NASA’s press conference on the state of the sun

I just finished participating in the press teleconference call in for reporters with NASA and their panel of solar experts today. There was a lot of interesting discussions and questions. Unfortunately even though I put in for a question, I was shut out, and judging from the order of the questions asked and the organizations represented, clearly they played favorites for getting maximum exposure by choosing the larger media outlets first, such as AP’s Seth Borenstein who got the first question. That’s understandable I suppose, still I really wanted to ask what they though about the step function in the Ap Index that occurred in October 2005 and has remained flat since.

I took quite a bit of notes, and I’ll write more later from them, but for now I wanted to give my readers a chance to weigh in.

See the written NASA press release here

The three general things that struck me most from this conference were:

1) We don’t know enough yet to predict solar cycles, we aren’t “in the game”, and “we don’t really know how big next maximum will be”.

2) We don’t see any link between the minimums, cosmic rays (which are increasing now) and earth’s climate. This was downplayed several times. Some quotes were “none of us here are experts on climate, and when asked about Galactic Cosmic Rays and Svensmark’s climate theory is the answer was “speculation”.

3) The minimum we are in now is “unique for the space age”, but “within norms for the last 200 years”, but we are also surprised to learn how much the solar wind has diminished on a truly “entire sun” scale.

Here are a couple of the graphics they provided, note the difference in solar wind pressure between the two measurement periods.
Ulysses solar wind dynamic pressure chart
+ Larger view

And the fact that the electron density and temperature have decreased about 20%
electron properties chart

+ Larger view

Anyone who has listened to this teleconference is welcome to weigh in. For those that did not hear it, The RealAudio file would not play on my PC, did anyone record it? If so advise and I’ll post it here.

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204 thoughts on “NASA’s press conference on the state of the sun

  1. Good to know that zero sunspots is “within norms” i.e, any sunspot count is within norms.

    If the sunspot count became negative, perhaps that would be considered abnormal?

  2. I was surprised and disappointed that the NASA scientists seemed unaware of the climate aspects of a quieter sun. It’s unsettling that NASA didn’t anticipate those kinds of questions and provide an expert to answer them!

  3. Robert in Calgary (10:51:38) :

    ” Is it fair to say – they downplayed Svenmark’s theory even though it’s a good fit?”

    They were specifically asked about Svensmark’s “The Chilling Stars.”

    The one panelist who fessed up to having read it had no comment.

  4. Shame you did not get to ask a question, next time pretend you are from Newsweek.

    What struck me from the conference, and neglecting any Earth based wants we may need answering, was the lack of information on

    1) What it might infer about what is happening inside the sun
    2) What it tells us about what will happen to the Solar System with this historic low ( as per the blurb advertising the telecon)
    3) How subsequent cycles might be influenced by the current minima.

    Having failed to answer those questions it is not surprising for them to not comment on Earth interactions as well.

    Regards

    Andy

    REPLY: “next time pretend you are from Newsweek” That will not ever happen, I will not pose as someone that I’m not. When asked for my press affiliation I gave them my true and current press assignment with KPAY Radio http://www.kpay.com – Anthony

  5. I believe I heard Richard Marsden [the Ulysses mission manager] say in response to the questions about climate,

    “…the temperature’s going to stay up because of the CO2 in the atmosphere…”

    Interesting statement, since with all other responses to questions about climate, they either downplayed any effects, claimed ignorance, or said it was “too speculative.”

  6. Chris Christner (10:59:31) :

    ” I was surprised and disappointed that the NASA scientists seemed unaware of the climate aspects of a quieter sun. It’s unsettling that NASA didn’t anticipate those kinds of questions and provide an expert to answer them! ”

    I felt the press conference overall was pretty thin – sort of a perfunctory farewell party for the Ulysses mission.

    We did learn that deep solar minimum is a bad time to travel outside the earth’s magnetosphere – we’ll alert the Chinese space agency, since they’re the only ones who might have such a mission in the next ten years…

    we learned that major changes are occurring throughout the heliosphere – but they don’t affect the earth; apparently we’re just sort of a spectator for all this stuff

    ONLY MAN MADE CO2 affects climate, NOTHING ELSE! GOT IT?!

    A Maunder-like minimum is unlikely. Why? Because of the tiny sunspot that appeared yesterday and is almost gone today

    ‘we’re heading toward a dip in the Gleissberg cycle…we’re definitely on the downslope” [of the long term cycle] but that is of interest only to academics, ham radio operators and amateur astronomers

  7. Wow, this is fascinating stuff. I hope you can expand on it some more in the next few days. I’d be particularly interested to see the correlation with cosmic ray intensity/density.

  8. Speculation?
    Svensmark’s “speculation” just happens to correlate awfully darn well with past events, and the phenomena is confirmed in laboratory experiments.
    They don’t see any correlation because they refuse to see it, and will continue to do so unless we plunge into a new LIA.
    Clearly these NASA scientists are under tremendous political pressure to either tow the AGW propoganda line, or to kiss their careers good bye. What a shame.

  9. Call me too simplistic, but . . .
    The NASA press release stated,”Global Solar Wind Plasma Output At 50-Year Low.” Temperature anomalies reported earlier this year were more like the 1951-1980 mean. Correlation or irrelevant?

  10. Try this NASA contact for a link to the audio.
    He was the moderator. If there is one, he should be able to find out.
    Dwayne Brown, 202-358-1726

    Participants did dodge the topic of cosmic rays and climate – May not know,
    or perhaps it is just a political hot potato that’s too hot to handle.

    They did mention a current cooling of the upper atmosphere
    and when asked, mentioned two factors.
    a) Less UV Radiation
    b) Less Geomagnetism
    They stated that both add heat when they are high.
    Both are lower now, leading to the cooler upper atmosphere.

    They also said that UV and Total Solar Radiance don’t correlate well [with climate].

  11. Chris Christner
    Their behaviour was intentional. At NASA it’s either shut up or pack up.
    LOL! Do you really believe a scientist is going to stand up and give merit to Svensmark’s theory with Hansen in the next room with his hand on the trapdoor trigger?

  12. Back in the Apollo days, NASA was a respectable organization. I guess all of the German rocket scientists have retired. Now we’re getting Mars probes lost because somebody can’t do English-to-Metric conversions and NASA has become a political advocacy organization.

  13. You all have seen that James Bond movie…the trap door drops you in a pool of hungry sharks. Welcome to Washington DC!!!

    I never knew so many scientists could be such spineless dweebs.

  14. Sunspots are normal, no sunspots are normal, sun doesn’t play any role regarding our climate – what the heck do they spend billions on the Ulysses mission? The knew all that in advance. Sorry for being sarcastic, but if there is not more than this – not only the conference but the whole mission is very thin.

  15. Chris Christner (10:59:31) :

    I was surprised and disappointed that the NASA scientists seemed unaware of the climate aspects of a quieter sun. It’s unsettling that NASA didn’t anticipate those kinds of questions and provide an expert to answer them!

    They probably did anticipate the questions which is why they didn’t have any expert to answer them.

  16. Anthony wrote:
    REPLY: “next time pretend you are from Newsweek” That will not ever happen, I will not pose as someone that I’m not. When asked for my press affiliation I gave them my true and current press assignment with KPAY Radio http://www.kpay.com – Anthony

    Dwayne Brown said participants would be available after it was over
    to answer other questions. Perhaps you should take him up on it?

  17. Well, if high paid PhDs can’t speculate or give some sort of hypothesis/theory on all this they should get a cut in salary since they only report what a technician would report.

    And as far as: “…the temperature’s going to stay up because of the CO2 in the atmosphere…” goes… maybe someone should tell him that the temperature has not gone up for the last 10 years and is now declining, and the ice pack is starting to grow again.

  18. This may be a dumb question. The “Chilling Stars” theory (I think, haven’t read the book) suggests that cosmic rays influence cloud formation which influences global temps. Cool.

    There has to be a satellite that measures the area of the earth that is covered in clouds every day (like the sea ice area sats). There is also (I assume) a way to measure (maybe indirectly) the amount of cosmic rays we are receiving.

    Wouldn’t it be useful to do a study that showed the correlation between cloud cover and cosmic rays? And considering we are at the bottom of one cycle and on the way up, wouldn’t the cloud cover change over the next few years if the theory is right?

    This seems so obvious, that there must be a reason it isn’t being done. (Or is it?)

    Anyone have any ideas?

    Thanks,
    tim

  19. Pieter F (11:24:53) :

    ” Call me too simplistic, but . . .
    The NASA press release stated,”Global Solar Wind Plasma Output At 50-Year Low.” Temperature anomalies reported earlier this year were more like the 1951-1980 mean. Correlation or irrelevant?”

    NASA has a “Sun-Earth Connection” program

    http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/

    http://sec.gsfc.nasa.gov/

    Climate is not even part of it.

    MAN MADE CO2 – NOTHING ELSE!!

  20. It seems that they are decades behind work that has already been done on understanding solar cycles. I have recently read some of the work from the late Dr Theodor Landscheidt , very interesting stuff, and he had predicted this minimum several years back. He predicts a “grand minimum” (Similar to Maunder Minimum perhaps) with the lowest of the minimum in 2030. Good thing that we have all of this man-made CO2 to keep us warm! ;)

  21. Anthony has touched on the crux of it all with his 3 points:
    Point 1: They don’t ubderstand the sun
    Point 2: Incredibly they are saying the sun plays no role in climate change that they know of!!!
    Point 3: They don’t know anything about the sun and its future.

    Yet, they know enough to say that it doesn’t play a role on climate change.
    Spineless spineless spineless they are!
    Just having those euro-eggheads tops it all off. They’re sitting on trap doors too, equipped with super sensitive triggers.

    I’m looking forward to Anthony’s upcoming detailed comments. Take your time and take a real hard look at it.

  22. Tim,
    Good question, and it has been raised on numerous occasions here. Yet, I still have not seen any real good data on cloud cover…which is in itself very complex.
    Maybe someone will steer us in the right direction here.

  23. Somehow it’s hard to imagine how a “deep, prolonged solar minimum” would have no effect whatsoever on Earth’s climate. If sun experts cannot say anything about the link between the sun and the climate, how can climate experts rule out that the sun plays a major role in the climate system? I just don’t get it.

  24. Unfortunately, I did not hear the audio.
    The indications Anthony has provided seem to indicate that these scientists were a little defensive, plead ignorance or were just dodgy on the subject of sun’s influence on the climate. (Maybe I’m reading him wrong).

    Why the defensive and anxious atmosphere at the press conference?
    A dormant sun should be good news for all them solar-flare-sensitive high-tech gadgets and telecommunications satelites NASA has got out there.
    You’s expect optimism and giddiness, wouldn’t you?

    Was there an aura of optimism permeating thoughout the press conference,
    or was it tense?
    Someone please please find a link…I need to listen to it.

  25. I feel like ive just come upon an accident at the side of the road and there is a cop there(nasa) waving me on yelling move on nothing to see here!

  26. We all know (or should know) that correlation is not the same as causation. Correlation is a big part of the AGW’er arguement. We routninely will criticize the AGW hypothesis on the basis that this is correlation, not causation. Some of the posters above point to correlation of low solar activity & colder climate, but to have a more convincing arguement, someone needs to put some “causation” science behind it. Intuitively, this hypothesis makes sense since our world is “solar powered”, but intuition isn’t goode enough. We need some more “causitve” science. Clearly Svensmark’s hypothesis of cosmic rays / clouds / albedo changes isn’t univerally accepted for “causation”. Why is that? What part of the arguement doesn’t work for some & what data & analysis could be used to address those concerns? Someone with more skills in those areas (& more time to investigate than me) should be looking at this & posting.

    I’ll through one thing out that concerns me as a geophysicist. The earth’s magnetic field strength has generally been decreasing in strength throughout the last century. Shouldn’t that let more cosmic ray energy into our atmosphere? If so, shouldn’t that have led to more cloud cover , increased total Earth albedo & a decreasing global temperature trend ? What am I missing here?

