what is in the root of both AMO and PDO
      (both are reconstructions, real data I believe is only taken in last 4-5 decades), which leads me to think that the ‘tele-connection’ effect is far less important than it is given credit.

  32. The NAO seasonal mean looks like it is heading for 60s/70s values which set of the ice age scare.

  33. Some of the people peddling their pet theories here would benefit from studying

    • Leif thanks for stopping by. The Dunning Kruger effect is indeed a challenge. Add politicization and distrust engendered by the Climategate emails, and people feel justified in not trusting the experts. On a subject as vast and complex as climate change, even climate scientists are subject to this effect, we have discussed this previously on the “hidden knowledge” thread

    • Dr. Svalgaard,
      I hope you do not mind if I provide a link to the Solar Cycle 24 Discussion Boards.
      The threads on which you post are always interesting and informative.

    • Scientists should not take themselves so seriously. Engineers are often thought a harsh lesson by experience and defend their mental well-being by a kind of self preserving sense of humour.

    • The part about humor in that paper is really weak. They picked woody allen and al franken of all people.

      • Steven,
        Practical engineers do it differently:
        ‘Edison had too much money invested into his DC system, and he tried his best to discredit Tesla by showing that AC was more dangerous than DC. Edison paid local children 25 cents for each stray dog they could bring him. Then he would hold press conferences and electrocute the dogs at public gatherings to frighten people. He claimed that DC could not kill, but in fact, it could.’

  34. 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.”

    Like he knows what he’s talking about.

  35. Here’s a link to a paper by Schmidt and Mann in (2001) on the Maunder Minimum

    “We examine the climate response to solar irradiance changes between the late 17th-century Maunder Minimum and the late 18th century. Global average temperature changes are small (about 0.3° to 0.4°C) in both a climate model and empirical reconstructions. However, regional temperature changes are quite large. In the model, these occur primarily through a forced shift toward the low index state of the Arctic Oscillation/North Atlantic Oscillation as solar irradiance decreases. This leads to colder temperatures over the Northern Hemisphere continents, especially in winter (1° to 2°C), in agreement with historical records and proxy data for surface temperatures.”

    • maksimovich

      Stenchikov et al. (2006) showed that models have difficulty in capturing the regional response of the climate system (ao) to Volcanic singularities specifically the temperature regime in eurasia in the Giss model,or in retrodiction ie the Krakatoa problem why was it so warm ,thus there is no uniqueness theorem for volcanics.

    • Hansen ridiculed the idea of a solar influence on climate in his talk before the Houston Geological Society (sorry I cannot find the link for this).
      It was either in 2009 or 2010.
      If I can find more on this, I will be happy to share it.

      • Somehow I think your notion of what Hansen said is just more “grab hip; shoot foot; apologize; repeat.”

        He probably said GHGs exceed solar. That gets translated to “Hansen denies sun ever existed.”

      • JCH,
        Since I read the presentation, and since he used a picture of an unusually busy sunspot photo of the current cycle and then implied it was a typical sunspot cycle, I think I am on the mark, and you should shop for new shoes.
        That Hansen pulled the presentation down after NASA stopped pretending they knew this would be a strong solar cycle only shows that you and Hansen both do not like counter narrative stories.
        What is great is how believers have an endless appetite for whatever promoters say.

      • During 2008 and 2009 I received many messages, sometimes several per day informing me that the Earth is headed into its next ice age. Some messages include graphs extrapolating cooling trends into the future. Some messages use foul language and demand my resignation. Of the messages that include any science, almost invariably the claim is made that the sun controls Earth’s climate, the sun is entering a long period of diminishing energy output, and the sun is the cause of the cooling trend.

        Indeed, it is likely that the sun is an important factor in climate variability. Figure 4 shows data on solar irradiance for the period of satellite measurements. We are presently in the deepest most prolonged solar minimum in the period of satellite data. It is uncertain whether the solar irradiance will rebound soon into a more-or-less normal solar cycle – or whether it might remain at a low level for decades, analogous to the Maunder Minimum, a period of few sunspots that may have been a principal cause of the Little Ice Age. The direct climate forcing due to measured solar variability, about 0.2 W/m2, is comparable to the increase in carbon dioxide forcing that occurs in about seven years, using recent CO2 growth rates. Although there is a possibility that the solar forcing could be amplified by indirect effects, such as changes of atmospheric ozone, present understanding suggests only a small amplification, as discussed elsewhere (Hansen 2009). The global temperature record (Figure 1) has positive correlation with solar irradiance, with the amplitude of temperature variation being approximately consistent with the direct solar forcing. This topic will become clearer as the records become longer, but for that purpose it is important that the temperature record be as precise as possible. … – James Hansen

      • Why don’t you also use all caps, so we can really get your message?

      • That would be impolite. Italics here are weak, so I use bold for quotes. Just to make certain nobody confused ferd with fred.

      • If only Hansen had mention bright sunshine and Campbell-Stokes Recorders and global brightening and dimming I might take him seriously … ha ha ha just kidding.

      • Bruce, what causes global dimming and brightening?

      • No one knows for sure. I’ve seen it linked with PDO.

        Japanese scientists thought it was the cleanup of air in Japan after bright sunshine went up 10% in the 20th century.

        “During the 20th century SS in Japan increased by 10%.”


        Pick UK, Sunshine, Annual.

        The 1971-2000 average was 1350 hours. The smoothed kernel filter value has 2010 at 1430 hours. And 1929 at 1340.

        80 hours above the 1971-2000 average = 5.9%
        90 hours above the 1929 average = 6.7%

        The CET graph (bottom of page) shows a similar rise.


        “There is an overall increasing trend in the number of
        bright sunshine hours, amounting to about 100 h in
        the last 100 years (0.96 h/year), which represents an
        increase in bright sunshine hours of about 4% in a

        Greater Alpine Region:

        17 – 29% more sunshine in the winter.

        “The recent trends in winter precipitation have been accompanied by respective trends in sunshine (significant increase in all subregions of 17 to 29%)”

        Wild, M. (2009), Global dimming and brightening: A review, J. Geophys. Res., 114, D00D16, doi:10.1029/2008JD011470.

        1.4Mb pdf here:

        “There is increasing evidence that the amount of solar radiation incident at the Earth’s surface is not stable over the years but undergoes significant decadal variations. …”

    • As we watch the blogosphere and brain dead wire service news fill with spin regarding solar activity I see the general field of “science” only being reduced to that op-ed writers of the NYTimes or hack city council politicians.

      It should be no surprise that alarmists are going to get as good as they give on non-science “conclusions” and projections on news like this. I hope skeptics despite all the vile attacks against them in populist and biased channels contain their schadenfreude and try to maintain a dignity that has been rare among agw proponents.

      Schmidt and Mann’s work shouldn’t cited as credible in any case.

  36. Sorry for the snark Dr C. . However, 1 -2 C degree colder winters in the NH would certainly blow the socks off their (highly confident) prediction of mild, snowless winters, which is already looking pretty shaky anyway.

  37. Solar cycles – climate change direct link is not confirmed by appropriate correlation. Here I show there is a lack of sufficient degree of ‘dynamic correlation’ between the world longest temperature record and the integrated sunspot number:
    calculated for the first time anywhere.

  38. I don’t indulge in climate predictions because I don’t know what the Sun is up to.– lacking a theory. I try hard to understand the causes of PAST climate changes.

    A quick comment on Feulner-Rahmstorf [GRL 2010]: Their ridiculously small temp effect from a projected “Maunder minimum” is due to the fact that they consider only a decrease in TSI and ignore effects of solar activity changes (cosmic rays and cloudiness)

    Fred Singer

    • Yes. Funny how CO2 requires positive feedbacks to have a detectable effect. (But nobody has proven causation vs correlation of CO2 atmosphere effect and temperature – excepting anybody watching a soda bottle.)

      Courtillot’s presentation has some very interesting bits.

      • Thanks BLouis79. That Courtillot’s presentation is excellent! I wonder what warmists and lukewarmists think about it.

    • Greg Goodknight

      Thank you, Fred Singer, for mentioning the theorized and now fairly well demonstrated link between [galactic] cosmic rays and cloudiness. I was lurking, wondering how long it would take someone to point out the crazy aunt in the attic that many in the climate community keeps forgetting.

      If this current news regarding an approaching grand minimum holds, it should make things very interesting. As one chemistry professor of mine liked to say, “troubles are good for you” and “one clean experiment is worth a thousand dirty equations”; with CLOUD papers and a new Maunder arriving soon, we’ll have two clean experiments to ponder shortly.

      • The theory linking galactic cosmic rays (GCR) with cloud nucleation has a plausible mechanism and some experimental support, but on both theoretical and empirical grounds, the effect is likely to be small. Attempts to link CGR flux with measurements of cloud cover have failed to show a significant correlation over the long term – see Gray et al , although this does not exclude minor and/or regional effects.

        At this point, it’s reasonable to conclude that GCR flux may play a minor role in global temperature change, but a major effect is very unlikely. The forthcoming CLOUD experiments may put the phenomenon on a firmer footing, but are unlikely to alter the quantitative assessments.

        The estimates of temperature change in the paper by Feulner/Rahmstorf and other papers with similar results are surrounded by too much uncertainty to be taken as precise values, but the general range is supported by correlation with historical data. Adding a putative GCR effect would not be likely to change this to any significant extent.

      • Fred
        For a more thorough review of the solar & cosmic ray literature see:
        Ch 5 Solar Variability and Climate Cycles NIPCC 2009

      • I actually prefer Erlykin and Wolfendale 2011.

      • Not all of us can see that. Why don’t you summarize it for us.?

      • Jim,
        The abstract does a fair job summarizing the paper. It’s a survey – they look at the relationship between cloud cover and GCR on multiple levels as described in the recent literature, including during forbrush decreases, “positive cosmic ray excursions”, over the 11-year solar cycle, in the troposphere, the stratosphere, regional effects, etc.. Ultimately they conclude:

        Concerning the troposphere, it seems that there is a finite influence of CR on cloud cover at the level of f~1%, a result that is mainly for clouds below about 6.5 km, although when averaged over the entire atmosphere it is smaller than this… taking an average f value of 1%, the temperature change consequent upon changing CC given by the maximum CR change that could be allowed over the last 50 years can be calculated. Over this period the mean CR intensity appears to have fallen by less than 0.6% using the data of Bazilevskaya et al. (2008)… the increase in temperature predicted [as a result] is 0.002 C, a value that is quite negligible to the Global Warming in this period…

        All the above is not to say that CR have no effect on atmospheric conditions at all, for certain regions, principally at high latitudes and altitudes, there is an effect, however, averaged over the Globe their effect is very small.

