Don Easterbrook’s AGU paper on potential global cooling

Don sent me his AGU paper for publication and discussion here on WUWT, and I’m happy to oblige – Anthony

Abstracts of American Geophysical Union annual meeting, San Francisco  Dec., 2008

Solar Influence on Recurring Global, Decadal, Climate Cycles Recorded by Glacial Fluctuations, Ice Cores, Sea Surface Temperatures, and Historic Measurements Over the Past Millennium

Easterbrook, Don J., Dept. of Geology, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225,

Global, cyclic, decadal, climate patterns can be traced over the past millennium in glacier fluctuations, oxygen isotope ratios in ice cores, sea surface temperatures, and historic observations.  The recurring climate cycles clearly show that natural climatic warming and cooling have occurred many times, long before increases in anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 levels.  The Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age are well known examples of such climate changes, but in addition, at least 23 periods of climatic warming and cooling have occurred in the past 500 years. Each period of warming or cooling lasted about 25-30 years (average 27 years).  Two cycles of global warming and two of global cooling have occurred during the past century, and the global cooling that has occurred since 1998 is exactly in phase with the long term pattern.  Global cooling occurred from 1880 to ~1915; global warming occurred from ~1915 to ~1945; global cooling occurred from ~1945-1977;, global warming occurred from 1977 to 1998; and global cooling has occurred since 1998.  All of these global climate changes show exceptionally good correlation with solar variation since the Little Ice Age 400 years ago.

The IPCC predicted global warming of 0.6° C (1° F) by 2011 and 1.2° C (2° F) by 2038, whereas Easterbrook (2001) predicted the beginning of global cooling by 2007 (± 3-5 yrs) and cooling of about 0.3-0.5° C until ~2035.  The predicted cooling seems to have already begun. Recent measurements of global temperatures suggest a gradual cooling trend since 1998 and 2007-2008 was a year of sharp global cooling. The cooling trend will likely continue as the sun enters a cycle of lower irradiance and the Pacific Ocean changed from its warm mode to its cool mode.

Comparisons of historic global climate warming and cooling, glacial fluctuations, changes in warm/cool mode of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), and sun spot activity over the past century show strong correlations and provide a solid data base for future climate change projections. The announcement by NASA that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) had shifted to its cool phase is right on schedule as predicted by past climate and PDO changes (Easterbrook, 2001, 2006, 2007) and coincides with recent solar variations. The PDO typically lasts 25-30 years, virtually assuring several decades of global cooling.  The IPCC predictions of global temperatures 1° F warmer by 2011,  2° F warmer by 2038, and 10° F by 2100 stand little chance of being correct. “Global warming” (i.e., the warming since 1977) is over!

agu1

Figure 1.  Solar irradiance, global climate change, and glacial advances. Click to enlarge

The real question now is not trying to reduce atmospheric CO2 as a means of stopping global warming, but rather (1) how can we best prepare to cope with the 30 years of global cooling that is coming, (2) how cold will it get, and (3) how can we cope with the cooling during a time of exponential population increase?  In 1998 when I first predicted a 30-year cooling trend during the first part of this century, I used a very conservative estimate for the depth of cooling, i.e., the 30-years of global cooling that we experienced from ~1945 to 1977.  However, also likely are several other possibilities (1) the much deeper cooling that occurred during the 1880 to ~1915 cool period, (2) the still deeper cooling that took place from about 1790 to 1820 during the Dalton sunspot minimum, and (3) the drastic cooling that occurred from 1650 to 1700 during the Maunder sunspot minimum. Figure 2 shows an estimate of what each of these might look like on a projected global climate curve.  The top curve is based on the 1945-1977 cool period and the 1977-1998 warm period.  The curve beneath is based on the 1890-1915 cool period and 1915-1945 warm period.  The bottom curve is what we might expect from a Dalton or Maunder cool period.  Only time will tell where we’re headed, but any of the curves are plausible.  The sun’s recent behavior suggests we are likely heading for a deeper global cooling than the 1945-1977 cool period and ought to be looking ahead to cope with it.

agu2

Figure 2. Global temperature variation 1900 to 2008 with projections to 2100. Click to enlarge.

The good news is that global warming (i.e., the 1977-1998 warming) is over and atmospheric CO2 is not a vital issue. The bad news is that cold conditions kill more people than warm conditions, so we are in for bigger problems than we might have experienced if global warming had continued. Mortality data from 1979-2002 death certificate records show twice as many deaths directly from extreme cold than for deaths from extreme heat, 8 times as many deaths as those from floods, and 30 times as many as from hurricanes. The number of deaths indirectly related to cold is many times worse.

Depending on how cold the present 30-year cooling period gets, in addition to the higher death rates, we will have to contend with diminished growing seasons and increasing crop failures with food shortages in third world countries, increasing energy demands, changing environments, increasing medical costs from diseases (especially flu), increasing transportation costs and interruptions, and many other ramifications associated with colder climate. The degree to which we may be prepared to cope with these problems may be significantly affected by how much money we waste chasing the CO2 fantasy.

All of these problems will be exacerbated by the soaring human population.  The current world population of about 6 ½ billion people is projected to increase by almost 50% during the next 30 years of global cooling (Figure 2).  The problems associated with the global cooling would be bad enough at current population levels.  Think what they will be with the added demands from an additional three billion people, especially if we have uselessly spent trillions of dollars needlessly trying to reduce atmospheric CO2, leaving insufficient funds to cope with the real problems.

agu3

Figure 3. Global population.

140 thoughts on “Don Easterbrook’s AGU paper on potential global cooling

  1. How come a schmuck like me could look at these graphs back in the early 2000’s and clearly see we were about to go into a cold spell, yet Nobel Prize winners who invented the Internet couldn’t? One has to be blind not to see the cycles. My guess is Al Snore and his crew could see the cycles too, but they have an agenda that they want to get through and know most people are sheep, so they just disregard it.

  2. So, we are in a warm period due to high solar output, nearly as warm as the Medieval Climatic Optimum. Easterbrook’s projection shows a very minor fluctuation downwards, but we still are in a warm period. Predictions of mass starvation seem unwarranted.

    So, my question is, Does anyone think a downward cooling on the order of the Sporer or Maunder Minima is in the cards?

    By the way, Easterbrook is using either the UN’s high or medium population projection. The medium projection assumes that all countries, including Europe, China and Japan, have fertility levels at the replacement level, and population growth is driven by the very young Third World age structure. It is more likely that fertility levels in the developed countries will remain well below replacement levels and that those in the Third World, which are now rapidly falling, will continue to fall. In that case, the total world population should peak around 8 billion, or a little less, around 2030 and fall slowly throughout the remainder of the century. No need to promote Ehrlich’s dementia. Read Julian Simon (RIP).

  3. “The IPCC predicted global warming of 0.6° C (1° F) by 2011 and 1.2° C (2° F) by 2038, whereas Easterbrook (2001) predicted the beginning of global cooling by 2007 (± 3-5 yrs) and cooling of about 0.3-0.5° C until ~2035. ”

    When was this prediction made?

  4. One of the advantages to having an analysis of climate by a geologist such as Don Easterbrook is that a geologist has a better grasp of the time frame within which climate operates.

    The evidence of the PDO is extensive, as is that of glacial fluctuations in the PNW. What is truly amazing to me is that the clique of paleoclimate “experts”, whose knowledge appears solely limited to certain sub-alpine tree-ring collections, could ignore such well documented climate data.

    When I was an undergraduate, my paleo prof told an interesting story one day during lecture. He said the typical undergrad knows a little bit about many things in science, but as his studies progress he learns more and more about less and less until finally, when he is awarded a Ph.D., he knows an awful lot about practically nothing.

    This appears to be what has happened in the climate field. We have people who, while they have a great deal of knowledge about computer programming, and perhaps even have some training in the physics and chemistry of climate systems, are ignoring a vast sea of empirical observations that contradict the results of their climate models.

    The vast amounts of research moneys that have been placed in the hands of the the modelers have been successful in creating ever more complex programs on bigger and better computers, but the models still fail to account for the real data (which many of the modelers dismiss as noise).

    Thanks, Dr. Easterbrook, I have followed your work for many years (my first earth science project was a study of the glaciation of the Fraser Valley). Thanks also to Anthony for giving greater distribution of Dr. Easterbrook’s analysis.

  5. Don Easterbrook wrote:
    (1) how can we best prepare to cope with the 30 years of global cooling that is coming…

    I think that should be “20 years of global cooling that is coming”, as the paper indicates that we are 10 years into a 30 year period of global cooling.

  6. This is an excellent paper and I feel hits the real issue squarely on the head. Having written and published this paper on this informative blog – Keep Up the great Work Anthony! – do you have any plan to submet it to mass communications, Don? I believe the Washington Post, CNN and The NY Times have all done some alternative AGW articles lately. Fox is always open. Are you going to try these channels as well as scientific journals?

    Thanks,
    Dave

  7. I think that if a protracted period of cooling does continue then this will cause global population to naturally decline. Historically speaking warming periods have led to population increases and cooling periods- with the corresponding decline in agricultural output and economic prosperity- have led to decreases in global populations. Or at least a stalling of the increase in population.

