New Paper from Roy Spencer: PDO and Clouds

Global Warming as a Natural Response to Cloud Changes Associated with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO)

Reposted here from weatherquestions.com

UPDATED – 10/20/08 See discussion section 4

by Roy W. Spencer

(what follows is a simplified version of a paper I am preparing to submit GRL for publication, hopefully by the end of October 2008)

A simple climate model forced by satellite-observed changes in the Earth’s radiative budget associated with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation is shown to mimic the major features of global average temperature change during the 20th Century – including two-thirds of the warming trend. A mostly-natural source of global warming is also consistent with mounting observational evidence that the climate system is much less sensitive to carbon dioxide emissions than the IPCC’s climate models simulate.

1. Introduction

For those who have followed my writings and publications in the last 18 months (e.g. Spencer et al., 2007), you know that we are finding satellite evidence that the climate system could be much less sensitive to greenhouse gas emissions than the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) climate models suggest.

To show that we are not the only researchers who have documented evidence contradicting the IPCC models, I made the following figure to contrast the IPCC-projected warming from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide with the warming that would result if the climate sensitivity is as low as implied by various kinds of observational evidence. The dashed line represents our recent apples-to-apples comparison between satellite-based feedback estimates and IPCC model-diagnosed feedbacks, all computed from 5-year periods (Spencer and Braswell, 2008a):

Fig. 1. Projected warming (assumed here to occur by 2100) from a doubling of atmospheric CO2 from the IPCC versus from various observational indicators. (click for larger image)

The discrepancy between the models and observations seen in Fig. 1 is stark. If the sensitivity of the climate system is as low as some of these observational results suggest, then the IPCC models are grossly in error, and we have little to fear from manmade global warming.

But an insensitive climate system would ALSO mean that the warming we have seen in the last 100 years can not be explained by increasing CO2 alone. This is because the radiative forcing from the extra CO2 would simply be too weak to cause the ~0.7 deg. C warming between 1900 and 2000… there must be some natural warming process going on as well.

Here I present new evidence that most of the warming could actually be the result of a natural cycle in cloud cover forced by a well-known mode of natural climate variability: the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

2. A Simple Model of Natural Global Warming

As Joe D’Aleo and others have pointed out for years, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) has experienced phase shifts that coincided with the major periods of warming and cooling in the 20th Century. As can be seen in the following figure, the pre-1940 warming coincided with the positive phase of the PDO; then, a slight cooling until the late 1970s coincided with a negative phase of the PDO; and finally, the warming since the 1970s has once again coincided with the positive phase of the PDO.

Fig. 2. Variations in (a) global-average surface temperature, and (b) the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) index during 1900-2000. (click for larger image)

Others have noted that the warming in the 1920s and 1930s led to media reports of decreasing sea ice cover, Arctic and Greenland temperatures just as warm as today, and the opening up of the Northwest Passage in 1939 and 1940.

Since this timing between the phase of the PDO and periods of warming and associated climate change seems like more than mere coincidence, I asked the rather obvious question: What if this known mode of natural climate variability (the PDO) caused a small fluctuation in global-average cloud cover?

Such a cloud change would cause the climate system to go through natural fluctuations in average temperature for extended periods of time. The IPCC simply assumes that this kind of natural cloud variability does not exist, and that the Earth stays in a perpetual state of radiative balance that has only been recently disrupted by mankind’s greenhouse gas emissions. (This is an assumption that many of us meteorologists find simplistic and dubious, at best.)

I used a very simple energy balance climate model, previously suggested to us by Isaac Held and Piers Forster, to investigate this possibility. In this model I ran many thousands of combinations of assumed: (1) ocean depth (through which heat is mixed on multi-decadal to centennial time scales), (2) climate sensitivity, and (3) cloud cover variations directly proportional to the PDO index values.

In effect, I asked the model to show me what combinations of those model parameters yielded a temperature history approximately like that seen during 1900-2000. And here’s an average of all of the simulations that came close to the observed temperature record:


Fig. 3. A simple energy balance model driven by cloud changes associated with the PDO can explain most of the major features of global-average temperature fluctuations during the 20th Century. The best model fits had assumed ocean mixing depths around 800 meters, and feedback parameters of around 3 Watts per square meter per degree C. (click for larger image)

The “PDO-only” (dashed) curve indeed mimics the main features of the behavior of global mean temperatures during the 20th Century — including two-thirds of the warming trend. If I include transient CO2 forcing with the PDO-forced cloud changes (solid line labeled PDO+CO2), then the fit to observed temperatures is even closer.

It is important to point out that, in this exercise, the PDO itself is not an index of temperature; it is an index of radiative forcing which drives the time rate of change of temperature.

Now, the average PDO forcing that was required by the model for the two curves in Fig. 3 ranged from 1.7 to 2.0 Watts per square meter per PDO index value. In other words, for each unit of the PDO index, 1.7 to 2.0 Watts per square meter of extra heating was required during the positive phase of the PDO, that much cooling during the negative phase of the PDO.

But what evidence do we have that any such cloud-induced changes in the Earth’s radiative budget are actually associated with the PDO? I address that question in the next section.

3. Satellite Evidence for Radiative Budget Changes Forced by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation

To see whether there is any observational evidence that the PDO has associated changes in global-average cloudiness, I used NASA Terra satellite measurements of reflected solar (shortwave, SW) and emitted infrared (longwave, LW) radiative fluxes over the global oceans from the CERES instrument during 2000-2005, and compared them to recent variations in the PDO index. The results can be seen in the following figure:

Fig. 4. Three-month running averages of (a) the PDO index during 2000-2005, and (b) corresponding CERES-measured anomalies in the global ocean average radiative budget, with and without the feedback component removed (see Fig. 5). The smooth curves are 2nd order polynomial fits to the data. (click for larger image)

But before a comparison to the PDO can be made, one must recognize that the total radiative flux measured by CERES is a combination of forcing AND feedback (e.g. Gregory et al., 2002; Forster and Gregory, 2006). So, we first must estimate and remove the feedback component to extract any potential radiative forcing associated with the PDO.

As Spencer and Braswell (2008b) have shown with a simple model, the radiative feedback signature in globally-averaged radiative flux versus temperature data is always highly correlated, while the time-varying radiative forcing signature of internal climate fluctuations is uncorrelated because the forcing and temperature response are always 90 degrees out of phase.

The following figure shows the “feedback stripes” associated with intraseasonal fluctuations in the climate system, and the corresponding feedback estimate (8.3 Watts per square meter per degree C) that I removed from the data to get the “forcing-only” curve in Fig. 4b.

Fig. 5. Three-month running averages of global oceanic radiative flux changes versus tropospheric temperature changes (from AMSU channel 5, see Christy et al., 2003), used to estimate the feedback component of the radiative fluxes so it could be removed to get the forcing (see Fig. 4b). (click for larger image)

(Note that this feedback estimate is not claimed to represent long-term climate sensitivity; it is instead the feedback occurring on intraseasonal and interannual time scales which is mixed in with an unknown amount of internally-generated radiative forcing, probably due to clouds.)

When the feedback is removed, we see a good match in Fig. 4 between the low-frequency behavior of the PDO and the radiative forcing (which is presumably due to clouds). Second-order polynomials were fit to the time series in Fig. 4 and compared to each other to arrive at the PDO-scaling factor of 1.9 Watts per square meter per PDO index value.

It is significant that the observed scale factor (1.9) that converts the PDO index into units of heating or cooling is just what the model required (1.7 to 2.0) to best explain the temperature behavior during the 20th Century. Thus, these recent satellite measurements – even though they span less than 6 years — support the Pacific Decadal Oscillation as a potential major player in global warming and climate change.

4. Discussion

The evidence continues to mount that the IPCC models are too sensitive, and therefore produce too much global warming. If climate sensitivity is indeed considerably less than the IPCC claims it to be, then increasing CO2 alone can not explain recent global warming. The evidence presented here suggests that most of that warming might well have been caused by cloud changes associated with a natural mode of climate variability: the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

The IPCC has simply assumed that mechanisms of climate change like that addressed here do not exist. But that assumption is quite arbitrary and, as shown here, very likely wrong. My use of only PDO-forced variations in the Earth’s radiative energy budget to explain two-thirds of the global warming trend is no less biased than the IPCC’s use of carbon dioxide to explain global warming without accounting for natural climate variability. If any IPCC scientists would like to dispute that claim, please e-mail me at roy.spencer (at) nsstc.uah.edu.

If the PDO has recently entered into a new, negative phase, then we can expect that global average temperatures, which haven’t risen for at least seven years now, could actually start to fall in the coming years. The recovery of Arctic sea ice now underway might be an early sign that this is indeed happening.

I am posting this information in advance of publication because of its potential importance to pending EPA regulations or congressional legislation which assume that carbon dioxide is a major driver of climate change. Since the mainstream news media now refuse to report on peer-reviewed scientific articles which contradict the views of the IPCC, Al Gore, and James Hansen, I am forced to bypass them entirely.

We need to consider the very real possibility that carbon dioxide – which is necessary for life on Earth and of which there is precious little in the atmosphere – might well be like the innocent bystander who has been unjustly accused of a crime based upon little more than circumstantial evidence.

REFERENCES
Christy, J. R., R. W. Spencer, W. B. Norris, W. D. Braswell, and D. E. Parker (2003),
Error estimates of version 5.0 of MSU/AMSU bulk atmospheric temperatures, J.
Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 20, 613- 629.

Douglass, D.H., and R. S. Knox, 2005. Climate forcing by volcanic eruption of Mount
Pinatubo. Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, doi:10.1029/2004GL022119.

Forster, P. M., and J. M. Gregory (2006), The climate sensitivity and its components
diagnosed from Earth Radiation Budget data, J. Climate, 19, 39-52.

Gregory, J.M., R.J. Stouffer, S.C.B. Raper, P.A. Stott, and N.A. Rayner (2002), An
observationally based estimate of the climate sensitivity, J. Climate, 15, 3117-3121.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2007), Climate Change 2007: The Physical
Science Basis, report, 996 pp., Cambridge University Press, New York City.

Schwartz, S. E. (2007), Heat capacity, time constant, and sensitivity of the Earth’s
climate system. J. Geophys. Res., 112, doi:10.1029/2007JD008746.

