Sunspot cycle more dud than radiation flood

Interesting article at the Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, home to Kitt Peak and other observatories). (h/t to Ric Werme)

Picture for illustration only – not from article

Sunspot cycle more dud than radiation flood
By Dan Sorenson
arizona daily star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 05.19.2008

Many solar scientists expected the new sunspot cycle to be a whopper, a prolonged solar tantrum that could fry satellites and raise hell with earthly communications, the power grid and modern electronics.

But there’s scant proof Sunspot Cycle 24 is even here, let alone the debut of big trouble.

So far there have been just a couple minor zits on the face of the sun to suggest the old cycle is over and the new one is coming.

The roughly 11-year cycle of sunspot activity should have bottomed out last year, the end of Cycle 23 and the beginning of Cycle 24. That would have put the peak in new sunspot activity around 2012.

But a dud sunspot cycle would not necessarily make it a boring period, especially for two solar scientists with the Tucson-based National Solar Observatory.

Two years ago, William Livingston and Matt Penn wrote a paper for the journal Science predicting that this could not only be a dud sunspot cycle, but the start of another extended down period in solar activity. It was based on their analysis of weakening sunspot intensity and said sunspots might vanish by 2015.

The paper, rejected in peer review, was never published by Science. Livingston said he’s OK with the rejection.

“I accept what the reviewers said,” Livingston said. “‘If you are going to make such statement, you had better have strong evidence.’ ”

Livingston said their projections were based on observations of a trend in decreasingly powerful sunspots but reviewers felt it was merely a statistical argument.

Read the entire article here at this link

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75 Responses to Sunspot cycle more dud than radiation flood

  1. Kent Gatewood says:

    If a paper is rejected in peer review what do the authors normally do to publish their ideas?

  2. Gary Gulrud says:

    I believe Doug Hoyt referred to this study at WarwickHughes’ site last year. The researchers response to peer-review, that they understand not getting in ‘Science’, is equable but they had more than enough to get published somewhere.

    The idea, I gather, is that the radiation emitted from within the sunspots’ perimeters has fallen off, such that if the rate of decrease continues, by 2015 they will as well. Anthony has been suspecting something similar with his ‘sunspeck’ posts re: Maunder minimum.

  3. RHFrei says:

    “This paper does not comform to the prevailing opinion and therefore is rejected.” Geesh.

  4. leebert says:

    In 2001, NASA/GISS modeled the Little Ice Age. Their conclusion: The sun did it. Their climate model conclusion was that global temperatures went down -0.4 degrC, but diminished transmeriodonal & interzonal thermal transport resulted in far-harsher winters in continental interiors. In particular the decrease of troposphere-heating ultraviolet bands lead to a general moderate cooling effect.

    In the scenario of CO2- & aerosol-driven warming this might lead to global un-warming. If CO2-driven warming isn’t as great as the AGWers believe then this would truly bring back skating on the Thames.

    And to think Al Gore invested in all that Alaska real estate (no, not really…).

  5. Alex Llewelyn says:

    Of course, if it is a low cycle, and we see significant cooling, the AGW proponents, just as they said in this cycle, will say the sun is “offsetting” the human-caused warming and that naturally that period would be much colder. They will probably continue pushing carbon-taxes etc. because they will claim after the quiet solar period ends, global warming will re-instate itself with a vengeance. There will probably be predictions of a new, huge solar cycle afterwards that will accelerate warming back into 5th gear.

    I don’t think a low solar cycle and extended cooling will be the end of the global warming alarmism.

  6. Alex Llewelyn says:

    Sorry, I meant “just as they said in this article”

  7. SteveSadlov says:

    Amplitude modulation / some sort of beat frequency is blindingly obvious. So, unless there is some sort of random noise even or strange burst of whatever the 2nd frequency is, we are going to be in a world of hurt.

    REPLY: That 2nd frequency may be a 66 year cycle, as Basil Copeland and I previously discussed on this blog.

  8. L Hilpert says:

    Interesting that it was rejected because it was “statistical” in nature and provided no mechanism for the effect. Sounds familiar, eh? Bet they’d publish one of Hansen’s efforts on “global temperature” without a peep . . . .

  9. DR says:

    Leif Svalgaard has stated at CA, attributing climate change to the sun is akin to “scientific fraud”.

    REPLY: Hmmm. Quite a statement. I searched for it on CA but could not locate it. Can you provide a specific reference?

  10. terry says:

    re: DR’s comment
    he (or someone, probably the Real Climate Cool Kids Club) said it a couple times in one or the other MONSTER solar threads Steve’s got going there.