        Short of systematically describing their sections and subsections, as well as listing their many references, that’s the best I can do.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        Re “although when averaged over the entire atmosphere it is smaller than this… taking an average f value of 1%”
        Remember that Svensmark’s theory applies only to low clouds.

      • First, thank you.

        Then – I still have problems with it, but I’ll need to do some research to define them. I’ve worked satellite cloud cover analyses – long ago. And this doesn’t match what I remember – so I’ll have to confirm that my memory isn’t faulty.

        Also keep in mind that if you have 10 effects at 1% each, in rough terms you’re talking about 10% of the total effect. I know – they may not be additive – but, OTOH, they may also be multiplicative. I think we can at least agree that we’re not talking about a linear system.

      • Pooh, Dixie
        Erlykin and Wolfendale do specify that, relatively speaking, the greatest effect was seen in low cloud cover and mid cloud cover, and they use the f value for those levels in their calculations, but if CR affect higher layers dissimilarly so as to reduce the net effect that should be noted.

      • Greg Goodknight

        There’s a lovely 520million year correlation between GCR and ocean temps far stronger than the correlation between temps and CO2, with the peaks of temperature coinciding with the minimums of GCR, and snowball earth episodes coinciding with the GCR maxima (Shaviv & Veizer 2003). It’s obviously real and quite large, and, more recently, the forcings in the wake of Forbush events have been on the order of what AR4 estimated for the claimed positive feedbacks due to the CO2 forcing (Svensmark 2009).

        One clean experiment is worth a thousand dirty equations. We have clean experiments in process, both laboratory sized and on a planetary and celestial scale. Place your bets.

      • A later paper of which Veizer was a coauthor (Came et al.) gave a new estimate of temperatures over the Paleozoic era – over half of the Phanerozoic eon, which is the timeframe upon which Shaviv & Veizer based their 2003 study – and found that CO2 actually strongly correlated with the climate of the time. The new estimate also results in much of the supposed correlation with GCRs as found in Shaviv & Veizer to disappear.

        Svensmark 2009 was criticized by several papers including Laken et al. 2009 who found that the liquid cloud fraction variability was unrelated to the Forbrush events because “both the pattern and timing of observed LCF changes are irreconcilable with current theoretical pathways.

      • Greg Goodknight

        Is Eli B (B for Bunny?) just another Eli Rabett sock puppet?

        “The new estimate also results in much of the supposed correlation with GCRs as found in Shaviv & Veizer to disappear.”

        A citation, please. I read the paper and didn’t find any claim to that effect, and reading the abstracts of the papers citing it revealed to me nothing of the kind.

        Better data is always good, but an essential difference between correlation between temps and GCR, and temps and CO2, is there is absolutely no chance a warming ocean caused a surplus of supernovae in the distant past.

      • Greg Goodknight

        Isle of Islay distillates may have been the cause of a silly error… that last sentence should have read “there is absolutely no chance a cooling ocean caused a surplus of supernovae in the distant past.”

      • I have no affiliation with Mr. Rabett. Eli happens to be my real name, B. my real initial.

        The sentence you quote was more of an assertion of my own than something documented in the literature. One of the reasons Shaviv & Veizer 2003 was written was because of Viezer 2000, “Evidence for decoupling of atmospheric CO2 and global climate during the Phanerozoic eon.” — this same temperature reconstruction was used to relate CRF with paleotemperature in S&V, but Came et al. 2007’s assessment of Paleozoic temperature diverges from that of Veizer’s earlier work in certain important respects, regaining correlation between CO2 and climate over significant portions of the Phanerozoic eon. In particular, figure 2 of Came et al. show a new estimate for temperatures ~450 mya during the early Silurian, indicating a very warm climate at the time. Veizer’s previous reconstruction shows a relatively cool climate during the same period, which S&V relates with a strongly negative phase in CRF. High CO2 concentrations seem to explain temperatures better.

        There are other questions one should have with S&V 2003, not the least of which is the accuracy of their CRF reconstruction. I think Rahmstorf et al. summarizes that topic fairly well.

      • …”relates with a strongly negative phase in CRF.”
        Should read
        …”relates with a strongly positive phase in CRF.”

      • Greg Goodknight

        I apologize for the ‘bunny’ inquiry, thank you for the clarifications. I suspected the claim regarding the damage to SV03 was not well supported and I appreciate the confirmation.

        I suspect one of us is suffering from a chronic case of confirmation bias, and I suspect we would have to agree to disagree regarding which it is. I’ve read Shaviv’s defenses against Rahmstorf et Schmidt, and I suggest you do so. Easily found at the website he maintains, The following somewhat angry note is perhaps the last in that sequence:

        RealClimate is looking more and more like the Maginot Line in June 1940.

      • Greg,
        First of all, I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t editorialize on my intellectual integrity. You’ll notice that I’ve done no such thing to you, and these types of transgressions offer nothing to any conversation in which they’re used.

        Anyhow, It’s my view that if S&V’s model not only completely misses an entire cycle (1 out of 4), but predicts the complete opposite of what the revised record shows, at the very least the “beautiful” modifier could be removed. Given the issues with the fit prior to that revelation and possible issues with Veizer’s temperature reconstruction (see Royer 2004, 2006), I stand by my earlier characterization.

        And I have read Shaviv’s reply to Rahmstorf’s critique, and quite frankly, I don’t find it very convincing. Ex. a criticism of S&V was that they “fine-tuned” CRF data to best match temperatures, and then proceeded to run a correlation analysis on the fit. Shaviv’s response was essentially, “it’s within the uncertainty”, which is a nonsensical reply. Ultimately, S&V’s reconstructed CRF series was based on a simplified model constructed on an incomplete understanding of galactic motion and shape, constrained by very little data.

        I will point out that newer estimates of transit times and positions of the galactic spiral arms are entirely inconsistent with both Shaviv’s earlier estimates and as an explanation for the paleotemperature record.

        The important point, however, is that there is no evidence that GCR have anything more than a small effect on global temperatures (e.g. see Erlykin & Wolfendale 2011). As Fred has noted above, CERN CLOUD could provide support for the role of ionizing radiation in aerosol nucleation, but it won’t change that assessment.

      • Greg Goodknight

        Sorry, Eli B, confirmation bias is not an issue of intellectual integrity but rather just a statement of humanity. We all have it to an extent, including Rahmstorf et al.

        While Overholt et al. is newer, with five citations it is unclear that it has met with much acceptance. Sometimes models need a simplifying assumption or two, and I’m unconvinced their models that fail to reproduce the 140 Myr periodicity are more trustworthy than Shaviv’s massaging.

      • Greg,
        “…a chronic case of confirmation bias” is indeed a commentary on my intellectual integrity, but I digress.

        The point I’m trying to make with regard to S&V isn’t that GCR can’t have had any affect on climate on the multi-million year timeframe, but that S&V haven’t provided sufficient evidence that they actually have. I’m entirely open to the idea, though the specific mechanism would have to be hashed out a little more given the apparent unimportance on smaller timescales (again, see E&W ’11 cited above). Indeed, there is no consensus on the galactic structure, spiral arm pattern and speed, and much disagreement in million year temperature reconstructions. Shaviv 2003 devotes a great deal of time outlining the many caveats in his work due to these uncertainties, among others.

        One advantage to Overholt et al. is that the non-periodic arm crossings are a derived result of the asymmetrical position of spiral arms, while Shaviv’s prior work assumed regular periodicity. In any case, it requires a great many assumptions, and as you note, massaging to find a correlation at all, and I would hardly call it “obviously real and quite large…”

      • Moreover, both Royer 2004 and 2006 strongly disagree with the conclusions of Veizer 2000 and S&V 2003.

      • What laboratory sized clean experiments are in progress?? I haven’t been able to find any so far…..

      • Greg Goodknight

        I was referring to CLOUD at CERN. I’ve heard they may no longer be taking data, but there are as yet no papers published. Some may consider the experiment finished and not in progress; I’ll bow to strong opinions to that effect if need be.

      • Here is the latest stuff I can find on CERN CLOUD
        including link to a recent interview with Jasper KIrby, project leader

        Sounds like the cosmic ray theory is holding up….

      • I have something newer here:
        I think he’s playing his cards close to his chest because of a draconian publication embargo at the moment.

      • Fred Moolten

        You seem to think that the cosmic ray / cloud effect postulated by Svensmark et al. and now being tested at CERN will be small (compared to that of human CO2).

        I would say it would be wise to wait until the results of the CLOUD experiment are released until making any statements on this.

        Did it account for 50% of the observed 20th century warming as some studies suggest?

        Or was the impact smaller – or greater?

        The answer will tell us a lot about the validity of the model-based estimate for climate sensitivity used by IPCC (based on an “argument from ignorance”, as has been pointed out)..

        Let’s wait and see what we learn, Fred, before we write it off as insignificant.


      • My point, Max, was that the CLOUD experiment will tell us something about the nucleation phenomenon, but will not be a realistic test of its quantitative significance in clouds as they exist in our atmosphere. To date, the available evidence indicates that the effect may be real but small.

        I have always found the phenomenon plausible. Its quantitative significance has been the critical issue.

      • Fred –
        To date, the available evidence indicates that the effect may be real but small.

        What evidence?

      • Jim – Evidence includes data I linked to in this thread, including the review by Gray et al, as well as evidence cited by Eli B.

      • David L. Hagen

        Evidence on impact is still highly in flux, and highly impact the climate sensitivity or feedback analysis. e.g., Spencer’s preliminary findings suggest total solar (direct & indirect) ~ 3.5x TSI.

    • David L. Hagen

      Fred Singer

      Nils-Axel Mörner is showing a Length of Day correlation and from that predicting a grand minimum. See:

      Solar Minima, Earth’s rotation and Little Ice Ages in the past and in the future: The North Atlantic–European case

      Nils-Axel Mörner
      Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics, Stockholm, Sweden
      Available online 25 January 2010.