  8. Don,
    the Pacific Decadel Oscillation(PDO) has switched into cool mode. Does the Atlantic Multidecadel Oscillation (AMO) automatically follow? I ask because I have seen several statistical regression analysis which indicates the AMO has significant influence on the earths temperature

  9. In the recent decadal warming, thta has now ended, you can see the shift in climate regions here Since 1990 through 2006:

    http://www.arborday.org/media/mapchanges.cfm

    It nicely brackets the 1998 El Nino spike. It is a good resource to figure shifts in reverse in North American agricultural productivity depending on the degree of shift toward cooling. In 16 years of warming there was a 1 degree shift equivalent to a hardiness zone change of about 1.5 degrees latitude at the 30th parallel; 2.0 degrees latitude at the 35th Parallel, and 2.5 -3.0 degrees latitude at about the 40th parallel (with wider shifts inland and narrower toward the coasts.

    In Georgia, for instance saw a rise of total farm output over this period by more than 40% — from an index of about 1.25 in 1990 to almost 1.85 in 2004. Iowa saw a rise from about 3.9 to 5.1, a rise of over 30 %. See: http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/AgProductivity/table03.xls

    It would be expected to see the same fall in productivity over a similar period of cooling and climate zones shifting northward again. However, since that rise required structural adjustments that limited the realization of increased natural productivity below its potential gains (capitalized inputs have to be acquired to exploit the potential gains) the loss of natural productivity from cooling will be felt much more sharply and the economic dislocation harsher, because nothing puts a floor on annual productivity loss similar to the structural cap on productivity gain .

  10. Under the scenario of a cooling similar to 1945-1977, the Easterbrook projection shows a continued upward trend in global temperature anomalies over the next century. What is driving this?

  11. That certainly covers a lot of ground.

    One attack on this study will be that it’s based on mere historical trends rather than magical computer simulations.

  12. Now that’s a study that addresses the real issue here: Exactly what will be the depth of this cooling phase and what we will do about it.
    I say we have already arrived at a 1880-1915 state and are flirting now with a Manunder/Dalton. If you look at the SOHO EIT and Stereo Behind right now you can see sunspot 1009 area and the place that formed ahead of it bracketed by a big piece of coronal hole just ahead and the polar cap hole below. Clearly, forces are at work sapping SC24 hard, and they are not playing nice.
    If I could come up with the data, I’d like to see the % of Solar Area covered by coronal hole. To see whether it is on the increase or wane. Seems like it is increasing.

  13. ‘Bob Sykes (06:21:53) :

    So, my question is, Does anyone think a downward cooling on the order of the Sporer or Maunder Minima is in the cards?’

    I for one believe we have a 50-50 chance of reaching a Dalton.
    A 25% chance of reaching a Maunder.
    The progression and comparison I have on this page:

    http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/DeepSolarMin.htm

    How do I tell the difference between a Dalton & a Maunder?
    The Dalton pattern will spend 2009 in limbo, 2010 in a very slightly raised plateau from bottom, but the Maunder will make for a ramp year, then fall back to bottom and sit there lifeless for several years, marking out the shoulders of rise, fall and a daring spike to maxima that is totally isolated.

    Taking a gander at Easterbrooks progression, it only takes 2 decades to hit glacially numbing cold. All that is needed is a comatose Sun.

  14. To improve the paper, I would have added sections explaining each of the forcings mentioned, with scientific study references. The ocean oscillations and solar irradiance needs more than just correlations but also mechanism theories. There are lots of cyclic things that can occur together but do not have a mechanism that demonstrates plausible cause and effect. For example, people always (or should) winterize before winter sets in. That does not mean that doing so causes winter to set in. Without a plausible and standard scientific treatment to the subject this is an opinion paper, not a scientific review of the literature with corresponding mega analysis.

  15. Jason (07:25:20) :
    Where do Easterbrook’s numbers for solar irradiance come from?

    Jason hits this on its head. The increase in TSI in the first half of the 20th century didn’t happen, so if you want to ascribe the wiggles to solar activity, then the higher temps in the last half of the 20th century must be due to other causes. E.g. AGW, which is why the AGW crowd loves the solar connection. There is good evidence now that TSI during the Maunder Minimum was no lower than today [right now], so the solar connection is not so obvious.

    It is a pity that Easterbrook hitches his wagon to the Sun, as that weakens his otherwise good case.

  16. Anecdotal cooling evidence from Colorado: The AGW alarmists told us that by now ski resorts would be suffering from global warming. I’ve lived in Breckenridge, CO since 2005 and haven’t seen any signs that (a) ski seasons are getting shorter (b) snowfall is decreasing or (c) temperatures are getting warmer. In fact, ski seasons are starting in October and lasting until June, resorts have been setting snowfall records (Beaver Creek just set a record for December snowfall and numerous resorts had record snow last season), and temperatures are downright frigid. I’m looking forward to many more powder days as global cooling continues!

  17. Robert Bateman (09:58:16) :
    If I could come up with the data, I’d like to see the % of Solar Area covered by coronal hole. To see whether it is on the increase or wane. Seems like it is increasing.

    Most solar physicists believe that the interplanetary magnetic field comes out of coronal holes. If so, the IMF strength might be a measure of coronal hole area [assuming same basal field strength], thus suggesting that coronal holes are declining [if you subscribe to the idea that the IMF now is lower than lately].

  18. Leif: I had something far simpler in mind than that. I was thinking that Coronal Holes compete with sunspot areas. That piece of coronal hole next to the spot that formed ahead of 1009 is what dampened down the whole string.
    i.e. – the sequence in solar rotation direction is SC1009, spot ahead on Stereo Ahead, and when the whole thing reappears in Earth view we have plage- plage- hole.

  19. If you hitch solar changes to ocean changes as the article does then there is no problem explaining all the past and present global temperature observations without involving CO2 at all.

    Easterbrook confirms what I have been saying in published articles since April 2008.

    For a relevant example see this link:

    http://co2sceptics.com/news.php?id=1302

  20. Woh,

    Look at the newest Ocean SST map.

    Negative PDO still in place but the developing La Nina trend just got much stronger over the past week.

    80% of La Ninas and El Ninos start developing in the early summer and peak around December. This one is starting to look like an atypical 20% one.

  21. Robert Bateman (10:40:36) :
    I was thinking that Coronal Holes compete with sunspot areas.

    Coronal holes form from decaying sunspots, so rather than competing, sunspots feed coronal holes. There are a few exceptions to this: if an active region pops up in the middle of a coronal hole the region may temporarily close the hole, but soon the additional flux wins and the hole opens up again.

  22. Stephen Wilde (10:43:35) :
    what I have been saying:
    “In my personal opinion it was criminal for the IPCC and the modellers to ignore all that on the basis of some nebulous concept termed Total Solar Irradiance.”

    TSI is NOT ‘some nebulous concept’, it is a very precise measurement of the total solar output of radiant heat, which is what directly heats the Earth’s Surface [including some back-radiation from GHGs].

    If you invoke PDO the way you do, you don’t need CO2 nor the Sun.

  23. Bill,
    Thanks for that heads up! I’ve been watching SSTs for a while too. I saw a faint La Nina signal in a daily satellite shot last week, but the last one I saw was Dec 22nd. This one is certainly more clear. La Nina is back….

  24. Deadwood

    Your comment is prioceless

    “When I was an undergraduate, my paleo prof told an interesting story one day during lecture. He said the typical undergrad knows a little bit about many things in science, but as his studies progress he learns more and more about less and less until finally, when he is awarded a Ph.D., he knows an awful lot about practically nothing.”

    I correspond and work with a lot of scientists and am in awe of their depth of knowledge on ‘their’ subject but shocked how narrow that area of interest is. It perhaps illustrates why context and perspective is so often lacking in scientific works.

    TonyB

  25. Leif,
    One also cannot ascribe the wiggles to CO2 either. Surely CO2 did not cause the Minimums and Optimums over the last 1000 years.
    If it’s not the sun and not CO2, what is left?

    Brent Buckner (07:17:30) :
    Don Easterbrook wrote:
    (1) how can we best prepare to cope with the 30 years of global cooling that is coming…?

    Answer: Easy! Just pretend it’s getting warmer!

  26. Bill Illis,
    Holy bejesus!
    At that rate, we’ll be in an ice age in about 9.5 months!
    Any ocean experts here who can shed light as to what is going on here?

  27. TonyB, Deadwood,

    ….on the other hand a consultant learns less and less about more and more until he knows practically nothing about almost everything.

    There are people who can be described as ‘a goldmine of information’… and others who are ‘minefields of information’ (i.e. don’t get them started on a pet subject)

  28. giovanniworld (09:32:35) :

    Hey, what happened to Global Warming?

    You mean the political movement of the late 20th Century? It was overwhelmed by Climate Realism.

    Incidentally, the claimed regionalism of the Little Ice Age apparently covers the kind of large regions of North America and western Europe: “Striking ecosystem changes were recorded from a large suite of lakes from Arctic, alpine and temperate ecozones in North America and western Europe. Aquatic ecosystem changes across the circumpolar Arctic were found to occur in the late-19th and early 20th centuries.” Maybe these Little Ice Age “hemispheric” changes weren’t very regional.