Spencer, R.W., W. D. Braswell, J. R. Christy, and J. Hnilo (2007), Cloud and radiation
budget changes associated with tropical intraseasonal oscillations, Geophys. Res.
Lett., 34, L15707, doi:10.1029/2007GL029698.

Spencer, R.W., and W.D. Braswell (2008a), Satellite measurements reveal a climate
system less sensitive than in models, Geophys. Res. Lett., submitted.

Spencer, R.W., and W.D. Braswell (2008b), Potential biases in cloud feedback diagnosis:
A simple model demonstration, J. Climate, November 1.

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137 Responses to New Paper from Roy Spencer: PDO and Clouds

  1. Graeme Rodaughan says:

    I look forward to seeing this paper in the GRL. I wonder how long it will take the MSM to catch up with the published science.

    Warming sensitivity to CO2 has always been a grey area that has been crying out for physical observations and empiracle evidence to determine the actual sensitivity rather than the best guess estimates of the climate models.

  2. Bob Tisdale says:

    Dr. Spencer: Assuming you’re monitoring this post, have you used NINO3.4 SST anomaly data in place of PDO data in any of your runs? The curves are very similar. (See note)

    And if the PDO is an aftereffect of ENSO, as discussed in the following paper (Newman et al 2003), NINO3.4 would be the ultimate driver. Refer to their conclusions: “The PDO is dependent upon ENSO on all timescales.”

    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/people/gilbert.p.compo/Newmanetal2003.pdf

    Note: The PDO data used in the above comparison with NINO3.4 SST anomaly data is the ERSST.v3 version, not the regularly used JISAO version. However, there is very little difference between the JISAO version and the two ERSST versions of the PDO.

    Regards.

  3. Robert Wood says:

    Look, this man is in the pay of Big Tobacco. How could you possibly give him any credence.

    …OK I’m making a poignant joke…

  4. Ellie In Belfast says:

    Wow! I’ve only had a quick read and I’m really looking forward to reading this properly.

    As a result of the 02 Oct post (“Ireland has 30 year cold event, plus coldest September in 14 years”) I thought I’d find out a bit more about what was happening in my own back yard. I looked at the publications coming out of Armagh (Butler et al. etc.) and note that they link rainfall to the NAO (http://climate.arm.ac.uk/publications/precipitation.pdf), and also note “A 7.8 year periodicity is identified in winter and spring mean temperatures at Armagh, which is probably a consequence of the North Atlantic oscillation.” (see http://www.arm.ac.uk/preprints/445.pdf).

    With a maritime climate and few extremes I thought Ireland might be a good place to show up solar cycle effects. Yup! Several papers going as far back as 1994 and even a 2006 one from NASA (http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/papers/wilsorm/WilsonHathaway2006c.pdf). BUT this ends:
    “In conclusion, this study has shown that solar/geomagnetic cycle forcing is embedded in the annual mean temperatures at Armagh Observatory, Northern Ireland. Removal of this effect, however, does not fully explain, especially, the rapid rise in temperatures now being experienced, this possibly being a strong indication that humankind is contributing to climatic change.”

    So my question now is can PDO/NAO effects, combined with solar cycles, explain the recent rises?

    I know this is only one site, but it has already been held up as a good proxy for the NH and globe.

  5. kim says:

    I think I’ve never heard so loud
    The quiet message in a cloud.
    ====================

  6. Werner Weber says:

    I have the following questions concerning Dr. Spencer’s very interesting paper:

    1) He argues:’..we are finding satellite evidence that the climate system could be much less sensitive to greenhouse gas emissions than….IPCC climate models suggest.’
    As I understand, these models include the ‘bare’ anthropogenic CO2 greenhouse effect’, as calculated, e.g., along the lines of the Kiehl/Trenberth paper. Dr. R.S. Lindzen argues since long that the bare Greenhouse effect has to be ‘renormalized’ due to enhanced latent heat transport by additional water vapor into the upper tropsphere. According to Lindzen, this negative feedback effect outweighs any positive feedback due to additional water vapor greenhouse effect, as water vapor has very similar absorption and emission properties as has CO2 (on both sides of the maximum black body radiation, leaving room for the so-called atmospheric window). Thus, water vapor, due to its much higher concentration than CO2, will definitely be in the logarithmic limit. To my knowledge, positive water vapor feedback is assumed in many (if not all?) climate models.
    With Lindzen’s argument, the CO2 warming effect may be reduced to someting of order 1/3 of the bare effect.
    My question, would Dr. Spencer see the reason for the small sensitivity of greenhouse gase emissions in arguments like those given by Dr. Lindzen?

    2) Dr. Spencer proposes a model of cloud changes driven by the pacific decadal oscillation. I assume, it means more clouds during the ‘cold’ phase and less clouds during the ‘warm’ phase. However, as I understand ‘oscillation’, this means a variation around a certain average. Yet, there is also a linear increase in temperature in his PDO only model. How does this linear increase come about?

    3) The PDO oscillations fit very well to the global temperature oscillations of the 20. century, even better than ENSO. Why not just assume that the sea surface temperatures drive the troposspheric temperatures? What is the necessity to invoke cloud changes?

  7. Roy Spencer says:

    Bob:

    I’ve only tried the PDO for forcing, because its behavior looked like a forcing mechanism for temperature change, not an index of temperature — which is what clouds do.

    -Roy

  8. H says:

    Repent and say after me:

    There is only one cause of climate change and no other cause of climate change but man-made CO2.

    There is only one cause of climate change and no other cause of climate change but man-made CO2.

    There is only one cause of climate change and no other cause of climate change but man-made CO2.

  9. MattN says:

    Roy, good luck on the publication. I cite your work often concerning the alleged positive feedback of water vapor that your analysis of AQUA data seems to debunk.

    Keep up the excellent work.

    Matt

  10. Roy Spencer (15:33:51) :
    PDO – temperature change, not an index of temperature — which is what clouds do.

    So, if I understand correctly, the PDO is a measure of dT/dt, so as long is PDO is positive, the temperature T will keep going up, when PDO is negative T will drop. The long-term upwards trend in T is thus caused by PDO being positive more often than negative.

  11. Dishman says:

    It’s worth noting that the upper bound on resonance of stochastic oscillators is not set by limits of gain, but rather by SNR.

    I offer that the PDO, ENSO and others generally match the characteristics of stochastic oscillators.

    Something else to contemplate is the response to a linear (over time) change to the forcing function. They will typically exhibit one or more sharp spike responses before returning to near the original baseline.

    This all may be irrelevant. Salt to taste.

  12. TerryBixler says:

    Dr. Spencer
    Thank you for your posting. It seems to match the actual climate. The great harm that has been done to science that has been led by NASA and the IPCC will take many years of recovery. I hope that your posting and preview is widely read and considered. Maybe this AGW madness will come to an end. As a side note I was shocked by your treatment by congress.

  13. BarryW says:

    Dr. Spencer, is the thermometer data in figure 3 land-ocean and what is the source? HadCRUT3? Given possible UHI and siting problems with the Land data, it would appear that your model would fit better against just the ocean temperature data. Would it be a reasonable argument to just use the ocean data?

  14. Graeme Rodaughan says:

    @Roy,

    Given that you are reading this site.

    Thanks for your work.

    One of my principle concerns is the apparent politicisation of science and the loss of reference of science back to “objectively gathered and independently tested” data.

    I’m also concerned with the apparent absence of clearly stated falsification criteria in the current AGW hypothesis.

    Could you please direct me to any statements in the AGW literature that would count as falsification criteria?

    Thanks

  15. Leon Brozyna says:

    Having a rather skeptical bias, I admit that the following line, early in Roy Spencer’s post, really caught my eye:
    The IPCC simply assumes that this kind of natural cloud variability does not exist, and that the Earth stays in a perpetual state of radiative balance that has only been recently disrupted by mankind’s greenhouse gas emissions.

    This confirms, in my mind, something I’ve thought all along, that the AGW position is that the climate is essentially in stasis and it’s only due to mankind’s introduction of CO2 that this stasis has been disrupted. There are far more powerful disruptors at play here than a minor trace gas, starting with that little yellow orb that appears in the sky every day. And just look at the massive amounts of heat radiation that are absorbed by the oceans and how the periodic release/absorption of that energy by the oceans serve to magnify or dampen short term solar effects.

    It is good to see such a well written article appear here, probing the weak underpinnings of AGW dogma. Let us just hope that mankind doesn’t commit economic suicide on the basis of such flimsy fantasy as has been presented by AGW proponents.

  16. Joel Shore says:

    Dr. Spencer,

    In Fig. 1, the estimate you show from Schwartz appears to be based on his original 2007 paper. However, in his reply to the comments he received on that paper, he has a new estimate for the climate sensitivity is 1.9 K, as opposed to 1.1 K (see here: http://www.ecd.bnl.gov/pubs/BNL-80226-2008-JA.pdf )

  17. Pingback: STAY WARM, WORLD… Roger Carr « Stay Warm, World…

  18. Jim Powell says:

    Why did you leave out the AMO?

  19. anna v says:

    Figure 1 could be an effective PR point, to counter the hockey stick, if the colors and scales change.

    Red draws the eye and blue represses. I would suggest a neutral color for the IPCC and a strong color for the rest, maybe a band also, so ti catches politicians’ attention.

    A carefully phrased caption could draw attention to how, even with the large uncertainties of the IPCC, the predictions are off. ( I keep reminding that the IPCC band is not a confidence interval in the true statistical sense but what the modelers believe is a confidence interval, but that is fine print for politicians)

    I am saying this because the objectives of Dr. Spencer are stated as:

    “I am posting this information in advance of publication because of its potential importance to pending EPA regulations or congressional legislation which assume that carbon dioxide is a major driver of climate change. Since the news media now refuses to report on peer-reviewed scientific articles which contradict the views of the IPCC, Al Gore, and James Hansen, I am forced to bypass them entirely.”

    Figure 3 is also good for catching the eye, except the color should be bright, and the explanation next to the curve should say:

    next to CO2, “without IPCC water feedback”

    and on the right of the figure a highlight of how little extra something is needed to fit the temperature curve, instead of the IPCC chunk of .4 anthropogenic with water feedback.

    The hockey stick should have taught us that we have to make plots sexy, more so even when they state the truth, for politicians.