  11. Bruce says:

    Leif Svalgaard annoys me because he obfuscates the difference between TSI and Solar Energy reaching the earth.

    There is a lot of data that more solar energy has reached the earths surface (especially in the NH) since the early 1990′s.

    Svalgaard keeps claiming TSI hasn’t changed. But TSI is NOT the amount of energy hitting the ocean and the ground.

  12. James Chamberlain says:

    I don’t have the references for Leif’s statements at CA either, but my recollection is that he does not think it is unwise to attribute climate change to the sun, he just says it’s hard to predict what the suns behvavior will actually do to the climate at this point. i.e. Will longer solar cycles cool or warm or do neither to the planet, etc.

  13. Gary Gulrud says:

    DR, Bruce and A.L.:

    “they will claim after the quiet solar period ends, global warming will re-instate itself with a vengeance.”

    Svalgaard, in words very like them, provided an AGW interviewer fuel about 6 mos. back that he weakly defended at CA as ‘out of context’(in response to critcism initiated by Dave Archibald if searching the threads).

    I could not agree with Bruce’s point more.

    Solanki was the source of the ‘Sun correlation with global temps has fallen off’ meme in the AGW sphere, but with 4000 papers to his credit, I can hardly blame him for a careless sentence here and there. Svalgaard is making a concerted attempt, whatever his motivation.

  14. Diatribical Idiot says:

    Apparently, climate models that focus on data associated with GHG’s rather than the sun are something more than a mere statistical analysis?

  15. Bill says:

    I’m always amused by the constant studies that are published that ‘disprove’ the Sun’s influence on climate based on changes in irradiance alone.

    I’m a big proponent of Svensmark’s GCR (specifically muon generated CCN by GCR ) cloud generation theories (that the sun’s magnetic field/solar wind affects the number of GCR penetrating earth’s atmosphere and that affects cloud cover – periods of low solar activity have more GCR and more clouds, periods of high solar activity have fewer GCR and fewer clouds) and believe this is the ‘driving’ force behind the sun’s influence on the climate. The recent study that claims to have proven that that a rise in CO2 levels did not end the last Ice Age, decreased clouds cover did ( seems to lend a good deal of credibility to Dr Svensmark’s theory. I think more support will be generated when the ‘CLOUD’ study at the LHC is completed in 2012.

    Yet I see story after story (and have had some of my AGW leaning friends trumpet them to me) that claim to ‘disprove’ Svensmark because the changes in irradiance aren’t great enough to have a substantial effect.

  16. JaneHM says:

    Kent “If a paper is rejected in peer review what do the authors normally do to publish their ideas?”

    They should put it on the physics/geophysics preprint archive website

  17. Frank Ravizza says:

    I bet ‘Science’ rejected the paper because it wasn’t based on ‘Global Climate Models’. You don’t need a mega-dollar grants to do desktop analysis of available data. They can justify a rejection by stating they did not apply the underlying physics. However, I don’t see why it couldn’t be published elsewhere. Again, AGW is about money, not science.

  18. MattN says:

    Now just a dang minute! When has “evidence” ever been necessary for getting climate papers published?

  19. hemst101 says:

    I think this is Leif’s comment on the Livingston, Penn paper. Sounds like their idea might have some merit.

  20. sonicfrog says:

    They rejected it because it was “merely a statistical argument”.

    Hmmm. Should have run it through a GCM. They are more accurate than mere “statistics”.

  21. Mike Bryant says:

    Interesting article about a new book…

  22. leebert says:

    A 66-year lull in solar cycle amplitude makes sense. Already the solar cycle in 2022 has also been predicted to be a half-amplitude cycle:

    What do I know? I’m just a layperson, but it *looks* like a trend to me!!

    Take their trend analysis with the observed slower sunspot group motion and Jan Janssen’s ever-climbing spotless days trend & it’d be be truly surprising if this were just an anomalous perturbation.

    Janssens is fastidious with his data, but I’d almost wish his sunspot data were also normalized against the limits of optical telescopy so the trend lines could be compared against both 19th C and 17th C observations (Galileo wasn’t counting these Tiny Tim sun specks that are being counted now).

    There are levels of solar variability and looking at Janssens’ trend analysis, this transit between SC23 & 24 already appears to go outside the standard error for 20th C solar cycles. I somehow doubt the sun would just hiccup for just one or two solar cycles, the Little Ice Age was comprised by three separate minima.