      The past Solar Minima were linked to a general speeding up of the Earth’s rate of rotation. This affected the surface currents and southward penetration of Arctic water in the North Atlantic causing “Little Ice Ages” over northwestern Europe. At around 2040–2050 we will be in a new major Solar Minimum. It is to be expected that we will then have a new “Little Ice Age” over the Arctic and NW Europe. The mechanism proposed for the linkage of Solar activity with Earth’s rotation is the interaction of Solar Wind with the Earth’s magnetosphere; the decrease in Solar Wind at sunspot minima weakens the interaction with the magnetosphere that allows the Earth to speed up, and the increase in Solar Wind at sunspot maxima strengthens the interaction with the magnetosphere that slows down the spinning of the Earth.

      Email: morner {at} pog {dot} nu

  39. vukcevic | June 15, 2011 at 3:49 pm
    calculated for the first time anywhere. is applicable here

    • Unskilled and Unaware of It.

      That applies to too many mainstream/bureaucrat scientists.

    • Hi Doc
      If you were aware of an alternative, you would have provided information, so I assume it is a case of one-upmanship, which of course is flattering (a bit of an ego boost is always good for downtrodden unwashed masses), but in this case evasive ‘sarcasm’ does not bestow any credibility onto your post etc etc.

      • It was not sarcasm, but honestly meant. Study it carefully and reflect on some of your posts in view of the paper.

      • Leif, your Dunning reference is insulting at best, and clearly false. If honestly meant then you are a fool. And I mean that honestly.

      • It looks to be very applicable. Are you saying that Dunning’s analysis is clearly false.

      • Actually david his reference is spot on. Vuc tried to display some “skill” over at WUWT and got the smack down. he at least was aware enough to apologize.

        “I put a rather aggressive post on WUWT regarding L&P effect, got told off by Anthony, so I decided to eat humble pie and apologise with yet another this time more moderate assessment, which may be worth posting here too.

        REPLY: Vuk, before you start another war of words with Dr. Svalgaard (that we all get really weary of), double check your work. Note the main data points in vertical aggregated columns and the average of those columns. You missed a step. – Anthony

        Point taken, my post was obviously too aggressive and I do apologise.”

      • Hey Steven,
        more good news from WUWT today !

      • “One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision”
        Bertrand Russell

  40. …….but honestly meant
    hmm, .. my mind is not very adept in absorbing physiologic ‘mambo-jumbo’, but you are welcome to it.
    Any info on suggested alternative to
    A comparison would be useful, even add to credibility of my for time being ‘unique results’. Tamino was sufficiently impressed to squeeze it through his censorship pinhole.

    • As the paper says you may ‘lack the metacognitive ability to realize’ the problem.

      • Thanks, Lief.

        Intriguing that the well known authority, Dr. Svalgaard, would be sending that message for others to study,

      • Does Dr. Svalgaard have the ‘the metacognitive ability to realize’ Earth’s heat source looks like this:

        The ball of hydrogen he observes is a glowing ball of waste products (neutron-decay products) from the solar core.

        Sorry, Lief, but the AGW story is falling apart faster than you and Al Gore’s friends and government-funded climatologists can possibly glue back together.

      • What has AGW to do with your misconceptions of solar energy and constitution? Nothing.

      • Lief, the entire AGW edifice has cracked wide open.

        To quote a well-known solar authority, it appears that “you may ‘lack the metacognitive ability to realize’ the problem.”

        The AGW fable is over – gone, like Humpty Dumpty after the fall!

        The fable of a H-filled Sun – the foundation of astronomy – will also go.

        Those were profitable tales, but that game is over.

        Thanks to scientists like Professor Curry.

        With kind regards,
        Oliver K. Manuel
        Former NASA Principal
        Investigator for Apollo

      • You are committing a fallacy. Just because one theory is going, going, gone, it does not follow that another one [completely unrelated] will suffer the same fate. And you are crediting Curry with taking down the foundation of astronomy. I wonder if she agrees with that…

      • I am allowing a broad spectrum of people to comment here on a topic of broad general interest to the climate community. Such exercises in the past have presented a few good arguments, many worthless ones, and a whole host of links to references and websites of which I (and presumably others) were previously unaware. So we all (well those with an open mind) end up learning something. I for one do not believe that Lean’s solar reconstructions and projections used by the IPCC should be regarded as the last word or the best current word on this. We need a range of reconstructions and predictions so we can understand what has happened in the past and what might happen in the future.

        Leif, I would appreciate your judgment of whether the solar forcing scenario used in the CMIP5 runs for the IPCC represent our current best guess and an appropriate assessment of the uncertainty.

        When an expert such as yourself shows up here, there is the potential for learning a lot more.

      • Judith: Do you know if the Lean et al (2000) TSI being used in CMIP5 contains the background data? That is, was there a rise in the solar minimums during the first half of the 20th century? Refer to the Lean TSI Reconstruction here:

        If so, it’s outdated data. The graph is from this post:

        Leif was kind enough to contribute on the thread at the WUWT cross post:


      • Bob, thanks for reminding me of this post, i found it quite informative at the time (one of my favorite WUWT posts)

      • Your link [matches what I also know about this] says:
        “It is recommended to use the TSI time series with varying background (second column in ascii files) for the CMIP5 runs and if desired perform additional sensitivity experiments without the varying background.”
        Presumably the runs are made with the varying background [at least I have not yet seen any papers that compares the results with and without the background]. If so, there is no justification for the increase in background over the period 1900-1950. See

      • Thanks for the link. I have not been seeing any runs that test the sensitivity to solar forcing. In the AR4, everyone just picked one of the reconstructions, presumably to make the simulations match the observations. The model results I’ve seen so far for CMIP5 are using the single forcing data set.

      • And that comment, Dr.Curry, about the models, is the telling point. The models failed to account or provide for solar forcing. And IPCC, thanks to Judith Lean as a lead author her own work, just one paper, in AR4, decided that solar forcings are insignificant.

      • Good grief, Oliver!

      • Grief?

        No. Gratitude. A deep sense of gratitude to the kindness of Fate in allowing

        Leif Svalgaard, Al Gore, the UN’s IPCC et al. to demonstrate publicly how government science was corrupted by power-hungry policymakers, just as former President Eisenhower warned might happen in his farewell address of Jan 1961:

  41. We are cooling, folks; for how long even kim doesn’t know.

  42. ian (not the ash)

    He he he…I’m not always enamoured with your comments JCH but you’re quite adept at cutting to the quick.

  43. JCH
    January, 2011 – 17th warmest
    January – February, 2011 – 16th warmest
    January – March, 2011 – 14th warmest
    January – April, 2011 – 14th warmest
    January – May, 2011 – 12 warmest
    Since when to all of those?
    Last ice age?
    As a member of the unwashed masses(hi Leif)the fact that you educated guys,with all the knowledge you keep telling me you possess cannot figure how Earth’s climate woks almost makes me believe there is a God.
    All the money and research.Why haven’t you figured out the puzzle?
    One day the public is going to demand results.

    • Noelene – I’m a lay person. The numbers come from NOAA. I don’t know if the other temperature series have a simple way to track it. It has to be simple, or I won’t understand how to do it.

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      Assuming those are from the NOAA record or the GISS record 1880 is the date. HadCRU it is 1850.

  44. Someone had better
    Quicken the thermometer.
    Alive, alive, Oh!

  45. A hand is a five.
    The other is five.
    Who what do you get
    adding five plus five?
    A butterfly.

    ‘Changes in the Earth’s radiation budget are driven by changes in the balance between the thermal emission from the top of the atmosphere and the net sunlight absorbed. The shortwave radiation entering the climate system depends on the Sun’s irradiance and the Earth’s reflectance. Often, studies replace the net sunlight by proxy measures of solar irradiance, which is an oversimplification used in efforts to probe the Sun’s role in past climate change. With new helioseismic data and new measures of the Earth’s reflectance, we can usefully separate and constrain the relative roles of the net sunlight’s two components, while probing the degree of their linkage. First, this is possible because helioseismic data provide the most precise measure ever of the solar cycle, which ultimately yields more profound physical limits on past irradiance variations. Since irradiance variations are apparently minimal, changes in the Earth’s climate that seem to be associated with changes in the level of solar activity—the Maunder Minimum and the Little Ice age for example — would then seem to be due to terrestrial responses to more subtle changes in the Sun’s spectrum of radiative output. This leads naturally to a linkage with terrestrial reflectance, the second component of the net sunlight, as the carrier of the terrestrial amplification of the Sun’s varying output. Much progress has also been made in determining this difficult to measure, and not-so-well-known quantity. We review our understanding of these two closely linked, fundamental drivers of climate.’

    Be careful with Figure 4 in this study – revisions of ISCCP data have reduced the change in RSW by 50% odd. The figure is revised in a later paper.

    But the bottom line is that solar irradiance changes little over time and we need to look at other mechanisms. Cosmic radiation while intriguing is extremely difficult to prove. Solar UV influences on ocean/atmosphere coupling – as Lockwood and others have suggested recently – seems a more likely mechanism in climatologically important tropical marine zones. Especially relevant is the suggestion of ENSO modulation and resultant changes in cloud dynamics.

    The planet might be cooling over the next decades but it may not be primarily the result of changes in solar irradiance.

  46. These stories have me wondering, do we “know” what the beginning of an ice age looks like? Forget years of crop failures and years without summer, what does the first 100? 200? 500? years of an ice age look like? At some point, I would guess, glaciers are born on Mt Washington and the other tall peaks of NH, which seems inevitable, but what happens to the winter snow fall in the lower elevations? Lasts until May, then July, then August? Since this process has happened (and then reversed many times in the last 2,000,000 years, how well has the process been modeled?

    I realize there are long cycles of perturbations in the earths orbit that change the energy arriving from the sun, but other factors must come in play.

    • ‘The research suggests that once temperature rises above some threshold, adverse
      weather conditions could develop relatively abruptly, with persistent changes in the
      atmospheric circulation causing drops in some regions of 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit in
      a single decade.’