    If anyone could most a good summary of solar causitive arguements, I think everyone reading would appreciate it.

    As community of “skeptics”, we need to bring our “A” game if we are going to convince the world at large that there is more going on with climate than C02 (which I fully believe). Given that solar effects could be significant climate player, we need to have an arguement better than “correlation”, if it is in fact a valid hypothesis.

  27. FM
    Thanks for the no.
    I tried it…no answer. “Please leave a message…”
    I asked them to post an audio link.

  28. “There has to be a satellite that measures the area of the earth that is covered in clouds every day”

    If there isn’t, ask the satellite photography organizations for statistics about the percentage of cloudless areas which they find. They have at least been working hard at looking between the clouds, whether they’ve been measuring clouds or not.

  29. I must admit hearing the panelists say, “I don’t know…” was refreshing for me. How many times do we hear, “The accelerating ice loss will without doubt lead to an “ice-free” arctic.”, or “The temperatures will definitely increase 2C over the next hundred years.”, or “The GCMs are adamant on this fact.”?
    At least, when they don’t know, they tell us they don’t know. I would like to hear similar statements from IPCC, GISS, HADCRUT, NSIDC and many others.

  30. Svensmark’s lab results have still not yet to be backed up by scientific concensus using real world results, it’s definitely a case of if you want to believe then it carries more weight.

    Regards

    Andy

  31. Cristoffer,

    As Lief has pointed out many times, there doesn’t appear to be any solar data or proxy that consistently matches with changes in Earth climate data or proxies. If you observe something that should affect a system in every way you can think of, and nothing correlates with your variable of interest, then you have to assume there isn’t a linkage between them. Of course, it doesn’t mean that something you aren’t measuring from the same source wouldn’t correlate.

    Saying they don’t understand or can’t predict the sun seems pretty refreshing to me. A sun is a very complicated system. Of course, so’s the Earth’s climate.

    Mike86

  32. Tim G (11:37:08) :

    “There has to be a satellite that measures the area of the earth that is covered in clouds every day (like the sea ice area sats). There is also (I assume) a way to measure (maybe indirectly) the amount of cosmic rays we are receiving. ”

    It’s called ISCCP – International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project – a long-term record of satellite-based observations of cloud cover.

    Svensmark used it to show good correlation between increased GCR (galactic cosmic radiation) and low cloud cover.

    GCR is more abundant during solar minimum (like now).

    The theory is that very high-energy neutrons which were blasted out of exploding stars elsewhere in the galaxy hit the atmosphere, and produce a cascade of smaller energetic particles, some of which end up ionizing (producing an electric charge) in the lower atmosphere.

    http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/physical_science/physics/atom_particle/cosmic_rays.html&edu=high

    The electric charge increases the formation of aerosols, including sulphuric acid, which both provide nuclei on which water droplets can condense, and attract dust, sea salt, pollen, etc, to provide more and larger condensation nuclei.

    The effect of ionization by GCR in this theory is to preferentially produce low clouds.

    It is known that low clouds, by themselves, produce net cooling at the surface, whereas high clouds, by themselves, produce net warming.

    So a process which preferentially produces low clouds would also preferentially produce cooler temperatures.

  33. Jeff L, increasing cloud cover can trap heat as well as reflect sunlight. It’s a complex set of interaction feedbacks and one reason the climate models have some trouble.

  34. Well, at least NASA said they didn’t know. One of the first baby steps to becoming real scientists is realizing what you don’t know, and stopping with that.

  35. A word of caution about ISCCP – it is a program of GISS – Goddard Institute for Space Studies

    which is under the direction of James Hansen.

    No unusual “adjustments” to the data have yet been reported, but I believe caution is called for in any use of the data.

  36. NONE OF US ARE EXPERTS ON CLIMATE..They finally told the truth !!!! It’s about time !iTHOUGHT IT WAS SETTLED.On a brighter note thanks Anthony for uncovering the facts and letting the world know the earth is indeed cooling despite efforts from the global warming nut to block us from knowing the truth.

  37. Cristoffer, it’s because you’re reading a bit to much between the lines. I have unfortunately not yet been able to listen to this press conference (been studying for a darn test all morning), but I believe I can speak in the general based on your comment:

    The thing is, scientists can speak generally about the link between the sun and our climate. The general idea is that at a fundamental level, the sun drives our climate because it provides us with a source of constant energy. Here’s the tricky part: Just because the sun drives our climate doesn’t mean that every minute, instantaneous change which occurs at the sun will translate into a meaningful or even tangible effect on our climate.

    It’s like the clutch on a car (or at least, like mine). You can press it down by a very small amount, but it won’t quite disengage things until you reach a threshold. Leaving the idea of a solar threshold for another day and someone much more informed than I am, let’s focus on the actual changes rather than the consequences of their various magnitudes.

    When the scientists dismissed the sun’s current behavior as insignificant changes in terms of climate (from the timbre of posts here, that seems to be what they did, but again, I haven’t had a chance to watch the video), what they were really focusing on is the overall net effect of reduced solar output. The amount of incoming radiation just won’t change by an appreciable amount to drastically alter the climate (simple calculations of incoming solar radiation and then the use of Steffan-Boltzmann’s law can confirm this). This much is easy to quantitatively demonstrate.

    Now, where the tricky things come in are the feedbacks of this process. What effect will decreased solar radiation have on cloud formation? Will a less powerful solar wind result in higher cosmic ray concentrations hitting our atmosphere? What are the net effects of all these? These are the questions which aren’t satisfactorially understood. A caveat, though: Just because we can’t cross the t’s and dot the i’s with regards to these feedbacks doesn’t mean that hypothesis don’t exist about them, and the hypothesis that seems to hold the best is that while these feedbacks will be amplified or dampened, they won’t have such an effect as to offset global warming caused by greenhouse gases.

    I hope this helps a bit. It might be a bit convoluted so if I have time later, I’ll listen in on the press conference and make some pointed remarks.

  38. I know this is off topic, and I understand if it needs to be nuked, but I thought I would pass this along for anyone living in SoCal…

    http://web-app.usc.edu/ws/eo2/calendar/32/event/867043

    The USC Objectivist Club is holding a debate tonight regarding climate change. It is a free event open to public. Someone I work with passed it along and asked if I would let people know who might be interested. I couldn’t think of a better web site.

    Again, I understand if this isn’t proper and I apologize if it is.

  39. Anthony,

    I guess they choose to ignore the historical correlation of the Maunder, Dalton and other minimas that show an almost direct effect on tempuratures during those events. It seems too consistent to be mere coincidence. Whether Svensmark’s theory is accurate or not, it is one plausable theory for an undeniable cause and effect relationship between the sun’s activity and earth’s climatic response. To outright deny any relationship at all seems to beg the question as settled in their view. It breaks the rules of basic science.

  40. How can they say that CO2 will keep the temperature up when it already hasn’t? The arrogance of those fools that they think we are stupid.
    ============================================

  41. Oh, I forgot to mention. NASA’s “hope of glory” 24 cycle sunspot is already fading away. Must be a real downer for them.

  42. “clearly they played favorites for getting maximum exposure by choosing the larger media outlets first, such as AP’s Seth Borenstein who got the first question.”
    Maximum exposure, yes, but also, the lamestream media being firmly in the AGW camp, they undoubtedly knew they could count on softball questions from them. Bureaucratic pseudoscientists don’t like having the boat rocked in any way shape or form.

  43. Here’s an excellent, recent (April 2008) paper on “Cosmic Rays and Climate,”

    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0804/0804.1938v1.pdf

    by Jasper Kirby of CERN (European Center for Nuclear Research).

    CERN is conducting what is hoped will be THE definitive experiment simulating the effect of very high energy particles ionizing the atmosphere.

    Kirby seems quite convinced already of the merits of Svensmark’s theory:

    “Increased GCR flux appears to be associated with a cooler climate, a southerly shift of the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone) and a weakening
    of the monsoon

    “and decreased GCR flux is associated with a warmer climate, a northerly shift of the ITCZ and a strengthening of the monsoon (increased rainfall).”

  44. The obvious place to begin would seem to be Influence of Cosmic Rays on Earth’s Climate Phys. Rev. Lett. 81, 5027 – 5030 (1998).

    At a glance he seems to establish that cloud cover correlates with cosmic ray flux over the period 1978-1996, that cosmic ray flux anti-correlates with sunspot number over the period 1930-1996, and that various things correlate with temperature.

  45. What I found interesting were the following quotes from the press release:

    “the sun has reduced its output of solar wind to the lowest levels since accurate readings became available. ”
    – and –
    “the solar wind’s global pressure is the lowest we have seen since the beginning of the space age.”

    If they had been climate scientists, I would bet that they would say the following instead:

    “the sun has reduced its output of solar wind to the lowest levels in history”
    – and –
    “the solar wind’s global pressure is the lowest in history”

    For some reason, they felt it necessary to qualify their answers when a climate scientist would not.

  46. “2) We don’t see any link between the minimums, cosmic rays (which are increasing now) and earth’s climate. This was downplayed several times. Some quotes were “none of us here are experts on climate, and when asked about Galactic Cosmic Rays and Svensmark’s climate theory is the answer was ‘speculation’.”

    Scientists can be such prima donnas, always so protective of turf. And when some scientists breech protocol, their ideas are considered “speculation”. It sounds as though the only area of impact by the sun they’ll look at is on instruments (no matter their location) and anything that happens outside the atmosphere, just as climate science seems to dismiss changes in solar activity as being of no real significance, since that’s happening outside the atmosphere. It’s a sad state of affairs when science buries its head in the sand and will only study things in isolation, denying impacts and relationships between solar bodies. It’s especially sad when acknowledging the poor understanding of what’s happening on the sun while also claiming it has little impact on the climate.

  47. NASA’s reporting on this issue, I feel was responsible, too bad they are not as humble on other issues. You folks who want NASA to come out and say that lower sun activity will certainly mean a cooler climate might not be thinking the politics all the way through.

    What if nothing happens? That is certainly a possiblity isn’t it? Then the Global Warmists get to come out and say, “See! NASA said that it was supposed to get reall cold, but nothing happened and this proves Global Warming is Real! We told you so!”

    Now that NASA has not come out and say that the sun is going to have any effect, should it get cooler or stay the same our side can make a case that Global Warming is not real. Had NASA made some big statement about how it was going to get cooler, then it would have to get cooler lest Global Warming becomes a proven fact. This way, we have 2 options “nothing happens or it gets cooler” disproves Global Warming. With a statement from NASA expecting cooler temperatures, the warmists would get 2 ways to win the debate, get it?

    The bloggers who are writing pieces about “Ice Age Coming” are painting the side of the debate that says “it’s all natural” into a corner and are increasing expectations of something fantastic happening. This may or may not happen, so its best to be conservative and admit that we do not know or understand everything, but the climate MIGHT cool as a result.

  48. Let us examine a single aspect of this. Subatomic particle hits on CMOS cells in DRAM. This could be a looming disaster, based on that one aspect alone.

  49. At this point, I am reminded of an archetypal response of scientific orthodoxy to new and different discoveries.

    It is analogous to Max Planck’s maxim that new ideas – new “paradigms” in science – don’t become accepted because the “scientific community” studies, accepts and then embraces the new reality.

    Planck said new paradigms in science become the new norm because people who believed in the old paradigm die off and are replaced with younger people who never received the old system as gospel, and so never had their egos wrapped up in it “having” to be true.

    In this version (which I heard explicated by the late Arthur Jones – don’t know if he was the originator or not), there is a typical, step-by-step response to new ideas. The more revolutionary the new ideas, the more violent the response, but always in the same sequence:

    First step is IGNORE the new idea

    If it persists, RIDICULE it

    If it still won’t go away, ATTACK the idea and all who discuss it

    When it becomes clear that new ideas are taking over, might as well get on the bandwagon and COPY the new ideas, use them in your own work

    Then, suddenly remember that it was your idea to begin with, and STEAL it – claim credit for the original idea and all the supporting research. You can even complain about others plagiarizing your brilliance.

