Indirect Solar Forcing of Climate by Galactic Cosmic Rays: An Observational Estimate

May 19th, 2011 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

UPDATE (12:35 p.m. CDT 19 May 2011): revised corrections of CERES data for El Nino/La Nina effects.

While I have been skeptical of Svensmark’s cosmic ray theory up until now, it looks like the evidence is becoming too strong for me to ignore. The following results will surely be controversial, and the reader should remember that what follows is not peer reviewed, and is only a preliminary estimate.

I’ve made calculations based upon satellite observations of how the global radiative energy balance has varied over the last 10 years (between Solar Max and Solar Min) as a result of variations in cosmic ray activity. The results suggest that the total (direct + indirect) solar forcing is at least 3.5 times stronger than that due to changing solar irradiance alone.

If this is anywhere close to being correct, it supports the claim that the sun has a much larger potential role (and therefore humans a smaller role) in climate change than what the “scientific consensus” states.

BACKGROUND

The single most frequently asked question I get after I give my talks is, “Why didn’t you mention the sun?” I usually answer that I’m skeptical of the “cosmic ray gun” theory of cloud changes controlling climate. But I point out that Svensmark’s theory of natural cloud variations causing climate change is actually pretty close to what I preach — only the mechanism causing the cloud change is different.

Then, I found last year’s paper by Laken et al. which was especially interesting since it showed satellite-observed cloud changes following changes in cosmic ray activity. Even though the ISCCP satellite data they used are not exactly state of the art, the study was limited to the mid-latitudes, and the time scales involved were days rather than years, the results gave compelling quantitative evidence of a cosmic ray effect on cloud cover.

With the rapid-fire stream of publications and reports now coming out on the subject, I decided to go back and spend some time analyzing ground-based galactic cosmic ray (GCR) data to see whether there is a connection between GCR variations and variations in the global radiative energy balance between absorbed sunlight and emitted infrared energy, taken from the NASA CERES radiative budget instruments on the Terra satellite, available since March 2000.

After all, that is ultimately what we are interested in: How do various forcings affect the radiative energy budget of the Earth? The results, I must admit, are enough for me to now place at least one foot solidly in the cosmic ray theory camp.

THE DATA

The nice thing about using CERES Earth radiative budget data is that we can get a quantitative estimate in Watts per sq. meter for the radiative forcing due to cosmic ray changes. This is the language the climate modelers speak, since these radiative forcings (externally imposed global energy imbalances) can be used to help calculate global temperature changes in the ocean & atmosphere based upon simple energy conservation. They can then also be compared to the estimates of forcing from increasing carbon dioxide, currently the most fashionable cause of climate change.

From the global radiative budget measurements we also get to see if there is a change in high clouds (inferred from the outgoing infrared measurements) as well as low clouds (inferred from reflected shortwave [visible sunlight] measurements) associated with cosmic ray activity.

I will use only the ground-based cosmic ray data from Moscow, since it is the first station I found which includes a complete monthly archive for the same period we have global radiative energy budget data from CERES (March 2000 through June 2010). I’m sure there are other stations, too…all of this is preliminary anyway. Me sifting through the myriad solar-terrestrial datasets is just as confusing to me as most of you sifting through the various climate datasets that I’m reasonably comfortable with.

THE RESULTS

The following plot (black curve) shows the monthly GCR data from Moscow for this period, as well as a detrended version with 1-2-1 averaging (red curve) to match the smoothing I will use in the CERES measurements to reduce noise.

Detrending the data isolates the month-to-month and year-to-year variability as the signal to match, since trends (or a lack of trends) in the global radiative budget data can be caused by a combination of many things. (Linear trends are worthless for statistically inferring cause-and-effect; but getting a match between wiggles in two datasets is much less likely to be due to random chance.)

The monthly cosmic ray data at Moscow will be compared to global monthly anomalies the NASA Terra satellite CERES (SSF 2.5 dataset) radiative flux data,

which shows the variations in global average reflected sunlight (SW), emitted infrared (LW), and Net (which is the estimated imbalances in total absorbed energy by the climate system, after adjustment for variations in total solar irradiance, TSI). Note I have plotted the variations in the negative of Net, which is approximately equal to variations in (LW+SW)

Then, since the primary source of variability in the CERES data is associated with El Nino and La Nina (ENSO) activity, I subtracted out an estimate of the average ENSO influence using running regressions between running 5-month averages of the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) and the CERES fluxes. I used the MEI index along with those regression coefficients in each month to correct the CERES fluxes 4 months later, since that time lag had the strongest correlation.

Finally, I performed regressions at various leads and lags between the GCR time series and the LW, SW, and -Net radiative flux time series, the results of which are shown next.

The yearly average relationships noted in the previous plot come from this relationship in the reflected solar (SW) data,

while the -Net flux (Net is absorbed solar minus emitted infrared, corrected for the change in solar irradiance during the period) results look like this:

It is that last plot that gives us the final estimate of how a change in cosmic ray flux at Moscow is related to changes in Earth’s radiative energy balance.

SUMMARY

What the above three plots show is that for a 1,000 count increase in GCR activity as measured at Moscow (which is somewhat less than the increase between Solar Max and Solar Min), there appears to be:

(1) an increase in reflected sunlight (SW) of 0.64 Watts per sq. meter, probably mostly due to an increase in low cloud cover;
(2) virtually no change in emitted infrared (LW) of +0.02 Watts per sq. meter;
(3) a Net (reflected sunlight plus emitted infrared) effect of 0.55 Watts per sq. meter loss in radiant energy by the global climate system.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR CLIMATE CHANGE?

Assuming these signatures are anywhere close to being real, what do they mean quantitatively in terms of the potential effect of cosmic ray activity on climate?

Well, just like any other forcing, a resulting temperature change depends not only upon the size of the forcing, but also the sensitivity of the climate system to forcing. But we CAN compare the cosmic ray forcing to OTHER “known” forcings, which could have a huge influence on our understanding of the role of humans in climate change.

For example, if warming observed in the last century is (say) 50% natural and 50% anthropogenic, then this implies the climate system is only one-half as sensitive to our greenhouse gas emissions (or aerosol pollution) than if the warming was 100% anthropogenic in origin (which is pretty close to what we are told the supposed “scientific consensus” is).

First, let’s compare the cosmic ray forcing to the change in total solar irradiance (TSI) during 2000-2010. The orange curve in following plot is the change in direct solar (TSI) forcing between 2000 and 2010, which with the help of Danny Braswell’s analytical skills I backed out from the CERES Net, LW, and SW data. It is the only kind of solar forcing the IPCC (apparently) believes exists, and it is quite weak:

Also shown is the estimated cosmic ray forcing resulting from the month-to-month changes in the original Moscow cosmic ray time series, computed by multiplying those monthly changes by 0.55 Watts per sq. meter per 1,000 cosmic ray counts change.

Finally, I fitted the trend lines to get an estimate of the relative magnitudes of these two sources of forcing: the cosmic ray (indirect) forcing is about 2.8 times that of the solar irradiance (direct) forcing. This means the total (direct + indirect) solar forcing on climate associated with the solar cycle could be 3.8 times that most mainstream climate scientists believe.

One obvious question this begs is whether the lack of recent warming, since about 2004 for the 0-700 meter layer of the ocean, is due to the cosmic ray effect on cloud cover canceling out the warming from increasing carbon dioxide.

If the situation really was that simple (which I doubt it is), this would mean that with Solar Max rapidly approaching, warming should resume in the coming months. Of course, other natural cycles could be in play (my favorite is the Pacific Decadal oscillation), so predicting what will happen next is (in my view) more of an exercise in faith than in science.

In the bigger picture, this is just one more piece of evidence that the IPCC scientists should be investigating, one which suggests a much larger role for Mother Nature in climate change than the IPCC has been willing to admit. And, again I emphasize, the greater the role of Nature in causing past climate change, the smaller the role humans must have had, which could then have a profound impact on future projections of human-caused global warming.