      The climate system is dynamic and complex – it has control variables and multiple feedbacks. The idea had been around for decades in chaos theory – which along with relativity and quantum mechanics is one of the three great ideas of 20th century physics. We have the very big, the very small and the very complex. Most scientists, however, remain clueless. Is it a bit like getting people to vote on quantum mechanics?

      This is a key question in my view. Expect abrupt change characterised by extreme events – as that is the nature of the beast.

  47. Henrik Svensmark comments on the paper by Feulner G., Rahmstorf S.

    I have had a fast look at the paper, and as far as I can see the authors are only looking at solar irradiance changes, and effects like the one that I have been involved in, like an amplification of the solar signal caused by clouds and cosmic ray modulation, is not taken into account. We known with good confidence that the terrestrial response to the solar signal is 3-7 times larger than from solar irradiance alone (see for example the work of Nir Shaviv, attached-Using the oceans as a calorimeter to quantify the solar radiative forcing-doi:10.1029/2007JA012989). Now if such effects are taken into account the result would be very different (larger solar influence). So I do not think that the present work is the particular helpful in understanding the solar impact in near future. It is only an estimate of the impact of solar irradiance as determined from numerical modeling. In the coming years the sun will show by itself how important it is.


    • “We known with good confidence that the terrestrial response to the solar signal is 3-7 times larger than from solar irradiance alone (see for example the work of Nir Shaviv, attached”

      The “good confidence” in that enhancement is misplaced, because the data on which it is based do not clearly support the statement. They are mainly derived from the Shaviv reference (provided in the link above) that concludes that the solar signal is amplified as indicated by the magnitude of changes in ocean heat content (and other less direct measures) over the course of the 11 year solar cycle.

      The Shaviv paper is quite interesting, and difficult to wade through. The OHC data are based on the inaccurate methods of earlier decades and are therefore unreliable. Nevertheless, Shaviv detects a signal of OHC flux that correlates with the solar cycle. The correlation is modest at best, but in his Figure 5, it does appear to be a real effect. My concern with that figure, if I interpret it correctly, is that he has taken many 11-year intervals showing a cyclic phenomenon and then adjusted the starting point of each of them so that the curves all coincided, even though in the original data, they may not have all started with the same lag vis-a-vis the solar cycle. This would artificially magnify the apparent correlation, but the description in the paper is somewhat ambiguous, and I may not have interpreted it correctly.

      My take home message from the Shaviv paper is that some possible amplification of the expected cyclic temperature effects from the solar cycle may have been demonstrated, but that the quantitation is very uncertain. In the absence of an obvious amplification mechanism, evidence for strong amplification is meager, and is also apparently at odds with solar/temperature relationships over the past century and earlier outside of the cyclic variations.

      Regarding the relevance to the Feulner/Rahmstorf estimate of a reduction in warming by 2100 from a Maunder Minimum type solar lull, the authors estimated the effect at a very small 0.1 C. If an amplification mechanism of 3-fold (see Svensmark above) is applied, the effect becomes 0.3 C, which is in the range of uncertainty cited by Feulner/Rahmstorf. If it were to be 7-fold, the temperature moderating effect would by about 0.7 C, which is not trivial, but still considerably smaller than the estimated rise in temperatures from a continuation of current CO2 emission rates.

      • Fred
        The CO2 sensitivity assumes a low TSI increase. For an alternative calibration see:
        Nicola Scafetta & Richard C. Willson, ACRIM-gap and TSI trend issue resolved using a surface magnetic flux TSI proxy model, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 36, L05701, doi:10.1029/2008GL036307, 2009

        Spencer also finds

        total (direct + indirect) solar forcing is at least 3.5 times stronger than that due to changing solar irradiance alone.

        Higher TSI increase & higher indirect solar = lower Anthropogenic = lower CO2 rise.

      • Norm Kalmanovitch

        We know with absolute certainty that a doubling of CO2 can produce no more than half a degree C (actually the number is a lot closer to 0.3°C) because the 14.77 micron band of the Earth’s radiation is already so close to saturation that there is not enough energy left in this band to have any further significant effect regardless of how much the CO2 concentration increases.
        On the other hand Svensmark demonstrates that there is more than ample effect from changes to the albedo from cosmic rays influenced by solar changes to account for much more variation in temperature than we have observed. This means that there is no validity to the comment that this is “still considerably smaller than the estimated rise in temperatures from a continuation of current CO2 emission rates” especially considering the fact that CO2 emissions from humans are definitely not the prime source of the observed increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

      • The three separate papers referenced in this thread relevant to a Maunder Minimum (MM) modification of anthropogenic warming (Feulner/Rahmstorf, Song et al, and the 2001 Shindell et al Science paper) all imply only a minor reduction in the projected warming trend, with the latter two finding pronounced regional differences for a solar lull – a slight global effect, a significant cooling modification of anthropogenic trends in parts of the Northern Hemisphere, and enhanced warming in some other regions).

        Although each is characterized by uncertainty, two points may be worth noting. First, they have been fairly accurate in reproducing recorded MM temperature changes, including regional changes, to the extent these are known. Second, their temperature reconstructions were not based exclusively on TSI changes as the sole source of temperature variation, but included associated changes in spectral irradiance that would be expected to amplify TSI effects, changes in UV being one example. Evidence from cosmogenic beryllium and carbon isotopes was also available as confirmation for temperature reconstructions (most of this is not in the cited papers but in their referenced articles, including prior studies by Lean et al).

        The reasonable match with observations gives some reason for confidence that the projections are in the right range of values. The large uncertainties in both the projections for solar and anthropogenic trends, and in the MM observational records imply that any statement more precise than that is not yet warranted.

      • Conversely, see: Easterbrook on the potential demise of sunspots

        The Maunder Minimum was not the beginning of The Little Ice Age—it actually began about 1300 AD—but it marked perhaps the bitterest part of the cooling. Temperatures dropped ~4º C (~7 º F) in ~20 years in mid-to high latitudes. . . .About a third of the population of Europe perished. . . .
        The Maunder was preceded by the Sporer Minimum (~1410–1540 A.D.) and the Wolf Minimum (~1290–1320 A.D.) and succeeded by the Dalton Minimum (1790–1830), the unnamed 1880–1915 minima, and the unnamed 1945–1977 Minima (Fig. 2). Each of these periods is characterized by low numbers of sunspots, cooler global climates, and changes in the rate of production of 14C and 10Be in the upper atmosphere. As shown in Fig. 2, each minimum was a time of global cooling, recorded in the advance of alpine glaciers. . . .
        In 1999, the year after the high temperatures of the 1998 El Nino, I became convinced that geologic data of recurring climatic cycles (ice core isotopes, glacial advances and retreats, and sun spot minima) showed conclusively that we were headed for several decades of global cooling and presented a paper to that effect (Fig. 5).

      • Fred,

        I think you have put your finger on an important point.

        “Nevertheless, Shaviv detects a signal of OHC flux that correlates with the solar cycle. The correlation is modest at best, but in his Figure 5, it does appear to be a real effect. My concern with that figure, if I interpret it correctly, is that he has taken many 11-year intervals showing a cyclic phenomenon and then adjusted the starting point of each of them so that the curves all coincided, even though in the original data, they may not have all started with the same lag vis-a-vis the solar cycle. This would artificially magnify the apparent correlation,”….
        “… expected cyclic temperature effects from the solar cycle may have been demonstrated, but that the quantification is very uncertain.”

        A signal has been found: faint and fuzzy. Consider a possibility that the shifts / lags have less to do with the 11-year solar cycle than they do with offset cycles of the ocean basins (see Tisdale). In that case, shifting the starting points of the observations gives clues about what the lags may be. If true, it would not (to me) “artificially magnify the apparent correlation”.

        Since the ocean basins (esp. Pacific) appear to accumulate / discharge large amounts of solar and transported energy, improved understanding might shed light on “radiative transfer” and balance.

  48. Pooh, Dixie

    Some time ago, Dr. Svalgaard’s work persuaded me that observed TSI variation alone was not enough to account for observed warming.

    Svalgaard, Leif. 2007. “‘Floors’ in IMF, EUV, and therefore in TSI (Climate And Weather of the Sun-Earth System).” CAWSES News 4 (2) (September): 8 – 9.

    Recent work [1] suggests that the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF) strength, B, at each sunspot minimum varies but little (less than a nT). This is clearly seen in Figure 1. The variation of B within a solar cycle seems to be due to extra (and likely closed) magnetic flux added by Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) riding on top of a “floor” of somewhere between 4 and 5 nT, leading to the conclusion that the open magnetic flux is nearly constant with time, and that, in particular, there is no secular variation of the open flux.

    Svalgaard, Leif. 2008. Reconstructing TSI from Heliospheric Magnetic Field as Deduced by McCracken from Cosmic Ray Modulation. Scientific. May 11.

    Page 25, typos are mine: “Wild Speculation. Was the Maunder Minimum Just an Example of a Strong L&P Effect?
    Cosmic Ray proxies show that during both the Maunder Minimum and the Sporer Minimum, the modulation of cosmic rays proceeded almost as ‘usual’. So the Heliosphere was not too different then from now, and perhaps the spots were there but just much harder to see because of low contrast because of B ~ 1500 G.

    I guess that the context implies the minima refer to sunspot counts rather than temperature. Although I can’t lay my ‘hands’ on the cite just now, I recall a claim that a little cloud increase goes a long way to decrease average temperature (Singer, perhaps?). Should that prove out, then Svensmark’s low cloud theory might shed some light on climate changes. Pure speculation, of course, on the part of a bear of little brain. Further views, including corrections, are welcome.

    • Pooh –
      I recall a claim that a little cloud increase goes a long way to decrease average temperature (Singer, perhaps?)

      Possibly, but Spender is a possibility, too.

      on the part of a bear of little brain

      Oso Loco believes there’s nothing “little” about the brain that “bear” carries.

    • Pooh, Dixie,
      The problem is that a number of papers show a strong solar signature in planetary temperature. I have already cited papers by Scafetta, LeMouel and Shapiro. How is this possible? Either TSI is not the best measure of changes in solar output or historical changes in TSI were not properly reconstructed (LeMouel and Shapiro) or possibly there is some kind of solar amplification at work which just means Earth’s climate is hypersensitive to changes in TSI. Or perhaps there is a combination of all three at work.