    The rest of the figures are for the cognoscenti.

  20. evanjones says:

    Why did you leave out the AMO?

    I assume that would be because he is using NAO instead.

    Dr. Spencer, you honor us with your presence. Thank you for your contributions.

    I have been looking at he “Big Six” (PDO, IPO, NOA, AMO, AO, AAO) plus the Indian Ocean temperature records (which go back quite some time) and considering the combined effects. (I need to write up my observations, but I’ve been delayed.)

    I also figured that there was a 20th-century TSI rise of c. 0.2% and a temperature rise of c. 0.4%. Toss in McKitrick & Michaels (Dec. 2007). That figures that surface station site violations (as documented by the Rev) cause a twofold exaggeration of temperature.

    Take it together and it’s a near-perfect match.

    I’ve never been a sun worshiper (more of a sea witch, actually), but it seems quite possible that the sun provides the underlay and the oceanic-atmospheric multidecadal cycles provide the oscillation. At least it seems to fit the events of the 20th century.

  21. RobJM says:

    Water vapor positive feedback is physically impossible. You cannot trigger a reaction that is already occurring. Negative feedback must occur when a system is at equilibrium (Le Chateliers principle).

    Keep up the good work Roy
    Are you sure you trust the CO2 forcing Values? I don’t!

  22. Flanagan says:

    Well, what is this? “You cannot trigger a reaction that is already occuring”?

    I would sugest you to read some basic nonlinear literature, including treshold effects in dynamical systems.

    But going back to the paper: most of the studies about natural variability indicate that the CO2-based warming kind of surpassed the other “natural” causes of warming since the 70s. The simulation results hereby plotted just corroborate this (see Fig. 3). The PDO-only results seem to go allright till the 70s.

    In the 75-now period, the PDO-only model gives DT = 0.28 (at most) and measurements something like 0.58. This is something like 30 percent. In the 1990-now period PDO-only gives DT=0.05-0.07, while mesaurements give something like 0.3, roughly 20 to 25%. Actually, it could be done more systematically, but these results in fact prove once again that other-than-CO2 based models are ok for the beginning of the century, but their failure goes up as time goes by. Note that it is the same for sun-temps correlations.

  23. evanjones (23:32:30) :
    I also figured that there was a 20th-century TSI rise of c. 0.2%
    Over the past decade, there has been a re-assessment of TSI. The current view is that there has been no or little long-term change, so the 0.2% rise is very likely spurious:

    http://www.astro.phys.ethz.ch/papers/haberreiter/Schoell_subm2007.pdf [see Figure 4]

  24. Rob R says:

    Flanagan.

    I think you need to re-read the most recent paper by McKitrick and Michaels. This basically eliminates about 50% of the warming from the second half of the 20th century. Much of the supposed warming is an artifact of poorly sited climate stations (see the surface stations project and extensive coverage here and at Climate Audit), urban heat islands etc.

    This basically kills your argument that CO2 is the primary recent culprit, and means that natural causes can indeed explain the residual that is the genuine global temperature change.

    Rob R

  25. Dodgy Geezer says:

    “Repent and say after me:
    There is only one cause of climate change and no other cause of climate change but man-made CO2.
    There is only one cause of climate change and no other cause of climate change but man-made CO2.

    H

    Time for another recitation of the Creed, I believe:

    I believe in Global Warming,
    which will destroy heaven and earth unless we change our ways.
    I believe in Al Gore,
    Who conceived of the Internet
    and the hockey-stick graph, born of Professor Mann.
    It suffered under McIntyre and McKitrick,
    was crucified, disproven, and was buried.
    It was cast on the reject pile.
    On the third day It rose again.
    It was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science,
    and is displayed in a prominent position in all IPCC literature.
    It will apply again as soon as global temperatures start rising.
    I believe in the CO2 tipping point,
    the IPCC Assessment Reports,
    a CO2 sensitivity figure of over 4 C/W,
    the accuracy of GCMS,
    an anthropic cause for all climate variation after 1970,
    and grants everlasting. AMEN.

  26. Stephen Wilde says:

    An interesting article and set of comments the gist of which seems to support my various articles here:

    http://co2sceptics.com/news.php?tag=stephen+wilde

    and in particular ‘The Hot Water Bottle Effect’.

    The main question remaining unresolved, as pointed out by Leif elsewhere, is whether solar changes are involved in producing a global temperature outcome when combined with net overall global oceanic oscillations

    My contention is that the solar and oceanic phases need to combine in the same mode in order to produce rapid warming or cooling.

  27. Jean Meeus says:

    TerryBixler wrote:

    “The great harm that has been done to science that has been led by NASA and the IPCC will take many years of recovery. I hope that your posting and preview is widely read and considered. Maybe this AGW madness will come to an end.”

    Alas, today in a Belgian newspaper there is a text saying that according to the WWF the climate is changing “faster, stronger, sooner”. Every report says that the situation is worse than the previous report said. If this continues, they will say that by the year 2050 the oceans will be boiling.

  28. JamesG says:

    And if PDO and ENSO are linked then they are both seemingly linked to the rotation speed of the planet. See here:

    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2003/0210rotation.html

    So, it is still possible for an AGW proponent to say that pdo is hence caused by man warming the atmosphere unless you get an external mechanism for the rotation changes in which case you can switch cause and effect. Ergo Dr Spencers argument doesn’t really change much in the debate I think.

  29. Here is the HADCRUT3 land/ocean + SST data, plus JISAO PDO which mimics Roy Spencer’s first two graphs, if anyone wants to play:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1900/mean:36/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1900/mean:36/plot/jisao-pdo/mean:36/scale:0.25

  30. Chris H says:

    Having a skeptical nature, not only do I find the AGW claims suspect, but I also have some difficulty believing Roy’s particular explanation of temperature increases:

    I can believe that cloud cover is (roughly) proportional to the PDO. But I find it hard to believe that temperature is NOT (inversely) proportional to cloud cover, but instead the *rate* of temperature change is claimed proportional to cloud cover.

    I.e. Why would reduced cloud cover cause temperatures to climb “forever”, while increased cloud cover cause temperature to drop “forever”?

    The best explanation I can see is that temperatures would take a long time to reach equilibrium when cloud cover changes, and in the short term this would cause the rate of temperature change to be dependant on cloud cover. But then, why would temperatures take a long time to reach equilibrium with cloud cover?

  31. Alex Llewelyn says:

    This is probably one of the most ridiculously alarmist articles I’ve seen in a newspaper:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2008/10/20/eawwf120.xml

    It’s from the telegraph.

  32. Jerry says:

    Flanagan

    Yes, point taken, but in that case why does the CO2 increase that has been going on for a couple of hundred years only start triggering effects now? Could it not be that with the advent of satellite observations less attention was paid to the quality of temperature observations and in fact the sole cause of the apparent acceleration in temperature increase since the seventies is poor temperature recording (since practically all errors in station siting and maintenance cause a systematic error in the positive direction)?

    Just a thought

  33. Nick Yates says:

    Flanagan (00:15:58) :

    > In the 1990-now period PDO-only gives DT=0.05-0.07, while mesaurements >give something like 0.3, roughly 20 to 25%.

    If natural warming was only resposible for 20% as I think you suggest, then take away natural warming and you should still be left with 80% of the previous warming? In reality global temperatures are flat or falling, which by your argument should be impossible.

  34. Flanagan,

    what is your point? If you merely say that CO2 does have some capacity for driving temps, that’s alright. But if you somehow imply that the results speaks for the IPCC, then bear in mind that the argument between sceptics and the IPCC is about sensitivity (well, and CO2 lifetime in the atmosphere etc). Spencers results certainly indicates a low sensitivity.

  35. DavidK says:

    Roy says “increasing CO2 alone can not explain recent global warming.”
    No one is disputing this.

    He also says “the evidence presented here suggests that MOST (my emphasis) of that warming MIGHT (my emphasis) well have been caused by cloud changes associated with a natural mode of climate variability: the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.”
    I hope he is on to something, he could pull-off a Nobel, time will tell.

    Notwithstanding, it would be prudent to tread with caution. While AGW is only but a symptom, more effort should be invested in environmental, ecological and economic sustainability.

    My fear is we (humanity) have not the capacity to do what is required.

  36. JamesG says:

    For some reason I’m reminded of two Bolivian Glaciologists who, after having discovered that the Bolivian glaciers were disappearing not due to global warming as they had previously suspected, but due to the increased occurrence of el niños. They then decided that it didn’t make any difference because the el niños were increasing due to global warming. Why of course! Get ready for similarly vacuous arguments about this paper.

  37. Leif mentioned that the theory seems to be that PDO is related to dT/dt. Here’s a test of that theory (using SST) which seems quite interesting:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1900/compress:60/derivative/plot/jisao-pdo/compress:60/scale:0.25

    This shows the dT/dt between 5-year mean temperatures (note using ‘compress’ period means rather than the usual ‘mean’ running mean, to drop the noise)

  38. Jørgen F. says:

    Flanagan,

    …but these results in fact prove once again that other-than-kangaroo based models are ok for the beginning of the century, but their failure goes up as time goes by. Note that it is the same for sun-temps correlations.

    And because we don’t care that kangaroos existed before the 70s and because the number of kangaroos have increased significantly since the 70s, they must be the reason behind global warming. Everybody knows if you put your hand inside the kangaroos pouch it get warm.

    Questions ? No – I think we reached consensus.

  39. Slamdunk says:

    H (15:37:20) :

    Repent and say after me:

    There is only one cause of climate change and no other cause of climate change but man-made CO2.

    There is only one cause of climate change and no other cause of climate change but man-made CO2.

    There is only one cause of climate change and no other cause of climate change but man-made CO2.

    Slam: Repent and say after me

    As CO2 levels rise to record levels, temperatures continue to drop.
    As CO2 levels rise to record levels, temperatures continue to drop.
    As CO2 levels rise to record levels, temperatures continue to drop.
    :)

  40. JamesG says:

    Flanagan
    In your critique you’ve failed to notice that the CO2 rise by itself is a far worse fit to both the post 70’s temp plot and the 20th century temp plot than either the pdo fit above or the solar fit elsewhere. This is the oddity I continually find with warmists – they quite happily hand-wave with positive feedback, aerosols, noise and even pdo to explain all the bumps in the temperature plot that the CO2 rise by itself can’t explain but they never consider that you need far fewer hand-waves to fit a natural variation plot. Eg using popular warmist arguments in different way:
    1. Temps should have plateaued in 1950 just like the sunspots plot but then aerosols increased after the war causing cooling until the clean air act brought the situation back to normal.
    2. The lack of amplitude correlation from 1985 is obviously just weather noise. Expect the temps to shoot down again soon in line with current solar activity.
    3. You need to look longer term. Just compare that sunspot/tsi trend from the start of the century compared to the temperature trend. It’s so obvious!