87 Responses to “Indirect Solar Forcing of Climate by Galactic Cosmic Rays: An Observational Estimate”

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  1. kuhnkat says:

    Thank you Dr. Spencer. You are a gentleman, scientist, and realist to change your views when the facts change and actually high light the change. I imagine a number of folk in the Climate Community will try to ignore or minimize these new results. Should be another interesting ride to a relatively accurate estimate of the influence.

    Nice to see some teeth behind all those correlation charts that have been floating around the net for years showing an apparent strong solar influence on climate that have been derided by the warmers.

    Anyone think those fellows who published papers dissenting with Svensmark by using low energy cosmic ray data will retract their work??

  2. Christopher Game says:

    Thank you Dr Spencer.

    Congratulations on a landmark post. Magnificent!

    Are you talking about an external driver, or what?

    But this is not “just like any other [IPCC] ‘forcing’”. The IPCC “forcings” are permitted to be and usually are variables that are strongly influenced by the internal state of the earth’s energy transport process and so by feedback and so do not have the epistemic status and scientific value of an external driver like this.

    Feedbacks affect the internal state variables, by definition. There is no feedback to an external driver, by definition. That is why external drivers are of special value for scientific study of natural processes.

    I agree with your concern about the degree of closeness of the relation between the sunspot numbers and the apparent driver effect. And I agree with your keen interest in the Great Pacific Multidecadal Oscillation. And I agree that no one knows enough to assert dogmatic predictions. I think it might be possible that the coming sunspot maximum of Cycle 24 will be smaller than have been the last three cycles, and that the colder weather will persist on a decadal time scale because of this.

    Christopher Game

  3. JZ says:

    I have been following your blog for some time now Dr Spencer. I think that your work is important to our understanding of climate and weather.

    When I first heard about the cosmic ray cloud formation theory I did not believe it would have a big impact, but was worthy of more study. I am not ready to start looking further into it on my own right now, but I will be keeping an eye on it to see what develops. Any ideas on how the alarmists are going to spin things to discredit this theory before it gets going?

    Please keep up the good work. You have many followers.

  4. Dragontide says:

    Dr Spencer wrote:

    “if warming observed in the last century is (say) 50% natural and 50% anthropogenic, then this implies the climate system is only one-half as sensitive to our greenhouse gas emissions (or aerosol pollution) than if the warming was 100% anthropogenic in origin (which is pretty close to what we are told the supposed “scientific consensus” is)”

    I don’t think you are taking into consideration the dissipation rate of AGW gasses. (as compared to that of water vapor) Once water vapor dissipates, it is no longer involved in the greenhouse effect. It is now a drop of water on the ground. If man’s Co2, methane, nitrous oxide, etc… could dissipate as quickly as water vapor, then all would be well.

    The AGW thumbprint is too unique for there even to be a climate change debate. A strong enough El-Nino warms the planet up a bit. The thumbprint is the years between these moderate to powerful El-Ninos. The world temperature stays relatively the same. Only slight variations and never two, consecutive, record (#1) years. A spike then level. (fairly level) Up then level. Up the level since February 1985. 314 consecutive months. Not even the 2nd most powerful volcano of the 20th century (Mt Pinatuba in 1991) could get the world temp below average. Not even for one month.

    How can cosmic rays, magma, an interglacial, or any other anomaly of nature do that?

    • I agree that it takes many decades for a substantial portion of extra atmospheric CO2 to be reabsorbed by the land and ocean. But you are missing 2 important issues:

      1) it is POSITIVE FEEDBACKS which cause most predicted warming…not the direct warming effect of extra CO2, which is weak…and the existence of POSITIVE feedback is predicated on CO2 being the ONLY major forcing! If instead there are MULTIPLE forcings involved in recent warming, not just CO2, then net feedback in the climate system might well be NEGATIVE, in which case the (admittedly somewhat persistent) CO2 effect is not worth worrying about.

      2) Rememeber, centuries of sunspot activity data (which is a proxy for cosmic ray shielding of the Earth) back to the Dalton Minimum suggest that the cosmic ray effect could be actually a longer time scale than the extra CO2…many centuries.

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        Centuries? It appears to me from “Celestial driver of Phanerozoic climate?” (Shaviv & Veizer 2003) it appears the GCR link to climate is most evident on geologic timescales averaged over hundreds of thousands of solar cycles, but by “Cosmic ray decreases affect atmospheric aerosols and clouds” (Svensmark 2009) it’s also detectable over the space of days.

        There’s a 500+ million year record of ocean temperatures correlating with carbon 14, and the only explanation that seems plausible is that the same galactic cosmic rays that produce radiocarbon are also cooling the earth, and the cloud connection seems likely to be the only mechanism for that to happen.

    • Bob Roberts says:

      “Dragontide” said, “The AGW thumbprint is too unique for there even to be a climate change debate.”

      Every peer reviewed paper I’ve read that claimed to have established any sort of link between weather/temperature/climate trends and human activities failed to provide any robust data to back up the contention and, furthermore, was so full of caveats and other escape hatches that they rendered the initial contentions about any proveable anthorpogenic “thumbprint” laughable.

      The only data that supports the contention that humans have usurped natural forces and are now exerting a detectable effect on weather/temperature/climate is data that has been specifically and deliberately altered to do so.

      This is not to say there is no such thing as “global warming”, but even the most strident of the alarmists now has given up that phrase in favor of “climate change”. Why, exactly, is that?

  5. anything is possible says:

    Perhaps the best thing of all about Svensmark’s GCR theory is its’ timing. With Solar Cycle 24 shaping up to be the least active since the Dalton Minimum, we should learn a lot about its’ credibility.

    The next decade or so promises to be very interesting indeed……

    • craig says:

      The consensus (for want of a better word) is that SC24 is approaching solar MAX which means it will be a very, very small cycle in regards to SSN and SC25 will be just as small or smaller. This of course means more GCR’s so indeed the theory can/will be tested unlike the situation with another well known theory that has up until now remained elusive.

  6. Jens says:

    Interesting analysis! It adds to the rapidly mounting evidence for the effect of cosmic rays on climate. The result seems roughly consistent with Nir Shavivs analysis in
    http://www.sciencebits.com/files/articles/CalorimeterFinal.pdf, using the sea as a calorimeter to get at variations in radiative forcing. The effect of ions on aerosol formation has been confirmed by experiments, as reported recently on wattsupwiththat, and in a few months we should have some interesting new results from the CERN CLOUD experiment. In my view the connection between cosmic rays and climate is on a much firmer basis than that between CO2 and climate, mainly because of the well documented variations of the GCR intensity on many time scales, which allows for more quantitative correlation analysis than for CO2. The physical origin of the effect is of course much better established for the greenhouse effect of CO2 but with the new experiments on ion induced aerosol formation this is slowly changing.

  7. Dragontide says:

    Dr Spencer wrote:

    “the cosmic ray effect could be actually a longer time scale than the extra CO2…many centuries”

    But paleoclimate findings, show no tangible impact. No 314 consecutive months with the world temperature above average timeline except the current one. You have to go way back to when the world had a warmer bedrock. And a planet only begins once.

    And a cosmic ray forcing would have had at least one set of back to back record warm years.

    • Bob Roberts says:

      My comment about the clever answer was directed at Werner Brozek, who posted: John Maynard Keynes: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

      Indeed, when the facts proved that anthropogenic global warming driven by human fossil fuel use was a completely false and ridiculous theory that is exactly why the phrase “global warming” was dropped in favor of “climate change”, which is normal, natural and INEVITABLE!

      Dragontide said: “paleoclimate findings, show no tangible impact. No 314 consecutive months with the world temperature above average timeline except the current one.”

      FALSE – see below. Plus the “above average” claims came from a combination of deliberate discounting of factors such as poorly sited temperature measurement equipment, urbanization, improper (and outright fraudulent) adjustments to data by those desperate to save their failing theories (“hide the decline”), deliberate exclusion of stations which showed trends counter to the one that those minding the data wanted to use to prove their theories, etc.

