Update on "Global Warming"
Mother Nature has been expected to be indifferent to the promotion of man-caused global warming.
The "bear market" in sunspots, and increase in volcanic activity are forcing a significant decline in global temperatures. As with data on solar activity, accumulating evidence on various factors of global cooling will be published by responsible sources.
It is fascinating that two great objectives of authoritarian political ambition - controlling the economy and the climate - are under serious assault at the same time. Natural forces are beginning to condemn the greatest intellectual blunder since the Vatican insisted that the solar system revolved around the earth.
When will the political mania to manage the economy and cure the planet fail? When the public, which can acquire common sense rather quickly, finally says a very convincing "No!".
July 14, 2008
THE POLITICAL SCIENCE OF GLOBAL WARMING
There is forensic accounting and forensic medicine - there could be an urgent need for forensic science. More specifically, geophysics, which encompasses the study of climate change, and until it became politicized, had the integrity that disciplined theoretical and practical research has always earned.
Fortunately, climate has its own history and so does science. Anyone who took a degree in geophysics in the early 1960s knew that explanations about recurring ice ages were controversial. Some lecturers argued that they were triggered by unknown events and were random. Others supported Milankovitch's theory that major climate change was periodic and driven by mechanics of the solar system. This involved regular change in the tilt of the earth towards the sun as well as in its orbit around the sun.
Both change the amount of heat received at the earth's surface. If each summer's melt in the polar regions is greater than each winter's accumulation of ice then the world is in an interglacial warming trend. This has been on for the last 12,000 years, or so.
Until the late 1960s there was not enough evidence to decisively support any explanation of climate change and then the data started coming in. It has, and continues to confirm periodic climate change as proposed by Milankovitch. This automatically condemns notions about random change and therefore that mankind, one way or another, can materially alter the climate. Essentially, the data have been accumulated from ice cores and the record covers some 400,000 years of regular climate change. Also as discussed below, this includes the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.
More recently, the sun's variable output has become measurable by satellite, rather than inferred by sunspot count. This extends the data base indicated by the Maunder Minimum, which was an exceptionally low sunspot count and attendant reduction in energy output that was associated with the bitter cold of the Little Ice Age. Record low temperatures occurred as sunspots essentially disappeared in the late 1600s. Both the sun and the earth have warmed up since. However, since the peak of the 11-year solar cycle in 1990 the count has been declining - implying less heat from the sun and the probability of cooling. Since early in the year, this cycle has been setting some unusually low sunspot counts and seems to be delayed in turning up.
Another event that can have near-term effects on overall temperatures has been the increase in volcanic activity in the Kamchatka Peninsula since late December. Although these eruptions have lifted aerosols to only a modest height of around 10 km it could be enough to provide some cooling. If a big one goes off and ejects stuff higher cooling could be substantial.
The accumulation of evidence had built a solid understanding of the mechanism of actual climate change that most earth scientists have been comfortable with before it became politicized. The purpose of this essay is to point out the corrupt application of science in the service of yet another outbreak of authoritarian politics.
It has happened before. The French Revolution and Napoleonic era recorded particularly virulent social experiments run by neurotic intellectuals. Everything was to be forcefully done in a new way and as Goethe observed:
"Most men only care for science so far as they get a living by it, but they will worship error when it affords them a subsistence."
This has been the case with the promotion of anthropogenic warming. Those who publish opinion that supports the party line earn grants and adulation, while those who publish evidence contrary to the tout are vilified as "deniers".
The promotion about man-caused warming needed to distort the data. The most pervasive propaganda tool was Mann's "Hockey Stick" chart that showed little temperature change from around 1100 to the 1800s when global temperature started its most recent increase. It was essential to get rid of the two extremes - the Medieval Optimum and the Little Ice Age. Even IPCC, the UN dissembler of science, recently admitted that Mann's work was erroneous.
