Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sun Power

With China now generating more CO2 than the USA, the whole Human Global Warming/Kyoto boondoggle is crumbling:
China has surpassed the US as the world's largest producer of CO2, the chief "greenhouse gas" said responsible for Global Warming. What will environmentalists say? Barking Moonbat Early Warning System thinks they will say nothing because the real goal of "climate change" activism was to hamstring America.
As a further blow, real scientists are speaking out more and more about the real causes of the recent warming: sun cycles, cosmic rays, and clouds.
The only constant about climate is change; it changes continually and, at times, quite rapidly. Many times in the past, temperatures were far higher than today, and occasionally, temperatures were colder. As recently as 6,000 years ago, it was about 3C warmer than now. Ten thousand years ago, while the world was coming out of the thou-sand-year-long "Younger Dryas" cold episode, temperatures rose as much as 6C in a decade -- 100 times faster than the past century's 0.6C warming that has so upset environmentalists.

Climate-change research is now literally exploding with new findings. Since the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the field has had more research than in all previous years combined and the discoveries are completely shattering the myths. For example, I and the first-class scientists I work with are consistently finding excellent correlations between the regular fluctuations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate. This is not surprising. The sun and the stars are the ultimate source of all energy on the planet.
It could hardly be otherwise! Look, I was for many years as a physicist working with the heat absorption coefficients of atmospheric constituents -- such as CO2 -- in the infrared spectrum.

My application was the transmission of high energy laser beams for missile defense.

That is generally the same part of the spectrum, however, as the heat re-radiated from the earth.

And guess what, CO2 is a rather weak contributor to heat absorption in the atmosphere!


Because most of the heat that exists to be absorbed, is already being absorbed quite handily by that very strong absorber, water vapor!

The amount of heat to be trapped is finite; once it's all absorbed, you can pump out CO2 to whatever level you like and it won't make a bit of extra difference. The planet cannot get arbitrarily hot due to extra greenhouse gases; that requires more energy input. The available heat energy is supplied by the Sun.

And sometimes the Sun is hotter, and sometimes cooler.

Yet, I see news article after news article blithely refer to CO2 as "the major greenhouse gas" or something like that.

That of course is a lie. What they mean is, CO2 is the only heat-absorbing constituent of the atmosphere that humans can appreciably affect.

It doesn't follow, however, that our changing this relatively minor absorber has much impact on overal heat trapping. It is at worst a minor second-order effect. Maybe it changes the moisture content of the air and/or affects clouds, but such models are dubious. And yes, CO2 will have more of an impact where the air is already cold and dry (because water vapor isn't trapping as much heat), which is near the poles -- but the poles are in such a deep freeze, that warming them from, say, -30 degrees to -20 degrees isn't going to make a "meltdown"! If the poles were hovering near the melting point of water, then I'd worry, but they aren't.

Here is a fascinating example of the new scientific consensus that is emerging among the young discipline of atmospheric science, none of which is a surprise to hard-science physicists:
Specifically, we find a very strong and consistent 11-year cycle throughout the whole record in the sediments and diatom remains. This correlates closely to the well-known 11-year "Schwabe" sunspot cycle, during which the output of the sun varies by about 0.1%. Sunspots, violent storms on the surface of the sun, have the effect of increasing solar output, so, by counting the spots visible on the surface of our star, we have an indirect measure of its varying brightness. Such records have been kept for many centuries and match very well with the changes in marine productivity we are observing.

In the sediment, diatom and fish-scale records, we also see longer period cycles, all correlating closely with other well-known regular solar variations. In particular, we see marine productivity cycles that match well with the sun's 75-90-year "Gleissberg Cycle," the 200-500-year "Suess Cycle" and the 1,100-1,500-year "Bond Cycle." The strength of these cycles is seen to vary over time, fading in and out over the millennia. The variation in the sun's brightness over these longer cycles may be many times greater in magnitude than that measured over the short Schwabe cycle and so are seen to impact marine productivity even more significantly.