    Svensmark cunningly used this same technique to get a better sun-temperature correlation by firstly using temp plots other than GISS/Hadley, removing volcano effects and adding H20 positive feedback.

    It’s surely fun to just make things up as you go along without having to bother with real proof. However we skeptics can identify this hand-waving as unscientific opportunism but warmists somehow mange to call it “evidence”: They remain quite happy seeing exactly what they want to see and believing what they want to believe without even considering just how much abject guesswork is needed to build the case for CO2. One day they might realize that lack of correlation for one guess doesn’t mean that another guess with even less correlation must be correct.

  41. John says:

    You do realize that heretics are burned in newsprint for this kind of thing?

  42. moptop says:

    “but these results in fact prove once again that other-than-CO2 based models are ok for the beginning of the century, but their failure goes up as time goes by.” -Flanagan.

    I don’t know anybody who seriously reads this stuff that doubts some effect of CO2, the question is how much. As noted in the original post, there is a term for CO2 forcing, it is just smaller than the IPCC claims. Can you show from the measurements that the forcing is as large as is claimed by the IPCC? Otherwise you are arguing with your own conception of what a skeptic believes. Not an uncommon trait among warmies.

  43. W. v. Witsch says:

    From an interested physicist: Flanagan: “the 75-now period”:

    The sulfate aerosol optical depth has decreased strongly since about 1985 (see. e.g., Streets et al., GRL 2006, and Chylek et al. , JGR 2007). The resulting increase in solar radiation incident on the Earth’s surface of several W/m2 (Wild et al., Science 2005, Pinker et al., Science 2005) should be more than enough to explain the “missing” temperature rise in R. Spencer’s curve between 1980 and now.

    To include a note to that effect would help to strengthen R. Spencer’s arguments in his new paper.

  44. Marc says:

    This is a bit off topic but I wasn’t sure where to put it. It seems that lots of published research may be wrong more often than not.

    http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/10/19/172254

  45. Bill in Vigo says:

    Dr. Roy Spencer,
    It is so good to read one’s work that isn’t in the camp of the shove it down your throat team. It is good to have some one that is available to criticism with out the holier than thou replies. I do thank you for your good works and for the introduction of new data and new studies into the study of our changing climate. It makes one wonder who are the real disbelievers, those that refuse new data or those that go our and find new data and study it. Thank you so much for your work and don’t let the warmist wear you down.

    Thanks again for work well done,
    Bill Derryberry

  46. Pierre Gosselin says:

    Spencer’s Blasphemy!
    Dr Spencer’s assertions run counter to overwhelming scientific consensus! How dare him! Prosecute him now for crimes against Nature!
    ———
    Seriously,
    In the 1970s in the field of medicine there was another scientist, Harald zur Hausen, who also actually had the audacity to reject existing scientific consensus, claiming a virus caused cervical cancer. He was labelled a misfit, and endured ridicule from colleagues. “Everyone knows viruses don’t cause cancer!”

    Well, it turns out he was right, and the vast CONSENSUS WAS DEAD WRONG.
    Last week Dr. zur Hausen was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology for his “renegade” work, and deservedly so.

    Thanks to German Journalist Dirk Maxeiner for pointing this out.

    http://www.achgut.com/dadgdx/index.php/dadgd/article/wenn_sich_alle_einig_sind/

    Dr Spencer, you are a true, uncorrupted scientist. Over time you and others like you will get the credit you are owed.

  47. lichanos says:

    Re: anna v:

    The hockey stick should have taught us that we have to make plots sexy, more so even when they state the truth, for politicians.

    First of all, I hate this debasement of concepts inherent in the rampant use of the word “sexy.” I happend to like sex, and sexiness. It’s not a bad thing.

    Second, all presentations of data in charts, maps, tables, etc., are intended to communicate, inform, tell a story. To the extent that the presenter has a clear idea to convey, the story is biased. This is fine, not dishonest. You want to make sure people understand what you are saying.

    So, finally, the truth shall make you sexy! If you have a chart that is important, make it look good! That doesn’t mean deceiving, it means clear, forceful, and legible. There are many good examples of this in books to copy. Does the scientific community think there is value in graphic presentation of data that puts people off, confuses them, or simply bores them? This accomplishes nothing.

    Design clarity and aesthetic value serve the truth. I conclude my rant.

    This is a wonderful blog!

  48. Mike Bryant says:

    I have a prediction. Within three weeks a study will come out saying that clouds have nothing to do with climate and the models are correct.

  49. Tim Clark says:

    Anthony,
    Excellent work. I have been a lurker for quite some time, but my blogging (and text messaging) skills are inadequate. However, I couldn’t let this one pass.

    TerryBixler (17:22:07)
    (As a side note I was shocked by your treatment by congress.)
    Quite the understatement.

    Roy: I was embarrassed by the ignorance of Pelosi, disgusted (moreso each day) with Dumocrats, and ashamed of my Congress in general. Keep the faith!

    Ellie In Belfast (15:12:45) : Where have you been hiding this.
    Leif: It’s the holy grail of solar influence!!!

    (http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/papers/wilsorm/WilsonHathaway2006c.pdf). BUT this ends:
    “In conclusion, this study has shown that solar/geomagnetic cycle forcing is embedded in the annual mean temperatures at Armagh Observatory, Northern Ireland. Removal of this effect, however, does not fully explain, especially, the rapid rise in temperatures now being experienced, this possibly being a strong indication that humankind is contributing to climatic change.”

    Also, perhaps more important, this paper contradicts the arbitrary and fallacious determination that 30 years constitutes a climate cycle, as the authors determine and admit longer term 66 year climate influences.
    Words from the Savior-must be gospel.

    Understandably, a localized event, but I concur with Pelke ie. global models distort regional variations. This paper must be followed with other regional analysis (pl?).
    My hypothesis (as a degreed (pedigreed?) soil scientist/plant physiologist) is that a portion of the slight solar energy variation is stored in the ocean, to be released later. In this regard Leif, what is the time value of the .1W/m2 oft quoted solar variation. Is there a publication that has determined the total energy/year or /solar cycle, etc?

  50. Raven says:

    Leif,

    How does your work on TSI affect the prevailing theory that the holoscene optimum temperatures were higher than today because of orbital variations? Are the orbital variations large enough to explain the temperatures with direct TSI effects?

  51. Flanagan says:

    Well, wel,l well…

    First Rob, I suppose you will also say that satelite-based measurements are not reliable because of the location of thermometers, right? If the author assumes Hadcrut to be reliable for fitting its model, then you cannot say that it is unreliable when it doesn’t serve your cause. Here, we start with the idea that HadCrut is a correct indicator.

    For the rest of you, this study does not only show that CO2-based feedbacks play a role in the global temperature, but also that this role has an increasing importance. For some reason, the role of CO2 is most important since the 70s, but don’t ask me why. Maybe the feedbacks begin to become important only after some CO2 level is reached – I’m not a specialist.

  52. Bobby Lane says:

    Evan,

    I think you and I (and probably others too) share the same expected conclusions: that variable solar inputs plus oceanic oscillations plus cloud variability explains the great majority of the temperature changes we have seen over the last century (referencing Dr. Spencer’s timeline). A small slice could be given to CO2-forced warming too – something I myself have never doubted, but like Dr. Spencer I don’t think it is anywhere near as potent as the IPCC makes it in their models.

    Does HadCRUT use the same ground stations that GISS does? And is he choosing that, do you think, because RSS and UAH are satellite-derived and have not existed but for 30 years or so; that is, too short to provide any data for a 100 year time-scale?

    I also thought that figure 3 that he provided was very, very telling. Considering that the split between PDO and PDO+CO2 seems to start in the early to mid 1960s, and considering that the Earth’s climate-regulating systems appear to operate on decadal time scales at minimum, we should perhaps give some thought to whether we are presently experiencing the effects CO2 emitted during decades gone-by. CO2 does persist in the atmosphere, so that I suppose it is possible it might take anywhere between a decade to forty years if we made even the steepest cuts in emissions that the IPCC/Kyoto I & II (representing the AGW movement) might recommend. Meaning by that, not only would we make a very tiny dent in whatever the temperatures are doing, but that dent would not be felt for decades possibly. I say this because I think part of the implicit message of the AGW movement is that if we stop emissions now we’ll have a better future, oh say, in five years. That is something people’s imaginations can get a grasp on, not 20-40 years.

    As an aside, this whole debate confirms what I have concluded over the past several years of thinking on this creature we call man. If you capture his imagination (without totally ignoring his reason, though this is not necessarily vital) then you have captured the animal in its entirety and will have him at your mercy. It’s almost a form of hypnosis considered like that. That line of thinking has all kinds of applications, mainly social and commercial though, but even in that well illustrates, I think, the true nature of this debate. As I at least have said, this is not about science, but about politics and money – and, combining those two, about power. The power to shape the world of men in the way that you think it should be – the intentions may be good, but the means and effects are corrupting. Anyway, enough philosophizing on my part.

  53. evanjones says:

    Leif: Thanks for the info.

  54. Roy Spencer says:

    ChrisH:

    When you change cloud cover, you change the rate of heat input into the ocean….it takes time for the temperature to respond. The longer the period of time, the greater the depth of water involved due to vertical mixing. But this does not, as you say, last “forever” because feedback is operating; the temperature rises until negative feedback causes enough extra heat loss to balance the heat gain.

    It is no different from a pot of water on the stove set on “low” and in equilibrium (temperaure no longer rising)…if you increase the heat input slightly from the stove, the temperature rises until a new equilibrium is reached (energy gain = energy loss).

