The Solar Conveyor Has Slowed

Reliapundit left a comment at my blog about this story which I think covers my theory of why we are seeing a big push for global warming taxes. [Emphasis added]

the political schmucks running agw crowd are NOT dumb.

they KNOW we are near the end of this warming cycle, and that's EXACTLY why they are pushing so dang FURIOUSLY HARD to get agw taxes and regulations in place ASAP ASAP ASAP - because in a few years it will be cooling --- they want to hamper capitalism/free markets / industrialization/globalization --- it's always been the left's long term goal - and they KNOW that it's NOW OR NEVER!

And now the rest of the story:

NASA says the solar conveyor has slowed. The solar conveyor speed predicts the sunspot level two cycles in advance, about 20 years.

"Normally, the conveyor belt moves about 1 meter per second--walking pace," says Hathaway. "That's how it has been since the late 19th century." In recent years, however, the belt has decelerated to 0.75 m/s in the north and 0.35 m/s in the south. "We've never seen speeds so low."

According to theory and observation, the speed of the belt foretells the intensity of sunspot activity ~20 years in the future. A slow belt means lower solar activity; a fast belt means stronger activity. The reasons for this are explained in the Science@NASA story Solar Storm Warning.

"The slowdown we see now means that Solar Cycle 25, peaking around the year 2022, could be one of the weakest in centuries," says Hathaway.

What does all this have to do with the climate on earth? Let us look at the climate when sunspot levels were low:
...the Sporer, Maunder, and Dalton minima coincide with the colder periods of the Little Ice Age, which lasted from about 1450 to 1820. More recently it was discovered that the sunspot number during 1861-1989 shows a remarkable parallelism with the simultaneous variation in northern hemisphere mean temperatures (2). There is an even better correlation with the length of the solar cycle, between years of the highest numbers of sunspots. For example, the temperature anomaly was - 0.4 K in 1890 when the cycle was 11.7 years, but + 0.25 K in 1989 when the cycle was 9.8 years. Some critics of the theory of man-induced global warming have seized on this discovery to criticize the greenhouse gas theory.

All this evokes the important question of how sunspots affect the Earth's climate. To answer this question, we need to know how total solar irradiance received by the Earth is affected by sunspot activity.

Intuitively one may assume the that total solar irradiance would decrease as the number of (optically dark) sunspots increased. However direct satellite measurements of irradiance have shown just the opposite to be the case. This means that more sunspots deliver more energy to the atmosphere, so that global temperatures should rise.

If sunspots are going to decline in the near future the global warming era may be over. Especially if the sun's effect on Clouds turns out to be affected by solar activity as some scientists have experimentally proved.

So are things warming up now?

1. Since about 2002 there has been NO statistically significant global average warming in the lower and middle troposphere,

and

2. Since about 1995 there has been NO statistically significant cooling in the stratosphere.

The IPCC SPM conclusion that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal" is wrong as it ignores the lack of such warming in recent years by these other metrics of climate system heat changes...

Well what do you know? In addition global temperatures have been on the decline for the last few years. We had a spike in 2004 I believe, but otherwise temperatures have been declining since about 2000 or so.

Cross Posted at The Astute Bloggers

posted by Simon on 05.12.07 at 01:47 AM










Comments

The sun is slowing down, because George Bush failed to sign Kyoto.

What will it take for Americans to stop killing the sun?

Socrates   ·  May 12, 2007 10:24 AM

First, the amount of temperature change due to any changes in solar luminosity is tiny. Let's take the figure offered by the second source you cite (Geerts and Linacre):

"Direct measurements are uncertain, but estimates are that the Sun's radiant energy varies by up to 0.2% between the extremes of a sunspot cycle."

That's the absolute maximum variation possible. How much temperature change can that cause on the earth? Just use the Stefan-Boltzmann equation for the first-order calculation: power per unit area equals the Stefan-Boltzmann constant times the absolute temperature to the fourth power, apply an increase in power per unit area of 0.2%, and calculate the increase in absolute temperature that results. You'll get 0.15 degrees Kelvin -- about one-tenth of the already observed increase. In other words, changes in solar radiation are not causing the observed global warming.

More important, if they were causing the change, then we'd see periodicity in the earth's temperature related to their changes -- every eleven years we'd go through a heating and cooling cycle. That has not been observed. The correlations cited in the article are very weak and their significance is belied by the lack of correlation in the great majority of data. For correlation to have significance, it must be broad, not cherry-picked. If I get to cherry-pick my correlations, then I can select just the right people to prove that membership in the Libertarian party is correlated with child molestation.

The third source provided here criticizes the IPCC report; this in itself is enough to discredit the source. The IPCC report is not some random collection of wild claims thrown together by a few nut cases. The IPCC process involves thousands -- I do not exaggerate, THOUSANDS -- of scientists coordinating enormous amounts of data, more thousands of scientific papers, arguing over their meanings, and hammering out the conclusions step by agonizing step. The amount of effort that goes into every IPCC report exceeds by several orders of magnitude the amount of effort that goes into a Supreme Court decision. The community that puts these together represents a broad cross section of scientific opinion. There's lots of disagreement, and they only put down what they are confident of.

Yes, there remain some fringe people who still reject the IPCC findings. There are always fringe people. If you're willing to accept what the fringe people say, you will accept creationism, a flat earth, 9/11 conspiracies, the shot from the grassy knoll, and government thought control rays.

Froblyx   ·  May 12, 2007 10:58 AM

Frob,

There are reports that the sun's output increased around 1860 and the increase was about .5% which would mean around .4 deg C change, based on radiation balance.

If the cloud stuff is real (experimentally proved awaiting further confirmation) that might account for another .2 deg C. i.e. the sun has done it to us.

BTW you have left out the correlation between lower sunspot numbers (Maunder Minimum) and global temperatures. The AGW guys are working hard to bury that one.

The IPCC stuff is very solid science - if you leave out conflicting data. Like the fact that the ice core data shows an 800 yr (+/- 200) delay between global temperature rise and the rise in CO2. Which is what you might expect if the CO2 was being evolved from warmer oceans.

Then you have the geological data over the last 100 million years or so which shows 7X as much CO2 and falling temps.

I guess the IPCC doesn't do geology. Or ice cores.

Also the IPCC has yet to explain falling global temperatures from 1940 to around 1970 while CO2 was rising. However, they are working hard to adjust their data sets to get it to come out the preferred way.

M. Simon   ·  May 12, 2007 12:30 PM

"There are reports that the sun's output increased around 1860 and the increase was about .5% which would mean around .4 deg C change, based on radiation balance."

I'd sure like to learn the source of those reports, as they didn't have the technology back then to measure solar radiative output with that kind of accuracy. The bolometers and radiometers available back then were pretty clumsy devices. And of course, not being able to correct for atmospheric changes, they'd have a real problem figuring out that any changes actually came from the sun.

"If the cloud stuff is real (experimentally proved awaiting further confirmation) that might account for another .2 deg C. i.e. the sun has done it to us."

Cloud formation is an extremely complex subject. Yes, this is a possibility. There are a lot of possibilities working in both directions. The IPCC doesn't engage in speculation; they hew close to what is scientifically reliable.

"BTW you have left out the correlation between lower sunspot numbers (Maunder Minimum) and global temperatures. The AGW guys are working hard to bury that one."

That correlation is addressed in the text of my previous comment, which I repeat here for your convenience:

The correlations cited in the article are very weak and their significance is belied by the lack of correlation in the great majority of data. For correlation to have significance, it must be broad, not cherry-picked. If I get to cherry-pick my correlations, then I can select just the right people to prove that membership in the Libertarian party is correlated with child molestation.

"The IPCC stuff is very solid science - if you leave out conflicting data."

Yes, there's lots of inconsistency in the huge array of data available to us. But the IPCC doesn't ignore those inconsistencies -- it takes into account the relative reliability of various interpretations of the data and renders an overall judgement -- based on the aggregate opinions of a great many scientists -- of the overall conclusion.

I'd like to comment here on several mistakes common with those unfamiliar with the workings of science. First, science never proves anything. If it were that simple, we wouldn't need so many scientists. Instead, science produces a huge amount of data that must be evaluated by people who understand how that data was determined. No single measure is absolutely reliable. We don't really know what the solar output really is. What we do know is that a satellite measured some quantity that we then use to calculate a number that we think is close to the solar output. In order to do that, we make assumptions and approximations. Understanding those assumptions and approximations is crucial to understanding science.

Another common mistake is to assume that science is either right or wrong, black and white. If you can find one scientist who claims X, then X must be true. This is horribly mistaken! Scientists disagree on everything -- they cherish disagreement because they know that it keeps them honest. But when a solid majority of scientists (a lot more than 51%!) agree on something, then they proceed on that conclusion, even though you can still find some perfectly good scientists who disagree.

This is exactly why we have organizations like the IPCC and the NAS. Their function is to gather the judgements of many scientists and render the best overall judgement. It's sort of like the Supreme Court, except that the IPCC or the NAS won't publish a conclusion based on a 5 to 4 decision -- they prefer something more like 8 to 1 before they give it the seal of official approval. Yet nonscientists will seize upon that one dissenter and claim the matter "controversial" or "unproven".

"Then you have the geological data over the last 100 million years or so which shows 7X as much CO2 and falling temps."

I'd sure like to see that data; I know of no such information. Please provide your source.

"I guess the IPCC doesn't do geology. Or ice cores."

This guess is incorrect. The IPCC reports include a great deal of material on geological factors in paleoclimate. There's also a great deal of material on ice cores in the IPCC reports.

"Also the IPCC has yet to explain falling global temperatures from 1940 to around 1970 while CO2 was rising."

Perhaps you have missed the sections of the IPCC reports dealing with this issue.

"However, they are working hard to adjust their data sets to get it to come out the preferred way."

If you can find a flaw in the models or the datasets, I suggest that you write up a paper revealing that flaw and submit it for publication. There's certainly a Nobel Prize waiting for anybody who pulls the rug out from under the IPCC reports.

Froblyx   ·  May 12, 2007 1:31 PM

There's a great send-up of the craziness of all this solar-cycle correlations at here. It shows just how silly these oft-cited correlations can be.

Correlation is an easily-abused technique. The classic cautionary tale that statisticians love to tell about the misuse of correlation is the data from late nineteenth century Massachusetts showing a strong and undeniable correlation between teacher's salaries and total expenditures on liquor. "See, you pay them more and they just spend it all on booze, the sots!"

Froblyx   ·  May 12, 2007 1:49 PM

Well Frob I think the AGW data is weak. I guess that makes us even.

However you can look at CO2 and temperatures through the ages.

How did they figure solar output in 1860? They used one of the favorite methods of the AGW folk. Proxy data. The story came out last year around Nov or Dec. and again in about Feb of this year. I blogged it:

Power and Control

Do a search.

BTW could you please explain the current global warming on Mars, and Neptune? Is it because Congress voted 95 to 0 against joining Kyoto? Or is it Bush in cahoots the the coal and oil people.

Or is he covering for the Chinese who have surpassed us in CO2 output?

M. Simon   ·  May 12, 2007 2:46 PM

"Well Frob I think the AGW data is weak. I guess that makes us even."

Not quite. I am relying on the opinions of thousands of scientists, themselves relying on peer-reviewed published papers. You are relying on your own personal opinion.

"Do a search."

I take it that you do not have the data to support your claim.

"BTW could you please explain the current global warming on Mars, and Neptune?"

I am not aware of any evidence in support of the hypothesis that surface temperatures on Mars are increasing. Please provide such evidence.

The notion of surface temperatures on Neptune is nonsensical, as Neptune is a gas giant that may not even possess a surface in any sense that we think of one.

Froblyx   ·  May 12, 2007 3:40 PM

Here's what the IPCC report says about solar variability (Section 2.7.1, pg 188):

"The estimates of long-term solar irradiance changes used in the TAR (e.g., Hoyt and Schatten, 1993; Lean et al., 1995) have been revised downwards, based on new studies indicating that bright solar faculae likely contributed a smaller irradiance increase since the Maunder Minimum than was originally suggested by the range of brightness in Sun-like stars (Hall and Lockwood, 2004); M. Wang et al., 2005). However, empirical results since the TAR have strengthened the evidence for solar forcing of climate change by identifying detectable tropospheric changes associated with solar variability, including during the solar cycle (Section 9.2; van Loon and Shea, 2000); Douglass and Clader, 2002); Gleisner and Thejll, 2003); Haigh, 2003, Stott et al., 2003, Coughlin and Tung, 2004; Labitzke, 2004); Crooks and Gray, 2005). The most likely mechanism is considered to be some combination of direct forcing by changes in total solar irradiance, and indirect effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation in the stratosphere. Least certain, and under ongoing as discussed in the TAR, are indirect effects induced by galactic cosmic rays. (e.g., Marsh and Svensmark, 2000a,b; Kristjansson et al., 2002; Sun and Bradley,2002)."

After explaining in detail some of these factors, the section concludes with estimates of the net effects of solar forcing:

"...the most likely secular increase in total irradiance from the Maunder minimum to current cycle minima is 0.04%."

Note that in the above calculation I was using a value of 0.2%, but the IPCC value is only 0.04%. In other words, solar forcing is much smaller than I had calculated -- roughly 0.03 degrees Kelvin.

Froblyx   ·  May 12, 2007 4:30 PM

Simon, you have the patience of Job to even ATTEMPT to point out that Anthropogenic Global Warming is a false god to 'Froblyx'. My cap is off to you. I would have just patted him/her on the head and pointed him/her towards Climate Audit to find out just how much 'science' and 'IPCC' don't agree. Of course, he/she may have to read up a bit before he/she could understand half of what is at CA.
Langmuir's Laws are coming down the pike Frobee! (You may want to get out of the road.)

SMSgt Mac   ·  May 12, 2007 8:56 PM

In my original post on global warming I cite the Geocraft site for its carbon dioxide/global temperature graph over the course of 500-600 million years. These are well derived numbers using the basis of insolation for shifting isotope percentages in seawater over time. An example of this is best done with oxygen with lighter isotopes in water allowing those molecules to shift from liquid to vapor phase in preference to the heavier isotopes. This is also true for carbon dioxide (ensuring that proper adjustment for radioactive isotopes and their changes are done) in deposits of calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonates because of the variation of isotopes for each of the atoms allows for a good reading of what average temperature was over long periods of planetary history. By looking at changes in isotope percentages overall global temperature, dissolved solids in sea water, carbon dioxide, methane and other gases be derived. The Geocraft numbers fit very well with the various courses I took in geochemistry, mineralogy, structural geology, stratigraphy and sedimentation, paleontology and a grad course in extinctions and diversity of life.

Those numbers tend not to change much as they are driven by physics and chemistry and are reflective of the impact of life, but even that life must exist in the climate of its time and so ingest proportions of isotopes that have a good matching for their environment. That is *not* meteorology, it is physics and chemistry, along with Boyle's law and a few other things to help determine atmospheric density by dissolved mineral concentrations.

Previous inter-glacial periods have demonstrate very fast global temperature changes within a relatively narrow band above the average global temperature of glacial periods, but far below the start of this glaciation cyclicity which is driven by multiple factors not readily taken into account by any model. I go over those in this post and point out the numerous things going on now that were only starting up 70 million years ago when the entire planet was 14 degrees higher in temperature than it is today and relatively stable at that due to things like slow plate movement allowing for continental subsidence and the formation of vast, shallow seas that served as a large energy storage buffer. It is actually extremely difficult to raise the global temperature above that point with just atmospheric densities of carbon dioxide, water vapor and methane. The carboniferous saw the highest densities of all three of those due to the beginning of plant life which had a veritable field as witness to the huge coal beds and oil fields attributable to that era, plus the high amount of calcium carbonate rock witnessed then. The oceans serve to naturally change the amount of carbon dioxide via absorbing it and then forming calcium carbonate from the dissolved minerals washing off the continents. Sea life uses that to make shells, and places like the chalk cliffs of Dover in the UK and equivalent beds in continental Europe point to long standing, relatively quiescant oceans over millions of years that saw life happily dying and depositing shells on the seafloor which was taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. That is yet another thing not accounted for easily is the thickness of foraminifera shells due to higher concentrations of carbon dioxide dissolved in sea water. Forams and other unicellular critters do that far better than the larger fauna because they go through lifecycles so quickly.

Minor solar fluctuation is just another part of that larger, overall cycle that is witnessed in inter-glacial periods. Because there are no inland seas to create an energy buffer, the expectation is for somewhat wider swings to follow solar output due to the lack of water vapor in the air to serve as a reflection source because of said seas sitting in deeper basins due to plate speeds.

That is just basic geology and the mechanics of it... simple to understand. Meteorologists *still* can't make a reliable model for Earth's history so I rather expect them to be unable to do a good job beyond the 5-day forecast.

ajacksonian   ·  May 12, 2007 9:21 PM

I normally don't address commentators directly but I will make an exception in SMSgt Mac's case, as he seems quite sure of himself. I put the question directly to you:

Do you believe that the direct application of the Stefan-Boltzmann law as I used it in the above calculations yields reliable results? If not, please offer your criticisms of my calculation.

Barring a response, I propose that we may dismiss you as an ignorant fraud.

Froblyx   ·  May 12, 2007 10:58 PM

"Meteorologists *still* can't make a reliable model for Earth's history so I rather expect them to be unable to do a good job beyond the 5-day forecast."

Your post was very informative until you got out of your field. If you have criticisms of the science in the IPCC reports, by all means present those criticisms. Speculation is unwarranted.

BTW, I want to apologize to the readership for my uncivil response to SMSgt Mac. While I normally adhere to strict standards of courtesy, I must admit that I am less tolerant towards posturing ignorance. Science is a big, complicated, messy business and there's plenty of room for disagreement among scientists. But when non-scientists without even a basic grounding in the principles make grand statements about scientific results, I tend to respond ungraciously. But then, what can be graciously said about ignorant, pompous charlatanry?

Froblyx   ·  May 13, 2007 1:25 AM

Froblyx,
The reason that some people doubt the scientific consensus is simple: Politics. Or, more accurately, politics and money. It is hard to argue that there is not a strong political pressure group rooting for AGW to be fact, and money has increasingly flowed to scientists who report that it is.

Also, it seems to me that when I engage in these debates or watch them, both sides often commit the same crimes they accuse the enemy of. For example, everyone seems to love their own proxy data and hate everyone else's.

Personally, my own view is that CO2 doesn't fit well with the warming we've seen, though human action may be to blame, and it may be a real problem in the future.

Jon Thompson   ·  May 13, 2007 5:10 AM

"It is hard to argue that there is not a strong political pressure group rooting for AGW to be fact, and money has increasingly flowed to scientists who report that it is."

This represents another common misconception among non-scientists. Scientists are not motivated by money; if they were, they would have left academia long ago for much higher-paying positions in industry. Scientists are motivated by the desire for professional stature, and that stature is not obtained by parroting the party line. The way to get ahead in the world of science is to successfully refute the conventional wisdom, or to come up with something that nobody had expected. There is no such thing as a 'research industry' among scientists pursuing global warming. Getting scientists to conform to any agenda is like herding cats. They each want to distinguish themselves by coming up with something unorthodox.

"Also, it seems to me that when I engage in these debates or watch them, both sides often commit the same crimes they accuse the enemy of."

Perhaps this is true of the non-scientists arguing the issues, but it is certainly not the case with the peer-reviewed scientific results. If you can find any crimes in the IPCC reports or the NAS reports, by all means identify these crimes.

Your use of the term 'enemy' is revealing. Among scientists, there are few real enemies. There is strong disagreement but most scientists genuinely respect those with opposing points of view. Personal vendettas do occasionally develop, and there can certainly be a lot of passion in the arguments, but you should see scientists after a furious debate at a conference sit down together to argue some more over a beer.

"For example, everyone seems to love their own proxy data and hate everyone else's."

The phrase "proxy data" is a bit misleading; almost everything is proxy data because you almost never directly measure what you're looking for. And again, if there's any questionable usage of proxy data in the IPCC reports or the NAS reports, please identify it.

Froblyx   ·  May 13, 2007 10:53 AM

Froblyx,
So "Scientists are not motivated by money". How very naive. Academic funding is driven by "No problem, no grants". Ergo, no AGW, no funding for Hockey Stick junk science. "Scientists are motivated by professional stature". How about egos and the fear of falling out with peer reviewing competitors, losing grants and professional empires.
Reality is, the IPCC, just like the large enironmental NGOs, is not a scientific body, but a large political organization with an agenda. When politics are allowed to drive science, the very basis for sound scientific inquiry: "when the data don't support the hypothesis, modify your hypothesis", gets tossed out. What you get instead is cherry picking and cooking the books, something which the IPCC has a demonstrated track record of doing.
As far as scientists selling their soul to the political devil, Al Capone was dead on: "every man has his price, it's a matter of finding it".

tetris   ·  May 13, 2007 1:04 PM

Frob says:

Scientists are not motivated by money;

Ah, we have finally found a supply of the New Socialist Man.

Seriously - every scientists wants more money to enlarge his research and a new car every few years wouldn't hurt either.

BTW if scientists are not motivated by money how come so few work for free?

==

Well keep up the good work Frob, every new post you just proves my point better.

==

Suppose the government "climate change" money stopped tomorrow. You don't think all these scientists would howl?

==

OK Frob, what is it you don't like about the ice core temperature/CO2 data?

And did you notice that one of the folks involved in the "movement" said no proof was required? It was bloged here.

Did you notice the critique of Lumborg in Scientific American was not based on critiqes of his points but an attack on him for not towing the line?

So to get back to real science: how 'bout dem ice cores?

And what about the geological record when temperatures were falling and CO2 was 7X current levels. How is that possible if we are near catastrophic proportions of CO2 in the atmosphere?

Got science?

Simon

M. Simon   ·  May 13, 2007 1:17 PM

"So "Scientists are not motivated by money". How very naive."

On the contrary, my statement is based on my personal involvement with scores of working scientists over the years. I know lots of these people as friends, I talk with them about their work, and I participate to a small degree in their efforts. My name appears on one published scientific paper as a second author. I know what I'm talking about.

"When politics are allowed to drive science, the very basis for sound scientific inquiry: "when the data don't support the hypothesis, modify your hypothesis", gets tossed out."

This is so true, and it is the very heart and soul of those who deny the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming. The fact that the great majority of scientists do accept that hypothesis is indicative of the non-political nature of that school of thought.

Even if you don't like IPCC, there's another source that's even more reliable: the National Academy of Sciences, which was established by Congress with the express purpose of providing the government with reliable scientific judgement about important issues. The NAS is composed solely of senior scientists who have already proven themselves through a distinguished career; membership is by invitation only and is usually considered the crowning acheivement in a scientist's career (unless they get the Nobel Prize).

The NAS has been issuing reports on many subjects for decades. The NAS is to science policy as the Supreme Court is to law: if the NAS says so, that's the last word on the subject. Except, the NAS is much more careful than the Supreme Court. They bring many experts to bear on each report they issue, and they take as long as they feel necessary. Moreover, they only publish what they're really certain of. As a consequence, in the entire history of the NAS, not one report or official declaration has been shown to be incorrect. Their batting record is perfect.

And yes, the NAS is unequivocal in its support for the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming. The only people who reject that hypothesis are a few scientists on the fringe and a great many rabid right-wingers who are ignorant of scientific principles.

"BTW if scientists are not motivated by money how come so few work for free?"

Silly argument. The fact that they work for much less in academia than they can earn in industry is proof of their incentives.

"OK Frob, what is it you don't like about the ice core temperature/CO2 data?"

I have no objection to the use of ice cores; they are a very useful source of data, and in fact you will find many references to ice core data show up in the IPCC report in support of its conclusions. See in particular Chapter 6, whose executive summary states,

"It is very likely that the current atmospheric concentrations of CO2 (379 ppm) and CH4 (1,774 ppb) exceed by far the natural range of the last 650 years. Ice core data indicate that CO2 varied within a range of 180 to 300 ppm, and CH4 within 320 to 790 ppb over this period. Over the same period, antarctic temperature and CO2 concentrations covary, indicating a close relationship between climate and the carbon cycle."

The entire chapter makes many, many references to the ice core data. Was there something in particular that you found objectionable in this chapter?

"And what about the geological record when temperatures were falling and CO2 was 7X current levels."

I have already requested the source for this information and no such source has been presented, leading me to suspect that the statement is unsubstantiated. Please present a source.

Froblyx   ·  May 13, 2007 2:00 PM

Froblyx,
Over the past 30 years I have had the mixed pleasure of becoming intimately familiar with the academic system, from the inside out and the outside in. Having done my share of due diligence [i.e. finding the fatal flaw[s] in the data being presented] often where serious investments where at stake, I stand by my observations.
Since you appear to hold the NAS in such high regard, allow me to point out that it was the NAS who put the final nails in the coffin of the "Hockey Stick" swindle [data concocted by Mike Mann and his Hockey Team and first exposed by MacKindrick and MacIntyre as a remarkable scientific fraud]. The IPCC used this swill as the poster child for its previous report, and in spite of the findings of NAS report, has yet to retract it. If you really believe this kind of junk science, and that it actually confirms the AGW hypothesis, I have a bridge you should buy from me...

tetris   ·  May 13, 2007 3:03 PM

"Silly argument. The fact that they work for much less in academia than they can earn in industry is proof of their incentives."