Our finding of a direct correlation between variations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate indicators (called "proxies") is not unique. Hundreds of other studies, using proxies from tree rings in Russia's Kola Peninsula to water levels of the Nile, show exactly the same thing: The sun appears to drive climate change.

However, there was a problem. Despite this clear and repeated correlation, the measured variations in incoming solar energy were, on their own, not sufficient to cause the climate changes we have observed in our proxies. In addition, even though the sun is brighter now than at any time in the past 8,000 years, the increase in direct solar input is not calculated to be sufficient to cause the past century's modest warming on its own. There had to be an amplifier of some sort for the sun to be a primary driver of climate change.

Indeed, that is precisely what has been discovered. In a series of groundbreaking scientific papers starting in 2002, Veizer, Shaviv, Carslaw, and most recently Svensmark et al., have collectively demonstrated that as the output of the sun varies, and with it, our star's protective solar wind, varying amounts of galactic cosmic rays from deep space are able to enter our solar system and penetrate the Earth's atmosphere. These cosmic rays enhance cloud formation which, overall, has a cooling effect on the planet. When the sun's energy output is greater, not only does the Earth warm slightly due to direct solar heating, but the stronger solar wind generated during these "high sun" periods blocks many of the cosmic rays from entering our atmosphere. Cloud cover decreases and the Earth warms still more.

The opposite occurs when the sun is less bright. More cosmic rays are able to get through to Earth's atmosphere, more clouds form, and the planet cools more than would otherwise be the case due to direct solar effects alone. This is precisely what happened from the middle of the 17th century into the early 18th century, when the solar energy input to our atmosphere, as indicated by the number of sunspots, was at a minimum and the planet was stuck in the Little Ice Age. These new findings suggest that changes in the output of the sun caused the most recent climate change. By comparison, CO2 variations show little correlation with our planet's climate on long, medium and even short time scales.
In a 2003 poll conducted by German environmental researchers Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch, two-thirds of more than 530 climate scientists from 27 countries surveyed did not believe that "the current state of scientific knowledge is developed well enough to allow for a reasonable assessment of the effects of greenhouse gases." About half of those polled stated that the science of climate change was not sufficiently settled to pass the issue over to policymakers at all.

Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the Little Ice Age, should be a priority for governments. It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world, especially Canada. As a country at the northern limit to agriculture in the world, it would take very little cooling to destroy much of our food crops, while a warming would only require that we adopt farming techniques practiced to the south of us.
The author is professor and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University.

Lots of links to copious data at that above-linked National Post story.


Blogger The_Bad said...

Denier! Blasphemy!

12:07 PM, June 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's strange that the National Post series did a profile on Sami Solanki at the Max Planck Insitute - he compared solar activity & temperatures over the past 1150 years and found temperatures closely correlate to solar activity. When sunspot activity was low during the Maunder Minimum in the 1600's or the Dalton Minimum in the 1800's, the earth went through 'small ice ages'. The sun has been unusually hot in the last century - solar output rose dramatically in the early 20th century accompanied by a sharp rise in global temperatures.

However, Solanki also found the correlation between solar activity and global temperatures ended around 1975. At that point, temperatures started rising while solar activity stayed level. This led him to conclude "during these last 30 years the solar total irradiance, solar UV irradiance and cosmic ray flux has not shown any significant secular trend, so that at least this most recent warming episode must have another source."

This is confirmed by direct satellite measurements that find no rising trend since 1978, sunspot numbers which have leveled out since 1950, the Max Planck Institute reconstruction that shows irradience has been steady since 1950 and solar radio flux or flare activity which shows no rising trend over the past 30 years.

As for cosmic rays, the whole problem with the theory that cosmic rays (or lack thereof) are driving global warming is that cosmic radiation has shown no trend over the last 50 years. This has led the Max Planck Institute to conclude that cosmic ray flux and temperature followed each other up to 1970 but there has been no correlation between temperature and cosmic ray flux since 1970. So even if cosmic rays are linked to cloud formation, all they'll find is the cloud formation 50 years ago is similar to now and has little to no impact on the last 30 years of long term global warming.