The reason that the Medieval Optimum to around 1300 was eliminated was because the climate was warmer than recent, the economy was not industrialized and there were less than a billion people (UN estimates) on earth. The political theory of warming cannot explain actual climate history, therefore the record was altered.
The other "problem" with the Optimum was that with the warming trend, successful cropgrowing regions moved north as well as up the valleys to higher elevations. For example, prompted by an expanding European population, Greenland was colonized. In so many words, under that long trend of warming the population thrived and increased. The opposite occurred during the subsequent cooling.
Making it even simpler, warm is good and cold is bad, as the Greenland population disaster recorded.
It is worth taking this further. As man moved north into Europe skin pigment diminished in order to absorb more ultra violet light, which is necessary for creating vitamin D. Furthermore, anthropologists explain that the stocky stature of those living in the far north has been a successful adaptation to extreme cold. These examples suggest that modern man has evolved in response to climate change. Neanderthal did not survive the last ice age.
Another distortion involves the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. This has been done by compressing the 400,000-year record onto a chart only about 6 inches along the base. Temperature and the amount of carbon appear to go up and down together. But, when the data are reviewed in thousand-year segments, such as over the last millennium, rising temperature leads the increase in atmospheric carbon by some 400 to 800 years.
Clearly, evidence does not support the popular notion that carbon "causes" warming. Nor does logic. One of the common blunders identified in formal logic is the primitive syllogism, whereby two things that occur at the same time are claimed to be causally related. It's the old roosters causing sunrises syndrome. In this case, self-appointed custodians of the planet's health are committing a massive blunder in logic.
The terminally anxious movement, that is now focused on climate, has gone from weak evidence to distorted evidence on the way to no logic. The result is a new religion that has taken the Biblical notion that procreation is the original sin to the more encompassing catechism that just living and breathing is a sin.
One of the fascinating things about a political frenzy is never having to say you are sorry about the last one. The turn from 1999 to 2000 (Y2K) really got the hysterical classes going. The damage done on that gaffe is difficult to quantify, but there is little doubt about the wreckage left by the mob's insistence about using food in the gas tanks of cars. The movement's rallying cry then was "sustainability". Well, the same movement lead by Al Gore's "I have a nightmare" campaign is preaching that the health of the planet is unsustainable without enormous increases in regulation and taxation.
And then there is the dire threat of rising sea levels. If the arctic is open in the summer, and alpine glaciers have been shrinking - where is all the ice needed to provide the melt to create the specter of ever-higher tides?
For perspective, it's appropriate to go back to conditions at the end of the last ice age. Because of reduced heat being received at the earth the polar regions had accumulated vast amounts of ice that slowly flowed to warmer regions where it melted.
The last ice sheet gouged out Lake Michigan, for example, and over most of its expanse it was more than a mile deep. Next, let's be conservative and note that most of the ice sheet was north of the 48th parallel. All around the planet that amounted to a lot of ice that is no longer there. In changing phase all that ice is now water that has flowed to the seas and it has increased the level proportionately. What isn't in the major bodies of surface and underground water is providing some 70% to 90% of "greenhouse" warming.
Carbon in the atmosphere amounts to only around 350 parts per million, and the amount follows temperature change and this gets back to distorted evidence about climate history itself. Other points include the weird notion that warming trends have not been beneficial to mankind, as well as the one about how the relatively small amount of ice that remains at the late stages of an interglacial is going to significantly increase ocean levels.
It seems that highly-charged emotions that make monumental political frenzies so compelling have been powerful enough to bypass long-standing standards of scientific inquiry. The longrunning thread of rigorous science does not need forensic analysis, but, this version of political science does.
April 1, 2009: The sunspot cycle is behaving a little like the stock market. Just when you think it has hit bottom, it goes even lower.
2008 was a bear. There were no sunspots observed on 266 of the year's 366 days (73%). To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go all the way back to 1913, which had 311 spotless days: plot. Prompted by these numbers, some observers suggested that the solar cycle had hit bottom in 2008.