This is simply false. Scientists work for less in academia, but calling it much less is a joke. Also, most of the non-monetary incentives are in the form of flexible hours and better benefits (most universities offer free tuition for children of profs, which is not a small amount of money for most).

Anyway, I never meant personal bribes or direct payments to Swiss accounts. I meant scientific empire building-research funding. Have you noticed recently that many articles you read mention global warming in the summary, but then have little or nothing to do with it? I remember reading several recently on squirrels and sheep that mentioned global warming once and then never mentioned it again. This is quite probably a result of the flow of research dollars; claim that you want to study squirrels and you get blank stares. Claim that you want to study global warming's effect on squirrels and it might be a very different matter.

Jon Thompson   ·  May 13, 2007 3:54 PM

Froblyx,

"I am not aware of any evidence in support of the hypothesis that surface temperatures on Mars are increasing. Please provide such evidence."

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070228-mars-warming.html

I think Simon meant Jupiter, not Neptune:

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/060504_red_jr.html

Also, no one is saying ice cores samples don't show CO2 moving with temperature. The problem is that the causal arrow points the wrong way in each of the six data sets I've seen from six different ice core samples.

CO2 concentration millions of years ago:
http://www.classicalvalues.com/archives/2007/04/we_are_doomed_a.html

Also, if the NAS has come out in full support of the idea that there is warming, it is man-made, driven by greenhouse gases, and we can estimate future impacts accurately, I'd love to see anything other than your word that says that.

Jon Thompson   ·  May 13, 2007 4:09 PM

"Over the past 30 years I have had the mixed pleasure of becoming intimately familiar with the academic system, from the inside out and the outside in. Having done my share of due diligence [i.e. finding the fatal flaw[s] in the data being presented] often where serious investments where at stake, I stand by my observations."

The experience you describe has nothing to do with how the scientific world operates. You appear to be talking about investment analysis, which is certainly a worthy effort, but has nothing to do with understanding the motivations of scientists who choose to remain in academia.

"Since you appear to hold the NAS in such high regard, allow me to point out that it was the NAS who put the final nails in the coffin of the "Hockey Stick" swindle"

Very well, and if YOU hold the NAS in such high regard, then you must also accept their conclusions. I am consistent in accepting all the NAS findings. Are you similarly consistent, or do you accept only those scientific conclusions that match your political prejudices?

"This is quite probably a result of the flow of research dollars;"

Mere conjecture.

Froblyx   ·  May 13, 2007 4:28 PM

Well Frob,

I notice you have answered none of my scientific questions.

Every time I bring it up you find it more convenient to change the subject.

Interesting.

M. Simon   ·  May 13, 2007 6:05 PM

Froblyx,
I am quite familiar with the behaviour and motivation of academic scientists once they discover that more money will become available to their laboratories if they follow certain lines of inquiry. Money talks.
Any bona fide, peer reviewed science that runs counter to the IPCC political gospel should be of great interest to anyone with wanting to understand what is actually going on. There is no such thing as consensus in science, and a hypothesis is only valid until falsified. Co2 continues to go up and temperatures are stalling or falling....[latests satellite data]. Not much AGW there I'm afraid.

tetris   ·  May 13, 2007 6:12 PM

"I am quite familiar with the behaviour and motivation of academic scientists once they discover that more money will become available to their laboratories if they follow certain lines of inquiry. Money talks."

And who is dishing out the money that is talking so much? In America, that would be the US government, under an Administration that until recently did not believe in global warming. So was this Administration deliberately funding research that contradicted its political position? Was this Administration unable to control the way the bureaucrats were spending the money? Come now -- be reasonable! This entire line of thinking is balderdash.

"Any bona fide, peer reviewed science that runs counter to the IPCC political gospel should be of great interest to anyone with wanting to understand what is actually going on."

You bet. It would also be of interest to all the scientists working on the problem. Can you recommend any such research? Can you also explain its relationship to other relevant research?

"There is no such thing as consensus in science"

Technically, no, because consensus usually implies near-universal agreement. However, there is certainly broad agreement among scientists in favor of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis. That's what the IPCC and NAS reports say.

"a hypothesis is only valid until falsified."

Yep, and a lot of people have been trying to falsify this hypothesis, and so far they've all failed.

"Co2 continues to go up and temperatures are stalling or falling [latests satellite data]"

You know, if you grab the Dow Jones index on Tuesday and compare it with Wednesday, you can prove that the Dow is rising. And if you compare Wednesday with Thursday, you can prove it's falling. You can lie with statistics by cherry-picking whatever data set you want. But if you look at the broad secular trend, there's no question at all that global temperatures are rising.

Moreover, the interpretation of satellite data is an especially tricky business. And do you even know what satellite data you're talking about? You provide no citation -- are you just making this up? Is it infrared data or microwave data? Which satellite is it from? Is it ocean skin temperature, lower tropospheric temperature, or stratospheric temperature?

So far, I have confined myself to responding to other people's claims, but now I'd like to go on the offensive.

The case in favor of anthropogenic global warming is now overwhelming. The great majority of scientists now agree on this. Even Mr. Bush admits this. Yet there remains a small cadre of pig-headed, ignorant people who simply refuse to accept the obvious. I have mentioned specifics from the IPCC report several times now, to be met with silence; it would seem that nobody here has even read the IPCC reports. And I very much doubt that most of the people here could understand them if they did read them (although I can think of at least one good exception).

Especially irksome is the manner in which these people mindlessly parrot tidbits that they've picked up on some wingnut blog, without even understanding what they mean; the chap who was babbling about ice cores seemed to fall into that category. These people argue about stuff they don't even understand -- but that doesn't stop them from arguing as if they're experts.

Would you people please get your act together, round up some facts, support them with citations, and stop playing kiddie-toy science games?

Froblyx   ·  May 13, 2007 6:43 PM

Back in November, I thought I was being cynical:

http://www.classicalvalues.com/archives/2006/11/skeptics_are_de.html

We need Kyoto right now! Before it's too late!
Why is that? Might there be something even worse than the non-occurrence of the "dramatic rise in temperatures across the world in the very near future."
There might be.
What if temperatures dropped in the near future? Is such a thing possible? I think it is possible (as Dominic Lawson notes, "between 1945 and 1975 global temperatures fell") and I suspect there may be a legitimate worry among environmentalists that if the Kyoto restrictions are not in place in advance, the resultant public outcry might prevent them from ever getting them.
On the other hand, with Kyoto in place, any drop in temperature will mean only one thing.
Environmentalists saved the world!
Of course, there appear to be some who might actually believe the greenie weenies' doom and gloom claims.

Hey, I have a bridge for sale!

Eric Scheie   ·  May 13, 2007 7:08 PM

Frob says,

And who is dishing out the money that is talking so much?

Evidently the people dishing out the money and the administration don't have the same policy.

Happens.

Read what Lindzen says on the subject.

So how is it that we don't have more scientists speaking up about this junk science? It's my belief that many scientists have been cowed not merely by money but by fear. An example: Earlier this year, Texas Rep. Joe Barton issued letters to paleoclimatologist Michael Mann and some of his co-authors seeking the details behind a taxpayer-funded analysis that claimed the 1990s were likely the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year in the last millennium. Mr. Barton's concern was based on the fact that the IPCC had singled out Mr. Mann's work as a means to encourage policy makers to take action. And they did so before his work could be replicated and tested--a task made difficult because Mr. Mann, a key IPCC author, had refused to release the details for analysis. The scientific community's defense of Mr. Mann was, nonetheless, immediate and harsh. The president of the National Academy of Sciences--as well as the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union--formally protested, saying that Rep. Barton's singling out of a scientist's work smacked of intimidation.

All of which starkly contrasts to the silence of the scientific community when anti-alarmists were in the crosshairs of then-Sen. Al Gore. In 1992, he ran two congressional hearings during which he tried to bully dissenting scientists, including myself, into changing our views and supporting his climate alarmism. Nor did the scientific community complain when Mr. Gore, as vice president, tried to enlist Ted Koppel in a witch hunt to discredit anti-alarmist scientists--a request that Mr. Koppel deemed publicly inappropriate. And they were mum when subsequent articles and books by Ross Gelbspan libelously labeled scientists who differed with Mr. Gore as stooges of the fossil-fuel industry.

Sadly, this is only the tip of a non-melting iceberg. In Europe, Henk Tennekes was dismissed as research director of the Royal Dutch Meteorological Society after questioning the scientific underpinnings of global warming. Aksel Winn-Nielsen, former director of the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization, was tarred by Bert Bolin, first head of the IPCC, as a tool of the coal industry for questioning climate alarmism. Respected Italian professors Alfonso Sutera and Antonio Speranza disappeared from the debate in 1991, apparently losing climate-research funding for raising questions.

And then there are the peculiar standards in place in scientific journals for articles submitted by those who raise questions about accepted climate wisdom. At Science and Nature, such papers are commonly refused without review as being without interest. However, even when such papers are published, standards shift. When I, with some colleagues at NASA, attempted to determine how clouds behave under varying temperatures, we discovered what we called an "Iris Effect," wherein upper-level cirrus clouds contracted with increased temperature, providing a very strong negative climate feedback sufficient to greatly reduce the response to increasing CO2. Normally, criticism of papers appears in the form of letters to the journal to which the original authors can respond immediately. However, in this case (and others) a flurry of hastily prepared papers appeared, claiming errors in our study, with our responses delayed months and longer. The delay permitted our paper to be commonly referred to as "discredited." Indeed, there is a strange reluctance to actually find out how climate really behaves. In 2003, when the draft of the U.S. National Climate Plan urged a high priority for improving our knowledge of climate sensitivity, the National Research Council instead urged support to look at the impacts of the warming--not whether it would actually happen.

Which is just a short excerpt.

M. Simon   ·  May 13, 2007 7:09 PM
M. Simon   ·  May 13, 2007 7:17 PM

"What if temperatures dropped in the near future?"

Would that they would. Unfortunately, there's no reliable evidence that they are.

"Evidently the people dishing out the money and the administration don't have the same policy.

Happens."

I see. So you are positing a conspiracy of bureaucrats and scientists operating under the very noses of their political paymasters, secreting funneling millions of dollars towards fake research efforts to prove a political agenda that you disagree with.

I am definitely in tin-foil hat territory.

The lengthy quote from Mr. Lindzen is from an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Lindzen's article was torn to shreds on a number of sites; here is one of the most thorough analyses of the many errors in Mr. Lindzen's paper. His accusations that scientists who wish to publish papers opposing global warming are threatened are simply without any substantiation. In other words, he's making it all up.

Lastly, the article on global warming on Neptune is truly idiotic. The fellow obviously knows a good bit about statistics and nothing whatever about astronomy. Here are a few of the more egregious flaws in his reasoning:

First, Neptune is a gas giant. It has an atmosphere thousands of kilometers deep. But the upper layers of the atmosphere are opaque, which means that we see only the very top layer of the atmosphere. We know from Jupiter that there's a great deal of energy release in the atmospheres of these planets. But whatever is happening inside, we don't directly know; we only know what's happening at the topmost layers.

Second, and most stupid, is the fact that the luminosity presented is the b-magnitude. The b-magnitude is the BLUE magnitude of the planet. There are a variety of brightness systems; one of the common ones is UBV, for ultraviolet, blue, and visible light. The b-magnitude is the brightness in the blue end of the spectrum. That blue light is NOT blackbody radiation -- it's reflected light! It has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the temperature of Neptune! Sheesh, what a blithering idiot that man is.

Let me explain it in simple terms. Imagine that you're looking at a sheet of ice on a vertical wall. You see, vaguely reflected in the ice, the reflection of a flame. Do you conclude that the ice is flaming hot? NO!

What a bunch of idiots... blithering idiots who act like know-it-alls and don't even understand freshman physics...

Froblyx   ·  May 13, 2007 7:50 PM

I hasten to assure all that my "blithering idiots" are directed solely at the Neptune-warming people.

Froblyx   ·  May 13, 2007 8:05 PM

Frob,

But Mars is warming too. Let me see Mars, Jupiter, Neptune (and others you can look it up). I wonder if there is any connection?

Frob mentions

So you are positing a conspiracy of bureaucrats and scientists operating under the very noses of their political paymasters, secreting funneling millions of dollars towards fake research efforts to prove a political agenda that you disagree with.

Why no Frob. I'm positing that there are a lot of things going on in government Bush doesn't control. You think he controls it all. You got a tin foil hat I can borrow?

Say. Didn't you leave out ice cores again? Dang. Musta been an oversight.

Eric,

There are a lot of bridges for sale here. Certain people are depressing the market. Now I'm going to have to cut the price on mine. However, I'm told there is a good market for tinfoil hats. So maybe a new line of work is in order.

M. Simon   ·  May 13, 2007 8:58 PM

Frob,

Are you saying Neptune is reflecting more sunlight?

I'll bite. Is it greater reflectivity or increased solar output?

Inquiring minds want to know.

M. Simon   ·  May 13, 2007 9:01 PM

Well wadya know Frob. Not only is Neptune reflecting more sunlight. Its infrared signature is up too:

As seen in Figure 1, Neptune has been getting brighter since around 1980; furthermore, infrared measurements of the planet since 1980 show that the planet has been warming steadily from 1980 to 2004. As they say on Neptune, global warming has become an inconvenient truth. But with no one to blame, Hammel and Lockwood explored how variations in the output of the Sun might control variations in the brightness of Neptune.

The dang planet is warmin' Frob. How the heck did that happen?

How you doing on ice cores?

BTW How could we have 7X as much CO2 in the atmosphere and declining global temperature? According to the geologic record. How the heck is that possible?

I bet I know. The geologist's computer models are not as good as the "CO2 causes climate change" guys models. Them geologists need to spend some more money and start getting the right (I mean left) answers.

If people really believed in AGW they should cover their roofs with tin foil. To increase the earth's albedo. If they can't do roofs heads are a good place to start.

If the concensus was as great as you say for AGW why aren't people taking direct action? No rush, eh?

M. Simon   ·  May 13, 2007 9:25 PM

"But Mars is warming too. Let me see Mars, Jupiter, Neptune (and others you can look it up). I wonder if there is any connection?"

Perhaps you failed to read my previous comment in which I explained that Neptune is NOT warming up. And if you think that Jupiter is warming, please provide some support for your claim.

"Say. Didn't you leave out ice cores again? Dang. Musta been an oversight."

No, you failed to notice my comments on ice cores. For your benefit, I shall re-enter them:

This guess is incorrect. The IPCC reports include a great deal of material on geological factors in paleoclimate. There's also a great deal of material on ice cores in the IPCC reports

I have no objection to the use of ice cores; they are a very useful source of data, and in fact you will find many references to ice core data show up in the IPCC report in support of its conclusions. See in particular Chapter 6, whose executive summary states,

"It is very likely that the current atmospheric concentrations of CO2 (379 ppm) and CH4 (1,774 ppb) exceed by far the natural range of the last 650 years. Ice core data indicate that CO2 varied within a range of 180 to 300 ppm, and CH4 within 320 to 790 ppb over this period. Over the same period, antarctic temperature and CO2 concentrations covary, indicating a close relationship between climate and the carbon cycle."

The entire chapter makes many, many references to the ice core data. Was there something in particular that you found objectionable in this chapter?

I am still waiting for any indication that you have read or understand the IPCC report and its material on ice cores. You'll find it in Chapter 6. From everything you've said so fair, it appears you have not read this chapter and couldn't understand it anyway.

"Are you saying Neptune is reflecting more sunlight?

I'll bite. Is it greater reflectivity or increased solar output?"

Most likely increased reflectivity (known as 'albedo'), because our other sources of information on solar luminosity do not show any such changes. But there could be other factors at work as well: changes in the density of gas in the region between us and Neptune; changes in Neptune's color (due to changes in the chemical constitution of the upper layers of Neptune's atmosphere.) And there could be an energy source inside Neptune's core similar to Jupiter's -- although it's not likely.

Froblyx   ·  May 13, 2007 9:33 PM

Frob,

I noticed you skipped Lindzen. Too many inconvenient truths?

M. Simon   ·  May 13, 2007 9:36 PM

Yeah Frob,

Good job on ice cores.

Except you skipped the most important point:

The rise in CO2 follows temperatrure rise by 800 +/- 200 years. According to the ice cores.

Another small oversight, I'm sure. To be rectified in your next evasion no doubt.

BTW why is Neptune's infrared output increasing along witht reflected light. Is Bush screwing with the solar system again?

Man that guy is the stupidest evil genius we have ever had as president.

How you coming with the geology data? Other than to affirm that such data does in fact exist.

Why didn't we have a runaway greenhouse effect with 7X as much CO2 in the atmosphere? Why was the temperature declining for significant periods with CO2 so high? I look forward to yopur next evasion on that question.

How did you like the Lindzen bit? You should read the whole thing. To think that such things could happen in blessed, apolitical, altruistic science. It almost makes you doubt human nature.

M. Simon   ·  May 13, 2007 10:02 PM

Mr. Simon, have you ever seen the old arcade game "Whack-a-Mole"? Little wooden mole figures pop out of holes and you whack them with a bat before they pop back into their holes. It's great fun. And you're exactly like one of those little moles. You keep popping out of your hole with an idiotic grin on your face, repeating the same old lies over and over again, and I whack you with references to scientific authorities, and you just keep coming back, making up more lies, refusing to answer my requests for any kind of documentation.

Perhaps I have been too subtle for you, so I'm going to express it in very simple terms:

YOU'RE A LIAR. YOU'RE MAKING UP "FACTS" THAT DON'T HAVE ANY SCIENTIFIC BASIS. YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF SCIENCE.

I've been going round and round with you in good faith, responding to your claims with documentation and references. But I am starting to realize that you are not interested in discussing this issue, you're just playing a game. You like to argue. You don't follow any logical rules, you just make things up.

I am giving up on you. You're not worth my time. I will continue to discuss this issue with those who respond in good faith. I don't mind disagreeing with people. I do mind wasting my time with a lunatic. I invite you to continue your mad ravings to your heart's content. But I'll be ignoring them.

Froblyx   ·  May 14, 2007 2:09 AM

Froblyx,

"So you are positing a conspiracy of bureaucrats and scientists operating under the very noses of their political paymasters, secreting funneling millions of dollars towards fake research efforts to prove a political agenda that you disagree with."

I'd like to make two points. First, if you can answer a few honest questions, you could easily sway me to believing in AGW. This is because I'm, at best, an interested observer on the topic. Second, don't ever tell me I don't know anything about American government, because on that topic, I am not just an interested observer.

When it comes to the executive, every President from either party has to deal with individuals who have been a part of the massive federal machine for years before the new President came to office, and who will likely be there years later. Presidents last eight years, tops. Middle and upper management folks at every government institution act as a sort of perennial, unimpeachable government, thwarting the ambitions of many a President of both party. Old Presidents hired and appointed individuals they agreed with, and if new Presidents kicked out all the old guys, the unemployment rate would spike up by a tenth of a percentage point nationally, and the greater D.C. metro area would economically collapse.

My point is, there are a few guys kicking around in obscure but high-ranking posts who were appointed by LBJ. Bush, like every President before him, doesn't have magical, absolute authority.

Now, for my questions.

1. Planets:
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/060504_red_jr.html
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070228-mars-warming.html
http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2007/05/08/neptune-news/#more-241
And, obviously, Earth.

That makes four planets in our Solar System which exhibit signs of warming or possible warming at the same time. All of them must take most surface temperature energy from the Sun, so why is it so unlikely or insane to think that the Sun may be behind the changes on all four planets?

I admit that the sun warming us just at this point in our development seems like a coincidence, but then, so does even the hint of warming on all four planets at once.

2. On ice cores, I'm afraid everything I've seen supports M. Simon's post. Six different ice core data sets show CO2 lagging temperature. Why or how am I wrong?

3. If CO2 is such a powerful driver (forcer, whatever) of temperature, why is it that CO2 used to be many times what it is today while temperatures weren't much higher than today:
http://www.classicalvalues.com/archives/2007/04/we_are_doomed_a.html

4. You bring up the NAS a lot. Can you show me a link which supports the idea that the Earth is warming, that man is the culprit, and that we know with decent certainty the role or at least the strength of individual gases in forcing temperatures?

I don't ask this question as an impossible test; these things must each be known before any legislation can be passed intelligently (if we limit CO2, but another gas is more important, we have had a cost with no benefit, you see, and the limitation of CO2 must be based on some real analysis of the cost of various projections of the relation of CO2 and temperature).

To me, this is the real question; if mankind is causing warming by some unknown means or with the strength of individual forces being unknown, than more time and research is needed.

Jon Thompson   ·  May 14, 2007 4:44 AM

Hey, It looks like I missed a party! Hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

“ajacksonian”-- Great comment AND I like your blog. If you had chimed in a little earlier I might have just posted ‘yeah, what he said’. I might only have added how it has also been interesting to see increasing recognition that the use of CO2 ice core samples may not be everything that we’ve been led to believe it is. I am looking forward to seeing how the Hockey Stick crowd will eventually develop a rationale to address the uncertainty and then how a ‘calibration’ might be applied. One can only hope that against the existing pattern it will be undertaken within a sensible framework.

Froblyx! You came back?

Well now, as to your enquiry 'way back when', your ‘Stefan-Boltzmann’ strawman isn’t really important is it? I mean, other than as a vehicle for you to conveniently ignore the thrust of the post.

For the record, I viewed the intent of the post as being thus:

The Sun’s impact on climate is not as easily dismissed as before with the emergence of new information, evidence and experimental data that indicates, among other things, there may be some substance to the “solar activity-cosmic ray-cloud cover” interrelationship. Also, now with an apparent downturn in temperature that also correlates in favor of those who think there just might be something not fully understood in the sun-climate relationship, and that ‘something’ is a significant factor in climate, over which Climate Alarmists are becoming increasingly agitated and shrill.
Does this sound about right to everyone?

You simply used Stefan’s Equation in an attempt to shield what is only part of the solar-climate relationship question and derail further exploration of the points in the post.

Getting down to brass tacks, the real problems I have with your ‘arguments’ are:

1. First and foremost your childlike use of Appeal to Authority:

“The IPCC process involves thousands -- I do not exaggerate, THOUSANDS -- of scientists coordinating enormous amounts of
data, more thousands of scientific papers, arguing over their meanings, and
hammering out the conclusions step by agonizing step."

“This is exactly why we have organizations like the IPCC and the NAS. Their function is to gather the judgements (sic) of many scientists and render the best overall judgement (sic). It's sort of like the Supreme Court, except that the IPCC or the NAS won't publish a conclusion based on a decision -- they prefer something more like 8 to 1 before they give it the seal of official approval."


2. Your Ad Hominem attacks:
“Yes, there remain some fringe people who still reject the IPCC findings. There are always fringe people. If you're willing to accept what the fringe people say, you will accept creationism, a flat earth, 9/11 conspiracies, the shot from the grassy knoll, and government thought control rays.” (You do get extra points here for obliquely implementing “Poisoning the Well”: a special case of Ad Hominem attack)

3. Your contradictory assertions. For example (and combined with yet more Appeal to Authority:)

“The IPCC doesn't engage in speculation; they hew close to what is scientifically reliable.” [this isn’t just an ‘opinion’ now is it? ]

Followed later by:

“Yes, there's lots of inconsistency in the huge array of data available to us. But the IPCC doesn't ignore those inconsistencies -- it takes into account the relative reliability of various interpretations of the data and renders an overall judgement (sic) -- based on the aggregate opinions of a great many scientists -- of the overall conclusion.”

4. Still even MORE Appeal to Authority (and could cite Appeal to Popularity as well, since you seem to like 'numbers’ of authorities), combined with an Ad Hominem attack:

"I am relying on the opinions of thousands of scientists, themselves relying on peer-reviewed published papers. You are relying on your own personal opinion.

[Note: Not giving in evidence the source data or citing the source of one’s position hardly means someone is merely giving a singular opinion. For all we know the point in question could have been made based upon careful review of thousands of peer-reviewed papers, or after recalling a conversation with James V. Hansen ‘hisself’ over dinner last night.]

[Note Too: When I read things like your statement above I always think of Einstein’s retort to 100 Nazi ‘scientists’ who denounced his work: “If I was wrong, they would need only one”.  If you are swayed by bright shiny numbers of scientists (personally, I am not), you can go
here
and be happy.]

5. Your Appeal to Ridicule

"The correlations cited in the article are very weak and their significance is belied by the lack of correlation in the great majority of data. [there's another fallacy in this first sentence as well: I bet you can guess which one] For correlation to have significance, it must be broad, not
cherry-picked. If I get to cherry-pick my correlations, then I can select just the right people to prove that membership in the Libertarian party is correlated with child molestation.