      If you didn’t know the function of a light switch but turned it on and off, on and off repeatedly and the room alternated between light and dark, light and dark – pretty soon you would get the idea a connection existed. The connection between solar changes and planetary temperature is inescapable. Just because people do not understand it does not mean it does not exist.

  49. A sonnet for Lief

    So everyone is a cunning fox.
    Someone else suffers from
    cognitive dissonance or else
    metacognitive incompetence.

    But the human condition applies
    to us all is the fundamental thing.
    We whirl about with mad theories
    spinning off our fevered brains.

    The culturally potent metaphor
    of dispassionate science in
    quasi objective noise diffuses
    over us in waves of self satisfied
    smugness and intellectual deceit
    – when we build the monster other.

    Mind you – it is true that people are idiots. We imagine that our simple cognitions have much bearing at all on reality – and that we can predict the future through the magic of science. I of course have no such problem – having taken to heart the wisdom of the Rubáiyát.

    ‘You know, my Friends, how long since in my House
    For a new Marriage I did make Carouse:
    Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed,
    And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.’

    Seriously – the language of science is modest, tentative, provisional and qualified. In any serious study – it suggests this or indicates that. This is far from the language of the climate wars – which are fought over values very superficially and in an idiomatic language of science. Hermes weeps.

    • Chief Hydrologist | June 16, 2011 at 1:14 am
      Mind you – it is true that people are idiots.
      Some flaunt that more than others…

    • Chief Hydologist,
      I agree with you completely.

      • That ‘people are idiots’ ?

      • ‘The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.’

        “I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong.”

        “We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.”

        “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”

        “If you thought that science was certain – well, that is just an error on your part.”

        “I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.”

        Richard Feynman

        I take it you have no problem in Feynman calling scientists dumb? The difference between you and me is that you are identifying some people as being ‘cognitively incompetent’. I recognise the old problem of knowledge – which you seem to have forgotten in a quasi-scientific hubris. It is not at all useful to categorise people in the way of cognitive incompetence. The analysis is not at all useful unless it suggests ways of improving cognitive skills across the board.

        There are lots of unanswered questions in climate and the role of the sun is one. I have quoted Palle above on the small contribution of solar irradiance changes to climate change. Cosmic rays and clouds is intriguing but the significance is unknown. The big changes in clouds happen in the tropical and sub-tropical Pacific as a result of ENSO predominantly – something that Judith Lean and Mike Lockwood have suggested is related to drift in solar UV and resultant warming and cooling of ozone in the middle atmosphere. All very interesting – but really not enough to venture much in the way of climate prediction.

        We need simplify policy problems rather than proliferate and dogmatically assert mad theories that may or may not bear fruit sometime in the distant future.

    • Chief

      Since you are waxing poetic, I thought I would add an ode to the IPCC (actually a take-off on a much earlier “ode to our professors” that slipped by the incoming filter at the Georgia Tech campus newspaper many years ago – maybe Judith has seen it):

      An Ode to the IPCC

      Behind the tipping point prediction
      Unswerved by those who question it
      Lies the greenhouse warming fiction
      Loved by those who benefit.

      Straightforward are the ones who preach it
      High and true are their ideals
      Inciting panic as they teach it
      To one and all their creed appeals.

      • It is a problem – but just because most of climate science is:

        Can we find a way to
        Rain on the parade
        And keep on a Path to
        Progress for humanity.

        – doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem.

  50. So. The debate is not over after all.

  51. Given that the blackbody equilibrium temperature of earth as seen from space is a function of solar irradiance arriving and earth albedo and not much of anything else apart from factors that change those two, anyone claiming earth’s temperature isn’t affected by solar output better have a pretty good theory and data to support that.

    Is there any suggestion that solar output may be “lost in space” somehow?

    Assuming a constant blackbody equilibrium temperature as seen from space, surface temperatures may still vary due to atmosphere effects. I’m can’t recall seeing a
    convincing argument with data to support that yet. Anyone?

    Where do people think the CO2 IR absorption theory fits (affecting blackbody equilibrium or causing atmosphere effects)????

  52. Norm Kalmanovitch

    The global temperature as measured by satellites varies between 285 k and 289 k (12°C and 16°C) over the course of a year due to saeaonal effects. The OLR measured by satellites varies from 227watts/m^2 to 237watts/m^2 in response the the annual temperature change.
    227/285^4 = 0.000000034 = 237/289^4 indicating that the OLR is closely adhering to the fourth power law for thermal radiation from a black body. Over the 31 years of satellite measurement there has been an overall increase in OLR that closely matches the overall increase in global temperature demonstrating that OLR is responding to changes in OLR.
    Over this 31 year period there has been a 57.1% increase in CO2 emissions. This does not match the increase in CO2 concentration indicating that a source other than humans is the predominant source ffor the observed increase in atmospheric CO2 content which has been increasing at a near perfect linear rate of 2ppmv/year for the past decade. If CO2 increases was in fact the dominant driver of global temperature through the enhanced greenhouse effect this insulating effect would reduce the OLR as more and more outgoing energy is trapped by the increased insulation. Since there is absolutely no indication of any reduction in OLR related to CO2 increases the only possible conclusion is that there is no measurable enhanced greenhouse effect from CO2 or for that matter from any other source as well including water vapour and all of the greenhouse gases named in the Kyoto Accord. Essentially this means that since there is no change to the outgoing energy temperature change must therefore be due to changes in incoming energy. The mechanisms for this are starting to be determined with the excellent correlation to solar activity providing the best direction for this investigation. Svensmark demonstrated the amplification possible from cosmic rays and cloud formation changing the Albedo by more than enough to account for any observed temperature change over the past 150 years and other cycles come into play for the longer period global temperature variations. The one certainty in all this is that CO2 plays no detectable role in all this because the 14.77 micron band of the Earth’s thermal radiation affected by CO2 is already so close to saturation that there is insufficient energy remaining to be accessed to cause anywhere near the catastrophic global warming predicted by IPCC climate model projections. Simply put the climate change debate is strictly whether it is changes to the incoming or outgoing energy that is causing a shift in the equilibrium temperature and all evidence points to the fact that it is the changes to the incoming energy that is by far the dominant driver with changes to the outgoing energy from the enhanced greenhouse effect too insignificant to even be detected.

    • Norm,

      I have one question/observation regarding that annual ~4 K global temperature variation.

      Anual atmosheric CO2 variation is ~5 ppmv. I think the main cause for this is the ~4 K annual temperature variation. What do you think?

      • Norm Kalmanovitch

        It is from the seasonal uptake by plants due to the seasonal effect of the larger temperate zone of the northern hemisphere landmass
        Look at the CO2 curve on the Mauna LOa Observatory site and you will see this is at the minimum at the end of the growing season when the maximim uptake from plants has occurred and it is highest at the end of the winter when this uptake is at its lowest

      • Thanks Norm. If am not wrong, that’s also official/consensus explanation. It’s plausible, but I think there is also at least some direct temperature influence (ocean temperature). I will have to take a look.

        Any good sources of SST data? Not anomalies but temperatures. Anyone?

      • Norm Kalmanovitch

        The best source is the ARGO program that has over 3000 sensors distributed in the oceans around the world
        These three links are to the Argo site and the first link is a graph of monthly SST temperatures. This clearly shows the same annual cyclic change.
        The peak temperature is in july and the minimum is in February matching the northern hemisphere seasons. The amplitude of the change is about 3.5°C which is similar but less than the 3.9°C cyclic variation in the atmospheric temperature.
        The higher the temperature the lower the saturation point for CO2 in water. If the annual change of approximately 6ppmv in atmospheric CO2 content was due primarily to ocean outgassing the warmest temperatures would correspond to the highest concentration of CO2. Since the opposite is true the explanation that this is primarily due to uptake by plants with the lowest level of CO2 corresponding to the end of the growing season is likely the most reasonable explanation for the cyclic variation in CO2 concentration.
        I have some better information on my main computer which died yesterday but I think that this site should provide you with the information you seek

      • Thanks Norm! You are very kind, I don’t have much time to search on the net. I will take a look.

      • Norm Kalmanovitch

        If you look closely at the graph you will see that there is an overall slight cooling trend with all the peaks trending lower as well as the base of the troughs.
        Elsewhere on this site there is a graph of overall ocean heat content which is building indicating that while the sst is decreasing slightly the overall ocean is warming, It is likely that this overall ocean warming which has nothing to do with changes to the atmospheric temperature because it is the sea surface and not the deep ocean that is in contact with the atmosphere is what is resulting in the overall rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration which is currenly increasing at 2ppmv/year. It takes a lot of heat energy to increase the heat content of the oceans to a measuable extent and brings up the question of whether this increased heat content is coming from the sun or from changes in the rate of geothermal heat transfer from within the Earth itself. The only thing we know for sure CO2 emissions from fossil fuels have nothing to do with this!

    • I am happy to believe what you say. So where did mainstream climate science go wrong?

      Do you know of any laboratory evidence of the ability of trace CO2 to trap radiative heat somehow avoiding convection?

  53. I don’t think the sun is failing, its just the measurements were done at night.

  54. It is odd to me that a blog post devoted to the Sun has 233 comments but not one mention of important scientific papers … LeMouel 2008 and Shapiro 2011. Thankfully the work of Nicola Scafetta has been mentioned several times but only by one commenter.

    We know the climate shows a solar signature. What is less certain is the mechanism of that signature. But you certainly will not get anywhere if you ignore the evidence from Scafetta, LeMouel and Shapiro.

    • roncram

      It appears that the message from the AGW believers regarding solar impact on our climate is slowly shifting from “it is insignificant, limited to the measurable direct impact from changes in solar irradiation” to “well, it could be a cause of natural variation but is still much less significant than anthropogenic factors (i.e. CO2)”

      With this shift there will need to be a re-evaluation of the model-derived climate sensitivity estimates (to include “the evidence from Scafetta, LeMouel and Shapiro” (plus others), as you have put it.

      It will be very interesting to see how the official IPCC “party line” in AR5 on climate sensitivity is impacted by this gradual shift.