    IRACS – Ignore, Ridicule, Attack, Copy, Steal

    I’m just wondering now how many Global Warmers are going to suddenly remember that “Cosmoclimatology” – the link between GCR and Climate – was their idea all along.

  50. Note that on the referenced link above (SolarCycle24 Forum), one post notes that a CD of the entire thing can be had by writing to NASA. See “npsguy” post as reply #8.

    “I emailed dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov the PR guy and he said there is no download for the teleconference but he can send me a CD of it. So I gave him my address.”

  51. Pierre Gosselin (11:23:01) : Speculation? Svensmark’s “speculation” just happens to correlate awfully darn well with past events, and the phenomena is confirmed in laboratory experiments.

    Leif,

    I have gathered from posts you have made in the past that you are unconvinced by Svensmark’s work, but if you gave a detailed analysis of your objections, I fail to remember it. Would you mind sharing your thoughts with us? (This is a question I’ve been dying to ask you for a while, just waiting for the right opportunity.)

  52. The sun is behaving much differently today than it did 10 years ago.
    That wouldn’t effect the climate on earth?!
    These scientists are hoplelessy deprived of free speech.

  53. Jeff L.:
    I’m no scientist, but it would seem to me that a lower strength geomagnetic field might actually decrease clowd cover (by my understanding of Svensmark’s theory). I’m thinking that in a reduced geomagnetic state even a relatively low solar output could still divert inbound cosmic rays. And in so saying, is it possible that a reduced geomagnetic field may even be an avenue to explore in explaining some warming. Just a thought. Back to lurking.
    Jason

  54. “I’ll through one thing out that concerns me as a geophysicist. The earth’s magnetic field strength has generally been decreasing in strength throughout the last century. Shouldn’t that let more cosmic ray energy into our atmosphere? If so, shouldn’t that have led to more cloud cover , increased total Earth albedo & a decreasing global temperature trend ? What am I missing here?”

    Svensmark’s theory is that it’s only the high energy GCR which impact on low level cloud formation. These high energy CGR (called muons) have too much energy to be impacted substantially by the earth’s magentic field so you would not expect a correlation here. Svensmark conducted experiments (CORSIKA) which indicated that only 3% of the muons could be impacted by the earth’s magnetic field.

  55. Jeff,

    This is essentially the argument of J. Beer, based on the 10Beryllium findings in arctic ice carrots. However, according to Svensmark, the magnetic field of the earth is only strong enough to shield myons of low energy, while the ionized condensation nuclei forming clouds in low earth atmosphere are created mainly by electrons released by a cascade of collisions thrusted by medium till high energy particles. Thus the presence or absence of the earth magnetic field would not change much, in contrast to the magnetic shield formed by solar wind, modulating the count of mid-energy myons depending on sun’s activity.

    You may want to take a look at , by H. Svensmark, since there is also a small diagram scetching the idea.

  56. I suppose that the sun expanding into a reg giant would also be normal behavior for the sun when it eventually happens as well. I suppose that shouldn’t cause concern either.

    With so many people watching it so closely, perhaps the sun is just suffering from a severe case of performance anxiety. One could evoke the old addage, “A watched pot never boils.”

  57. Tim, Pierre, Jeff et al –
    I found an albedo pic which I put on my “Primer” here but in my excitement forgot to get the ref. Google it among Images and you may be lucky. I’ll try and fix the link myself meanwhile.

  58. Dr. Tony Phillips http://spaceweather.com

    did a write-up for NASA public affairs on the Ulysses news conference

    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/23sep_solarwind.htm

    ” Unpublished Ulysses cosmic ray data show that, indeed, high energy (GeV) electrons, a minor but telltale component of cosmic rays around Earth, have jumped in number by about 20%. ”

    I don’t recall this being mentioned in the news conference.

    “…But any extra cosmic rays can have consequences. If the trend continues, astronauts on the Moon or en route to Mars would get a higher dose of space radiation. ”

    But Dr. Phillips, you yourself said that nothing is wrong with the sun, nothing is out of the ordinary, the current solar minimum is well within normal range.

    How could the “trend” possibly “continue” long enough to affect a mission to the moon [current US goal - 2020], or to MARS??? [current goal - still science fiction].

    Is it perhaps already time to “rethink our assurances,” Dr. Phillips?

  59. The following went missing from previous post:

    “The researchers found some clear links between the sun’s activity and climate variations. The Nile water levels and aurora records had two somewhat regularly occurring variations in common – one with a period of about 88 years and the second with a period of about 200 years.

    The researchers said the findings have climate implications that extend far beyond the Nile River basin.

    “Our results characterize not just a small region of the upper Nile, but a much more extended part of Africa,” said Ruzmaikin. “The Nile River provides drainage for approximately 10 percent of the African continent. Its two main sources – Lake Tana in Ethiopia and Lake Victoria in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya – are in equatorial Africa. Since Africa’s climate is interrelated to climate variability in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, these findings help us better understand climate change on a global basis.”

  60. “we don’t know enough yet”
    When do you think, you will know more ?

    “none of us here are experts on climate”
    Maybe you can call an expert and give him your data.

  61. The answer to the question from the Popular Science person about future space travel. Nancy Crooker stated (from my notes and not a direct quote):

    The big question is whether the decrease in solar preasure continue or not. On the 100 year cycle, we’re on the down slope of that cycle so it is more likely it will decrease.

    The entire panel studiously avoided any “official” climate discussions for all the reasons stated above. But at least they recognize we’re at least on the downward 100 year cycle slope.

    Random House asked about the prediction (someone he’d read) the next solar maximum would be 40-50% higher. What I found interesting was Nancy answered this with another “don’t really know” and the erstwhile reporters did not even bother connecting the dots with her “downslope” comment.

    i think this conference hopes for headlines like “dangerous to travel in space” and “quiet sun threatens astronauts”. They did say they didn’t have anything even in the queue for funding which might imply NASA doesn’t want to continue anything like this project. Especially since it seems to be turning up data that conflicts with the agency view.

    It does put a marker in for a fallback – they reported their findings, warned astronauts, and certified themselves as clueless about climate. Makes one wonder if they carry umbrellas, coats, and sweaters around all day?

  62. Correct me if I’m wrong but if the sun’s output went up 0.2% during the last warming period and it is said that it is not enough to change the temperature of the planet. I recently read a blog where the author did a little math. Warming on earth caused by sun 284 degrees so 284 x .002 = 0.568 This seems fairly close to the actual warming during the last 30 years. It can’t be this simple can it? If it is we are paying these scientists way too much money.

  63. In their news release they talked about this reduction in solar activity would affect the whole solar system. But they did not say how it will affect the whole solar system else than saying it could affect astronauts!!!???

    Me think someone has pulled the plug on what they could say!

  64. “Clearly Svensmark’s hypothesis of cosmic rays / clouds / albedo changes isn’t univerally accepted for “causation”. Why is that? What part of the arguement doesn’t work for some & what data & analysis could be used to address those concerns? Someone with more skills in those areas (& more time to investigate than me) should be looking at this & posting.

    “I’ll through one thing out that concerns me as a geophysicist. The earth’s magnetic field strength has generally been decreasing in strength throughout the last century. Shouldn’t that let more cosmic ray energy into our atmosphere? If so, shouldn’t that have led to more cloud cover , increased total Earth albedo & a decreasing global temperature trend ? What am I missing here?”

    You are missing that the cosmic rays in question are very high energy, not like the protons from the sun that cause the aurora as they fly back and forth from pole to pole. The high energy rays are not really affected by the local magnetic flux. However as they pass through the sun’s magnetosphere which extends well past the planets they may well be diverted somewhat and fewer of them penetrate in to the inner planets (that’s us). Read Svensmark’s book, “The Chilling Stars”. I did and I am convinced by it that this is the real reason for global climate change.

    John Andrews, Knoxville, Tennessee

  65. I think we should all remember that while the Sun is a variable star, it is a remarkable stable variable star.

    We don’t know how much it varies over the long-term, but it looks the maximum changes in the Sun will only vary the Earth’s climate by +/- 1.5C.

    Changes in the Earth’s orbit, however, can affect the climate by +2.0C / -6.0C.

  66. Pompous Git,
    Please let me respond for NASA.

    The Solar connection we are talking about only affects the Nile River valley, or at most the African continent. Yes we said it helps us understand climate on a global basis but that does not mean it is a global phenomenon, like Global Warming.
    Thank You,
    Mike Bryant

  67. One of the panelists suggested the follow-up mission to Ulysses would be called “Telemachus” – son of Ulysses, get it? Yeah, me neither.

    Anyway, the new official name for the follow-up mission is “Bailout.”

    It already has a budget of $700 Billion (but could go much higher!)

    It’s planned for low-earth-orbit, mostly around New York City, but there will likely be many unscheduled orbital diversions, especially to Washington D.C. and various political campaigns.

    The orbit will stabilize, then decay remarkably quickly as soon as the budget is exhausted.

    Unfortunately, the new mission will produce very little new data. In fact, any of the records not shredded will be heavily edited before public release.

  68. “We don’t see any link between the minimums, cosmic rays (which are increasing now) and earth’s climate.”

    It is reassuring to know that the Sun’s variability does not effect the Earth’s climate and that the heat “generated” by 57 ppm of anthropogenic CO2 is sufficient to cause climate change and warm the globe, although this has never been shown to be true by any factual scientific evidence. Not to deliberately neglect Dr. Pachauri and BGW, but the ppm of CH4 due to bovines are unknown to me at this time. CH4, when in sufficient concentration, will generate heat when ignited. Interestingly, CO2 is commonly used to extinguish heat sources.

  69. John-X (13:07:14) :

    CERN is conducting what is hoped will be THE definitive experiment simulating the effect of very high energy particles ionizing the atmosphere.

    What often surprises me is that AGW theory is accepted at face value based upon the absorption spectra of CO2 and GCMs with enough tunable parameters that you can get pretty much any results you want out of them. Yet any theory that has a non anthropogenic cause for warming or cooling has to undergo rigorous experimentation.

    On another note, doesn’t less UV radiation mean less ozone is formed and, since ozone is a GHG, a cooler earth?

  70. Well, as usual, it looks like empirical evidence will have the last laugh. Let’s just see how long that the sunspots remain at a minimum and temperatures remain cooler than the 1998 Hysteria. Eventually, even NASA will grudgingly admit that “gee there might be a correlation between our climate here on earth and the behaviors of that fireball thing.”

  71. “Patrick Henry (12:45:59) : says…

    “From the NASA press release-

    “[T]here are controversial studies linking cosmic ray fluxes to cloudiness and climate change on Earth. That link may be tested in the years ahead.

    “http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/23sep_solarwind.htm”

    Why in the world would they say that these studies are CONTROVERSIAL! Are they afraid of the results?

    John Andrews, Knoxville, Tennessee

  72. “Also, there are controversial studies linking cosmic ray fluxes to cloudiness and climate change on Earth. That link may be tested in the years ahead.”

    As I think more about it, – it seems to me – that the author of this NASA press release, Dr. Tony Phillips, has been a bit jarred, first by the extended solar minimum and long spotless streaks of late, and now by this Ulysses news.

    Dr. Phillips was the one who actually wrote the headline and the story, “What’s wrong with the sun? (nothing).”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/08/13/spotless-days-400-and-counting/

    and this was his sub-head:

    “July 11, 2008: Stop the presses! The sun is behaving normally.”

    Of course, he was acting as writer/reporter, and quoting David Hathaway.

    First, after the “spotless August” controversy, he assured us once again that this is all normal behavior, nothing to worry about… but then curiously mentioned that if this – normal – behavior continues for another year, “it might be time for us to rethink our assurances.”

    In his new quote – about the GCR-Climate link being “tested in the years ahead,” he seems to me to be saying…

    1) That this solar minimum could go on a long, long time – YEARS ahead? And as he suggested, the “trend” could continue long enough to affect a mission to the moon (not gonna happen before 2020, unless China does it), or even to Mars? (Probably not in my lifetime).