      Climate change alarmists have engaged in revisionism to eliminate the many signficant climate swings that are documented not only by human histories but also clearly in geological records. In fact “paleoclimate findings” do not say what you claim, though I will admit that those who have been proven to have a tendency to corrupt their data in order to ensure that it fits their prejudicial notions do claim otherwise.

      Now I fully expect you to either deny that the Holocene Climate Optimum (an extremely warm period that occurred around 9,000 to 5,000 years before the present day) either did not actually happen, was not as warm as the data proves it was or maybe you’ll go with the “it was not a global event” claim.

      In fact this event was a major, global, long lasting event that went far beyond the recent relatively minor and brief natural decadal warming that got climate alarmists so worked up. One of the favorite straw man arguments that climate alarmists throw at me is that it takes X years to define a real trend. The thing is they always choose X to fit their preconceived notions, ignoring reality where trends both shorter and longer than their chosen X, trends which blow their theories to bits, are known and proven to occur.

      But even that does not matter. Even if we ignore that the data you present was deliberately cherry picked and manipulated to fit a desired theoretical outcome, the fact is you still have not provided a shred of evidence that the warming observed at the close of the 20th century was anything other than normal, natural variation. This goes back to what I said before: You talked about an “AGW thumbprint” or something to that effect. Provide hard evidence that backs up any claim any such thing has been discovered. I’m not talking about computer models that say that evidence will eventually come. I’m talking about hard evidence based on observations that have already been made.

  8. Thank you Dr Spencer for this analysis. The Svensmark effect looks like it is going to account for a large portion of the terrestrial amplification of the solar signal found by Nir Shaviv in his JGR paper on using the oceans as a calorimeter back in 2005;

    http://sciencebits.com/calorimeter

  9. Christopher Game says:

    Dr Spencer writes: “net feedback in the climate system might well be NEGATIVE”.

    There should be little doubt about this. For the overall stability of the system, it is not a case of ‘might well be NEGATIVE’. It is a case of ‘is overall negative, must be overall negative’.

    If the earth’s energy transport process is more or less driven by some external driver(s) in addition to the secondary effects (effects of internal variables on each other, loosely called ‘feedbacks’), it may be that the climate follows the drivers to some extent. In the case when it is possible to see the following of drivers, by a linearized model homing in on a driver signal, surely the effects of internal variables on each other must have a sort of stability, something like all the eigenvalues of their rate matrix being real and negative.

    Even a single positive eigenvalue will most likely show up as dynamical instability, so that it will not be possible to see a following of the driver; in this case one could reasonably speak of ‘positive feedback’; a really rocky road, at the very least; but we don’t seem to see that.

    The external drivers from the solar system will in general have a chaotic dynamics of their own, but in fact it still seems possible to see the climate follow them. In this case it makes sense to speak, loosely, of overall ‘negative feedback’ in the climate system.

    But otherwise it may be that the earth’s energy transport process has internally determined chaos, so that it will not make much sense to try to assign a sign, positive or negative, to the ‘feedback’. In this case the analysis will be very difficult indeed.

    When the IPCC talks of “positive feedback” they assume an overall stable system with overall negative feedback (though they never mention that because it isn’t frightening), but with some partial component contributions to the dynamics tending to destabilize, though not actually creating instability. These parital component contributions are what they call “positive feedback”. Their most beloved case is the stability of the relative humidity, which they like to call “positive feedback” because it makes a destabilizing-tending partial component contribution to the overall dynamics, but of course it does not lead to overall positive feedback. If the system were really unstable so that it made sense to think of overall positive feedback, the IPCC “forcings and feedbacks” formalism would break down entirely and would be manifest nonsense, even to them.

    It is evident from Dr Spencer’s work, and from a little thought about the matter, that the low clouds must be making a regular stabilizing contribution. By this one means, for example, that an increase in insolation, as some external driver influence, will cause a relative increase in low cloudiness that will reflect relatively more of the insolation, so that the immediate direct effect of the driving increase of insolation will be moderated. The clouds are thus almost surely a most important and major mechanism that provides definite and important component contributory negative feedback. Even if the GCR effect on clouds is a major external driver, the internal dynamics of the system must involve component negative feedback as consequent relative reduction of cloudiness in response to a driven increase in cloudiness, that moderates the effect of the external driver. I find it hard to think that it could be otherwise. That is what Dr Spencer has been demonstrating in detail, more strength to his arm. Christopher Game

  10. Gibo says:

    Dr Spencer I have followed your blog for some time and also read your book Blunder. You place a great deal of emphasis on the PDO, however you have not made it clear to me what you believe drives the PDO.

    • No one really knows what causes natural cycles in the climate system like the PDO. It could be natural oscillations in the thermohaline circulation of the ocean. Your question is a little like asking, “what causes chaos?”. There are nonlinearities in the climate system on a wide variety of timescales that are too complex for us to predict, let alone understand.

  11. Warm says:

    Dr Spencer, I have a (naive ?) question.

    How are you sure that the effect you observed is not a simple feedback, which amplify small temperature differences induces by TSI changes ?

    • Good question. The answer is that the radiative changes are of the wrong sign to be feedback.

      If a net accumulation of radiative energy (say, due to a decrease in cloud cover) causes warming, then the net radiative feedback response to that warming will be a LOSS of radiative energy. Individual feedbacks (clouds, water vapor, etc.) only change how strong that loss is, not its sign. Net radiative feedback always opposes radiative forcing.

      So, the contamination effect you are talking about would, if anything, do the OPPOSITE to your suggestion: cause an *underestimate* of the radiative forcing due to GCR changes.

  12. S. Andersson says:

    Dear Roy, Thanks for being open to new ideas. The openness and flexibility you demonstrate is commendable. The world needs more people of your caliber. Only truly great minds have the power to question their own convictions.

  13. Fred from Canuckistan says:

    So bizarre . . . scientists coming up with a theory, testing it it, publishing their methods and test data results for others to verify . . . this means they can’t be REAL climate scientists, never work at UEA, or for Hansen . . .

  14. That is not the only connection. A good case can be made if one looks at the evidence ,that when the sun enters a prolong minimum state, the change in UV light coming from the sun seems to redistribute, where ozone concentrations are located in the upper atmosphere, which tends to cause the stratopshere to warm more near the polar regions, in contrast to lower latitudes ,resulting in a more -AO atmospheric circulation.

    Further it seems when the sun is in a prolong quiet period but has sudden burst of activity, within the quiet period, that more geological activity takes place. With many high latitude N.H. volcanos ,if those should become more active, they will tend to cool the earth when they errupt, and at the same time, warm the stratosphere more near the polar regions in contrast to the lower latitudes reinforcing a more -AO,once again.

    This neg. AO ,will then casue the earth’s albedo to increase due to more snow cover,cloud cover and precip. associated with this type of circulation ,which in turn wil serve to cool the earth’s climate further. A positive feeeback for cooling.

    Not to mention a case can be made for a solar ,PDO/AMO connection ,along with the SOI.

    More La Ninas ,seem to be associated with prolong solar minimum activity.

    • Bob Roberts says:

      “salvatore del prete” stated: “Further it seems when the sun is in a prolong quiet period but has sudden burst of activity, within the quiet period, that more geological activity takes place.”

      You seem to be suggesting, in the post where you mentioned this, that there is a possible causitive link between bursts of solar activity within prolonged quiet solar periods and geologic activity here on Earth. I’m curious what mechanisms you might propose to support such a link as I cannot come up with any.

      I’m also not aware of any strong recurring patterns supporting such an idea – do you have specific evidence that leads you to this belief?

  15. Wolfe says:

    Dragontide,

    Do you suppose that maybe there is no paleoclimate record of 314 months of consecutive warming because we only have monthly records for less than 50 years? There were numerous events in the last 500,000 years when temperatures rose rapidly for many consecutive years, but we don’t have monthly records that you want to reference. You really should quit posting such lame red herring arguments.

  16. Jason Bair says:

    A true scientist follows the data, even when it goes against the assumed truths. I applaud you for having your eyes open enough to allow your mind to be changed by new research. I only hope that your colleagues can do the same.