Maybe not. Sunspot counts for 2009 have dropped even lower. As of March 31st, there were no sunspots on 78 of the year's 90 days (87%).
It adds up to one inescapable conclusion: "We're experiencing a very deep solar minimum," says solar physicist Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center.
"This is the quietest sun we've seen in almost a century," agrees sunspot expert David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center.
Above: The sunspot cycle from 1995 to the present. The jagged curve traces actual sunspot counts. Smooth curves are fits to the data and one forecaster's predictions of future activity. Credit: David Hathaway, NASA/MSFC.
The current solar minimum is part of that pattern. In fact, it's right on time. "We're due for a bit of quiet -- and here it is," says Pesnell.
But is it supposed to be this quiet? In 2008, the sun set the following records:
A 50-year low in solar wind pressure: Measurements by the Ulysses spacecraft reveal a 20% drop in solar wind pressure since the mid-1990s -- the lowest point since BOB HOYE, INSTITUTIONAL ADVISORS - WEBSITE: www.institutionaladvisors.com 6 such measurements began in the 1960s. The solar wind helps keep galactic cosmic rays out of the inner solar system. With the solar wind flagging, more cosmic rays are permitted to enter, resulting in increased health hazards for astronauts. Weaker solar wind also means fewer geomagnetic storms and auroras on Earth.
A 12-year low in solar "irradiance": Careful measurements by several NASA spacecraft show that the sun's brightness has dropped by 0.02% at visible wavelengths and 6% at extreme UV wavelengths since the solar minimum of 1996. The changes so far are not enough to reverse the course of global warming, but there are some other significant side-effects: Earth's upper atmosphere is heated less by the sun and it is therefore less "puffed up." Satellites in low Earth orbit experience less atmospheric drag, extending their operational lifetimes. Unfortunately, space junk also remains longer in Earth orbit, increasing hazards to spacecraft and satellites.
A 55-year low in solar radio emissions: After World War II, astronomers began keeping records of the sun's brightness at radio wavelengths. Records of 10.7 cm flux extend back all the way to the early 1950s. Radio telescopes are now recording the dimmest "radio sun" since 1955: Some researchers believe that the lessening of radio emissions is an indication of weakness in the sun's global magnetic field. No one is certain, however, because the source of these long-monitored radio emissions is not fully understood.
All these lows have sparked a debate about whether the ongoing minimum is "weird", "extreme" or just an overdue "market correction" following a string of unusually intense solar maxima.
"Since the Space Age began in the 1950s, solar activity has been generally high," notes Hathaway. "Five of the ten most intense solar cycles on record have occurred in the last 50 years. We're just not used to this kind of deep calm."
Deep calm was fairly common a hundred years ago. The solar minima of 1901 and 1913, for instance, were even longer than the one we're experiencing now. To match those minima in terms of depth and longevity, the current minimum will have to last at least another year.
In a way, the calm is exciting, says Pesnell. "For the first time in history, we're getting to see what a deep solar minimum is really like." A fleet of spacecraft including the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), the twin STEREO probes, the five THEMIS probes, Hinode, ACE, Wind, TRACE, AIM, TIMED, Geotail and others are studying the sun and its effects on Earth 24/7 using technology that didn't exist 100 years ago. Their measurements of solar wind, cosmic rays, irradiance and magnetic fields show that solar minimum is much more interesting and profound than anyone expected.
Above: An artist's concept of NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. Bristling with advanced sensors, "SDO" is slated to launch later this year--perfect timing to study the ongoing solar minimum.
Modern technology cannot, however, predict what comes next. Competing models by dozens of top solar physicists disagree, sometimes sharply, on when this solar minimum will end and how big the next solar maximum will be. Pesnell has surveyed the scientific literature and prepared a "piano plot" showing the range of predictions. The great uncertainty stems from one simple fact: No one fully understands the underlying physics of the sunspot cycle.