    – so he can not possibly still believe that “the sun is behaving normally”

    2) He now at least considers Svensmark’s “Cosmoclimatology” worthy of a “test – in the years ahead.” A crack in his personal AGW armor wide enough to allow that – MAYBE – there is at least ONE competing theory, which would mean [GASP] The Science Is NOT Settled??!!

    and 3) He doesn’t MENTION Hathaway, but is he still quoting Hathaway, or is his own personal position starting to pull away from that of Hathaway?

  73. It just struck me that they are hoping the CO2 will be strong enough to keep us warm, rather than drop too precipitously cold. Was the magnetism from the Cycle 24 spot measured? 2015 or no?
    =======================================

  74. GCR cloud formation also increases the efficiency of the condenser in the Carnot Cycle which transfers heat from the oceans (via evaporation then cloud formation ) into space.

    In a closed system, an increase in efficiency leads to a greater cycle speed as well.

    Consider how much heat the Oceans lost when they dropped 300M and all that water became vapor, then condensed, then formed snow and then was locked up in ice. The heat of vaporization and the heat of fusion are two very big numbers multiplied by all that ice.

  75. “If ozone is a blanket that either keeps warm air in or cosmic rays out” – but it is not. Can I sell you an ion fountain blanket?

  76. Mark Nodine (13:36:42) :
    Leif,
    I have gathered from posts you have made in the past that you are unconvinced by Svensmark’s work, but if you gave a detailed analysis of your objections, I fail to remember it. Would you mind sharing your thoughts with us? (This is a question I’ve been dying to ask you for a while, just waiting for the right opportunity.)

    Mark and others:
    I haven’t had time to comment on account of being at UC Berkeley for a seminar and other research-related work. I’ll try to catch up. I do think that the whole thing was pretty lame.

  77. Why does CO2 or Ozone not react to convection like all other gases. If they do react to convection then how do they form a ‘blanket’. Is there some invisible force that causes them to gather together in a boundary. Is a more realistic view that they dispersed in higher concentrations near their source and concentrations decay both vertically and horizontally (1/R cubed). If clouds are taken into the picture as well it seems to make a very complex picture. Then throw in wind currents. Trivial to model I am sure. The sun makes it very complex, even without cosmic rays and UV in the equation.

  78. Among a few organizations involved in “speculation!”

    CERN

    Center for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish National Space Center

    Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research

    Leibniz Institute for Troposhperic Research

    Paul Scherer Institute

    Russian Academy of Sciences Pulkovo Observatory

    Lebedev Physical Institute

    Racah Institute of Physics

    Finnish Meterological Institute

    And as many univeristies.

  79. John-X, your post of 13:34 and your final query “I’m just wondering now how many Global Warmers are going to suddenly remember [this]- was their idea all along.”, reminded me of this old sequence:

    Six Phases of a Project:
    Enthusiasm
    Disillusionment
    Panic
    Search for the Guilty
    Punishment of the Innocent
    Praise and Glory for the Non-Participants
    -Morrow

  80. Leif Svalgaard (16:20:26) :

    ” Mark and others:
    I haven’t had time to comment on account of being at UC Berkeley for a seminar and other research-related work. I’ll try to catch up. I do think that the whole thing was pretty lame. ”

    Agree re: lameness.

    Couple people on the forum over at solarcycle24.com mentioned that the Q & A was ‘painful’ – and I think they were speaking of the questions more than the answers.

    I knew these Ulysses project people were not going to be drawn into ANY speculation about climate, and their climate answers were all, “we don’t know,” “that’s all speculative,” and of course, the obligatory bow to AGW, “the temperature is going to stay up because of all the CO2 in the atmosphere.”

    Interesting that the woman from “Old Farmer’s Almanac” was allowed to get a question in but Anthony wasn’t.

    Leif, if you haven’t already, please – carefully – read Dr. Tony Phillips public affairs write-up about the conference

    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/23sep_solarwind.htm

    I’ve said above that, when compared to his previous statements and previous positions (which I am of course inferring), Dr. P is shaken. He may not be an apostate – yet – but he may be fast approaching The Crisis.

    He seems (and again, this is my interpretation – please tell me what you think) – seems – to be allowing that a) Contrary to his July 11 story, the sun may NOT be behaving normally; and b) hey, that Svensmark guy may be on to something after all – “the years ahead” are actually a test, and may prove him right

    From the Jasper Kirkby (CERN) paper:

    “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.”

    http://arxiv.org/abs/0804.1938

    I wonder if they’re going to use the new LHC (Large Hadron Collider) Doomsday device for GCR cloud nucleation experiments.

    As someone mentioned earlier, “AGW” can just be floated out there, propped up with “adjusted” data, and what someone here calls PlayStation computer models, and we’re all demanded to “take action” – damn the cost and don’t ask any questions…

    any competing theory has to be subjected to REAL science, including, if necessary, the newest and most powerful weapons in the arsenal of physics.

    Oh well, whatever it takes, as long as the real research is being done.

  81. Tim G.
    Your 11:37:08 question re cosmic rays and clouds:
    First, you really should read The Chilling Stars and take a look at the Svensmark/Friis-Christensen web pages on Cosmoclimatology

    http://www.spacecenter.dk/research/sun-climate/Scientific%20work%20and%20publications/resolveuid/86c49eb9229b3a7478e8d12407643bed

    The links between solar activity, clouds and climate are unfortunately rather complex. I’ve got some more useful info archived (including a paper that claims to have looked for a link between GCRs and climate and found it doesn’t exist), but it’ll take me a while to find it and present it, so let me know if you’re still looking at this page and I’ll try to post it here.

    Meanwhile, the Earthshine project is interesting – it measures the Earth’s albedo (effectively, cloud cover) from reflection off the moon. See
    http://www.iac.es/galeria/epalle/reprints/Palle_etal_EOS_2006.pdf (nice graph shows IPCC CO2 Wm-2 against albedo Wm-2)

    http://www.spacearchive.info/news-2004-05-27-cit.htm

    http://globalwarming-arclein.blogspot.com/2008/04/albedo-and-earthshine.html

    http://www.iac.es/galeria/epalle/reprints/Goode_Palle_JASTP_2007.pdf

  82. Ray, good point. I couldn’t listen to the press conference but didn’t they mention, in the slides at least, the fluctuation of the heliosphere?

  83. John-X (17:03:17) The Farmer’s Almanac has Joe d’Aleo writing about global cooling. They’ve got lots of street cred.
    ==========================================

  84. Oops. I did it again. Ozone deflects UV rays. Cosmic rays destroy ozone. But I disagree that ozone is not a blanket. I believe it is. Ozone acts like a blanket in the lower troposphere atmosphere much like the other greenhouse gases do. The upper stratosphere ozone keeps UV rays from getting to fragile areas here on Earth. Related to this discussion is the idea that atom particles and galactic explosion pieces raining down on Earth may not just be beneficial, as in cloud seeding. There are theories out there that dinosaurs were partially eradicated by galactic explosions and subsequent unprotected cosmic ray bombardment. So many things to think about. It’s like being in a chocolate store.

  85. This was probably the most closely and widely watched NASA space science press conference ever. I sense there was nervousness which led to the denial of possible conclusions that could be drawn. And, of course, we knnow nothing about climate; we study the SUN.

    These people wanted to keep their jobs. All they really wanted to do was brag about what their spacecraft had achieved and say: “Can we have another, please”.

  86. For starters, it is much more dangerous to be in space during solar maximum than during solar minimum. In the former, you could get a blast of particles from a CME. In one event, astronauts reported light flashes in their eyes while they had them closed.

    I recommend that people try to read between the lines. What if the NASA scientists realise that they are operating in a global warming hell hole and are using hidden messages to communicate with the outside world? In one set of graphs, why did they use the 94 – 95 period and compare it to 2007? Are they trying to communicate a prediction about the likely month of minimum? Verbal statements don’t jell with the visuals. It was said that the solar wind pressure was off 20%, but the graphic shows a fall from an average of about 4 to 2, a 50% decrease. The NASA scientists may be pushing their operational envelope, laying the groundwork for a subsequent press conference in which more will drawn from the data. They also realise that they have to lay a paper trail to protect their careers when global warming blows up and the finger pointing starts about NASA not predicting the next minimum.

    The Oulu neutron count is the highest it has been since records began in 1964. We are still nine months off the month of solar minimum and it takes a year for the solar wind to get out to the heliopause, so the peak neutron count may not be until July 2010. I am predicting 6,900 for Oulu.

  87. I was a space science major in the early 90s, and in my Astrophysics textbook (Zelik Greory Smith, IIRC) for senior year, there was mention of the possible corelation between the sunspots (or lack thereof) and climate

  88. Several things:

    1) What I surmise is NASA has said “We sure didn’t see this coming…”
    B) This blog is now so active, I cannot keep up. 100 posts in jst a few hours? Wow, Anthony, you are a popular guy. Congrats.
    iii) If the planet drops ANOTHER degree in temperature over the next year, will someone, anyone finally look at the sun for the answer? The long minima and sudden cooling are NOT coincidental.

  89. The very first question should have been:

    “Have you been directed to take no positions on whether this data correlates with Earth climate trends and predictions?”

  90. “Intuitively, this hypothesis makes sense since our world is “solar powered”, but intuition isn’t goode enough. We need some more “causitve” science.”

    Yeah, we need that in tree ring data too. How can tree ring data be caused by “global temperature” when it doesn’t even correlate with local temperature. Magic? I guess trees are temporally everywhere they are not on the planets surface. Like some kind of anti-being.

  91. So – I think I’ve finally found a comment that will let me post my question. It’s typically too far off the post for me to ask it.

    Earlier commenter pointed out:

    “They did mention a current cooling of the upper atmosphere
    and when asked, mentioned two factors.
    a) Less UV Radiation
    b) Less Geomagnetism
    They stated that both add heat when they are high.
    Both are lower now, leading to the cooler upper atmosphere.”

    I’ve been wanting to ask – since I saw the rebuttal to Monckton’s APS paper – how does the expansion and contraction of the upper atmosphere due to the interaction with the solar wind affect lower atmosphere temperatures? Basic physics is that an expanding gas cools; and earth’s gaseous atmosphere expands when put under less pressure from the solar wind (as evidenced by the increased drag on the ISS). Are the effects of this expansion (and eventual contraction) too small to affect the lower troposphere’s temperature?

    I’ve never seen this as a factor in the (admittedly few) papers I’ve read – nor have I seen it discounted. But the relation between volume, pressure, and temperature of a gas has been struck into me in every physics class I’ve taken. Is the effect at high altitudes too small to be a measurable factor?

  92. Some of the comments left on this thread reflect an astonishing level of childish petulance and, in my opinion, lack of understanding of what scientists do and how science progresses.

    The purpose of the NASA press conference was apparently, by virtue of its naming, a review of the state of the Sun, not a forum to answer questions about how that might relate to theories of global warming, which would be the topic of a different press conference. The Ulysses mission was designed to explore the polar regions of the Sun, which cannot be done from ground based telescopes or spacecraft in near-Earth orbit, and it accomplished that with remarkable success. Before Ulysses flew, much less was known about the poles of the Sun than about its equatorial regions. In fact, in some ways, we still know much less about the Sun than we do about the planets that revolve around it. It will take decades for solar physicists to fully digest the results from the Ulysses mission in their efforts to understand the complex behavior of the solar atmosphere and its interior.

    Solar physics is an extremely difficult area of research. It requires the talents of enormously bright people whose knowledge is highly specialized. It takes many years to acquire the training, skills, and knowledge that are needed to work in the field. It is extremely unfair to expect that a person who has spent 20 or even 40 years developing an understanding of solar magnetohydrodynamics will suddenly, Al Gore like, begin to speculate on questions that belong to an entirely different field of research in the physics of the Earth’s atmosphere. No one should expect a scientist to comment on matters outside his field of expertise. Good scientists know the limits of their knowledge.