    You’d think this was truly big news. It’s interesting to google around and find how few people are sensibly discussing it. The evidence is screaming to be looked at. Just like great stories, signs and portents abound but are discounted by the priests.

    Drew Shindell’s study (mentioned above) was done 7 years ago, so it lacked parameterization of GCR affects and other updates in climate modeling. I wonder what Shindell thinks of the situation now….. ;-)

    I get the impression that most astrophysicists don’t want to take sides in the AGW debate. Can’t say I blame them, actually, either way I figure they’d get dirty.

  23. Tom in Florida says:

    I am amazed at so many people trying to find the one thing that will magically give us all the answers about climate. Our climate is like a stew. A whole lot of stuff goes into it to make it a stew. One person may say “it’s carrots that make a stew” another may say ” it’s the onions”, another may say something else. The truth is it takes all of that to make a stew. On the other hand, since all of our life giving energy originates from the Sun, how can anyone doubt that changes in the Sun don’t effect us? Some changes may cause very small changes, some greater changes, but it is from the Sun where it all starts. The only reason there is evolved life on our planet is because our planet’s orbit around the Sun is within the zone that allows evolved life to exsist. (And the fact that we live in a rather quiet neighborhood of the galaxy.)

  24. Sean Houlihane says:

    Svalgaard keeps claiming TSI hasn’t changed. But TSI is NOT the amount of energy hitting the ocean and the ground.
    In that case, it seems odd that noone has managed to measure anything more direct than SSN to correlate with temperature. See also for a slightly different take on historical SSN, in contrast with the graph at the top of this article.

  25. aaron says:

    Pielke takes another route to potentially falsify ipcc projections, er whatever, measuring the heat accumulating in the climate system.

  26. Del says:

    Wouldn’t all predictions about the strength of the next solar cycle be statistical in nature? Why would Science be able to publish predictions of an upcoming strong solar cycle?

  27. Larry Sheldon says:

    “If a paper is rejected in peer review what do the authors normally do to publish their ideas?”

    You need to understand. In Academia, you can’t publish a new idea unless you can cite several Authorities who have already said it.

  28. DR says:

    RE: Anthony on Leif Svalgaard.

    “Leif Svalgaard has stated at CA, attributing climate change to the sun is akin to “scientific fraud”.

    REPLY: Hmmm. Quite a statement. I searched for it on CA but could not locate it. Can you provide a specific reference?”

    Yes he used those exact words quoted. I did a thorough search at CA after seeing this thread but could not find it. Although Leif is given more freedom than most, It’s possible Steve M snipped it as he very much dislikes use of the word. The statement came after someone commented on sun spots, GCR etc. and the sun’s relationship to climate variability in general. It was pertaining to Sallie Baliunas & Willie Soon’s work on solar IIRC. For those who have been following his solar threads, possibly a Freudian slip, but he posted it nonetheless.

    Perhaps it was not wise to post without references, but I know what I read.

  29. James Bailey says:

    It seems to me that the fact that the statistics make a strong point against the prevalent theory should have been very publishable. Something is wrong here. They should have been able to easily change from making a prediction to talking about the present trend and its extrapolation. Some of the most important steps in science come when we find out where the data disagree with theory. This knowledge helps winnow out bad theories and guides the theorists in improving upon the good theories, or if necessary replacing the old theory. Not publishing this information is inexcusable.

  30. Evan Jones says:

    Sobering statistics.

    Oort (1010-1050)
    Wolf (1280-1340)
    Spörer (1415-1534)
    Maunder (1645-1715)
    Dalton (1790-1840)

    2008 ?

    DeVries. (Rhymes with “freeze.)
    Gleissberg . (Rhymes with “iceberg”)

  31. DR says:

    RE: aaron on Pielke

    Roger recently has been a thorn in the side over at RC on the subject of OHC, climate models and IPCC projections.

    Everyone should keep in mind, without OHC increasing, there can be no “global” warming. This is the weakest link in the AGW chain, and while the true believers were celebrating 2007 as the nth warmest year on record, the oceans were saying otherwise.

    In 2005, Hansen’s “smoking gun” was proof positive for the anthropogenic connection to continuing relentless warming for the next millennium and beyond. Now RealClimate doesn’t seem interested in even doing a follow up.
    A notable quote:

    Where is the missing heat?

  32. Pingback: Top Posts «

  33. Philip_B says:

    To be fair to Lief, he has said repeatedly at CA that the sun cannot be the cause of the observed climate variation, unless the climate’s sensitivity to solar forcing is much greater than generally believed.