  29. Sorry, Leif.

    When I wrote that I was under the impression that ‘Total Solar Irradiance’ was a general term covering all the different solar effects ‘in total’.

    Nevertheless my point about the behaviour of others still seems to ring true.

  30. Bob Sykes (06:21:53) :
    ‘So, we are in a warm period due to high solar output, nearly as warm as the Medieval Climatic Optimum. Easterbrook’s projection shows a very minor fluctuation downwards, but we still are in a warm period. Predictions of mass starvation seem unwarranted.

    So, my question is, Does anyone think a downward cooling on the order of the Sporer or Maunder Minima is in the cards?’

    I think personally that at the moment the odds are less than 25%, however the longer the delay to cycle 24, the more those odds increase. I think you need PDO/AMO forcing, weak sun and maybe volcanoes as well to trigger such an event, however.

    Other factors likely to increase probability: continued heavy early winter snowfall across Canada, Northern US and Europe for the next 5 years; a sustained year-on-year recovery of summer ice in the Arctic; a second and third winter/summer like the 2007/08 one in Alaska.

    One thing I would say though under such circumstances: expect some deserts to turn into fertile lands. Rainfall in southern Spain and North Africa has been much heavier in the past two years, which clearly will have an effect on their desertification status. Crop cycles will move southward, not be wiped out, just as with increasing heat until recently wine crops in the UK have become much better. It’s up to mankind to adapt innovatively to that, not bleat that the world’s growing areas are wiped out.

  31. Actually Leif the PDO doesn’t seem to quite do it on it’s own but I can live with a solar input of, say, 10% over extended periods of time with the effect amplified upwards or downwards by the net global effects of the oceans from time to time.

    I think we would have a problem ascribing the overall warming from 1600 to date on the oceans alone so the sun has to remain in the equation to provide slow longer term background changes.

  32. Pierre Gosselin (11:45:08) :
    One also cannot ascribe the wiggles to CO2 either. Surely CO2 did not cause the Minimums and Optimums over the last 1000 years.
    If it’s not the sun and not CO2, what is left?

    Any system as complex as the climate has internal oscillations. One may ask: what caused the Sun to vary? The answer [the best we know it – although there are fringe ideas about astrology and galactic center and spiral arm traversals and electric storms from Jupiter, etc] is ‘internal oscillations’. People that cannot accept oscillations of the climate system seem happy to accept oscillations of the Sun. Go figure…

    Stephen Wilde (12:26:52) :
    the sun has to remain in the equation to provide slow longer term background changes.
    It is now becoming clear that there are no background changes in the Sun’s output, so we cannot invoke such changes, but why do we have to? Can we say with confidence that we need an extra 10% from the Sun? This presupposes that we have the data otherwise explained to that accuracy or better, which we do not.

  33. Glaciers and bitter cold seem to come from the North and extend southward, not on a global scale or the other way around. It now seems reasonable to say that when these flip, northern weather is significantly changed. A cold flip brings cold, a warm flip brings warmth. Since the various ocean cycles are not in synch at this moment, it is reasonable to guestimate that occasionally they flip together, just like my oft repeated example of bus windshield wipers. And there is more than just the two major ones. I can see very bitter cold, extensive glacier and sea ice growth, and significant advance into areas unseen by the present generations, and devastation to flora and fauna alike were this to happen. It would happen rapidly with precious little time to prepare, maybe a season or two of early warning for only those watching for it. The rest would be caught unaware of impending extreme danger. I can reasonably think that ocean currents alone would be the cause of such an event. Of course, the discussion would still go on about what causes ocean circulation and flips. And for those of you with a religious bent, what causes the cause.

  34. ‘Leif Svalgaard (11:01:07) :

    Coronal holes form from decaying sunspots, so rather than competing, sunspots feed coronal holes. There are a few exceptions to this: if an active region pops up in the middle of a coronal hole the region may temporarily close the hole, but soon the additional flux wins and the hole opens up again.’

    If I am reading this right, the origin of those 2 trans-eqauatorial coronal holes formed out of the last of SC23 activity.
    Is Coronal Hole theory and modeling something new, or is it well understood at this point?
    I’m going to hazard a guess that those 2 trans-eq holes will close up when SC24 decides to ramp, otherwise they will hamper progression as the additional flux is going to win out.
    Something like that.

  35. “Actually Leif the PDO doesn’t seem to quite do it on it’s own”

    Some might argue that the signals in geomagnetic activity have a comparitve signal to the PDO over similar time windows.

  36. Robert Bateman (13:30:53) :
    If I am reading this right, the origin of those 2 trans-eqauatorial coronal holes formed out of the last of SC23 activity.

    The hole that gives rise to the stream we are just about to enter the next couple of days has existed since July, 2004. It can be followed as the ‘.’s in the left hand side of

    http://www.leif.org/research/spolar.txt

    The modeling and theory is reasonably well understood.

    Solar minimum is often characterized by the disappearance of long-lived coronal holes as they are disrupted by emerging active regions, but new holes quickly form as the flux is there to allow them to.

  37. Steven G

    The sun will drive it. It won’t get as warm though if there is a longer cooling period as observed in the 1800 or 1880 cool periods.

  38. Leif Svalgaard (13:28:44) :

    I’m having fun yanking Tamino’s chain with some of Easterbrook’s data.

    Good luck with that ;<). I read his blog on occasion and it amazes me how illogical and circuitous his logic is, ie. he just switched position in that thread from regional values to “global” values depending on whether it fits with the data he needs to disprove.

  39. Regarding posts about La Niña signals, ocean temps in Monterey Bay are the coldest they’ve been in at least a few years. About 52-53 farenheit the last few days. I had been getting used to relatively balmy wintertime water temps(55-57), but not anymore. Usually the water doesn’t get really cold here until March-April, when the west coast high pressure gradient causes deepwater upwelling. If this keeps up, spring 2009 Santa Cruz surfing could be brutal. Really bad spring upwelling can see the water drop to the upper/mid 40s. Numb digits.

  40. maksimovitch,

    I’ve formed the impression that the oceans behave pretty much as they please and dominate atmospheric temperatures when the various oceanic cycles combine with each other and/or solar changes.

    Thus I’m not sure that near bottom ocean temperatures tell us very much since they could vary independently of or negatively with SSTs and atmospheric temperatures.

    Can you clarify what you think your link tells us ?

    Leif,

    I was referring to Earth’s atmosphere as regards background changes, not background changes in the sun.
    I think the sun contributes more than 10% to observed Earthly atmospheric temperature changes but I respect your position and would not seek to persuade you. I am content to see what future observations tell us now that the matter is under intense scrutiny with much improved satellite sensors.

    If the sun were not a factor I would have expected the recent spell of neutral PDO combined with the postulated CO2 forcing to have caused a bigger bounce back over recent months especially since any CO2 forcing has been suppressed for 10 years now. It didn’t happen and the N. Hemisphere winter seems to be pushing the numbers down again now with a new La Nina developing and cycle 24 still not really evident.

    The planet informs and we conform.

  41. Leif Svalgaard (13:00:13) :
    Any system as complex as the climate has internal oscillations.

    Maybe, but such oscillations must have some kind of physical explanation, or else it is just astrology, voodoo or whatever you want to call it.

    The best argument against planetary alignments modulating solar activity, is that the physical link does not seem to be there…..hence references to astrology. Explaining solar activity of climate variations as just ‘internal oscillations’ is on par with astrology unless there is an underlying physical explanation.

  42. @Bob Sykes (06:21:53) :

    To my knowledge the population growth has be at the upper end of forecasts in the past.

    I don’t think the current projections take into account the rapid population growth in the islamic world that is rather independant on development and personal income. So, as the islamic portion of the world population increases rapidly over time, the population growth will pick up again, irrespective of stagnating growth elsewhere.

  43. There is a theory of resonance between planets formed by Percy Seymour an astronomer. The moon for example resonates with the sea this process has brought the tides as we know them over a very long period of time not one circuit. Basically the ‘canals’ on the sun have a frequency and the planets resonate modifying the movement thus affecting solar activity. As we know when something resonates the affect is greatly amplified. The centre of mass of the solar system also plays a part here. The mass of Jupiter too is strong enough to pull the sun three degrees (varying) in its direction.
    There was work by a man called Nelson who worked for the army in radio communications and he set up two frequencies to avoid disturbance by solar activity he could predict when to change his signal from the planets. No one has proved him wrong.

  44. The next minimum is over a century away. The next cold patch is sooner than that. 2009 will be cool/cold but 2010 will have the warmista up in arms again. It will not be until after 2011 that we see a real cooling trend.

    What a swamp that tamino site is.

    It beggars my belief Leif. I hope you wiped your shoes as you left.

  45. Has anyone got a source for long-term precip.- temperature data from a north African source. I’m intrigued by the greening of the Sahel.

    Pamela, what triggers the ‘cold’ – ‘warm’ flips?

  46. This will only motivate the alarmists to implement their agenda ASAP. Once it’s irrefutable that global cooling has occured, they’ll claim victory by saying that their CO2 reductions saved the planet.