    NASA is a large organization (of which the Goddard Institute where James Hansen works is a miniscule part), its research scientists are world class, and it supports many university scientists who have wide ranging interests and abilities. Some of those people are interested in the Sun, others are interested in various earth sciences such as atmospheric physics. The problems they dedicate their lives to solving are very difficult, and victories in the way of increased knowledge usually come after enormous effort, often after many mistakes. The people who post here need to appreciate how much dedication and effort that work requires.

    So, if you are impatient for answers to problems that you feel should be addressed, I suggest you roll up your sleeves, get yourself a PhD after, say, 10 years of study, and then spend the following decade or two trying to fathom the complexity of the universe. But don’t be disheartened if someone then writes a harsh blog comment if you don’t talk about things that he thought were more important than you did. That’s the way some people are. Just do your best.

  93. Pingback: NASA on the State of the Sun « In Other Words

  94. I may have figured out why they were so defensive during their press conference.

    They’re so wired in to this short term observation / direct cause an effect stuff like CO2 is up so temperature must go up. They sent a probe to measure the sun and then all the sun spots stopped.

    They broke the damn sun!!

  95. Fearful priesthoods suffer by the disease that they think they are …immortal…
    So they try in VAIN to survive GAINING TIME to push us all kill each other, instead of leaving humankind prepare kids for a new ice age.
    If we don’t like dieing like fatalists in Pompeii or paniced in Titanic, we should immediately organize children, neighbors and communities until a global truce treaty.

  96. Bald Tires (19:48:15) :

    “The purpose of the NASA press conference was apparently, by virtue of its naming, a review of the state of the Sun, not a forum to answer questions about how that might relate to theories of global warming, which would be the topic of a different press conference.”

    ….

    “No one should expect a scientist to comment on matters outside his field of expertise. Good scientists know the limits of their knowledge.”

    Comment they did, no limitations working, when the CO2 mantra was needed.

  97. John-X (17:03:17): I wonder if they’re going to use the new LHC (Large Hadron Collider) Doomsday device for GCR cloud nucleation experiments.

    An experiment at CERN, known as Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets, or CLOUD, led by Jasper Kirkby, was, according to Nigel Calder, greenlighted for sometime in 2010. Svensmark told me this week that funding and space for this have become problematic. He has had to be patient before, and will no doubt weather the delay well, pun not intended.

    The Hadron accelerator itself was not slated to be used but another part of the CERN facility.

  98. JAFAC (19:13:22) :
    how does the expansion and contraction of the upper atmosphere due to the interaction with the solar wind affect lower atmosphere temperatures?
    It does not.
    Basic physics is that an expanding gas cools; and earth’s gaseous atmosphere expands when put under less pressure from the solar wind (as evidenced by the increased drag on the ISS). Are the effects of this expansion (and eventual contraction) too small to affect the lower troposphere’s temperature?
    If you heat something it expands. And that is what is happening. The ISS is seeing the atmosphere coming up from below as the upper atmosphere heats. The heat does not propagate down to the troposphere where we are, as hot air rises rather than sinking.

  99. ” Svensmark’s lab results have still not yet to be backed up by scientific concensus using real world results, it’s definitely a case of if you want to believe then it carries more weight. ”

    At least he’s done lab work, what has the IPCC done?

  100. Leif Svalgaard (21:30:16) :
    The ISS is seeing the atmosphere coming up from below as the upper atmosphere heats. The heat does not propagate down to the troposphere where we are, as hot air rises rather than sinking.

    Hi Leif. The only place I know to look at upper atmosphere temps is here http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/ , which shows the two upper layers of the atmosphere cooling significantly in the past 24 months. Are there measurements taken of layers of the atmosphere above 10 mb and 5 mb?

  101. I would have liked to enquire of them what they thought of all the sunpots since end of May 2008 all coming near the ebb of both Planetary A index and Solar Wind Velocity, and dying at the bottom.
    This particular behavior is all that the Sun has to offer right now.

  102. “how does the expansion and contraction of the upper atmosphere due to the interaction with the solar wind affect lower atmosphere temperatures?”

    Greenhouse gases (including water vapor) exist in the upper atmosphere and depending on conditions and height, either reflect or trap solar energy. Any change in temperature would have some effect on those processes.

  103. Steven J thanks for the link http://web-app.usc.edu/ws/eo2/calendar/32/event/867043. I went to the lecture by Dr. Keith Lockitch and Dr. Willie Soon. Dr. Lockitch discussed the political side of the global warming and Dr. Soon discussed the technical side of global warming. Dr. Soon expressed that in his 18 years of solar study he did not see that CO2 produced by humans was the driving force in warming or cooling of the planet. Dr. Lockitch expressed that the actions to avert the ‘catastrophe’ of global warming would most certainly be a real catastrophe for humans. During the question and answer Anthony Watts name came up and Dr. Soon spoke very highly of Anthony.
    The most troubling commentary came from a professor of Physics in attendance. He said that many professors were afraid to speak out against global warming because of the political repercussions. Much like the NASA people that tow the Hansen line. Mr. Hansen’s name came up as well but I will not report as it may have been something I said, or not. We need more lectures/ presentations like this to let people see that the debate is not over.

  104. Leif Svalgaard (21:30:16) :

    “The heat does not propagate down to the troposphere where we are, as hot air rises rather than sinking.”

    Oh, oh, oh. What about back radiation, that ingenious quantum mechanical mechanism that induces global warming?

  105. sorry I had “tongue firmly in cheek” as the last line of the above post, but it was with < and it took it for html and ignored it.

  106. Shouldn’t an increase in stratospheric temp also increase the downwards pressure on the troposphere? Yes it would be a small force and distributed evenly amongst the entire air column, but could it effect the arctic oscillation pattern?
    Cheers

  107. Anthony, ect
    Someone wanted to see the cloud cover changes over time?
    A very interesting graphic of cloud cover changes can be found in a paper by Sloan and Wolfendale. full text available here http://www.iop.org/EJ/abstract/1748-9326/3/2/024001/
    The paper is a anti cosmic ray study but it would be very interesting to compare the cloud coverage in this article to the temperature.
    The graphic of cloud cover changes can be seen here http://robjmitchell.smugmug.com/photos/321192565_8CaqU-M.jpg
    cheers

  108. Pingback: dispatches from TJICistan » Blog Archive » Dispatch war rocket ajax to bring back his body

  109. Just wondering if the Ulysses probe had any magnetic characteristics? Did the probe have any radiation escaping? Perhaps it was outgassing CO2 or some other highly dangerous and polluting earth gas?
    Maybe we really DID kill the sun…

  110. Tried to post the link to the article:

    Large Hadron Collider shut down until spring

    but it would not take. In today’s UK Telegraph.

  111. Richard111 (05:29:17) :

    “Tried to post the link to the article:

    Large Hadron Collider shut down until spring”

    As this is right on my turf,

    http://public.web.cern.ch/public/

    “Geneva, 23 September 2008. Investigations at CERN following a large helium leak into sector 3-4 of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) tunnel have indicated that the most likely cause of the incident was a faulty electrical connection between two of the accelerator’s magnets. Before a full understanding of the incident can be established, however, the sector has to be brought to room temperature and the magnets involved opened up for inspection. This will take three to four weeks. Full details of this investigation will be made available once it is complete.”

    There is always a winter shut down of the energy consuming accelerators. It is part of the contract with France and Switzerland not to overburden the energy grid.

  112. RobJM (00:47:19) :

    Shouldn’t an increase in stratospheric temp also increase the downwards pressure on the troposphere?

    No, air pressure is due to the weight of the air in the column. If the stratosphere warms evenly, it will expand evenly and not affect surface pressure.

    Tropospheric structures such as cold, arctic high pressure systems have a higher density at low levels and that leads to a heavier air column.

  113. Leif Svalgaard (21:30:16) :
    “The ISS is seeing the atmosphere coming up from below as the upper atmosphere heats. The heat does not propagate down to the troposphere where we are, as hot air rises rather than sinking.”

    With what sort of instrument does the ISS see the atmosphere coming up from below?

  114. Harold Ambler (07:28:36) :
    With what sort of instrument does the ISS see the atmosphere coming up from below?
    ‘see’ should not be taken literally. ISS feels [again not literally] the effect of a denser air as a larger ‘drag’ [air resistance] which causes it to loose altitude. Now and then small rockets must be fired to regain altitude and keep the ISS in orbit.

  115. Leif Svalgaard (07:44:16) : The ISS is seeing the atmosphere coming up from below as the upper atmosphere heats…. ’see’ should not be taken literally. ISS feels [again not literally] the effect of a denser air as a larger ‘drag’ [air resistance] which causes it to loose altitude. Now and then small rockets must be fired to regain altitude and keep the ISS in orbit.

    So, Nancy Crooker’s comment below is way off the mark?

    “And the second effect of reduced of solar activity is that it leads to the cooling of earth’s upper atmosphere,” said Nancy Crooker. “And if earth’s upper atmosphere is cooler, then there’s less drag on satellites up there, and this means we are left with more debris up there, which is also something astronauts have to look out for.”

  116. hmmm. The AGW folks say that greenhouse reflection of heat back to the ground here is what leads to stratosphere cooling, since the heat can’t escape into the stratosphere to keep it warm. The NASA folks say that the stratosphere is cooling because of the damnable quiet Sun. Somebody is gonna have to concede here or make a backroom deal that both be right. At the very least, stratospheric cooling can no longer be a “Proof” point of AGW.

  117. John-X (08:00:25) :
    ” September 24, 2008, Solar Winds Cooling Warmist Doomsaying
    Timothy Birdnow
    “…According to Anthony Watts, the Earth`s albedo reached a nadir in 1997, and has risen sharply since…”

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2008/09/solar_winds_cooling_warmist_do.html

    At that URL, he quotes NASA:
    “The Ulysses solar probe reports a 13% drop in temperature, a 20% drop in density, and a 30% drop-off in the sun`s magnetic field, marking this as the weakest period of solar wind on record (records go back to the 1960`s). ”

    But NASA is not being completely honest here. To make such a statement one must compare data taken at the same point [phase] of the solar cycle. It is like taking two temperature measurements one in July and one in January and saying that the Earth has cooled 30 degrees.
    Ulysses went over the poles in 1994-1995 and in 2007-2008. The solar minima happened in 1996-1997 [not in 1994-1995] and 2007-2008. Calculating the average interplanetary magnetic field strength [B, at Earth] for these two periods [omitting the last three months of 1997 to make the data comparable to 2008 - the new cycle had started in a big way also during those last three months of 1997], we get
    1996-97 B = 5.2 nT
    2007-08 B = 4.5 nT
    a 30% decrease from 5.2 would be down to 3.6 nT. The 4.5 nT represents only a 13% decrease, quite within what one would consider normal fluctuation, so nothing extraordinary.
    One argument that could be made is that what Ulysses observes is not what the Earth observes, except that another key finding [which is actually correct] is that if one takes into account the difference in distance from the Sun [the field decreases with distance because the number of field lines have to fill a larger volume], then it doesn’t matter where the field is measured [independent of latitude].
    So I smell a little bit of ‘sensationalism’ here.

  118. Harold Ambler (08:28:34) :
    So, Nancy Crooker’s comment below is way off the mark?
    No, she was talking about what would happen with less activity, I was talking about the effect of more activity.

  119. Leif Svalgaard (09:03:36) :

    At that URL, he quotes NASA:
    “The Ulysses solar probe reports a 13% drop in temperature, a 20% drop in density, and a 30% drop-off in the sun`s magnetic field, marking this as the weakest period of solar wind on record (records go back to the 1960`s). ”

    I think the poster, Birdnow, is mixing quotes and quoting very loosely.

    (from my notes) It was Karine Issautier of Meudon who used the 13% and 20% figures when she said

    “…significant drop of 20% in electron density…13% drop in electron temperature [between the two Ulysses passes] …the fast solar wind is cooler and less dense…”

    The “30% drop is solar magnetic field” I don’t recall (I may have dozed off at that point).