      Of course, there could be a (Thomas Kuhn) “paradigm shift” resulting from the CLOUD experiment at CERN, which would put the whole current paradigm of high “climate sensitivity” on its head.

      It will be interesting to see what happens as we (hopefully) get more knowledgeable regarding solar impact on climate and the mechanisms involved..


    • David L. Hagen

      For LeMouel 2008, do you mean:
      “Evidence for solar forcing in variability of temperatures and pressures in Europe”
      Jean-Louis Le Mouel et al. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
      Volume 71, Issue 12, August 2009, Pages 1309-1321

      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.

      Please provide the full reference/links to Shapiro 2011.

  55. Dr. Curry has referenced a work by Feulner G., Rahmstorf S. (2010), that uses a traditional climate model to evaluate the effect of the sun on the climate in the eventuality that a new prolonger sola minimum would occur. The conclusion is that the Sun would do little in any case.

    The problem is whether the traditional climate model is correctly interpreting climate change. The only way to do that is to evaluate whether the climate model properly reconstruct the solar signature observed in the climate.

    As IO have extensively proven in my papers and by proponent of the AGW (see for example Crowley, Science 2000), the traditional climate models produce a signature quite similar to the hockey stick graph by Mann which not only simply disagree with history but has also been seriously put in question under several studies.

    Moreover, the traditional climate models also fail to properly reconstruct the correct amplitudes of the climate oscillations that have clear solar/astronomical signature.

    Given the above, there is little hope that the traditional climate models correctly interpret climate change and nothing concerning the real climate can be inferred from them because from a false premise everything can be concluded.

    In fact, the traditional climate models do not model several mechanisms that may contribute to a significant amplification of the solar impact on climate beginning from a cloud modulation from the cosmic ray which is solar induced.

    Because of the lack of the current physics of climate change, the only way to correctly interpret climate is by phenomenological modeling the points to the direct simulation of the temperature patterns as I have proposed.

    Once this is done, it is found that solar impact on climate is severely underestimated by the traditional models by a large factor while that the anthropogenic component has been overestimated by at least 2-3 times. That is, while the IPCC claims with the traditional models (which do not reconstruct the climate cycles) that more than 90% of the warming since 1850 is anthropogenic, the reality is very likely that no more than 30% of the warming may be anthropogenic and that this anthropogenic warming may not be GHG induced because may also be UHI induced, at least in part.

    Thus, if the Sun will enter in a new prolonged period of minima, it is very unlikely that the global temperature will go up as predicted by the traditional climate models. It will go down as predicted by the models I have proposed in my papers (look at my web-page). For example “N. Scafetta, “Empirical evidence for a celestial origin of the climate oscillations and its implications”. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 72, 951–970 (2010), and “Climate Change and Its Causes, A Discussion About Some Key Issues”

    (Also there is a new paper under press on these issues)

    • Nicola, thanks for your comment. You may be interested in my recent post that addresses uncertainty in the IPCC’s attribution methods, including solar

    • The effect of the sun should be in any complete climate models. Even if the effect is currently unknown or minimal, it hasn’t always been that way. Unknowns should always be identified and given a place mark for future modification.

      • Yes, Teddy.

        the computer climate modelers require that the “Science is Settled” assumption to support the validity of their approach and models.

        But the science is not settled, as proven by the evident fact that the geophysical journals as well as the geophysical departments in the universities have not “closed” for having finished the “job”.

        Unfortunately, climate modelers’ philosophy is not able to handle the “unknown”.
        But in real scientific research people always deal with the “unknown” and try to identify it and model it.

        On the contrary, climate computer modelers assume that the “unknown” (to them) simply does not exist in reality too. Thus, they apply the reductionist assumption at its extreme, and systematically deny the empirical evidences pointing in the opposite way.

      • It is taken into account, at least as far as TSI is concerned. As for other solar influences [if any] what is lacking are agreed upon time series of these influences and physical mechanisms by which they can be incorporated into the models.

    • Dr. Scafetta
      There is a ‘data documented’ Sun-Earth link beside the TSI and surprisingly of similar time line but out of phase with the SSN and TSI reconstraction.
      Here you can see my most recent findings:
      I am currently working on the delay, it just may be just a result of the way I calculated dBz. Climate change relationship: degree of certainty is uncertain.

  56. “Pooh, Dixie | June 16, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Reply Jim,
    Second, I think it is a shame that, after all these years, the Eddy papers are paywalled”

    I have been reading up on this subject for several years, so I may be a little ahead of others. I know paywalls are frustrating, but a trip to your local library, and a small amount of money can get lots of things.

    I suggest as a start The Sun Kings by Sturat Clark ISBN-13 978-0-691-12660-9. For anyone interested in the history of science, rather than the science, itself, this is a fascinating book. Go to Chapter 13 “The Cloud Chamber”. The references are invaluable. I have reprints of two of those from from Jack Eddy, and am now going to go out and order the third. I also have reprints of both of the Edward Maunder papers that are referenced.

    I suspect that interest in this subject has only just started, and I have no hesitation in making these suggestions to anyone interested..

    • Pooh, Dixie

      Jim, I really like your suggestion :-) and wish I could afford it :-( . I don’t have access to an academic library, and even if the local library did support academic access, my work process involves downloading files to my computer. Currently, there are about 4 GB of files and a 195 MB database of indices, tags and notes related to those files.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        I will see if interlibrary can lay hands on a copy of The Sun Kings. Thanks!

  57. Jim Cripwell | June 16, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Reply
    Second, I think it is a shame that, after all these years, the Eddy papers are paywalled”
    All Eddy’s papers can be found here:

  58. Another test in the making:

    Alleged correlation between reduced solar activity and volcanic activity,

    So far it looks promising.

  59. “Alleged correlation between reduced solar activity and volcanic activity,”

    Intriguing certainly, but what mechanism could possibly connect them?

    Also, I would very much like someone knowledgeable to tackle Norm Kalmanovitch’s posts from around 2.30 pm – in particular his assertions regarding saturation of the absorption band and measurements of OLR. Is there anything in point of fact that is not correct? Is there anything in those posts that is wrong or requires clarification? I find them very interesting and if they are correct, pretty conclusive.

    I am not interested in ‘No, he is wrong,’ but actual corrections based on physics discussed.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Agnostic – Norm Kalmanovitch misunderstands the principles of radiative transfer as applied to the phenomena he discusses. CO2 has a main absorption band near 15 um (about wavenumber 667) that includes a strong absorption line at that wavelength with correspondingly weaker lines as one moves into the “wings” toward either 13 or 17 um. The various lines reflect the multitude of quantum transitions that CO2 can undergo from absorbed infrared (IR) radiation, due to its vibrational mode and superimposed rotational modes that are generated by the transient dipole moment CO2 undergoes from its vibrational excitation. At current CO2 concentrations, the 667 wavenumber line is “saturated” in the sense that IR from the surface is absorbed almost completely over a small distance and further increases in CO2 will have minimal effect on its ability to intercept IR and mediate surface and atmospheric warming. However, as one moves further and further from the center at 667, the lines are less and less occupied, because fewer and fewer molecules are in a state capable of the relevant transition. As a consequence, increasing CO2 simply moves the main regions of absorption further into the wings, but saturation is essentially impossible even at concentrations orders of magnitude greater than our current one. For more on some of this, see Ray Pierrehumbert’s article at Physics Today.

      Norm is equally wrong about the OLR. The increases he has referred to are in the “window” region – wavelengths relatively transparent to IR because there is negligible CO2 absorption of IR at those wavelengths and only minor water absorption of IR. Because IR in these wavelengths is not efficiently intercepted by greenhouse gases, its intensity varies mainly as a function of surface temperature, according to the Stefan-Boltzmann law. Because the surface has been warming, that OLR has increased. This is exactly what would be expected from surface warming mediated by greenhouse gases or any other warming mechanism. In fact, one of the salient phenomena that occurs with CO2-mediated warming is a reduction in OLR in CO2-absorbable wavelengths and a shift into window regions. During this process, total OLR will be less than at climate equilibrium, but may still vary up or down from any preceding year depending on the level and sign of the energy imbalance at the top of the atmosphere.

      • Fred, thanks for your reply. I’ll preface my response by saying I really enjoy your posts – it’s one of the few AGW supportive voices I can find that is reasonable and coherent, and while there might be disagreement with others, it’s through that debate something new and interesting emerges.

        I am sure Norm will speak for himself, but firstly I did warn against saying “wrong…”, because in fact your first point seems to support his rather than contradict it, which is to say that the absorption effect of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere is logarithmic. Btw – I read briefly the article you linked (v v interesting) and I will study it in more detail later. Essentially what you are both saying is that absorption becomes less efficient as the absorption moves out to the ‘wings’ and by that I take to mean other smaller absorption bands. Either that or you need to clarify what you mean by ‘wings’, or you seem to suggest that the ‘wings’ are as efficient as the main band – which I think would be pretty controversial.

        Also: “but saturation is essentially impossible even at concentrations orders of magnitude greater than our current one.” reads slightly bottom about noggin. What is being suggest is not that saturation is impossible at higher concentrations, but that current concentrations are currently close to absorbed IR saturation. I think what is suggested that for a doubling of CO2 (say) the affect of the absorption is not linear, but logarithmic, that is to say it diminishes in effect at higher concentrations, (given a near saturated absorption).

        As to the second point, if I can rephrase, you are suggesting Norm is talking about a narrow band of IR? So how does that tally with the figures he cites for incoming energy against out-going?

        “Because the surface has been warming, that OLR has increased. This is exactly what would be expected from surface warming mediated by greenhouse gases or any other warming mechanism.”

        Well, arguably another warming mechanism could be from the sun – i’ll come to that. Also the energy budgets have to match. If the surface is warming, and OLR is increasing, then energy is being lost via OLR and eventually when the additional warming ends, the earth will lose heat via OLR and cool. So presumably you are suggesting that if CO2 is a key component it is slowing down that rate of OLR thus trapping the heat in. What Norm is suggesting is that is happening only to an insignificant amount, and that energy is being lost nearly as fast as it is gained due to the limit to which CO2 can absorb any more energy. Therefore there should be a lag of increasing OLR to incoming energy and surface warming.