  55. JamesG (05:27:55) :
    3. You need to look longer term. Just compare that sunspot/tsi trend from the start of the century compared to the temperature trend. It’s so obvious

    Not at all obvious. There is growing acceptance of the notion that TSI has not increased during the 20th century [apart from the strictly cyclical change that mirrors the sunspot number]. TSI, sunspot numbers, solar magnetic field, etc are all down to levels of a century ago.

  56. Bobby Lane says:

    Let me add in also my own humble thanks to Dr. Spencer and all of his hard work that will remain unpublished on this blog (but hopefully not in journals, etc.), and also for taking the time to explain it to us non-scientists in a manner that is accessible and reader-friendly. However the battle goes over climate change, we should be most grateful, Dr. Spencer, for your courage and fortitude in asking the tough questions and trying to find the truth of the matter. Thank you again.

  57. Raven (09:20:12) :
    How does your work on TSI affect the prevailing theory that the holoscene optimum temperatures were higher than today because of orbital variations? Are the orbital variations large enough to explain the temperatures with direct TSI effects?

    There are two thing you have keep separate:
    1) Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) as a measure of what the Sun puts out [which has nothing to do with orbital changes], and
    2) Solar Insolation (SI – perhaps) as a measure of what the Earth receives [varies regionally] which is very dependent on orbital changes.

    The latter varies a lot and is likely the cause of glaciations and interglacials. The former varies very little and therefore has likely no significant effect on climate.

  58. asdf says:

    National Post article about global cooling:

    http://tinyurl.com/6x6k2j

    REPLY: What? TCO (aka ASDF) posts with no cussing? No calling me stupid like you do regularly elsewhere? Shocker! But thanks for the link anyway. – Anthony

  59. Gorthaur says:

    Scientific fact means nothing
    public opinion is everything
    public opinion elects, pressures and leads
    without a shift in public opinion
    The media, the politicians and the funding
    Will always be on the side of AGW empire

    Not hopeful anything can be done
    unless we fight fire with fire
    but you have to believe
    you have to fight
    sacrifice everything for the truth

    Civilization hangs in the balance

    REPLY:

    “you have to fight
    sacrifice everything for the truth”

    True perhaps, but ya know what buddy? This really chaps my hide. Why? While it may be true, I really, really, resent lecturing and calls to action by people that are too cowardly to put their name behind their words.

    If you want to do something useful, stop hiding behind web identities. Write a letter to the editor, write your elected representatives, but don’t post anonymous calls to action. Otherwise your voice is useless. – Anthony Watts

  60. Ed MacAulay says:

    The MSM is starting to get onside. I especially appreciate the temperature graph from Huntsville. The media so often reports up to 1999 or 2000 and ignores the last few years.

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2008/10/20/lorne-gunter-thirty-years-of-warmer-temperatures-go-poof.aspx

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  62. Marcus says:

    I find the use of 2nd order polynomial fits for comparing the Forcing-only and PDO trends to be be a little dubious.

    The 2nd order polynomial effectively takes “future” data into account – look at the 2001 to 2002 drop in the “Forcing only” plot, that has no equivalent rise in the PDO plot _except_ in the polynomial fit which is looking ahead to the 2003 rise in the PDO. And since the claim is that the PDO changes forcing, not the other way around, this is a problem.

    A smoothing function of some sort would be much more convincing than a polynomial fit. Or a more sophisticated statistical comparison.

  63. Rob says:

    Roy says

    The “PDO-only” (dashed) curve indeed mimics the main features of the behavior of global mean temperatures during the 20th Century — including two-thirds of the warming trend.

    I would suggest that the remaining third is totally down to UHI.

  64. Chris H says:

    @ Roy Spencer (09:30:21)
    Many thanks for your reply (to 02:59:12), although I have to profess that I still find it hard to physically understand your explanation:

    1. Assuming reduced cloud cover causes temperatures to rise for some time (and vice versa), before equilibrium is reached, then it must take at least several decades (if not 50-100 years!) to reach equilibrium – otherwise we would not see a roughly straight-line increase in temperature for two decades during positive PDO periods. This seems a very long time to reach equilibrium, particularly for a system that reacts almost instantly to PDO…

    2. Temperatures hardly dropped during the negative PDO period (1945 to 1975), in comparison to the rises seen during positive PDO periods. This seems to imply that it takes much longer for heat to be lost from the system (perhaps 1000 years?!?), before it reaches equilibrium. What mechanism could explain this?

    (Alternatively, perhaps there is some other cause of warming that did not halt after 1945, and thus when combined with the negative PDO caused almost flat temperatures? I find this far more plausible… In this case, PDO has a smaller effect, and possibly even none in the long term (say over 30 years).)

  65. SteveSadlov says:

    I have long been betting that 33% of the observed 20th century temp rise was due to human factors – GHGs, albedo mods, UHI, etc. I am putting more chips on the table now.

  66. Roy Spencer says:

    ChrisH:

    Look at Fig. 3 in my paper…to the extent that the model temperature matches the observed temperature, exactly what I have said is happening in the model (with an 800 m deep mixed layer for the heating and cooling to affect, and a climate sensitivity of about 1.2 deg. C).

    Now, it IS true that a more realistic model might give a better fit. For instance, as you implied, there is a tendency for the the surface waters to warm faster than the deeper layers, and this kind of vertical heat diffusion is not in the simple model (it spreads the heating uniformly over the whole 800 m). That would be the first model improvement I would make.

    Also, the PDO isn’t necessarily the whole story, as others here have pointed out.

    All I am trying to illustrate is how easy it is to explain global temperatures, including most of the warming, with a physical model — but without spending hundreds of millions of dollars and without using the world’s fastest supercomputers. I’m reminded of Occam’s Razor.

  67. Denis Hopkins says:

    Slightly OT
    This report made a big spread in the Daily Telegraph in England this morning.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/3226747/Climate-change-is-faster-and-more-extreme-than-feared.html

    There have been many comments on the online site about the pictures and the ice areas and the choice of years.
    Please if you can inundate the paper with similar comments to show that people do take notice of these distortions, even if the politicians do not.
    A comment on the online versiaon and a letter to the letters page: dtletters@telegraph.co.uk would help!

  68. Denis Hopkins says:

    Slightly OT
    This report made a big spread in the Daily Telegraph in England this morning.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/3226747/Climate-change-is-faster-and-more-extreme-than-feared.html

    There have been many comments on the online site about the pictures and the ice areas and the choice of years.
    Please if you can inundate the paper with similar comments to show that people do take notice of these distortions, even if the politicians do not.
    A comment on the online version and an email letter to the letters page: dtletters@telegraph.co.uk would help!

  69. Ellie In Belfast says:

    Guys (and Tim Clark (08:21:16) in particular),

    I’m not a climate/weather expert, I just got interested as a result of this blog(Great site Anthony!). I am a scientist – completely unrelated field – and just felt I was on to something that I wanted to bring to everyone’s attention.

    I’ll only ever be dabbling in this – so anyone having a serious look at this data isn’t going to tread on my toes in the least. in fact I’d be flattered if I’ve set you thinking.

  70. Bob Tisdale says:

    JamesG: Regarding your ENSO/Earth rotation comment and link, the linked NASA story states that El Ninos can effect the rotation of the Earth, not the opposite. Note also that the press department added the bit about human-induced changes and that it isn’t reinforced by the rest of the article.

  71. DaveE says:

    Leif: I have to bow to your superior knowledge regarding things like TSI.
    Is there however any explanation for the apparent correlation between Solar cycles & climate?
    I accept correlation is not causation.
    Dave.

  72. Gary Plyler says:

    Please keep in mind that natural multidecadal phenomena like the PDO, and shorter tem phenomena like el-Nino and la-Nina, are not sources or sinks of heat (thermal energy). Primarily they are heat transfer mechanisms. At least, untill now that is what I thought.

    Now it appears that they provide an additional means of affecting global temperature through low level (and therefore cooling) cloud cover over the oceans. I believe that this, on top of the Svensmark et al hypothesis of solar – galactic cosmic ray – cloud, may be the final major mechanisms governing average global temperature.

    Take THAT, IPCC!!

  73. Richard says:

    I watched a movie recently called man to man. It was set in the 19th century and the story was about a Pygmy couple taken from Africa to Britain for study. I mention it because it showed how the scientific process can be led by the crowed. The scientific method used was based on assumptions derived from the prejudices of the day. Rather than testing these assumptions which would have been of real value the assumptions were used as an engineer uses knowledge of forces to design a bridge.
    Since CO2 driven climate change is beyond question all subsequent studies have to be based on this ‘fact’. These studies are then quoted to back up the original assumption. If someone could present to me a study which addresses how the increase in CO2 could lead to the massive temperature increases predicted then i might even believe it, but instead we get a daily dose of stories based on the original assumption. One would think that a study which would disprove the original assumption would disqualify all subsequent studies, but when the body of work is so large it does not just go away. There will never be a day when you will wake up and on the front of all the papers will be the headline ‘Global Warming is Dead’ it will fade away and then people will say ‘what ever happened to that global warming thing’.

  74. DaveE (12:20:11) :
    Is there however any explanation for the apparent correlation between Solar cycles & climate?
    The point is that no such correlation is apparent. The mantra of correlation is being chanted over and over again, in spite of the correlation simply not being there. A statistical overkill [because it is plain to the eye] showing no correlation is the [in some quarters, infamous] paper by Lockwood and Froehlich http://publishing.royalsociety.org/media/proceedings_a/rspa20071880.pdf
    The notion that in the past, solar activity had significant influence [e.g. Maunder minimum -> LIA] is based on uncertain [and likely wrong - and in any case abandoned by their original authors, from Jack Eddy to Judith Lean] and obsolete reconstructions of TSI.
    Of course, the lack of correlation in modern times [since 1980 when we have good (?) data] is often [probably mistakenly] seen as support of AGW.
    The Sun may have some influence, but the simple fact that it is still an item under debate shows that whatever influence there may be cannot be significant or primary.

  75. evanjones says:

    My word, Leif! Do I detect a slightly greater note of skepticism on your behalf?

  76. Ed Scott says:

    I would like to know if Dr. Spencer’s paper has been “peer” reviewed by Senator Boxer?

    In spite of any factual evidence to the contrary, the next elected government will treat CO2 as a pollutant and strive to limit/reduce emissions by the use of economic penalties, “hope”fully, not down to the level of an individual’s respiration.