Pesnell believes sunspot counts will pick up again soon, "possibly by the end of the year," to be followed by a solar maximum of below-average intensity in 2012 or 2013.
But like other forecasters, he knows he could be wrong. Bull or bear? Stay tuned for updates.
* * * * *
At the end of 2007 global warmongers were in full cry. To that point, the unusually warm early winter was driving the politically ambitious to hysteria. Then at that fateful Christmas, a number of volcanoes in the Kamchatka Peninsula began to erupt. Sending up stuff to a little less than 10 km ranked these as moderate, but were enough to provide some cooling.
With the actual science of climate change, and its political corruption, well understood, for us one of the fascinations has been the social aspect. Our special review of January 7, 2008, Intellectual Hysteria: http://www.institutionaladvisors.com/pdf/080107-INTELLECTUAL_HYSTERIA-b.pdf offered some perspective.
Moderate activity in Kamchatka has continued, and has been joined by some moderate activity in Alaska. However, the most recent such event of interest is that Mount Redoubt, close to Anchorage, has become rather active. Spewing to heights of around 10 km is bad enough but some eruptions in the few days to Saturday reached 15 km, which is expected to force more cooling than more moderate plumes would.
APRIL 8, 2009
Climate Change Charts
We've had some response to the April 6 study on climate change, which is appreciated. The largest portion of it has been favourable, some expressed relief to read something outside of conventional wisdom that has been accomplished through one of the most massive promotions in political history. Some asked about charts. Others asked about sources for further reading.
The following charts illustrate actual climate history, as well as the contrived one as promoted by IPCC. An independent site worth visiting is www.friendsofscience.org, which contains real science, not political science.
Temperature History in Europe
1000 Years Temperature History IPCC 1990
This chart, by H.H. Lamb, was an earlier accepted chart and was included with the first IPCC report published in 1990.
Within geological time, there are two items that can have a relatively quick influence on temperature - volcanic and solar activity - both of which are changing. The following charts will deal with the latter.
Nigel Weiss is Professor, emeritus, Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge. In a September 18, 2006 New Scientist article, Weiss stated:
"If you look back into the sun's past you find that we live in a period of abnormally high solar activity. These hyperactive periods do not last long--perhaps 50 to 100 years, then they crash. It's a boom-bust system, and I expect a crash soon. Also - the deeper the crash, the longer it will last."
It seems that the crash on solar activity has started, with the usual decline in temperature. Nice call, except that Weiss later denied that he was a "Denier".
Clearly, higher temperatures with the medieval optimum could not be explained by the theory that the combination of industrialization and excessive population was "causing" rising temperatures.
IPCC then promoted Mann's "Hockey Stick", which was contrived to eliminate the Medieval Optimum and the Little Ice Age. Both were impossible to explain using IPCC theories about climate change.
Mann's "Hockey Stick"
In 2003, researchers McKitrick and McIntyre reviewed Mann's work and found "collation errors, incorrect calculations", etc. Moreover, they found that any data, even random, fed into the IPCC model resulted in a "Hockey Stick" chart. IPCC has since admitted that it was flawed.
Sunspot Cycle: Length To Temperature
This chart shows that the longer the cycle, the lower the temperature. Duration is plotted on the left and inverted. The range is 9 to 13 years
• Note that shorter-duration cycles have been associated with temperature
• Particularly since the early 1900s.
• This is changing.
The lower the activity, the lower the temperature.
• The first blank sun of the existing solar minimum happened in 2004.
• Over the past ten cycles, the solar minimum averaged 485 spotless days.
• To recent, the count is out to 590+ blank days. • The 100-year record for spotless days in one year is 311 days in 1913, which works out to 85%.
• For 2008, this was 73%.
• For this year, to April 4, it's 87%.
• The result is a noticeable drop in this measure of global temperature.