  47. Slightly OT (or maybe not), the March 2009 issue of Sky & Telescope is running an article entitled, “The Sun & Global Warming”. The tagline in the ad reads, “Is an increase in solar luminosity heating up our planet?”. I’d be interested in Leif’s take on this… as one of the more balanced popular periodicals, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for an interesting read.

  48. I’ve always thought the TSI was not the cause of global warming or cooling because it seems to only vary by .1% over time. I have yet to hear a discussion on the effects of all those sunspot flares and coronal mass ejections that hit earth during high sunspot years. They surely added a lot of extra energy to the atmosphere. Being a non-linear event, that energy must be almost impossible to measure, but I’m guessing that extra energy from sunpot activity is why sunpots and global temperatures track so well together.

  49. @Fred Gams
    “This will only motivate the alarmists to implement their agenda ASAP. Once it’s irrefutable that global cooling has occured, they’ll claim victory by saying that their CO2 reductions saved the planet.”

    I can hear the interview playing now.

    Interviewer: So as a result of your campaigning, temperatures are falling?

    Campaigner: Yes! We won! Just like we said all along.

    Interviewer: And trillions of pounds were spent?

    Campaigner: A price worth paying!

    Interviewer: And millions are dying from food shortages?

    Campaigner: A price worth pay… what… no… I mean yes… I mean the oil companies must have killed them… or something. Yes, there’s a world wide consensus on that. You know that! You’re just denying that we won! What are your qualifications anyway! I’ve had enough of this. The media has been against us from the start! (Storms off)

    Interviewer: OK… Well… we’ll just go now to a new documentary on how electric cars are responsible for accelerating the next Ice Age and why electro-magnetic off-sets should become compulsory and after that we’ll hear from the High Chief Scientist on his plans to support the willful destruction of fridges.

  50. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Lief Svalgaard and honor him as a scientist.

    It does rather disturb me when he tries to demonstrate that the output of the Sun has been constant for over 200 years, when other data is not always in agreement.

    Have any of you purchased an “Easy Bake Oven” for you daughter? How many watts/meter does that little light bulb put out, while cooking a cake for our little darling?

    Something does not smell right….

  51. Leif said:

    “Any system as complex as the climate has internal oscillations. One may ask: what caused the Sun to vary? The answer [the best we know it – although there are fringe ideas about astrology and galactic center and spiral arm traversals and electric storms from Jupiter, etc] is ‘internal oscillations’. People that cannot accept oscillations of the climate system seem happy to accept oscillations of the Sun. Go figure…”

    The oscillations of solar input to the earth (earth’s rotation and orbit) obviously cause the major “oscillations” of night/day and summer/winter. So the biggest driver for the earth is external. Then there are internal “oscillations” such as storage of heat in the deep ocean, biomass growth etc which modify the external influences. A few details to be worked out here… but in principle it seems pretty obvious that both types of oscillation need to be considered.

  52. A little less TSI, a little less UV rays, a little less tilt, a less little wobble, a negative PDO, a little less heat in the golf stream, a negative NAO, a little less heat from under water volcanoes, a little more cloud cover, a little less warming from other unknown mechanisms, throw in a couple of surfaces volcanoes, add them all up in the same time frame and bingo, we have a winner.
    Who is to say there is only one mechanism that causes all the cooling or all heating?
    Who is to say that that mechanism is dominate all the time?
    Who is arrogant enough to say man can control climate change?

  53. davidc (19:31:36) :
    The oscillations of solar input to the earth (earth’s rotation and orbit) obviously cause the major “oscillations” of night/day and summer/winter. So the biggest driver for the earth is external.
    By calculating ‘anomalies’. i,e. deviations from daily and yearly regular variations, those drivers are taken out of the system.

  54. AndrewWH (14:51:45) :
    Looks like you tugged too hard on that chain.
    Doesn’t take much… And only after having enduring some abuse first.

    Terry Ward (16:51:31) :
    What a swamp that tamino site is.
    It beggars my belief Leif. I hope you wiped your shoes as you left.

    Smells pretty bad…

    Steve Huntwork (19:20:14) :
    I have nothing but the utmost respect for Leif Svalgaard and honor him as a scientist.
    It does rather disturb me when he tries to demonstrate that the output of the Sun has been constant for over 200 years, when other data is not always in agreement.

    What other data?
    And the output has not been ‘constant’. Its variation is just much smaller than we [including me] used to think.

  55. old construction worker (19:41:09) :

    “Who is arrogant enough to say man can control climate change?”

    The Great and Powerful Wizard is, and can :-)

  56. ‘old construction worker (19:41:09) :
    Who is arrogant enough to say man can control climate change?’

    That doesn’t stop them from trying. Cloud seeding and chemtrails for two.
    Who knows what else is being done on cover of “Classifed”.

  57. Does anybody have a link of albedo change versus time? At least over the satellite period?

    Shading the sun is as effective in increasing/decreasing heat input as if the sun were changing. Look at http://junkscience.com/Greenhouse/Earth_temp.html andn play with the toy model.

    Nice pendulum demonstration, Leif. One can see what would happen with three or more coupled ones, which is surely closer to what the climate system is .

  58. One would not take out the sun intensity oscillations due to the turning of the earth around it, in these calculations, because they are one of the pendulums probably bouncing off the ocean currents. Day and night might be too fast to affect the inertia of the final oscillating system.

  59. If temperatures fall as we seem to suspect, Al Gore will probably take credit by fudging reported results with his friend Mr. H. They can then keep up the pretense of reducing CO2 and keep all the scientists working until one day in the distant future some smart egg figures it all out. OTOH, I hope temperatures continue to drop enough that in 4 years the American public will have had enough BS to throw out the AGW baby with the IPCC bathwater!

  60. Can anyone give a hint to what actually are the references (Easterbrook, 2001, 2006, 2007) mentioned in the abstract.

  61. Leif said:

    And the output has not been ‘constant’. Its variation is just much smaller than we [including me] used to think.

    Could it be solar input, as opposed to solar output? Even if sun had been absolutely stable, could something like slow varying distance to the sun, number of asteroids between earth and sun, etc provide enough input power variation to cause all this?

  62. Leif,
    “People that cannot accept oscillations of the climate system seem happy to accept oscillations of the Sun. Go figure…”

    Of course they both oscillate. But imagine if you removed the Sun oscillations (which are indeed quite frequent – 11-year, 78-year, etc., etc.), you’d have a very different situation here on earth. The sun drives the climate.
    Surely solar oscillations play a far greater role in influencing earth climate than CO2. The fact remains that the sun now appears to have entered a new phase of a cycle (still waiting for 24). So expect some changes here on earth.

  63. Bob Sykes (06:21:53) :
    Predictions of mass starvation seem unwarranted.
    […] In that case, the total world population should peak around 8 billion, or a little less, around 2030 and fall slowly throughout the remainder of the century. No need to promote Ehrlich’s dementia. Read Julian Simon (RIP).

    Just to second this notion… We can grow at least 10 times as much food as we do now. How? Hydroponics, Greenhouses, etc. And that is without even taking the minor effort to put gardens in instead of lawns or put greenhouses in deserts and other inhospitable places.

    See:

    http://mbao.org/hydropn3.html

    http://tastyharvest.com/merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=ZCOM&Store_Code=TH

    These are a couple of semi-random pages picked from a Google search. There is a bit of un-clarity from the quoting of production and yield but not making clear what’s what. You get about 20% to 50% more crop / acre / planting from just hydroponics. Add the greenhouse with faster crop cycles, more crop cycles, higher yields, more degree days, lack of pests, etc. and you get 10 times as much total yield per year per unit area.

    Oh, and you use about 1/10th the water, almost no pesticides, fumigants, etc.

    So why don’t we do this now? (Why? don’t ask why… down that path lays insanity and ruin…)

    Basically, farmers do not grow for maximum yield, they grow for maximum profit with the least effort (least money & labor). They only move to more intensive farming techniques when market prices justify it. Basically, there is not enough demand to justify it.

    (And no, there is no shortage of materials to make greenhouses. The poles and glazing can all be made from plastics made from plants, if desired, and there is no shortage of rock and sand for bricks, cement, glass, whatever.)

    All the stories of the form “We are going to run out of {food, fuel, energy, fresh water, living space, …]” are just that; stories to scare the children and the gullible.

  64. Leif argues quite rightly that the TSI levels now are the same as during the Maunder (like at every solar minimum), but the difference is if we stay there for 50 years it will obviously have a temperature impact.
    The grand minimum we are now in will probably only last 1 phase as we missed the boat in SC20 and the last phase looks weak, (the sporer, maunder and perhaps wolf suffered 3 phases, dalton 2) this one will be the shortest grand minimum in 1000 years, so expect only 2 cycles of low activity followed by fairly low to medium activity for the next 100 years.

  65. G.R. Mead (08:31:39) :
    In Georgia, for instance saw a rise of total farm output over this period by more than 40% — from an index of about 1.25 in 1990 to almost 1.85 in 2004. Iowa saw a rise from about 3.9 to 5.1, a rise of over 30 %.