6. Even MORE Appeal to Authority (Sheesh!) combined with Appeal to Belief


“This is exactly why we have organizations like the IPCC and the NAS. Their function is to gather the judgements (sic) of many scientists and render the best overall judgement (sic). It's sort of like the Supreme Court, except that the IPCC or the NAS won't publish a conclusion based on a 5 to 4 decision -- they prefer something more like 8 to 1 before they give it the seal of official approval. Yet nonscientists will seize upon that one dissenter and claim the matter "controversial" or "unproven". [Most revealing: an interesting attitude as to how science “works”…]

7. Your Argument Ad Ignorantiam (Burden of Proof)

“If you can find a flaw in the models or the datasets, I suggest that you write up a paper revealing that flaw and submit it for publication. There's certainly a Nobel Prize waiting for anybody who pulls the rug out from under the IPCC reports.”

Ahem…The burden of proof is on the snake oil salesm, um, I mean ‘modelers"; But there are plenty of flaws if YOU LOOK for them.

So now, setting aside all of the still unanswered technical questions on just exactly how climate ‘works’ and just dealing with HOW climate is ‘studied’, I just HAVE to ask (for starters):
1. Given information that is widely available concerning the past (PDF) and current hijinks of the IPCC that clearly illustrate that the reports coming out of the IPCC are political and not “scientific”,
2. given the incredible paucity of truly independent research data;
3. given the near-incestuous (PDF)relationships within the global warming research community.
4.and given the documented obfuscation of source data and methodology by many of the prominent practitioners of ‘climate alarmism’,

How on this Good Green Earth can any rational being bring themselves to read anything the IPCC puts out without a very healthy dose of skepticism or regurgitate it without a bigger dose of sarcasm?

Consensus is NOT Science.

Science IS Skepticism.

Where is your skepticism?

In parting, as anyone on the thread can readily observe and as I have iterated above, I assert your tone was uncivil long before I ever showed up. However, I am still wiling to help you with your question:

“…what can be graciously said about ignorant, pompous charlatanry?”.

The answer is:

“That’s your pat on the head Frobee. Now if you want to learn something, go ask questions at Climate Audit.”
SMSgt Mac   ·  May 14, 2007 9:45 AM

Mr. Thompson, I greatly appreciate your civil approach to the issues, and I shall endeavor to provide the answers you request.

But first, let me respond to one item: the ability of the President to impose upon the bureaucracy. Yes, I'm very aware of the enormous inertia in the Federal bureaucracy; Presidents have struggled to impose their will upon that bureaucracy and have regularly failed. But let me point out that this Administration has been particularly intrusive, and on the matter of global warming, they have become so intrusive as to forbid NASA scientists to speak on global warming without prior approval from political appointees. Of course, the funding process is a much harder bureaucracy to crack, but I would still think that if there were some grand conspiracy to deny funding to global warming opponents, this Administration would have found a way to do so. After all, they've gotten money to churches...

But on to the serious issues:

1. Planetary warming. The link you present does not imply that Jupiter is warming. What it says is that some areas are warming and some are cooling. Here's a direct quote:

"As a result, areas around the equator become warmer, while the poles can start to cool down."

Jovian weather is not understood at this time, and we know that thermal flow from the interior is much greater than solar input. Jupiter is actually generating energy in its interior, probably from low-level thermonuclear reactions (although it could be nothing more than core compression.) That internal energy generation is far more important to Jovian weather than solar input.

Martian warming. First, you must remember that a single report from a single scientist does not mean very much; science is very much a collaborative effort and you can only be confident in a result that has been confirmed by numerous scientists. This report is coming from a single scientist and your source says,

"Abdussamatov's work, however, has not been well received by other climate scientists.
"His views are completely at odds with the mainstream scientific opinion," said Colin Wilson, a planetary physicist at England's Oxford University.

"And they contradict the extensive evidence presented in the most recent IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report." (Related: "Global Warming 'Very Likely' Caused by Humans, World Climate Experts Say" [February 2, 2007].)
Amato Evan, a climate scientist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, added that "the idea just isn't supported by the theory or by the observations."
The conventional theory is that climate changes on Mars can be explained primarily by small alterations in the planet's orbit and tilt, not by changes in the sun.

"Wobbles in the orbit of Mars are the main cause of its climate change in the current era," Oxford's Wilson explained. (Related: "Don't Blame Sun for Global Warming, Study Says" [September 13, 2006].)

All planets experience a few wobbles as they make their journey around the sun. Earth's wobbles are known as Milankovitch cycles and occur on time scales of between 20,000 and 100,000 years.

These fluctuations change the tilt of Earth's axis and its distance from the sun and are thought to be responsible for the waxing and waning of ice ages on Earth.

Mars and Earth wobble in different ways, and most scientists think it is pure coincidence that both planets are between ice ages right now.

Moreover, I'll point out that the claim is based on just three summers' worth of data. That's far too little data to be drawing any grand conclusions. After all, if scientists based terrestrial global warming theory on three summers' worth of data, they'd deserve our utter contempt.

On the matter of Neptune, please see my dismissal of this crazy idea in my post of 7:50 PM last night.

"That makes four planets in our Solar System which exhibit signs of warming or possible warming at the same time. All of them must take most surface temperature energy from the Sun, so why is it so unlikely or insane to think that the Sun may be behind the changes on all four planets?"

No, there is no reliable evidence that ANY of the other three planets are warming. Only for the earth do we have any reliable evidence of warming, and for the earth that evidence is overwhelming. Moreover, the implication of this supposition -- that the sun is releasing more energy -- is contradicted by direct satellite observations of solar radiance.

2. The ice core lag. This is a very common point raised by global warming deniers, and it does seem at first glance to raise some doubts about the relationship between CO2 and global warming. The catch is that in earth's history there have been many triggers global warming other than CO2. For example, the earth's orbit undergoes some minor wobbling that periodically moves it closer to or further away from the sun. Obviously, moving closer to the sun will cause the earth to warm, irrespective of any CO2 in the atmosphere. This doesn't mean that CO2 can't cause global warming; it means that CO2 wasn't the cause in those historical cases. There weren't any people burning fossil fuels to release CO2, so we COULD NOT have had this trigger for global warming. That does not mean that the trigger doesn't work, it means only that it wasn't triggered.

The fact that CO2 rises in response to initial temperature increases is especially significant. As temperatures rise, the carbon cycle changes and various places that store carbon start to release it. In other words, the increase in temperature causes MORE CO2 to go into the atmosphere, and that in turn amplifies the effect. The CO2 causes even more global warming than we would have otherwise had. That's why the data show the CO2 lagging the temperature increase by only about 800 years, but the temperature increase continues going on for 5000 years. The first 800 years of warming were caused by some other factor, but the CO2 helped continue the warming for another 4,200 years.

Thus, it's not just the CO2 we release that causes the trouble. As the earth warms in response to our CO2 releases, it will release even MORE CO2, making matters even worse! That's called positive feedback.

There is a detailed explanation of this stuff here

3. Ancient high values of CO2. I suggest that you follow through on the links presented in the article you link to. What you'll find is that the whole thing hangs on temperature data for times hundreds of millions of years ago. I was surprised to see this data; I was unaware of any such information. Well, if you follow the trail to its source, what you'll find is a geologist who is speculating about the general range of temperatures based on the kind of fossils we find. For example, he states that we find lots of coal from the Silurian and Devonian periods. He therefore concludes that it must have been pretty warm back then. How warm? If you look at his graph, you''ll find that it cycles between 12 degrees C and 22 degrees C. Where did he get these numbers? He doesn't say. In other words, the entire argument rests on a number taken from a single scientist that is not documented -- which means that it can't be relied upon. If he had shown where he got that number, we could have some faith in it. But it looks to me as if he just grabbed a number out of a hat. These are not measurements, these are very rough guesses based on the fact that there was a lot of foliage back then. But the presence of foliage doesn't tell us that the temperature was 22 degrees, it tells us that the temperature was warm. His numbers are not based on measurements, they are very rough indicators. I have emailed the scientist who produced that graph; I'll report his response when it arrives.

There's a much better presentation of the data on page 441 of the IPCC report. The only data they use for assessing ancient temperatures is the degree of glaciation, and they refuse to make any guesses as to temperatures.

I have to go now; I'll respond to your other questions a little later.

Froblyx   ·  May 14, 2007 1:17 PM

Continuing:

4. The National Academy of Sciences. You can find the joint declaration of the national academies of science of the G8 nations plus Brazil, India, and China, which you can find here. There's a pdf file you can download containing the entire statement. This represents not just the US NAS, but those for ten other countries. Together, these represent most of the top scientists in the world.

I remind you that the NAS was created in 1863 with the explicit purpose of advising the government on science matters as they relate to public policy. They have done their job. Now all we have to do is listen to what they're saying.

Next, turning to SMSget Mac, I'll begin by noting that you attempt to dodge the issue raised by the Stefan-Bolzmann equation with the limp claim it isn't really important. Right. The basic equation for blackbody radiation isn't important to the global warming issue. Do you even know what blackbody radiation is? Do you know what the greenhouse effect is? Yeah, right -- they're not important, either. None of the science is important to you, is it?

You criticize me for making an "appeal to authority". I can understand your reasons for making that criticism; when the great majority of authorities say that you're wrong, you can either admit that you're wrong or you can deny the authorities. You choose the latter course.

You criticize me for making ad hominem arguments. Actually, however, the statement I made (referring to those who disagree with the IPCC and NAS findings as "fringe people") is right on the mark. There's a distribution of authorities on this question, and the great majority accept the bulk of the IPCC findings. So what DO we call that tiny minority of people who reject these findings? Mainstream people? No, they're on the fringe of the distribution and so it's perfectly accurate to call them "fringe people".

Besides, I should think that "the pot calling the kettle black" applies here.

Your claims of contradictions in my arguments arise from a misunderstanding of English vocabulary. The word "speculation" is not synonomic with "judgement".

"But there are plenty of flaws [in the IPCC reports] if YOU LOOK for them."

Great. Show us the flaws. Quote the text and give the page number. But you haven't even read the IPCC reports, have you?

Your claims that the IPCC reports are unreliable are not shared by many scientists. However, I can certainly understand why you want to try to discredit this group.

"given the incredible paucity of truly independent research data"

The link you give refers to overlap between three studies of tree rings. They each rely on different combinations of sources, but some of the sources are common to all three. You call this incredible? You obviously haven't read many scientific summary papers. And you're trying to base your case on three studies of tree rings?!?!

"given the near-incestuous (PDF)relationships within the global warming research community. "

This is absurd. Yes, scientists talk to each other. Some scientists come from the same institution. The statistical analysis provided in the testimony is actually one of a type that has been carried out many times before. Scientists do worry about cliques forming. That's why they use double-blind referreeing. Neither the referee nor the writer know the name of the other. The phenomenon described is real, but is so small as to lack any power to discredit the scientific process. To suggest that such linkages constitute "near-incestuous relationships" is utterly absurd.

Basically, you're claiming that scientists are a bunch of liars and crooks. I'm sure you honestly believe that. I am not trying to convince you of anything; I know full well that all the facts and logic in the world will not budge you one inch. I am instead pointing out to other readers just how wild-eyed your reasoning is.

"and given the documented obfuscation of source data and methodology by many of the prominent practitioners of ‘climate alarmism’,"

The claims made in the article you cite are just speculative accusations devoid of any substantiation.

Froblyx   ·  May 14, 2007 2:40 PM

Froblyx,
Well, I'll be honest. You've pretty well convinced me by tackling the last few things that were niggling at me.

So, thank you.

Minor point: "further away from the Sun" should be "farther away from the Sun." Farther is distance, further is non-physical advancement (I furthered myself or my education, etc.).

Jon Thompson   ·  May 14, 2007 4:39 PM

"Minor point: "further away from the Sun" should be "farther away from the Sun.""

Oops. Damn, I STILL make that mistake after all these years.

Froblyx   ·  May 14, 2007 4:55 PM

Frob,

Are you saying that scientists might not shade their opinion if it means more grant money?

I guess you have forgotten the golden rule.

He who has the gold makes the rules.

BTW what about Lindzen.

And ice cores.

And CO2 in geological history?

BTW another excellent evasion. Keep up the good work!

M. Simon   ·  May 14, 2007 5:05 PM

Frob quotes:

(Related: "Global Warming 'Very Likely' Caused by Humans, World Climate Experts Say" [February 2, 2007].)

Frob,

The report is not due out for a few days.

You are quoting the political summary. Not science old boy.

Plus, have you read the mandate of the IPCC? Its purpose is not to determine the cause of global warming. It is to determine the cause of man made global warming. Seems like they have already made up their minds about the cause.

That is not science:

The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

IPCC statement of purpose.

Fortunately the IPCC doesn't claim to be scientific:

The IPCC does not carry out research nor does it monitor climate related data or other relevant parameters. It bases its assessment mainly on peer reviewed and published scientific/technical literature.

Now what are the odds that you will find papers that contradict the organizations purppose. Since the IPCC can pick which documents to include.

M. Simon   ·  May 14, 2007 5:17 PM

BTW, Mr. Thompson, I'll be happy to answer questions or explain some of the other intricacies of this, should you wish.

Froblyx   ·  May 14, 2007 8:44 PM

I have a few observations to add to this discussion, and I would especially appreciate Frobxyl's retort.

Since I first learned about the natural history of the Earth, it has been pummelgated to me that our planet condenced out of the Sun's accretion disk. In the process all of the constitutent elements in their various proportions were collected. Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, and their amounts, found on Earth were set very early, while the planet was still molten. This must mean that they were in the form of gas or plasma in a thick blanket of atmosphere wrapped around our planet.
If CO2 is a positive feedback forcing, how did the Earth ever cool down enough for life to exist?
Keep in mind that on the primordial Earth there were no carbon deposits in the ground; coal and oil didn't exist yet because they are the residue of dead plants and animals. There were no oceans to sequester the other 75% of CO2, because any water would have been in the form of vapor, which would have acted as another enormous blanket of heat feedback.
If what the IPCC claims is true about CO2's effects on climate, why isn't the Earth still hot?

Papertiger   ·  May 15, 2007 3:19 AM

It's an excellent question, Papertiger. And it points to another interesting question.

Since the recent BBC documentary "The Great Global Warming Swindle" pointed out that the ice core data actually shows a lag of several hundred years between temperature rise and CO2 rising - with CO2 coming -after- the temperature raises... well, this so obviously rebuts the entire theory of the chicken littles that it's sent them into spasms. And their response, as far as I can tell, has been to sneer snidely and then insist, as if any moron should simply know, that CO2 isn't the initial warming catalyst, it just -reinforces- the warming trend.

So the obvious question becomes: if global warming causes CO2 to increase, and CO2 increase reinforces the global warming so it warms even more... how the hell has the Earth ever escaped from one of these infernal cycles? Why is the Earth not pretty much resembling Venus now?

I share the opinion that they're screaming so loudly right now because they know that the trend will soon end on it's own and the Earth will start cooling. They have to get some of their proposed plans (which always lie in the direction of bigger government) in place so they can then take credit for the cooling and implement even more socialism. But if their plans don't go into place, and the earth cools, they'll have a very hard time recovering. Then again, maybe not. After all, in the 70's they were all predicting global cooling, and then the earth got warmer, and somehow they managed to completely escape any critical media attention of that. Funny how it always works out that way for the Left.

Qwinn

Qwynn   ·  May 15, 2007 4:17 AM

On ice cores:

The general understanding on the relationship between the rise in temperature indicated in the Vostock ice cores and the increase in C-O2 concentration captured samples of atmospheric gas is as follows:
- For reasons unrelated to C-O2, such as orbital forcing (Milankovitch cycles), the temperature of the Earth rose. Orbital forcing basically means increase in solar radiation due to change in distance, change in angle (the more land is exposed directly to the Sun, rather than at a tilt, the more the heating).
- As a result of the warming of the ground and the oceans, C-O2 is driven out of the water, out of the thawing tundras, and produced in greater quantity due to the increased biological activity.
- As a result of the increase in C-O2, the initial warming is given a boost, that increases the warming beyond the point that it would have stopped at, based only on the increased orbital forcing.

So in previous cases, documented by the ice cores, the lag between temperature rise and C-O2 increase indicates correctly that C-O2 was not the initiating cause of the increase. However, the further enhancement of that increase in temperature is an expected result of the additional C-O2.

In the current case, combustion of fossil fuels has caused a 33% increase of C-O2 over the last 100 years. Since each doubling of C-O2 concentration is expected to give rise to an additional 3.8 Watts/sq.meter of radiative forcing (out of a total of about 343 Watts/sq.meter from the Sun), this is noticeable. This expectation comes from the straightforward application of atmospheric physics, conservation of energy, radiative transfer. The translation of this additional heating into temperature increase is more complex (because the Earth/atmosphere/ocean system is complex), but if more solar power is coming in than is going out, something should be warming up, right?

Neal J. King   ·  May 15, 2007 4:48 AM

On the film, "The Great Swindle":

You might want to take that film with a few lumps of salt. It's been challenged by, among others, one of the professors interviewed in the film, who states that his words were edited to imply the exact opposite of what he had meant.

Some sources:
from http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/070425/global_warming_film.html?.v=1 :

AP
Film on Global Warming Is Challenged
Wednesday April 25, 3:22 pm ET
By Raphael G. Satter, Associated Press Writer
Scientists Demand Changes to Global Warming Skeptic's Film

LONDON (AP) -- A group of British climate scientists is demanding changes to a skeptical documentary about global warming, saying there are grave errors in the program billed as a response to Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth."

"The Great Global Warming Swindle" aired on British television in March and is coming out soon on DVD. It argues that man-made emissions have a marginal impact on the world's climate and warming can better be explained by changing patterns of solar activity.

An open letter sent Tuesday by 38 scientists, including the former heads of Britain's academy of sciences and Britain's weather office, called on producer Wag TV to remove what it called "major misrepresentations" from the film before the DVD release -- a demand its director said was tantamount to censorship.

Bob Ward, the former spokesman for the Royal Society, Britain's academy of science, and one of the letter's signatories, said director Mark Durkin made a "long catalog of fundamental and profound mistakes" -- including the claim that volcanoes produce more carbon dioxide than humans,, and that the Earth's atmosphere was warmer during the Middle Ages than it is today.

"Free speech does not extend to misleading the public by making factually inaccurate statements," he said. "Somebody has to stand up for the public interest here."
Durkin called the letter "loathsome."

"This is a contemptible, weasel-worded attempt to gag scientific criticism, and it won't work," he said. "I don't believe they're interested in quality control when it comes to the reporting of science -- so long as it's on their side."

Durkin acknowledged two of the errors highlighted by the scientists -- including the claim about volcanic emissions -- but he described those changes as minor and said they would be corrected in the expanded DVD release.

But the scientists do not want the DVD released without edits to completely remove the material they object to -- something Ward said would fatally weaken the film's argument.

"The fact is that it's a very convincing program, and if you're not very aware of the science you wouldn't necessarily see what the errors are," Ward said. "But the errors are huge. ... Without those errors in, he doesn't have a story."

Neal J. King   ·  May 15, 2007 4:55 AM

On feedback:

Just because something causes positive feedback does not mean that it "runs away". There can be a point where the feedback saturates.

For the enhanced greenhouse effect, the increased radiative forcing is only logarithmic in the amount of C-O2, so unless the amount of added C-O2 is increasing exponentiallly (which is not normally the case with naturally occuring mechanisms for C-O2), at some point the additional warming effect stops increasing. Over time (roughly 1000 years), the C-O2 level starts to decline, and the temperature begins to drop. Eventually what has happened is that the initial cause, the adjustment to the orbital forcing, shifts (it's cyclical) and the temperature starts to drop further. Then the feedback works in the opposite direction: increased cooling results in reduced C-O2 which feeds back to increased cooling...

So it's not a conundrum as to why the Earth would return to a cooler period after a warm spell boosted by C-O2 increase.

Neal J. King   ·  May 15, 2007 5:07 AM

"If CO2 is a positive feedback forcing, how did the Earth ever cool down enough for life to exist?"

Excellent question. The earth's atmosphere was very different two billion years ago. We know that it was hotter, that it had a lot more CO2, and that it had very little free oxygen. However, we can't measure how hot it was 2 billion years ago or how much CO2 was in the air back then. Our best evidence is a mineral called banded iron, which has layers of iron oxide (rust). This indicates free oxygen in the atmosphere (which caused exposed iron to rust). These rocks are about 2 billion years old, which means that free oxygen first appeared in the atmosphere about 2 billion years ago -- which means that photosynthesis started around then.

But there's no need to require that early life be just like current life. It is tautological to assume that early life was adapted to its environment -- whatever that was. Indeed, there are plenty of living systems being discovered that exist in environments we thought to be impossible, such as life near deep oceanic vents, with temperatures so high as to kill anything else, or living systems inside deep Antarctic lakes living in total darkness and near-freezing temperatures.

So the answer to your question is as follows: the first life appeared about two billion years ago and started using the abundant CO2, taking the carbon and releasing free oxygen. They thereby reduced the CO2 in the atmosphere. The earth therefore cooled. Nowadays, we don't see any creatures capable of living in a high-temperature, high-CO2 atmosphere. Those critters did the exact reverse of what we're doing: they pumped CO2 OUT of the atmosphere and triggered global COOLING. The end result in each case (if not corrected) is ultimately the same: extinction.

"After all, in the 70's they were all predicting global cooling"

This is a falsehood. There were a couple of scientists who grabbed up a lot of media attention with this contrarian claim. Most scientists regarded the idea as poppycock. When the proponents of the idea failed to substantiate their claims, the whole thing was forgotten. Yet now we see global warming skeptics misrepresenting what really happened. Global warming was first anticipated in the nineteenth century, and physics undergraduates were long taught that theoretically the release of CO2 into the atmosphere should cause global warming, but no evidence of that warming had yet appeared. It was only in the 1980s that the first real evidence began to appear. The idea of global warming is not new, it is very old. Scientists have not rushed to judgement, they have taken decades to assemble mountains of data, refine the theory, and cross-check everything.

My thanks to Mr. King for his useful information.

Froblyx   ·  May 15, 2007 11:13 AM

"If CO2 is a positive feedback forcing, how did the Earth ever cool down enough for life to exist?"

Excellent question. The earth's atmosphere was very different two billion years ago. We know that it was hotter, that it had a lot more CO2, and that it had very little free oxygen. However, we can't measure how hot it was 2 billion years ago or how much CO2 was in the air back then. Our best evidence is a mineral called banded iron, which has layers of iron oxide (rust). This indicates free oxygen in the atmosphere (which caused exposed iron to rust). These rocks are about 2 billion years old, which means that free oxygen first appeared in the atmosphere about 2 billion years ago -- which means that photosynthesis started around then.

But there's no need to require that early life be just like current life. It is tautological to assume that early life was adapted to its environment -- whatever that was. Indeed, there are plenty of living systems being discovered that exist in environments we thought to be impossible, such as life near deep oceanic vents, with temperatures so high as to kill anything else, or living systems inside deep Antarctic lakes living in total darkness and near-freezing temperatures.

So the answer to your question is as follows: the first life appeared about two billion years ago and started using the abundant CO2, taking the carbon and releasing free oxygen. They thereby reduced the CO2 in the atmosphere. The earth therefore cooled. Nowadays, we don't see any creatures capable of living in a high-temperature, high-CO2 atmosphere. Those critters did the exact reverse of what we're doing: they pumped CO2 OUT of the atmosphere and triggered global COOLING. The end result in each case (if not corrected) is ultimately the same: extinction.

"After all, in the 70's they were all predicting global cooling"

This is a falsehood. There were a couple of scientists who grabbed up a lot of media attention with this contrarian claim. Most scientists regarded the idea as poppycock. When the proponents of the idea failed to substantiate their claims, the whole thing was forgotten. Yet now we see global warming skeptics misrepresenting what really happened. Global warming was first anticipated in the nineteenth century, and physics undergraduates were long taught that theoretically the release of CO2 into the atmosphere should cause global warming, but no evidence of that warming had yet appeared. It was only in the 1980s that the first real evidence began to appear. The idea of global warming is not new, it is very old. Scientists have not rushed to judgement, they have taken decades to assemble mountains of data, refine the theory, and cross-check everything.

My thanks to Mr. King for his useful information.

Froblyx   ·  May 15, 2007 11:15 AM

My apologies for the double-posting. There's something on this site (something with the ads, I think), that makes my browser (Firefox) hiccup.

[fixed - Simon]

Froblyx   ·  May 15, 2007 11:16 AM

Frob,

i remember the great cooling scare of the 70s. While CO2 was still increasing. It sold a lot of newspapers.

Of course now we have the great warming scare. It sell a lot of newspapers.

And just as in the cooling scare contraty opinions by reputable scientists are buried.

You do a good job of making my points.

BTW there are a nomber of scientists who wish to be removed from the IPCC reports - saying their views ar not in accord with the repport.

So what do we know? We know the science is not settled.

We also know that a CO2 emitter greater than the USA (China) is not interested in cutting back on CO2. So we should export energy intensive industry to China (which is not big on environmentalism) for possibly a net increase in CO2 output from less efficient plants, plus the loss of capital as existing plants in the developed world are shut down and new ones built in China? Makes no sense.