    Climate science in general has abandoned science proper.

  17. peter2108 says:

    What is “1-2-1 averaging”? Google does not help with this.

    Thanks for any help.

  18. Dr. Spencer,you however have not calculated what would happen during a prolong solar minimum. You are wrongly assuming the 11 year sunspot cycle,which can’t create nearly as much forcing on the climate,in contrast to a prolong solar minimum.

    You need to examine the effects a prolong solar minimum will have on the climate ,not the normal sunspot cycle. I am of the believe that the normal sunspot cycle can never influence the climate that much,and that it is the prolong minimum solar cycles which do and that is the area that needs to be looked at.

  19. James Davidson says:

    Dr Spencer
    In your reply to Dragontide you say that “it takes many decades for a substantial portion of extra CO2 to be absorbed by the land and ocean.” In his talk at the 4th International Conference on Climate Change on May 19 last year,( and you were also a speaker at this conference, Dr Spencer,) Dr Tom Segelstad, a geochemist, showed that the average dwell time in the atmosphere for C12 is 5-6 years. I have read elsewhere that the average dwell time for C13 is 12-14 years. A big difference from ” many decades.”

  20. Another area I can see is not being appreciated is the duration and magnitude of the overall solar activity. Even if solar cycle 24 were to increase from here a little in strength,we our still most likely in a prolong solar minimum ,which is going to have a very significant effect on the climate going forward this decade.

    For some reason that important fact,still does not seem to hit home.

  21. Christopher Game says:

    Reply to peter2108′s question “What is “1-2-1 averaging”? Google does not help with this.”

    1-2-1 averaging is a procedure for smoothing a time-series x(t), so as to make it easier on the eye.

    The resulting value x* for time t can be written
    x*(t) = [x(t-1) + 2 x(t) + x(t+1)] / 4,
    noting that 1 + 2 + 1 = 4.

    The (1,2,1) coefficients are those of the binomial expansion of (x + a)^n with n = 2, that is
    (x + a)^2 = x^2 + 2 ax + a^2.

    Heavier smoothing comes from using larger values of n. This is, so far as I know, the heaviest smoother that does not ‘ring’ when it hits abrupt steps in x(t).

    The points at (and near) the ends cannot be smoothed in this exact way. This is sometimes called weighted averaging. It is symmetrical in the sense that the greatest weight for x*(t) is on x(t), and so forth, with n an even number.

    For statistical analysis one should not to use a smoother, but should do the statistical analysis with the raw data, and let the statistical procedure, in its own way, take care of any ‘noise’. The smoother is just to make it easier on the eye.

  22. Christopher Game says:

    Christopher Game on the post of Warm of May 20, 2011 at 3:11 AM.

    Warm writes: “How are you sure that the effect you observed is not a simple feedback, which amplify small temperature differences induces by TSI changes ?”

    Warm seems perhaps to be a believer in the IPCC “forcings and feedback’s” formalism and especially in its use to talk about “amplification by positive feedback”, the masterstroke of IPCC propaganda.

    The amplification of an electronic amplifier, such as described by Bode 1945, cited by the teachers of IPCC doctrine, relies on the presence of an auxiliary power supply to provide the amplification. The feedback affects the magnitude and timing of the amplification of a Bode electronic amplifier, but, without power supplied by the auxiliary suppy, does not create any amplification. The Bode amplification comes only from the added power from the auxiliary power supply.

    The IPCC “forcings and feedbacks” propaganda has made many people believe that the amplification can come from the mere presence of feedback without an auxiliary power supply; a brilliant piece of bluff.

    For the earth’s energy transport process has no auxiliary power supply! Even experts seem to miss this basic point.

    It is not just, as Dr Spencer says, that “the radiative changes are of the wrong sign to be feedback”. It is that no matter what the sign of the changes, amplification is impossible without an auxiliary power supply.

    Dr Spencer is right to note that the real ‘feedbacks’, especially those mediated by clouds, will dampen or attenuate or moderate the externally driven changes, even those driven by a cloud mechanism. The real ‘feedbacks’ can prolong, but not amplify.

    The proper analogy is to a leaky bucket, not to an amplifier. The addition of CO2 closes some of the holes in the bottom of the leaky bucket, but this might likely lift the water level to reach a larger hole in the side of the bucket.

    The brilliant effectiveness of the IPCC propaganda is shown by its persuading Warm to ask this question. Christopher Game

  23. RaymondT says:

    Dr Spencer, Interesting blog. One thing that puzzles me about the gamma ray hypothesis is whether or not the nucleation sites produced by the gamma rays are sufficiently large to lead to water vapour condensation. It is easier to grow vapour droplets on larger particles with asperities such as aerosols since the droplets can grow in crevices on the surface of the aerosols which requires less work since the surface tension is smaller. Perhaps the CLOUD experiments will shed more light on this when they perform experiments in the presence of aerosols.

  24. Martin says:

    James Davidson
    What is the method they used to assume that 5-14 years in C absorbtion by land/oceans? The mechanism depends on variable factors and is not even evenly spread around the world, so one molecule of CO2 can be more prone to be dissolved in ocean or anything than another one.
    Also the carbon cycle must be taken into account.

    On the radiative induced formation of clouds: there is a simple method to test it. I am sure everyone has heard about cloud chambers. I´ve seen one working, but it didn´t detect any charged particles, when the source of radiation was blocked. Nevermind, I´d like to see one on the top of any really big mountain, whether it would work better. I must agree with dr Spencer that the mechanism is real, but most of those particles are deflected or diverted by geomagnetic field, as a result of their charge. The best would be one such counter on the top of Mt.McKinley, one on Kilimanjaro and one somewhere in the Andes to check potential(and very likely real) differences caused by geomagnetic field.

  25. Noblesse Oblige says:

    Shaviv and Ziskin (submitted http://phys.huji.ac.il/~shaviv/tmp/ZiskinShaviv_2column.pdf)
    pull all of the presumed forcings together in a simple model and extract an amplification of TSI on 20th century temperature by about a factor of 6, though with large error bars. The derived net climate sensitivity for 2XCO2 is then about 1 deg C, a number that comes up repeatedly from a variety of different analyses.

  26. Tempo says:

    Maybe MJO corrected might give you better cancelation?

  27. oli says:

    Dear Dr spencer,

    Your faith in cosmic ray theory and a non negligible impact on climate change (although an increase in cosmic ray intensity over the last 20 years) means that you think that the aerosol indirect effect is large, isn’t it ?

    Thank you.

  28. Theodore White says:

    Hi Dr. Spenser,

    As a long-range astronomic forecaster I would like to remind you that we do forecast based on the Sun and planets, so I find it curious that with centuries of solar data, in this day and age of the 21st century, you are just coming around to the astrophysical and geophysical facts of life?

    I forecasted the ENSO OF 2009-2011 several years prior to the climate event – and did so astronomically.

    Of course the Sun drives the Earth’s climate, and that of the other planets in our solar system as well.

    What amazes me is that you would say that we cannot understand the Earth’s complex climate? If this is so, then how am I able to forecast such events as ENSO in advance?

  29. Bob in Castlemaine says:

    A very interesting article Dr Spencer.
    A question concerning the comment which appears under your Heading WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR CLIMATE CHANGE?

    “For example, if warming observed in the last century is (say) 50% natural and 50% anthropogenic, then this implies the climate system is only one-half as sensitive to our greenhouse gas emissions (or aerosol pollution) than if the warming was 100% anthropogenic in origin (which is pretty close to what we are told the supposed “scientific consensus” is).”

    In your hypothetical re 20th century warming i.e. 50% natural and 50% anthropogenic, wouldn’t it be reasonable to attribute some significant component of the anthropogenic as being due to albedo change, caused by changes in land use? If this is the case then does it diminish the role of anthropogenic GHG forcing still further?

  30. Stephen Wilde says:

    A change in cloud quantities can occur in more than one way.

    My main problem with the Svensmark hypothesis is that there is no shortage of the necessary aerosols in the first place so more of them does not necessarily result in more clouds.