    This attributes all the gain to more degree days. It isn’t. There have been dramatic improvements from seed development and more precise fertilization regimes. In some cases the newer faster varieties have allowed for two crops to be produced when before there was only time for one. (Old corns, for example, were 120+ days. I have a 50 day corn in my seed locker…)

    A more accurate prediction would look at total degree days before vs now and adjust for the availability of seed stock that needed fewer degree days. There could easily be no net change.

    (I don’t expect no net change. I expect folks to plant what they always did and have some crop failures before they change over, but I could be wrong. Modern farming is far more computerized and technical than it was just a couple of decades ago; and they might well adjust same season to colder weather predictions. I’ve already started planting ‘siberian’ tomatoes instead of brandywine. The siberian sets fruit at 45F where the brandywine sets at about 80F and takes twice as long to grow…)

    I’d expect at most a one season blip as farmers got the wake up call to shift to faster more cold tolerant crops. Though if we enter a Maunder type event, well, nothing much grows under ice…

  66. Stephen Wilde (10:43:35) :
    If you hitch solar changes to ocean changes as the article does then there is no problem explaining all the past and present global temperature observations without involving CO2 at all.

    And here NASA links it to ozone modulation with UV (with obligatory GW nag):

    http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/20011207iceage.html

    In this case, the low solar activity depicted by fewer sunspots) during the Maunder Minimum meant decreased UV radiation which impacted the protective ozone formation in the upper atmosphere (stratosphere). The changes, then, in the upper atmosphere, feed down to the surface climate and affect many systems, including the Arctic Oscillation/North Atlantic Oscillation. These are jet stream systems that would transport warmer air to America and Europe. SUPER: NASA / ESA


  67. Leif Svalgaard (20:32:03) :

    Carsten Arnholm, Norway (15:06:58) :
    Maybe, but such oscillations must have some kind of physical explanation, or else it is just astrology, voodoo or whatever you want to call it.
    Physics. A simple example is the coupled pendulums:

    http://www.maths.surrey.ac.uk/explore/michaelspages/Coupled.htm

    Try to play with some of the settings.

    I am a structural engineer. That is just a pair of coupled pendulums that happen to hit eigenvalues for some parameter choices (and some of them are invalid since the theory is valid only for small oscillations).

    But this does nothing to explain the physical nature of the oscillations of solar activity or oscillations of the earth’s climate, or whether they are coupled.

  68. How to deal with an increasing world population ???

    Well you could lie and cheat, and make sure that the world population
    was ‘geared up’ to a ‘warming situation’, so that types of crops planted
    and the locations, would ensure world famine should they fail due to cold,
    You could shut down power stations, and not build new ones, (not even nuclear) ‘as not so much energy is needed in a warmer world’…and when people die from cold by the millions due to having no power, that too would reduce the world population, and hey, with any luck maybe a war or two over food and resources would reduce the population even further.

    Cynical… perhaps… but how else to explain the apparent lack of ‘governmental foresight’ and apparent ‘governmental complacency’ in not ‘seeing’ what seems obvious to us ‘deniers’ (who don’t have a fraction of the resources governments have). And after all, the ‘new world government’ and their families would be ok, in their warm and cosy ‘bunkers’
    conveniently paid for by your ‘carbon taxes’ before you kindly kicked the bucket to save the planet !!!

  69. Leif Svalgaard (11:01:07) :
    Coronal holes form from decaying sunspots, so rather than competing, sunspots feed coronal holes.

    Wow! Respectfully, how do you explain the fact that we have had almost consistant coronal holes all through this year, yet very few sunspots? Seems to me its time to change your theory on what causes Coronal holes:)

  70. I made k=2 and theta2dot= 2. System was stable for 64 seconds and was quite entertaining, until the sun blew up or maybe the earth plunged into the sun!! Whatever!!

  71. DR M.A. Rose,

    I believe some folks at the JPL did a study about a decade ago arguing that changes in both the PDO and AMO lead to the “dust bowl” decade of the 1930s. I don’t think anyone has scientifically tied global temps to changes in the AMO, but medium and long range forecasters both in Europe and North America give this teleconnection a close focus.

    I can’t provide a link (it is now gone) to the JPL paper. But, the gist of it said that slightly cooling Pacific waters (mainly Central Pacific) with abnormally warm Central Atlantic waters (the AMO was in its warm phase) caused the Gulf of Mexico fetch to migrate far to the south (Eastern Mexico). The Great Plains therefore lost its main source of moisture. Dry Easterlies dominated the weather patterns from Arkansas through Montanta from 1931-1939. The Bermuda High extended itself into Southern Canada, and the 1930s became the hottest decade of the century.

    Currently the AMO is in its positive mode, and has provided Europe with fairly warm climate for the last 15 years. If I am not mistaken, the AMO oscillates every 25 years. So it could remain in a positive mode for antoher decade. As far as I know, we could be stuck ina cold PDO/Warm AMO for the next several years. This may not bode well for precipitation across North America. But again, not all weather analogs play out the same. The AMO could be shifting to a negative mode soon according to some forecasters (most notably Joe Bastardi).

  72. I think we should be clearer when talking of global population(s). For the developed nations, 18 of 20 of them will see stable but aging demographics. And if the demographics do not change, the developed nations will see population decreases by 2030. Most of the developed nations have fertility rates below 1.8 (the lowest are Russia, Japan, Greece, Italy, and Spain, and perhaps China with rates around 1.1). Only the US (2.1) and Austrailia (2.2) have fertility rates at the replacement levels. Scandanavia and France average about 1.8, and the rest of Europe hovers near 1.5. Africa has been ravaged by AIDS and war; India is about 3.4.

    This means that the nations that hold 90% of the world’s wealth (and prodcue the vast majority of GHGs) are rapidily aging. I’m not sure how the world can continue its rapid economic growth engine with such aging populations. The developing nations such as Brazil could lead the way, but they too are dependent upon developed nations capital and markets. The US is rapidily losing its apetite for Free Trade and is about to turn inward. Nations like Brazil, Vietnam, and Signapore could be left out in the cold as much of the developed world’s wealth will be spent on geriatrics and social welfare spending.

    I would not at all be surprised to see the current CO2 concentrations of 390ppm to drop belwo 370ppm by 2030.

  73. Re: E.M.Smith (01:53:26)

    [I have a 50 day corn in my seed locker…)]

    50 day corn! I didn’t know such a thing existed. What kind of yields (bu/acre) does it produce? (BTW, just in case you are British, by “corn” you are referring to maize aren’t you?)

    [I’d expect at most a one season blip as farmers got the wake up call to shift to faster more cold tolerant crops.]

    You seem to be assuming here that the seed supply would exist. Does it? I could envision a rapid increase in demand for varieties that are in little demand today very quickly outstripping the supply. I think a 3-5 year “blip” is more likely.

  74. For people wondering about oscillations and couplings.

    If one has all the variables of the climate system, one can write differential equations of what affects what, starting from energy conservation, momenta ( angular and linear) masses + a number of variables that have to do with the climate . These equations will be coupled as the same variables will be shared around. In addition these will not be linear differential equations. The system is not solvable except with approximations.

    The GCM models have tried to introduce first order approximations of the solutions, assuming they are linear, and that is the reason they fail: the real solutions can be highly divergent from linearity and this shows up after a number of iterations.

    A. Tsonis et al have tried to model the climate with a neural network, the paper can be found here http://www.nosams.whoi.edu/PDFs/papers/tsonis-grl_newtheoryforclimateshifts.pdf

    A new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts
    Anastasios A. Tsonis,1 Kyle Swanson,1 and Sergey Kravtsov1
    Received 5 April 2007; revised 16 May 2007; accepted 15 June 2007; published 12 July 2007.
    [1] We construct a network of observed climate indices in
    the period 1900–2000 and investigate their collective
    behavior. The results indicate that this network
    synchronized several times in this period. We find that in
    those cases where the synchronous state was followed by a
    steady increase in the coupling strength between the indices,
    the synchronous state was destroyed, after which a new
    climate state emerged. These shifts are associated with
    significant changes in global temperature trend and in
    ENSO variability. The latest such event is known as the
    great climate shift of the 1970s. We also find the evidence
    for such type of behavior in two climate simulations using a
    state-of-the-art model. This is the first time that this
    mechanism, which appears consistent with the theory of
    synchronized chaos, is discovered in a physical system of
    the size and complexity of the climate system.
    Citation: Tsonis, A. A., K. Swanson, and S. Kravtsov (2007),
    A new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts, GeophysRes. Lett., 34, L13705, doi:10.1029/2007GL030288

    They use “the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), the North
    Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), the El Nin˜o/Southern Oscillation
    (ENSO), and the North Pacific Oscillation (NPO)”

    a discussion here:

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2223

    and links here since the climate audit ones do not work

    http://www.uwm.edu/~aatsonis/

    A good exposition of the use of neural nets in climate is here:

    http://www.uwm.edu/~aatsonis/BAMS_proofs.pdf

  75. pkatt (04:18:03) :
    how do you explain the fact that we have had almost consistent coronal holes all through this year, yet very few sunspots?
    It doesn’t take many spots to maintain a coronal hole [BTW, it has been the same few holes we have seen all the time. They live for months or years]. An occasional spot at the edge of a hole is enough to keep it alive. Coronal holes are not ‘independent phenomena’ that exist on their own, they must be maintained by emerging magnetic flux. That is the prevailing theory at least. Observations [and simulations] show that the the magnetic field must be renewed every 40 days or so. That does not mean that we fully understand all of this. For example, it is not known why sunspots keep appearing near the edge of a coronal hole to keep it alive. For the polar holes, all spots will be near the edges, since spots generally occur at lower latitudes, so the mystery is not so deep for those. On the figure on page 3 of http://www.leif.org/research/Polar%20Fields%20and%20Cycle%2024.pdf you can directly see the ‘streams’ of red [south polarity] and blue [north polarity] magnetic flux feeding the polar holes.
    The total magnetic flux in a coronal hole is only that of a single [or perhaps a couple] of the flux in a sunspot.