M. Simon   ·  May 15, 2007 11:34 AM

M. Simon,

- The only scientis I'm aware of that has asked to be taken off is Dr. Sealand. He was upset about how one chairman of an IPCC subcommittee conducted a press conference - which was not under IPCC auspices. He has a different point of view on one point: the question of whether the current hurricane intensity reflects global warming YET. He doesn't question the general picture of global warming as depicted by the IPCC's 4 reports, the most recent of which was released in April 2007.

- The "global cooling" scare was a media-driven effect, which was publicized in Newsweek and TIME - but not in scientific journals. The attitude in the climate-science community was, "It's too soon to tell." However, today the most important scientific societies in the world, including the Royal Society, the National Academy of Sciences, and a long list of others have taken the unusual step of taking a position on this question, because they're concerned about how much disinformation has been spread (rather like the case of the disinformation program engaged in by the tobacco companies to discredit the cigarette/lung cancer connection). So the difference between the scientific views on "global cooling" and global warming are like night and day.

Neal J. King   ·  May 15, 2007 2:44 PM

I would give a less complicated answer to the question of why a C-O2 blanket can cause global warming without preventing the Earth from cooling down after its original formation.

Global Warming

In this case, the source of power is the Sun. Prior to the increase in C-O2, the amount of solar power absorbed by the Earth was balanced by the amount radiated away in infrared radiation, so there was no net heating or cooling. When additional C-O2 was added (about 33% over the last 100 years), it impedes the escape of the infrared radiation. That impedance will remain until the temperature of the Earth (including the atmosphere) rises enough that the radiation escaping the top of the troposphere has increased to what it was 100 years ago, at which point temperature will stabilize.

(Of course, it can't stabilize until the amount of C-O2 has stopped increasing. And even if it stabilizes, it can be changed later by other events, such as changes to the Sun's radiance, or unusually large volcanic eruptions, or pollution of other sorts (like sulfate aerosols). But we're talking about C-O2 right now.)

When the 33% increase in C-O2 is taken into account with the increase & decrease in sulfate aerosols (associated with the unscrubbed burning of coal), variation in solar activity, and large volcanic eruptions (like Pinotuba), there is a good match between the observed average global temperature and the models, for the last 100 years.

Cooling down from Formation
At this time, the source of heat was almost entirely the heat from the Earth itself, that was left over from the kinetic energy in the original pieces as they fell together to form the planet. The C-O2 still had the effect of impeding the escape of infrared radiation, but the band of infrared of interest is pretty limited, and there was no heating of equivalent magnitude. So the energy flux was all outwards, and you get cooling.

Summary
- In the case of global warming, the C-O2 blanket shifts the balance between incoming power and outgoing power towards the incoming, so there is a heating effect.

- In the case of cooling from formation, the C-O2 blanket can only slightly slow down the cooling. But there is no incoming radiation of magnitude comparable to the escaping radiation, so although it can slow it down slightly, the blanket is not going to be able to do much.

Neal J. King   ·  May 15, 2007 3:02 PM

Neal
Just because something causes positive feedback does not mean that it "runs away". There can be a point where the feedback saturates.

I find that comment very comforting. Whew!
So it will take more carbon dioxide then we can possibly burn to create further noticable warming. Good.
However I must admit a twinge of regret that we humans aren't able to create endless summer.

Frob
The earth's atmosphere was very different two billion years ago. We know that it was hotter, that it had a lot more CO2, and that it had very little free oxygen. However, we can't measure how hot it was 2 billion years ago or how much CO2 was in the air back then.

Your comment piqued my interest so I went looking for a little info about the oldest rock. It's a zircon dated at 4.4 billion years old. For comparison, the Earth is believed to have formed sometime between 4.5 to 4.6 billion years ago. The tiny grain of zirconium silicate is the result of magma being contaminated by sedimentary rock.
Scientists were able to measure oxygen isotopes and rare earth elements and found that the chemistry of the mineral and the rock in which it developed could only have formed from material in a low-temperature environment at Earth's surface.
"This is the first evidence of crust as old as 4.4 billion years, and indicates the development of continental-type crust during intense meteorite bombardment of the early Earth," says John Valley, a geologist at UW-Madison "It is possible that the water-rock interaction (as represented in the ancient zircon sample) could have occurred during this bombardment, but between cataclysmic events."
"This is an astounding thing to find for 4.4 billion years ago," says Valley, "At that time, the Earth's surface should have been a magma ocean. Conventional wisdom would not have predicted a low-temperature environment. These results may indicate that the Earth cooled faster than anyone thought."

Frob
It wasn't my intention to bust on you for getting the dates wrong. It happens to me all the time. I am sure when you said "two billion years ago" you were meaning it as a generic term for along time ago, rather then a specific point in time.
So I am wondering how long does it take for a specie of life to form and evolve and is one hundred to two hundred million years enough time for a heat loving plant to suck enough CO2 out of the atmosphere to allow oceans to form?

Papertiger   ·  May 15, 2007 4:15 PM

Neal
-In the case of cooling from formation, the C-O2 blanket can only slightly slow down the cooling. But there is no incoming radiation of magnitude comparable to the escaping radiation, so although it can slow it down slightly, the blanket is not going to be able to do much.
Venus says you are wrong. Are you saying that the newly condenced sun wasn't at least as powerful a heat source as the power of gravitational contraction on Earth? I find that comment questionable.

Papertiger   ·  May 15, 2007 4:27 PM

There were quite a number of "scientists" who asked to be taken off the IPCC list.

Sorry I don't have a url.

In any case the IPCC is not a scientific body. They are not interested in global climate. Their mandate is only human effects on the climate.

All this is backed by dubious computer models which do not have terms for known solar cycles and have no definite term for water vapor (positive, negative, or zero feedback). The models assume positive. Why? Well it does make the global warming effect worse.

Then the recent cosmic ray/cloud connection (influenced by solar manetism) has not been included because.

1. It is too new.
2. Only one experiment has been done.

Let me say this about models:

A really good servo system model where all the parameters are under control and well understood and easily measured is doing very good to come within 1% of the final value. 5% is more typical and is considered adequate.

Yet with poor models and data of uncertain provenance, we are expected to believe that the models can come in at better than 1 deg C where the 1% error band would tell us that +/- 3 deg C is probably the minimum error band. With +/- 6 deg C more likely.

Given the fact that we do not even know the sign of the water vapor feedback/cloud mechanism let alone its magnitude, such unknowns say that the predictions we are getting are probably not worth what we are paying for them.

Then there is the matter of China. They have coal. They need electricity.

Until we have something to offer them to support their energy needs such as:

Easy Low Cost No Radiation Fusion

Man made CO2 output is going to rise faster and there is not much the USA can do except cripple its economy. The Germans are already not happy with Kyoto due to its economic effects.

It may be that the best thing to do about CO2 is nothing. Let economies grow. Let technology evolve. Solve our problems as we go. The way technology is evolving, Lumborg predicts we will be off fossil fuels by 2100. Why not let natural technological change take care of the problem if in fact once the addition of CO2 stops so will the additional "forcing"?

Maybe clean water and mosquito eradication in the Third world gives us more bang for the buck.

M. Simon   ·  May 15, 2007 4:52 PM

Frob,

As long as you are answering questions:

CO2 went up from 1940 to 1970.

Yet temperatures were stable or went down.

Also note: 80% of the CO2 added to the atmosphere is natural. The remaining 20% added by man is supposed to account for 100% of the "observed" temperature rise.

The 80% added by nature just keeps the temperatures from falling I'm told by AGW believers.

Well you know me. I'm sceptical.

M. Simon   ·  May 15, 2007 5:30 PM

Papertiger,

- What happens wrt warming in the future depends on what happens with C-O2. If it grows at 1% per year (not an unreasonable "business as usual" scenario), it will double in 70 years, and quadruple in 140 years. That will certain produce a noticeable effect, because it will a net 1% / 2% imbalance in the radiation.

- Venus does not prove me wrong. Venus has cooled down considerably from the period that it "fell together". Think of how hot meterorites get when they fall from the sky, or think about the heating up of the heat shields of the space shuttle. That comes from the kinetic energy of the object falling into the gravitational field. Venus is considerably cooler than that now. Like the Earth, it's getting its heat from the Sun. It's considerably warmer than the Earth, because of the greenhouse effect (not because it's closer to the Sun, that's actually a much smaller effect); and the temperature difference is quite in line with calculations of the greenhouse effect.

- wrt the young Sun: At some point the Sun cooled down to its present temperature, and the kinetic energy of infalling bits had to be dissipated to bring the Earth into its present condition: if the Sun hadn't cooled down, it would still be hotter than it is (of course). My point is that the blanketing effect of C-O2 does not mean that it would have nearly the capability to stop the Earth from cooling off.

Actually, the term "blanket" is useful here:
- When you wear a blanket in the sunshine, you risk getting too warm.

- When you shelter yourself in a blanket on a cold desert night, you may still be freezing cold.

It's the same blanket, but in the first case you're getting heat from outside, and the second, it's just you (cooling off and feeling cold).

Neal J. King   ·  May 15, 2007 5:41 PM

M. Simon:

- I've only seen one name. The rest of the time people say the same as you: "I don't have a list."

- The IPCC are chartered to pull together the information from the climate science community. Their reports are based on the published scientific literature, with comment and input from thousands of climate scientists. Every comment has to be logged and dealt with. I've seen references to papers that even disagree with some of their more controversial conclusions in their bibliography: e.g., to Landsea's differing opinion on whether the GW signal has shown up yet in hurricane intensity; so they're not shutting out contrary views.

- Solar cycles: I'm pretty sure the 11-year cycle is included. If there are other cycles of interest, I'm sure they're included as well. If you, a non-professional, know about them, why don't you think they would as well?

- There have been suggestions that the water-vapor feedback is negative, notably by Lindzen. However, attempts to pin this down fail to support his belief. So the best assumption by far is that it is positive. That would also be compatible with the temperature/C-O2 phase lag records.

- The cosmic ray/cloud connection has not been included because it doesn't explain the last 10 years of recent history. Shaviv's idea isn't crazy, but it doesn't have much in the way of backing at the present.

- When they run these models, they do a lot of variation in the initial conditions, to get a full range of variability. That takes a lot of the uncertainty away. Remember, they are trying to calculate probability functions over time, not make specific weather predictions. It's a much easier job, like calculating the odds on the games for the casino, instead of the odds on the game for the bettor. (Hint: Casinos don't go broke.)

- China is actually beginning to worry about what GW will do to them, and India as well (although not as audibly). If the U.S. is willing to take the plunge, I think both China and India will as well, because both of them are more immediately exposed to the negative impacts of GW.

- The problem with just waiting is that people don't develop technologies just for the fun of it: "Necessity is the mother of invention", not "benign neglect". Even the technologies that have taken a big boost, like telecommunications, only happened after the Bell System was broken up and the bits and pieces started scrambling around to compete with each other. Oil will be gone in a few decades most likely, but we have hundreds of years worth of coal - all C-O2 producing, unfortunately.

And, because of the lag between ocean temperature and atmospheric temperature, we will have several decades of warming even after the increase of C-O2 has stopped; and its effect will remain for roughly 1000 years.

- There is no reason to make a choice between shorter-term urgent issues, like water & mosquito control, and longer-term issues like GW. Do you give up saving for your child's college education in order to make sure that s/he has a good lunch every day? I don't think so.

Neal J. King   ·  May 15, 2007 6:03 PM

Papertiger writes:

"It wasn't my intention to bust on you for getting the dates wrong."

I think you misunderstand my comment. Yes, the earth is 4.5 billion years old. In the early years, it was extremely hot, but as Mr. King points out, that was not due to radiative transfer from the sun. The basic cooling took a long time -- we're not sure how long, but the banded iron dating from about two billion years ago is a key data point. It tells us that photosynthesis had gotten rolling on a vast scale by that time. What happened before that is based on a few tiny fragments of information.

Anyway, there's no inconsistency between my comments on the banded iron and the much greater age of the earth.

"So I am wondering how long does it take for a specie of life to form and evolve and is one hundred to two hundred million years enough time for a heat loving plant to suck enough CO2 out of the atmosphere to allow oceans to form?"

This is one of the great questions that has plagued scientists for decades now. Lots of research has filled in some of the gaps, but there's still nothing solid in the way of results. What makes it really difficult is the lack of knowledge of the early terrestrial environment. What was the air chemistry like? What was the water chemistry like? What kind of temperatures were present? This is made all the harder by the certainty that there had to be lots of variation: variations in temperature and chemistry and incoming solar radiation. There is an immense body of scientific literature attempting to work backwards from what we have today, but the best overall summary is, we don't really know exactly how life got started. We know lots of little tidbits, and we know lots of things about how it could NOT have started, but it's really tough figuring out what was happening 3 billion years ago on a planet that was very different than today's earth.

Again, this is why the banded iron is so important. It gives us one pretty solid data point to work from.

"Venus says you are wrong."

Venus is not a good comparison to make. The Venusian atmosphere has a lot more stuff than CO2, much of it with greenhouse effects. CO2 can only intercept part of the infrared radiation leaving the planet, but other gases can intercept other parts of the infrared radiation. Venus happens to have a really good combination of gases that really trap that heat. It's not just the CO2.

"Are you saying that the newly condenced sun wasn't at least as powerful a heat source as the power of gravitational contraction on Earth? I find that comment questionable."

No, the solar radiation from the sun that was intercepted by the earth was much less than the potential energy of its assembly. Here, let me do the calculation for you. The escape velocity for earth is, what, 18,000 mph? That means that a bullet fired from a gun at that speed would, if there were no atmospheric friction, escape from the earth's gravity. Any slower and it would eventually fall back to earth. Meaning that you can reverse that: if you had a bullet at infinity and it fell to earth, it would be going at 18,000 mph when it hit the surface (assuming no atmospheric friction). The energy of that bullet would be 0.5 * m * v**2, where m is the mass and v the velocity. OK, so let's just say that the bullet has the mass of the earth. Then it's kinetic energy would be

= 0.5 * 6 * 10**24 kg * (3 * 10**7 m/s)**2

=3 * 10**24 kg * 9 *10**14 m**2/s**2

= 3 * 10**39 J

The solar constant (the amount of power passing through one square meter of area at the earth's distance is about 1 * 10**3 W. So the amount of power that strikes the entire earth is

= 1 * 10**3 W/m**2 * pi * radius of earth**2

= 3 * 10**3 W/m**2 * (6 * 10**6 m)**2

= 3 * 10**3 W/m**2 * 4 * 10**13 m**2

= 1 * 10**17 W

Hence, it would take roughly 3 * 10**22 seconds (about 10**15 years, much greater than the life of the universe) for the sunlight hitting the earth to add up to as much energy as was released as the earth was assembled.

Froblyx   ·  May 15, 2007 6:04 PM

Neal,

Temperatures can stabilize with CO2 increasing because the temperature is a ln functioin of CO2.

In addition the absorbtion bands of CO2 are not independent of the absorbtion bands of H2O. They overlap.

If H2O absorbtion is alread near maximum in a given band adding CO2 will have no effect.

Given the ln nature of absorbtion. A doubling of CO2 will increase its effect by 70%. A quadruplling would only increase the effecrt by 1.4X. Assuming CO2 and not the sun is doing most of the forcing.

Then we come to the heart of the matter. Natural technological advances will hacve us totally off fossil fuels ny 2065 or 2100. We see this in the beginning phase with hybrids which will evolve into practical electric cars.

Wind is coming along nicely with the rate of installation in America doubling every 3 or 4 years. Last year one nuke's worth of wind was installed. By 2010 we will be installing two nukes worth of wind a year.

Change is happening. It will happen faster if we don't cripple our economy with more taxes.

M. Simon   ·  May 15, 2007 6:08 PM

BTW did you read my article here on how the Germans have stopped investing in changing their energy infrastructure due to carbon taxes.

Nothing like more taxes to slow the rate of change.

M. Simon   ·  May 15, 2007 6:10 PM

Sure the IPCC pulls in papers that are peer reviewed. Mostly.

Like Mann's hockey stick. Lots of peer review there. However, in a certain sense Mann is a genius. He has proven that with the right filter you can make even noise look just the way you want. He seems fond of hockey sticks. I assume it is why he wants a cooler earth. Go Ice Hogs (our local team).

So when is the IPCC going to use one of Lindzen's papers? And how about that bit I posted by Lindzen on the peer review process. Just ups the confidence level, don't it?

How about: Roger Pielke Sr.

Or how about Steve McIntyre's stuff? Oh. I forgot. Not. Peer. Reviewed. Pity.

====

What is the optimum temperature for the Earth? Any plans for preventing the next ice age?

M. Simon   ·  May 15, 2007 6:23 PM

M. Simon:

- 1940-1970: The IPCC model the last 100 years, taking into account:
a) What would have happened if only there were natural (volcanic emissions & changes in solar activity;
b) What would have happened if only human causes (C-O2 & sulfate aerosols) were happening; and
c) What should happen if both these sources of climate drivers are taken into account.

Graph c) is considerably better than the other two. What this implies is that the sulfate aerosols (from unscrubbed burning of coal) had a cooling effect during that period. You can see the graph at: [url]http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/figspm-4.htm[/url]

- The point about the C-O2 fluxes: If you didn't have the burning of fossil fuels and volcanic emissions, the rest of the C-O2/carbon cycles betweeen the atmosphere, the biosphere, and the ocean. It doesn't lead to a build-up anywhere, because it's in balance. I don't mean that in a "romantic" sense, I mean that in an accounting sense: the stuff goes into/out of the atmosphere, ocean and into the living creaturs, and overall doesn't get stuck anywhere.

The CO-2 that originates from outside the carbon cycle is new & additional, and does cause a build-up everywhere it can. They can detect this, by the way, because the Carbon-14/Carbon-13 ratio differs between carbon that has been "out in the world" and carbon that has been locked away underground (either fossil fuels or in subterranean lava).

I don't recall off-hand what % of the C-O2 flux is fossil fuel, but the USGS says that the amount of C-O2 from volcanoes is 1/150 of the amount from fossil fuels. And however the magnitude of the fossil-fuel stuff, it is essentially the only stuff that is additional.

Think of bathwater in a tub. Most of the water is swirling around, and only a little is coming out of the spout. But if the question is, "When is the bathtub going to run over?", what matters is the rate of water coming out of the spout, the swirling around doesn't make any difference at all.

Neal J. King   ·  May 15, 2007 6:23 PM

M. Simon:

- C-O2 and water vapor have some bands in common. But there is a band in which C-O2 absorbs but H2-O does not. That is why C-O2 can be significant even in its relative scarcity.

- The formula that is generally used (and I've never seen it challenged) is that the radiative forcing due to C-O2 is proportional to the logarithm of the C-O2 concentration, such that the driving is 3.8 W/sq.m. per doubling of C-O2. So if you start from today, and double the C-O2, you get another 3.8. If you quaduple the C-O2, the total difference is 7.6; and so on. The effect is not exactly one of simple absorption: it has to do with the adiabatic lapse rate of the atmospheric temperature, the near-saturation of C-O2 in that frequency band, and other complexities. If you want a reference, I can give you two: [url]http://ca.geocities.com/marie.mitchell@rogers.com/GreenhouseEffect.html[/url], [url]http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/ClimateBook/ClimateBook.html[/url]

- "Technology will save us": I don't see any reason for people to move off fossil fuels without incentive. Hybrids get us off oil, they don't get us off C-O2, because you still need to produce the electricity from something, and the easiest conventional methods are coal and nuclear - and coal is cheaper. I'm encouraged about the growth in wind, slightly concerned about nuclear wastes (but not dead set against that approach). I don't see a reason for people to decide to pay more for energy, unless there is reason to believe that the ultimate cost will be greater that way. I notice that USCAP, a group of corporations that have decided to act on the GW issue, is calling for C-O2 cap & trade: http://www.us-cap.org/

- Germans: I don't see a URL for that. However, two points: a) You could expect some resistance on this, given that one of the prize industries in Germany is the high-end car business; b) last I heard, the Prime Minister Merkel was dead set on pushing through C-O2 oriented reforms anyway.

- Peer review: I think there are some points you may not appreciate about peer review.
i) Peer review does not mean "correct": it means that a reputable scientist in the field has looked at the paper, and doesn't see any reason to believe that the author is incompetent, ignorant of the major issues in the field, etc. It does not mean that he's checked all the figures and calculations. It sounds pretty basic, and it is; but most of the GW-denialist writings that you will see on the internet wouldn't pass muster, because they ignore accepted work, distort known facts, etc.
ii) When Mann did his original work, it was the very first time this particular technique (PCA) had been applied to climate science. Mistakes happen to pioneers: remember the phrase, "You recognize the pioneers as the guys with arrows in their backs."
iii) The error made by Mann, when corrected later, made no appreciable difference in the results.
iv) There was an NAS review of this work in the last year, and they concluded that the work was substantially correct.

- Lindzen: They do reference his work. But I've read a few of his papers, and his pet idea, the "iris" concept that predicts a negative feedback between temperature and cloud cover, seems not to be supported by the evidence. In general, I have to say that I don't have much confidence in what Lindzen says. His actual scientific papers are pretty careful; but when he goes for those Wall Street Journal op-eds, he says a lot of things that are just plain false. One of them had to do with Orestes' study of the degree of consensus on GW in climate science. He quotes Peiser's critique against her; he doesn't seem to be aware that Peiser has admitted by now that his critique was just wrong, dead wrong.

- I haven't read Pielke much. I understand he is more skeptical on the question of harms, but I don't think he doubts that GW is happening. But I haven't had occasion to read him very much.

- McIntyre: He's well-known in these parts for his paper with McKitrick, criticizing Mann's paper. I think the climate science community have decided that Mann was substantially right. McKitrick is also famous for confusing angles measured in degrees from angles measured in radians, and coming up with a totally wrong conclusion. The amazing thing is that he pursued this paper through something like 4 years of resistant reviewers, eventually convinced them to publish it - only to find he had done his basic trigonometry wrong. (Like I said, peer review doesn't aim to catch either fraud or bad arithmetic: the reviewers possibly didn't like the logical structure of his argument, or his interpretation of experiments - who knows. But 4 years is a LONG time for review.)

- I don't have strong opinions about the "best" temperature. My concern is that it not change so fast that a very large number of species are not able to adapt soon enough to leave descendants - and this seems to be a real threat. The biologist E.O. Wilson, among others, has estimated that 25% of the world's species are likely to die out (without leaving descendants) due to GW. This is comparable to what happened when that giant asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs. The C-O2 emissions are imposing a temperature change that is at least 6 times faster than any known to have occurred before. From my point of view, that is extremely serious.

Neal J. King   ·  May 15, 2007 7:12 PM

M. Simon,

I appreciate your doubts & queries. However, I wish you would keep individual postings smaller and confined to a single topic: it would make responding to them rather easier.

My preferred format is to keep one topic to a posting. Even then, sometimes my postings are not short. But, by preference (when I am not responding to a complicated posting), they are focused.

Neal J. King   ·  May 15, 2007 7:20 PM

Add in Neptune's moon Triton:
http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/1998/triton.html

Jupiter:
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2006-05-04-jupiter-jr-spot_x.htm?POE=TECISVA

And Pluto:
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/pluto_warming_021009.html

to Mars, Neptune, Earth, and who know how many other solar system planets and moons all warming up with increased solar irradiance. Solar warming would seem to explain these phenomena very plausibly, and far better than the theory that a fraction of 1% of the Earth's atmosphere dominates the planet's entire climate. By the way, if it's the sun's radiant energy that varies by 0.2% between the extremes of a sunspot cycle, shouldn't the calculations toward the top of the comments be based on 0.2% of the SUN's energy output, which then gets radiated toward the Earth, not 0.2% of the Earth's net average temperature? I know we get day-to-day temperature variations much greater than 0.15 Kelvins all over the world. It does not make sense that 0.15 Kelvins could be the maximum effect of the sun on Earth. Even all the way out on Pluto the astronomers estimate a temperature rise of 2 Kelvins, and Earth is much closer than that to pick up far more of the sun's energy.

Robert   ·  May 15, 2007 7:48 PM

M. Simon,

Another problem with long responses (to long postings): They get held up. I responded to a couple of your postings a few hours ago, but my response was long enough that it caused the system to put a hold on it, until a monitor could check it out.

The delayed posting actually should predate the posting immediately above. I hope it makes it through the process.

Neal J. King   ·  May 15, 2007 8:36 PM

Neal,

The delay only happens when you add urls.

I try to check my mail frequently, but you know how it is. Some times a few hours can go by in a blink.

Or I get engrossed in plasma physics or something.

M. Simon   ·  May 15, 2007 9:28 PM

Neil,

K*ln(2) = 3.8

K= 5.4822411553780609479677137878072 (aproximately)

K*ln(4) = 7.6

So yeah. I agree with that. I should do math more often.

================

With error bands in the measurements running 1 to 2 deg C. I find it hard to believe that we can be sure of our numbers.

As far a I know no one looking at climate change has done a really good look at instrumentation over the last 150 years. For instance how reliable are shipboard records re: place, time, accuracy of reading vs. recorded precision. What kind of land based instruments were used? How well and how often were they calibrated?

When you have a known drift were data corrected?