        I take it that in line with the conventional view, you do not think the sun to have varied enough to account for the extra energy going toward the increase in OLR via surface warming? Somehow those sums need to add up…the energy has to come from somewhere. If energy is trapped by the CO2, then it is not free to be released as OLR. If OLR increases then it is not available to warm the surface.

        Thanks again for the article. That’s the sort of physics I am most familiar with.

      • Agnostic – Yes, the Physics Today article is very informative and should provide you with an accurate perspective of the role of greenhouse gas IR absorption in mediating surface and atmospheric warming.

        Below, Norm Kalmanovitch repeats some of his earlier claims, but I believe he continues to misunderstand the relevant concepts. Regarding OLR data, he has linked to a ClimateForYou site, which in previous comments, he pointed out as showing increasing OLR in concert with surface warming. More recently, he has referred instead to something else – perhaps total OLR. Regarding the earlier point, the numbers refer to the window region, where IR escapes to space with little interception from greenhouse gases, and so as the surface warms (from any mechanism) window OLR will increase. If the warming is due to CO2 and feedbacks, the observed OLR increase is what would be expected. (Parenthetically, if it were due to the sun, the same would apply, but elsewhere, Dr. Curry, I, and others have cited references indicating that solar forcing, even with some amplification beyond total solar irradiance, would have only minor moderating effects on significant anthropogenic warming even in the case of a severe solar lull. During the past 60 years, solar behavior has shown no clear trend, and so its contribution to warming since 1950 is estimated as minimal by most observers, with some dissenting views. In any case, that is a different topic from the issue of OLR and “saturation”).

        To return to the OLR question, even significant CO2 forcing, while shifting some OLR away from CO2-absorbable wavelengths to window regions, may have effects on total OLR too small to be calculated as the difference between measured OLR and OLR estimated from solar input and albedo (values around 239 W/m^2) – the instruments are not accurate enough for this. Rather, attempts are made to estimate the differences and trends over time between incoming and outgoing radiation so as to calculate an energy imbalance at the top of the atmosphere. These calculations, based on ERBE and CERES observational data, are themselves subject to considerable uncertainty, but are consistent with a positive imbalance (more incoming than outgoing energy) that would be expected from greenhouse gas forcing. I used the word “consistent” because observational data are not yet accurate enough to prove the existence of an imbalance (e.g. 0.9 W/m^2) capable of significant temperature effect but too small to be precisely estimated as the exact difference between two large numbers in the range of 239 W/m^2. This is one reason why many observers have suggested that multidecadal changes in ocean heat content may prove to be a more reliable metric than TOA energy imbalances, although the OHC measurements are themselves subject to methodological problems that preclude reliable interpretation over short timescales.

        As you mention, the response to CO2 is logarithmic, and this is the basis for almost all modeling of CO2/temperature relationships as well as estimates of past CO2 contributions to climate change. A logarithmic relationship cannot saturate, and the relationship is expected to remain logarithmic over a wide range of CO2 concentrations above and below current levels. This is due to the large multiplicity of IR-absorption lines as one moves from the center of the 667 wavenumber band into the wings, where fewer and fewer molecules are in states capable of particular quantum transitions, so that even larger quantities of CO2 would fail to find these transitions fully occupied.

        This multiplicity of CO2 absorption lines due to combinations of vibrational and rotational excitations is not a vague concept, but thoroughly documented. The exact data can be retrieved by request via the Hitran Database, but a good description of underlying concepts can be found at Rich Green’s Primer on Infrared Spectroscopy. It is a fundamental and determinative property of our climate system.

      • Norm Kalmanovitch

        There is something that I refer to as the law of the obvious; “if it happens it must be possible”!
        Thirty one years of satellite meaurement of OLR shows an exact match to the absolute average global temperature as measured by satellites (UAH and RSS MSU). The peak radiation occurs in july which is the warmest time in the Earth’s annual 3.9°C temperature cycle due to seasonal effects from the significantly larger northern hemisphere landmass. the measured OLR at the minimum divided by the fourth power of the absolute temperature for the minimum is 0.000000034 which is identical to the measured OLR at the maximum divided by the fourth power of the absolute temperature for the maximum proving a direct resonse to global temperature closely following the fourth power relationship. The OLR data shiows absolutely no visible response to either the 57.1% increase in CO2 emissions or the unrelated 16% increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration and since AGW is predicated on this occurring to a measurable extent in that observed warming of the past 31 years is 90% certain the result of this enhanced greenhouse effect according to the 2007 IPCC 4AR; tghe fact that there is no visible effect on OLR falsifies the AGW hypothesis.
        This is what the measured data says so whether it agrees or disagrees with the theory you proclaim it is still correct and your theory must be changed to one that has incoming energy changes driving global temperature changes.
        The same is true for the “wings” on the 14.77micron spectral notch. Whether or not there is a theoretical rotational mode induced from the resonant vibration mode there is no observational data that demonstrates this to be occurring. Mars has a net nine times the concentration of CO2 compared to the Earth and no such effect is visible on the measured spectrum. Venus has several thousand times the CO2 concentration of the Earth and the spectrum from Venus is also perfectly flat outside the 14.77micron spectral notch.
        The net effect on Earth Venus and Mars from CO2 as a gas is virtually identical demonstrating the limited effect from CO2 beacuse the 14.77 micron band gets so close to saturation by just 300ppmv with further increases like the 950,000ppmv high pressure concentration on Venus having very little additional effect. I don`t mind being advised of errors because that is the way I learn; are you willing to be as accomodating

    • Seconded – I have been impressed not only by NK’s posts, but by the lack of controversy they seem to have excited amongst the faithful.

    • Norm Kalmanovitch

      If you look at the actual measurements of OLR on you will see that the OLR averages at around 232watts/sq m.
      The solar flux is 1366 watts per sq m so with the hemisphere having twice the cross sectional area this averages to 688 watts/sq m
      The albedo reduces this by 30% to 478 watts/sq m
      About half of this energy is incorporated into the Earth systems growing plants creating weather etc leaving 239 watts/sq m which must be returned to space.
      This back of envelope calculation of 239watts/sq m is quite close to the measured value of 232 watts/sq m verifying that the concept is more or less correct.
      Climate models do not use this measured value but instead calculate a theoretical value and balance forcing against this value begging the question what would happen if the climate models used 232 watts/ sq m as measured to balance off the incoming energy

      • Norm – With respect, this is so absurd that I believe you should have thought twice before posting. Current TSI estimates are about 1361 W/m^2 (not 1366), but instead of dividing by 2, you must divide by 4, because the Earth intercepts solar radiation equivalent to a disk with a diameter equal to that of the Earth, but is itself a sphere, and the ratio of the area of a disk to a sphere is 1/4. The concept of energy going into “the Earth system” and somehow disappearing there without return to space is absolute nonsense. If more than 200 W/m^2 were absorbed and not re-emitted, the Earth would have burned to a cinder long ago. In fact, the Earth absorbs and emits energy in amounts that are almost exactly the same except for those imbalances that, while small, can mediate the temperature increases we have observed over the past 100 years.

        I’ve addressed what I believe to be some of your other errors above, at Comment-76716.

      • Norm Kalmanovitch

        Two problems with your concept. first of all accordingn to you the sun shines on both halves of the Earth at the same time and secondly the meaured OLR is on average 232watts/ sq m so what happens to the 1366 watts per sq m that is incedent on the Earth.
        Where do you think the enrgy stored in plants that make biofuel come from? Where do you think the energy that lifts water from the ocean through evaporation and deposits it up on land where it descends in rivers through power dams generating electricity comes from?
        Energy dopes not all go into heating the Earth and it certainly isn’t manufactured by CO2 and the greenhouse effect.
        If the best that you can come up with to criticize my comments is to change my version of the solar flux from 1366 to 1361 why does every article state the solar flux at 1367 watts per m sq on average?
        The total solar radiant energy flux incident upon the top of the Earth’s atmosphere at a standard distance (1 astronomical unit, 1.496 × 108 km or 9.3 × 107 mi) from the Sun. In 1980 it was discovered that the so-called solar constant actually varies with time, though only by small amounts, around a value of about 1367 W · m−2 (1.96 cal · cm−2 · min−1).
        Read more:
        By the way the Earth would not burn up because as it heats it radiates energy at the fourth power of its absolute temperature so if there was a bulidup of heat energy the radiation would increase and a new equilibrium temperature would be reached.
        Today because there is less energy coming from the sun through reduced incident solar energy and increased albedo from greater cloud formation the Earth is cooling and the OLR will change accordingly. there will still be the same energy taken in by Earth systems to have plants grow and water evaporate so we will still have forests and we will still have rain

      • Norm, do a Google search on the Kiehl Trenberth energy diagram, under Images. It shows you the budget. Basically it balances at the top of the atmosphere, 239 in and 239 out. It also balances at the surface including radiation, latent heat, heat flux, and it balances within the atmosphere. These balances are necessary long-term constraints on these numbers, and from year to year, the variation is no more than about 1% in all these terms.

      • Norm – This isn’t intended as a personal insult, but I think you are carrying an enormous number of misconceptions in your mind, based perhaps on information you learned in school decades ago, remembered inaccurately, and not updated with the data of the past 30 years. I recommend – seriously, not sarcastically – that you start over. Scrap your current concepts and read a standard climatology text (Hartmann for a reasonably modest volume, Pierrehumbert if you want a very thorough treatise).

        Let’s start with incident radiation. At the Earth/sun distance, a flat disk could intercept exactly the amount of radiation incident on the Earth if the disk were placed in front of the Earth and had the same radius. Measured radiation on the disk would be about 1361 W/m^2 (see below), and so this is the radiation incident on the Earth at any time. However, the area of a disk is πr^2, while the area of a sphere is 4 πr^2. This is why we must divide the TSI by 4 (not 2) to get the radiance averaged over the Earth’s surface. The result is about 340 W/m^2, not the 688 you cited. With about 30% albedo, the absorbed solar radiation is about 238 W/m^2, not any of the values you have cited in your comments.