  76. Carsten Arnholm, Norway (02:20:05) :
    But this does nothing to explain the physical nature of the oscillations of solar activity or oscillations of the earth’s climate, or whether they are coupled.

    It was not intended as an explanation of solar activity, but simply as an illustration of that oscillations of systems can occur without a direct external driver. Add some randomness to the system and the effects of stochastic fluctuations can be maintained for a long time.

  77. E.M.Smith (02:03:52) :
    And here NASA links it to ozone modulation with UV (with obligatory GW nag):

    That old paper by Shindell et al. uses [what we now know] an incorrect reconstruction of TSI [Hoyt and Schatten’s] that has a variation since the Maunder Minimum that is much too large.

  78. Can a plage region suffice to feed a Coronal Hole?
    I am reminded of the 3 things it takes for a gas engine to run:
    Compression, fuel & spark.
    The fuel is flowing from the sunspecks & plages to the Coronal Hole, but the ignition coil ain’t putting out any spark.

  79. Robert Bateman (08:32:26) :
    Here is a Solar Terrestrial Activity Report from a day with sunspot count of 120, and a mess of surrounding coronal holes.

    A good illustration of how sunspots help feed the holes. A hole forms whenever there is a large enough area with unipolar magnetic field. If the area shrinks a little, the hole will close, but add a little flux to the area so it expands a little and the hole will reform. The hole forms simply be the corona being ‘drained’ by the solar wind expansion along the ‘open’ magnetic field lines.

  80. Robert Bateman (09:04:24) :
    Can a plage region suffice to feed a Coronal Hole?
    Yes, a plage is also an area of magnetic flux, and, in fact, the sunspot must first decay to a plage before the feeding can begin.

  81. “The total magnetic flux in a coronal hole is only that of a single [or perhaps a couple] sunspot.” is less mangled. The point is that the total magnetic flux in coronal holes is small and is easily supplied even by a few spots.

  82. I must admit that Leif’s answers to questions are telling me a great deal about what is known (and more importantly not known ) about the sun.

    Surprising how much we still do not know.

  83. Stephen Wilde (15:00:14) :

    I’ve formed the impression that the oceans behave pretty much as they please and dominate atmospheric temperatures when the various oceanic cycles combine with each other and/or solar changes.

    Can you clarify what you think your link tells us ?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faint_young_Sun_paradox

    As we see here ,we can observe there is no “standard model “for paleoclimate/present transformations, each brings a new set of problems and paradox’s due to the non linearity and complexities of the systems (much like the Russian . marushka dolls) the deeper we dig the less we know.

    Ghil sums this up well in this statement
    “As the relatively new science of climate dynamics evolved through the 1980s and 1990s, it became quite clear from observational data, both instrumental and paleoclimatic, as well as model studies that Earth’s climate never was and is unlikely to ever be in equilibrium.”

    Now this is a problematic problem in climate science, where the average “observables” from a paleo data set have some predictable charecterisitcs, however they also have unstable dynamics. Here climate science assumes that in the absence of anthropogenic forcing climate is in a unique and stable configuration and that in the presence of a forcing the comprehensive knowledge of past history, and of the forcing will allow us to deduce reliably the systems response for all subsequent times.This is clearly not the case.

  84. maksimovich,

    Thank you, I’m inclined to agree with the idea that we are dealing with a fundamentally unstable system and that superimposing a human driving force is not likely to be an adequate answer to our predictive requirements.

    Pamela,

    I’m sure you are just as cuddly as Leif.

  85. Retuning to the Easterbrook paper some definitions may be applicable .

    We can divide the PDO etc and its relationship with climate and its related interpretations into two components.

    A) The fluctuations within a persistent regime or state, and

    B) The supercritical or inverse oscillations of persistent states that are described as positive or negative (hotter or cooler)

    Here A is a subset of B, and we can find a trend within the state being positive or negative, but we cannot use a trendline between states as this has different stochastic attributes.ie different chaotic attractors

    We see this illustrated with the PDO and IPD where both phenomena changed phase near the time of the Pacific “climatic shift” around 1976 and which apparently influenced global temperatures.

    These global bifurcations are called ‘‘Shilnikov phenomenon” and are well described in mathematical literature.

    Shilnikov A. L., Nicolis, G. and Nicolis, C. [1995] Bifurcation and predictability analysis of a low-order atmospheric circulation model, Int. J. Bif. Chaos 5(6), 1701–1711.

    http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Shilnikov_bifurcation

    In the presence of inversion symmetry, we note that a periodic orbit can always be classified as either asymmetric or symmetric, with asymmetric orbits always
    occurring in pairs in which each member transforms into the other under the inversion operation, while symmetric orbits are unique.

    In a (supercritical) Hopf bifurcation, the real parts of the eigenvalues of a fixed point increase through zero from negative to positive, causing the stationary point to lose stability and a stable periodic orbit to be created

  86. Complementary on the publication of Don Easterbrook:

    1. Quantifying the US Agricultural Productivity Response to Solar Cycle 24
    by David Archibald, (forecasting that agricultural productivity will drop by 30%)
    http://www.icecap.us
    2. http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/warren-county/index.ssf?/base/news-1/123044076267040.xml&coll=3
    Besides the pressure on productivity caused by a cooler climate, the introduction of carbon taxes on life stock will send many farmers into bankruptcy.
    The wind mill playing hour is over. It’s time to prepare for real problems.

  87. Instead of a carbon tax, the US govt should be considering what the UK is doing: Shutting off or timing useless rural street lights and cutting back on the consumption of the fossil fuels used to generate electricity used for frivolous purposes. Put the money into tangible things, like scrubbing the coal plant outputs, cleaning up toxic wastes.
    I’m all for taking care of our place, not wasting energy, and some good old fashioned cleanup. What the AGW should have been focusing on.

  88. anna v (30/12),

    Thanks for the link to the Tsonis paper. It looks very interesting. Maybe you can help me understand the following comment from the paper:

    “It is vital to note that synchronization and coupling are not
    interchangeable; for example, it is trivial to construct a pair
    of coupled simple harmonic oscillators whose displacements
    are in quadrature (and hence perfectly uncorrelated),
    but whose phases are strongly coupled [Vanassche et al.,
    2003]”

    Is it that coupling refers to an interaction between elements which would lead to synchronization in the absence of interation with other elements? While synchronization refers to what happens with the entire system when all elements are interacting? If so I can’t see how his treatment teases the two apart.

  89. Thanks for the answer Leif:) !!

    “Yes, a plage is also an area of magnetic flux, and, in fact, the sunspot must first decay to a plage before the feeding can begin.”

    Well I have certainly seen enough of those this year that didnt turn into actual sunspots but I will start paying more attention to where they are in relation to holes..

    Ok silly Qs number two.

    While TSI hasnt changed much during our minimum, thus causing you to discount the sun as a warming or cooling element, couldnt the magnetic field changes be the smoking gun we are missing? We dont know what causes our ocean currents but if something as ‘small’ as the moon can change tides couldnt different magnetic strengths from our sun be the driver of our currents and even weather patterns?

    I guess it just boggles my mind a bit because if you look at a soho series from the height of the solar cycle side by side with one now its really hard to believe that the change in amount of magnetic activity on the sun doesnt effect us at all. Especially if we have things like magnetic portals, and events that shatter our protective magnetic bubble even for a short time.

    Ps Im working my way through your site. I have to admit it takes a few reads and some side work for me to grasp stuff sometimes so thanks for being kind.

  90. davidc (14:41:39) :

    anna v (30/12),

    Thanks for the link to the Tsonis paper. It looks very interesting. Maybe you can help me understand the following comment from the paper:

    “It is vital to note that synchronization and coupling are not
    interchangeable; for example, it is trivial to construct a pair
    of coupled simple harmonic oscillators whose displacements
    are in quadrature (and hence perfectly uncorrelated),
    but whose phases are strongly coupled [Vanassche et al.,
    2003]”

    Is it that coupling refers to an interaction between elements which would lead to synchronization in the absence of interaction with other elements? While synchronization refers to what happens with the entire system when all elements are interacting? If so I can’t see how his treatment teases the two apart.