    I.e, (my words), positive feedbacks are much larger than generally believed. A possibility he appears not to discount.

  34. Pamela Gray says:

    I am thinking the sunspot cycle can be predicted either through mathematical chaos theory or something more akin to measuring the energy of winding up a string that gets twisted and then allowed to unwind the other way at different tensions. We know that the sun rotates at different speeds depending on the lattitude being measured. The difference in rotation speed is what gets it all in a tangle and produces sunspots. Once it is as tangled as it can get it seems to slowly unwind back to an untangled state. Does it twist up the other way?. I don’t know. Do the different rotation speeds change in a cyclic pattern? I don’t know. The point is that anything that gets tangled up and then gets untangled can be worked out through mathematical equations in terms of energy produced. And if it goes through a pendulum like revving up and revving down as it twists and untwists, that can also be mathematically calculated or modeled (sorry about the M word). If scientists know about the twisting up, I am guessing that they are looking at mathematical calculations that have predictive value.

  35. Arnost says:

    “Leif Svalgaard has stated at CA, attributing climate change to the sun is akin to “scientific fraud”.

    Though Leif did use the words “scientific fraud”, the above is NOT what Leif said/implied. I also can’t find the section where he used the “fraud” word, but I distinctly remember the context that it was used in.

    The general discussion was on the topic of the different TSI reconstructions (i.e. the Lean 2000, Wang 2005 and Leif’s recent own), and Leif stated that it is now accepted that TSI over the last century was a lot flatter.

    Somebody then made a passing comment that Judith Lean’s 2000 reconstruction is used as the solar forcing component in the IPCC climate models, and is the key driver of the temperature increase early last century – to which Leif replied: if that reconstruction is still used NOW to account for the early twentieth century temperature change, then this is akin to “scientific fraud”.

  36. Ric Werme says:

    Del (14:22:11) :

    “Wouldn’t all predictions about the strength of the next solar cycle be statistical in nature? Why would Science be able to publish predictions of an upcoming strong solar cycle?”

    Basically, “Yes,” and “It’s their agenda magazine.”

    Statistics are generally one step away from hypothesis and theory. Think Gregor Mendel counting short and tall pea plants. It may be that Science wanted to see a paper that had both the statistics and an explanation of why the sun is producing that effect.

    They may also have felt that other people were working on more theoretical papers. Certainly nothing has come along to let people predict cycle 24 with great confidence yet. (Or the end of cycle 23, for that matter.) They may have figured other journals like Icarus would be a better fit and other papers at hand were more along their preferred topics.

    Or they’re just a bunch of AGW True Believers and figure since the science is settled, sunspots are just decoration.

    At the time it may have been a sensible decision.

  37. Bill Illis says:

    Svalgard has consistently posted on CA that TSI has varied so little throughout the record (going back to the Little Ice Age even) that it cannot possibly be responsible for very much of the temperatures changes over time.

    While we thought solar irradiance declined somewhat/substantially during the Little Ice Age and increased in the 20th Century, Svalgard states that TSI has only varied by approximately the height and depth of a solar cycle over this time or about 1 w/m2. Svalgard states that previous studies showing changes of as much 4 or 5 w/m2 over the period are being rewritten now to conform with the lower variance estimates of just 1 w/m2. Even Judith Lean, probably the foremost expert in this field, has changed her estimates.

    I myself, do not like how history is continually being rewritten in the climate science field and, obviously, the Little Ice Age and the lack of sunspots over 80 years is not a myth.

  38. Ric Werme says:

    New Cosmic Ray paper from CERN

    This looks really good, however, it is 44 pages long (only 32 if you skip the bibliography).

    Jasper Kirkby
    CERN, Geneva, Switzerland

    Among the most puzzling questions in climate change is that of solar-climate variability, which has attracted the attention of scientists for more than two centuries. Until recently, even the existence of solar-climate variability has been controversial – perhaps because the observations had largely involved correlations between climate and the sunspot cycle that had persisted for only a few decades. Over the last few years, however, diverse reconstructions of past climate change have revealed clear associations with cosmic ray variations recorded in cosmogenic isotope archives, providing persuasive evidence for solar or cosmic ray forcing of the climate. However, despite the increasing evidence of its importance, solar-climate variability is likely to remain controversial until a physical mechanism is established. Although this remains a mystery, observations suggest that cloud cover may be influenced by cosmic rays, which are modulated by the solar wind and, on longer time scales, by the geomagnetic field and by the galactic environment of Earth. Two different classes of microphysical mechanisms have been proposed to connect cosmic rays with clouds: firstly, an influence of cosmic rays on the production of cloud condensation nuclei and, secondly, an influence of cosmic rays on the global electrical circuit in the atmosphere and, in turn, on ice nucleation and other cloud microphysical processes. Considerable progress on understanding ion-aerosol-cloud processes has been made in recent years, and the results are suggestive of a physically-plausible link between cosmic rays, clouds and climate. However, a concerted effort is now required to carry out definitive laboratory measurements of the fundamental physical and chemical processes involved, and to evaluate their climatic significance with dedicated field observations and modelling studies.