        The absorbed energy does all the things you have described, but that doesn’t mean it accumulates. All absorbed radiation must be returned to space, except for very minor imbalances (e.g., of the order of currently estimated 0.9 W/^2) during forcing by CO2, solar changes, aerosols, or other climate drivers. If any substantial quantity were retained by the Earth without being returned to space, the Earth would burn up. Therefore, we know that the estimated 238 W/m^2 OLR is going to account for all or almost all absorbed solar energy, with none disappearing into the “climate system”.

        Finally, previous TSI estimates of about 1366 W/m^2 were recently updated by Kopp and Lean down to about 1361 in a recent GRL paper.

      • Norm Kalmanovitch

        I am not the one portraying human caused global warming in a world that has been cooling for the past nine years in spite of a 26% increase in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. I think I will stick with my delusions.

      • Fred – I must be missing something – Norm has drawn your attention to the fact that your model of earth’s incident solar radiation appears to assume that the entire surface of the globe is illuminated. In fact, only half of it is. You reply, repeating your geometry:

        “However, the area of a disk is πr^2, while the area of a sphere is 4 πr^2.”

        …but fail to deal with the fact that half your sphere is always in darkness, making Norm’s calculation, so far as I can see, correct, and yours (and all that proceeds from it) out by a factor of 2.

        Surely you cannot have made such an elementary error? Can you – er – enlighten us?

      • Tom – Half the globe is illuminated, but only one area in that half receives sunlight perpendicular to the surface. The remainder receives it at increasing angles. That is why the geometry I cited gives the correct average, requiring us to divide TSI by 4 (not 2 as Norm does).

        This can be found in any standard climatology text as well as multiple web sources – it’s simply a matter of geometry relating the area of a disk to the area of a sphere.

      • Geometrically, the earth intercepts an amount proportional to pi*r^2 of the sun’s rays, but it is spread over a sphere of 4 times the area, so energy per area is 1/4 times what a perpendicular disc would have on its sunward face. What matters for earth is energy per surface area (W/m2).

      • Jim and Fred are definitely right on the solar forcing being 1/4 of flux less reflection

        The earth intercepting solar flux behaves like a flat disc, computed as solar surface output, inverse square law for flux at 93million miles and the area of the 93million mile radius sphere intercepted by the earth. This is near enough approximation to a flat disc of the same radius as the earth. Strictly there should be corrections for: a. curvature, as the area of segment of the sphere of radius 93million miles is marginally larger that the flat disc (radius of earth) intersecting the sphere; b.radius of earth, which should be larger to include a proportion of atmosphere which absorbs light and possibly smaller to account for reflection from clouds towards the poles and the polar icecaps though one presumes these may be somehow accounted in albedo.

        So the amount of energy incoming while intercepted by a disc in daylight, is on average applied to a sphere 4 times larger surface area 24hours a day.

        From a purely radiative thermal equilibrium perspective, is is impossible to change the temperature of earth as seen from space without changing solar flux and/or albedo and nothing else one could possibly do to the composition of the earth/atmosphere can change that. Generating net heat from potential energy on earth clearly can change the equilibrium temperature.

      • Norm Kalmanovitch

        For your information please go to the Argo Buoy website and see where 80% of the heat added to the Earth system is stored without causing the Earth to burn up. There are also fossil fuels which have stored this energy for hundreds of millions of years. All this is done without heating the earth to the dramotic levels that you envision.
        We know that the average OLR for the past 31 years is about 232watts/m^2 and the incoming energy starts off as 1361 or 1366 or 1368watts/m^2 depending on what you base the number on. When we spread this over half the Earth’s surface and compensate for the Albedo at 30% we are left with twice as much incoming energy flux as we see going out. If the energy doesn’t leave or disapear it has to go somewhere other than the atmosphere because that would result in the atmosphere heating to the extent that the OLR would be several times higher than the 232watts/m^2 observed.
        The heat sink is the ocean with its great volume it can take in a lot of heat energy without a dramatic rise in the overall ocean temperature.
        This makes a lot more sense than the sun adding energy to both halves of the Earth at the same time.

        Ocean temperature and heat content
        Over the past 50 years, the oceans have absorbed more than 80% of the total heat added to the air/sea/land/cyrosphere climate system (Levitus et al, 2005). As the dominant reservoir for heat, the oceans are critical for measuring the radiation imbalance of the planet and the surface layer of the oceans plays the role of thermostat and heat source/sink for the lower atmosphere.

        Domingues et al (2008) and Levitus et al (2009) have recently estimated the multi-decadal upper ocean heat content using best-known corrections to systematic errors in the fall rate of expendable bathythermographs (Wijffels et al, 2008). For the upper 700m, the increase in heat content was 16 x 1022 J since 1961. This is consistent with the comparison by Roemmich and Gilson (2009) of Argo data with the global temperature time-series of Levitus et al (2005), finding a warming of the 0 – 2000 m ocean by 0.06°C since the (pre-XBT) early 1960’s.

      • Have you worked out how much energy it takes to increase the total ocean area by that many Joules over 45 years? I make it about 1/3 W/m2. This is a small residual imbalance that probably arises from forcing terms (maybe CO2 increases).

      • Trenberth has always used OLR measurements. See for example:

        My understanding is that the problem is the various measurements differ significantly, so confidence is gained by estimating some of the energy budget items more accurately than the measurement errors permit.

        Computer models (hansen’s particularly for IPCC) are also used to reduce the uncertainty in the energy budget items.

  60. Norm Kalmanovitch

    If you look at Trenberth you will see the ridiculous 333 watts/sq m downward forcing from greenhouse gases with no downward forcing from clouds. Clouds do not absorb and re radiate IR radiation; clouds reflect this energy with a reflection coefficient of .3 at each water air interface which is why clouds can prevent over 99% of the energy impinging on them from escaping into space. It doesn’t Take much in the way of cloud cover to comlpletely hide the sun from our view and in the same way cloud cover at night prevents the amount of nightime cooling that occurs on a cloudless night especially in an area of low humidity. Since there is about 50% variable cloud cover at any given time and clouds can reflect over 99% of the IR radiation from the Earth’s surface clouds are responsible for a likely 90% of the Earth’s greenhouse effect. The water molecule has a permanent dipole moment which gives it a rotational mode that has an effect on most of the IR spectrum radiated by the Earth as well as vibrational modes that only operate on specific wavelengths. Water vapour can account for 30% of the Greenhouse effect but since the same energy can’t be affected by both water vapour and clouds the combined effect is not 120% but simply the 90% related to clouds with either water vapour or clouds or some combination of both providing 90% of the greenhouse effect. This means that there is only 10% of the greenhouse effect attributable to the so called greenhouse gases (a term coined to mean CO2 and exclude water vapour and ozone for the purpose of promoting AGW).
    The Trenberth diagram that shows 333 watts/m^-2 “back radiation” from greenhouse gases should therefore show 33.3 watts/m^-2 for greenhouse gases and 299.7watts/m^-2 from clouds and water vapour.
    If this were properly portrayed in this fashion the effect from GHG’s would be reduced by 90% and AGW would never have been an issue.
    Instead of portraying Trenberth’s work as fact you should be questioning why the 90% contribution to the greenhouse effect from clouds and water vapour is not explicitly stated in his work which falsely portrays greenhouse gases as having ten times the downward forcing that is honestly attributable to them.
    Scientists must account for general public ignorance; not prey on it as has been done with this AGW hypothesis based on the fraudulent misrepresentation of the effect from greenhouse gases. Proper representation of the greenhouse effect from clouds and water vapour will still give the same ratiative balance and it is not for me to state whether this is or isn’t correct for modelling purposes. The only difference is that the attribution will be 90% towards clouds and water vapour and since humans are in no way responsible for these factors AGW will be just about natural global warming which ended over a decade ago and replaced by the global cooling which started in 2002 and will likely continue nuntil at least the end of solar cycle 25 around 2032

    • I find Norm generally makes a lot of sense. I have not seen a lot of logic from Trenberth’s energy budget. Nor have I seen the mainstream advance a sensible scientific theory of atmosphere. I still challenge the climate science community to show experimental verification of the amount of heat “trapped” by trace CO2, since I have not been able to find any so far and nobody has been able to point me to anything except Tyndall, who studied large concentrations of CO2 up to 100% (and didn’t measure absorption anyway – only failure of transmission which = absorption + scattering).

      In a radiative equilbrium sense, it is patently impossible for earth to “burn up” in the sun while only half of it is in the sun. Without an atmosphere, earth would be cold like the moon.

      While energy may be stored in plant matter by sunlight absorption, energy is also liberated by animals consuming plant matter. Net energy absorbed from sunlight is likely to be negative, because we are generating net energy from the surface through consumption of fossil and nuclear fuels. (See Bo Nordell on thermal pollution.)

    • Norm – It’s hard to deal with your comments, because most of your multiple statements are either partly or completely wrong, and it would take too much time to demonstrate this for each one. I’ve already done some of it in above comments to illustrate the problem, and so readers can get an idea from that of your misunderstanding of basic principles.

      There are unsettled issues in geophysics, but they don’t include the claims you make, which are known to be erroneous.

  61. Parsing out how much of [the Little Ice Age] that was solar, how much of that was volcanic and how much of that was just noise … that’s tricky,” Schmidt said.

    “Just noise”.
    Is this the new term for : natural variability that we do not understand, and moreover don’t want anyone to look at, since this takes attention away from AGW ideas ?

    • Close, P. When the only relevant signal, per the Trenberthian Null Upsidedown Cake, is the anthropogenic one, all else is noise.

  62. Well, I missed the party here. Nicola Scafetta shows up, Leif Svalgaard starts doing the John Cook on M.A. Vukcevic, blimey!

  63. Fred Moolten | June 17, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Reply
    Norm – This isn’t intended as a personal insult, but I think you are carrying an enormous number of misconceptions in your mind,

    What you and AGW followers in general refer to as “misconceptions”, other scientists would call by their more common name “experimental data”.

  64. The most amazing toy in 2011 with remote control – flying fish . A giant flying sharks and flying fish clown will delight your friends and children. These toys are very maneuvers and have a remote control .Accidents and collisions for the flying fish is not a problem , they just bounce off prepyadstviya , so they can use at home or office.
    buybesttoys . ru

  65. I think this is among the most important information for me.
    And i am glad reading your article. But should
    remark on few general things, The website style is ideal, the articles
    is really nice : D. Good job, cheers