When I was aboard ship and we forgot to log readings we got "creative" and stayed out of trouble by making sure we had an entry in the logs where ever required. How can we be sure that such was not done when temperatures were manually entered?

A metiorologist friend tells me that current instruments in common use drift about +/- 1 deg. F over a year.

Any one looking into calibration records?

M. Simon   ·  May 15, 2007 9:45 PM

I don't see how you can say the CO2 we are putting in the atmosphere is "new" when it was once part of the atmosphere.

CO2 has been 7X what it is now for long stretches of the last 100 million years. That CO2 went some where.

And just to double up: Temperatures were declining for 10s of millions of years in that period while CO2 remained high.

So let me see if I get this right. CO2 7X the present. Temperatures declining. I thought CO2 was forcing. According to your numbers around 10.5 W/sq m. How many degrees is that?

The current IPCC minimum number is 1.5 deg C per 3.8 w/sq m. So around 3X that would be in the range of 4.5 deg C. Probably a little less due to radiation going up as T^4. If you take the high end predictions (4.5 deg C) You should get something on the order of 10+ deg C. Yet temperatures were declining. Something like 10 deg C over a few 10s of millions of years. I don't get it.

========

Well I'm an Occam's razor kind of guy. I like the sun. It explains more than CO2 and better. Plus it is a lot simpler. Couple it with the Milankovitch cycles. Passage through high radiation areas of the galaxy (the cloud effect). Continental drift effects on the climate. And you have an explanation not just for the last 100 years but at least 100 million. Maybe 500 million or more.

Which would seem a tad more robust than looking at just the last 100 years of not very good or complete records (I include ice cores and all the other proxies) and extrapolating from that. In such a short time span anamolous correlations are possible. Heck, they are likely.

Now I admit that the geological records are not very good. Too many proxies with assumed calibrations. No worse than the rest of the data we are using. Plus it covers a much longer period.

The most reliable are probably the photometric studies of planets and satellites.

M. Simon   ·  May 15, 2007 10:22 PM

Robert,

- Triton: Your cited article suggests, "... this report in the June 25 issue of the journal Nature by MIT astronomer James L. Elliot and his colleagues from MIT, Lowell Observatory and Williams College says that the moon is approaching an unusually warm summer season that only happens once every few hundred years. Elliot and his colleagues believe that Triton's warming trend could be driven by seasonal changes in the absorption of solar energy by its polar ice caps."

- Jupiter: Your article states, "The global change cycle began when the last of the white oval-shaped storms formed south of the Great Red Spot in 1939. As the storms started to merge between 1998 and 2000, the mixing of heat began to slow down at that latitude and has continued slowing ever since.

The movement of heat from the equator to Jupiter's south pole is expected to stop at 34 degrees southern latitude, where Red Spot Jr. is forming."

Again, the suggestion from the article is that this is a seasonal issue.

- Pluto: This article proposes two possible explanations: orbital distance (with a lag for warming up) or volcanic activity. They do not mention changes in solar intensity.

- Mars:
a) http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/04/070404-mars-warming.html : That article suggests the cause lies in dust storms, reducing the reflectivity of the planet's surface.
b) A discussion here, http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=192 ,
also concludes that the warming on Mars is probably regional rather than global.

Article b) above also points out that the solar irradiance has been measured by satellites, and has been declining for the last few years as it moves towards a solar minimum. So this hardly seems like a plausible cause for anything.

- The ratio of C-O2 to H2-O is not that important, because there is a band of infrared radiation that is absorbed by C-O2 but not at all by H2-O. The calculations show that this gives the radiative forcing of 3.8 W/sq.m. for each doubling of C-O2. (Yes, there are also IR bands which are absorbed by both C-O2 and H2-O; and that is why C-O2 is not important in the absorption of those frequencies.)

Neal J. King   ·  May 15, 2007 10:24 PM

I looked at:

http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/figspm-4.htm

Simulated surface temperatures. Way cool.

Probably better than simulated sex.

M. Simon   ·  May 15, 2007 10:27 PM

M. Simon,

- wrt shipboard records: Unless there are systematic errors, it is the purpose of statistical tools to be able to pull signals out of noise. That would even apply if there are "fudged" data stuck in to avoid getting yelled at, unless you think there would be some tendency to fudge in a particular direction - and that that direction has switched over time.

- I don't do experimental climate studies. However, if you're interested in finding out, there are two possible sources:
a) John Houghton's "Global Warming: The Complete Briefing". He talks about the general background of climate science, a good general picture of the framework, and some of the details of the methods used for proxies. It's high-level, but decent.

b) If that's not detailed enough, I've written to Gavin Schmidt at GISS & and at RealClimate: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?cat=10

I've written to him on specific technical points, and gotten useful (though brief) answers within a couple of days.

Neal J. King   ·  May 15, 2007 10:31 PM

M. Simon,

By "new" C-O2, I mean stuff that hasn't been mixing around in the atmosphere for the past few thousand years. That means it doesn't have the amount of Carbon-14 that the stuff circulating in the carbon cycle has. Yes, that's the same way that is used to estimate the age of ancient (by human terms) biological materials. The Carbon-14 is a product of high-altitude nuclear reactions, and has half-life of several hundred years; so anything like coal or lava will have been isolated from Carbon-14 long enough that it won't have any left.

Over a period of some 10s of years, C-O2 mixes from the atmosphere into the upper surface of the ocean; over periods of about 1,000 years, it gets incorporated into critters (foraminafera) in the upper ocean, who die and sink to the bottom of the ocean. That's where it goes.

- C-O2 is not the only driver of temperature. In fact, until recently, it wasn't a driver at all, because there wasn't a source for it, aside from erosion of carbonaceous rock, and occasional volcanic eruptions. Climatologists think that the main setting of climate has been orbital forcing (Milankovitch cycles), which create temperature differences that can be magnified by the C-O2 feedback (because when the temperature gets hot, more C-O2 escapes the waters and tundras; and also the extra biological activity seems to produce more as well).

- To make sense of the Temp vs. CO-2 curves, remember that they're not the full story. If you refer to specific data, maybe I can make sense of it, maybe not, as I'm far from being a professional climatologist. But I'm sure I can find someone who can sort it out.

- One problem with depending on the Sun is that variations in solar activity can be & have been measured. The most recent IPCC report (IPCC AR4) downgraded the maximum variation that could be attributed to the Sun since 1970 from 30% (Solanki) to something like 10%. So it doesn't explain enough.

- Finally, the physics of the greenhouse effect is reasonably straightforward. If the temperature were not going to increase with a 33% increase in C-O2, you would really have to wonder why. Here's a reference that gives a pretty simple explanation: http://ca.geocities.com/marie.mitchell@rogers.com/GreenhouseEffect.html

Neal J. King   ·  May 15, 2007 10:51 PM

M. Simon,

On simulated sex.

Well, you know, that's how calculations are done. Large amounts of physics have to do with modeling a phenomenon, and seeing if it acts the right way when you change the parameters to match different cases. It's generally assumed that, if the corresponding cases give corresponding behavior, that you have some kind of understanding of the phenomenon.

Neal J. King   ·  May 15, 2007 10:55 PM

"Think of bathwater in a tub. Most of the water is swirling around, and only a little is coming out of the spout. But if the question is, "When is the bathtub going to run over?", what matters is the rate of water coming out of the spout, the swirling around doesn't make any difference at all."

Yeah that got me to thinking. There was once 7X as much water in the tub as there is now. Suppose we are doubling the water in the tub every 100 years. How soon will it over flow? Not for at least around 300 years.

And if you consider that at one time before the tub was 7X as full it was 20X as full. And yet the tub didn't overflow.

How the heck is that possible?

I've heard that just doubling the CO2 was catastrophic.

Some one have a math error? Happens.

M. Simon   ·  May 15, 2007 11:23 PM

"Well, you know, that's how calculations are done. Large amounts of physics have to do with modeling a phenomenon, and seeing if it acts the right way when you change the parameters to match different cases. It's generally assumed that, if the corresponding cases give corresponding behavior, that you have some kind of understanding of the phenomenon."

Since we have only history to work with and can't atlter the variables at will, has any one tried 7X as much CO2 in the modelsd for 100 million years to see if any temperature declines happened (in the model) as the record shows? I'm not asking for 100% replication (that would be nice) just 10 or 20 million years with high CO2 and falling temperatures?

You know - are we making the best use of the data that is available?

So far the modelers are doing their best to eliminate inconvenient data.

The Mideval Warm Period - gone. Two explanations: bad data. Local phenomenon. Except that once inhabited parts of Greenland (now there is a name) are under ice. Just another local phenomenon.

A North West Passage because there was not much ice in the arctic? Well the records are Chinese. Who can be sure?

Famines in Europe in coincidence with sunspot numbers? Just a coincidence.

Temperatures and reflected light from Neptune match Earth temperature records with a delay? People who buy that bilge are wearing Neptunium Hats and have brain damage from the radiation.

On and on.

When the simplest explanation that fits all the data is solar variability.

However, keep at it. Occam will eventually let some blood.

M. Simon   ·  May 15, 2007 11:54 PM

"By the way, if it's the sun's radiant energy that varies by 0.2% between the extremes of a sunspot cycle, shouldn't the calculations toward the top of the comments be based on 0.2% of the SUN's energy output, which then gets radiated toward the Earth, not 0.2% of the Earth's net average temperature?"

Indeed, those calculations are done exactly as you suggest they should be done. I calculated the change in earth's average temperature due to the change in the solar output. The calculation was based on simple blackbody radiation, but inasmuch as that's the starting point for all this, and the net effect is microscopic, I see no problem with the approximation.

"It does not make sense that 0.15 Kelvins could be the maximum effect of the sun on Earth. "

A temperature change of 0.15 degrees Kelvin is the effect of a luminosity change of 0.2% in the sun. It may not make sense, but that's why we have science: to get us past the arbitrary subjectivity of common sense.

Froblyx   ·  May 16, 2007 11:14 AM

Frob

You seem to have ignored my post. The zircon is made of sediment. There is no wiggle room. The Earth's atmosphere at the very earliest date from which direct samples exist, was cool enough to allow liquid water to form sedimentary rock.
It seems to me that whatever the total power produced by gravitational compression might be, that it's result would radiate heat energy. This heat would have had to be reflected back to the surface by the combined H2O, CO2 blanket, thus causing a positive feedback loop. That is if such a feedback loop exists.
And yet the zircon proves that the 200 million year old Earth was cool and covered with water.

About Mars and the temperature variations. Are you aware that Mars and Earth climate changes of the past have been correlated? There is an ice scarp (image here) that was found by the global surveyer. Scientists have compared Earth and Mars climate cycles and found that when Earth went through ice ages, Mars went through ice ages also.
To the scientists who explain the recent warming on Mars as dust being blown away from dark areas I would ask, "What caused the wind?" and "What caused the dust to avoid landing on darker areas?"
Neal King
Article b) above also points out that the solar irradiance has been measured by satellites, and has been declining for the last few years as it moves towards a solar minimum. So this hardly seems like a plausible cause for anything.
What a coincidence. The Earth's temperature has been on the decline since 1998. Another thing that jumps out at me is the total global temperature change detected on Mars; 0.65 degrees C. Why does that figure sound so familiar? Um... I seem to remember reading about another planet's temperature change being 0.6 C. Which one was it?
I'm having a memory lock, so let's move on.

Jupiter's Red Spot Jr. due to seasonal variation? A season which has lasted since 1937?
Jupiter's equator is never more then 3 degrees from the solar plane. It's the most constant of all the planets in regards to seasons.
Jupiter's gravity is supposed to drive it's weather, or so I have been told.
If that is true then a second giant storm comparable to the great red spot is worrisome indeed, because it fortells a change in gravitation itself! Lord help me.
I can hear Jupiter asking Saturn "Does this spot make my ass look bigger?"

Papertiger   ·  May 16, 2007 2:29 PM

on 7X today's C-O2:

You state that the C-O2 concentration has been 7X as great as today. I don't find this.

Instead:
- At page 435 of the IPCC AR4 (in chapter 6), url , I see: It is very likely that the current atmospheric concentrations of CO2 (379 ppm) and CH4 (1,774 ppb) exceed by far the natural range of the last 650 kyr. Ice core data indicate that CO2 varied within a range of 180 to 300 ppm and CH4 within 320 to 790 ppb over this period. Over the same period, antarctic temperature and CO2 concentrations covary, indicating a close relationship between climate and the carbon cycle. and
- a quote from an article in Science, at http://news.mongabay.com/2005/1124-climate.html : The analysis highlights the fact that today’s rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, at 380 parts per million by volume, is already 27 percent higher than its highest recorded level during the last 650,000 years, said Science author Thomas Stocker of the Physics Institute of the University of Bern, in Bern, Switzerland, who serves as the corresponding author for both papers.

Where's your evidence for a 7X ?

Neal J. King   ·  May 16, 2007 5:15 PM

Papertiger, I don't see what you're driving it. We know that the earth was very hot when it was formed. We don't know how quickly it cooled. It could very well have cooled in the 100 million years between formation and that zircon crystal -- 100 million years is a very long time! Even then, however, it might still have had a surface temperature as high as 200 degrees F, because water is still liquid at that temperature. We just don't know, hence it's impossible to arrive at any conclusions regarding global warming from this scanty data.

" This heat would have had to be reflected back to the surface by the combined H2O, CO2 blanket, thus causing a positive feedback loop. That is if such a feedback loop exists."

You'd get positive feedback loop only if the higher temperatures caused more greenhouse gases to be released. We have no indication that this happened way back then -- largely because we the only real data we have from back then is from those zircon grains.

I looked at that paper you linked to on correlations between Earth and Mars temperatures. It looks interesting, but it doesn't present its root data, and there's something much more important: if you look at the bottom, you'll see it was printed in the proceedings of a conference. That means that this is an unrefereed paper. Nobody checked it out to make sure that it was reliable. If the data and analysis were reliable, then it would have been published in a formal scientific journal. So I don't think we can rely on this as a source of information.

Remember again, we've been directly measuring solar luminance since the late 1970's, and the changes we have seen are microscopic. To give indirect, uncertain data precedence over direct measurement is not the right way to do science.

"The Earth's temperature has been on the decline since 1998."

That's not what I have read. Have you any sources for that?

"Another thing that jumps out at me is the total global temperature change detected on Mars; 0.65 degrees C. Why does that figure sound so familiar? Um... I seem to remember reading about another planet's temperature change being 0.6 C. Which one was it? "

Actually, if you really want to squeeze that data for meaningful conclusions about the cause, you would have to conclude that the similarity in the delta-Ts is a disproof of the hypothesis that reductions in solar radiance are the root cause. Remember the fundamental law controlling the emission of heat from a planet: the Stefan-Boltzmann law, which says that the power emission is proportional to the fourth power of the absolute temperature. The earth has an average temperature of about 300 K; Mars is at about 210 K. If the sun's luminance decreased by 1%, then both earth and Mars would show temperature falls of about 0.25%. 0.25% of earth's temperature is 0.75 degrees K; 0.25% of Mars' temperature is 0.53 degrees Kelvin. In other words, if the sun were the cause, then they'd have to fall by DIFFERENT amounts.

"Jupiter's gravity is supposed to drive it's weather, or so I have been told."

You've been told wrong. Yes, Jupiter's gravity plays a role, but the driving force is Jupiter's internal heat and the way it moves around.

Froblyx   ·  May 16, 2007 5:20 PM

Mr. King, the AR4 IPCC report, Chapter 6, page 441, has a graph indicating atmospheric CO2 values ranging from 1300 ppm to 7500 ppm for Cambrian times (this is from the GeoCarb III model). Of course, with an uncertainty range that high, you've got to be pretty careful drawing any major conclusions. The palaeosol data suggests 3000 ppm at that time. But hey, who knows? Perhaps the Cambrian explosion was triggered by water temperatures of, say 120 degrees F!

Froblyx   ·  May 16, 2007 5:28 PM

Other (non-7X) issues you've raised:

Medieval Warming Period: The IPCC AR4 devotes a couple of pages to discussing the history of and evidence for the MWP. You can find it here: page 468 of http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Ch06-v2.pdf , but their conclusion is: The evidence currently available indicates that NH mean temperatures during medieval times (950–1100) were indeed warm in a 2-kyr context and even warmer in relation to the less sparse but still limited evidence of widespread average cool conditions in
the 17th century (Osborn and Briffa, 2006). However, the evidence is not sufficient to support a conclusion that hemispheric mean
temperatures were as warm, or the extent of warm regions as expansive, as those in the 20th century as a whole, during any period in
medieval times (Jones et al., 2001; Bradley et al., 2003a,b; Osborn and Briffa, 2006).
Greenland: one article I found points out that the Viking farms have continued to be worked to the present day. They're not frozen over at all:
- http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic48-4-324.pdf : This article studies the question of why Vikings abandoned the Greenland settlements, and mentions that there is no permafrost there today, and that the soil is typical of well-developed soils that have been free of ice for 9000 years.

- http://www.rudyfoto.com/grl/brattalidbarn.html : Here's a photo of Erik the Red's farm. No ice.

Northwest Passage : I think that's a bit of a scam. A GW-skeptical journalist, Lord Monckton, cited that idea a year ago, and when you tried to chase it down to a real source, it was pretty flakey: a work of popular history called "1421: The Year the Chinese Discovered the World", which professional historians of Chinese denounced as flawed and dubious. Monckton ended up retracting it.

Famines & Sunspots: I'm not quite sure what your point it. Solar activity affects solar luminosity, but the question is whether the effect is big enough to explain what's happened in the last 100 years. The IPCC AR4 states that "The estimated difference between the present-day solar irradiance cycle mean
and the Maunder Minimum is 0.08% (see Section 2.7.1.2.2), which corresponds to a radiative forcing of about 0.2 W m–2"; rather small compared to 3.8 W m-2 expected for a factor of 2X in C-O2 concentration (which translates to 1.6 W m-2 for the 33% increase to date).

Neptune & Triton: I've discussed that previously above. As stated in the article, "Elliot and his colleagues believe that Triton's warming trend could be driven by seasonal changes in the absorption of solar energy by its polar ice caps." And no one has seen solar variability from satellite measurements that would correspond to what you're suggesting.

Occam's Razor: Keep in mind another principle: "For every complex problem, there is an answer that is simple, obvious - and wrong." Solar variability is one of those.

Neal J. King   ·  May 16, 2007 6:04 PM

Papertiger,

0.6 degrees on Mars & Earth:
If the temperature changes really were both due to solar variation, given the difference in distance and in atmosphere, it is rather unlikely that the change in temperatures would come out the same. The solar intensity at Mars is about (1.5)**2 = 2.25 times less than at Earth, so if you're going to think simple-mindedly about it, you would expect the increase to be 2.25 times less as well.

Of course, if you want to think less simple-mindedly about it, you would want to worry about atmospheric effects, dust storms, and so on.

Jupiter:
"Seasonal" was a bad choice of word. I was referring to what the article called "The global change cycle." The cycle of interest cannot be merely seasonal, because the Jovian year is about 12 of ours, not long enough to span the period.

But the point is that it's clear from the context that the article is describing this phenomenon as due to the internal dynamics of Jupiter, and not attempting to seek an explanation from a driving varation from outside the system, such as a solar variation would be.

And, as mentioned previously, if there were variations in solar luminosity that were so large, we would see them directly in satellite measurements. We don't.

Neal J. King   ·  May 16, 2007 6:44 PM

Froblyx,

I stared at that graph for a long time. To be honest, I can't tell what Fig. 6.1 is trying to say: It's rather confusing. So I quoted the plain text of the Chapter 6 Summary, on the grounds that there are too many people interested in and familiar with this point for anyone to try to pull a fast one in such a high-profile place in the document. And it says, It is very likely that the current atmospheric concentrations
of CO2 (379 ppm) and CH4 (1,774 ppb) exceed by far the natural range of the last 650 kyr. Ice core data indicate that CO2 varied within a range of 180 to 300 ppm and CH4 within 320 to 790 ppb over this period. "Very likely" is used to mean 90% probability, according to the AR4's terminological convention.

Neal J. King   ·  May 16, 2007 7:00 PM

Darn, my last post got messed up. I'll try again.

///////////////////////////////

Froblyx,

I stared at that graph for a long time. To be honest, I can't tell what Fig. 6.1 is trying to say: It's rather confusing. So I quoted the plain text of the Chapter 6 Summary, on the grounds that there are too many people interested in and familiar with this point for anyone to try to pull a fast one in such a high-profile place in the document. And it says:

"It is very likely that the current atmospheric concentrations
of CO2 (379 ppm) and CH4 (1,774 ppb) exceed by far the natural range of the last 650 kyr. Ice core data indicate that CO2 varied within a range of 180 to 300 ppm and CH4 within 320 to 790 ppb over this period."

"Very likely" is used to mean 90% probability, according to the AR4's terminological convention.

///////////////////////////////

I hope that's clearer.

Neal J. King   ·  May 16, 2007 7:06 PM

Neal,

The migration of gases and chemical reactions in the ice cores has not been accounted for.

Which is why ice cores say that the level of CO2 is unprecidented.

However since 1880 or so reliable chemical assays have been done. Some of them (by a number of experimenters) have found CO2 levels above the present day levels.

There is a link to this some where above. Also to ice core chemistry.

PaperTiger,

Has an interesting point that is so far unremarked among the AGW folks. A solar theory accounts for the warming and light variations of various solar system bodies. It also accounts for the current stall (or falling) of global temperatures on earth since 1998.

If you don't watch out Occam is going to go for a jugular. Bloody mess.

Well time for the AGW folks to add a few more epi-cycles to iron out the kinks. After all, there is no theory so bad that adding a few more rules and some adjustments can't fix it.

Heck, if given enough time I could probably make phlogiston into a modern workable theory. Given the popularity of the CO2 explanation for why the earth is warming I could probably get a few converts.

======

Neil,

"Very likely" if you are in the AGW camp means "if you ignore conflicting evidence". If the evidence is really compelling "explanations" will have to be developed.

I'm still trying to figure out how we could have falling temperatures when CO2 was 7X higher. (geologic record)

M. Simon   ·  May 16, 2007 11:08 PM

Neil,

The .6 deg may just be a coincidence. The rising temperatures may not be.

If there was a lot of negative feedback in the earth system (the AGW folks prefer positive feedbacks - it helps make their predictions more ominous) that would account for similar rises from different amounts of solar input. Stuff like clouds for instance. Are there clouds on Mars? Other than dust clouds?

That would be unfortunate because it would say that within limits earth's temperature is self regulating. From the geological record it looks like 17 deg C is the center of the range with a tendency to hang out at the strange attractors of 12 and 22 deg C.

Right now we are close to the 12 deg C part of the curve.

http://mysite.verizon.net/mhieb/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html


We really don't know alot about what forces clouds. We are just learning about the cosmic ray/solar connection. There may be others which work in the opposite direction.

In fact the cloud thing is so bad that we don't even know the sign let alone the magnitude. So the AGW folks assume it is positive (with a 90% probability, to be sure) and sufficient to make predictions of the future more scary.

===

BTW could the AGW folks please tell me what the proper temperature of the planet ought to be?

Since, for the last few million years earth has spent most of its time as an ice planet perhaps glaciers covering the Northern Hemisphere is what we want.

===

How does the "not wide spread" explanation for the Mideval Warm Period explain away the fact that the Chinese Navy did not find ice were we commonly find in in the mid 1400s? The report I read said they sailed clear to the North Pole.

===

I'm preparing for another epi-cycle explanation.

You guys are really good. However, the epi-cycles are piling up and are starting to get contradictory.

Like any good Marxist (Marx believed that capitalism was the best way to accumulate capital) I'm working to intensify the contradictions.

===

If CO2 is forcing why have earth temperatures been on a steady downward trend since 1998? There was an upward spike in 2004 - after which the downward trendline resumed near where you would expect if 2004 was not in the series.

CO2 is still rising and planetary temperatures are falling. Who allowed this?

It happened before from 1940 to 1970. Oh yeah. Dirty coal.

Here is what I would do. Kick up some dust. Start looking for dust and aerosols. More SO2 from Chinese coal plants? Maybe as long as we are using coal clean air is the wrong way to go.

I look forward to "Environmentalists for dirty air". That is the ticket. Biofuels may be out. So what is left? Nuclear fission. Nasty stuff. Me? I'm a fusion guy. Despite (because of?) my Naval Nuclear Power training.

Easy Low Cost No Radiation Fusion.

M. Simon   ·  May 17, 2007 12:46 AM

Froblyx, Neal,
Have just come back from a few days in the real world: fly fishing. In the real world, facts always trump unproven hypotheses.