    2.1 Last millennium
    2.1.1 The Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period
    2.1.2 Intertropical Convergence Zone
    2.1.3 Solar and cosmic ray changes since the Little Ice Age
    2.2 Holocene; last 10 ky
    2.2.1 Ice-rafted debris in the North Atlantic Ocean
    2.2.2 Indian Ocean monsoon
    2.3 Quaternary; last 3 My
    2.3.1 Stalagmite growth in Oman and Austria
    2.3.2 Laschamp event
    2.4 Phanerozoic; last 550 My
    2.4.1 Celestial cycles
    2.4.2 Biodiversity

    3.1 GCR-cloud mechanisms
    3.1.1 GCR characteristics
    3.1.2 Ion-induced nucleation of new aerosols
    3.1.3 Global electric circuit
    3.2 GCR-cloud observations
    3.2.1 Interannual time scale
    3.2.2 Daily time scale
    3.3 GCR-cloud-climate mechanisms
    3.3.1 Importance of aerosols and clouds
    3.3.2 Marine stratocumulus
    3.3.3 Lightning and climate
    3.3.4 Climate responses

    4.1 Overview
    4.2 Experimental goals
    4.2.1 Aerosol nucleation and growth experiments
    4.2.2 Cloud microphysics experiments


  39. Arnost has my quote correct. What I said was that to continue to use a decade-old TSI reconstruction when it produces a desirable result is fraud if there is general [and well known] consensus that the old values were too low. So, knowingly using an old dataset because it ‘fits better’ even though a modern [and better] dataset exists is akin to fraud. I don’t know how many times that must be said before it is clear. Now, the author [Hansen] could claim that he is not following the literature and that he didn’t know that the old reconstruction was obsoleted. If so, it was not fraud, just ignorance. But basing a paper on ignorance is not quite kosher either if you bill yourself as an expert. I know these words are strong, but the impact of Hansen’s work is also strong.

  40. From Solar Physics (2007) vol. 245, p 247-249:
    Did the Sun’s Prairie Ever Stop Burning?
    Peter Foukal and Jck Eddy.
    “This historical evidence may bear on reconstructions of total solar
    irradiance (TSI) variation and its possible forcing of climate over
    the past few centuries. It has been suggested, for example, that,
    during the Maunder Minimum, TSI may have decreased sufficiently to
    help account for the broad minimum in global temperature during the
    coldest part of the Little Ice Age (Lean, Beer, and Bradley, Geophys.
    Res. Letters, vol 22, p 3105, 1995). The mechanism suggested for this
    large TSI decrease is a significant depletion of the bright magnetic
    regions in the photosphere that are associated with spicule foot
    points. To obtain a climatically significant TSI decrease, Lean Beer,
    and Bradly proposed the disappearance not only of the bright network
    structures associated with spicule foot points but even of the
    faintest inter-network magnetic elements located within supergranule
    cell centers. The historical eclipse observations described here seem
    to require the presence of the bright network structures, and thus of
    substantial solar photospheric magnetism during at least the last
    decade of the Maunder Minimum. Hence, the red-flash observations would
    argue against a climatologically important decrease in TSI during that
    period of time.”

    So it seems that there may even have been a circular argument in the old reconstruction of TSI, namely that it was “adjusted such as to account for the LIA”

  41. The paper referred to by Ric:
    Jasper Kirkby
    in section 2.1.3 bases an estimate of the open solar magnetic flux [supposedly determining the variation of TSI] on an obsoleted 1999 paper by Lockwood et al claiming that the sun’s magnetic field had more than doubled [factor of 2.3] since 1900. Recent work by myself and Ed Cliver and by Lockwood’s own group [and also by two other groups] have reached the consensus that this more than doubling didn’t happen; that the sun’s magnetic field has changed a lot less [of the order of 25% or less]. So TSI has also changed a lot less. To Jasper’s credit he does mention that Lean’s old 1995 reconstruction of TSI is faulty and even shows a nice Figure 5 with the much less varying TSI of Lean 2002.