    Synchronization means ” happening in lock step”. Coupling means two or more things/equations are connected with common variables. One variable is displacement of , example, the pendulum bob, if two pendulums are coupled as in the example Leif gave us http://www.maths.surrey.ac.uk/explore/michaelspages/Coupled.htm . Phase means the difference between the motion of the pendulums in time ( motions sine wave like) Two uncoupled pendulums have a phase difference that is not affected by each other’s motion. The quote above says that there is a choice for the coupled system where the displacement of each will seem independent of the other, nevertheless plotting the phase a dependence will be there. So by studying and finding that the displacements are asynchronous you cannot conclude that there is not coupling, since it does not mean that there may not be synchronicity with phases or other variables of the system. So synchronicity and coupling are two different things.

  91. Mamfred (15:34:22) wrote :

    “I don’t think the current projections take into account the rapid population growth in the islamic world that is rather independant on development and personal income. So, as the islamic portion of the world population increases rapidly over time, the population growth will pick up again, irrespective of stagnating growth elsewhere.”

    This article talks about falling birthrates in the Middle East:

    Mideast fertility rates plunge
    http://www.metimes.com/Editorial/2008/01/25/editorial_mideast_fertility_rates_plunge/6336/

    Something dramatic is happening to fertility rates in the Middle East. For many years, most analysts and observers have focused on the remarkably high proportion of young people in Arab countries; those under the age of 25. This has provoked some crude commentary on the implications for birth rates and thus for the role of women in those countries. A great deal of that commentary now appears to be wrong-headed, according to new data from the Demographic and Social Statistics unit of the U.N. Statistical Division. Released last month, its findings were largely ignored in the holiday season.

    They should have won much wider appreciation, for what they suggest is that Arab birth rates in general are dropping dramatically, and that the number of births among women under the age of 20 is dropping even more sharply. Overwhelmingly, the only places in the world where high birth rates are still the norm are in sub-Saharan Africa, and in Central America, and in two Arab countries: Yemen and the Palestinian territories.

  92. anna v,

    Thanks, that’s clear. The first message for me is that what most people on both sides are doing (looking for “correlations” which amounts to looking for synchronicity, in things like TSI and a measure of temperature; or the absence of) is simplistic. Even in Lief’s simple example of the coupled pendulum this approach would fail to demonstrate a causal connection between the motion of one pendulum and the other.

    But I’m still having trouble with Tsonis et al and how they tease out coupling from the observations. Firstly, I can’t see how a neural net can say anything at all about underlying dynamic processes, unless these are somehow incorporated in the structure of the net (which Tsonis doesn’t do, as far as I can see). In the section that prompted my question:

    [6] An important aspect in the theory of synchronization
    between coupled nonlinear oscillators is coupling strength.
    It is vital to note that synchronization and coupling are not
    interchangeable;

    Notice that they are using the terms “coupling” and “coupling strength” as though they are the same. But in discussion of their results they say:

    “The network synchronizes again in 1950. This state is followed by a
    decrease in coupling strength and, as was the case in 1920s
    no major shifts occur. Finally, the network synchronizes
    again in the mid 1970s. This state is followed by an increase
    in coupling strength and incredibly, as in the cases of 1910
    and 1940, synchronization is destroyed (at the time marked
    by the right vertical line) and then climate shifts again.”

    In your definition (which I’m quite happy with) “coupling” is an invariant property of the system, whereas here “coupling strength” is a time-dependent variable. I think this passage would read much the same if you substituted “degree of synchronicity” for “coupling strength”. So I think that’s what their “network distance” d(t) is measuring: “degree of synchronicity”. (They pretty much say that earlier: “The distance can be
    thought as the average correlation between all possible pairs of nodes and is interpreted as a measure of the synchronization of the network’s components.”) The question of how useful this is in understanding “coupling” in your meaning of the term depends on whether their model allows for extrapolation into the future. As it’s currently formulated I don’t think it has that capability.

    But where it does seem to be potentially very useful is in providing guidance for the development of a genuine dynamical model. They seem to have shown that their 4 indices are the major components of the climate system. So a climate model could involve just 4 ordinary simultaneous differential equations, one for each “index” (=dependent variable) rather than some pretend version of Navier-Stokes. What is missing from Tsonis is any indication as to what the fundamental drivers are. But with a 4 ode model that would be much easier to investigate than attempting to work with observations of the entire system.

  93. pkatt (14:52:52) :
    its really hard to believe that the change in amount of magnetic activity on the sun doesnt effect us at all.
    It does, but not enough to be a significant driver of climate. It is a question of energy. The magnetic Sun constantly delivers energy to the Earth-system. It varies between a GigaWatt and a TeraWatt in total, but the TSI delivers a steady 174,000 TeraWatt

    davidc (15:21:44) :
    I can’t see how a neural net can say anything at all about underlying dynamic processes,
    I agree with this. A neural network is just curve fitting [and with a ‘hidden layer’ to boot] and teaches you nothing.

    REPLY: Personally I think looking for climate change as a result of direct energy variance from the sun, in whatever form, is misleading. What I suspect is the reality is a transistor like effect, where a small signal variance is amplified.

    Lookup Field Effect Transistor or FET to get an idea of what I’m talking about. Svensmark has the right idea, but that may not be the mechanism. It may be a combination of effects. One things is for certain, we don’t fully understand all of the issues between the earth and sun linkage, anyone who claims to fully understand it is overstating their skill. – Anthony

  94. Leif Svalgaard (17:25:58) :
    we don’t fully understand all of the issues between the earth and sun linkage, anyone who claims to fully understand it is overstating their skill. – Anthony

    As are those who claim that there is a ‘perfect’, ‘obvious’, ‘clear’ cause and effect solar-climate connection.

  95. davidc (15:21:44) :

    Coupling vs coupling strength.

    Coupling is the fact that two equations are coupled, that a spring exists between the pendulum bobs. Coupling strength is the spring constant and that is left a variable in their study. The spring constants in the climate framework are not constant. Think for example the connection between PDO andENSO, certainly there will be a time dependence on how one affects the other.

    On neural nets: They are just another tool of integration, like a Monte Carlo,. When I worked a bit with the concept more than ten years ago, the net was generating for us probabilities for the validity of different models against the data.

    The way Tsonis et al are using neural nets reminds me of analogue computing back then in the 1960’s, before digital computers and thinking took over: The differential equations were set up as LCR circuits, the constants were volt inputs and the value of the L,C,R, and the output, measured in volts was the solution. They worked very well and were orders of magnitude faster than digital computers, but of course had to be redesigned for each problem ( look it up in the wikipedia.com if interested).

    The reason I think the neural net approach is useful is because the system is set up with the known functional dependences and let to run to see the result of all the nonlinear couplings, which cannot be done analytically if you just take the four or five or whatever currents and storm fronts.

    I have wondered before why there is no analogue climate model computer. I suppose it is because the knowledge has fallen through the cracks and is lost.

  96. Reading this after a few hours, I wonder what I meant and missprinted !!

    before digital computers and thinking took over:

    I think I meant digital way of thinking. We are now completely in a digital mode.

  97. It always seems to me that we look at too short a time scale. Just for fun I created this real life example of the sort of temperatures that would be experienced by someone born in Britain in 1660 and living to 70- Average annual temp 8.87c

    Some one in 1670 and living to 70 Average annual temp 8.98

    1680 9.01
    1690 9.05
    1700 9.19
    1710 9.21
    1720 9.17
    1730 9.14
    1740 9.04
    1750 9.03
    1760 9.08
    1770 9.10
    1780 9.07
    1790 9.12
    1800 9.15
    1810 9.13
    1820 9.14
    1830 9.12
    1840 9.10
    1850 9.14 (Start of the famously reliable Hadley global temperatures)
    1860 9.17
    1870 9.21
    1880 9.30
    1890 9.39
    1900 9.40
    1910 9.46
    1920 9.497
    1930 9.60
    1940 9.70 (projected to 2009)
    1950 9.76 a bit of a guess and assumes current trends continue
    1960 9.83 a wild guess and assumes current trends continue

    I decided to call the period from 1660 to 1880 as ‘LIA Everyman’ in as much they lived part of their lives during the little ice age, and those born from 1890 to the present day as ‘UHI Everyman’ (although no adjustments have been made to correct UHI Everyman’s well known tendency to exaggerate his (or her) temperatures)

    As can be seen the ‘LIA Everyman’ born in the first few decades of the 1700’s would have experienced a life time temperature average some 0.5C below someone living in the modern era. I dont think that either LIA everyman or UHI everyman would even begin to notice the difference.

    TonyB

  98. Lief said:

    “A neural network is just curve fitting [and with a ‘hidden layer’ to boot] and teaches you nothing.”

    I nearly said that (curve fitting) but managed to stop myself because I think it’s almost true but not quite. Formally, what you say is of course correct but in practice there is an important difference, which is that with curve fitting you have to be explicit about your preconceptions (ie actually specify a function to fit to the data) to a greater degree than with neural nets. With neural nets you need to specify independent variables (inputs) but not the functional form. This doesn’t matter much if there is a single independent variable; eg Tglobal = f(TSI), where you do some verbal curve fitting to conclude that this formulation isn’t correct (I agree). But with an increasing number of independent variables our intuition about functional forms evaporates. Usually, faced with not a clue about what’s going on, people resort to a low order polynomial (in climate science mostly first order). I think a neural net has the potential to be much better than that. The “hidden layer” in neural nets that you’ve booted are simply the adjustable parameters, comparable to those of a low order polynomial.