  120. Pingback: NASA: solar wind plasma output at a 50 year low « EnerGeoPolitics Blog

  121. Okay, I found the 30% figure in the NASA story (PA write-up by Dr. Tony Phillips)

    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/23sep_solarwind.htm

    “What we’re seeing is a long term trend, a steady decrease in pressure that began sometime in the mid-1990s,” explains Arik Posner, NASA’s Ulysses Program Scientist in Washington DC.

    ” In addition to weakened solar wind, “Ulysses also finds that the sun’s underlying magnetic field has weakened by more than 30% since the mid-1990s,” says Posner. “This reduces natural shielding even more.” ”

    So I DIDN’T doze off!

    Posner was not one of the presenters! He was interviewed separately by Phillips.

  122. Annav,
    “sorry I had “tongue firmly in cheek” as the last line of the above post, but it was with < and it took it for html and ignored it.”

    I think my comments are misconstrued sometimes too. From now on I will use (tfic) to indicate that my comment is in jest…

  123. Trying…to…stop…teacher…mode…from….

    Sorry, just can’t help it.

    Sun
    Mars
    Saturn
    Mercury
    Earth
    etc…

    not:
    sun
    mars
    saturn
    mercury
    earth
    etc…

    Pamela Gray
    Special Educator

  124. Does anybody think the report of a visible gamma ray burst caught on tape by the “Pi in the Sky Program” in Chile has anything to do with solar wind low?
    A Sky and Telescope article speculated that the burst would have destroyed the earth if it’s origin had been in our galaxy.

  125. Okay, I agree that Svensmark’s information is technically speculation. But then so is CO2. And I will also have to say based on what I have seen of Svenmark’s research it correlates better then CO2. However I am still skeptical of both. While Svenmark may be right I do not know that other factors more or less significant may not be the real reason this is occuring.

  126. Explorboy (10:19:21) :

    “Does anybody think the report of a visible gamma ray burst caught on tape by the “Pi in the Sky Program” in Chile has anything to do with solar wind low?”

    No.

    “A Sky and Telescope article speculated that the burst would have destroyed the earth if it’s origin had been in our galaxy.”

    Lucky we are. It is the anthropic principle.

  127. Leif, I have mentioned to you my interest in the ozone layer over the western part of the US. The first time I mentioned it it wasn’t a relatively large area. It has grown to include many more states than it did when I first asked you about it. Do you have any thoughts as to why this area is growing larger? I don’t know what it did last year at this time. Since I am a redhead with a history of skin cancer, the ozone layer has been my friend for many years so I have more than a passing interest in it besides possible connections with climate. Do you think this is cosmic ray related and therefor connected to the Sun’s decreasing magnetic protection? Do you think this area will grow larger and thinner? Or is this just temporary noise?

  128. They don’t even seem to want to talk about the possibility of solar activity relationship with climate. If it’s debatable, should they be afraid to talk about the two sides of the debate? If it’s been scientifically proven as wrong, shouldn’t they be able to cite that? Meanwhile don’t you think this would be heavilly scrutinized with public funding if it had the potential to support AGW beliefs (rather than the potential to raise questions or undermine the IPCC)? If there were a similar theory that would add to the AGW cause, it would probably be upon us as the next harbinger of doom for global warming, front page headline news on CNN.

    This is not a scientific atmosphere.

  129. Me (11:15:41) :

    ” They don’t even seem to want to talk about the possibility of solar activity relationship with climate. ”

    NASA’s so-called “Sun-Earth Connection” program

    http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/

    http://sec.gsfc.nasa.gov/

    does not even mention climate.

    As long as they are part of the “man-made global warming” orthodoxy, where ONLY man-made CO2 influences climate, NOTHING else…

    the sun is automatically excluded from any discussion of climate.

  130. Pamela Gray (10:57:32) :
    Do you have any thoughts as to why this [ozone hole] area is growing larger? [...] Or is this just temporary noise?
    Ozone is mostly generated in the tropics where sunlight is the strongest. Then the ozone is transported to higher latitudes by something called the Dobson-Brewer Circulation: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c8/Nimbus_ozone_Brewer-Dobson_circulation.jpg

    Ozone is destroyed by the reaction with atomic oxygen: O3 + O → 2 O2 catalyzed by free radicals, like hydroxyl (OH), nitric oxide (NO) and atomic chlorine (Cl) and bromine (Br). Man is still pumping some of that stuff [maybe now mostly the unregulated bromine] into the atmosphere so we are probably partly responsible for the decrease of ozone. I don’t know what the long-term trend is. My daughter-in-law, Signe, had an article in Nature magazine a couple years back [she even made the cover picture - made me proud] about that. Here is what she and Betsy said:
    Review, Nature 441, 39-45 (4 May 2006) doi:10.1038/nature04746
    The search for signs of recovery of the ozone layer
    Elizabeth C. Weatherhead & Signe Bech Andersen
    Abstract
    Evidence of mid-latitude ozone depletion and proof that the Antarctic ozone hole was caused by humans spurred policy makers from the late 1980s onwards to ratify the Montreal Protocol and subsequent treaties, legislating for reduced production of ozone-depleting substances. The case of anthropogenic ozone loss has often been cited since as a success story of international agreements in the regulation of environmental pollution. Although recent data suggest that total column ozone abundances have at least not decreased over the past eight years for most of the world, it is still uncertain whether this improvement is actually attributable to the observed decline in the amount of ozone-depleting substances in the Earth’s atmosphere. The high natural variability in ozone abundances, due in part to the solar cycle as well as changes in transport and temperature, could override the relatively small changes expected from the recent decrease in ozone-depleting substances. Whatever the benefits of the Montreal agreement, recovery of ozone is likely to occur in a different atmospheric environment, with changes expected in atmospheric transport, temperature and important trace gases. It is therefore unlikely that ozone will stabilize at levels observed before 1980, when a decline in ozone concentrations was first observed.

    It looks to me, from the count of weasel words that nobody knows.

  131. One more question LEif:

    Do you think, theoretically, that cosmic rays destroy ozone, and if so, which kind of cosmic ray particle has this potential and how does it work?

  132. Pamela Gray (14:32:34) :
    Do you think, theoretically, that cosmic rays destroy ozone, and if so, which kind of cosmic ray particle has this potential and how does it work?
    There have been some sensationalist reports of that, e.g. in that bastion of truth that Scientific American has become: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=study-suggests-cosmic-ray however many studies have shown that when you have a strong burst of Solar cosmic rays [a proton event or preceding a large Forbush Decrease] you can detect a small influence right at the time of the event, but the ozone quickly recovers and the overall effect is insignificant. Such events are rare, there has not been any this year.

  133. Even the notoriously pro-AGW BBC mentioned Svensmark’s theory in its article. I was amazed!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7632331.stm

    “Some researchers have attempted to link the intensity of cosmic rays at Earth to cloudiness and climate change. Current conditions may be a good opportunity to test these ideas further. ”

    Ok, it was just a small paragraph near the bottom :/.

  134. Robinson,

    There is another very important item in the BBC story.

    “Reduced solar activity also leads to the cooling of Earth’s upper atmosphere”

    We have been told by climate modellers that the observed cooling of the upper atmosphere was due to increased CO2 concentration. It appears that view is being challenged by scientists.

  135. “What about back radiation, that ingenious quantum mechanical mechanism that induces global warming?”

    Could it be Asperger’s benefits are restricted?

  136. I think that we should not fall into the trap of thinking that the climate of our earth is caused by any one thing by itself. Magnitisim, decrease of solar wind and lack of sunspots are contributors to our climate indeed. But the sun itself is not the only contributor to our climate. We should at least have learned from the Co2 folks this one thing.. putting blinders on and pointing at the only thing you can see does not show you the entire picture.

    I think of it as pulling the lever of a one armed bandit. If you get low sunactivity, coupled with an upswing in major volcanic activity, coupled with tricky ocean currents no one seems to know how to predict. Chiching.. cooler weather. But you can have many combinations of the same three.. I know I have highly simplified a seriously complicated thing but it seems like the best we can do at this point is observe and stop jumping to the worst possible conclusions.

  137. Leif, I have been watching that ozone area everyday for months now. Noticed something. During the night, the ozone level recovers a bit. Especially when the area was smaller this Spring. Even the area it has grown to now seems to recover a bit over night. Then by mid afternoon it has grown thinner again. So this would lead me to speculate that we are dealing with a Sun affect of some kind. There seems to be discussion that some of it is related to pollutants, and some of it related to sunlight. I wonder what it was like when the Sun was more magnetically active. Is it possible that this ozone affect is timed with this magnetically weak Sun?

  138. JAFAC (19:13:22) :
    Leif Svalgaard (21:30:16) :

    Jafac. Good Question. What follows is the result of strong interest, a lot of data analysis and a little bit of theory.

    Part of the answer is at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/strat-trop/
    Look at Past Years Annual Time Series T Mean EQ

    You will see that there is a peak temperature at 1mb in March and another in September. This is when the solar wind couples most closely with the Earth’s magnetosphere. That high temperature is due to short wave radiation. Apparently it penetrates into the tropical atmosphere to a greater degree at these times. For this to happen we need a redistribution of the atmosphere. Take it from over the Equator on the day-side and put it somewhere else.

    Bear in mind that the Earth is closest to the sun on January 3d with almost 7% more irradiance at that time. However the Earth has its warmest air temperature in July when the land masses of the northern hemisphere heat the atmosphere by surface contact , release of latent heat and a little radiation to about 15°C (near surface) as against the 3°C experienced in January. Because relative humidity falls as the air warms in mid year there is a large reduction in global cloud cover, the effect extending into the southern hemisphere as far as 30°South.

    Having got all that under your belt consider that Outgoing Long Wave Radiation (as measured at top of atmosphere) has been increasing over the period of observation. The irradiance from the sun is invariable. For the Earth to emit more long wave radiation all that has to happen is that the reflection of short wave radiation from the sun has to diminish. That happens if there is less cloud. With less cloud the Earth absorbs more of the available energy from the sun and emits it in its signature long wave form.

    If greenhouse theory were valid we would expect OLR to diminish.

    Between 40°N and 40°S the Earth absorbs more energy from the sun than it emits. Between 40° and 90° of latitude more energy is emitted than is absorbed. If the tropics admit more energy it is expressed as a temperature increase at high latitudes, especially in winter, because the sea is then warmer. The tropics is an ‘open system’ that leaks energy laterally.

    The cloud free areas of the subtropical rain shadow areas to the east of the major continents expand and contract according to change in temperature at 200hPa. There is enough ozone at 200hPa to respond strongly to UV light. As a result the inter-annual variability in temperature is strong at this level. The seasonal variation in temperature at 200hPa is half that at the surface. The atmosphere has the effect of damping temperature variations not amplifying them. The inter-annual variability at 200hPa is twice that at the surface. With change in temperature there is a change in relative humidity and condensation phenomena. Temperature at 200hPa is minus 55°C. You get a lot of cirrus albedo bang at this level for your specific humidity buck.

    Space is not free of all material. What comes from the sun is tenuous. But the atmosphere is thin and tenuous too. Depending upon the pressure of the solar wind the atmosphere slips a little away from the dayside towards the poles and the nightside. You can see this in photos of the Earth taken in the UV from space. The atmosphere in its higher regions is plasma. So is the solar wind. In plasma, magnetic and electrical forces accelerate charged particles and when they move some of the neutral gas is entrained. The part that tends to be eroded is the atmosphere above the equator where the pressure of radiation is greatest. Being a balding gent I need a hat, and so do some parts of the Earth. These are the parts where the energy is absorbed that is responsible for the warming of the tropics.

    The atmosphere has no sharp boundaries. Between 200hpa and the absolute perimeter of the electrically unbalanced material that originates as atmospheric gas there is no more than 10% of the total mass of the atmosphere. This is a very fluid zone. As it expands and contracts, slips and slides, it conditions the amount of UV that penetrates to 200hPa. That drives the cloud cover. The cloud cover determines the degree of absorption of the ever abundant energy of the sun. Without the cloud we would fry, no, not fry, poach.