Check with those whose livelihood actually depends on whether or not not we are heading for "man-made hell on earth", all along the West coast of North America, from AS to CA, including Canadian BC, and they will tell you that for the past 3-5 yrs we have had "old fashioned" winters and spings with record snow covers that even a quick look will tell you have nothing to do with IPCC computer based global warming models and their purported outcomes. This is consistent with satellite data for the past 5-7 yrs for the Northern Hemisphere which show that after the 1998 peak, temperatures have levelled off and may well be falling; the same data sets show a notable decline in southern hemisphere temps [Note to Frob: get over the "it is difficult to interpret satellite data" heartburn; NASA and a whole lot of other capable people appear not to have a problem]

As Neal points out, " For every complex problem there is an answer that is simple, obvious, and wrong one". The AGW story is the textbook case for this type of "clusterf..k" thinking. The IPCC models explicitely tell us that based on a [man-made] increase in CO2 ppmns model: 1] the intermediate troposhere will warm at a rate of 1.3 x global mean surface air temperature; best available NASA data tells us this is not happening]; 2] the stratosphere will cool [ NASA tells us this is not happening either]; 3]SSTs [sea/surface temps]
are supposed to increase [various papers tell us this is not happening either] and we now also know that there is no increase in deep ocean temperatures either. Rises in sea levels are not living up to IPCC sponsored computer models either [as the ones with economically the most at stake, the Dutch really picked up on that one..]. And on and on it goes with a steadily growing body of peer reviewed science from a variety of quarters that [very much in the vernacular] would appear to tell us that "IPCC has its head where the sun don't shine".

On a somewhat less flippant note: the Ancient Greeks taught us that there can be no meaningfull dialogue between beliefs/emotion on the one hand and facts/reason on the other. Galileo was nearly put to the stake for challenging the Church' dogma that the sun revolves around the Earth. It was Maghellan's 1498-99 logs that proved beyond that the Earth is in fact a sphere and not flat. Neither one quite in line with the beliefs of the time and it took contrarians capable of thiking outside the box, and incredible courage, to make sure that the dogma did not prevail.

It is useful to bear in mind that the crucial, all-important, causal part of the IPCC AGW hypothesis [i.e. man-made increases in CO2 ppms are the main and sole cause in unprecendented increases in global temperatures] is the very part that remains unproven [as much as Froblyx appears to have a problem with this]. Fact is, there is an established body of [peer reviewed] scientific evidence that demonstrates that the fundamental IPCC premise is an untenable proposition.

I don't think I have much more to add, and will take a recess from this blog [other than to see what's going on from time to time]

tetris   ·  May 17, 2007 1:59 AM

Neal,

Evidence? For 7X higher CO2?

http://mysite.verizon.net/mhieb/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html

BTW did you get the memo on chemical reactions that might alter CO2 concentrations in ice over time.

Ice cores have their problems.

Enjoy.

M. Simon   ·  May 17, 2007 3:15 AM

"It is useful to bear in mind that the crucial, all-important, causal part of the IPCC AGW hypothesis [i.e. man-made increases in CO2 ppms are the main and sole cause in unprecendented increases in global temperatures] is the very part that remains unproven [as much as Froblyx appears to have a problem with this]."

Proven, no; nothing in science is ever proven. However, the concept is based on physical phenomena that have been known for more than a century and confirmed in literally thousands upon thousands of experiments.

" Fact is, there is an established body of [peer reviewed] scientific evidence that demonstrates that the fundamental IPCC premise is an untenable proposition."

If that's a fact, demonstrate it. Provide a reference, or a link, or something to demonstrate that your claim is not fiction.

I think that the body of discussion here demonstrates something very clear. Mr. King and I have provided detailed explanations of the science behind the AGW hypothesis. We have provided references and links to our explanations, and answered criticisms of those explanations. We have addressed and demolished a large number of arguments against the AGW hypothesis. Despite this, there remain die-hard opponents who simply refuse to address the question with intellectual integrity. They repeat the same arguments after those arguments have been demolished (e.g., the extra-terrestrial global warming argument, the Cambrian 7X CO2, the ice core data). They ignore calculations demonstrating that their claims, while true, add up to an insignificant factor (e.g., increases in solar luminance). They proudly display the handful of scientists who agree with their position, and reject the thousands of scientists who disagree with their position. They ignore vast amounts of data that contradict their claims (e.g., satellite measurements of solar luminance). They claim that there's a vast conspiracy of scientists out to foist a huge lie onto humanity. They refuse to read the core documents on the subject, such as the IPCC reports, the NAS reports, or the joint declaration of the national academies of science of the G8 nations. They don't even understand the basic physics at work, making blooper statements that would make a freshman physics student blush.

Despite all of this, they cling fast to their beliefs. Why? It certainly has nothing to do with science or reason -- they have long since cast those aside. No, I believe -- and this is speculation on my part -- that their thinking arises from social identity rather than reason. They think themselves to be in a death-struggle with another social group (the 'lefties') and since that group has embraced the AGW hypothesis, they must therefore oppose it.

I think that the strongest evidence in support of my speculation is the nasty attitude they express towards those who disagree with them. Notice, for example, how many times derogatory references to this group have popped up on their postings, even though none of the proponents of the AGW hypothesis have offered any left-wing political arguments. Notice that they insert snide parenthetical remarks about opponents into their posts. There's something going on here that has nothing to do with science or reason.

I have no illusions that I would make even the slightest dent upon their rock-hard convictions. I have offered my comments here for the benefit of those readers who are not participating in the debate. To those readers, I apologize for my occasional expressions of exasperation with the perverse thinking of the AGW deniers. Now that we have built up a long record of interaction, I think this discussion clearly demonstrates the intellectual fakery they rely on.

Froblyx   ·  May 17, 2007 11:29 AM

M. Simon:

- On 7X:
There seem to be conflicting statements about the amount of C-O2. You mention chemical assays, but I don't see how this applies to ice-core measurements, or in what sense these should be preferred to the Vostock results. Further clarification on this point would be helpful.

- On the role of C-O2 generally:
No one on the side of mainstream climatology has ever said that C-O2 is the only driver for global average temperature. In fact, until recently, it hasn't been a "driver" at all, but part of a feedback loop. It's only with the insertion of the fossil-fuel combustion that it's become a significant driver.

- On Solar Variability:
A very fundamental problem is that the measured variability in solar luminosity doesn't explain what's happened over the last decades, never mind the last 100 years. So you can cite Occam's razor: I can see the shaving cream, but where's the razor?

- On "very likely":
No, the IPCC cannot just "ignore" contrary evidence, as long as it is presented in peer-reviewed journals (a pretty minimal requirement, in my view). As I mentioned previously, they have to document every comment on their report and all their attempts to address it. And papers with contrary views (e.g. Landsea on hurricanes) are referenced in the report, as having different interpretation. I've worked with the ITU-T, the telecommunications standardization forum in the U.N.: every point of disagreement has to be documented to death.

- On rising temperatures in the solar system:
If you're going to attribute rising temperatures on different planets to the same cause, there should be a corresponding relationship among the results. My criticism was that, by a reasonable guess as to what the ratios should be, this relationship didn't hold. So now you want to ignore the magnitude of the rises and just pay attention to the sign? As far as I'm concerned, that dog won't hunt.

- On clouds (back on Earth):
Pf. Lindzen has been pushing the possibility of a negative feedback due to clouds, and this has been discussed. However, so far it seems that most of the evidence is against his idea: See for example: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Study/Iris/iris.html , where both the concept and the evidence against it is presented. To quote from the article:

“The Iris Hypothesis is very exciting,” states Bing Lin, an atmospheric research scientist at NASA LaRC. “Everybody would like to see tropical clouds changing in response to surface warming and acting to stabilize the climate system. The problem is when we used measurements from the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) sensor, we got significantly different results (from Lindzen).”

- Proper temperature for the planet:
I don't claim that there is a "best" temperature for the planet. What I don't like is a change in temperature that happens so quickly that many species will die out without leaving any descendants. If you look at some of those temperature graphs that have been cited, you generally see changes of a few degrees happening over millions and millions of years. That means that there is time for adaptation: evolution changes the content of the gene pool without wiping out its diversity. But when we are changing a few degrees in a hundred years (I'm referring to future projections now, since the change in the last 100 is 0.6), we are talking about very fast changes. The estimates I have seen indicate that it takes about 1 million years for a new species to evolve. One can argue about what is meant by a "new" species, but I think the point is clear that if a large number of critters die out without leaving descendants, we're losing a lot of diversity in the planet. From a purely utilitarian perspective, that has implications for human medicine; from a broader perspective, a decimation of the gene pool reduces the planet's robustness against unforseen events (like another giant asteroid).

- Downward trend since 1998?
Climate is a matter of averages & trends. All attempts (in either direction) to pinpoint an event of one year as indicative of climate change is an error. 1998 was a local maximum, but I don't see it continuing down, I see it coming up from 2001. You need to do some smoothing to find the trend. It's not reasonable to expect a monotonic function: the atmospheric/oceanic system is complex.

- Dust as the solution?:
Actually, some people have proposed this. Inspired perhaps by the record that dirty coal has had in reducing GAT, Pf. Crutzen (Nobel Laureate for his work on ozone) has indeed suggested using sulfate aerosols as an "act of desperation" to prevent excessive heating. Most folks involved think we should try to reduce our C-O2 input instead: You know, "an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure".

- Chemical reactions altering C-O2 measurements?:
No, I don't find this by searaching under "chemical", except your assertion. Can you provide a link?

- Nuclear Fusion:
I'm not against it. It's just that no one has made it work so far. The closest working fusion plant is the Sun, which is held together by gravity. On Earth, we don't have enough gravity for that to be an option, so we need to use something like magnetic fields. Unfortunately, holding a plasma in a magnetic field turns out to be a lot harder than people thought it was going to be 50 years ago. When I was taking a plasma physics course in the 1980s, one fairly promiment plasma physicist stated: "Everytime we figure out how the plasma got out, it was due to an instability. We found that the way to kill that instability was to build a bigger machine, and design it slightly differently. When we did that, it was true that that instability was gone. But so far there's always been another instability." He concluded, "Fusion will not be a technology that provides electricity for me, or for my children. Maybe for my grandchildren." I'm not sure what the attitude among plasma folks is today. But keep in mind that there is a long way from "scientific breakeven", when the energy released equals the energy that went directly into the reaction, and "engineering breakeven", when you get enough out that you can imagine paying for the energy it took to build and operate the plant. There's an order of magnitude or more in that distinction.

(There is an intriguing issue that would result from such a plant: A terrorist strike on a huge fusion plant would be a disaster, taking out a large area wrt electrical power supply. So it makes a really good target.
But I digress: The first question is, Can we get one to work?.)

- Chinese Navy & ice:
As I mentioned before, my previous attempts to find a real source for that story ran to ground; and one anti-GW journalist retracted it. Please cite some documentation.

- on Epicycles:
The reason Froblyx and I are so good at finding what you call "epicycles" is that all this stuff is well-documented in the scientific literature. I don't have to know all the answers to your question, I can just start looking for the explanations. Generally, they are readily at hand, and fit very well with normal science.

The reason that Copernicus' view overcame Ptolomy's was that there were explanations he had for regularities that could not be explained within the old view; and when Galileo discussed the moons of Jupiter, he demonstrated an example of how something could rotate around something other than the Earth - and anybody with a telescope could verify it. The anti-GWers haven't posed any question that doesn't get a more satisfactory answer within normal science, when you consider the "constraint" that the actual data have to be explained, so that it's not sufficient to provide a clever talking point.

Neal J. King   ·  May 17, 2007 1:23 PM

tetris:

-1998 & the West Coast:
As discussed above, 1998 was a local maximum, and you have to do smoothing to pull a trend out of noisy data; and GAT seems to have been rising since 2001. wrt the WC: "global average temperature" means you average over the globe. Some things will be higher, some things will be lower.

Discrepancy between IPCC models and data:
- I don't understand your claim that the IPCC stated a rate of 1.3 x temperature: that doesn't even have the units of a rate of increase. What do you actually mean?
- The sealevel discussion seems to be ongoing. I believe that the IPCC AR4 reflects the best current research. Have you looked at it? http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/wg1-report.html
- You make various claims about what NASA and oceanic measurements show or fail to show. This would mean a lot more if you would provide links to the documentation supporting these claims. I've followed up many links that people have claimed prove this or that - only to find that crucial aspects of the article have been left out. I'm not asserting that you've done that: but there would be a whole lot more force behind your argument if you provided the evidence.

AGW is untenable:
There is not an "established body of peer-reviewed scientific evidence that proves that the fundamental IPCC premise is an untenable proposition". There is a handful of scientists (and lots of pair PR folks) who promote a few published journal articles into lots of newspaper articles. Some of these articles present alternative theories that are possible but not well supported by the data (like blaming GW on cosmic rays); some of them have been shown to be highly flawed in their understanding of the basics of the field (Soon & Baliunas was a notorious paper in this way); and some have been spouted about but never published (Abassumonov (?) and William Gray). All of these theories can be made to make sense - if you're prepared to throw out the constraints of other things that are known as well. Unfortunately, to be a real scientific theory, you have to be able to deal with ALL the evidence, not just the part that you like.

Neal J. King   ·  May 17, 2007 1:44 PM

Meteorologist Dr. Reid Bryson, the founding chairman of the Department of Meteorology at University of Wisconsin (now the Department of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, was pivotal in promoting the coming ice age scare of the 1970’s ( See Time Magazine’s 1974 article “Another Ice Age” citing Bryson: & see Newsweek’s 1975 article “The Cooling World” citing Bryson) has now converted into a leading global warming skeptic. In February 8, 2007 Bryson dismissed what he terms "sky is falling" man-made global warming fears. Bryson, was on the United Nations Global 500 Roll of Honor and was identified by the British Institute of Geographers as the most frequently cited climatologist in the world. “Before there were enough people to make any difference at all, two million years ago, nobody was changing the climate, yet the climate was changing, okay?” Bryson told the May 2007 issue of Energy Cooperative News. “All this argument is the temperature going up or not, it’s absurd. Of course it’s going up. It has gone up since the early 1800s, before the Industrial Revolution, because we’re coming out of the Little Ice Age, not because we’re putting more carbon dioxide into the air,” Bryson said. “You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide,” he added. “We cannot say what part of that warming was due to mankind's addition of ‘greenhouse gases’ until we consider the other possible factors, such as aerosols. The aerosol content of the atmosphere was measured during the past century, but to my knowledge this data was never used.

from:

I'm so verry sorry, but I've changed my mind.

BTW Frob,

If aerosols were cooling the envirnment then that would mean temperatures are abnormally low and man has been cooling the place off when it should have been warming.

What a catastrophe. If the Chinese keep building dirty coal plants we could be in real trouble if the feedbacks force the temperature lower. Quick change the models! We are going to need some thing new to worry about.

==

Frob,

The hard to interpret satelite data. The new discoveries about clouds and cosmic rays. The dubious validity of ice cores (the older the more dubious - because of chemical changes and diffusion) etc. The CO2 record measured by chemists etc. All point to a solar cause for global warming. It correlates with what we are seeing on other planets and measurements of the sun. Plus it has been verified over many time scales - not just the last 100 years and not dependent on computer models.

Paleoclimatologist Tim Patterson, of Carlton University in Ottawa converted from believer in C02 driving the climate change to a skeptic. “I taught my students that CO2 was the prime driver of climate change,” Patterson wrote on April 30, 2007. Patterson said his “conversion” happened following his research on “the nature of paleo-commercial fish populations in the NE Pacific.” “[My conversion from believer to climate skeptic] came about approximately 5-6 years ago when results began to come in from a major NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Strategic Project Grant where I was PI (principle investigator),” Patterson explained. “Over the course of about a year, I switched allegiances,” he wrote. “As the proxy results began to come in, we were astounded to find that paleoclimatic and paleoproductivity records were full of cycles that corresponded to various sun-spot cycles. About that time, [geochemist] Jan Veizer and others began to publish reasonable hypotheses as to how solar signals could be amplified and control climate,” Patterson noted. Patterson says his conversion “probably cost me a lot of grant money. However, as a scientist I go where the science takes me and not were activists want me to go.” Patterson now asserts that more and more scientists are converting to climate skeptics. "When I go to a scientific meeting, there's lots of opinion out there, there's lots of discussion (about climate change). I was at the Geological Society of America meeting in Philadelphia in the fall and I would say that people with my opinion were probably in the majority,” Patterson told the Winnipeg Sun on February 13, 2007. Patterson, who believes the sun is responsible for the recent warm up of the Earth, ridiculed the environmentalists and the media for not reporting the truth. "But if you listen to [Canadian environmental activist David] Suzuki and the media, it's like a tiger chasing its tail. They try to outdo each other and all the while proclaiming that the debate is over but it isn't -- come out to a scientific meeting sometime,” Patterson said. In a separate interview on April 26, 2007 with a Canadian newspaper, Patterson explained that the scientific proof favors skeptics. “I think the proof in the pudding, based on what (media and governments) are saying, (is) we're about three quarters of the way (to disaster) with the doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere," he said. “The world should be heating up like crazy by now, and it's not. The temperatures match very closely with the solar cycles."

Same url as above in this comment.

So it looks like the scientific consensus is shifting Frob and you are stuck with your beliefs and Al Gore. I don't worry much about your beliefs, they do give comfort (the end is nigh has always been popular among believers). I do wish to give you my condolences for being stuck with Al.

Perhaps we could go back to worrying about a meteor strike. Or the concerns of my geologist friend, who is a global warming sceptic, who likes to worry about a major eruption in Yellowstone that could take out a number of states and could through aerosols cause a global winter that might last for decades.

There are always new things to be afraid of. I'm sure you will find something suitable.

M. Simon   ·  May 17, 2007 2:03 PM

On Bryson:

“All this argument is the temperature going up or not, it’s absurd. Of course it’s going up. It has gone up since the early 1800s, before the Industrial Revolution, because we’re coming out of the Little Ice Age, not because we’re putting more carbon dioxide into the air,” Bryson said. “You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide,” he added. “We cannot say what part of that warming was due to mankind's addition of ‘greenhouse gases’ until we consider the other possible factors, such as aerosols. The aerosol content of the atmosphere was measured during the past century, but to my knowledge this data was never used.

- We're coming out of the Little Ice Age:
As an explanation of GW, that has about the intellectual cogency of a medieval physician explaining the power of opium by saying that "it has a dormative effect". Climatologists have long given up the idea that the "Earth is striving to get to a specific temperature".

- “You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide”:
This statement is just silly. The effect of doubling the C-O2 concentration has been discussed for years, and the generally accepted estimate is 3.8 Watts/sq.m. If Bryson is serious about this statement, he should prove it and put his hat in the ring for a Nobel Prize. If he's not serious about this statement, why is he making it? Pathetic.

-Aerosols:
The IPCC TAR (with which I'm more familiar than the AR4, because I've had time to look at it) displays graphs that demonstrate the impact of aerosols. See here: http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/figspm-4.htm.
Maybe Bryson should get out a little more.

Neal J. King   ·  May 17, 2007 2:44 PM

Neal,

Sure 1998 was a local maximum (do you mean the earth by "local" or the shape of the curve or what? And what about the spike in 2004?). Local maximum if you are talking abour curve shape implies an inflection point. The curve has changed direction and we are now in a period of cooling. Which is in fact the case.

Since 1998 the CO2 has continued to rise and temperatures have continued to fall (except for the spike in 2004). How is that possible? I thought CO2 was like putting a gun to people's heads, forcing.

==

We have reputable scientist saying that earth temperatures are forced by the sun with CO2 as a minor possible amplifying factor.

From what I have looked at - pro and con - solar output variance seems to best fit the data over a number of different time scales and on a number of different solar bodies, not just the earth.

Frob,

No one here has offered proof that CO2 was not 7X higher over geological time scales. So far the best I have seen here is that 650,000 years were considered based on ice cores (which have their problems).

I have yet to see a contradiction of data going back 100 million years or so. Meaning you left out 99% of the record I was refering to. Not very scientific of you.

Man you must be getting desperate.

I really enjoyed the part of your comment about ignoring the evidence. Delivered without even a hint of irony. You are good. Very good.

M. Simon   ·  May 17, 2007 2:49 PM

"There is a handful of scientists (and lots of pair PR folks) who promote a few published journal articles into lots of newspaper articles."

All it takes is one.

Gallileo comes to mind.

M. Simon   ·  May 17, 2007 2:51 PM

And, as mentioned previously, if there were variations in solar luminosity that were so large, we would see them directly in satellite measurements. We don't. (refering to Jupiter - Paper)


Neal, Let's turn that on it's head. How large would solar variations have to be to create a storm larger then the Earth, if the greenhouse trap were made of Methane? And instead of just 380 ppm, lets plug in 2500 ppm, because that is the situation of methane on Jupiter.
Since Methane is a more effective GHG then CO2,and the giant planets provide so much more solar collecting area, it makes smaller solar changes, such as would pass with little to no effect on terrestrial planets, more important and pronounced drivers of change on gas giants.

Papertiger   ·  May 17, 2007 2:57 PM

The magnetic field of Jupiter is measured to be 2000 times the strength of the field on Earth. Likewise for all of the gas giants due to their spinning cores of metalic Hydrogen. A proportionate increase of sensitivity to solar magnetic fields should be expected. Such as for example the cyclotronic heating of Saturn's moon Enceladus.
IN the case of Saturn we see the natural emmitter of CERN energy solar particles (the planetary mag field) directing and focusing a stream of ionized solar particles to impact on a point source that is causing a water vapor geyser on the surface of the moon.

Papertiger   ·  May 17, 2007 3:12 PM

On Patterson
A difficulty with evaluating what Patterson says is that he doesn't give any specific references.

- "Paleoclimatic and paleoproductivity records were full of cycles that correspond ed to various sun-spot cycles." Yes, and no one has ever said that the Sun doesn't affect the earth's temperature. The question is whether that variation has been big enough to cause the observed changes. The general conclusion has been, "No."

- "Jan Veizer and others began to publish reasonable hypotheses as to how solar signals could be amplified and control climate."
And the investigation of these proposals has so far turned up very little in supporting evidence. It's an intriguing idea, but so far it hasn't panned out: the evidence doesn't really support the claim. For example, here's a critique from RealClimate, http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/peer-review-a-necessary-but-not-sufficient-condition/:
"Shaviv and Veizer (2003) published a paper in the journal GSA Today, where the authors claimed to establish a correlation between cosmic ray flux (CRF) and temperature evolution over hundreds of millions of years, concluding that climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide was much smaller than currently accepted. The paper was accompanied by a press release entitled “Global Warming not a Man-made Phenomenon", in which Shaviv was quoted as stating,“The operative significance of our research is that a significant reduction of the release of greenhouse gases will not significantly lower the global temperature, since only about a third of the warming over the past century should be attributed to man”. However, in the paper the authors actually stated that "our conclusion about the dominance of the CRF over climate variability is valid only on multimillion-year time scales". Unsurprisingly, there was a public relations offensive using the seriously flawed conclusions expressed in the press release to once again try to cast doubt on the scientific consensus that humans are influencing climate. These claims were subsequently disputed in an article in Eos (Rahmstorf et al, 2004) by an international team of scientists and geologists (including some of us here at RealClimate), who suggested that Shaviv and Veizer's analyses were based on unreliable and poorly replicated estimates, selective adjustments of the data (shifting the data, in one case by 40 million years) and drew untenable conclusions, particularly with regard to the influence of anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations on recent warming (see for example the exchange between the two sets of authors). However, by the time this came out the misleading conclusions had already been publicized widely."
(If you don't trust what they say, feel free to go back to the original articles they cite.)

- "At the Geological Society of America meeting in Philadelphia, people with my opinion were in the majority":
In that case, it should be no sweat to change the position statement of the GSA, published in October 2006: "The Geological Society of America (GSA) supports the scientific conclusions that Earth’s climate is changing; the climate changes are due in part to human activities; and the probable consequences of the climate changes will be significant and blind to geopolitical boundaries. Furthermore, the potential implications of global climate change and the time scale over which such changes will likely occur require active, effective, long-term planning. GSA also supports statements on the global climate change issue made by the joint national academies of science (June 2005), American Geophysical Union (December, 2003), and American Chemical Society (2004). GSA strongly encourages that the following efforts be undertaken internationally: (1) adequately research climate change at all time scales, (2) develop thoughtful, science-based policy appropriate for the multifaceted issues of global climate change, (3) organize global planning to recognize, prepare for, and adapt to the causes and consequences of global climate change, and (4) organize and develop comprehensive, long-term strategies for sustainable energy, particularly focused on minimizing impacts on global climate." (http://www.geosociety.org/aboutus/position10.htm)
Evidently, there must a be a few people who think differently than Patterson at these GSA meetings, yes?

- The world should be heating up like crazy... The temperatures match very closely with the solar cycles:
According to what I've seen, the heating up of the GAT has gone pretty much along with Hansen's prediction of the "most likely" scenario from 1989. (Not the "unlikely" scenario that Hansen used to bracket his results - and which Michael Crichton falsely claimed to be Hansen's main prediction.). If Patterson wants to tie everything to just one factor, he should also explain why the other factors don't apply. From my point of view, if there were no GW happening, we would indeed have something to explain: a basic failure in atmospheric physics.

Neal J. King   ·  May 17, 2007 3:18 PM

By turning it on it's head I mean to ask how small of a solar variation could we expect to have an observable effect on the superior planets? And would such a small variation be detectable directly in our measurements of the sun with today's equipment?