  77. evanjones says:

    Here are the Grand Minimum dates, for what it’s worth:

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

    “Modern Maunder” 2007? –

    The Oort Minimum occurs during the MWP. (I can’t say if it correlated with a downward blip or not.)

    The others seem to correlate pretty well with the Little Ice Age.

    But, as Prof. Svaalgard will tell us (correctly), correlation does not prove causation.

    The trends over the next three decades will tell us a lot.

  78. DaveE says:

    Thank you for your reply Leif.
    I still see a greater correlation than you do but was looking for an explanation outside of TSI.
    As I said before, I accept that apparent correlation is not causation and from your evidence, TSI is not the cause.
    Dave.

  79. wattsupwiththat says:

    Leif I want to be absolutely certain of this. You say there is absolutely no correlation between solar activity and earth’s temperature? – Anthony

  80. DaveE says:

    Anthony, I think that would be a gross exaggeration of Leif’s viewpoint.
    Dave.

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  82. Glenn says:

    “The Sun may have some influence, but the simple fact that it is still an item under debate shows that whatever influence there may be cannot be significant or primary.”

    That’s real scientific, Leif.

  83. Russ R. says:

    evan,

    I propose the next minimum be called the “Milli Vanilli Minimum”.

    When the music stops, we will find out who has been lip-syncing the scientific method, for personal benefit.

  84. Stephen Wilde says:

    Leif suggests no clear correlation between TSI and global temperaures. I disagree as do various others. I have suggested that to resolve the issue one should combine the solar variations with overall net oceanic oscillations at any particular time and see what sort of correlation we get with changes in global temperature trends. Leif felt that was pointless as it is just one of many apparent correlations and did not deserve special attention.

    Due to the content of my articles and the numbers of posters now accepting a solar/oceanic combination as a primary driver if not THE primary driver I really do think that that aspect should be given prominence.

    However he does also say that solar insolation is much more variable than TSI which implies that variations in insolation could be effective.

    Now I would have thought that a change in TSI however small does govern the total solar energy available for variations in insolation.

    Furthermore the term solar activity could include either TSI or SI or even both of them.

    I tend to use TSI as a proxy for solar activity generally so even if I am wrong to do that we still need to know why that approach is wrong and why discounting TSI needs to lead us to also discount other parameters of solar activity such as solar insolation.

    I’ve made it clear in my articles that I do not regard TSI as representing all the ways that changes in solar activity can affect global temperatures. I’ve only used TSI because there are many other possible mechanisms and TSI seems to me to be a good general indication of solar activity at any particular time.

  85. DaveE says:

    Leif said “The Sun may have some influence, but the simple fact that it is still an item under debate shows that whatever influence there may be cannot be significant or primary.”
    Personally, I believe that should read ‘may not’ rather than ‘cannot’ but it doesn’t rule out the possibility of Solar influence.
    He did however say that there was NO correlation.
    Dave.

  86. kim says:

    Anthony, since it doesn’t vary it can’t correlate with something that does. TCO is learning that he’s more effective within the pale.
    ============================================

  87. wattsupwiththat (13:21:03) :
    Leif I want to be absolutely certain of this. You say there is absolutely no correlation between solar activity and earth’s temperature? – Anthony
    Absolutes are hard and have no place in science. What I say is that the solar activity is not a significant [or primary - as some people will have it] driver of climate, simply because it varies too little. If you would crank up solar activity by a factor of a hundred [some stars have starspots that cover 50% of the surface - the largest sunspots cover 0.5%] there would be a very large climate response. It is all a question of degree or size.

    Glenn (13:55:03) :
    That’s real scientific, Leif.
    Thank you for your support in this endeavor. I always try to present the science as accurately as I can, so good to see that I found a sympathetic ear.

  88. Bobby Lane says:

    Leif,

    Exactly of what interest to the climate change debate, if any, is there in the Sun if there is no correlation to any of its various activities and global temperatures/weather events?

  89. Gary Gulrud says:

    “there is absolutely no correlation between solar activity and earth’s temperature”

    Beware of the weasel words ‘solar activity’.

  90. wattsupwiththat (13:21:03) :
    Leif I want to be absolutely certain of this. You say there is absolutely no correlation between solar activity and earth’s temperature? – Anthony
    If the question was the much narrower one concerning ‘correlation’ only, then there is always a correlation. The issue is how significant it is, and on what time scale? and exactly whose data or which dataset to use. The only way that can be answered is that the person who asks presents the specific two time series that need to be tested. At that point, there are standard statistical test that can tell you the significance of any correlation at a given level of confidence.
    A problem with the above is if there are other factors involved because you then either have to quantify the effects of the other factors and subtract them, or have to perform a multivariate analysis. Many people have tried the latter. A recent example is in a paper by Lean and Rind that I have already referred to several times: “According to this analysis, solar forcing contributed negligible long-term warming in the past 25 years and 10% of the warming in the past 100 years.”

    I can live with the 10% [although I think it is smaller - TSI and sunspot number corrections and all that], and at that level or below I have no problem with the correlations. Similarly, I can live with a 0.1 degree solar cycle variation of temperature as some people claim.

  91. MattN says:

    “The Sun may have some influence, but the simple fact that it is still an item under debate shows that whatever influence there may be cannot be significant or primary.”

    Leif, buddy, I flat out refuse to believe the sun has absolutely no influence what-so-ever.

  92. Ed Scott says:

    The TSI has little or no influence on the Earth’s climate, regardless of the fact that the Sun is the primary source of the Earth’s radiant energy. Ditto for TMI (Total Moon Irradiance).

    Observations of other planets in the Solar Systems have shown a warming similar the “observed” warming on Earth. Is it possible that there is a dark radiant energy within the Solar System or a intragalactic dark radiant energy in the Milky Way Galaxy?

    The only acceptable explanation of the Earth’s climate variation since 1900, when the climate was ideal, is the anthropogenic CO2 contribution to the atmospheric concentration of CO2 since that time, because all other factors have remained constant.

    A corollary to this consensus theory: Any cessation of warming, or even a cooling, is due to unknown factors which are masking the anthropogenic global warming/climate change.

    It’ a mad, mad, mad, mad world, though not as funny, or entertaining as the movie.

  93. MattN (16:28:51) :
    “The Sun may have some influence, but the simple fact that it is still an item under debate shows that whatever influence there may be cannot be significant or primary.”

    Leif, buddy, I flat out refuse to believe the sun has absolutely no influence what-so-ever.

    I don’t think our two statements are in contradiction.

  94. Bobby Lane (16:13:00) :
    Exactly of what interest to the climate change debate, if any, is there in the Sun if there is no correlation to any of its various activities and global temperatures/weather events?

    None.

  95. Gary Gulrud (16:18:04) :
    Beware of the weasel words ’solar activity’.
    Yeah, Anthony really is the CYA business, isn’t he, using such words…

  96. Ed Scott (16:46:22) :
    Earth’s climate variation since 1900, when the climate was ideal

    I, for my part, do not consider the miserable 1900 ideal, but would prefer a climate even warmer than today. Unfortunately, we are [or shall soon be] on the way down to the next glaciation in, perhaps, 40,000 years :-)

  97. wattsupwiththat says:

    Leif and Gary

    Well I never thought of “solar activity” as “weasel words” nor as a CYA…its just what words came to mind when I wrote it. I’ve been pretty busy today and it was just a quick posting.

    If you want to accuse your host of being a weasel, or engaging in CYA, go right ahead, but it really doesn’t foster any useful purpose.

  98. wattsupwiththat (17:19:50) :
    If you want to accuse your host of engaging in CYA, go right ahead
    We need to have a sarcasm on/off tag. Of course, you do not engage in CYA. And, of course, none of us use weasel words or find it necessary to comment derogatorily on anybody.

  99. wattsupwiththat says:

    /sarc off

    is what most people use

  100. Ed Scott says:

    A belated sarc off.

    Leif: “…on the way down to the next glaciation in, perhaps, 40,000 years :-)”

    That’s well beyond my immediate concern. :-)

  101. Gary P says:

    Just a note about the paper referenced above, rspa20071880.pdf, that says there is no correlation between recent solar activity and temperature. The paper looks at the correlation between solar activity and James Hansen’s surface temperatures. There has certainly been enough work at this site to cast doubt any such correlation. It would be much more convincing if it was based on satellite data. The only reason for Hansen’s work is that it extends over a longer time period than the satellite data. But the paper only does a correlation over a time period for which satellite data is available.

  102. Stephen Wilde says:

    If Leif goes along with variation in solar activity (measured by which parameter ?) HAVING CONTRIBUTED AS MUCH AS 10 % OF OBSERVED WARMING OVER THE PAST 100 YEARS then I have no problem going with an oceanic enhancement or suppression of that solar component on a 10 to 1 basis over 100 years.

    However I don’t see why the solar contribution would have been any less over the pasr 25 years as against the past 100 years. It is accepted that solar activity however measured was historically high over the cycles 19 to 23 with a bit of a pause in cycle 20 so I would have thought any solar contribution to be higher during such a period not lower.

    The oceans certainly set a base level of temperature variability through their oscillations and a solar contribution of only 10% over several centuries would be significant and noticeable on a cumulative basis perhaps equivalent to the slow background rise since LIA.

    I have given though to whether one needs a solar contribution at all in view of what Leif says since oceanic changes alone could explain ALL observed temperature changes in trend. On balance I think one does in order to explain the said small and slow background warming at a rate even as low as 10% or less.

    Also as a matter of real world observations any global temperature changes either up or down do seem to be faster when solar and oceanic cycles are in phase as they were (positive) from 1975 to about 2000 and (negative) from 2006 or thereabouts to date and continuing.

    My ideas are not dependent on any particular amount of solar variability. Much more important is the level of climate sensitivity to those changes after stripping out any oceanic component.

    I have no problem accepting a very high level of sensitivity to small solar changes which accumulate over time enhanced or suppressed by a multiple of 10 times from oceanic variability. In fact a multiple of 5 times would be sufficient because oceans work to both suppress and enhance temperature variations from other causes and it is the difference between peaks and troughs of oceanic effects that counts thus one could get a multiple of 10 times from a variation of 5 times up plus 5 times down.

    All in all the idea of a combined solar/oceanic primary driver swamping all other factors over enough time still seems highly likely to me.