    As for neural nets or curve fitting teaching you nothing, I’m sure you don’t mean it. You only work with ab initio theories with no adjustable parameters? (Of course, there is curve fitting and curve fitting but your dismissal was unqualified).

  99. anna v,

    “Coupling is the fact that two equations are coupled, that a spring exists between the pendulum bobs. Coupling strength is the spring constant and that is left a variable in their study.”

    My point is that in spite of their warning about mistaking synchronicity for coupling they do just that. I don’t think “coupling strength” is “in” their model at all. I think their’s is a phenomenological model with the observations relating to degrees of synchronicity (as measured by d(t)) which they take to have something to do with coupling (reasonably, but imprecisely).

    Actually, my guess is that this has to do with (!) Peer Review. I think a Reviewer has commented something like “an interesting paper but the authors confuse synchronicity with coupling” and the authors have responded something like “we accept the criticism and have corrected the manuscript by inserting the passage …” . The Editor accepts the change without referring it back to the Reviewer. (I’ve done exactly that: make a minor change, that doesn’t do much damage to the overall point of the paper, to satisfy a Reviewer even if I thought they were wrong. Shame on me! Shame on Peer Review!)

    What do you think of the idea that what the authors have shown is that a climate model with 4 ODEs (one each for the “indices” for PDO, ENSO etc, with nonlinear couplings) might be feasible? A first look at a mathematic model for ENSO (http://www.tahan.com/charlie/research/physics/earth_science/nino/enso-ct/ENSOreport.html)
    is not encouraging. It seems that these Os are not well understood at all. But the idea would be not to model the individual processes and their interaction (in the end that would just be a GCM) but the “interactions” between the indices.

    I don’t think analogue computers can stage a comeback but there would be one advantage if they did. People could actually see the “model” and see for themselves what happens if they turned this little knob here a little to the left and that one a little to the right. I think there would be lots of jokes.

  100. davidc (13:42:26) :
    As for neural nets […] teaching you nothing, I’m sure you don’t mean it.

    I did and do mean it in a very strong sense. Imagine that you have a magic box [a neural network]. You tell the box that you think variables A, B, C, …, X, and Y are causative and feed in long sequences of values of A, B, C, …, X, and Y, and observed ‘response’ Z to ‘train’ the network. You then ask the box to predict a new value of Z based of a new set of {A,…,Y} and the box gives you the result Z = 42. What have you learned about the physics of the process? The box is now an oracle and oracles are inscrutable. Without your box you cannot say what Z is going to be. With understanding of the physics or the dynamics, you can always make a ‘back of the envelope’ stab at what Z will be. That is called ‘understanding’ and the neural network doesn’t give you that.

    ‘Curve fitting’ where you hunt for the appropriate curve can actually teach you something, namely what functional forms might be under the data. With neural networks you don’t even have that as the functions are fixed [given in construction of the network].

  101. Lief,

    It was more curve fitting teaching you nothing that I was referring to. I think most (all?) quantative scientific theories have unknown parameters or constants and curve fitting is the natural way to determine them. And if you have rival mechanistic models fitting them to data and evaluating goodness of fit is one way of seeing which model agrees best with observations.

    I agree with your comments on neural nets as far as they (your comments) go. My (limited) experience with neural nets is in drug development, attempting to predict what happens when a drug is administered in humans, based on the chemical structure (published in peer reviewed journals; of course, reviewed by people who think neural nets are useful). Modelling the climate system seems to me to have some parallels with my experience: a complex system, poorly understood, lots of data which shows no obvious regularities and with plenty of error. So what I get from Tsonis is that they do a reasonable job of matching past observations with just 4 indices. I don’t believe that would be possible if you really needed to solve Navier-Stokes equations to model climate. That suggests to me that a mechanistic model with just 4 subsystems could work. But no, the neural net gives no hints how to do that.

  102. davidc (21:29:35) :
    reviewed by people who think neural nets are useful
    A magic box that works can be very useful. If I knew of a Neural Network that could predict the stock market and earn me billions and it worked, I wouldn’t be concerned about that I didn’t understand how it worked, as long as is did. Understanding is a different animal and if that is sought NNs are not the way to go, so the question is really what we are after.

  103. This is a great article and the comments are even better…I just wish I understood what you guys are talking about…

  104. All these sideswipes at Astrology – what is that but blind prejudice – or to quote Newton in response to derision – ‘I, Sir, have studied it, whereas you have not’. Galileo and Kepler might have said the same.

    Astrology is the study of cycles of consciousness – individual and mass and has no theories of causation, only correlation and prediction in relation to planetary cycles.

    Just because there might be planetary influences on the sun, but no known mechanism doesn’t make it ‘astrology’.

    Likewise, Svensmark’s work (now supported by a huge grant from the European Space Agency) found correlations first, then went looking for mechanisms. The jury is still out on whether what Svensmark found in labs in Denmark – due to be replicated when they repair the Large Hadron Collider, really can account for cloud seeding. But his correlations have been confirmed by others (Usoskin at Oulu, Harrison at Reading).

    Almost looking at cycles forgets the complexity of time-lags (except Charles Perry at the US Geological Service looking at mid-West hydrology) – people look for immediate correlations. The ocean cycles of pressure and temperature, heat content at depth etc., all exist as pulses with teleconnections through the ocean basins. The warm phase of the PDO (whether driver or consequence of ENSO) has the power to feedback to the jetstream and the track of Atlantic depressions (hence the area of ocean subject to abstraction of heat) and the speed of heat loss is dependent on the depth of the warm water store (the NAO has built up a big store south of Iceland). The jetstream is a standing wave, so if it is jinked over the Pacific, it shifts over the Atlantic and also over Siberia – so some areas can get warmer whilst others are cooling.

    I hope to get time to look more deeply at leif’s ‘no sun’ stance. Presumably all the carbon-14 and beryllium-10 data must be due to internal oscillations affecting their absorption and deposition- I can’t see it, not with both correlating to sunspot activity, especially through the Maunder Minimum. TSI might not be the key indicator, but magnetic flux and cloud are still in it for my money, as is the UV variability (Shindell). Am prepared to be persuaded otherwise!

  105. wow, 10xcsn the evidence is GREAT and the global Warmers are out in the cold. The last winter was colder than the one before and this one promises to be even more bitter cold in the Northern Hemisphere.
    Al Gore is still going to be trumpeting global warming, even after he is frozen solid in the next ice ages glaciers.
    What a laugher.

  106. Oddly at least part of the US Federal government recognizes that its getting colder. The USDA Zone map

    http://www.centralfloridagarden.com/topics/hardiness/history.html

    has had the zones (temperature zones) move SOUTH since its inception. To put it simply if it was getting warmer any individual zone should be moving NORTH. This is contrary to the “clearly accepted” global consensus of global warming.

    The whole belief in human capacity to impact our global environment is somewhat arrogant. Further, spending time arguing about it misses the larger issues of preparing for major warming OR cooling. There are many factors that could (and have historically caused cooling and warming), and those factors can come in quite uncontrollalble form factors such as solar dust clouds, meteors, and of course krakatoa and larger volcanic events. Saying they are historical and therefore not predictable, is simply foolish. We all experienced the images of the Shoemaker-Levy Collision – and one pesky little 1/2 mile asteriod could really ruin our days.

    A better model of investment would be to see if CO2 output could actually warm Mars. Safe testbed and if it gets warmer, it gives us another more viable home base. The amounts of funds being diverted for CO2 are huge, and promise to get much larger if the US Gov gets into the “enforcement of CO2 output”. Better to spend those Trillions on research, and testing on Mars, building early warning and early intervention for near earth objects. Better to invest in real polution reduction – CO2 is a natural part of earths life cycle, and its PPM has varied over time.

    We can expect some sort of variation in BOTH directions, be it temperature and sea level – Sea level has been more than 100meters LOWER than it is today. Imagine what that would do to international shipping lanes.

    I firmly believe in planning for more extreme variance (increasing AND decreasing). Creating plans and investing smartly, not believing in a CO2 ideology that does not accept scientific debate.

  107. One more item. I am already hearing from the idealogues of global warming that CO2 will cause global cooling also. A perfect ideology. CO2 causes warming AND cooling, protecting all outcomes to be the fault of CO2.

    Does ANYONE see this is illogical?

  108. I have some questions, as the people here seem to be generally friendly and not to demeaning. I have rudimentary understandings of these things, so I find some of this debate confusing. The questions are:

    1) What is the relationship to heating (seems that would cause evaporation) to precipitation? Is this a correlation at all?

    2) Would the distance from the sun matter? It seems that something that hot would swell and contract naturally from it’s own temperature variations. Is the distance between molecules in a heating scenario exponential? This would make minor fluctuations in temperature increase/decrease the size of the sun, and it’s relative effect on our temperature, accordingly, yes? I understand that we are supposed to cool off at night, when the sunlight leaves, so the sun being a factor certainly seems logical.

    3) Is there anyway to measure our distance from the sun, and overlay the measurement to temperature changes?

    Thanks! Again, please don’t poke fun at me for being ‘ignorant’ of advanced scientific issues, the fact is that, I am. See, I am actually in school to be an accountant, but I find this stuff to be fascinating.

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