The sun has been the primary driver of Earth's climate in the past but solar variations are conspicuous in their absence over the last 30 years of long term global warming.

7:29 PM, June 21, 2007  
Blogger RDS said...

Clearly much is not understood about climate. The main point is to not make hasty policy based on faulty models. More data and analysis is required.

The standard argument had been that CO2 changes contributed to warming in the past, and thus human-driven increases are behind the recent warming; this solar work shows that line of reasoning is incorrect.

Perhaps we don't have a pat answer on short-term trends, but the CO2 model also fails to explain the last few decades.

As I outlined here, as just one example of many:
COLUMBUS , Ohio – A new report on climate over the world's southernmost continent shows that temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models.

This comes soon after the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that strongly supports the conclusion that the Earth's climate as a whole is warming, largely due to human activity.

It also follows a similar finding from last summer by the same research group that showed no increase in precipitation over Antarctica in the last 50 years. Most models predict that both precipitation and temperature will increase over Antarctica with a warming of the planet.

David Bromwich, professor of professor of atmospheric sciences in the Department of Geography, and researcher with the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, reported on this work at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at San Francisco.

"It's hard to see a global warming signal from the mainland of Antarctica right now," he said. "Part of the reason is that there is a lot of variability there. It's very hard in these polar latitudes to demonstrate a global warming signal."

1:24 AM, June 22, 2007  
Blogger RDS said...

Furthermore, on the extremely short time scale of the last 30 years, all sorts of other natural effects can be at work to mask the main driver of solar activity. We can also possibly be seeing the effect of lag of a few years between changes in solar drivers and effects on global temperature.

As one example, global temperature seems to have peaked in the late 90s and levelled off since then, consistent with a lagged response to a levelling of solar activity.

For another example, there was a period of anomalous cooling from 1945 to 1975, which runs counter to both the CO2 and the solar theory, if one does not take into account more complex global climate dynamics, and factor in El Nino and La Nina, as well as volcanic eruptions and the effects of atmospheric nuclear tests in the 1950s and 1960s, etc. that could throw off correlations in the short run.

See discussion at Ponder the Maunder:

The cooling period from 1945 should not have occurred according to either of the competing solar or greenhouse theories, nor does it make sense from the standpoint that both theories may have contributed equally to the warming of the last 40 years (Solanki 2007).

The graph below is temperature observations since 1880 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Notice the cooling period between 1945 and 1975. According to the greenhouse theory, this cooling period should never have happened because the atmospheric CO2 was steadily increasing. The same is true for the solar theory, solar activity was on the rise since 1910, the end of the Kristen minimum, and continued until 1960, then leveled out and has slightly fluctuated since. Before that period there was striking correlation between solar activity and temperature.

The graph below is the El Nino Southern Oscillation for about the same time period. This graph shows the strength and duration of El Nino and La Nina events. Notice how in 1998 there is a large El Nino, and notice how the global mean temperature in the graph above suddenly begins to climb at the same time. In the graph above, notice how the temperature drops between 1992 and 1995. But notice how there is a strong El Nino at the same time, this is the effect of Mt Pinatubo causing cooling despite the strong El Nino.

And it continues,
If solar were the climate driver, then temperatures should have increased until about 1960 then begun to level out with a slight decrease in 1970, rise a little in 1980 through 1990, and again dip in 2000.

The solar overlay in the graph above is based on Foukal 2006 with the latest climate sensitivity (.67) By J. Hansen, NASA GISS.
If there was warming due to greenhouse gasses, then the temperature should have climbed at a slow constant rate with the rate increasing as time goes along.

Using the “ONI” values (the amount of temperature change created by ENSO [El Nino Southern Oscillation]) from the NOAA home page, (Appendix B) I was able to “wash out the ENSO and volcanic noise” from the global temperatures.
The results were quite surprising, and rather clear. There was no sign of greenhouse warming at all. Only the clear fingerprint of solar activity was left.
It was simply a matter of solar variation being clouded by El Ninos and La Ninas.

Be sure to see all the charts and graphs.

9:49 AM, June 22, 2007  

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