    The Svansmark idea suggests that the extra aerosols being added would have a pretty even effect on cloudiness across the globe with perhaps a slight bias towards the polar regions where some charged particles are directed in along the magnetic field lines.

    However we don’t see changes in cloudiness occurring in a pattern which would comply with that proposition.

    Instead we see changes in the surface pressure distribution affecting the size and positions of the various blocks of polar and equatorial air masses as they ebb and flow and interact with one another around the world all the time.

    Where those air masses interact we see more clouds and the solar effect seems to work by causing more (or less) meridional jets, more (or less) air mass mixing and therefore longer (or shorter) lines of air mass interaction across the globe resulting in more (or less) clouds.

    So generally we see zonal jets and less clouds (warming) when the sun is active and meridional jets and more clouds (cooling) when the sun is less active.

    The recent combination of a very quiet sun and a record negative Arctic Oscillation with increasing global albedo in contrast to the late 20th century active sun with a weak Arctic Oscillation and decreasing global albedo is an example in point.

    Also the Svensmark idea would require the creation of more clouds first then some sort of reorganisation process over time as the additional clouds became incorporated into the background weather patterns. The clouds would have to come first and then the weather patterns would change.

    In reality we see the weather patterns change first by way of a change in the meridionality/zzonality of the jets then the cloud quantity changes follow.

    To get that change in meridionality/zonality we first need a change in the atmospheric heights and as far as I know Svensmark’s idea does not deal with that.

    Thus we are back to solar induced ozone linked chemical reactions in the atmospheric column altering the heights in line with the level of solar activity

  31. An Inquirer says:

    Dragontide, You do seem to be fascinated by the “314 consecutive months above normal.”

    I do understand your source of that data. Do you understand why such a record is neither impressive or unprecedented?

    First, your average is an estimate of 20th century. There are plenty of problems in attempts to get a reliable 20th century #, but let’s put aside those concerns at the moment. It is arbitrary to label the 20th century average as normal. Perhaps normal is the MWP — or the Roman Optimum — or the average of the last 1000 years — or the last 10,000 years. Actually, I would not label any average as normal. The climate is always moving from one state to another.

    Second, I do not doubt that in the Medieval Warming Period that the GMT was higher than the past century average for 500 or 700 months. And during the LIA, the GMT was undoubtedly lower than the previous century average for 600 or 800 months.

    Third, current temperature trends do not show a “thumbprint of CO2.” Quite the contrary. The statosphere/troposphere relationship, the “hot spot,” the troposphere/surface temperature trends, the model/observation trends . . . all are contrary to the CO2 theory. Rather temperature trends seem to be the thumbprint of the emergence from the LIA.

  32. The sun is now back to tyical solar minimum values which would normally take place at the botom of the avrage 11 year sunspot cycle.

    This is not normal and I think very significant. Questions to think about.What if that recent sudden burst of activity during Feb/Mar. turns out to be the sunspot max .for cycle 24?

    W

  33. Let me continue.

    What if the solar flux stays at it’s present reading of 84 or goes lower ,only to have a future burst to 150 again ,does that create increased geological activity ?

    With the solar reading so low, as of now ,will the -AO atmospheric circulation start to exert itself going forward,providing solar activity stays at these current levels?

    This current step back in solar activity, has the caught the mainstream solar scientist off guard. They did not expect this, after the recent run up in activity. This shows how little they know ,about trying to forecast future solar activity.

    I say watch out,the climate is going to be quite extreme and grow colder , if the sun continues to behave like it is.

    I have by the way always thought, an increase in cosmic rays ,during low solar activity ,did have a correlation to an increase in clouds, which is another aid, to a general cooling of the earth’s climate.

    LOW SOLAR ACTIVITY AND IT’S EFFECTS

    MORE COSMIC RAYS MORE CLOUDS

    MORE GEOLOGICAL ACTIVITY

    MORE OF A , -AO ATM. CIRCULATION

    MORE LA NINAS

    MORE OF A COLD PDO/AMO VERSUS A WARM PDO/AMO

    LOWER SOLAR IRRADIANCE

    What the above then rsults in, is a colder climate going forward, with positive feedbacks for cooling associated with the above.

    I MAINTAIIN AS LONG AS THE SUN CONTINUES TO BEHAVE AS IS,THIS WILL BE THE DECADE OF GLOBAL COOLING.

  34. Craig Loehle says:

    One of the pieces of evidence for cosmic ray effects that seems particularly strong is the polar sea-saw. The data are that the N and S poles are in opposite phase–when one gets warmer the other gets cooler. Arctic sea ice has been decreasing while Antarctic sea ice has been increasing. The climate models have no explanation for this. If cosmic rays increase clouds, this does explain it. Less clouds in the Arctic would cause warming because there is open water in all months except the deepest winter, and open water has low albedo. In contrast, the Antarctic, being totally ice, has very high albedo, and less clouds causes more reflection and therefore colder temperatures. This was the prediction from the theory that really got my attention.

  35. Stephen Wilde says:

    “If cosmic rays increase clouds, this does explain it.”

    If ANYTHING increases clouds that would explain it. I’d like to know whether there is ever a significant aerosol shortage in the first place.

    And how would cosmic rays alter the vertical temperature profile so as to shift the surface pressure distribution to affect phenomena such as the Arctic Oscillation which was highly positive when the sun was active and highly negative when the sun was recently quiet ?

  36. James Davidson says:

    Martin asks what method Dr Segelstad used to estimate the dwell time of a molecule of CO2 in the atmosphere. He used isotope ratios, but I am certainly not competent to discuss this. I refer you to the video of Dr Segelstad’s talk at: environmentandclimate-news.org/ClimateConference4

    Several people have asked what is the nature of cloud condensation nuclei. I thought that was well established. As the sun rises phytoplankton and algae in the sea begin to photosynthesise and ,in the process, release particles of dimethylsulphide ( DMS ) into the atmosphere. One of the products of cosmic ray collisions with the molecules of the upper atmosphere is muons. Muons have a very short life, but because they are moving at a very high fraction of light speed, their lifetime is prolonged to enable them to reach the lower atmosphere and collide with, and ionise DMS particles, which then act as cloud condensation nuclei. You can see the feedback mechanism; more sun, more DMS, more cloud.

  37. Bob Maginnis says:

    If cosmic rays are “…3.5 times stronger than that due to changing solar irradiance alone,” then why hasn’t the World cooled significantly during our long solar minima and very weak transition towards a maxima?

  38. Stephen Wilde says:

    “You can see the feedback mechanism; more sun, more DMS, more cloud.”

    On that basis clouds would have increased when the sun was more active and decreased when it was less active. Exactly the wrong way round.

    Cosmic rays are NOT the same as solar rays and they increase when solar activity falls.

    So if cosmic rays are responsible their effect occurs most strongly when the sun is less active.

    However I suspect that the GCRs are simply a proxy for the level of solar activity and that the true cause of more clouds when the sun is less active is a reduction of ozone destruction above 45km which leads to more ozone up there when the sun is quiet. That causes a warming of the mesosphere and stratosphere thus reducing the height of the tropopause and weakening the polar vortices to push the surface pressure distribution equatorward which gives more clouds and less energy into the oceans for a net cooling of the system as a whole.

  39. Stephen Wilde says:

    “why hasn’t the World cooled significantly during our long solar minima and very weak transition towards a maxima?”

    It takes many years for the impact on ocean heat content to be fully felt in the atmosphere. The precise length of time depends on the average global state of all the ocean basins combined because each ocean basin varies over time as to the rate at which solar energy is released back to the air.

  40. Max_B says:

    Holgate (2007) shows a steady rise of sea-level throughout the 20 Century (mean rate = 1.74 mm/yr), with no increase in rate during recent decades (Fig.4). Sea level rise is mainly due to thermal expansion of the oceans, plus some land ice melting.

    It also shows that the rate of sea level rise over the 20th Century is strongly modulated. Interestingly, the modulation has a good association with the sun spot cycle, however there is currently no established mechanism to explain such association. Variations in Solar Irradiance are too small to account for the modulation.