    Check the relationship between the SOI and OLR at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/CDB/Tropics/figt1.shtml

    That same relationship holds for the entirety of tropical latitudes. It shows that during cooling events OLR increases. It does so because the surface temperature varies little but the clouds that cause the cooling get in the way and shunt out more OLR than a cloud free atmosphere.

    QED The sun drives ENSO.
    ENSO drives the PDO and the NAO
    The PDO and the NAO record episodes of high latitude warming and cooling. The last episode of Arctic warming prior to that which is on the turn at present was in 1940-50.

    That is the big picture of how the sun drives temperature change on Earth.

  139. “The atmosphere has the effect of damping temperature variations not amplifying them.”

    Good stuff, as always, Erl.

  140. Erl Happ (08:23:50) :
    Space is not free of all material. What comes from the sun is tenuous. But the atmosphere is thin and tenuous too. Depending upon the pressure of the solar wind the atmosphere slips a little away from the dayside towards the poles and the nightside. You can see this in photos of the Earth taken in the UV from space.

    This is not correct, kind of as wrong as it can be. The solar wind pressure is balanced by the magnetic field of the Earth, about 10 Earth radii out from the surface in the direction of the Sun. The result of this process is called the Magnetosphere that forms a cocoon around the Earth, with a long tail [extended way past the distance to the Moon in the direction away from the Sun. Internal processes within the Magnetospheric tail cause aurorae on the nightside of the Earth, resulting from energy being deposited about 100-200 km up in the form of energetic electrons. These electrons collide with the air, which excites its constituents (molecular nitrogen and atomic oxygen). The excited molecules or atoms soon relax, releasing the energy in the form of light. The UVI satellite detects the ultraviolet portion of the emitted light. Our eyes detect the visible portion [the aurora].

  141. Gary Gulrud (08:40:38) :
    “The atmosphere has the effect of damping temperature variations not amplifying them.”
    Good stuff, as always, Erl.

    what happened to ” a possible multiplier, with giant impact measured in W/m2.”?

    It seems to me that that faulty link in Erl’s chain of arguments [as I just pointed out] invalidates the rest, unless I’m told that that link [and potentially others, as well] was not necessary [if so, why was it there?].

  142. Leif,

    What I understand is that its 5 to 15 Earth radii. Highly variable.

    The photos that I refer to show a lot more than an aurora. They show an excitation of the atmosphere in general, and its distribution is asymmetrical.

    How do you explain the March and September maxima at 1hPa? That is the observation we need to work with. The second observation that is critical to the argument is the strong fluctuation in temperature at 200hPa, peaking in March and the third is the variation in OLR.

    The peripherals re the aurora etc are irrelevant.

    Can we deal with the main thrust of the argument. But, tomorrow. It’s bedtime.

  143. Erl Happ (10:07:52) :
    What I understand is that its 5 to 15 Earth radii. Highly variable.
    So what? It actually varies from 3 to 60 Re. But that is irrelevant because the atmosphere does slip as you surmise.

    The photos that I refer to show a lot more than an aurora. They show an excitation of the atmosphere in general, and its distribution is asymmetrical.
    The excitation on the dayside is caused by solar UV and Xray, on the nightside by the aurorae [and precipitating particles from the tail in general]

    How do you explain the March and September maxima at 1hPa?
    Geomagnetic activity [and therefore aurorae] peaks in March and September [as I have explained to you numerous times] and has nothing to do with UV. UV peaks in January when we are closest to the Sun..

    The part that tends to be eroded is the atmosphere above the equator where the pressure of radiation is greatest.
    No, there is no erosion of the atmosphere above Equator due to the solar wind.

    So, it seems to me that your arguments do not hang together. If you seek to explain everything you often end up explaining nothing.

    You do a disservice to other readers by pretending that you understand the physics:
    QED The sun drives ENSO.[...]
    That is the big picture of how the sun drives temperature change on Earth.

  144. moderator :
    Geomagnetic activity [and therefore aurorae] peaks in March and September [as I have explained to you numerous times] and has nothing to do with UV. UV peaks in January when we are closest to the Sun..
    should not be in italics, please. Move the less than / i greater than up before this sentence.

  145. Leif:
    ‘does slip’…..or ‘does not slip’.

    I repeat my question. How do you explain the maxima at 1hPa in March and September. If you look at the data you will see the September maximum beginning to influence the data at 30hPa. Mostly the March maximum is dominant but sometimes the September maximum is stronger.

    I am not saying that UV peaks in March and September. I am saying that the penetration of UV has a seasonal peak in March and September. UV does not need to change if the atmosphere changes in such a way as to allow an invariable level of UV to penetrate a little further at this time. I use UV in the sense of all short wave radiation. It is manifestly short wave radiation that is ‘largely responsible’ for temperature peaks above 30hPa where ozone is at a maximum. You agree when you say: “The excitation on the dayside is caused by solar UV and Xray”. OLR from the Earth is responsible for the August maximum in the stratosphere from 100hPa to 30hPa. So, it too plays a part.

    I reckon I am doing the readers a service. The gorilla in the room is ENSO. Our GW friends acknowledge that it very much influences temperatures around the globe but they insist that it is due to an ‘internal oscillation’. I reckon that they need to familiarize themselves with the way a pendulum moves and then go have another look at ENSO. ENSO is the Pacific manifestation of a warming event that involves the entire tropics. It is not ‘teleconnected’ to changes in weather elsewhere. That is fairies in the bottom of the garden stuff.

    Just click through the data seen at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/CDB/Tropics/figt1.shtml
    The dynamics are presented as if it were just the Pacific. In truth when you go to the trouble of compiling the data across all areas from Greenwich to 180° in each direction the same relationships appear.

    How does the level of global OLR systematically increase from 1948 onwards without a fall in albedo? It is a fall in albedo that has caused the energy gain in the tropics that feeds into high latitude temperatures. That fall in albedo is strongly related to temperatures at 200hPa. The link above will also show relationships between the SOI and temperatures at 200hPa.

    There is a fundamental disconnect between temperatures at 200hPa and temperatures at the surface. At 200hPa there is slightly more than half the ozone content that there is at 100hPa and sufficient water vapour to form cloud. Cirrus clouds have been observed up to 100hPa and into the stratosphere.

    For the dynamics of cloud variation over the recharge areas for tropical warming events see: http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/~baum/CloudPressure/CloudPressure.html

    The recharge areas are humidity deficient because they are in the rain shadow of the continents in the trade wind zone and their waters are very cold. The waters are cold because of the ocean circulation. There are none colder than the waters that trend northwards off the South American coastline. The Andes are tall mountains. Its a very simple story really.

  146. Pamela Gray (06:48:11) :

    “Is it possible that this ozone affect is timed with this magnetically weak Sun?”

    Re ozone levels over the USA. Ozone is soluble in water. Industrial ozone generators used in wineries dry the air by cooling it to -80°C (temperature in the upper tropical tropopause). In the presence of water, ozone rapidly decays. The upper atmosphere is cooler today than at any time since the last big La Nina of 2000. That means more condensation. I surmise that when the sun shines in the daytime the ice crystals tend to sublimate. Presto, less ozone. Same in Antarctica. The stratosphere over the poles can get warm. But, I won’t speculate as to the reason for that.

    The natural variations in ozone are considerable. As Leif reminds us it is formed predominantly in the tropics (strength of UV) and the specific and relative humidity of the air in the tropical troposphere and the tropical stratosphere is also very much dependent upon the temperature of the tropical oceans. For a mental picture of the dynamic see: :http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/extreme/gfs/current/plan_water_000.png

    In the warmest tropical oceans extra energy tends to be resolved in evaporation rather than temperature increases. But the temperature of the tropical ocean is patchy. Added to that, the currents leak the energy away to higher latitudes. So, a lot of energy can be absorbed without a commensurate increase in evaporation. Nevertheless there is a big seasonal change in the temperature and evaporation at 10° to 20°S Lat. where albedo is least and OLR is greatest.

    Despite the strong energy gain that is expressed as temperature at 10° to 20°S. Lat. the warmest tropical waters are usually found north of the Equator. The equatorial currents feed the energy into northern hemisphere. The largest air temperature fluctuations are found north of latitude 50° in winter. In winter the energy stored in the ocean is vital. You can download data from buoys parked in the Pacific off Alaska that chart the peak and decline in North Pacific temperature. I would give you a reference but it is forgotten. Too long ago.

    I believe that both the PDO and the NAO are into negative territory. The collapse in temperatures in the tropical ocean at 10°S to 20°S began in southern hemisphere summer 2006.

  147. Erl Happ (17:49:02) :
    ‘does not slip’, of course.

    I repeat my question. How do you explain the maxima at 1hPa in March and September.
    And I repeat my answer: geomagnetic activity peaks in March and September, and it is not me, but you who has to explain something.

  148. Erl Happ (17:49:02) :
    And BTW, UV in the important band [for absorption and heating] 242-310 nm is anti-correlated with solar activity: when solar activity goes down, UV in that band goes up.

  149. Leif Svalgaard (22:49:03) :
    Then we are happy that the twin maxima at 1hPa is due to geomagnetic activity/the solar wind? In that case this becomes a mechanism that affects the incidence of UV radiation at all wave lengths regardless of variations in the intensity of the radiation itself.

    Leif Svalgaard (22:52:22) :
    And we know that ozone is energised by UVB and that UVB penetrates all the way to the ground. We also know that UVB variation is strong, even on a daily clear sky basis. So, we have a mechanism to explain the extraordinary variation in temperatures, relative humidity and condensation levels in the upper troposphere. Given that, it is not hard to see why, except in periods of gross warming like that between 1978 and 1998, the correlation between 200hPa temperature and sea surface temperature at 10°- 20°S is near perfect.

  150. Erl Happ (02:12:47) :
    Then we are happy that the twin maxima at 1hPa is due to geomagnetic activity/the solar wind? In that case this becomes a mechanism that affects the incidence of UV radiation at all wave lengths regardless of variations in the intensity of the radiation itself.
    You have to explain how that works. I can’t see that UV has anything to do with the solar wind.
    Also, the 242-310 nm UV is anti-correlated with solar activity: lower solar activity -> higher UV flux. How does that fit with your ideas?

  151. Leif Svalgaard (09:17:15) :
    The changing mix of flux of UVA, UVB, and UVC depending upon sunspot activity is not the only dynamic and this is precisely my point.

    The twin maxima at 1hPa are evidence of a solar impact on temperatures at the top of the stratosphere. Whether coincidental or not this is the time of the strongest coupling of the solar wind with the magnetosphere, and for this knowledge, laboriously gained, I have to thank you Leif. How it works in terms of the actual mechanics is a mystery except that we know that it will be related to the impact of short wave energy which does the heating. The sun is further from the Earth in July and if the level of UV irradiance were the only determinant of stratospheric temperature there could be only a single temperature maximum at the top of the stratosphere and it would be on January the third.

    Speaking of the tropics as a zone. Above 150hPa in the troposphere and into the stratosphere up to 20hPa we have August maxima that is due to the peak in OLR in mid year. OLR excites ozone. At 30hPa we have the first signs of a September lift in temperature and above that level the September peak becomes more obvious with increasing elevation.

    Below 150hPa we have Feb-March maxima that are related directly to orbital and irradiance peaks. That it is not in January is probably related to the force creating the March peak at 1hPa.

    Temperature varies more on an inter-annual basis at 200hPa in the tropics than it does on a seasonal basis. The inter-annual variation is greater than sea surface temperature variation. The seasonal variation is much smaller than sea surface temperature variation. This shows us that this is a serious dynamic and it is unrelated to surface conditions.

    The peculiar and very interesting thing is that the largest variation in monthly temperature at 200hpa, depending upon latitude, is in September. This points to a solar related variability in 200hPa temperatures that operates strongly in late year that is unrelated to irradiance levels as determined by orbital and sunspot considerations. By elimination, it must related to geomagnetic/solar wind activity, mechanism yet to be explained. If this variability were related to OLR it would be in July-August like it is in the stratosphere.