Papertiger   ·  May 17, 2007 3:19 PM

So now you want to ignore the magnitude of the rises and just pay attention to the sign? As far as I'm concerned, that dog won't hunt.

Don't say that Neal. You are ruining your argument. The IPCC modeling folks folks know neither the magnitude nor the sign of the cloud factor.

I'm one up on them.

BTW I haven't done any differential studies of why the earth and the Martian numbers might be simillar. I have proposed negative feed backs on earth not available on Mars - the biosphere, oceans, clouds, all come to mind. No way to tell without further studies.

I also note that the signals from a number of solar bodies (not just Mars) match. This gives a stronger weight to the Martian data. It fits the pattern. As does earth.

As to cosmic rays and clouds. This has been proven several million times at least on a micro scale (see Wilson Cloud Chamber). So far only one marco experiment has been done. However, it confirms all the millions of micro experiments. I'd give it more weight than unproved. Tenatively proved would be a better estimate.

Check out what Nir Shaviv has to say. His best estimate is that solar variation and the cosmic ray/cloud effect together account for at least 80% of the global temperature change. Evidently a lot of scientists are coming around to his way of thinking.

So many that now scientific meetings of people who have studied the matter are now split around 50 - 50. A big change from a few years ago. It appears the concensus is unraveling.

M. Simon   ·  May 17, 2007 3:25 PM

M. Simon:

- "local maximum" means, as a curve, the temperature was sharply lower on both sides. But actually all such curves are smoothed over in some way, if we take a single number for each year. What I mean can be seen by looking at, for example, http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/info/warming/:
You can see a huge spike, at 1998, and then you see that it bottoms out at 2000 and has been heading up ever since. Look at that curve: It's not heading down, the most that you could say is that it might be slowing down. But look at the broader picture displayed in the graph: a 2 or even 5 year period is too short to evaluate anything.

- GAT is a noisy signal, and it's affected by other factors than C-O2. C-O2 just happens to be one of the major factors right now. Others have included aerosol sulfates, volcanic activity (usually unimportant except in a really bad year, like Pinotuba), solar variation (hasn't been significant recently); but a major point is that what you can predict is climate, but what you see is weather. There are all sorts of weather cycles and phenomena like El-Nino, ENSO, and all sorts of stuff that are going to ride on top of any trend; and they're pretty big. I believe that 1998 was, in fact, an El-Nino year. The idea that a C-O2 driver is supposed to "take over" the GAT completely is a gross exaggeration.

Instead, think of a grandfather clock, ticking & tocking back and forth. And then imagine that the clock is being tilted slowly upwards on the right-hand side. On the average, the position of the pendulum will shift to the left, but that doesn't mean that the cycling between left and right will stop and turn to a hard clinging to the left. The cycling will continue, but the excursion to the right will be reduced, and the excursion to the left will be increased. Only if it gets to the point that the pendulum hits the side of the clock and stops will the oscillation cease.

- If you believe in solar variation as the cause, please cite your sources, and I'll look at them.

- Problems with ice-core measurements:
I have some questions myself about how ice-core stuff is determined. However, if you have seen evidence of a specific problem, please cite your source, so that it can read and discussed.

- There have been a few Galileos and Copernici. And there have been loads and loads of crackpots in university-town cafes, with their own private explanations of why relativity is wrong. (I've talked to a few of them.) As even Richard Feynman, a famously maverick physicist, said (more or less), "Most likely, the conventional approach is right. But it makes sense to study the unconventional approach because of what you can learn along the way." This was, of course, the guy who invented a new way of doing quantum mechanics, who invented the new (now conventional) approach to doing calculations in quantum electrodynamics, who discovered the lagrangian for the weak interaction, who invented a theory for superfluid helium from the ground up - and even then, he admits that the conventional view is usually right.

Neal J. King   ·  May 17, 2007 3:52 PM

Turning it on its head:
Papertiger, do you seriously think that a change in solar luminosity could affect a planet without being detectible by satellites that were designed, as part of their scientific mission, to keep an eye on the Sun?

I'm not working in planetary studies, so it would take considerable time for me to quantitatively pin down an estimate of how high a % change in solar luminosity would effect a change on Jupiter. It would also take some time to pin down which satellite systems are keeping an eye on the Sun, and the accuracy they have.

That could be an interesting thing to do - but I'm not motivated to do it by your question. It's just sheerly implausible that satellite observation systems would be designed with the degree of inaccuracy required to miss something that large.

- Magnetic fields:
Magnetic fields have interesting effects, but they don't affect the kinetic energy of plasmas. This has to do with the fact that the Lorentz force of the magnetic field on the charged particle acts only perpendicularly to the velocity vector.

Neal J. King   ·  May 17, 2007 4:06 PM

M. Simon:

on Hunting Dogs:
- In the case of IPCC and the clouds, no one is exactly sure, but so far the evidence is for a positive feedback. Evidence is better than no evidence.

- In the case of you and the warming planets, you are proposing to throw away information in order to make the "evidence" fit your theory.

I fail to see an equivalence.

Other planets:
Look above, I have discussed other planets. Strangely enough, none of the planetary scientists involved have thought of the idea that they're due to the Sun. They're all looking for intra-system dynamics. Can they all have forgotten the Sun exists? Or, as is more likely, that they're familiar enough with the physical phenomena of interest to their planet to know that it's a non-issue?

Cosmic rays:
The experiment only shows that cosmic rays in the right environment can produce cloud nuclei. What is missing is any evidence that the cosmic ray intensity has had any correlation with climate. It hasn't: emphasis added, from http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=42:
"There is little evidence for a connection between solar activity (as inferred from trends in galactic cosmic rays) and recent global warming. Since the paper by Friis-Christensen and Lassen (1991), there has been an enhanced controversy about the role of solar activity for earth's climate. Svensmark (1998) later proposed that changes in the inter-planetary magnetic fields (IMF) resulting from variations on the sun can affect the climate through galactic cosmic rays (GCR) by modulating earth's cloud cover. Svensmark and others have also argued that recent global warming has been a result of solar activity and reduced cloud cover. Damon and Laut have criticized their hypothesis and argue that the work by both Friis-Christensen and Lassen and Svensmark contain serious flaws. For one thing, it is clear that the GCR does not contain any clear and significant long-term trend (e.g. Fig. 1, but also in papers by Svensmark).

Svensmark's failure to comment on the lack of a clear and significant long-term downward GCR trend, and how changes in GCR can explain a global warming without containing such a trend, is one major weakness of his argument that GCR is responsible for recent global warming. This issue is discussed in detail in Benestad (2002). Moreover, the lack of trend in GCR is also consistent with little long-term change in other solar proxies, such as sunspot number and the solar cycle length, since the 1960s, when the most recent warming started."

on Shaviv:
I've already commented on Shaviv's work. My impression is that he's enjoying his 15 minutes of fame, but he's not getting any further in acceptance of his theory. The main problem is the same as with Svensmark's approach: the evidence isn't there, especially for the last few decades. Did you read what I posted on him above? Check the posting at:
Neal J. King · May 17, 2007 03:18 PM

Neal J. King   ·  May 17, 2007 4:22 PM

M. Simon:

on Hunting Dogs:
- In the case of IPCC and the clouds, no one is exactly sure, but so far the evidence is for a positive feedback. Evidence is better than no evidence.

- In the case of you and the warming planets, you are proposing to throw away information in order to make the "evidence" fit your theory.

I fail to see an equivalence.

Other planets:
Look above, I have discussed other planets. Strangely enough, none of the planetary scientists involved have thought of the idea that they're due to the Sun. They're all looking for intra-system dynamics. Can they all have forgotten the Sun exists? Or, as is more likely, that they're familiar enough with the physical phenomena of interest to their planet to know that it's a non-issue?

Cosmic rays:
The experiment only shows that cosmic rays in the right environment can produce cloud nuclei. What is missing is any evidence that the cosmic ray intensity has had any correlation with climate. It hasn't: emphasis added, from http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=42:
"There is little evidence for a connection between solar activity (as inferred from trends in galactic cosmic rays) and recent global warming. Since the paper by Friis-Christensen and Lassen (1991), there has been an enhanced controversy about the role of solar activity for earth's climate. Svensmark (1998) later proposed that changes in the inter-planetary magnetic fields (IMF) resulting from variations on the sun can affect the climate through galactic cosmic rays (GCR) by modulating earth's cloud cover. Svensmark and others have also argued that recent global warming has been a result of solar activity and reduced cloud cover. Damon and Laut have criticized their hypothesis and argue that the work by both Friis-Christensen and Lassen and Svensmark contain serious flaws. For one thing, it is clear that the GCR does not contain any clear and significant long-term trend (e.g. Fig. 1, but also in papers by Svensmark).

Svensmark's failure to comment on the lack of a clear and significant long-term downward GCR trend, and how changes in GCR can explain a global warming without containing such a trend, is one major weakness of his argument that GCR is responsible for recent global warming. This issue is discussed in detail in Benestad (2002). Moreover, the lack of trend in GCR is also consistent with little long-term change in other solar proxies, such as sunspot number and the solar cycle length, since the 1960s, when the most recent warming started."

on Shaviv:
I've already commented on Shaviv's work. My impression is that he's enjoying his 15 minutes of fame, but he's not getting any further in acceptance of his theory. The main problem is the same as with Svensmark's approach: the evidence isn't there, especially for the last few decades. Did you read what I posted on him above? Check the posting at:
Neal J. King · May 17, 2007 03:18 PM

- 50% at meetings?:
I guess you're pulling that from Patterson's claim. To be frank, i just don't believe him. If he had 50% at GSA, he would be able to get the positon statement changed.

You're satisfied with anecdotal evidence? Here's some more anecdotal evidence, from RealClimate, http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=167:
"The IPCC was specifically tasked with providing a consensus report - it had thousands of authors (all of whom are in the field), thousands of reviewers (ditto) and exhaustive drafts and revisions until most people were happy. Go to any relevant meeting (AGU, EGU etc.) and you will find at most one or two posters or presentations (out of hundreds to thousands in relevant fields) that question the 'consensus'. It is just not controversial anymore among scientists. -gavin]"
"gavin" is Gavin Schmidt, at GISS/NASA.

Neal J. King   ·  May 17, 2007 4:28 PM

Papertiger,

Turning it on its head: Reprise:

I thought of an easier way to conclude that any effect big enough to affect the climate of Jupiter so visibly should be detectible by satellite studies of the Sun:

a) If solar luminosity changes are affecting Jupiter's climate in a way that does not reflect the seasons, then there should be no effect due to the turning of the Jovian year. In other words, a visible effect had better have a cause bigger than the seasonal change in luminosity, or else it would be dominated by the seasonal change.

b) Looking at the parameters of Jupiter's orbit, the periphelion (closest distance to the Sun) is 4.95 AU, and the aphelion (farthest distance to the Sun) is 5.46 AU. Because the intensity of the Sun's light depends on distance as 1/(distance**2), the seasonal variation in intensity implied by these parameters is 2*(5.46-4.95)/(avg.distance)**3
= 2*(0.51)/(5.2**3)
= 2*(0.51)/141
= 0.72%.

So any solar effect big enough to dominate seasonal variations must be at least as big as 0.72%.

c) The Wiki article on "solar variation" states that "The variations in total solar output remained at or below the threshold of detectability until the satellite era, although the small fraction in ultra-violet wavelengths varies by a few percent. Total solar output is now measured to vary (over the last two 11-year sunspot cycles) by approximately 0.1%[1] [2] or about 1.3 W/m2 peak-to-trough during the 11 year sunspot cycle." So that implies that the satellites must be able to measure below the level of 0.1%.

So since the sensitivity of the solar-luminosity variation measurements must be less than 0.1%, but the value of any solar-luminosity variation that could possibly satisfy your hope that it's the cause of a non-seasonal Jovian climate effect would be 0.72%, any such causal phenomenon would have to be detectible by satellite.

It hasn't shown up.

Neal J. King   ·  May 18, 2007 5:06 AM

Papertiger:

Oops:
I just realized that the proper calculation for the required size of the cause is not:
2(delta-r)/r**3 = 0.72%

but rather:
2(delta-r)/r
= 2*0.51/5.2
= 19.6%

Given, as said before, that the satellites have to be able detect changes below the level of even 0.1%, it is even clearer that solar variation cannot be used to explain the apparent climate changes on Jupiter.

That's actually a useful little fact to keep on file.

Neal J. King   ·  May 18, 2007 5:19 AM

Occam's Razor

M. Simon,

While dealing with that usefully irritating question of Papertiger's, it occurred to me that the point there applies to more cases than just Jupiter.

When we consider each of the planets that have been accused of engaging in planetary warming, which in turn has been attributed to an increase in solar luminosity, we could ask the question, "How much of a change in solar luminosity would be necessary to do this? and would such a change be observable to direct measurements of the Sun's luminosity?"

It's not easy to estimate the luminosity required for a specific change, but again we can look at the time frame and ask the question, "Is this proposed effect greater than or smaller than the seasonal variation, due to the phase of the planet's orbit around the Sun? If the proposed effect overrides what one would expect of the seasonal variations, then one would expect that the cause must be greater than the variation in solar intensity that occurs anyway due to orbital phase; which means that, if you want to attribute this to a change in solar luminosity, that this change in luminosity has to be greater than that in the solar intensity due to the change in orbital radius.

Using equations:
The solar intensity at radius R should be

Intensity = constant * Luminosity /R**2,
or
I = a*L/R**2

If you want to attribute a change to a change in Luminosity, dL, then

dI = a*dL/R**2
so the fractional change in Intensity is

dI/I = (a*dL/R**2)/(a*L/R**2)
= dL/L


But the variation in solar intensity due just to orbital variation can be found by holding L constant and varying R:

dI = d(a*L/R**2)
= a*L*(-2*dR/R**3)
= - 2*a*L*dR/R**3

so that the fractional change in solar intensity would be

dI/I = - (2*a*L*dR/R**3)/(a*L/R**2)
= - 2*dR/R

So what that means is that if we want to attribute a climate change to a change in luminosity, and this climate change is big enough to override seasonal variation, then we must expect that

dL/L > 2*dR/R (the sign is not important)

But the problem is that for some planets, this 2*dR/R is big enough that there is no way that such a big dL/L would have been missed. Let's go through the cases:

- Mercury: No observable climate change (although highly exposed to the Sun)

- Venus: No observable climate change (although highly exposed to the Sun)

- Earth: Climate change, but the variation imposed thereby does not override the seasonal variation, so we can't use this test here.

- Mars: Climate change that seems to override the seasonal, over a 3-Martian-year timeframe, so the criterion should apply. 2*dr/R = 37.4% ! If the Sun were changing that much, I think you could tell by eye!

- Jupiter: The cited changes have taken place over about 5 Jovian years, so the criterion should apply. 2*dR/R = 19.6%. We would definitely notice this from direct measurements of the solar luminosity.

- Saturn: The Saturnian hotspot is in a strange location for a candidate Sun-caused phenomenon (South Pole); but anyway, the duration over which the phenomenon has been observed is less than 7% of the Saturnian year. In principle, it could be a seasonal issue (as some have suggested), so the criterion cannot be applied.

- Uranus: Again, the claimed change occurs over a timeframe of only 16% of the Uranic year, so it could be seasonal.

- Neptune: Again, the claimed change occurs over a timeframe of only 15% of the Neptunian year, so it could be seasonal. (Actually, given that the original article states that the correlation is "not statistically significant", it could be nothing.)

So what about the Sun?
According to the article at the American Institute of Physics, http://www.aip.org/history/climate/solar.htm : The range of variation of solar luminosity, as measured by satellites, since 1988 has been 0.001.

So dL/L = 0.001 = 0.1%.

That isn't big enough to explain Mars or Jupiter; and for Saturn, Uranus and Neptune whatever is going on cannot be clearly distinguished from seasonal variation.

And the most interesting case of all is Earth. We can't apply our criterion, but we can point out that a variation of 0.1% over 22 years is not going to give the increase in temperature that we have seen since 1988.

I think Occam's Razor had better look for another customer to shave.

Neal J. King   ·  May 18, 2007 5:35 PM

Pluto

I had left off Pluto, because it's no longer "officially" considered a planet. However, I noticed that above you cited it as an example of GW, so I'll add a little write-up on it in the same pattern:

- Pluto: The article you cited states that the changes are observed over a period of 14 Earth years = 0.056 Plutonic years. This could be just seasonal, and in fact the very article suggested that it probably is, noting that it's lagging just a few years behind the perihelion of Pluto.

Neal J. King   ·  May 19, 2007 10:51 PM

I'm not upset even if all of the warming on other planets is seasonal. It means we are back in the drivers seat for endless summer. Cowabunga.
Still I can't see how we are going to raise CO2 levels in an exponential fashion...
doubling in 70 years.
70 years is plenty of time for the temperature in co2 to saturate.

Papertiger   ·  May 21, 2007 3:24 AM

Papertiger,

- The issue wrt seasonal vs. non-seasonal is that many people have asked the question, "How can GW be due to C-O2 emissions on Earth when GW is happening on other planets?" If all that is seen on other planets is merely seasonal variation, the answer is that it seems to be a coincidence; and that if we wait 10 years or so without changing our ways, we'll still have GW on Earth, but the seasonal effects on the other planets will be in reverse.

- We've already increased C-O2 by 33% in 100 years, and the pace seems to be picking up. Indeed, using today's non-renewable energy production technologies, the amount of power we use release a proportionate amount of C-O2. Then if, according to many expectations, electrical power consumption continues to rise exponentially (fixed % increase every year), so too will the C-O2 produced. As calculated previously, all it takes is a 1-% increase every year to double in 70 years.

- The temperature will not saturate until after the concentration of C-O2 stops increasing. Because of the heat capacity of the ocean, I believe that the estimate is that there would be at least a couple of decades of further heating even after a complete cessation of C-O2 emissions, as the temperature of the ocean catches up to the land's temperature increase. The C-O2 produces a radiative imbalance that only goes away when the temperature has risen high enough that the outward radiation power balances the inward.

Neal J. King   ·  May 21, 2007 5:03 AM

5770 * 0.001 = 5.77 degrees C.

Papertiger   ·  May 21, 2007 6:53 AM

Papertiger,

I fail to get the point you're making. To start with, where does the 5770 come from?

(I'll have more follow-up questions later.)

Neal J. King   ·  May 21, 2007 8:17 AM

Papertiger,

Oh, I get it: You're trying to derive a temperature change of 5.77-C from a luminosity change of 0.1% = 1/1000. And then you want to suggest that this temperature change on the Sun should affect the temperature change on the Earth (and other planets). It doesn't work that way.

Here's why:

- First, the solar luminosity should pretty much follow the Stefan-Boltzmann formula, so that
L = constant * Ts**4
= a * Ts**4

This implies that
dL = 4 * a * dTs * Ts**3

so
dL/L = 4*a*dTs*(Ts**3)/(a*(Ts**4)
= 4*(dTs/Ts)

So if dL/ = 0.001 = 1/1000, then
dTs/Ts = 1/4000

So the dTs you would get would be

dTs = 5770-C/4000 = 1.44-C

- Secondly, the Earth's temperature will not rise "in sympathy" with the increase in the Sun's temperature, it has to be driven higher by an increase in the intensity of solar radiation received per unit area at the Earth. Since the intensity is reduced by a factor of
[(Sun radius)/(Earth orbital radius)]**2

the change will not be nearly as large. An easier way to calculate this, however, is to calculate the "naked Earth" temperature change: ignoring the greenhouse effect, see what the difference would be due to changing the solar intensity. When the solar intensity is increased by 1/1000, the Earth's temperature would also have to increase until it matches the increase in average incoming intensity with an increase in average outgoing intensity.

Because, in the "naked Earth" approximation, again we have
outgoing intensity I = constant * Te**4
= b * Te**4

dI = 4 * b * dTe * T**3

so
dI/I = (4*b*dTe*T**3)/(b*Te**4)
= 4*dTe/Te

so
dTe = (Te/4)*(dI/I)

Since dI/I = 1/1000, and the absolute temperature in the naked Earth model is
-18 + 273,
dTe = [(273-18)/4]* (1/1000)
= 0.064-degrees.

This is basically the same calculation Froblyx did, but he assumed a variation of 2/1000 (twice as big), and applied it to the actual temperature instead of to the "naked Earth" temperature, so he got 0.15 instead. For consistency, I'll stick with 1/1000.

The result is that the increase that could be expected from assuming that it's caused by the measured range of variance in solar luminosity is only 1/10th of the observable increase in global average temperature.

Neal J. King   ·  May 21, 2007 1:53 PM

Ask A Scientist©
Question: What is the temperature of the sun?
Answer: 5770 Kelvin is the surface temperature. The solar atmosphere gets much
hotter, up to tens of millions of kelvins. The interior temperature is also
much hotter: that is where nuclear fusion takes place.

My point is you would have us believe that the sun's temperature never rises or falls more then 5.77 degrees C.

The range of variation of solar luminosity, as measured by satellites, since 1988 has been 0.001.

So dL/L = 0.001 = 0.1%.

Which instrument was it that picked out a 5.77 degree variation off of the 5770 degree C. surface of the sun?

I fail to get the point you're making. To start with, where does the 5770 come from?
This is an exceptionally good question. As I wander the net it has come to my attention that there are a plethora of different figures given for the mean temperature of the solar surface. All of them define the value of the solar constant (Sc) differently. All of the differences exceed your parameter; the total possible variation of 0.1%.

Cornell says Sc is 5880 Kelvin.
This link although it is written by students, illustraits my point exactly. "The photosphere is 340 miles thick and it's temperature s range from 5,500 °C to 6,000 °C."
That's a variablity range of 8.1% to 9% just in the solar constant.
You care to revise your estimate of solar variability?


Papertiger   ·  May 21, 2007 2:46 PM

Papertiger,

You are confusing two different issues:

- As a matter of stellar structure, the temperature varies from the center to the photosphere. For example, when you quote a range from 5.5k to 6k, this is over the 340-mile thickness, according to your own citation.

- When we're talking about Ts, it is essentially defined by the equation:

total radiated power of the Sun
= 4*pi*Radius**2 * (sigma) * Ts**4

In other words, Ts is the "effective temperature" corresponding to the luminosity of the Sun, modeled as a blackbody. This is not a bad approximation if you're interested in total power, not so good if you're interested in spectral lines.

So, given that the luminosity is something that has been measured by satellites since 1988, and has been measured to NOT vary by more than 0.1% during that time, I have no interest in changing that range: Those are the data.

But this is a variation over time. Luminosity is a characteristic of the entire star, not of a point in a particular place of the star.

So there is absolutely no contradiction between Ts remaining essebtially constant over time, and T(r) (temperature as a function of radius) varying quite a lot. An analogy: if you consider the mass of the Earth, it's pretty much constant over time. But the density of mass varies from place to place, and in particular the deeper (smaller radius) you go, the higher it will be. These are not contradictions: both are true.

In particular, your suggestion that "there is a variability range of 8.1% to 9% just in the solar constant" is way way off. The Sun would have to be going through some major changes in its lifecycle for that to be going on - like going nova.

Indeed, during the main part of a star's lifecycle, its luminosity is determined by its mass. The relationship is
L ~ M**p, where p is between 3 and 4. (That's kind of rough, but that's astronomy for you.) My point is that it's jiggling around with time: the luminosity is pretty much fixed for as long as it's on the Main Sequence.

You can find a little more background here:
http://www.astronomynotes.com/starsun/s8.htm

Neal J. King   ·  May 21, 2007 4:55 PM

Neal,

So you are saying that since the suns luminosity has only changed .1% over the last 30 years that that is all it has ever changed?

I blogged a bit on the subject a while back (I'll look for a url) that said the solar output has incresed about .5% over the last 100 years.

That would be about 6 w/m2. Which is around what the CO2 forcing is supposed to be.

In addition I have read that this is a period of unusually low volcanic activity which is in the main a temperature reducer (high sulfur vertical eruptions).

M. Simon   ·  May 21, 2007 11:12 PM

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/sun_output_030320.html

In what could be the simplest explanation for one component of global warming, a new study shows the Sun's radiation has increased by .05 percent per decade since the late 1970s.

The increase would only be significant to Earth's climate if it has been going on for a century or more, said study leader Richard Willson, a Columbia University researcher also affiliated with NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The Sun's increasing output has only been monitored with precision since satellite technology allowed necessary observations. Willson is not sure if the trend extends further back in time, but other studies suggest it does.

"This trend is important because, if sustained over many decades, it could cause significant climate change," Willson said.

In a NASA-funded study recently published in Geophysical Research Letters, Willson and his colleagues speculate on the possible history of the trend based on data collected in the pre-satellite era.

"Solar activity has apparently been going upward for a century or more," Willson told SPACE.com today.

Significant component

Further satellite observations may eventually show the trend to be short-term. But if the change has indeed persisted at the present rate through the 20th Century, "it would have provided a significant component of the global warming the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports to have occurred over the past 100 years," he said.

That does not mean industrial pollution has not been a significant factor, Willson cautioned.