  41. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Interestingly, the modulation has a good association with the sun spot cycle, however there is currently no established mechanism to explain such association.”

    Maybe not yet ‘established’ but certainly on the table:

    http://www.irishweatheronline.com/irishweather/features/the-sun-could-control-earths-temperature/290.html

  42. RW says:

    Christopher Game says:

    “When the IPCC talks of “positive feedback” they assume an overall stable system with overall negative feedback (though they never mention that because it isn’t frightening), but with some partial component contributions to the dynamics tending to destabilize, though not actually creating instability. These parital component contributions are what they call “positive feedback”. Their most beloved case is the stability of the relative humidity, which they like to call “positive feedback” because it makes a destabilizing-tending partial component contribution to the overall dynamics, but of course it does not lead to overall positive feedback. If the system were really unstable so that it made sense to think of overall positive feedback, the IPCC “forcings and feedbacks” formalism would break down entirely and would be manifest nonsense, even to them.

    It is evident from Dr Spencer’s work, and from a little thought about the matter, that the low clouds must be making a regular stabilizing contribution. By this one means, for example, that an increase in insolation, as some external driver influence, will cause a relative increase in low cloudiness that will reflect relatively more of the insolation, so that the immediate direct effect of the driving increase of insolation will be moderated. The clouds are thus almost surely a most important and major mechanism that provides definite and important component contributory negative feedback. Even if the GCR effect on clouds is a major external driver, the internal dynamics of the system must involve component negative feedback as consequent relative reduction of cloudiness in response to a driven increase in cloudiness, that moderates the effect of the external driver. I find it hard to think that it could be otherwise. That is what Dr Spencer has been demonstrating in detail, more strength to his arm.”

    We are in total agreement here, Christopher. This is what the IPCC and ‘warmists’ in general can’t seem to explain – what’s controlling energy balance of the climate system? The system is very tightly constrained, as the global temperature anomaly barely fluctuates by more than a few tenths of a degree per year, and when it does, it seems to revert to its pre-equilibrium state very quickly. Hardly consistent with net positive feedback. Also, if water vapor is the primary amplifier of warming, then what is the controller – what’s modulating the energy balance and keeping the climate so stable? If not clouds through their ability to reflect incoming solar energy and precipitate out the water from the atmosphere, then what?

    The IPCC and climate science community doesn’t seem to have an answer for this, let alone why the system will respond to GHG ‘forcing’ so much more powerfully than it does to solar ‘forcing’.

  43. Stephen Wilde says:

    “what’s controlling energy balance of the climate system? The system is very tightly constrained, as the global temperature anomaly barely fluctuates by more than a few tenths of a degree per year, and when it does, it seems to revert to its pre-equilibrium state very quickly.”

    The sea surfaces dictate the temperature of the air above.

    If ANY forcing tries to create a divergence (warming or cooling of EITHER water or air) between sea surface and surface air temperatures the surface air pressure systems MUST adjust to work back towards restoring that sea surface/surface air equilibrium.

    That is why the surface air pressure distribution shifts in response to both top down solar, and bottom up oceanic, energy budget changes.

    The change in surface pressure distribution achieves a high level of effectiveness by altering jet stream behaviour, cloudiness and global albedo.

    The actual temperature equilibrium for our water based system as a whole is set by atmospheric pressure which in turn dictates the energy value of the enthalpy of vapourisation.

    Thus whilst the water cycle exists as a sufficient portion of the global energy budget the equilibrium temperature of the system is set not by GHGs in the air but instead by atmospheric pressure acting on the density differentials between air and water.

    All that GHGs will do is affect the speed of the water cycle and since CO2 is such a small portion of the whole body of GHGs the effect on that speed from CO2 will be too small to measure.

    Basic physics in fact.

  44. Stephen Wilde says:

    And as regards GCRs if they try to speed up the water cycle by condensing out more vapour into clouds then the surface air pressure systems will just shift to negate that too by subtly changing the speed of the water cycle.

    However I think the real cause of significant cloudiness changes from changes in the level of solar activity is an alteration in the vertical temperature profile of the atmosphere and I would be interested to know whether GCRs can achieve that effect.

  45. John Maynard Keynes: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

  46. Dragontide says:

    Bob Roberts wrote:

    “This is not to say there is no such thing as “global warming”, but even the most strident of the alarmists now has given up that phrase in favor of “climate change”. Why, exactly, is that?”

    Because global warming actually started changing the climate.

    Wolfe:

    Paleoclimate findings (ice cores, sediments, etc…) go as far back as 800,000 years. The warmest nature has made the earth, during that time was at the peek of an interglacial. And during the peek of an interglacial, the world temperature is only above average for 3-4 months per year and actually dropping below average for 3-4 months per year. NOAA has the most detailed paleoclimate project there is. http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/data.html When was the last time the world temperature was above average for 314 consecutive months? What was the cause?

  47. James Davidson says:

    In my previous post I wrote: “You can see the feedback mechanism; more sun, more DMS, more cloud.” stephen Wilde objected: ” On that basis clouds would have increased when the sun was more active, and decreased when the sun was less active. Exactly the wrong way round,” and he is quite correct. I should have expressed myself more clearly. I should have written: You can see the feedback mechanism; more sunLIGHT, more DMs, more cloud, causing less sunLIGHT, and less increase in temperature than there would otherwise be. At the same conference I mentioned previously Willis Eschenbach presented this idea, calling it the atmospheric thermostat. Or you can read what he writes about it on wattsupwiththat.org.

    If the earth had no greenhouse gases its average surface temperature would be -15C. With the greenhouse gases we have, the average surface temperature should be +60C. What makes the difference is cloud formation and convective overturning of the atmosphere. Stephen Wilde is correct. More solar activity equals more “solar wind,” fluctuations in the solar magnetic field, and fewer cosmic rays get through to the top of the atmosphere, causing LESS Cloud and more SUNLIGHT to reach the surface, so the earths surface will warm, and in turn warm the overlying air.

  48. Steiger says:

    To Dragontide: 314 months is about 26 years. Do you really belive icecore and sediments can sample temperature by (say) 10 years back 0.8M years?

  49. Jim Early says:

    Those interested in the microscopic side of this subject may want to read Svensmark’s latest publication (12 May 2011) on experimental results:

    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 38, L09805, 4 PP., 2011
    doi:10.1029/2011GL047036

    Aerosol nucleation induced by a high energy particle beam

  50. Kevin O'Neill says:

    Solar activity vis a vis its effect on Total Solar Irradiance and Galactic Cosmic Rays have been looked at time and time again by climate scientists. The sun is, after all, the first place to look when thinking about a warming or cooling Earth. There is no doubt TSI and GCRs play a part in the natural variability of the Earth’s climate; but these studies overwhelmingly reach the same conclusion – natural variability does NOT account for the observed warming.

    The Sun/Earth system has many periodic cycles associated with it; from 24 hours to hundreds of thousands of years. The sunspot cycle (approximately 11 years) is one of the most investigated cycles. Do we see a prominent 11-year signature in the temperature record? No.

    2008-2009 were record low years in recent sunspot history; did we see a corresponding drop in global temperatures? No. Is there any reason to suspect that there’s a significant time-lag? No.

    Given these simple facts is there any reason to suspect TSI or GCRs can account for the observed warming? No.

  51. Thor says:

    Hi-

    Interesting article…

    Completely novice/ and probably clueless question…

    But with all the talk about radiative forcing, cloud cover, condensation nuclei, water vapor etc…,

    what is the role jet contrails? Its seems that the man made cirrus clouds created by jet contrails have really become prominent (visibly) in the last decade or so as air travel has really taken off (pardon the pun)…

    Do these man made cirrus clouds play a role in the discussion? Are there more of them now simply because of more travel…or is there changes in the atmosphere that allow their formation and persistence more frequently?

    One can’t help but notice a clear blue sky turn to a white haze via contrails and wonder what the forcing effect is…do they block more than they trap?

    thanks…

  52. Bob Roberts says:

    To my question asking why climate alarmists have dropped the phrase “global warming” in favor of “climate change”, Dragontide responded: “Because global warming actually started changing the climate.”