  103. evanjones says:

    A small slice could be given to CO2-forced warming too – something I myself have never doubted, but like Dr. Spencer I don’t think it is anywhere near as potent as the IPCC makes it in their models.

    That’s my impression.

    Does HadCRUT use the same ground stations that GISS does?

    If I’m not mistaken, both use NOAA GHCN data as a base.

  104. Ted Annonson says:

    I have been convinced that the PDO and AMO are prime drivers of the climate, but going back one step —

    Who created God? ( Oops! wrong site)

    What drives the PDO & AMO?

  105. evanjones says:

    The only acceptable explanation of the Earth’s climate variation since 1900, when the climate was ideal, is the anthropogenic CO2 contribution to the atmospheric concentration of CO2 since that time, because all other factors have remained constant.

    I do not concede that the temperature is ideal. At present there are many times more more cold-related deaths than heat-related. II think an average global temperature increase of 2 degrees C would be quite beneficial.

    Furthermore, how would one explain the sharp increase in temperatures from 1900 to 1940, especially during the Great Depression, when a third to half of heavy industry was shut down?

    And what about the slight drop over the last ten (or seven, if you prefer) years despite a very large increase in CO2 emissions?

    Not to mention the MWP, which seems to have been considerably warmer than today–and the Roman WP, which was warmer still.

    Besides, the AquaSat data seems to shoot CO2 positive feedback theory all to hell.

  106. evanjones says:

    What drives the PDO & AMO?

    Earth’s rotation and the shape of the oceans would be my guess. The sun obviously has some impact, but it is still hard to estimate how much.

  107. Pierre Gosselin says:

    evan jones,
    Oort (1010-1050)
    Wolf (1280-1340) (230)
    Spörer (1415-1534) (75)
    Maunder (1645-1715) (111)
    Dalton (1790-1840) (75)
    Modern (2007 – ) (167)

    The number in brackets is the time between the end of the previous and the start of the actual. I don’t really see a cyclic trend here. Perhaps more data points going back through the Holocene could reveal something.

  108. Stephen Wilde says:

    The ocean oscillations are solar driven one way or another and there are plenty of possible contributing factors including the cloudiness/albedo changes suggested by Roy Spencer and others.

    The must also be a reaction to solar changes however small but time lags and multiple overlaps do complicate the diagnostics so I understand Leifs reluctance to go down that route without more firm indicators of cause and effect. However it is possible to be over cautious in scientific matters so as to discount the obvious.

  109. Pet Rock says:

    Leif (15:52:22 20-10-2008) on Solar cycles & climate:
    The point is that no such correlation is apparent. The mantra of correlation is being chanted over and over again, in spite of the correlation simply not being there. A statistical overkill [because it is plain to the eye] showing no correlation is the [in some quarters, infamous] paper by Lockwood and Froehlich

    I looked at this paper and was surprised to learn they do seem quite willing to accept that there is a historical long time-scale relationship:
    “these studies are strong indicators of an influence of solar variability on pre-industrial climate”. (They list a few possible solar magnetic field related mechanisms). But the aim of their paper is to study the last 40 years, and they do not find the relationship there.

    However, Svensmark and Friis-Christensen replied and showed that the relationship is there, using different data sets.
    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/files/documents/Svensmark_FriisChtr-Reply%20to%20Lockwood.pdf

  110. Jeff B. says:

    The IPCC projected warming v. time graph in Fig. 1 appears to me to actually be tracking disgust with and mistrust of Al Gore v. time.

  111. pkatt says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but a slight wobble in the earths spin and proximity to the sun due to a elliptical orbit can effect temperatures. Its that whole winter/summer thing.. But the sun has little influence? And what about the solar winds, CME’s, dimming, gamma, xray..ect .. the sun has more tricks than spots you know. To ignore that the other planets in our system also experienced warming and cooling trends despite their varied atmospheres and lack of SUVs is shortsighted. The concept of an absolute constant is not a good idea. I think the problem with most theorys of climate science is that the people with the theory get tunnel vision. The system is so complex that no one has found all the variables and we are so desperate for the answers, we forget to ask all of the questions.

    Personally I don’t believe in singular theorys and trends can be tinkered with to say anything you please. If in fact we have been in a warming trend since the last ice age, perhaps the current cooling is just weather. (devils advocate.. dont eat me) Do I think Ice will forever disappear from the planet, or that we will reach some magical tipping point of no return? Nope.. climate wise the Earth has been there, done that and gotten the t-shirt.. yet its still here.

    In reality I think that we will find a combination of events cause climate .. Its the big cosmos one arm bandit… whats the pull this year? Active Volcanic erruptions + low solar influence (magnetic) + negative ocean currents and a change of wind patterns = Cooler.. (very simplified, for all we know one or more could be the causes of the others)

    Heres the deal though. Mankind in its infinite wisdom has yet to build a successful biosphere, yet we are going to fix our world. Man will be the cause of the extinction of man long before the next asteroid, super volcano, CME, or CO2 takes us out because as our own worst enemy we will do something stupid to counter a nonexistant problem rather than collaborate and piece the puzzle together. Those who cannot learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. For me.. Im seriously tired of the goldie locks syndrom.. this climates tooo hot.. this climates toooo cold.. When do we get to the part where its Just right??

  112. Stephen Wilde (21:39:58) :
    However I don’t see why the solar contribution would have been any less over the pasr 25 years as against the past 100 years.
    The multivariate analysis examined the correlation. And as it typical for correlations when there are no causation, the correlation often changes with time, so no surprise here.

    It is accepted that solar activity however measured was historically high over the cycles 19 to 23 with a bit of a pause in cycle 20
    No that is not accepted. In http://www.leif.org/research/AGU%20Spring%202008%20SP23A-07.pdf I argue otherwise and conclude: “With this new perspective, we conclude that the Sun in the 20th and 21st centuries has not been particularly more active compared to activity in the 19th century”.

  113. Chris H says:

    @ Roy Spencer (11:26:44) who said “Look at Fig. 3 in my paper…to the extent that the model temperature matches the observed temperature, exactly what I have said is happening in the model”

    I appreciate that your model closely matches the actual temperature variations of the last 100 years, but as we all know, models can be made to do anything (including have unbelievably large positive feedback to small changes in CO2…).

    What I am trying to do is understand the basic principles behind your model, to see whether it is doing physically sensible things or not. It is a pity that you could not answer either of my points about the mechanisms responsible for your model’s behaviour, but instead seem to treat my points as attacks on your models accuracy (which was certainly not intended). :-(

  114. Pet Rock (01:37:19) :
    However, Svensmark and Friis-Christensen replied and showed that the relationship is there, using different data sets.
    I usually do not attach much significance to Tamino’s rantings [because of his fanatical AGW bent; I'm banned from his site], but now and then he does come up with something of value. Here is his rebuttal of the rebuttal: http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/10/21/how-to-fool-yourself/

  115. JamesG says:

    Bob Tisdale
    I was very much aware aware that the NASA article was about el niños affecting the rotation of the earth. In fact that is exactly the point I was making – that an AGW’ers can make a pretty good link between warming and pdo via enso if he chooses to do so. Hence Dr Spencer’s argument, while very interesting, resolves nothing. I merely added that if you can find an external source for this change of rotation then you can argue that it causes enso rather than being an effect of it. In any event the correlation seems certain and the conservation of momentum effect works in reverse too. Moreover you will find at least one Russian scientist and one Antipodean scientist who will argue for an external mechanism. As they aren’t peer-reviewed I didn’t mention it. But it fascinates me all the same.

    Leif
    The “it’s obvious” part was a copy of Josh Willis (of ocean temperature measurements fame) who had used exactly the same argument on Andy Revkin’s blog to prove the CO2 link for the entire 20th century. I then pointed out that the IPCC mentions only a possible link from 1950. Now though (perhaps due to me) he’s changed his tune a bit to reflect the consensus position. Also I fully appreciate that you know more about tsi than anyone else but I’d merely make two points in my relative ignorance:
    1. Isn’t it all a question of scaling, ie how much effect you attribute to even a small change? One can certainly argue that the absolute change of CO2 in the atmosphere is miniscule too. When you do argue such a thing then you always get some fool who tells you something like “a virus is a small change too but it can kill you”. Again it’s merely the inconsistency between arguments that I am bringing up.
    2. Since sunspots historically show very good correlation with temperature and these are magnetic signatures isn’t tsi a red herring in the first place? Shouldn’t we look for a magnetic mechanism? I note in passing that apparently our own magnetosphere has reduced in strength by a good deal and that in turn should lessen our protection from the solar wind. I wouldn’t draw any conclusions as I am unqualified to do so but maybe something like that affects us, no?

  116. Gary Gulrud says:

    “If you want to accuse your host of being a weasel”

    Sorry, this joke demanded more context. It was not directed at you, Anthony.

    I’ll try to remember the /sarc tags, but the memory is not altogether reliable.

  117. JamesG says:

    Leif
    I made some uncontested comments on that Tamino “rebuttal” of Svensmark too. Specifically, regardless of how good or not the correlation is, it is still a lot better than the correlation for CO2. His reply was typical, that aerosols make up the difference. ie an unproven hand-wave presented as if it were fact. I keep asking warmers why does any solar correlation have to pass tests that the bare CO2 correlation is apparently exempt from and why can we not use similarly opportunistic hand-waves (as I demonstrated above) to cover any lack of correlation with the solar trend. Nobody can answer that because in the effort to see someone else’s point of view they might realize that their entire argument consists of faith-based guesswork. That would never do.

  118. Patrick Hadley says:

    I know that this is off-topic, but the ASMU-A Daily Temperature From Space page provided by Dr Roy Spencer http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/ is a very interesting resource for those who follow the climate debate.

    I have not seen anyone point out that from the data provided on that page we have at present record low temperatures (since 1998) in the upper troposphere at both the 250mb and 400mb bands. For just about the whole of this year the area between 7.5km and 11km above the surface has been at its coldest since 1998.

    The data for the lower troposphere at 600mb and 900mb show temperatures below those last year, but not exceptionally so. Is there an explanation of why the temperatures in the upper troposphere are so very low this year?

  119. JamesG (07:05:07) :
    the same argument on Andy Revkin’s blog to prove the CO2 link for the entire 20th century.
    What has the Sun to do with CO2?