  42. John A says:

    Dr Svalgaard

    Recent work by myself and Ed Cliver and by Lockwood’s own group [and also by two other groups] have reached the consensus that this more than doubling didn’t happen; that the sun’s magnetic field has changed a lot less [of the order of 25% or less].

    Science is not decided by consensus, but by results which lead to predictions. The way forward is to make predictions and open up your methods and data to inspection.

  43. Evan Jones says:

    One day we will put out the sun
    And drain the sky

  44. Evan Jones says:

    The temperature decreases.
    Watch the frozen seas, as my pulse go
    The king has lost its crown.
    Cold sun, will never shine.
    Freezing clouds, ready to fall.
    Killing us all.

    REPLY: Evan buddy, it’s late. Go to bed. I am. G’nite

  45. Graham H says:

    Dr Svalgaard is maddeningly scientific in his approach …I have read each and every comment, ~3000 of them, on the Svalgaard threads at CA. While I think (and he admits this is possible) he may be wrong on some of his reconstructions or views, everything that he has stated and presented that I have seen is available for review on his website.

    Leif challenges people to think about the physical model for a pet theory. And yet he appears to be cautiously enthusiastic when people or papers present physical explanations that move beyond a “what if” — toward expanding the science overall.

    Anyway, this was what he stated about the article above …Tuesday at CA:

    Yes and No. The Science paper was shorter [less detail] but had the extra speculation that we may be in for a Maunder Minimum. With cooling, and that is against the science that ‘is settled’ and so requires more proof [like the Potomac freezing over in July]. The detailed paper you refer to was accepted by Astrophysical Journal (Letters) and is solid work. I have his data up through March 2008, confirming the trend. It may be that the spots were are seeing for SC24 are so small and weak simply because Livingston is correct. That all spots will disappear in 2015 may be a bit of a stretch, but, hey, the Sun has done it before.

    So if you missed the droll sarcasm above, being Norwegian+Danish+Swedish+French myself, it goes good with a bit of lutefisk, romegrot, and lefse …

    but had the extra speculation that we may be in for a Maunder Minimum. With cooling, and that is against the science that ‘is settled’ and so requires more proof [like the Potomac freezing over in July].


  46. Stan says:

    I seem to recall reading somewhere that the Sun’s great conveyor belt had slowed considerably – “off the bottom of the charts” was the phrase I think.

    Does this have any influence on sunspots and what are the consequences for the earth’s climate?

  47. Jack Simmons says:

    There is a very funny story on how Science rejected a proposed paper by two young post grads on the effect of removing the bursa of Fabricius on the production of antibodies in chickens.

    Science refused to publish the article because “everyone” knew the immune system had only the humoral response. Glick and Chang proposed there was more to the immune system than just the production of antibodies in response to infection. That something more was the cell mediated portion of the immune system, the T-cells and so forth.

    According to the theories of immunology currently in vogue, the chickens without antibodies should have gotten sick. But they didn’t. So something else must have been protecting the chickens.

    In reality, Glick and Chang learned two things:

    The bursa of Fabricius was responsible for producing antibodies in chickens (and all other birds)


    There was another part of the immune system in chickens.

    While the bursa of Fabricius had been discovered centuries before, no one knew what it did. This led many to label the organ as vestigial. In other words, we don’t know what this does, so it does nothing. How many of us would wish to do without the equivalent in our system known as B-cells? A similar story surrounds the thymus.

    In any event, the two researchers finally got their paper published in the Poultry Science journal, sometimes I wonder if the Colonel perused that journal.

    Funny is it not?

    Science missed the opportunity to publish one of the most important documents in immunology because the reviewers refused to seriously consider the actual data from the experiments.

    I also think it is funny because the reason given for rejecting an article because it was statistical. Aren’t the results of all experiments statistical? To be consistent wouldn’t Science have been compelled to reject the work of James Lind on scurvy because it was statistical in nature?

    Eppure, si rinfresca

  48. john A: Consensus here simply means that all groups have reached the same result by different methods using publically available data [World Data Centers]. The work of all groups has been published in peer-reviewed journals and discussed openly at scientific meetings and at open seminars at universities and research centers, in addition to being publically available on the web at

  49. MarkW says:

    My big problem with Leif is his use of double standards.
    For example, he has no problem with assuming that water vapor is a strong positive feedback even though there is no science to back up such an assumption. (Indeed, the science that has accumulated shows at worst, a weak positive, if not an outright negative feedback).
    On the other hand, he has declared that any use of cosmic rays in climate studies must be avoided until the link is proven.