    Because we have moisture at 200hPa (above and below it too) and because temperature change influences condensation phenomena we have a solar mechanism that operates to change cloud cover. The mechanism is multi factorial. It relates to forces that can change 200hPa temperatures, (irradiance at different wave lengths) that reach into the atmosphere in a way that relates not only to orbital and sunspot cycle considerations but also to geomagnetic influences, the only influence that creates a September maximum.

    Many workers have pointed to correlations between geomagnetic activity and surface temperature. What has been lacking is a mechanism. The overlap of ozone and water vapour in the upper troposphere provides that mechanism. Because geomagnetic activity peaks are occur at different times to sunspot peaks we have a reason why the temperature cycle does not follow the sunspot cycle.

    We also have a mechanism for ENSO. What happens in the Pacific is just the most dramatic manifestation of a tropical warming event. The south east Pacific is not the only place around the world where there is a cloud free window opening and closing seasonally, much more in some seasons than others. If you look at a map of sea surface temperatures today, all the cold spots in the tropics are places where there is normally very little cloud. But since mid 2007 all these places are extraordinarily cold up at 200hPa. There is cloud there today and it is responsible for the pattern of cooling that we see.

  152. Leif Svalgaard (09:17:15) :

    “You have to explain how that works. I can’t see that UV has anything to do with the solar wind.”

    Gcr and the Ozone cycle.The photochemical mechanisms are well understood eg Paul Crutzen.It is the penetrating capability of UV during higher GCR ozone modulation.

    Rozema et al science 2002 give a reasonable overview.

    It is the secondary and tertiary PC mechanisms (reaction and autocatalytic that are coupled)

  153. Erl Happ (03:02:46) :
    Leif Svalgaard (09:17:15) :
    The twin maxima at 1hPa are evidence of a solar impact on temperatures at the top of the stratosphere.
    No, not at all. I have previously said that there could be a geomagnetic component to this, but the the preferred reason [by people that actually study this - not my cup of tea] is that the [semiannual oscillation] SAO is caused by dynamical processes [gravity waves and the like] affecting the zonal circulation at 50 km. E.g. see: http://www.ann-geophys.net/24/2131/2006/angeo-24-2131-2006.pdf
    If you look at Figure 8 of the above paper that shows the equatorial temperature anomaly from 95 km down to 15 km, you’ll see that the phase of the semiannual variation changes almost 360 degrees through the year as you go from the top (95 km) to the bottom (15 km). It is only at 50 km that the maxima are in March and September.

  154. Leif Svalgaard (13:07:48) :
    ‘dynamical processes [gravity waves and the like]‘

    There is a problem in logic and it is this. Wind is a response to temperature and density variation. Except in exceptional circumstances, i.e. close to the surface where mountains interrupt the flow of air, density variations do not spontaneously arise and cause temperature differences.

    Its one thing to name a phenomenon, plot its variations and generate models that fail to predict its performance (thus demonstrating a true failure of understanding) and it’s another thing entirely to work out the force that is driving the phenomena.

    The stratosphere owes its temperature in the main to short wave radiation from the sun. The seasonal maximum in lower stratospheric temperature occurs when ozone is excited by outgoing long wave radiation in August. That is a function of the distribution of land and sea. That peak disappears at 30hPa. Ozone itself is the product of incoming short wave radiation splitting O2. Without the ozone that maximum would disappear. We are discussing twin maxima at 1hPa (45km) in March and September, maxima that clearly overwhelm the almost 7% swing in irradiance due to orbital considerations. In the upper stratosphere we don’t have a temperature record by the month. The study you cite is based on a couple of years data. We do have a temperature record by the month at 20hPa and 30hPa in the lower and middle stratosphere that starts in 1948. Looking at that record we find that the greatest variability is in September.

    The upper stratospheric temperature maxima at 1hPa occur at the equinoxes when the sun is vertically over the equator. It is known that the solar wind couples with the Earths magnetosphere at that time resulting in peaks in geomagnetic indices as measured at the surface of the Earth. The peak in March tends to morph with the irradiance peak due to the orbital factor in January. The September peak can however be easily differentiated in data for the southern hemisphere which is cool at that time. September is the month of the greatest variation at 30hPa and also at 200hPa over the equator and also between 20° and 40°south latitude.

    Recently, temperature spikes at 100hPa (tropopause) have been found to align with the 28 day rotation period of the sun. Is that dynamical? Obviously not. It’s radiative in origin. The study you cite finds that temperature variations increase with altitude. The migrating diurnal tide shows the highest temperature in March and September with a strong variation from year to year.

    Let’s face it, we don’t know enough about ionospheric flows to work out what is happening in the atmosphere / ionospherere mix that begins above the tropopause. (lets caution about hard boundaries in a gaseous medium). We do know that when the ion count is weak due to low levels of sunspot activity (short wave radiation) radio signals do not bounce from one hemisphere to another. We also know that a well populated ionosphere reacts to geomagnetic forces because radio signals are immediately disrupted by solar wind/geomagnetic activity. Ion count is related to short wave radiation and geomagnetic activity. You seem very willing to maintain that the mass of the atmospheric column over the tropics on the dayside is invariable? What I see is an atmosphere above the tropopause that contains very little material, highly mobile, loosely held and very reactive.

    Your assertion as to the cause of these temperature variations or the nature of the atmosphere above the tropopause is not important. It is actually irrelevant to my thesis. Any reasonable observer would allow that extreme variability in temperature at the top of the stratosphere in September, that is felt with gradually diminishing amplitude down to 200hPa, would be most likely due to some factor related to the sun and its radiation rather than the Earth or ‘autonomously generated dynamical process’ that just happens to have a strongly annual periodicy.

    That same extreme in variability is present at 200hPa. So, it is also evident in the troposphere. If the variations above that level are due to ‘dynamical processes’ they begin in the troposphere where the air is sufficiently dense to create a wave when heat is applied. But that is really drawing the long bow.

    At 200hpa there is water vapour. The rest I should be able to leave to your imagination. But if not, I have a paper at http://www.happs.com.au/downloaders/The%20ENSO%20mechanism.pdf
    devoted to tracing the origins of atmospheric warmth and the implications for cloud cover and climate change.

    The long and the short of it is that ENSO is driven by the sun. ENSO is demonstrably responsible for global temperature change. Energy gain in the tropics exceeds energy loss and the size of the surplus determines winter temperatures at high latitudes. It is at high latitudes in winter time that we have seen strong warming since 1978, in both hemispheres. Prior to that, between 1948 (when the NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis record starts) and 1978 there was cooling. In mid latitudes there is no change. In low latitudes there has been a small increase in surface temperatures in summer.

    From 2006 we are seeing cooling at high latitudes, particularly north of the 50th parallel but extending southwards into subtropical China and the Great Plains areas in 2007-8.

    This is normal, natural change related to solar activity and consequent change in the Earths atmospheric albedo.

    But, there are a large number of people who do not want to hear this. They prefer to think there is a malaise in human affairs that is due to man himself. This is an old story used by witch doctors over time immemorial.

  155. It’s a machine; a heat engine that is also a huge analog computer. Don’t sacrifice my virgins, for your superstitions.
    ==========================================

  156. Erl Happ (03:57:40) :
    Your assertion as to the cause of these temperature variations or the nature of the atmosphere above the tropopause is not important. It is actually irrelevant to my thesis.
    If it is irrelevant then why do you bring it up again and again? What else is irrelevant? I have asked you innumerable times to stick to what is relevant, instead of presenting a large post with an unknown percentage of irrelevant and therefore obscuring detail.

  157. Leif,
    You deny the solar connection to cloud cover and temperature gain. You ignore the evidence. You seize on irrelevancies to challenge the thesis. What do you expect me to do?

    Perhaps you can accept that there is an overlap between ozone and water vapor in the upper regions of the tropical troposphere where temperatures are driven in large part by the sun?

  158. Erl Happ (08:25:44) :
    You seize on irrelevancies to challenge the thesis. What do you expect me to do?
    I expect you to repeat your earlier post with all the irrelevant things removed.

  159. Erl Happ (08:25:44) :
    Perhaps you can accept that there is an overlap between ozone and water vapor in the upper regions of the tropical troposphere
    I don’t know what you mean by overlap. There is ozone and H2O at all levels of the troposphere, so why ‘upper’?

  160. “You do a disservice to other readers by pretending that you understand the physics”

    “reductio ad absurdum is a process of refutation on grounds that absurd – and patently untenable consequences would ensue from accepting the item at issue”, to the effect that increased consequence of “solar forcing is support for AGW”.

    And you, dear Watson, are deluded regarding you’re facility with logic. If all crucial facts were effectively in hand, deduction, vis a vis, induction, might be sufficient to decide a point.

    In fact, setting aside the very many crucial issues remaining to be decided, we disagree on very many facts, particularly anything to do with AGW. Yes, you are in command of very many facts, but skill with their use, particulary in AGW, is not granted perforce.

    Moreover, you’ve inverted the customary relation (where by “sensitivty”, I acknowledged admits exception): decreased consequence of “solar forcing implies support for AGW”.

    So, I hear you fancy yourself a reader of Wittgenstein? Tell us more.

  161. Gary Gulrud (09:36:47) :
    In fact, setting aside the very many crucial issues remaining to be decided, we disagree on very many facts, particularly anything to do with AGW.
    So, from this I deduce that you are an ardent proponent of AGW. This was not totally clear from you previous postings, but thanks for this explicit clarification of your view.

  162. “” a possible multiplier, with giant impact measured in W/m2.””

    Not my utterance, Sir. If I maintained the obsessive concern with minutiae that some are prone to I might have edited the quote but I have an interest in encouraging others when the are conceptually accurate rather than nit-picking every detail.

    I am seldom, if ever, the smartest man in the room, why bother?

  163. “So, from this I deduce that you are an ardent proponent of AGW.”

    Perhaps Pancho can right you in the saddle once again.

  164. Gary Gulrud (11:21:43) :
    “So, from this I deduce that you are an ardent proponent of AGW.”
    Perhaps Pancho can right you in the saddle once again.

    This is no way to conduct yourself in a serious debate. Are you or are you not an ardent AGW proponent?

  165. Erl Happ (08:25:44) :
    You seize on irrelevancies to challenge the thesis. What do you expect me to do?
    I expect you to repeat your earlier post with all the irrelevant things removed and with the central thesis highlighted.

  166. “Are you or are you not an ardent AGW proponent?”

    Obviously not. What delightfully embarrassing trap have I walked into now? Tendentious, contradictory and oh, so tiresome, but a snare carefully laid, ‘eh.

    Whether large or small solar forcing cannot imply greater or lesser import to AGW. Nought plus or times nought, is nought.

  167. Gary Gulrud (12:02:23) :
    “Are you or are you not an ardent AGW proponent?”
    Obviously not.

    Yet you claim to disagree with me on this issue, so you must be.

    Whether large or small solar forcing cannot imply greater or lesser import to AGW.
    Nonsense, as you well know.

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  170. OK, I have a question. Maybe it’s a dumb one.
    Doesn’t an extended solar minimum mean a reduction in the total solar output?
    Could it be that GCR and AGW are only small effects compared to the increased or reduced output of our giant fusion heating system, the sun?
    Actually, it’s two questions isn’t it.

  171. What I mean to ask is: Isn’t there a direct heating/(relative)cooling effect from the sun that will account for most of the effects we’ll see?

    Clearly most of the AGW debate should be about how much effect it has on top of natural (Milanovich & others?) cycles. What is the percentage effect and how important that is relative to other changes.

    So what is the direct effect? Is the sun’s irradiance fluctuating in general with sun-spot activity and how much effect does that have on the earth’s temperature and climate, ignoring other effects?

    Has the sun been getting hotter and now it’s cooling down?

  172. mds (15:49:16) :
    Doesn’t an extended solar minimum mean a reduction in the total solar output?
    Yes it does. However the reduction is VERY, VERY small. Like one in a thousand or less. A 1/1000 reduction = 0.1% gives you a 0.1/4=0.025% reduction in temperature, which comes to 300K*0.025/100=0.08 degrees K, which I don’t think would bother anybody.

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