    1. Isn’t it all a question of scaling, ie how much effect you attribute to even a small change?
    One should not a priori attribute something to something [although it seems that people do that all the time]. The issue is if one can demonstrate that a small change has a large effect. It is almost like homeopathy where it is claimed that the smaller the concentration of the causative agent, the greater the curative effect :-)

    2. Since sunspots historically show very good correlation with temperature and these are magnetic signatures isn’t TSI a red herring in the first place? Shouldn’t we look for a magnetic mechanism?
    There is no such good correlation. For example, solar activity in the 20th century was not markedly different from that in the 19th, while temperatures seem to have been. Central to the truth of that statement is the realization that the sunspot number record does not have constant [or correct] calibration over time. We have had lots of discussion on this blog of the ‘tiny Tims’, so I’ll not elaborate further now.
    Sunspots are magnetic, but for every magnetic north pole there is a corresponding magnetic south pole so overall there is no magnetic effect. And the variation of TSI is purely of magnetic origin [and tracks sunspots very well], so TSI is a good proxy for solar magnetism. There was also the notion that since TSI is a measure of the light and heat that we get from the Sun, that that in itself was important. If TSI increases 4%, the temperature increase from that alone would be 1% or 3 degrees.

    our own magnetosphere has reduced in strength by a good deal and that in turn should lessen our protection from the solar wind.
    The Earth’s magnetic field has indeed decreased 10% over the last 150 years and that has increased magnetic activity by a small amount [on the border of being measurable]. It is, however, an issue under debate. There is a school of thought [which I do not subscribe to] that a smaller magnetosphere would mean smaller geomagnetic effects, because the so-called reconnection line would be shorter. The argument for this goes like this: geomagnetic activity is due to reconnection between the Sun’s and the Earth’s fields. Reconnection creates an electric field and the total potential drop is that electric field times the length of the reconnection line. I’m not sure that it is that simple.

  120. Jeff Alberts says:

    evan jones,
    Oort (1010-1050)
    Wolf (1280-1340) (230)
    Spörer (1415-1534) (75)
    Maunder (1645-1715) (111)
    Dalton (1790-1840) (75)
    Modern (2007 – ) (167)

    The number in brackets is the time between the end of the previous and the start of the actual. I don’t really see a cyclic trend here. Perhaps more data points going back through the Holocene could reveal something.

    Looks like a rough 200-250 year cycle to me.

  121. Jeff Alberts (09:06:35) :
    Looks like a rough 200-250 year cycle to me.
    There is, very likely, such a cycle. Its period is quoted somewhere between 200 and 210 years. It is known variously as the deVries cycle or the Suess cycle.

  122. Pet Rock says:

    Leif, thanks for the pointer to Tamino’s response (… I think … — I prefer science like a good chess game, not like a gang fight). So instead of dwelling on the he said she said in these papers, I’ll just ask you (and I’m sure others are dying to know):

    Do you agree that there is/was some/any historical significant correlation of sun (not TSI) with climate?

    I know from your cloud-cover and albedo plots that you don’t believe there is any 11 year cycle in those. But I’m not convinced that the influence has to be that direct. As one small factor among many, in a complex system with many positive and negative feedbacks, I’m not sure that the lack of a ‘smoking gun’ proves that there was no crime. I like Barry Saltzman’s wording in “Dynamical Paleoclimatology”, “The record of temperature and ice change [...] may indeed be viewed as a response to the external forcing of the system, but it may bear little similarity in phase, frequency, or amplitude of this forcing. It should be clear, considering all of the factors involved, that the task of accounting for and predicting the climate is bound to be very difficult.” That the sun could change the clouds a bit would be far easier to show than that the sun could change the climate.

    To me, the fun is in finding out how it really works. I’m not here to save the world.

  123. Pet Rock (11:30:42) :
    Do you agree that there is/was some/any historical significant correlation of sun (not TSI) with climate?
    My stance is that no such correlation at a level that makes it player has been demonstrated to my satisfaction. It is likely that one day we’ll dig a valid correlation [one that has a causative agent] out of the noise, but it ain’t here yet. I’ll make an analogy to geomagnetic variations. There is an influence of the Moon on those variations. Only visible when you massage lots of high-quality data. But the effect is usually ignored because it is so small.

  124. Gorthaur says:

    Quote “If you want to do something useful, stop hiding behind web identities. Write a letter to the editor, write your elected representatives, but don’t post anonymous calls to action. Otherwise your voice is useless. – Anthony Watts”

    You are quite right and normally I would. I’ve gotten close to a political leader in the last 2 years and because of this I must hide my ID for the time being ( for respect of those whom I associate with), I am actively fighting the AGW left from the inside.

    I do read your blog on a daily bases and I’m a firm believer of Cosmoclimatology and hopefully more public funding will go in that direction.

    I see a time line of two to five years before before the tide of public opinion can turn the media in its output. It is my firm belief that global poverty is the real issue of the 21st century.

    Therefore I apologize for my use of my internet game name on this forum and I will not post again till my position in the political sphere is more secure.

    Gor.

  125. Roy Spencer says:

    Patrick:

    Don’t trust the NOAA-15 AMSU data for channel 6 or “LT”…channel 6 has a calibration drift, and LT is also affected by that.

    At some point I would like to replace the NOAA-15 data on that web page with AMSU data from NASAs Aqua satellite. The biggest problem with these sensors is that the calibration changes slightly with instrument temperature, and the NOAA polar-orbiters are not maintained in a sun-synchronous orbit.

    The Aqua satellite has fuel that is used to maintain it in a constant orbit, so there are no year-to-year changes in instrument temperature, and we believe it’s calibration stability to be the best of any MSU/AMSU instrument yet.

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  127. Raven says:

    I noticed this presentation which suggests that statopheric temperatures have stopped cooling for the last decade or more and even when there is a trend it is less than expected by the models:

    http://ams.confex.com/ams/15isa14m/techprogram/paper_125889.htm

    This strikes me as a rather signicant data point since the modellers always insist that straspheric cooling is the “signature” of GHGs.

    I was wondering if Dr. Spencer could comment on whether this data actually re-enforces his argument that CO2 sensitivity has been over estimated.

  128. JamesG says:

    Leif
    I’m not attempting to link CO2 to the sun. I’m just pointing out that most of the hand-waving arguments put forward in support of CO2 as a causative agent are totally facile, being based on abject guesswork and I attempted to show that you could use exactly these same facile arguments for a sun correlation with just as much evidence (ie none at all). No argument based on guesswork has validity whether it is pro-sun or pro-CO2. Honestly I didn’t think I was being that subtle :-)

    On sunspots I think you are being controversial are you not? There are good sunspot correlations shown on Sami Solanki’s site and a pretty good fit is made to the Armagh instrument measurements. If you’re out of step with other solar scientists and astronomers then it’s customary to acknowledge that before declaring your own standpoint as being the absolute truth. Or have you convinced them all? I’d remind you that Willie Soon still sees solar activity as showing excellent correlation in the Arctic – where, crucially ,post-hoc adjustments to the temperature data have been minimal.

    On your point about homeopathy I’d agree. I only point out that all such arguments apply equally – or perhaps even moreso – to CO2, where complete guesswork is ritually presented as fact and a relatively tiny increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is presented as highly important without any other guide than a) an extremely poor correlation of rising CO2 to rising temperature, b) some overly simplistic physics and c) a ridiculous assumption that climate somehow acts just like an electric circuit.

  129. Glenn says:

    “Through these field studies, scientists in DOE’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program will gather crucial data on the complex interplay between radiation, clouds and aerosols — currently one of the main challenges in climate modeling.”

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-10/ddoe-doe102308.php

    I guess this is to increase the IPCC confidence level from 99 to 100%…

  130. Rhyl Dearden says:

    People have started looking at Ship’s logs (100 000s of them) since they were first kept, to study weather patterns. I wait the outcome of this with interest.
    Now I hope some scientists will collate the comparisons with AO, PDO etc. Sun spot activity, ENSO and LNSO and any other factor that can be used.

    At least this will be about a real period of time to look at climate rather than concentrating on the past 100 or 50 or 30 or 10 years.

  131. JamesG (10:31:39) :
    On sunspots I think you are being controversial are you not? [...] If you’re out of step with other solar scientists and astronomers then it’s customary to acknowledge that before declaring your own standpoint as being the absolute truth. Or have you convinced them all?
    First, I have acknowledged that repeatedly [and it should not be necessary to to it in every posting. Second, “out of step” is too harsh. There is a growing acceptance of our work on the Sun’s magnetic field and Sunspots, for some recent work on this see http://www.leif.org/research/Comment%20on%20McCracken.pdf
    staring with the full acceptance [even by Lockwood's group] of our finding that the aa-index [on which the famous 'doubling of the Sun's magnetic field was based] is wrongly calibrated. It takes time to wake people from their dogmatic slumber.

    On your point about homeopathy I’d agree. I only point out that all such arguments apply equally – or perhaps even moreso – to CO2
    And there is CO2 rearing its ugly head again. The CO2 controversy has nothing to do with whether the is a Sun-climate relationship.

  132. Glenn (12:10:06) :
    I guess this is to increase the IPCC confidence level from 99 to 100%…
    more likely to 101%…

  133. kim says:

    Sometimes I wonder if modern immunology might eventually put a base of science to much of the conjecture of homeopathy. Also, if you ever read the clinical notes of the early homeopaths, the attention to clinical detail was superlative, the interest in the patient and the signs and symptoms was outstanding, and the willingness to change therapeutic course was exemplary. They were accomplished clinicians.
    =======================================

  134. nobwainer says:

    Is there a study of high, middle and lower cloud cover for just the pacific ocean over the past 30 yrs or so?
    Studies in global patterns that show neg cloud effects on temperature might be hiding whats really going on over the pacific.

  135. Raven says:

    Dr. Spencer,

    Can you comment on this paper and explain how it relates to your research:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008GL035333.shtml

    It appears they are coming to exactly opposition conclusions based on the same satellite data.

  136. Mhaze says:

    To: Raven who referenced http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008GL035333.shtml saying “It appears they are coming to exactly opposition conclusions based on the same satellite data.”

    A longer view than 2003-2008 is revealing. Charts follow from 1947 to present.

    http://www.climateaudit.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=556

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