    There is much more data supporting CR’s then there is supporting positive feedback water vapor.

  50. leebert says:

    For all of you discussing OHC & the missing heat:

    Here’s Hansen’s smoking gun page:

    Here’s his OHC chart:

    What I find curious about the OHC measurements: Hansen’s chart clearly shows the el Nino.

    The chart implies a sudden acceleration of heat accumulation in the ocean in 1998. But to me that’s more of a metric of heat exchange, or an outpouring of heat.

    Wouldn’t a huge event like the ’98 el Nino be a heat-exchange mechanism that resets Hansen’s trend line to a lower level?

    Makes me think what the data are really might be somewhat the amount of heat being pushed back out by the oceans.

  51. Paul Clark says:

    Starter for 10 to replicate the graph at the top of this article, if people want to play with it:

  52. I should also give Jasper Kirkby credit for recognizing that “In earlier studies, long-term solar magnetic variability was assumed to be a proxy for irradiance variability [5]. However this assumption lacks a physical basis, and more recent estimates suggest that long-term irradiance changes are probably negligible [6, 7, 8].”

  53. Pamela Gray says:

    Good Morning! Snow coming to the Wallowa Mountains again. As much as 10 inches at 5000 to 6000 feet. That’s just a hike up one of the trails from the basin. That is if you could get to the trail heads. Last week a snow slide took out the road that leads to the only campsites and all the trail heads up South Fork.

  54. Jeff Alberts says:

    So it seems that there may even have been a circular argument in the old reconstruction of TSI, namely that it was “adjusted such as to account for the LIA”

    Gee, that sounds familiar.

  55. Jeff Alberts says:

    So if you missed the droll sarcasm above, being Norwegian+Danish+Swedish+French myself, it goes good with a bit of lutefisk, romegrot, and lefse …

    You forgot a fair amount of Uff Da! ;)

  56. Gary Gulrud says:

    I am greatly mollified at the clarifications and credits being passed around but it was my inexpert opinion that evidence of a formerly excessive estimate in TSI variablility as orthodox belief within the Heliophysic literature is just a bit thin.
    More obvious to the layman is an over-reliance on estimates for TSI in climate warming calculations and use of the solar sunspot cycle as a proxy for solar activity.
    Perhaps my view isn’t abreast of the latest zeitgeist in the field, what with the SC24 embarassment.

  57. len says:

    Ric Werme

    It is funny how when the sun is concerned strong statistical and physical relationships don’t generate a need for further investigation because a ‘physical mechanism’ has not been established, when wild statistical extrapolations about one gas can vastly vary from empirical research on the same gas and engender billions of dollars in spending and regulation.

    Personally, I think Rick Ball says it best in the article ” The Unholy Alliance that manufactured Global Warming”, .
    Thanks to another Canadian, Maurice Strong …

    On settled science, I am firmly entrenched in my fascination with the Planet=>Sun=>Earth climatic model and I am spending money preparing for this winter and mentally preparing for being cold the rest of my life. ;)

    I will defer somewhat to the PDO, AMO proponents however but what they are saying only reinforces my convictions. ( )

    Maybe we can get serious about establishing the Sun=>Earth connection with a ‘physical mechanism’ that is measured, tracked, and is predictable while we’re in the middle of the Landscheidt Minimum.

  58. SteveSadlov says:

    Pamela we are in for a world of hurt. There’s really no other way to put it. So I ask, where are the preps, on the parts of larger orgs? At this point, only some minuscule fraction of individuals are prepping for the “what if” of a serious minimum. By the time at large preps commence, it will be far too late. Assuming they ever commence at all.

  59. Ric Werme says:

    Yikes – I just realized I forgot to include the URL for Jasper Kirkby’s Cosmic Rays and Cliamate paper.

    I assume everyone interested managed to hunt it down, but it certainly needs a link here.

    Random weather note – it’s cool here, but much more interesting is that the barometer has been below 29.50″ for all but a few hours since the start of May 17th, the lowest being 29.26″. The cause is an upper level low, but generally we only see these sorts of pressures as nor’easters roll by. It’s also been quite sunny, also odd at these pressures. I’m not sure what to blame it on, but I’ll find something.