    Of course, the correct answer is that despite the fact atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to increase, likely due primarily to natural forces (outgassing from the oceans in response to ongoing natural warming, for instance), global temperatures peaked some time ago and subsequently, according to some studies, have since begun to decline somewhat. So with temperatures now stable or declining to continue to attempt to raise alarm about “global warming” would be as ridiculous as those who claimed, in the 1970s, that the Earth was actually going into another ice age. Note that is not to say another ice age is impossible – if the past is any guide we are actually overdue for one and if it turns out humans can induce global warming that will actually be a good thing.

    Responding to Woolfe, Dragontide continues with this canard:
    “Paleoclimate findings (ice cores, sediments, etc…) go as far back as 800,000 years. The warmest nature has made the earth, during that time was at the peek (sic) of an interglacial.” Understand of course that he’s apparently one of the climate deniers that apparently believes climate never changed until humans started causing it to do so. It certainly appears he does not accept forces of nature are responsible for all the large scale/global/long term weather, temperature and climate variations we’ve experienced over the last 100 years or so.

    Dragontide, it is indeed unfortunate that NASA and NOAA are overrun with people who put politics and ideology above real science and honesty. It is also unfortunate that those who do so have been able to successfully threaten many who try to do real, honest science. The basis of your claims, as well as theirs, depends on data that has been altered deliberately and systematically to fit a theory. That is not how science is done.

    Fortunately there are some who put their careers on the line by speaking the truth and doing real, honest science.

    Your ask: “When was the last time the world temperature was above average for 314 consecutive months? What was the cause?”. You no doubt refer to the falsified data from people like Jones (U.K.) and Hansen (NASA), data that was specifically, systematically and deliberately altered to support their political and philosophical agendas. So the first question becomes somewhat moot as you no doubt are referring to the 26 year period that started during the late 1970s or 1980s when science and truth went out the window in favor of climate change alarmism. But the answer to the second question is easy: World temperature, weather and climate are driven primarily by natural forces, chief among these the sun but also significant are tectonic forces which control the distribution of ocean basins, continents and mountain ranges as well as the frequency and severity of various emissions and eruptions both on land and under the sea. Humans, alas, do not yet have the power to usurp these forces and terraform planets or no doubt we’d be planning and preparing to do so on Venus right now.

    If you and others choose to believe otherwise don’t let me stop you. But don’t expect me to accept your political and financial lunacy that goes along with your mistaken beliefs and desires.

    By the way, if “global warming” had changed climate and was continuing they would not have dropped that phrase. The real truth is they have admitted that despite continued failure to reduce anthropogenic emissions as it was claimed would be necessary to avert total catastrophe and doom, the normal, natural “314 month” period of warming came to an end. Even now they’re scrambling for some way to blame subsequent cooling on human behavior, hoping that, in time, we’ll forget that they were so afraid of “global warming” as they soon will be warning us about how human activitiy is behind the coming severe global cooling, no doubt. Now that they’ve figured out that these decadal warming and cooling trends are actually normal and natural they can’t afford to use the phrase “global warming” and “global cooling” but the phrase “climate change” fits both without exposing how bankrupt the “science” alarmists cling to really is.

  53. Bob Roberts says:

    EXCELLENT! Yes, that quote you gave is a very clever roundabout answer to the question I asked.

  54. craig says:

    Excellent post Chris,

    The only power supply we have external or not is the sun.

  55. craig says:

    Bob Roberts (6:16)

    You mean like when global warming meant all the little kiddies would never see snow…….transformed into global warming has caused the record snowfalls in the Nth Hemisphere?

    Seriously, you are correct AGW needed a name change as the globe stopped warming and as we all know it is very hard to hit a moving target.

  56. KEVIN – LAG times are involved of at least 5 to 15 years. I can’t believe anyone would not be aware of that. It is not instant low sunspot /low solar activity ,instant colder temperatures.

    If solar activity stays as is,you will see the global temp. trend for this decade down.

  57. RW -says the climate system is so tightly constrained,and temperatures vary by a few tenths per year. Have you ever looked at a chart of earth’s past history temperature changes? I don’t think so.

    Earth’s climatic system is NOT highly constrained ,as shown by past history, and the only reason it has been relatively stable over the last 100 years or so, is due to the fact that the natural forces, that exert control over earth’s climatic system, have not phased into a warm/cold mode with a degree of magnitude, strong enough to change the climate that much ,one way or the other.

    This however has changed ,and this started in late 2005, and is continuing as of now. This phase into a colder mode of the items that control the climate,which is now happening, will show earth’s climate,is subject to much change ,and that change will be toward colder temperatures, as this decade proceeds.

  58. Martin says:

    Salvatore del Prete

    RW´s right, as he´s talking about year-to-year variability. Climate had changed many times in the past, but never without a major change of circumstances, such as Milankovich, extreme volcanic activity, Sun etc.

  59. Wolfe says:

    Dragontide:
    Your entire hypothesis is based on an arbitrary definition of the average temperature based on a false assumption that there is a “normal” temperature for the planet. During the last 500,000 years there have been several decades long temperature increases that would far surpass the current rise if based on the average temperature of the previous thousand years. Your numbers have been selectively chosen and the average defined to make your case. WAKE UP! You are drinking the Kool-Aid and not looking at scientific facts. Look back 50 million years and there were millions of years the planet never dropped below your arbitrary average, was man responsible for that too?

  60. Not so. If one looks at the ice cores, it shows evidence of rapid climate changes within a decade. Younga Dryas,great example. End of Eemian Interglacial, another great example. More recent the Dalton Mimimum,although not as extreme as the other two.

    Time wil tell,let us see what happens, going forward.

    Piers Corbyn, is expecting an abrupt pick up in solar activity toward the end of the month and is expecting a magnitude 8.0 or higher earthquake in very early June.

    It is on the climaterealist website.

    If solar activity picks up abruptly by end of May, ,my betting will be with Piers. The question is will solar activity have a big pick up,late this month. I am thinking it won’t.

  61. Martin, you are correct ,in that you need something to change in the extreme, to get the rapid climate change.

    I have and still maintain it is a long prolong solar minimum, with all the associated effets, that come as a result of the prolong solar minimum. Those being an increase in geological activity,a more -AO, greater frequency of La Ninas,more likelyhood of a cold PDO/AMO, greater amount of cosmic rays/more clouds as a result, etc. etc.

    Those in turn, have the effect of increasing earth’s ALBEDO, through an increase in clouds,snow cover ,precip.

    Again, I say the sun sets the stage, and then as these events become longer in duration ,and increase in magnitude, a threshold could be met ,which then causes an abrupt change in the climate rather then small up /down changes.

    GOOGLE–ABRUPT CLIMATE CHANGES IN EARTH’S HISTORY.

    You will see, there is much evidence, and many examples of rapid changes in climate taking place in 3 to 5 year periods of time. I believe that is correct.

  62. One last thing. Just look at ALL the geological activity this year alone. It has picked up in a very significant manner, compared to when solar activity was active, which would be prior to Oct., 2005.

    The evidence is mounting as each month passes by.

  63. Martin says:

    Salvatore. What´s the metod Piers Corbyn uses to predict solar activity? It´s something different from NASA methods?
    And on that increased geological activity: I´m surely no expert, but isn´t most of it just aftermath of those big events in the beginning of this year? Something like domino effect. Other events are common, such as Volcanic eruption on Island and regular earthquakes with magnitude under 5 in the circle of fire. There had been something simmilar in the early 60 ies and it lasted only a few years.

    And on Bob Robert´s claim on CO2 rise as natural:
    There have been longer warm periods in recent climate history and ice cores don´t suggest there was more CO2 in the atmosphere than today. I know that human production is small compared to natural emissions, but that´s just another part of natural C cycle. There´s no source of new C on Earth, at least none significant one, and all the volcanoes do is that they emit magma and gases, which had once been a part of crust, and most of it had been from sea bottom. Or am I wrong?