Scientists, industry leaders and environmentalists have argued for years whether humans have contributed to global warming, and to what extent. The average surface temperature around the globe has risen by about 1 degree Fahrenheit since 1880. Some scientists say the increase could be part of natural climate cycles. Others argue that greenhouse gases produced by automobiles and industry are largely to blame.

Willson said the Sun's possible influence has been largely ignored because it is so difficult to quantify over long periods.

======================

So if we have no data or poor data an effect is ignored.

Fine.

It then means you have to increase your uncertainty bands. By how much?

Well that is uncertain.

Now all this would be academic except we are basing policy decisions on where to spend money based on models that are clearly inadequate.

M. Simon   ·  May 21, 2007 11:39 PM

M. Simon,

- Your first comment was wrong: It was not 0.5% per decade, but 0.05% per decade, as your second posting showed. Big difference!
- Indeed, here's a quote from the very same article you cited: "The new study shows that the TSI has increased by about 0.1 percent over 24 years. That is not enough to cause notable climate change, Willson and his colleagues say, unless the rate of change were maintained for a century or more." This is EXACTLY in line with what I said: 0.1% variation since 1988.

Going back to my original point: I have never claimed that the variation has never been more than 0.1%, over millions of years. What I said was that that has been the measured range since 1988 - and this is exactly what your cited article says as well.

The variation of solar activity over longer periods of time is interesting, but has no bearing on the question of the cause of global warming over the last 100 years. The satellite measurements are very precise, but only go back to 1988. However, an often-cited article by Solanki et al., "Unusual activity of the Sun during recent decades compared to the previous 11,000 years", at http://cc.oulu.fi/%7Eusoskin/personal/nature02995.pdf,
discusses the variation of solar activity over time as indicated by radio-carbon sampling. And here's a couple of bottom-line quotes from that article:
- "Although the rarity of the current episode of high average sunspot numbers may indicate that the Sun has contributed to the unusual climate change during the twentieth century, we point out that solar variability is unlikely to have been the dominant cause of the strong warming during the past three decades."
- "It was shown that even under the extreme assumption that the Sun was responsible for all the global warming prior to 1970, at the most 30% of the strong warming since then can be of solar origin."

(Interestingly, when this article came out, many newspapers cited it as evidence that "all this global warming stuff is due to solar variation". They didn't read the article carefully, or they wouldn't have been able to come to that conclusion!)

Neal J. King   ·  May 22, 2007 5:03 AM

Neal you are confusing the issue from my point of view.
- As a matter of stellar structure, the temperature varies from the center to the photosphere. For example, when you quote a range from 5.5k to 6k, this is over the 340-mile thickness, according to your own citation.
Are you attempting to explain away different measurements of the missnamed solar constant, by saying that they are "seeing" different depths of the photosphere?
My understanding of the photosphere is that it is the boundary beyond which direct measurement is impossible, and that the otherside can only be described by theory and inference.
My belief regarding the solar constant is that scientists are hewing too close to theory, with the result of disregarding practical direct measurements. Like yourself, relying so on StefanBoltzmann black body radiation curves, filled with scientific formulations which are almost like the real solar spectrum.
The sun isn't a black body.
Counterintuitively the black spots on the sun are colder. Could this be due to their being more effective emmitters of energy? During solar maximum the climate is warmer inspite of these large areas of the sun's disk covered by cool patchs.
All of the planets entered a warm season at the same time. This is not a coincidence. When you think about the solar systems profound isolation, the only driver of climates being the sun, it's foolish to claim that the one source we all share is not affecting changes.
Your claim that the total solar illumination only varies by .1% is a farce. I don't care where you got it. I don't care what authority was used to create it.
Solar variation knocks out my satellite TV reception on a fairly regular basis.

Papertiger   ·  May 23, 2007 5:11 AM

Neal,

You must have misread my comment. I said .5% since 1860.

Which fits in well with the solar guys understanding of G type stars which do have a .6% luminosity variation.

Since the models are designed with the .1% number (for the possible variation over 100 years of data collection) the cause of the temperature rise since 1970 must be something other than CO2. If it is not solar then we don't understand climate very well.

Since the modelers tell us that the models can take known data and reproduce the last 100 years of data then obviously they have assigned incorrect values to the various sensitivities and feed backs.

Now that tells us that their predictions of the future are highly suspect.

Even more so if they leave out the 300 year .5% solar cycle which will certaily affect results for the next 100 years.

OK. So solar activity can account for about 30% of the variation on an energy basis alone according to one scientist's study. However, it is doubtful that that study took into account the solar magnetism/cloud interaction which magnifies the solar effect since the cloud effect has only recently been discovered and experimentally proved.

The question then was the KNOWN 30% included in the design of the models? If not then the various sensitivities are WRONG and the models will only be useful in reproducing past behavior. Their future predictions will be suspect.

Papertiger,

In fact short term solar variations (days) is KNOWN to be in the .2% range. During solar maximums the effect on the ionosphere is usually quite large and variable. The amount of charge in the ionosphere will affect the absorbtion and reflection of radio waves.

Hope that helps

M. Simon   ·  May 23, 2007 7:40 AM

http://www.solarstorms.org/SRefStorms.html
Here is a list of solar variability since 1849 (only including the stuff that was large enough to make the papers).

Papertiger   ·  May 23, 2007 2:56 PM

Papertiger:

Ts and Luminosity/Solar Constant:
The effective temperature of the Sun, Ts, is DEFINED according to the Stefan-Boltzmann formula:
sigma * T**4 = total radiated power
= (geometrical factor) * SolarConstant

In particular, Ts is NOT the temperature at any specific point in the Sun. Therefore, your attempt to deduce a variation in the solar constant from the fact that the temperature changes from place to place in the Sun is really off-base.

Likewise, there is no need to measure a change in Ts: satellites measure the total radiated power of the Sun directly, and Ts is derived as a result.

The Sun is not a blackbody: That's really not the point.

"The planets didn't all get in the warm season at the same time: If you look at what I wrote, the point is:
a) Several planets don't display any specific climate change.
b) Several planets show some change, but nothing that is distinguishable from a seasonal change. If it's a seasonal change, then it's not due to variation in the Sun.
c) The planets that show change that could possibly be non-seasonal would require a huge variation in solar luminosity (upwards of 20%) for the variation in the solar luminosity to be the explanation.

And since there's only 3 planets (Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) for which the seasonal issue is considered, it is not that much of a coincidence for them to happen to agree.

Variation of solar luminosity: What I said accurately reflects the scientific results: 0.1% variation since 1988. If you look at http://www.pmodwrc.ch/pmod.php?topic=tsi/composite/SolarConstant , you see that the total solar irradiance has only oscillated between 1368 and 1366 since 1978, so +/- 1 out of 1367 = 0.07% variation.

OK, I was wrong about the 0.1% variation: It was 0.07%. But that doesn't help your case, does it?

Solar Variation knocks out your TV: If there is any effect of the variation of solar activity on your TV, it's likely not due to changes in the luminosity but cosmic rays. And how did you translate that into a luminosity variation greater than 0.1%?

Neal J. King   ·  May 23, 2007 6:04 PM

Neal,

Solar variation on a day to day basis can be as much as .2%.

====

Only three planents have been mentioned so far but I believe the variation has also been noted on some satellites of Jupiter and Saturn.

M. Simon   ·  May 23, 2007 6:27 PM

M. Simon,

wrt your posting of
M. Simon·May 23, 2007 06:27 PM

- Solar variation on a day-to-day basis cannot move the climate. It's jitter. If you wanted to consider variation on such a time-scale, why not worry about the day-to-night variation, which causes a 100% change in solar intensity? Because it's at a timescale too small to move global average temperature. Climate is generally defined over a period of a decade or so.

- For the moons of Jupiter, we still have the point that, if this would be a non-seasonal effect, the necessary variation in the Sun's luminosity to qualify as the cause would be 19.6%. You have a long way to go to establish that.

- For the moons of Saturn, if the issue is seasonal, there's no implication for the Sun's luminosity. If it's not seasonal, the required solar luminosity change would be 21.6%. That isn't happening.

Neal J. King   ·  May 23, 2007 8:17 PM

I see. So xray emmissions don't count. I suppose IR emmissions don't count either, despite that they are 48% of the total output of the sun.

The Martian ice caps are melting (or maybe not now since the solar conveyor has slowed) but this is not climate change.
Red Spot Jr. has been coalessing since the Roosevelt administration and will last who knows how long, but this is not climate change.
Did my boys here mention Saturn's rotation rate is increasing? There is no surface to speak of so astronomers don't really have a reference point to judge the length of day on Saturn. Instead they use the spinning magnetic field. Well the magnetic field is spinning faster now then when Voyager passed by back in the 80's, in effect Saturn has lost 40 minutes per day. You think a change like that won't affect the weather?

I dare say that Uranus, the blank planet, must be experiencing seasonal change considering that it is in that portion of it's orbit when the Equator is aimed at the sun. Climate change or seasonal variation? Doesn't matter what you want to call it, the planet will be interesting to watch.


Neal which planets were you meaning when you said, "a) Several planets don't display any specific climate change."? Venus doesn't equal several.


c) The planets that show change that could possibly be non-seasonal would require a huge variation in solar luminosity (upwards of 20%) for the variation in the solar luminosity to be the explanation.
Where do you figure that from?
If you factor in all of the solar luminocity rather then cherrypick your favorite color, there are huge variations in xray and ionic emissions from the sun already.
And how did you translate that into a luminosity variation greater than 0.1%?
Let's see. I would need to find out what the signal strength of the satellite is. Then figure out how much solar x ray emission would be required to flood that signal. I think I can do it.
I'll have to give it a think and get back to you.


Papertiger   ·  May 23, 2007 9:09 PM

Papertiger,

- I don't see that there was any omission of X-rays or IR in my posting. Can you specify how they are missing, and how this affects the results?

- As mentioned before, if the Martian changes were climate changes due to solar variation, they would have to be overriding the natural solar intensity variation due to seasonal change, which would demand a 37% variation in the Sun's luminosity. Don't you think you would have noticed that ?

- As mentioned before, if the changes on Jupiter were climate changes due to solar variation, they would have to be overiding the natural solar intensity variation due to seasonal change, which would demand a 19.6% variation in the Sun's luminosity. Don't you think you would have noticed that?

- What does the rotational rate of Saturn have to do with the Sun's luminosity?

- There could be seasonal changes going on at Uranus, based on the timescale: about 15% of a planetary year. For that reason, I can't estimate how much of a solar luminosity change would be needed to do this, on the basis of my simple calculation.

- Planets that don't display any changes (or anyway, that no one seems to have mentioned as displaying any) are: Mercury and Venus.

- The calculation for the required change in luminosity to explain non-seasonal climate changes was shown in this very thread, at:
Neal J. King·May 18, 2007 05:35 PM

- "cherry pick favorite color": Papertiger, the temperatures you are looking at are vary from point to point in the star. But the luminosity is a characteristic of the whole star. It cannot vary in space, it can only vary in time. (Just like your weight cannot vary in space, only in time.) And all the reports boil down to a variation of less than 0.1% since 1988.

- If you're going to try to calculate luminosity changes from X-ray bursts, be sure to verify the mechanism of X-ray production. It's not blackbody radiation at that frequency, that's for sure. In fact, as I mentioned before, I've always heard that it was cosmic rays, which are charged particles, not X-rays at all, which affect TV reception.

Neal J. King   ·  May 23, 2007 10:04 PM

Uh, forgive me.

Why would the change have to exceed xx% in order to be noticeable as a change in the pattern?

M. Simon   ·  May 24, 2007 1:09 AM

M. Simon,

The argument goes like this:

- On Earth, the GW phenomenon is visible only as a slight shift among the seasonal changes. Think of the seasonal changes as a pendulum of a grandfather clock moving left/right/left/right; and then think of the clock itself being tiled towards the left. The oscillation still continues to be left/right/left/right, but the "center of motion" moves to the left, slowly. It's subtle.

- However, what's described in the planetary cases is something that seems to run roughshod over the seasonal changes. I've looked over the individual articles about each planet, and the stories on Mars and Jupiter suggest changes that are not subtle, but are overriding the seasonal changes. The analogy would be to a grandfather clock that is tilted so fast to the left that the motion is going left/lefter/lefter instead of left/right/left/right.

- If you want to attribute this kiind of change to a change in the solar luminosity, my point is that the strength of that change, as it affects the planet through the consequential change in the intensity of the light hitting the planet, had better be greater than the strength of the change in intensity that occurs just to the normal seasonal change in distance to the Sun, when the Sun's luminosity is not changing. In other words, if this changing is due to a change in the solar radiation intensity, and this climate change is bigger than the seasonal climate change, the change in intensity had better be bigger than the seasonal intensity change. And we can calculate the seasonal intensity change from the orbit parameters: As a fraction, it's
2*(Rmax - Rmin)/[(Rmax + Rmin)/2]

So, for an explanation for this sort of season-overiding change in terms of a change in solar luminosity, the suggested change has to be at least as big as that.

Neal J. King   ·  May 24, 2007 4:50 AM

The calculation for the required change in luminosity to explain non-seasonal climate changes was shown in this very thread, at:
Neal J. King·May 18, 2007 05:35 PM

Neal all of the computations you made were just smoke screen for the idea that planets are warmer during their orbit's closest approach to the sun (perihelion).
This idea is crap. Seasonal variation is independant of aphilion/perihilion. If it were to have any effect at all it would tend toward the colding due to planets speeding through the perihilion, and slowing through the aphilion.
A change in solar radiance on the otherhand would increase the temperature through the whole orbit.

Papertiger   ·  May 24, 2007 5:15 PM

After further thought and investigation I have realised that proof that the sun knocks down my TV at random intervals is beyond my abilities. Too many variables exist.
For instance TV reception from satellites can be disrupted by distant rainstorms both at the uplink location as well as my down link local area. Also wind causing movement of the dish, insect swarms blocking the signal, either here or at the uplink site could cause the glitch.
I still believe that solar storms do interupt transmission on a semi regular basis, I just can't remove all other possible causes.
Oh well.

Papertiger   ·  May 24, 2007 5:35 PM

For the purposes of seasonal variation the angle of the sun is the most important component, not aphelion or perihelion.
In the case of Jupiter the equator is never more then 3 degrees from the solar plane.
This means that Jupiter is the most stable planet in regards to weather. Seasonal variations don't exist.
Many people claim that Jupiter's own gravity is the main driver of it's weather. If this were true there would never be a change because Jupiter isn't increasing in mass (barring the occasional comet intercept).
There is only one variable left that could drive change in the weather on Jupiter.

Papertiger   ·  May 24, 2007 6:15 PM

Papertiger · May 24, 2007 05:15 PM,

Excellent point.

Neal is arguing that you can't subtract out known causes of variation to determine residuals.

M. Simon   ·  May 24, 2007 7:37 PM

Neal says:

my point is that the strength of that change, as it affects the planet through the consequential change in the intensity of the light hitting the planet, had better be greater than the strength of the change in intensity that occurs just to the normal seasonal change in distance to the Sun, when the Sun's luminosity is not changing.

Yep. You subtract out normal changes and then look at the residuals.

This does not require that the change be as large as the seasonal changes. Only that the seasonal changes be well enough known to find a residual of the size expected.

M. Simon   ·  May 24, 2007 8:38 PM

Papertiger:

Seasons on other Planets

Papertiger, you seem to have specific notions about seasons on other planets:

a) "Seasons on other planets don't have anything to do with aphelion/perihelion, in fact they should be cooler during perihelion because of speeding faster."

b) You remark that a change in the Sun's luminosity would be independent of the phase of orbit.

c) "For the purposes of seasonal variation the angle of the sun is the most important component, not aphelion or perihelion.
In the case of Jupiter the equator is never more then 3 degrees from the solar plane.
This means that Jupiter is the most stable planet in regards to weather. Seasonal variations don't exist."

d) "Many people claim that Jupiter's own gravity is the main driver of it's weather. If this were true there would never be a change because Jupiter isn't increasing in mass (barring the occasional comet intercept).
There is only one variable left that could drive change in the weather on Jupiter."

Let's go through these points.

a) NASA has a little chart of the starting points of the seasons on other planets, which you can find here: http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forkids/home/F_Planet_Seasons.html
So they seem to believe these seasons exist. They have some relationship to the orbit of the planet, because you'll notice that the longer the orbital period (planetary year), the longer the seasons. The European Space Agency (http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMHZ1T1VED_index_0.html) gives a fuller explanation: "By having an inclined rotation axis or following an elliptical orbit, or both, a planet itself can cause such changes. On Earth we experience the four, familiar seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter. These seasons can be broadly applied to the other planets as well." So ESA definitely seems to think that orbital closeness/farness is an important factor in determining whether it's gonna be summer or winter.

ESA further goes on to say, "Seasons on Mars are influenced by the tilt of its axis and by its varying distance from the Sun. Earth is always about the same distance from the Sun, but the orbit of Mars is more elliptical so, at certain times of its year, it receives more energy than at others, because it is closer to the Sun.

Mars is closest to the Sun (and moving fastest in its orbit) during southern summer. This makes summer in the south of Mars shorter and hotter than summer in the north. Mars has 687 days in a year compared to our 365 days, so martian seasons are longer."

So ESA is specifically contradicting your (rather odd) notion that the planet would be cooled by "speeding through the perihelion". What were you thinking, that the planet would be cooled by the passing breeze?

b) Actually, I agree with you on this point: a change in the Sun's luminosity ought to show up everywhere during the planet's orbit. That's why I'm saying that a change due to solar luminosity has to cross seasonal boundaries, and that a season-transcending change is a good candidate for being due to a change in solar luminosity. The catch is that, if it really is that big a change, the change in solar illumination (what the planet receives) had better be bigger than the merely seasonal change - otherwise it would never be noticed. That's the point of my calculations.

c) Fine, so let's stipulate that Jupiter has no seasons. Well, based upon my very simple calculations above, even though Jupiter may have no seasons, it most certainly has an annual variation of solar intensity of 19.6%, because it is significantly closer to the Sun some times than other times. Now, if a 19.6% variation in solar intensity is not going to create seasonal change that anyone can see, how can an 0.1% change in solar luminosity be responsible for Jovian "global warming"? That's like saying that I can't stop a raging bull with a hammer, but I can stop him by blowing at his nose.

d) If you want to attribute Jovian weather to it's gravity, you're free to do that. But that kind of contradicts your implicit intention to blame the "global warming" on Jupiter on the Sun. Again: If Jupiter can ignore a normal 19.6% variation in solar intensity, why is it going to roll over for a 0.1% variation? It don't compute.

c)

Neal J. King   ·  May 24, 2007 9:15 PM

M. Simon:

My point is not that one cannot find residuals. My point is that, in the cases of interest, Mars and Jupiter, all the reports seemed to indicate that the observed changes dominate the seasonal changes.

Looking at the post immediately above, in the case of Jupiter, some websites flatly assert that "Jupiter has no observable seasons." And yet people are reporting apparent "global warming". So this is an extreme example.

So how is it that Jupiter can dance to the tune of an 0.1% change in solar luminosity, as observed by NASA's satellites (and resulting in an 0.1% change in solar intensity) while completely ignoring the annual rhythm of 19.6% change in solar intensity?

The simple answer is, It doesn't. The Sun's variations in luminosity cannot be held responsible for the Jovian "global warming".

And maybe that's why Jupiter experts aren't suggesting it is. Only die-hard "it can't be C-O2"-ers are proposing this explanation.

Neal J. King   ·  May 24, 2007 9:29 PM

Still a little vauge on where you get a 19.6% difference between Jupiter Aphelion and Perihelion.
The reason it would tend toward cooling off the planet is because as the planet swings through closest approach it is traveling faster, hence less time spent in this torpid region of it's orbit. Inversely as it moves further from the sun (ie. out into that cold part of it's orbit), the planet's pace slows. Here is a diagram.
Let's examine some examples of aphelion and perihelion irrelievance.
Is it warmer in the North or South pole, I forget. You see the North Pole is in the dark of winter at the farthest distance the Earth gets from the sun, and it spends more time there due to it's slower speed described by Kepler's law (see that diagram again). So of course the South Pole is warmer, right?
Heh.
Since the Astronomers demoted Pluto from planethood, Mercury has been promoted to the planet with the largest orbital eccentricity.
It's distance from the sun varies by 34% or 23.8 million km. Where are those seasons?
On the other end of the eccentricity spectrum is Venus, whose orbit is almost a perfect circle. Where are those seasons?

Papertiger   ·  May 25, 2007 1:45 AM

Neal, I like your link. I like it so much I stuck it in my global warming stack.
The thing that immediately caught my eye was Uranus, with it's eleven year summer, and it's nineteen year winter. The question that comes to mind is how did they decide which pole was "North"?
Then I looked at Neptune. It seems that Neptune just entered winter four years ago, and judging by autumn the Neptunians have 25 years to go till spring. And yet, Triton and Neptune are in the grip of global warming.

"At least since 1989, Triton has been undergoing a period of global warming," confirms astronomer James Elliot, professor of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Percentage-wise, it's a very large increase."

Let's see... 1989... That would be deep into autumn for Neptune and Triton, roughly equivalent to November or early December on Earth.
By rights, Jack Frost should be nipping at their nose. But instead,
According to observations made by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and several ground-based instruments, temperatures on Neptune's largest moon have increased dramatically since the Voyager space probe swung by in 1989. So much so, in fact, that Triton's surface of frozen nitrogen is turning into gas, making its thin atmosphere denser by the day.

Papertiger   ·  May 25, 2007 5:54 AM

This thread is reaching ponderous modem groaning proportions.
So via condios my friends. Neal, Mr. Simon,
I have enjoyed the debate, and thank you for providing the forum.
Have a wonderful Memorial day weekend.

Papertiger   ·  May 25, 2007 6:13 PM

Papertiger,
Jupiter:
First of all, I have to admit that I shouldn't have used the term "season", since astronomers have used that term to refer specifically to effects that depend on the tilt of the rotational axis of the planet wrt the axis of rotation about the Sun. What I mean is the "hot time" and the "cool time" for the planet. The issue is, How much radiative power is it absorbing?

Second, if you look at the ESA quote above, you'll see that it is generally true that when the planet is closer to the Sun, it gets hotter (overall) than when the planet is farther. I quote again from ESA: "...the orbit of Mars is more elliptical so, at certain times of its year, it receives more energy than at others, because it is closer to the Sun. Mars is closest to the Sun (and moving fastest in its orbit) during southern summer. This makes summer in the south of Mars shorter and hotter than summer in the north."

With this understanding, I calculate my 19.6% variation in Jupiter's sunshine from the aphelion/perihelion of Jupiter's orbit: it's equal to 2*(Rmax-Rmin)/[(Rmax + Rmin]/2].

Mercury:
Mercury is a weird planet: the Mercurian day is 2/3 of the Mercurian year! So I think it's a little confusing for people to sort out the difference between the hot period of the year and the hot period of the day. I'm quite sure we'd find the effect with a good book on Mercury, that covered the actual measurements. I haven't been able to find enough detail on the www.

Venus:
Everyone says that Venus has no seasons. And it has an essentially circular orbit (my calculation only shows an intensity variance of 2.8%). So that's pretty consistent.

Neal J. King   ·  May 25, 2007 7:14 PM

Papertiger,

Uranus:
Your confusion about the South pole/North pole reflects exactly why I decided to drop the "season" terminology.
Instead, let's consider aphelion (farthest point): the next one for Uranus is said to be 17 April 2008, out of an 84-year cycle. That means we're definitely talking cold time for Uranus.

Neptune:
The next aphelion is in February 2112, the next periheion is mid-2029. Since the Neptunian year is 165 years long, we are 0.14 in front of the close point, which ought to be the hot time.

Conclusion:
- Since the apparent warming at Triton (moon of Neptune) is happening at a timescale that is compatible with orbital variation, and also, we now see, at the hot time, there is no reason to claim that it is anything other than due to orbital cycles.

- In the case of Uranus, what is happening seems to be happening during the cold time, so I was wrong: You can't attribute it to Uranic orbits. But that means that this effect is showing up to be an effect that overrides the orbital effect (what I called "seasonal" before), and that means that, if it is due to a change in solar luminosity, then this must exceed the "seasonal" variation which turns out to be 18.9%. In other words, if you want to attribute Uranus' apparent climate change to the Sun, the Sun has to be changing its luminosity by 18.9%. Credible? No.

Neal J. King   ·  May 25, 2007 7:34 PM

Paper Tiger,

Honored

M. Simon   ·  May 25, 2007 8:40 PM

Neal,

I still don't see why you do not understand that the "seasonal variations" which are known and have been measured for some of the planets can't be subtracted out to find the residuals.

You seem to be unreasonbly obstinate on that.

M. Simon   ·  May 25, 2007 10:07 PM

M. Simon,

It is not a question of residuals.

The point is that, from all reports, the observed effect DOMINATE the effects due to orbital variation. It is not something detected as a "leftover" from subtracting out "seasonal variations".

Therefore, if both effects are due to change in radiative intensity, the proposed change in luminosity had better dominate the known change due to orbital variation - which is easily calculated.

That's why I can get a lower limit, in these cases.

Neal J. King   ·  May 25, 2007 11:52 PM

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