  60. If I may comment upon MarkW’s “My big problem with Leif is his use of double standards. For example, he has no problem with assuming that water vapor is a strong positive feedback even though there is no science to back up such an assumption. (Indeed, the science that has accumulated shows at worst, a weak positive, if not an outright negative feedback). On the other hand, he has declared that any use of cosmic rays in climate studies must be avoided until the link is proven.”

    I never assumed anything about water vapor [I couldn't care less, so I don't actively oppose the idea, either - maybe that's his problem]. About the cosmic rays, I don’t say that you should not ‘use’ them. You can use anything as long as you acknowledge that the link is not proven and you are just making an assumption. What I’m against is to act as if the ‘science is settled on CRs and climate’. Lastly, Mark should stop having problems with a person’s character rather than with the science. I have never seen a comment from MarkW with a scientific content, only sarcastic comments and ad-hom missives. Mark, your venting is not productive.

  61. Wondering Aloud says:

    Mark W above makes a point I think should be taken to heart. The double standard applied betwen the hypothesis you want to be true and a competing explanation is very notable in this CO2 vs CR issue. especially regarding the supposed feedback effects.

    I don’t think there is any way a strong positive feedback for CO2 increase can be honestly reconciled with the paleo record.

  62. Response to Wondering Aloud: That may be true, but that is not Mark’s point. His point is to accuse me of that. If A has a scientific point, then B can dispute the science or can try to cast doubt of A’s point by attacking A’s character. This is what is wrong with that ‘double standard’ remark.

  63. Pamela Gray says:

    Who was it that said, “When some people think they are thinking, they are really just rearranging their prejudices.”

    Love that saying.

  64. Bob B says:

    I have been following Leif’s posts on CA and he has answered a number of my questions. I have found he has been a very good teacher to those interested in Solar Science. In my opinion he has demonstrated extreme patience and has tried to be dispassionate about AGW. But he is human and has displayed a small amount of preference in my opinion to the AGW theory. But I believe he is open and about as objective as a human could be.

    REPLY: I agree and Leif is welcome to post here any time – Anthony

  65. Wondering Aloud says:

    Sorry Leif, I must not have read everything closely enough, I saw his comment as just being about the tendancy to hold AGW by CO2 to a much lower standard than any other idea.

    I was not addressing that thought at you or anyone in particular it is just a general observation. I have no reason to think you do it more than any of us and I missed whatever was said that made you come to that conclusion. I was apparently typing my comment at the same time you were typing yours right above it and mine was not a comment on it but only on the fact that I think there is a double standard that is messing up the entire discussion.

    I don’t know what causes climate to vary the way it does, but it is pretty clear that Carbon Dioxide is not the driver in the paleo record. This makes me mighty skeptical of all the hype.

  66. Jim Arndt says:


    I like Basil’s quote. ” if you torture the data long enough it will tell you what you want.”

  67. Pingback: Still Waiting For Sunspots | And Still I Persist

  68. Paulidan says:

    They publish by the internet, repository of all suppressed knowledge.

  69. Bob B said: “But he is human and has displayed a small amount of preference in my opinion to the AGW theory”.
    I don’t think this statement makes much sense. One cannot have a ‘small’ preference. If AWG says that 2XCO2 gives 4 degrees of warming and I say it gives 0.04 degrees, then that is a small amount, but most AGW’ers would not accept that as being AGW. It is like being a little bit pregnant. You either are or you aren’t.

  70. Pamela Gray says:

    I could use a bit of 2XCO2 right now ‘cuz I am flat out of cut wood for my stove.

  71. Bruce Cobb says:

    AGW isn’t even a theory, but a quasi-religious belief system based on a long-discredited hypothesis. The belief in AGW is fundamentally anti-science, very much like creationism.

  72. Pamela Gray says:

    Solar flux is now at 68. It can go as low as 50 but I don’t believe it has yet during cycle 23. During activity peak, flux can rise to 300 or more, which it hasn’t for quite some time, and I don’t think it ever did during cycle 23. As quiet as it is now, the sun is not yet in rem sleep. When it does laps into its deep sleep it may be groggy from such a deep slumber for many cycles. This winter will be extraordinarily cold and you can kiss your ham radio buddies goodby for a while.

  73. Pingback: Livingston and Penn paper: “Sunspots may vanish by 2015″. « Watts Up With That?

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  75. The tiny ‘pore’ that was briefly observed the 22nd August, was measured by Bill Livingston to have a magnetic field of only 1931 Gauss, thus being right on the continued downward trend line [towards oblivion in 2015 :-) ].

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