  64. manacker says:

    Dr. Roy Spencer

    Thanks for a very interesting paper. I have followed your publications on clouds for some time and wondered if there might be a connection (direct or indirect) with the work of Svensmark et al.

    Once the data from the CLOUD experiment at CERN are released, it will be interesting to see how closely these figures check with your estimates here.

    It is a shame that IPCC has taken the myopic position that only anthropogenic forcings are of interest (and all natural forcings are essentially irrelevant) but then again “human-induced” climate change was its brief from the start.

    Max

  65. The number of earthquakes mag 6.0 or higher is over 2x the normal this far into the year.

    There is a website for that. Google earthquake normals .

    Why Piers thinks an x ray solar flair wil be happening at the end of this month ,I don’t know .

    As far as I can tell it looks to me as if the sun will remain rather quiet through the end of this month.

    Piers,won’t get the 8.0+ earthquake if sun stays quiet through end of the month in my opinion ,which he has forecasted for early June.

  66. Kevin O'Neill says:

    Salvatore – Sunspots have a pronounced periodicity of approximately 11 years. GCRs have an inverse relationship. If either sunspot activity or GCRs significantly affected global temperature, then wouldn’t we see an 11 year signature in the temperature record?

    Milankovitch cycles ARE significant and their signature can clearly be seen in the temperature record.

  67. Dragontide says:

    Bob Roberts wrote:

    “global temperatures peaked some time ago and subsequently, according to some studies, have since begun to decline somewhat.”

    Not even close. 2010 tied 2005 as the warmest year in recorded history. Let me give you a clue here if I may: If the world temperature ever drops, the sea ice will begin to return at the poles.

    Bob Robers also wrote:

    “it is indeed unfortunate that NASA and NOAA are overrun with people who put politics and ideology above real science and honesty.”

    If NASA is lying, then that means they doctored photos of things like the declining ice. As a skeptic, all you have to do is travel to the poles and film the ice NASA claims is not there anymore. If NOAA was lying about temperatures, all the farmers would catch on instantly. Their livelihood depends on accurate information you know.

    Finally, if “global warming” didn’t do anything, no one would care. “Climate change” is cause for concern. It was pointed out to me the other day that “climate conditioning” would be a more precise term. Just like an air conditioner changes the climate in your home, an excess of GHGs conditions the climate within our troposphere.

    Wolfe:

    It doesn’t matter which time frame you chose as the “average”. You still end up with something happening now that hasn’t happened for a very long time.

    Wolfe wrote:

    “Your numbers have been selectively chosen”

    Not at all. Take the past 30,000 years for instance. Paleoclimate numbers from NOAA are in perfect sync with Inuit history. 30,000 of the same lifestyle, then a major disruption of that lifestyle in the past few years.

  68. The 11 year sunspot cycle is far to short ,everything is cancelled out.

    Only a prolong solar minimum will accomplish a change in the climate.

    We entered this solar minimum in late 2005, and it looks like it will be continuing for many more years.

    Lag times have to be calcualated which are at least 5 years from the start of a solar minimum.

    Time wil tell.

  69. Wolfe says:

    Dragontide;

    You make my point q

  70. Wolfe says:

    Dragontide;

    You make my point quite well. The same thing has happened before, just because you consider it a long time, although it is a blink of the eye in geologic time frames, it nevertheless is not unprecedented. As for the Inuit, they crossed from Asia on a land bridge some 45,000 to 50,000 years ago. Where is the land bridge? It disappeared due to a change in the climate! Was it because they drove SUVs across? No it was NATURAL CLIMATE CHANGE! That is exactly what the scientific evidence points to now. As Bob Roberts said, “if it turns out humans can induce global warming that will actually be a good thing.” We can then potentially stave off the impending ice age if it rears its ugly head.

  71. Paul S says:

    Dr. Spencer,

    ‘[TSI] is the only kind of solar forcing the IPCC (apparently) believes exists’

    I can clear up any apparent dismissal of other forcings by pointing you to this page on Indirect Effects of Solar Variability: http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch2s2-7-1-3.html

    The reason it is not included in forcing calculations is given in the final clause of paragraph 3: ‘quantitative estimates of galactic cosmic-ray induced changes in aerosol and cloud formation have not been reached.’

    ——————–

    ‘In the bigger picture, this is just one more piece of evidence that the IPCC scientists should be investigating.’

    There are no ‘IPCC scientists’. The IPCC reports are assessments of peer-reviewed literature in the relevant fields. The IPCC doesn’t conduct or fund any original climate research. If Solar/Cosmic ray researchers can make more progress in discerning the effects it will obviously be included in the next AR and introduced in models.

    ——————–

    ‘…if the warming [observed in the last century] was 100% anthropogenic in origin (which is pretty close to what we are told the supposed “scientific consensus” is).’

    Not that close. This is the relevant IPCC statement: ‘Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.’ And the early 20th century: ‘…it is likely that anthropogenic forcing contributed to the early 20th-century warming evident in these records.’

  72. pochas says:

    Paul S says:
    May 24, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    “There are no ‘IPCC scientists”

    “If Solar/Cosmic ray researchers can make more progress in discerning the effects it will obviously be included in the next AR and introduced in models.”

    In view of the manner in which the last report of the IPCC “non-scientists” has stood the test of time, the next report of the IPCC non-scientists is already circling the drain. And, if they are not scientists, then what are they?

  73. pochas says:

    Kevin O’Neill says:
    May 23, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    “Salvatore – Sunspots have a pronounced periodicity of approximately 11 years. GCRs have an inverse relationship. If either sunspot activity or GCRs significantly affected global temperature, then wouldn’t we see an 11 year signature in the temperature record?”

    Yep, delayed by a quarter cycle, or about 3 years. The quarter cycle time delay is that expected if the sun-earth system can be modeled as an electrical RC circuit. (This is the voltage across the capacitor in a circuit with a resistor and a capacitor in series, modulated by a sinusoidal signal.) This is a fundamental relationship, of which nobody interested in climate metrics should be ignorant, at it applies to all natural cycles and is the root cause of resonance and periodic amplification of temperature response.

    But the diurnal temperature time delay is three hours, not six! But wait! The earth’s surface is illuminated only half the time.

  74. Kevin O'Neill says:

    Pochas – this is the kind of pseudo-science crap that just wastes everyone’s time. As it happens, I’m an electronic technician. I’ve been repairing electronic test and measurement equipment for 30 years. If your mumbo-jumbo about the Sun-Earth being the simplest form of RC circuit was supposed to impress me – it failed. Perhaps you can throw something in about how it’s really a complex impedance, throw in a couple of Smith charts, and don’t forget to mention S-parameters.

  75. Martin says:

    Kevin O’Neill

    Do not worry, one guy tried to persuade me that climate science is just a form of statistical probability. That the 2010 local extreme in precipitation was only due to 40% probability that “Random walk” ends up in extreme.
    I don´t want to claim that statistical methods are useless here, but people tend to reassess the importance of an element and overlook other facts.

  76. NO ,because the time period is to short and it is always counteracted in 11 years. It is cancelled out, anotherwords.

  77. Bob Paglee says:

    Congratulations Dr. Spencer for such an excellent presentation — the basis of your insightful commentary certainly deserves to be published for widespread peer review.

    I have felt for some time that Prof. Svendsmark’s concept regarding the effects of GCR’s on cloud formation, particularly as modulated by the Sun’s cyclic and highly variable magnetic field, deserved far more recognition than it has received. It could identify the missing link, showing how the Sun and GCR’s are responsible for “global warming” or “global cooling” (when they occur, as done for eons past), dealing a coup de grace to the false claims regarding “anthropogenic” carbon dioxide.

    Why don’t you take a trip to Geneva and find out what’s delaying those promised reports on the results of the “cloud experiments” that were designed to investigate this very issue through accurate scientific measurements performed in a controlled realistic environment?

  78. Alex The Seal says:

    I’d love to see the data extend to a longer time period, specifically 1980-2000.

    A lot of people seem to have jumped to conclusions based on a comparitively small data set.